Merchants Millpond State Park Photos

Published on July 11, 2016

Earlier this year, my wife and I spent some time in north-eastern North Carolina on vacation. While there, we visited Merchants Millpond state park, which I would rank among the most scenic in the state. The day we visited happened to be the centennial celebration for the park, so the crowd was larger than usual. That said, we had a fantastic time. We rented a canoe and explored the pond, making this outing among my favorite state park visits to date. Here’s the accompanying photo album.

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

Published on July 10, 2016

Last December, on a particularly warm day, my wife and I visited Cliffs of the Neuse state park. Located just south of Goldsboro, North Carolina, this park has some very interesting geography. High cliffs tower 90 feet over the Neuse river, in an otherwise flat area of the state. As usual, we took along our cameras, and this album is the result.

I’m backlogged on photos, so expect more in the coming days and weeks (I have 10 more albums to post!).

NC Zoo Macros

Published on May 31, 2016

I’ve posted some macro photos from a trip to the zoo last fall. I’m woefully behind in my photo posting, but I hope to remedy that in the near future.

Contact Form Issues?

Published on March 26, 2016

I’ve seen a couple of different reports here that the contact form isn’t working properly. That said, the form seems to work for me in the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, and IE. If you have tried to contact me via the form and gotten an error, please leave a comment with this post. I’d love to know what browser you see the issue in, and what the error is. Thanks.

Securing Born Geek

Published on February 6, 2016

This website now enforces the use of https, thanks to the Let’s Encrypt initiative and the good folks at DreamHost. I initially had a number of problems in getting WordPress to behave, but I found this helpful article that pointed me in the right direction. I believe the bit of magic that helped me was running the wp CLI tool:

wp search-replace https://borngeek.com https://borngeek.com --precise --recurse-objects

Things now seem to be working, though if you spot a problem anywhere, let me know.

Commenting Fixes

Published on January 21, 2016

The commenting system on this site was throwing some nasty errors, as I found out this morning. They were due to an outdated comment spam plugin I was using. I have removed the offending plugin, replacing it with another, so commenting should work once again.

Pasta e Fagioli Recipe

Published on December 28, 2015

This delicious recipe was sent to us by my wife’s grandmother. It’s incredibly tasty!

  • 1 and 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
  • 6 oz onion; chopped
  • 7 oz carrots; slivered (a bag of shredded carrots also works)
  • 7 oz celery; diced
  • 24 oz tomatoes; canned, diced
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can white kidney beans or cannellini beans
  • 44 oz beef stock
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 3/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 24 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 4 oz dry pasta ditalini (or any other small pasta)

Saute beef in oil in large 10 qt pot until beef starts to brown. Add onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans and add to the pot. Next, add beef stock, oregano, pepper, Tabasco, spaghetti sauce, and pasta. Add chopped parsley. Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Makes 4.5 quarts of soup.

Pulled Party Pork

Published on November 8, 2015

My wife was sent a recipe by a family member down in Florida that’s really good. This recipe comes from the Junior League of Tampa, and I’m transcribing it here just in case their electronic copy ever disappears.

  • 1 (3-lb) pork tenderloin or Boston butt roast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (18 oz) bottle prepared BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Combine the pork and water in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 7 hours. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Shred the roast in the slow cooker with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients. Add the reserved cooking liquid if necessary. Cook on low for 1 hour. Serve on rolls for sandwiches if desired.

Yosemite National Park Photos

Published on August 19, 2015

Back in June, my wife and I visited Yosemite National Park while in California. It was truly a memorable place, and I can see why this area has inspired so many people in the past. Here are some photos we took on our visit. Enjoy!

Photo Catch-Up

Published on August 19, 2015

I recently realized that I had forgotten to post some news about various photo albums I’ve put up on my photography site. I’ve been woefully behind the times in getting things posted, but I’m slowly catching up. Here are the albums I’ve posted so far that I didn’t mention here:

I have a number of albums from California in the wings, followed by a number of albums for new state parks that I’ve visited. Stay tuned!

Carolina Beach State Park Photos

Published on May 22, 2015

I’ve finally gotten around to posting some photos from a trip my wife and I took last year right before we got married. We visited Carolina Beach state park back in September, and enjoyed our trip (it was a nice break from all the hectic wedding planning). If you’re ever in the Wilmington, NC area, be sure to check it out!

Contact Form Fixed

Published on May 4, 2015

Well, that was fast! I’ve found the problem with the contact form and corrected it, so emails should now actually make it to my inbox. Apologies for the problem!

Contact Form Not Working

Published on May 4, 2015

I discovered this morning that my site contact form is not working properly. I will investigate why and hope to have a fix in place soon. Until then, if you’ve sent me an email recently, I likely didn’t get it. Feel free to leave a comment here or email support at borngeek dot com. It’s been fixed!

Fixing the Thinkpad Hot-key On-Screen Display

Published on April 6, 2015

Lenovo Thinkpads have an on-screen display for various hot-keys. For example, when you change the monitor brightness, or the volume level, an on-screen overlay will display showing the current brightness level or volume level, respectively. Twice, I have received laptops from Lenovo that have this software installed, but the on-screen display never appears. Frustrated by this bug, I used the Dependency Walker to troubleshoot this problem a while back, and subsequently found the solution.

Simply install the Visual Studio 2010 C++ redistributable, available from Microsoft (make sure to install the x86 version, even on a 64-bit system; the on-screen display application is a 32-bit process). Once this package is installed, and the laptop rebooted, the problem should go away.

Brown Sugar Saver

Published on March 24, 2015
Brown Sugar Saver

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while now, because this product is as close to black magic as I’ve ever seen, even though I know the theory of how it works. My wife and I picked up a Brown Sugar Saver from Sur La Table while at our local mall a few weeks ago. We had a container of brown sugar that was literally as hard as a rock. Various metal implements were unable to pry the concrete-like material from its container, so we decided we’d give this a try.

The Brown Sugar Saver is simply a piece of terracotta pottery; nothing more. You soak the small medallion in a dish of water for 15 minutes, remove it, blot it dry with a towel, and place it directly in the container with your brown sugar. We did this, and in the morning found that our brown sugar was just as soft and pliable as it would be had you just opened a fresh bag of the stuff! Needless to say, we were really surprised. It only cost $4, and has solved an annoying problem that I’ve lived with for far too long. I highly recommend this thing (you can buy similar ones in a number of places).

Setting the Time Zone in GitLab

Published on February 27, 2015

GitLab defaults its time zone to UTC, which may not be what you want. Thankfully, you can update the value directly from your gitlab.rb file. Here’s the relevant line:

gitlab_rails['time_zone'] = 'America/New_York'

Once you’ve added the field, simply reconfigure and restart:

sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
sudo gitlab-ctl restart

A list of all the available timezones is available on Wikipedia.

Migrating to HTML 5

Published on January 20, 2015

After sitting on an XHTML Strict template for years and years, I’ve finally migrated this site’s theme to HTML 5. A number of new elements have been put to use, styles have been trimmed a little, and I’m using one less web-font. Hopefully I haven’t broken too much; if you spot something, let me know in the comments below. As always, expect sporadic updates as I add polish.

Electrolysis Growing Pains

Published on January 15, 2015

In their march to copy Google Chrome, Mozilla is moving Firefox to a multi-process architecture. The code name for this project is Electrolysis. As of this writing, this project’s integration target for released levels of Firefox is at the end of 2015. Dates can always slip, and are likely to, but that target seems real soon now.

Frustratingly, Mozilla has been surprisingly quiet about this upcoming change, at least from a developer standpoint. For months the Mozilla Add-ons Blog has promised upcoming articles on the changes necessary for add-on authors, but as of this writing, nothing has appeared. What documentation does exist is, as usual, poorly written. The examples they provide aren’t real-world enough for me to fully understand.

It frightens me that Mozilla should be so lackadaisical about evangelizing these changes. This architecture shift will affect the vast majority of add-ons in one form or another. I verified tonight in a nightly build that both Googlebar Lite and CoLT are affected by this change, the former being broken in a number of areas. It seems to me that Mozilla should shift their evangelism of this new architecture into high gear. Every developer who cares about application compatibility needs to be working on these changes sooner rather than later; otherwise, a ton of add-ons won’t work properly come release day.

Hawaii Volcanoes Photos

Published on December 25, 2014

The final photo album from my honeymoon has finally been posted (it sure took long enough to get this far!). This last album showcases the many sights we saw at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Visiting this park marked the first time I’d ever been on an active volcano, smelled naturally occurring sulfur gas, and seen dramatic evidence of past lava flows. It’s a remarkable national park that I highly recommend.

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