Good Socks Make A Difference

As I was running at 25k last week, I started feeling areas of my soles that were getting sensitive. After the run I checked my feet and there was some blistering. Not a lot because I have been running consistently and my feet are accustomed to it. But this was a new distance for me. I am training for a [marathon](escalante-link) and this was a new long run.

I started to wonder about my socks. I think I have had these same pair since I was first coerced into being a runner (thanks Chase) back in 2009. Needless to say, they are looking a bit worn.

As I examined the socks closely, I notice that they were especially thin in the same areas that my feet were getting hot in. Friction and heat lead to blisters. No sane runner wants blisters. Blisters are evil. :)

With this information, I postulated that good socks might just make a difference for healthy running feet.

Today was another long run and a new longer distance. Not wanting blisters, and curious about my postulate, I searched my sock drawer for my best (least lousy) pair of running socks. I used those socks and my feet were much happy for this run than they were for the previous long run.

It looks like it is time to burn all my old running socks and hit up the sports store for some new ones. Whether my postulate is correct or not, it is certainly time.

Have good socks made a difference for you?

Global Climate Change Does Not Matter

Two men stand on a sinking ship arguing whether or not there is enough evidence to prove that the ship is actually sinking.

Two men stand in the middle of a burning building arguing whether or not there is enough empirical data to show that the building is actually on fire.

What if global climate change (aka global warming) is real?

What if global climate change (aka global warming) it not real?

Climate Change

No matter which side is correct, the fact remains that as the stewards, we humans need to do a better job taking care of this little blue planet.

The science behind understanding the climate of our world is fascinating, educational, and helpful. We should continue to learn all we can about it. I love science!

The divisive debates trying to prove each other wrong are not helpful.

Can we all just agree that this planet of ours is pretty swell and worth taking care of? I think that we would be much better off if we could just decide: 1) that we like it here, 2) that we should take better care of this place, and 3) that it is wise for us to clean up after ourselves.

Therefore, climate change or not, let us work together toward the goal of a more healthy planet and subsequently a more healthy people.

Save thesixtyone!

There is a web site out there that has been used by thousands of musical artists to share their music with the world. Many of these artists are now very popular.

This site has been used by thousands of listeners to find new musicians and new music.

This site still exists.

It is called thesixtyone.

thesixtyone press logo

There are currently two versions of the site. The old and the new.

The old site is more detail rich for people who like to have more control and have more features at their fingertips. The new site is more design rich for people who enjoy cover art and listening to playlists.

Either way, it is a great site and I highly suggest that you check it out.

Hundreds of people still use it to find new music and to listen to their favorites that they have already found.

But there is a problem. The creators of the site seem to have all but abandoned the site. Obviously they continue to keep the site running and there may be an occasional fix. But there have been no new features added in years. There has been no official communication from the owners in years. Parts of the site no longer work and have not been updated.

What is the true status of the site? How long will the owners allow it to stay around? Are they killing it off slowly? Why do they refuse to communicate with their users or even the public in general?

There is a petition to save thesixtyone.

There is also a “Save thesixtyone” artist account.

Many people have stopped using the site and many more people have never heard of it. Maybe if we can get the word out that the site is still around and still awesome we can breathe new life into the site. And maybe we can even entice the owners into communicating with us once again.

You can help Save thesixtyone! Come explore and enjoy the music with me.


AWS releases new SSD-Backed EBS

Yesterday, Amazon Web Services announced New SSD-Backed Elastic Block Storage. This is cool in many ways, but one really nice feature is the “Boot Boost” which means:

Each newly created SSD-backed volume receives an initial burst allocation that provides up to 3,000 IOPS for 30 minutes.

In other words, boot times can decrease dramatically (especially for Windows images).

At SmartySteets this is good news for us since we are using AWS EC2 technology for many of our services.

To take advantage of this using the Console was easily taken care of the first time we launched a new instance today.

However, the fun part was getting our API-based launch scripts to use the new feature. The main gist of the change is the specification of a volume type of “gp2″. We interact with AWS through boto, so I had to add “block device” specifications to the script as follows:

block_device_type = boto.ec2.blockdevicemapping.BlockDeviceType()
block_device_mapping = boto.ec2.blockdevicemapping.BlockDeviceMapping()
block_device_mapping['/dev/sda1'] = block_device_type

new_image_id = ec2Connection.create_image(

Here is the full script for reference in case you need an example of usage.

Be EXCITED About Your Dreams

Today I learned that, being EXCITED about my goals and dreams is a vital ingredient in bringing my dreams to fruition.

All too often I hesitate about being excited about my dreams. What if I fail? What if my dreams do not come true? If I allow myself to get excited, if I allow myself to put my whole heart into my goals/dreams/relationships, I might fail and my heart may be decimated. Would it not be better to just put half of my heart into whatever I am trying to accomplish? That way, if the endeavor fails, I still have half my heart.

Brad Barton failed over and over again, but he kept getting back up, and finally reached his goal of breaking a world record in running.

I just listened to this episode of Live On Purpose radio: Getting Better at Getting Better. Dr. Paul? talks with Brad about the struggles he had while pursuing his dream.

Network Redirection: UDP/TCP to a File

I just learned a cool bash trick. Redirecting network traffic to a file.

Open two bash terminal windows.

t1$ nc -l 7777 >> TESTFILE
t2$ exec 3<>/dev/tcp/
t2$ echo 'Hello World!' >&3
t1$ cat TESTFILE

Your TESTFILE now has Hello World! in it.

There are quite a few ways to do this and similar operations, easy found on the Googles.

*Note: Other shells may work, I used bash. Your shell may or may not have redirection capabilities built into it.

The certified opinions of Jonathan