Coffice Hours

Cof-fice /'kôfis/
A coffee shop one makes into an office where non-coffee shop work is performed.
(Source: UrbanDictionary)

I coffice1 frequently, and so do plenty of other people in Minneapolis. For those of us who work from home some or all of the time, it’s nice to change the scenery and be around people sometimes.

I’d like to try to meet some new people to coffice with, and maybe even build a small network of fellow Minneapolis cofficers. If you live in or near enough to Minneapolis, join the Coffice Hours Facebook group. (I was going to use Meetup, but it was too expensive and too formal.)

My plan is to post coffice hours myself at least once a week, and I hope others will join and do the same so I can meet new people and try new coffee shops.

Hope to coffice with you soon!


  1. Yes, it’s a silly word. Also I kind of like it. 

My Writing Workflow

Writers tend to obsess about their writing tools and routines. I do, at least. I probably spend way too much time futzing around with pens and pencils and notebooks and text editors and document styles. Although I don’t really have a routine. But I enjoy the tools of writing as much as I love actually putting words on the page. Besides, I need something to do when the words aren’t coming.

Despite my constant tinkering, my writing workflow has been fairly consistent for the last few years. Here are the tools I use and what I do with them.

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Camping in the Boundary Waters, February 2014

I have gone camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness almost every February since I moved to Minnesota, fourteen years ago. With knee-deep snow and unrelenting wind gusting to 30 miles per hour, this year’s trip was by far the most challenging (even considering the year it got down to -30°F (that is the ambient temperature; the wind chill was more like -50°F).

After about a mile and a half of slogging through the snow, we finally gave up and made camp right in the wind by digging ourselves into a drift and building a wind wall with blocks of snow. Here is our campsite:

There are more pictures from this year’s trip, and I’ve collected most of the pictures from my previous trips on Flickr.

Barbarian Movie Review: Deathstalker

Deathstalker (1983) is a movie I remember seeing every time I went to the video rental store when I was a kid. I loved fantasy, so I always wanted to watch it. Unfortunately, it was rated R, and both Erol’s and Blockbuster scrupulously observed the ratings back then. Now, 30 years after it was released, I finally got to stream it on Netflix .

It was a bit more disappointing than I thought it would be.

Continue reading Barbarian Movie Review: Deathstalker

New Calling Card

calling-card
For a while now, I have used a personal calling card instead of a business card. Otherwise, I am always juggling several business cards for the various businesses I work with. It is easier to just consolidate all my information in one place — here — from which I can point people in the right direction. Whether people want to contact me at Lawyerist, Estate Map, or to hire me for web design or lawyering, they can just start here.

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Roll Your Own Dropbox with BitTorrent Sync on Amazon EC2

File sync is awesome. Without the ability to get at my files on all my computers (4, currently), I don’t know how I would function. That said, I’m not super-fired-up about Dropbox’s security and privacy practices (or Google Drive’s, for that matter), particularly in light of recent news.

So I got pretty excited when I learned about BitTorrent Sync, software that syncs your files without requiring you to give the key to those files to a company like Dropbox or Google. Like its namesake, BitTorrent Sync is decentralized. It syncs files between the computers you install it on, and does not rely on any central server.

Unfortunately, the lack of a central server is also a downside. If you have a desktop and laptop, for example, BitTorrent Sync will only sync up your files when both of your computers are turned on and connected to the Internet. That’s not a problem with Dropbox, because Dropbox’s servers keep your files synced up all the time, even if your computers are never connected to the Internet at the same time. But if you got BitTorrent Sync running on your own server, you could get this same functionality.

That’s why I figured out how to install BitTorrent Sync on an Amazon EC2 server. Here’s how I did it (with crucial help from the friendly folks on #ubuntu-server at freenode).

Continue reading Roll Your Own Dropbox with BitTorrent Sync on Amazon EC2

Sherpak Go 15 roof bag review

Last weekend, my wife and I took our daughters (almost two and almost four) camping. It was the first camping trip for all four of us, and we needed to fit four people, a dog, and all our gear into our little Jetta Wagon. The morning we planned to leave, we finally realized we were never going to fit everything inside the car.

I have wanted a great big Yakima roof box for years, but I have had trouble selling Jess on a $500+ box that will take up the entire roof of her car. So we started looking at roof bags. In the short time available to us, we decided to get the Sherpak Go 15 based on the reviews. Then we drove about two hours through a torrential downpour to our campsite, just to make sure we gave our new roof bag a good workout.

Continue reading Sherpak Go 15 roof bag review