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. 

Most-Important Tasks: Origins

Humans have been making lists for as long as there has been writing. Umberto Eco called the list “the origin of culture.”

What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.

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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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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.

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Roll Your Own Dropbox with BitTorrent Sync on Amazon EC2

Note: BitTorrent Sync is now Resilio. I have no idea if this tutorial still works with Resilio.

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).

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