Coffee bitters12 May 2013
In anticipation of an upcoming "Stock the Bar" party, I made a batch of coffee bitters to give as gifts. Thankfully there was enough left over to keep some for myself.
I followed the recipe outlined at Liquidity Preference with a few variations. I was unable to find whole orris root. Spice House, a delightful spice shop here in Chicago, only had powdered orris root. I used a small amount of the powder wrapped in a coffee filter, which seemed to work fine. The orris root from Spice House was labeled "not for consumption" but cursory Googling showed it used in enough consumables that I am not concerned. I also removed the orange peel after a few days, instead of letting it steep for all seven days. A previous batch I made came out far too orange-flavored, to the point of masking most of the coffee flavors.
The bitters work well with a classic Old Fashioned or Manhattan, and I'm eager to try them with a rum Old Fashioned.
Cambodia01 February 2013
In December 2012 Melissa and I spent 10 days in Cambodia. It was a joint reward, for me finishing the campaign, and her finishing her first semester of graduate school.
We spent the first three days traveling with our friends Sarah and David to see the temples of Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site, outside the lovely city of Siem Reap.
Melissa and I then went to the coast, to Sihanoukville, for a few days of nothing but being lazy on the beach on the Gulf of Thailand.
Here are some favorite photos from the trip. The entire collection, all 238, are over at Flickr.
Resetting an AWS IAM Account with 2-factor Authentication23 January 2013
I use Amazon's AWS extensively; their two-factor authentication is pretty great. Recently I had the pleasure of resetting an Amazon Web Services IAM user account after losing my virtual MFA device. Thanks to a botched iOS 6 update, I lost everything on my phone, including all of my Google Authenticator profiles. That meant I had no way to log in to any of my protected accounts, including AWS. Yikes!
Amazon's MFA FAQ addresses this scenario, but doesn't say what is involved in the reset process. Here's what I was asked to do when I contacted Amazon support:
- Identify myself by name and email address.
- Provide the address on the AWS account, with absolute precision. There was a bit of back and forth until I refined my answer to include the type of street (e.g. "Avenue").
- Last 4 digits of the credit card associated with the account.
- Exact amount of a previous AWS bill.
- The agent then emailed me a PIN number and asked me to hang up.
- The agent then called back at a phone number associated with the account, and asked me to recite the emailed PIN.
I hope this helps someone else in a similar situation.
#codingforward20 January 2013
Earlier this month I was fortunate to be a part of New Relic's Coding Forward events. New Relic, makers of an amazing application performance monitoring tool, kindly sponsored a road trip of OFA Technology team members: Jason Kunesh, Ryan Kolak, Nick Leeper, Scott Van Den Plas, and myself.
We had a great time traveling to New York, San Francisco, and here at home in Chicago. We shared some behind-the-scenes stories from our time on the Obama for America Technology team.
Event attendees were very enthusiastic and appear to have had a great time. Here's a roundup of some reactions and press:
Constantin Basturea's Storify: "Coding Forward New York | January 8, 2013"
SF Bay Guardian: "Machine Politics"
Harish Chakravarthy's Storify: "Obama for America tech team in SF"
Software Development Times: "DevOps were the difference on the campaign trail"
Douglas Lee Miller's Blog: "Notes from the #codingforward Q/A with the Obama 2012 Tech Team"
Thank you to everyone who came out! I hope you enjoyed our stories.
Civic Innovation19 January 2013
I am excited to start working with the Smart Chicago Collaborative as a civic innovation program manager.
The Smart Chicago Collaborative (SCC) is a non-profit devoted to using technology to make lives better in Chicago. Their work is, in broad terms, three-fold: increasing access to technology in Chicago; providing Chicagoans the skills required to use technology; and enabling civic innovation with open data and open government services. SCC is supported by a number of entities, most notably the Chicago Community Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
In the role of civic innovation program manager, I'm positioned at the intersection of the SCC, local governments, and the Chicago civic developer community. I'll work with developers to increase the number and quality of civic applications, and to increase the adoption of existing tools and services. I'll also manage SCC infrastructure and contribute code to grow and improve SCC-supported tools.
SCC has supported a number of impressive technology projects in Chicago. I first became involved back in 2011 when I assisted with porting Code for America's Adopt a Hydrant application to Adopt a sidewalk, a free tool for Chicago residents to volunteer to clear sidewalks in their neighborhoods during snow storms. Other projects built by or supported by SCC include Clear Streets, built on the city's open plow tracker data; a flu-shot locator, used by the Chicago Department of Health; Chicago Early Learning, a resource for finding and comparing child care providers in the city; and many more.
Chicago is a leader in open data and civic innovation, evidenced by initiatives like Open311 and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's executive order mandating city departments to publish and maintain their data. There is a robust and vibrant developer community that I feel is capable of building amazing applications. Groups like Open City, the Code for America Brigade, and OpenGov Chicagoland are collaborating and building the next wave of civic applications. I am honored to be a part of the community and look forward to a productive and innovative 2013.