Hopscotch 2019

Here’s my plan for Hopscotch 2019 evening shows (no day parties yet). Headers link to Spotify if you wanna listen there. Here’s a master-playlist that combines all of the below stuff into one.

Thursday City Plaza

Thursday Club Shows

Friday City Plaza

Really sad about Dave Berman’s passing – I was looking forward to Purple Mountains. Their spot is currently listed as TBA.

Jenny Lewis was amazing last year at the NCMA. Wouldn’t it be great to hear the Watson Twins join Jenny Lewis for Rise Up With Fists?

Friday Red Hat

I like Dirty Projectors, but they’re difficult – I get it. Blake, I sometimes love, but often get weary of. We’ll see how that goes.

Friday Club Shows

OK – I’m going with Caroline Rose at Lincoln over Watson Twins at Pour House. While I love the Watson Twins, I mostly love ’em combined with Jenny Lewis. I’m hoping that they show up at Jenny’s City Plaza show. Fingers crossed. My sis saw Caroline Rose last year and said she puts on a great show. Also – really excited about Orville Peck!

Saturday City Plaza

So, City Plaza shows start early on Sat. But Indigo Souza (on at 2:30pm) is great. It’ll be a challenge making that show with all of the good day parties…

Saturday Red Hat

I’ve been a fan of !!! for a long time. That Giuliani track is one of my faves. Haven’t been as in-love with their recent stuff, but it should be a good dance.

Saturday Clubs

Going with Birds of Avalon at Kings over Reese McHenry at Slim’s (which should be awesome), because I’ve seen Reese like 4 times this year. Both are solid bets, tho.

Gruff Rhys is the lead of the awesome-but-now-defunct Super Furry Animals.

Gonna finish crazy with What Cheer? Brigade over the more-mellow Sarah Shook b/c it feels right.

Hopscotch 2016 Bootcamp: Car Seat Headrest

I can’t get enough of Car Seat Headrest. Specifically, his 2016 release Teens of Denial. I’ve been calling this “emo for people that don’t like emo.” It’s frank and earnest without being cliche. When it’s sad, it’s not for sadness’ sake, it’s about how sadness can transform. At times it makes me think of Japandroid’s Celebration Rock. Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales is a standout and an easy intro to Car Seat Headrest. You will sing along.  My favorite is prob the 12-minute-ish The Ballad of the Consta Concordia where he deals with his mistakes and builds to a chorus of “I give up!”

Here’s some samples:

Hopscotch 2016 Bootcamp: Low-Hanging Fruit

I did some skimming and sampling of the 2016 lineup and found some solid songs from bands I’m looking forward to seeing.

Hopscotch 2016 Bootcamp: Let’s Talk About Sam

The wonderful Future Islands have appeared at Hopscotch a few times. Their shows are the stuff of legend. Samuel T. Herring is their amazing gruff-voiced front-man. If you’re not familiar, check them out on Letterman:

Future Islands formed at ECU and have played a lot of local shows, including an all-day party last year when they celebrated their 1,000th show.

Sam also fronts The Snails. A punk/ska/art rock kind of thing. The Snails will be making their Hopscotch debut this year. It looks like they put on a crazy live show:

Sam also raps under the name Hemlock Ernst. He’s collaborated with several hip hop acts, including *another* Hopscotch 2016 act, Milo (check out Souvenir by Milo, feat. Hemlock Ernst). So look for Sam this year – he may make some extra appearances.

The Snails’ Latest, Songs from the Shoebox:


Hopscotch 2016 Boot Camp: Getting Started

Hopscotch 2016 is right around the corner (sorta). Check the lineup and you’ll likely see some familiar artists, plus a bunch you’ve never heard of. Hopscotch is a wonderful way to discover new bands. But it does require you to do some up-front planning and a bit of homework. I’ll be posting here as I work out my plan for this year.

First – let’s take a look at some bands that are already known quantities. Some solid stuff here. Take a listen:

Managing WordPress Updates

With roughly 22% of new (and a total of over 46 million) sites built on WordPress, it has become a popular target of scripted hacks – programs that troll the internet in search of out-of-date versions of WordPress and its plugins. It has become increasingly important to keep your plugins and WordPress’ core files up-to-date.

But keeping things up-to-date can be tedious. And it’s easy to forget to check to see if updates are available for your sites. Let me keep track of your WordPress updates for you. For a small monthly fee, I will monitor your site and apply updates to WordPress and its plugins as needed – usually within 24 hours of updates becoming available (but often quicker than that). I’ll also perform daily incremental backups of your site and save them off-site (to Amazon’s S3 service), providing you with a route to restore your site should something happen.

In a nutshell, I’m doing something that you could be doing for yourself, but using tools to make the process much more efficient.

Some things that this service does not cover:

  • Sites that break when a new version of WordPress or a plugin are released. I very rarely have this happen and it’s something I don’t really have control over. Sometimes, a bit of extra work is involved to support new versions.
  • Fixing sites that *are* infected. I’ll be able to help you recover from a backup of your site (at my normal hourly rate), but I can’t guarantee that your site won’t be hacked. I *can* say that keeping code up-to-date is the best way to prevent problems. Keeping the code up-to-date is something you’d need to be doing anyway, I’m just doing it for you.
  • Updating premium plugins that don’t use WordPress’ default updater. Some plugins require a manual update. I can help you with these, too, but it would be at an increased price.

Interested? Questions? Contact me by form or phone.

It’s time we talked about your password problem

A password for your bank. A password for Facebook. A password for your Gmail account, your Twitter account, your Yelp account… It’s likely that you’ve got too many passwords to keep track of. And if you *are* trying to keep track of them, then you’re doing it wrong. If you’re using the same password for more than one site, you’re really doing it wrong.

You Need a Password Manager

Password managers keep track of your many passwords, encrypt them, and secure them with a single master password. That way you only have to keep track of a single password to access all of your others. A password manager will integrate with your web browser and automatically fill in your login credentials as-needed. Most password managers will also have an app that’ll run on your phone to help you access your saved passwords on-the-go.

I use LastPass

I’ve been using LastPass as my password manager since 2011. I’ve been very satisfied with it. I pay $1/month to have a “premium” account, which is what you need if you want to access LastPass from a mobile device. I have one long password (pass phrase) that I remember that will let me log in to LastPass to retrieve all of my other passwords.

Pick a Pass Phrase

For a password manager to work, you need one good secure password. It needs to be cryptographically strong. That means that you need to come up with something that’s easy for you to remember, but hard for a computer to guess. I find that it’s easiest to pick a sentence or a song lyric and replace some of the letters with punctuation. Easy options are substituting a 3 for an E or a 5 for an S. But the more creative you get, the stronger your pass phrase. You might end up with something like: sc0tt%5pa55w0rdLo0k5w3ird

Let LastPass Generate New Passwords

People are notoriously bad at picking strong passwords. Once you’ve got LastPass set up, let it pick your passwords for you. Let LastPass generate passwords like jsT%43iaUf&eJvS!YNkq. There’s no reason it should be something you can remember. And if you feel weird about not knowing your password, most sites will have an “I forgot my password” link to allow you to reset it.

But is it safe?

This is the question that I get asked the most when I start talking about password managers. What happens if LastPass gets hacked? LastPass (and their like) are security-focused companies. The chances of them being hacked are low. There are password managers that allow you to store your passwords locally on your own machine if that’s a concern for you. LastPass even includes a tool to automate selecting new, strong passwords for the sites you frequent. If you ever have a concern, it’s very easy to generate new, long, random passwords.

Something that’ll greatly increase your security is multi-factor authentication. I’ll cover this in a separate post, but, in a nutshell, this method requires more than one method to prove your identity. You may, for instance, have a fingerprint scanner on your laptop. If you’re using multi-factor authentication secured by your fingerprint, someone would have to know your password *and* have your fingerprint.


Google Street View

Back in April, I spotted the Google Street View car tailing me as I pulled into my neighborhood. As it passed my house, I hopped out and got ready to snap a pic as it made it’s return trip from the cul-de-sac at the end of my road. The driver paused for a sec to let me take a photo (with my Google Nexus One, incidentally).

Street View has recently updated with the new photos. I was captured in a couple of ’em. The last pic is one of me sitting on my sidewalk waiting for the car to return.


Q: Is that house next door to yours painted with cat poop?
A: I’m pretty sure it is. Cat poop is on the list approved by the HOA.

Q: Is your street name really that long?
A:  Yes. And Harps Mill Woods Run intersects with Harps Mill Woods Road. It’s a bunch of fun. It’s also printed on the road exactly as it appears in these photos.


Public Records & The Public Record

This is cool: On Friday, June 1st, during the Government Perspective panel at CityCamp Raleigh 2012, Charles Duncan Pardo at the Raleigh Public Record mentioned to Gail Roper, Raleigh’s CIO, that it’s difficult for the average person to figure out how to file a public records request.  A couple days later, RaleighNC.gov was updated with instructions for making such a request.

CityCamp Raleigh 2012 Recap

CityCamp Raleigh 2012 was a success due to the work of our awesome volunteer staff and the smart people that showed up, shared ideas and formed teams to help improve our city.

What Happened?

On Friday, we heard some great conversations about how opening up code, processes and data can improve life for all of us. Thought leaders spoke about these issues from the public/government perspective as well as from a business perspective. It was awesome to be in the room to hear these great conversations and the moderators did a great job of guiding the discussion. We even got to hear the beginnings of some interesting sharing of ideas between the cities of Raleigh and Cary.

Saturday kicked-off with one-minute presentations pitching ideas for workshops throughout the day. Attendees voted on their favorites and the most-supported topics were assigned to rooms throughout the day. We had 5 sessions with 5 workshops per session. Some of these were educational (What is Open Source?) some were the first meetings of groups that would form around a project in hopes of winning the $5000 prize on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday was for planning and coding. Groups started their work slowly at first, then at a frantic pace as we neared the 3pm presentation deadline. Ten distinct teams with 10 distinct ideas prepared marketing presentations and prototype applications.

At 3pm on Sunday, we gathered to hear 5-minute presentations from the teams followed by a short Q&A, after which the judges sequestered to vote for their favorite idea/project. We graded based on feasibility of the solution, creativity and presentation, and technological execution.

We Have a Winner!

The winning team was made up of CityCamp veterans, and students from a mobile development curriculum at NCSU. Their idea? A Raleigh greenway app called “RGreenway” that uses open data from the city to help you plan a visit to a greenway. The team’s vision for the app includes social features (Which greenway is great for new cyclists? Which one is swamped with strollers?) , integration with SeeClickFix to report issues, and features that’ll alert you to impending weather conditions.

Bury the Lead

My favorite story from the weekend is that CityCamp Raleigh was attended by Mayor Nancy McFarlane and all eight city councillors! Bonner Gaylord was an active part of the planning team, and Councillors Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stevenson and the Mayor joined teams to develop ideas for Sunday’s presentations. Other councillors attended sessions and workshops throughout the weekend. I love how hands-on and committed Raleigh’s leadership is to the cause.

The Event and The Movement

Throughout the year, you’ll be hearing more from CityCamp Raleigh. Amazing things have happened in the past year and we’re continuing to pursue ideas to improve the live of Raleigh citizens through the use of technology. The best way to participate or to keep up with the discussion is to join our Facebook group.