New blog / website

In Typical on 2013-11-23 by petervk

So I spent $10 and got my own domain:

Not that I really ever posted to this blog with any regular frequency, but at least I’ve removed any ‘hope’ you had that I may one day post here again.


Cider Batch 1

In Brewing on 2012-02-26 by petervk

So, Art Smit, Peter Scholtens and I made some Cider in January and I wanted to document what we did.


  • 15 gallons of pasteurized, but with no preservatives added, cider from Drummond Farms in Flamborough/Waterdown in 1 gallon jugs
  • 1 package of Fermentis S-04 Yeast (pdf)
Total cost: ~$80


  1. Created starter by sprinkling dry yeast into 1 gallon of room temp cider and let ferment for 1 day.
  2. Split starter into 3 carboys and add remainder of yeast.
  3. Allow to ferment in basement laundry room for ~2 weeks.
  4. During bottling add dextrose to ferment 1/3 of volume to 2.75, 2.0, and 1.75 volumes of CO2.
  5. Allow to bottle condition for two weeks.


  • Cider apparently ferments dry so we shouldn’t have added near as much sugar. We used a chart for beer that assumes that at bottling all or most of the fermentable sugars are consumed. We should have taken the specific gravity of the cider and used that to calculate the remaining sugar and only supplement with dextrose. We didn’t explode any bottles, but the caps are very domed, if you open the bottles fast an inch foams out of the bottle, and it is like drinking champagne.
  • Very cloudy. We should potentially add a clarifying agent next time to help settle the haze.
  • It tastes delicious and we will definitely try it again some time!
  • If I remember correctly it made about 160 stubbies, so cost per bottle is about $0.50.


HTC Desire

In Typical on 2010-09-07 by petervk

So I got my first smartphone. It’s awesome.

Awesome phone, awesome OS, ok battery life, addicting.


Contest to increase your Google Pagerank

In Computers, Typical on 2009-02-24 by petervk

Check this out:

The poster is using a contest to increase his page rank. Genius. He says he currently get’s 300 page views a day, but by having all of his readers post the link to their own blog I’m sure this will skyrocket. I’m guessing several thousand people will view the page, and a couple hundred will register. (39 comments so far) For $240 (if he had to pay full price for the bible, and it seems like it was given to him) I feel this is a great investment.

I’d suggest this tactic to others hoping to increase their traffic/readers/pagerank.
1. Establish a base set of readers
2. Buy/get a valuable prize
3. Have readers post link to blog to register for contest, and comment with link to their blog post (forward and back links really help pagerank)
4. Give away prize to someone
5. Enjoy the vastly increased traffic and pagerank of your site

At least this guy doesn’t have ads all over his site so it currently doesn’t look like its about money and it is about getting people to read the blog.


25 things about me

In Typical on 2009-02-03 by petervk

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged (as I just was), you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged). You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)


1. I am really, really tall. 6’7″.
2. I work for a crown agency of the Ontario Government.
3. For someone so big I have a ridiculously small laptop.
4. I really enjoy cooking, but I don’t do it if I’m hungry at all because I’m impatient.
5. How important a piece of information is has no relation to how well I can remember it. (attributes of linux filesystems = can recite from memory, birthdays of everyone in my family = I’m a horrible person)
6. I want surround speakers for my 5.1 amp which only has two speakers connected to it.
7. I do more dishes then my wife.
8. I can program basic scripts in python.
9. I have ubuntu linux installed on all my computers.
10. Pizza is my favorite food ever.
11. I have a weird desire to purchase and manage an apartment building.
12. My current glasses are probably 4 years old and badly need to be replaced.
13. I depend entirely too much on my wife to book things like eye and dental appointments.
14. My wife and I have polar opposite commutes. She has a 3 minute drive / 7 minute bike / 15 minute walk to work. I have an hour and a half drive/train ride/walk each way.
15. My youngest brother got the Boom Blocks game for their Wii for his birthday and I’m jealous.
16. I love my huge bed but it has caused me to be scornful of sleeping anywhere else.
17. I enjoy doing the sound for living worship, but I wish I was better at it.
18. I don’t know what to do with our smashed up car.
19. I never want to buy a huge house. Too hard to clean, and expensive to heat. I just want usable spaces to hold my family and stuff.
20. I love trains.
21. I think being the Teen Club leaders for our Church has been really good for us, and I’m really enjoying it.
22. Someday I will install a voip system for my house that has extensions for everyone who lives there. (“Press 1 for Peter, Press 2 for Candice, Press PI for….”)
23. Winter is my favorite season.
24. I need to read more books.
25. I think I’m going to go eat some ice cream.


Use Firefox 3? You’ll need to Vacuum the database once in a while.

In Computers, Linux, Typical on 2009-01-17 by petervk

So, fancy new Firefox 3 uses a sweet new database to manage all your history & bookmarks. Which can make for awesomely fast bookmarks and awesome bar usage for the first little while. The only problem is that the database in use is Sqlite3, which has one minor problem for Firefox 3 users: it becomes clogged with dust.

Well it isn’t actually dust, but stale indexes, and the like. The solution is to Vacuum the database.

On Ubuntu you’ll have to navigate to your Firefox profile folder in a terminal. So launch a terminal.

cd .mozilla/firefox/

Now look for a folder called “(randomcharacters).default”
For example it could be called “1g8uequb.default”

cd (folder name above)
Now copy the line below to a text file because you’ll have to shut down Firefox to complete the next step.

Shut down firefox and run the following command.
for i in *.sqlite; do echo "VACUUM;" | sqlite3 $i ; done

It won’t output anything if it runs correctly and should take a minute or two before it returns you to the terminal. If you get a “SQL error near line 1: database is locked” then Firefox is still running. Wait a second and try the command above again.

Launch Firefox up again and appreciate the new found snappiness.

Taken from:


MSI Wind U100 Review + Tips

In Typical on 2009-01-01 by petervk

So a while back I bought a new laptop, specifically a MSI Wind U100.

I bought an “Empire Black” model with the Bi-lingual keyboard (the english only keyboard isn’t available in Canada), a 120 gb hard drive, windows XP, the 6 cell battery, and bluetooth. It has the 1.6 ghz hyperthreading Intel Atom processor, 2 gb ddr2 ram (came with 1, but I added another gig), a 10″ 1024×600 screen.

My review:
It’s a really slick looking machine. The glossy black lid looks amazing but has a tendency to become scratched.

The keyboard is actually pretty good. It has a weird layout (but which laptop doesn’t) but the keys have a good feel to them and it isn’t too cramped, even for my hands. At first the layout really bugged me but I’m pretty much used to it now, and my only outstanding issue with the keyboard is having to hold down the function key to make use of the Home and End keys (which I normally like to use a lot.) Oh, and the function key is where the ctrl key is on most keyboards, so that is sometimes annoying.

The screen is really brilliant and awesome. LED backlit so it is at full brightness instantly and it can get really bright. In the evening I often have to crank it down because of the contrast between the screen and the room. The only problem with it is it’s rather short vertical resolution. A lot of applications aren’t designed to be used on less then 768 vertical pixels so sometimes that is an issue.

The processor is a complete non issue for me. I was worried as it is rather anemic compared to almost everything else out there (aside from the VIA cpu the HP netbook was originally shipping with) but with windows XP and that extra gig of ram it runs quite well. 90% of the time I’m just using it for surfing the web so really how fast of a processor do you need? It does start to chug with the few games I’ve tried, but I knew that this wasn’t going to be a gaming machine. HD video on Youtube or Vimeo doesn’t really work. It can show it ok, but the fan is going full out and it’s not giving you the full 24 fps, more like 10 fps. But, I don’t watch a lot of online HD, so as I said initially, non issue for me. The processor is plenty fast enough.

Windows XP is nice. I really haven’t had to use Vista yet so I can’t really compare to that, but it’s nice to use something familiar and so incredibly popular. As you may know I’m quite a Linux buff and actually had it running on every computer I owned until this one. I really need to try the latest Ubuntu on it just so I’m less of a hypocrite but for now Windows XP is fast, stable, and everything just works.

The speakers and the touchpad suck. I’ve never heard such tinny crappy speakers before in a laptop and the touchpad has no way to scroll webpages. Headphones or any other speakers are needed if you want to listen to music or basically use the speakers for anything. The touchpad missing the scrolling functionality is because MSI wanted to save a couple dollars per laptop and started to ship them with sentelic touchpads. As Synaptic has the side scroll patented, and sentelic hasn’t licensed that from them it would be illegal for anyone to implement that functionality. External mouse is the way to go.

I added a gig of ram. I didn’t notice a huge difference as I had only had the laptop for a week or two, but ddr2 ram is dirt cheap and it had a empty slot so I felt I had too. It is maxed out now, which is a bit of a negative. I don’t know why MSI/Intel couldn’t have made a system that supported more then 2 gb of ram. What with it being so cheap and all…

Bluetooth mouse:
Rocketfish Bluetooth Wireless Laser Mouse – RF-ABTMSE
It was called a mac mouse initially, but it’s just a bluetooth mouse so it works with anything. It was on sale for $30 and it actually is a really nice mouse. The bluetooth is awesome. No dongle, and it sync’s up within seconds of turning on the mouse. Battery life is great too. The two AAA’s it came with lasted almost three months and I rarely turned it off. It is quite sensitive though.

Tiny Menu Firefox Extension: adds a new “menu” button to the Firefox buttons that contains the entire regular menu, with some rearranging it allows you to compress the entire Firefox interface into one bar across the top saving you 10-20 pixels of vertical screen real estate.

Alt Drag Utility This little program is needed on such a short screen. I’ve had it a couple times where some window has popped up and it extends off the bottom of the screen. With this tiny program running in the background you can just hold down the alt key to drag the window around. Works great, tiny memory requirements, allows you to use programs you normally couldn’t because of the tiny screen size.

Bluetooth Replace Toshiba Stack with Microsoft Stack The Toshiba bluetooth stack that come with the laptop isn’t ideal. It runs 3-4 processes in the background consuming several mb of memory and I ran into problems reconnecting when resuming from hibernation. One solution is to remove the Toshiba stack and replace it with Microsoft’s one implementation. It’s better integrated into the OS and works better. The only downside to the Microsoft stack is it doesn’t support the Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) feature, so if you are going to use bluetooth for networking (like pairing to your phone for internet) you better stick to the Toshiba stack.

ISO Mounter – Daemon Tools Lite As this little laptop doesn’t have a optical media drive of any kind, and sometimes you still need to make use of a CD or DVD, this application is awesome. It allows you to mount a ISO file as if it were an actual CD or DVD. I have a few ISO files on the hard drive, and all I have to do is double click them to simulate putting the disc in the drive. Works great.

So, that’s about it. Epic post. I really like my MSI Wind and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a small laptop (aka a netbook)



In Typical on 2008-12-24 by petervk

So currently I have completed 6 of the 11 Christmas parties we do almost every year. (9-11 christmases a year)

  1. Work Christmas Party
  2. Service Provider Christmas Party
  3. Business Unit Christmas Party
  4. Living Worship Christmas Party
  5. Mom’s Side Extended Family Christmas Party
  6. My Parents Christmas Party
  7. Candice’s Parents Christmas Party
  8. Our Christmas Party
  9. Dad’s Side Christmas Party
  10. Candice’s Dad’s Side Christmas Party
  11. Candice’s Mother’s Side Christmas Party

So yeah. We do all that, take one additional day off for us (we
may go for a massage) and back to work. Ridiculous.



In Typical on 2008-12-17 by petervk

When ever I walk through the PATH on my way home from work I feel like a corvette stuck behind a sea of smart cars.


XKCD: Flow Chart

In Typical on 2008-12-17 by petervk

Flow Chart
Flow Chart

This is awesome.