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blog of greg

coffee induced delirium

Swag is contagious: Akismet badges :)

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.15.54 PMA play on the NYPD detective badges, and a little on the pricey side for small scale swag (we’re not really a large team) – but I’m seriously considering looking into this. We just broke a record of 500 Million spam comments caught in a single day, perhaps I’ll commission and send these out to the team when we hit a Billion daily. Shouldn’t be too long at the rate we’re going. Side note: TSA will love seeing these in carry on luggage.

Fruit flies are just tiny little drunks

Catchy title eh? It’s not click-baiting, I promise. All shall be revealed by the end.

The Scenario

You’ve left the house for an extended period of time, perhaps on vacation or a business trip. When you return home, you notice a little bug in the kitchen. Must be a gnat or something. Kill. Die. Oh, but wait. There’s more. Not just more to the story, but actually more bugs. Fruit flies. They’re everywhere, a small colony has invaded your place. How’d this happen?! You left something out, that’s how.

Home remedies

There’s got to be a simple way to deal with this, like a home do-it-yourself project that’s been forced on you. I mean, who wants to run back out to the store and buy something after just getting home. Not me. To the internet, it knows everything! I mean, if you can find instructions to build your own levitating death star online, dealing with some fruit flies should be childs play.

Most of the solutions were simple, put some some vinegar in a glass, wrap it in cellophane and punch some holes in the top. This attracted the bugs, but didn’t keep their attention long enough to venture into my death trap.

Revenge by swatting

While running around the house and swatting at anything that moves is a satisfying way to spend my free time, it’s not ideal. It gets a little messy with their tiny bug carcases lining whatever surface they were foolish enough to rest on for a short while.

Most of this involved me slowly lurking around in the kitchen as not to arouse suspicion from my new guests. Which intrigued the cat to follow me around, subsequently giving up my position.

Revenge by vacuum

A very satisfying alternative to swatting, though slightly noisier. Watching these little guys almost get away, only to be sucked back to their doom will almost certainly put a smile on your face. Unless you like bugs.

In fact, if you are a bug fan, you likely won’t like the rest of this post. And frankly, I’m amazed you made it this far. It doesn’t get any better, so you may want to find something else to read, or put you to sleep.

First shot at commercial products

Bought some cute little traps shaped like apples. Basic premise is that the bait inside attracts them, they go inside and are stuck. Worked about as well as the home remedy.

Oh, and fly paper- is really for full sized flies. Doesn’t work on fruit flies. So unless you just like using those to spice up the home decor, or enjoy watching the cat frantically trying to leap for them, skip those.

The next bad idea

They keep landing on the counter next to the sink, why not put down some double-sided tape on the counter? They land, they get stuck.


They land. Then walk or fly away.

Not to mention, that after having been applied for a few hours, the adhesive power of the tape is rather incredibly difficult to remove. After an hour with a razor blade most of it was up. Goof-off took care of the rest. I don’t recommend this technique. Especially if you tell your spouse beforehand that you’re sure this will do the trick.

This is when you realize they’re organized

Despite being small and annoying, I truly believe they’re intelligent. And working against me. Once I’ve given up for the day and resigned myself to the couch to watch a tv show or read a book, they emerge from their hiding places. Buzzing the tower, so to speak, relentlessly flying around us or the room.

This has to stop.

Why not just fumigate the house

Well, I could. But we have animals in the house. I work in the house, and I don’t know how much cleanup would be required once the whole house has been sprayed. Plus, if that was the first thing tried, you wouldn’t be reading about bugs in my place.

Switching to another commercial product

I found another type of trap made by Raid at the local grocery store. These are similar to the cute, yet useless little apple traps that were tried before. Same general premise, bait inside, but sticky paper all around the bait. This actually worked well enough to warrant placing a few more around the house.


While this was pretty effective, not all of the bugs would enter the trap. Pretty sure the ones stuck inside were warning the others to stay clear.

Decided to experiment with some other household liquids that seemed to attract them. Turns out cider and orange juice are enough to get their attention, but not to draw them in. Apple vinegar just smells bad.

Almost under control

Until…something was left in the microwave. Apparently the younger fruit flies are just small enough to slip into the microwave with the door closed. That’s what I’m assuming anyways. The microwave gets opened, and here comes swarm version 2.0. Shit.

Enough to make you drink

It’s absolutely maddening. So I do. And I notice the fruit flies do to, they seem to be attracted to liquor. Pour a few drops on a paper towel (waste not, want not) and within minutes, here they are checking things out.

Time for another experiment

Let’s replace the stock bait in these Raid traps with Rum. Seems like a painful waste of Rum if you ask me, but I’m willing to try anything at this point. The results are impressive to say the least, they’re immediately drawn to it. Bonus points: I have a catchy title for a blog post! Although I don’t recommend leaving fruit out as a cure for writers block.


In conclusion

Don’t leave fruit on your counter and leave for a week. Right now everything is pretty much under control, but has been a colossal pain in the neck. Next time, I’ll just fog the house. :)

And that’s my rant.

Exploring Fort Monroe

Disclaimer: You may learn something here. For most of us, this is good. My twelve-year old is at a point where if she’s not in school, she doesn’t want to see anything educational and has asked me to warn her if a book or television show may fall into this category. I watch a lot of Discovery Channel, PBS documentaries and the like- so this comes up a lot. :)

Last night, I was trying to decide where I wanted to spend my day working. I’ve got the “get out of the house” bug at the moment, something about the fall weather … outside is a must. Scenic is more or less the current requirement, so I scoured Google Maps to find a nice place to crash. Fort Monroe won. Commissioned in 1819 by President James Monroe it was designed to be an impenetrable fort, defending the Hampton Roads region from a sea attack.

While on the way to finding a spot to camp out at, I ran across the entrance for the most fortified part of the base.


Who can resist? There was a small information sign just off to the right that read:


Unexploded ordinance really isn’t anything foreign to this area, I see stories in the news every now and then about treasure hunters or beach goers uncovering some civil war era cannonball or ammunition while digging around. In fact, there’s a large section of this retired base that is still off limits for just that reason. After clearing the entrance, this path drew my attention.


Following the path up, I’m on top of the fortress walls. Quite an impressive view (the lighthouse is my favorite)

Meanwhile, outside the heart of the base:

On the way out, spotted this guy. Not sure the photo does this ride justice, it was beautiful, really nice restoration job. Wish I could have snapped a better photo- shooting and driving is hard (and maybe illegal?)..


Just a mile south of this fort is Fort Wool which I’ve never visited, but plan to sometime in the near future. It was also designed to work in concert with Fort Monroe to provide crossfire and help protect the harbor.

So, that’s my day. Now I need to figure out where I’m going tomorrow. :)

Morning commute

Since I work for a distributed company, there’s not much of a morning commute. Usually it involves me coming downstairs, making some coffee and finding a comfortable nook in the house to work in. On occasion I venture outside to a local coffee shop or library, but for the most part I just work at home. It’s comfortable, my stuff is there and it’s easy to become complacent.

This week I’ve decided to get out of the house more often, winter is coming afterall, and the likelihood of doing much outdoorsy stuff once it gets cold is relatively slim. And since I can work anywhere on the planet as long as there’s an internet connection, why not take advantage if it?

So, here’s what my commute has been looking like this week:


It’s about a ten minute hike to a secluded nature preserve near my place, where the only thing I have to worry about is moving my chair back when the tide comes in.


The view is spectacular, the environment peaceful and I feel more encouraged to write. Er, I mean work.

Raspberry Pi camera module

I recently ordered a camera module for my Raspberry Pi, and finally got around to installing it this evening, to include the lego tower that it’s perched on. I also discovered that my ASUS AC66U wireless router has enough power in the two USB ports to run a Pi and charge an iPhone at the same time.


The camera works great, it has five megapixels and can produce 1080p photos or 720p video. There are some updates and packages that need to be installed before you jump in, but that really only took about 30 minutes to run through that process, including download time. Step by step guide here.

The pictures from the actual sensor are great, if I have time tomorrow I’ll take the rig outside and upload some photos.

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