Quest Calendar 2023

I found out about the Quest Calendar just a few days ago, it is a page-a-day style calendar on each day is a part of the scenario and the details for the resolution on each page. I didn’t get the physical calendar, but the creators graciously also make a digital version! My current goal is to make a narrative version of the week’s events. We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll do a wrap up and review of the whole thing at the end.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Alina Sayre, Author

If you’re not up to the minute on the global COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve probably been living under a rock (and for now you should probably stay there). For me, it’s difficult to read any amount of news without a raised pulse. The situation is unfolding moment by moment, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and each new development seems worse than the last. Today officials in several Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place order that will last at least three weeks, so we are all now hunkering down with our stocks of snacks and (oh-so-precious?) toilet paper.

But I don’t need to tell you that.

What I’ve been thinking about, partly to help myself stay calm in the midst of all the anxiety, are the things coronavirus can’t touch. It is easy to feel helpless, to feel defeated, by such a complete global crisis. But one of the…

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A Quick GitHub tip

  • Do you use Git?
  • Do you use GitHub?
  • Are you following the, now somewhat standard, advice of 2FA all the things?
  • Are you now suprised that trying to pull down a repo from the terminal no longer accepts your password?

Yeah, me too.

But with a little bit of search-fu I found this StackOverflow question that held the answer.

Basically because of the 2FA the password by itself is no longer “enough” and will be rejected. The solution is an OAuth token! This is a bit like the ‘app passwords’ you see in services like Google’s Gmail, where you want to pull your email into an app that isn’t the web site nor is it an official Google generated app. These psudorandom strings are a way of proving authentication to the server since they are generated by an authorized user and they are singular to said user. Once generated and stored in a secure location like 1Password, or your password manager of choice, the token can be used in place of a password when interacting wtih GitHub from your terminal.

As an added benefit if one of these tokens were to be comprimised somehow, it can be deleted and reissued without having to reset the password proper. Once the old token is deleted it will always be rejected by the server and cannot be added back in since it can’t be regenerated back to the exact string.

Now go forth and git push and git pull with confidence!

Some thoughts on PC “care and feeding”

Woman cleaning the roof of Södergran's house
Ah! The joys of cleaning!

Image courtesy of the Flikr Commons & Society of Swedish Literature

You have a computer/laptop. It’s been sitting for awhile. How best to put it back in fighting form?

Well, there’s a bunch of ways but here’s a simple list.

  1. Make a bootable back up of the hard drive
    1. Get an external hard drive (usually USB), that is larger than the drive you want to copy
    2. Get a drive clone/backup tool. One of the better tools for this is Macrium Reflect. It has a nicely featured free edition which should cover the essentials and a bit more.
    3. Install the tool, and then plugin the drive. The drive may take awhile to appear the first time.
    4. Use the tool to make the back up (I recommend a ‘clone’ for these one off back ups). If you are feeling a little unsure Macrium has a rather nice user guide.
    5. When the backup is done, safely remove the drive, unplug from the computer and set aside in a safe place.
  2. Get Ccleaner from Piriform
    1. The free version will do 99.9% of what you want
    2. Install and click “Run Cleaner” (BUT read the next like before you click)
      1. By default this will clear your web browsing history and cache, so you may need to log back into your favorite sites after the clean
    3. Watch the cruft fly away.

These steps are the most basic way of clearing up a Windows computer. Some like to go a step further to check the actual health of the drive with tools like SpinRite, but that’s not a necessary step, as it will take the computer out of commission for a long time.

If you want to keep the clone backup “current” make a point of plugging it back in every week or so and running the backup software again.

An interview with Alina Sayre about The Illuminator’s Test

Not so far from this point last year I was talking with Alina about her self publishing her first novel. Well, shoot if I ain’t here doing it again! This time we’re talking about her second novel, The Illuminator’s Test!

The Illuminator’s Test synopsis

As Ellie and her friends start new lives on the flying island of Rhynlyr, Ellie hopes she’s finally found a home. At the Academy, she learns to wield her gift of Sight and discovers her role in the war against Draaken. But Draaken also wants to control Ellie’s gift. With the help of a blind mentor, an elite bodyguard, and a hostile singer, Ellie must navigate a storm of danger and deception that threatens to cut her off from her friends and corrupt her very self. When disaster strikes, will she find the courage to fight for her friends and the future of the One Kingdom?

A little about the author

Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and is now the award-winning author of The Voyages of the Legend, a fantasy series for readers ages 9-14. Book 1, The Illuminator’s Gift, was a silver medalist in the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and has appeared at a number of schools and literacy events. On December 1 it was joined by Book 2, The Illuminator’s Test, now available on and at select bookstores! When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys photography, collecting crazy socks, and reading under blankets. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Upcoming Appearances – Meet the amazing author in person!

12/13 book launch party at Village House of Books! Want to get your paperback copy of The Illuminator’s Test in time for Christmas, have it signed, and hang out with illustrator Amalia Hillmann and me, all at the same time? Then come to the book launch party being held at Village House of Books in Los Gatos! On Saturday, December 13, the new store on 21 W Main Street will stay open for us after hours and we can party! Treats, face painting, and art activities from 6:30-7:30, then a read-along, Q&A session, and book signing from 7:30-8. Stop by for a few minutes or stay all evening! Hope you can make it!

Get a copy of The Illuminator’s Test!

If you’d like to keep up with Alina’s adventures around the net check out these links: