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:

Inktober 2014 Half Marathon

I’ve known about #inktober for a couple of years. Several of the artists I follow participate regularly. Well, I’m gonna do it this year.

Now for those who don’t know #inktober is an artistic challenge – full details here: – the basics are to do a drawing in ink and post it every day. This year I saw the idea to do the “half marathon” which is a picture every other day, which is what I plan to do.

I want to keep consistent on this so I’m gonna lay out a few more parts of this goal so those of you who feel so inclined can hold me to these plans.

  1. Post every odd numbered day starting on the 1st
  2. Post what I have, works in progress are fine. I’m trying to work on my perfectionist tendency, as in getting it to ease up.
  3. Enjoy drawing in ink

I’m planning on spreading these images across my various blogs and social media. Specifically they will be on and then they’ll spread from there.

And then it all changed

July 9th, I got an unexpected e-mail about a graphic design opening at a nearby company.
July 10th I replied to the email with an expression of my interest to learn more.
July 11th I talked on the phone with the CEO of the company.
July 14th I had an interview.
July 16th I had a job offer.

This has been a bit of a whirlwind of events.

So what am I doing now? I am a full-time Graphic Designer for California Pet Pharmacy. This means I make graphics for their website, banners, headers, and other sundry items; I also put together print materials for them.

Even though I’ve only been at this job a little over a full work day, my first day was Friday the 18th, I already feel an immense amount of internal peace and joy about it. The culture of the company is very startup, but with the expectation being that you work hard when you’re there but when the work hours are over … you’re expected to go home. The work area in an open layout and the CEO/owner and his right hand guy are commonly found in the work space with the rest of us.

It is rather difficult to put into words how I feel about this job. I am very thankful, excited, hopeful, and very … relaxed. I guess you could say, it “feels right”. The expectations are things I know I can meet and exceed and I feel like this is a prime opportunity to grow, personally and professionally. The sense of peace and relax-ed-ness (not a “real” word) are possibly the most interesting feelings. It is almost like a weight has been taken off my mind and shoulders. I feel lighter and like my mind has more space to do interesting things, not just drown out the background noise of looking for work.

The short of it all is that I am celebrating the blessing work and eager to see what the future holds!

State of the life

Friday the 10 was my last day of work. It is sad to be leaving a company that is full of amazing and dedicated people. I have had the honor to work on a project that is focused on improving the way medical research and administration is done. I wish them all the best of luck as they go forward. It was a joy to receive positive affirmation of my graphic design skills and to prove that this was an area I can and should pursue.

Alas I am back on the job hunt. Although this time seems like it’s a better time to be looking. I’m finding more opportunities that are in my strenghts and more that look like they fit my experience level too. So overall I’m feeling much more more excited about new opportunities to learn more and to get more experience.

This is not easy, but it’s not like it was before. I’m keeping my chin up and eyes on the goal! I’m gonna strive for the future I want to live in!