Filadelfia Plantation – Express Coffee Tour

This is the entrance to Filadelfia Coffee Plantation.  Having recently gone on a coffee tour here, I’ve decided to photo-blog the tour to share.  Every inaccuracy here is mine.  My tour guide, David, was awesome, patient and knowledgeable in everything coffee.  It is my failure if much is lost here.  For the best experience possible, take the tour!

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Alexa Skill Published

Turnaround time from submission to Amazon response was but a few days. My skill was rejected because I hadn’t properly setup ‘out’ links from skill.


The root cause was that my links were going to the rss page itself.  I did not know why I even needed links; I thought it was part of the RSS Feed Spec Amazon required.  However,  In the Amazon Website, you can click ‘read more’ for ever news item read


This was an easy enough fix.  I just used Google to take care of the outbound link and resubmitted my skill.  I also added a case for when there hasn’t been a notable death in a while.



I got a response in a few days telling me that now my skill has been approved and you can see it in Alexa’s Skill site.


I am really impressed with the Alexa Development Ecosystem and the capabilities of the platform.  It has been a breeze to find my way around.  This changes everything in development.  I believe it will not take long before there’s Alexa’s everywhere doing so many useful things.

Crouton Arduino USB To Serial Driver Success

I recently bought a cheap Arduino Board on eBay that came with a CH34x USB to Serial Chip. The eBay seller offered a link and instructions for the drivers for Linux, Mac and Windows. Installing/loading this in Crouton was not straightforward however.

Connecting the board and opening ide shows the lack of connection as expected.  Note the grayed-out ‘Port’ Selector.

Screenshot 2015-05-30 at 7.33.08 AM

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Browsing H2 Database in Play 2 Application – News To Me

This one got me for a loop.  It just so happens that both the h2 browser AND the play app should run from the same console.  Otherwise, you end up running app and its database as one instance and new instance of ‘a’ database in another instance.

Do as I say and not as I do!


1. From shell, start play app. Do NOT type ‘play run’, just ‘play’.

2. Type ‘h2-browser’ next, The H2 Console should load up in the browser.

3. Now, type ‘run’ (or ‘~run’ for compile on save) to start your app.

Bingo! You should be able to now see your database.

Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership One Day Event

Dave Ramsey’s mission is to get people out of debt.  He hosts a popular radio show, offers classes nationwide and sticks to biblically backed lessons in every endeavor that his organization does.  Classy setup all around.  If you tried to boil down his ‘philosophy’ it would succinctly be ‘No Debt’.  Simple enough and we all know this but clearly its not what we know but what we do that matters.

He ‘made’ me sell my custom ordered fancy sporty car back in 2006 and I have been a, sometimes reluctant, fan ever since.  Upside is that my family is debt free minus the house and we can clearly see the day when we are not even encumbered by that.  I’ll like to rephrase that: Not a care in the world!

Thanks Dave; if you ever setup shop in Orlando, let me know!

Anyways,  just google Dave Ramsey if the above sounds appealing; he is 10x more eloquent that me.  One of the events Dave goes on tour for is Entreleadership.  This event’s focus is guiding the entrepreneurs among us motivating them to stand up and be good leaders at their venture.

Having seen Dave a few times, I think this is one delivers one of his strongest messages to his audience.  I was fortunate enough to volunteer for his Orlando visit this time, got to sell some books and talk to people all day.  I also witnessed a little bit of behind the scenes action for his organization.  Happy to say that Dave’s Team is running a class act and doing the right thing at every chance. Way to go!  I had a great time with the other volunteers who were all great and committed and shared Dave’s mission.

For the two that have read all the way here, I highly recommend assisting this, or any other of his events as a volunteer or audience member.  As a volunteer, I got the chance to see Dave a bit but not enough to write down notes as I would’ve had I sat thru the whole thing BUT… I remembered I should have my notes from when I did assist the event.

As a note to self, and my two readers (hey there!), here is a brain-dump from November, 2010.  These are notes to self so it’s a-ok if they do not make sense to you.  Got it? Good.

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Florida Healthcare Costs

If you read any Stephen Few for more than a minute, you’d realize he emphatically stresses clear and simple-looking visualizations.  Well, he does in the one O’Reilly book I have of his where he spends a considerable amount of time pointing out what NOT to do.

With this in mind and looking for an excuse to keep playing with Awesome Tableau Software, I decided to take another look at the Healthcare Costs Data previously talked about at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’.

This time, I restricted the data to the state of Florida (I’m here) and decided to drop the map.  The hopeful intent of this visualization is to provide the needed information as fast as possible.  As before, I cannot embed here but provide the link instead.  Just click on the images to play with visual.



And for perspective, this is what Stephen did.


Garmin Forerunner 10 Running Tip

The Garmin FR10 running watch has 2 screens to display data when you run. Each of these screens can, in turn, display 2 data fields.

During a run, you can scroll thru these two screens, plus time and date screen, using the lower right button on the watch. In this way, the watch can display up to 4 data fields while you run.

On a different setting option, you can set Pace to be average pace or instantaneous pace (default). This setting is absolute, you cannot have 2 pace data fields, one for average and another one for instantaneous.

Having set the two display screens already, including (now average) pace, you have the option to include instantaneous pace as well.

Just turn on Virtual Pace. This feature takes a pace given and informs you if you are ahead or behind it.

Now, as you run, you can scroll thru these screens with the Virtual Pace screen now displaying a fifth data field.


Medical Provider Charge Database Download

Data is provided at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services here. This dataset is being both in Excel and CSV formats.

Data looks like this:

DRG Definition


Provider Id


Provider Name


Provider Street Address


Provider City


Provider State


Provider Zip Code


Hospital Referral Region Description

AL – Dothan

Total Discharges


Average Covered Charges


Average Total Payments


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