VyOS Users Meeting Japan

Today I did something cool: I attended the VyOS Users Meeting Japan #2 in Tokyo.

I clearly was not prepared for this meetup – my laptop has no stickers on the back of it.  I think every presenter’s laptop looked like this:

Consensus is: we need some VyOS stickers!

We had presentations from six VyOS users & hackers. I was the only presenter in English and I know about six words of Japanese, so a lot of it was lost on me, but it was fun still. I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Kazuhito Ohkawa (SatchanP) about VyOS at Kauli, Inc. – he’s clearly incredibly smart, and an enthusiastic presenter. I also enjoyed the presentation by Ryo Nakamura (upa) about VXLAN – especially his slide about RIP Vyatta.

Yuya Kusakabe (higebu), the organizer, gave us a good introduction to VyOS 1.1.0.  There were two more presentations which I had to miss – I had to leave the event early to catch my train out of Tokyo.

I gave a short presentation and demonstration of the build-ami scripts I’ve been working on, and a painfully long demonstration.  During my demonstration I mentioned how the Japanese Vyatta / VyOS community is the strongest in the world, to the point where when years ago I read about how to make Vyatta EC2 machines, I found myself referencing a developer named j3tm0t0 who I had never met.  He stood up – he was there in the room!

I showed everyone the Google Trends heat map which shows that Japan is the hot spot for Vyatta & VyOS users:

Special thanks to Yuya Kusakabe and Nifty Corporation for organizing this group.  The Nifty office is very nice.  Everyone, please buy Yuya a beer, and encourage him to host this user meet up regularly.

Update: due to requests, here’s an English list of the presentations given:

  • 15:00 VyOS 1.1.0 and NIFTY Cloud New Features given by @higebu.  No slides available :(
  • 15:30 VyOS VXLAN given by @upaa.  Slides all in English.
  • 16:00 About vyos/build-ami given by me (@trickv).  Slides (in English).
  • 16:30 Case studies of VyOS in Kauli SSP given by @SatchanP.  Slides all in English except for one.
  • 17:00 Debian Jessie build environment, vyos-cfg-zabbix-agent, bug #345 report given by @hiroysato.  Slides almost all in English.
  • 17:30 NAT performance testing given by @twovs.  Slides in Japanese + English.


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Lunar eclipse from Shanghai

Today I watched and photographed the lunar eclipse from Shanghai.  It was a lot of fun – Sarah and I ordered pizza and stood on the terrace at Mintel’s Shanghai office with my camera, snapping photos.

timeanddate.com’s eclipse calculator was very helpful as it shows the direction to look for the moon and the timing of each phase of the eclipse.

All the photos below are links to hi-res images – please click and enjoy.

The moon became visible after the eclipse was already partially in progress, coming up over the horizon around 17:30 local time, and a few minutes later I found a view of it between some buildings at 17:47:

I was rather lucky where it started to rise – right between two buildings about the same height as mine:

18:06: As the moon rose, the eclipse furthered.  Using different exposures allowed me to show the buildings around it, or to hone in on the detail of the moon itself:

18:19: As we approach the total eclipse, some pesky clouds roll by:

18:29 After a while the moon came out from behind the clouds, but we were near the total eclipse:

18:52: At last, we have a clear view of the total eclipse:

Here’s a cropped version:

The full eclipse lasts about 20 minutes.

19:20: Before you know it, the bright light of the sun starts to strike the moon directly again:

Here it is with a bit less exposure:

The following photos are all in sequence, with shorter exposures on the left to highlight the detail of the bright emerging side of the moon, and longer exposures on the right to show detail of the darker (red) side while making the bright side look like the sun:













20:39: The total eclipse has finished, but the penumbral eclipse lasts for another hour:

Finally, the penumbral eclipse is finished and the moon is back in full:

It wasn’t bad scenery, staring out the Shanghai skyline (the Bund in the bottom-left), watching a lunar eclipse!

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Da Moon

After seeing some beautiful photos of August’s supermoon, I pondered what kind of camera it might take to capture such detailed photos of the moon.  I’ve recently taken delivery of a Canon EOS 700D (T5i), which when pointed at the moon, does what every camera does in “auto” mode: produce a photo of a bright white blob in the sky.

I got to searching, and read How To Take Stunning Pictures Of The (Super) Moon, which lends some advice on settings (ISO speed, exposure and aperture).  Sure enough, coupled with a used 250mm zoom lens procured at the Shanghai Photography Center, I was able to capture some good detail.

Here’s the final cropped product:

Shot on September 10th from my balcony in Shanghai.


  • 1/15 exposure
  • ISO100
  • 250mm zoom
  • F16.0

I actually took the shot in raw + jpeg, but I haven’t yet had enough experience with raw to produce quality better than the automated jpeg.  I also had the camera on a tripod, and to reduce shake, used tethered shooting from the ugly Canon app.

Here’s the original jpeg photo for the curious:

Should be fun next month for the October 8th lunar eclipse – thanks for the tip, Marie!

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Gone for a walk in the rain

Gone for a walk in the rain

We had an amazing rain & thunderstorm last week, and aside the beautiful lightning shots Sarah and I captured, the above photo of this anonymous, soaked individual stands out.

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Things you see on the street in Shanghai

It’s always an adventure out there.

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They don’t call ’em Armadillo tires for nothing

Three years of city riding in Chicago and Shanghai and my 700x28mm rear tire has finally had it. So bad the tread is coming off the base of the tire, despite two gashes in the rubber.  What finally took it down?  An unlucky staple in the road.




Specialized Armadillo tires. Highly recommended.

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The pollution moves in…


Friday afternoon.  Here’s the view from our new office on the balcony of the 25th floor. The wind is blowing from the north and bringing in the “fog” that you see.

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Lightning in Shanghai (Quite possibly the coolest photo I’ve ever taken)

From my apartment at 徐家汇路135号:

All lightning shots here on Google Plus.

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Two years of commuting by bicycle in Shanghai

A mere 1500 miles in the last two years of commuting to work in Shanghai traffic madness.  20 minutes every morning and every evening, from Jing’An to Huaihai/Chongqing Lu via Changle Lu and Jiangning Lu last year, Shaanxi Lu this year.  Two years of getting yelled at by police men, dodging pedestrians, running red lights on occasion, getting soaked in the rain, dodging pedestrians who don’t look before they run into the road, jockeying with taxis, giving the finger to the oversized green construction dump trucks, rapping my knuckles on the side of buses that cut me off and drivers who don’t seem to value human life, traffic assistants who are never happy with where you’ve stopped at a red light and always give you the go-ahead 3 seconds before green, and did I mention dodging pedestrians?  Oh and dodging cyclists who ride slower than I walk, mopeds, electric scooters, motorcycles and taxis who will always pull in front of you when they see a fare waiting to pick up.

Number of taxis hit: 0 (but I almost rear-ended one)
Number of pedestrians hit: 1 (I feel bad, but she didn’t look before she ran into the road like a frightened deer. She’ll look from now on. She walked away. I still can’t sleep right after the accident.)
Number of times smushed by buses: 0 (not that they don’t try!)
Total number of accidents: 1 (on par with Chicago riding)
Amount of road rash: none!
Number of expletives hollered at selfish drivers: too many to count
Number of expletives thought in my head that I didn’t have time to holler: even more Number of miles ridden: 1500
Number of commutes: ~600
Amount saved on subway fare: 1800元 / US$300

Cycling in the city – especially a crowded one like this with crazy traffic patterns – means one thing: no matter how fast you can get moving, how good a jump you get off the green light and how well you shift through the gears, you’re going to have to stop even better.  Good brakes are king.  Fixie riders do not do well in this town.  You must have a fantastic front brake and even when you’re standing sprinting, have your hand on it, because that pedestrian eyeing the gap in traffic has no fear.  Which leads me to my photo, and the end of this article.  My two year old, Shimano brake pads from my front brake:

You might notice the snapped brake cable in between – that snapped the other day which caused me to finally get around to putting on new cable & brake pads.  (Don’t worry, I have a rear brake, and I didn’t coast into a red light when it snapped.)

Another two years, here I come!

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No better farewell to the Western conference: Game 7, Wings vs. Hawks

Playoff hockey doesn’t get any better than this!  Game 7, Western Conference semi-finals, between Chicago and Detroit.

I don’t think anyone expected the Wings to take the Hawks to game seven – did you?

Well played – both teams & best of luck to Chicago.  Nightmare On Helm Street has a few fair points to make about the game.

See you next year Chicago – a few less times, but each meeting will be that much more fun.

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