I got laid off. Just shy of 5 years of working on a project that never sold enough to even cover my salary, the company decided it was time to trim some fat. That happened almost 3 weeks ago. Since then, i’ve been spending time with my family, doing some house work, exercising, and just generally not touching a computer. This morning, I had the urge to pick up my laptop and work on something. Anything. I decided i’d focus on this blog again, for a short while.

The last post on this blog is from September 2013. When that post was made, I was hosting on amazon S3, which has cost me about $0.33 per month, on average (I also store several GB of data there, so the number isn’t solely this blog.). While S3 is great, and there is a jekyll gem/plugin that automatically builds and publishes to S3, I want to move things to a (DigitalOcean.com)[digitalocean.com] droplet i’ve been running for the last year or two.

I need to make sure I have all the content from this site, preserve the url structure, upload it to my droplet, update DNS, install an SSL certificate and try to get a valid HTTP 2 request in Chrome. I’ll keep a checklist running here while I do each task.

Make sure I have all the content

This seems easy enough. I’ve had a copy of this blog on github the whole time, so i’ve got what I need there.

Preserve URL Structure

This should “just work”, but when I try to build this locally with jekyll, I see no content. I’ll have to sort out the build errors in a 3 year old template.

Well, that was easy enough. I was missing: gems: [jekyll-paginate] From my config.yml file.

Set up nginx on my droplet

I’ve already got nginx running, so i’ll just need to create a configuration file for http://warren.mesozen.com and reload it.

Switch DNS

This is just changing the IP in the hover.com dashboard. Actually, I had to delete the cname entry from hosting with amazon and create and A record for my own droplet.

Disable Amazon Cloudfront

I logged into the AWS management console, selected CloudFront, saw my one distribution, and disabled it. I am unable to delete it, but that should not be a problem once it is fully disabled.

Delete S3 Bucket

Gotta save those pennies!

Install SSL Cert

cd /opt/letsencrypt ./letsencrypt-auto certonly -D warren.mesozen.com -w /opt/warren.mesozen.com

Easy enough. Enable it in nginx and I have SSL


This is just splitting hairs, but since i’m running ubuntu 16.4.1 and nginx, with SSL, I should be able to enable HTTP 2. This was enabled by adding “http2” to the protocols list to listen for. Easy enough. Now I see a bunch of “h2” requests when serving my site.

Looks like that was all pretty easy. Now, i’ll clean up this post a bit, publish it, and try to write something new here before 3 years is up.

I’ve previously posted about using Crossover 27QD monitors with my MacBook Pro. At the time of writing, I was having great success with my displays and was happy to share information about how much money was to be saved by using the cheaper korean displays.

If you are still on the fence about buying these displays for yourself: DON’T.

After my initial post, I ran into a variety of problems, some of which I will detail here.

The displays worked fine for the first month or two. I would often have to power cycle them 2-3 times to get them to work, but I was willing to accept that. One day, however, power cycling the monitors stopped working. I had recently applied a software update (I don’t remember off hand which one, but I think it was 10.8.4), and that very well may be the cause, but I don’t have a reliable way to test that.

At first, one of my displays would work normally, and the other would never work properly. I had a Mac Pro in my office, with dual link DVI ports on the back, so I tried to run the display connected to that machine. The display worked perfectly with the Mac Pro, so I assumed I had a faulty adapter. I contacted monoprice about the issue, and they agreed that the adapter seemed faulty and sent me a replacement adapter. The new adapter, however, suffered from the same issue as the first.

I began researching my problem daily, trying to find a solution to the issue. Someone on an apple support forum had suggested trying the official Dual Link DVI adapter instead of the Monoprice version, so I drove to my local Apple store and bought what was to be my 4th dual link dvi adapter. When I got home, much to my chagrin, my display was still non-functional. I returned the apple branded adapter and accepted the fact that I may have wasted a lot of money on the displays.

Fastforward about a week, and I had finally found someone on an apple forum having the same problem. This user brought a new bit of information to the party: Their display worked perfectly in boot camp, but failed when running OS X. I installed bootcamp and quickly verified the same behaviour. This was the final nail in the coffin.

I now had two displays that worked wonderfully on a Mac Pro running OS 10.8.4, as well as on my MacBook Pro running Windows 7, but refused to work on my MacBook Pro running OS 10.8.4. I contacted apple support, to no avail. I contacted the seller on ebay with similar results. I was stuck with 2 very expensive paper weights.

The displays have been sitting in my closet (being continually listed on Kijiji) since late June. In early July, I bought a Apple Thunderbolt Display and it has worked perfectly day in, day out.

The displays may work with some MacBooks, and a software update (even the 10.9 update that was released earlier this week) may fix the issue, but I no longer wish to troubleshoot the displays. I’ll continue to list them on local classifieds until someone finally buys them.

TLDR: Don’t buy Crossover 27QD displays if you have a 13 Inch MacBook Pro. There are some very serious issues with the combination, and it may not work at all.

I’ve had a 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display since they were announced in October of 2012. Most days, i’d sit at my desk and stare at my LG 27" LCD display, doing most of my work on the larger display while the MacBook was either sitting next to me with it’s lid closed, or i’d mostly ignore it’s display because of it’s vastly different pixel density. After a few months of working with this setup, I decided to explore my options to best make use of my laptops dual thunderbolt ports.

My initial thought was to look at Apple’s Thunderbolt Cinema Displays, but at $999 per display ( and then $117 in additional hardware ) pre tax, I wanted to make sure I explored all of my options. For information sake, I (and all fellow Nova Scotians) pay 15% tax on all of these purchases.

After some quick googling, I found some very useful information at both CodingHorror.com and my current personal bible, The Wirecutter. Both of these sites sent me to ebay to search for Crossover 27Q IPS displays. These displays are phenomenal at 2560x1440 resolution on an IPS panel that is apparently the same panel that shows up in the afforementioned Apple displays. At ~$300 a display, these seemed like the best deal I was going to find, so I quickly pulled the trigger and ordered two. My purchase price for two displays was roughly $720, which included express shipping from Korea for both displays. I made the purchase on a Wednesday afternoon, and had the packages delivered the following Monday morning.

This solution wasn’t plug and play, of course, but I was already $1250 ahead of the previous plan so spending some extra money to finish the setup was fine by me. Here’s what I had to purchase, and why, to make everything work:

Now that i’ve factored in all of my extra hardware, let’s take a look at a cost breakdown of the Apple option and the Korean option:

Apple Crossover 27Q
Price of Displays $1998 $740
Display Adapters $0 $138
Extra Cables/Ports $39 $29
Mounting Hardware $78 $0
Extra shipping/customs $0 $260
Additional Taxes $317 $0
Total $2432 $1167

It’s easy to see how much money you save switching to the Crossover displays, if you don’t mind a few extra cables on your desk. I’ve been running both displays without issue for several days now, and my MacBook handles it just fine. If you’re in the market for an external display, I don’t think you can go wrong with the 27" Crossover 27Q.