An ode to Portland

I’m getting ready to leave Portland. I thought I was completely ready, aside from

  1. getting my car detailed (more expensive then I expected)
  2. returning the CPAP to Apria, which is at the freaking airport.

I have my bags packed for India and stuff set aside for the wedding I’m going to/for when I get to sweden. I was just getting ready for work this morning and looked around the room I’m staying in. There was tons of stuff on all of the surfaces. These aren’t the kinds of things I’m prone to noticing, as any of my roommates will vouch for. I guess most of that stuff will go into the trash, and the toiletries will go into my carryon.

One of my best friend’s weddings is rapidly approaching. I’m looking forward to it, but it marks the ending of a chapter in my life. This summer has been rife with weddings, and the accompanying festivities (ie. bachelor parties, rehearsals etc.). It seems like this summer is full of change for many. The cycle is a little off as Autumn and Spring are generally considered the seasons of change.

Spring for beginnings,

and Autumn for endings.

As I said this summer marks the ending of a chapter for me, and while endings are inevitably beginnings as well, I can’t help but reminisce.

I remember past summers spent in downtown Portland hopping from bar to bar hunting the elusive $3 well drink happy hour. I remember running delirious down Burnside with my friends as we tried to find some place to eat at one in the morning. I remember chainsmoking outside apartments talking with passerby. I remember farther back sitting on the porch with my brother and our roommate playing music in the moderate Portland sun. I remember sitting with my neighbor years later playing music while he sipped the beers that he mixed together and I drank cheap rum and Coke while I was supposed to be in class. I remember my first concerts in Portland with my brother in small dark bars drinking darker beer. I remember impromptu parties with 15 of my neighbors on Tuesdays as people kept showing up that led to incredibly hard mornings at work the next day. I remember hiding behind the fountains in the park with my friends late at night and taking photos framed by sparkling drops of water.

I also remember Springs spent waiting for the sun, walking between classes on campus with my hoody, long used to the Portland rain. Spring classes spent up late with my friends writing code while drinking Redbull. Breakfast before class with dark coffee and cheap eggs.┬áThe occaisional beautiful Spring Friday when my brother and I played hooky and spent the afternoon drinking beer and playing terrible golf in a Portland vineyard. I remember calling into work, or skipping class on Spring days and spending the day with one of my best friends playing Halo and drinking mimosas, swearing so loudly at each other the neighbor would come over to make sure we were ok, then would join us for drinks. I remember Winters spent with my brother. Holding tight in our impromptu fortress. I remember walking to the store so that we could by food and twice as much beer as we needed, then laying on our cheap furniture and watching anime and movies jury rigged to play off of our old laptops. Winters mostly moderate but for a few huge blizzards that brought poor Portland to it’s knees. Winters, Thanksgivings, and Christmases spent with new friends that became old friends, that became like family.

I don’t regret my decision to go traveling, but I will still miss my family and my friends. Excitement doesn’t diminish that feeling, but it does flavor it. It’s important to remember that as we move along with our lives that we don’t regret moving on. Treasure your memories and your loved ones, but know that all that’s past is gone. Moving on is as essential to new wonderful experiences as breathing, and when nostalgia causes my throat to catch I try to remember.

Just breathe.

Realities of working remotely

This post is going to be getting technical, so if that isn’t your bag you might want to bail now, if it is then sit back and enjoy.

So I am going to be working remotely for my company while I travel. I won’t be working full time, but part time as I have time available. However this presents specific challenges. I was already planning on bringing a laptop to write on and maybe snag some freelance gigs. When I work remote I either am just doing Skype and email, which I can do from any WAN (internet) connection. However the other way I do work is by connecting via RDP into my machine at work over a VPN then I can work just like I’m at work, and remote into any other servers I need to.

The issue is that I will be separated from my machine at work by an ocean and at some points an entire continent. I was looking into whether or not RDP would work over trans-oceanic pipe. I’ve worked over high latency connections before (mostly really bad wifi), but I’m not sure it simulates the specific issues correctly. Also as I type this out I wonder how my VPN will handle the latency. I admin the VPN concentrator so I can update it if needed, but we shall see how it reacts. At the end of the day it’s going to be an issue with our ISP’s connection to the backbone. We are on 50mbps synchronous fiber, so that should not be that much of an issue, but I’m not sure on the connection back.

I’m going to check how it works when I’m in Sweden, and that should be a pretty good benchmark since we are on the west coast it should actually be faster in India and Thailand, although probably not in Nepal. Although I have been surprised by such things in the past.

As far as other gear for working I am going to mostly correspond via email and Skype. I have a webcam and mic on my laptop. I also have my Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 as a backup for Skype/Email. I am going to be pretty dependent on wifi, but on a cursory glance at hostels and apartments in the places we’ll be going through it looks like wifi is pretty common. The question that raises is whether it will be good enough wifi to remote into work. The email and skype should be fine though on any connection, but the RDP over VPN is what concerns me.

I’ve looked into this a bit and I haven’t been able to find any benchmarks on performance. I will get some as I travel and post them. It should be interesting data even if it’s anecdotal.