Just some stuff I want to share with you

Moving and updating…

I started this website in 2009 in order to share photos and impressions of my holiday in Australia. At that point in time, I didn’t spend too much time investigating what the best solution for such a site would look like, nor did I look into hosting and hosting providers.

I did look into several applications for my website and found that WordPress was by far the easiest to use while being “on the road” and I found several plugins that would allow me to show photos and publish GPS tracks using Google maps.

The addiejanssen.com domain was registered via GoDaddy and to my surprise they could host the website for me for very little money. As a result, I setup my website.

During my holiday I found that the performance of the site was very poor. Initially I thought that was the result of the many many photos, a lot of complex Google maps and a hefty WordPress theme (a theme is an add on to the blogging software, that controls the look and feel of the website).

But after some time I concluded that, although all the facts stated above were correct, that couldn’t be the only reasons for the poor performance. So, I started to look into this. I downloaded the whole site to a computer at home and even using it over my slow ADSL link, it performed great. It must be the hosting platform then. After some more investigation, it became clear that the GoDaddy service is not only cheap, it is also quite poor with regards to performance. Conclusion: time to move the website.

The next challenge then is to find a new hosting service. Entering “wordpress hosting” into Google resulted in more than 17 million results… It took me some time to end up with a party that seemed okay: GreenGeeks. Why this provider? Well, looking at several forums, it became clear that most GreenGeeks users are happy. Furthermore they have a nice statement: World’s #1 Green Energy Hosting!

Once I selected my new provider, it was time to move. That happened today. Although there are still some small issues, from now on the site will be hosted on the GreenGeeks platform and I will terminate the hosting agreement with GoDaddy.

In order to prepare the migration, I did some testing on different migration scenarios. The biggest issue here was the large amount of photos and the usage of an old version of Gallery2. All in all, the migration wasn’t too difficult, but it brought some points of attention:

  • Several posts have absolute links to other posts on my website. That’s not a “bad thing”, but it does result in some issues when you want to move your site. Initially I setup a new address (testing.addiejanssen.com) that pointed to the new provider. This would allow me to test the new site, before making the actual switch. However, I noticed that certain elements were extremely slow; they were pointing back to www.addiejanssen.com (still on the GoDaddy platform)… So, I will need to look into this one: changing the absolute links into relative links.
  • As I posted earlier, I am not a big fan of the Gallery2 photo album. However, most of my photos are still in Gallery2. This needs to be migrated to NextGEN. It’s a lot of work, since I need to check each individual post to see if it references a photo in Gallery2 and then replace that reference with a link to the NextGEN image. I already started to create a small application to handle the conversion, but so far didn’t finalize this step.

So, all in all, you’re now looking at my new and improved website (well, at least it loads in a reasonable time now). Hope you enjoy it.

Time to go home and say goodbye…

Today we go back home. Back to the cold and wet autumn weather. Holiday is over. I really enjoyed it. We had a nice team (although there was some tension between a few people in the group), overall good weather, nice views, too many drinks (but no headaches), a great plane and a lot of fun. Here’s an overview of the whole trip:

Over the last few days we discussed the next trip: perhaps going to the north-east where the Great Lakes can be found or perhaps fly Route 66… Who knows. With a bit of luck, I’ll tell you next year.

Los Angeles or Santa Monica to be more precise…

Yesterday we drove from San Diego to Santa Monica. Here we will spend two nights before flying back home tomorrow. The weather has turned into cold and fog/drizzle; not very nice holiday weather at all. Today we tried to find the Hollywood sign, but it is covered in fog. We just pottered around town, did some shopping, eating, drinking, relaxing. It were a few pleasant days of doing not a lot.

San Diego

We’re done flying but still have a few days left until we fly back home. The plan is to stay in San Diego today and drive to Los Angeles tomorrow where we will stay for two nights.

After a slow start this morning, we planned to go for a drive based on one of the many organized city tours. First stop: the harbor next to the USS Midway.

Some of the guys couldn’t resist looking up her skirt…

We then crossed the San Diego – Coronado Bridge to “hit the beach” and have lunch at the Hotel del Coronado.

The next stop is Balboa Park. After some walking around, we found the San Diego Air and Space Museum. The museum itself was entertaining but not very interesting, but Jeroen and I went for a “flight” in a MaxFlight simulator. It was fantastic. This thing moves in all dimensions and we went for a dogfight; so we ended up upside down, nose down, on our back and all other options you can come up with. In the end we managed to shoot one airplane… Good fun though!

Then we were kicked out… because they were closing. Back to the hotel. It was getting dark already. Jeroen found out that there was a parking garage close to our hotel that was “on short final” of the San Diego airport. So, we went there and with his charm, he got permission to drive to the top deck where we had an amazing view on landing aircraft. They are so close to you on this deck; incredible.

Most of us went for a nice meal and some drinks; Ferdinand stayed in the motel, he just didn’t have any energy left. It was good fun today. San Diego is a nice place; there are enough interesting places and the Gaslamp quarter or district provides all the entertainment for a good night out.

That’s it for today. Have a look at the pictures of today.

Marginal conditions…

So, here we are at Gillespie Field with planes that need to go to Montgomery and Palomar. The forecast shows very marginal conditions. We have 2 options: leave the planes here and have them picked up by the owners or try to fly them back. After waiting for a few hours and monitoring the weather reports and forecasts we decided to fly them back home. Issue one of today: how do we get to the aircraft??? Yesterday, it was quite easy: we were instructed to park our planes in front of the terminal building. But today, we are at the other side of the airport and you can not just “walk over there”. The local flying school helped out. They provided “transportation”: yep, a golf cart…

Jeroen and I took off for Palomar; on a clear day a relaxed 30 minutes flight. Initially we had good flying conditions. But when we were getting closer to Palomar, we saw that the airport was hidden by a cloud base that was just 700 – 900 feet above ground. Palomar was “special VFR only”. We contacted the tower and found out that we were not the only guys up here trying to get to Palomar. At a certain point in time we had at least 4 other aircraft in a holding pattern way outside the class D airspace of Palomar.

But then we received a clearance to enter the Palomar airspace. We were on a long final when we were instructed to fly north again. By now we were about 800 feet above ground; the terrain has a lot of hills; visibility is poor and other planes are flying in…

OK, N2454G cleared to land (again). Back to the track that would bring us in; “Skylane 2454G make a 360 over the left”… Shit, another plane is allowed to land before us. “Palomar Tower, 360 completed”; “Skylane 2454G make another 360 over the left”. We’re still under a thick overcast at 700 – 900 feet above ground and visibility is about 3 – 4 statute miles…

“2454G cleared to land; sorry for the delays”… Hey, we’re more than happy if we can proceed now… The G1000 is our friend today. It guides us nicely to the centerline on a 4 mile long final. We don’t have the airport in sight, but the G1000 shows that we are on the right track. And suddenly: there she is: the runway. It became my best landing after 2 weeks of flying over here. What a great way to complete the tour. Have a look at the GPS track: it shows all the nice turns we had to make today. In the end, a 30 minute flight became more then 1 hour. But it was good fun.

The other aircraft also made it to Montgomery, so we can now finalize the tour with a lot of paperwork… Pay the bills, hand over the keys and paperwork and take a picture with the Pinnacle Aviation Academy team that helped us out to make this tour possible. From left to right: Paul Wickstrom, Sheri McJimsey, Cathe Fair-Johnson, Jeroen van Rossum and Addie Janssen. 

We hired a car to drive to Montgomery to pick up the rest of the group. Then it’s time to get to downtown San Diego. We had a perfect night out in San Diego. Max turned 60 at midnight and that required some special attention of course. Another beautiful day in paradise.

That’s it for today. Have a look at the pictures and the tracks of today: