Studio711

Lake Wenatchee State Park

Back in 2011, Tyla and I went to a sled dog race near Lake Wenatchee with Tim and Chelsea. That’s the only time I’ve been near Lake Wenatchee State Park, but a couple weekends ago, we went back with Elijah and Tyla’s family to camp at the state park.

As the name implies, Lake Wenatchee State Park sits right on the lake. We booked pretty late (only seven months in advance!) so we got the runt of the litter for campsites but they ended up being pretty nice. We were warned in advance about bugs by numerous internet reviews but thankfully we hardly saw any.

This was our first camping trip trying to sleep on cots instead of air mattresses. Tim and Chelsea loaned us two normal sized cots and I bought an ogre sized cot for myself. I think we might add a thin pad or air mattress on top of them in the future but they worked great! They take up the same space as our air mattresses did but it opens up all the space below the cots for our bags so it is a lot easier to navigate the tent.

You Shook Me All Night Long

Last night just before 3am all three of us woke up to the house shaking. It was bad enough that it even woke up Elijah (“Mommy! Daddy! What’s happening?!”), but it wasn’t bad enough to shake anything off the walls or make it difficult to move. Tyla got Elijah back to sleep pretty quickly and after walking around the house to look for any damage, I hopped online to see how bad it was. As I sat down there was a smaller aftershock.

Within a few minutes, the quake information was available on the USGS website and I had a notification in my inbox. If you’re not familiar with that site and you live in an earthquake zone, I recommend you spend some time there. Here’s the page for the main quake last night which was a 4.6 and both it and the 3.5 aftershock were between Lake Stevens and Monroe (less than a 30 minute drive from my house). They were 25-30km deep and lasted 10-15 seconds.

Not only does that site get very quick assessment of the intensity of the quake but you can also fill out a quick survey to help them assess the potential damage. Strangely it looks like their notification service page is broken right now, but when it’s working, you can set your own alert levels. So for example, I get an email alert whenever anything bigger than 2 hits the Pacific Northwest and anything bigger than 5 hits the west coast. Check back on the site later and look for the Earthquake Notification Service.

So that site gave me some instant calm as I realized it was a pretty mild earthquake and then Twitter helped some as I didn’t see any reports of damage or injuries. After about 45 minutes, the TV stations finally started picking it up. Kiro 7 had a story about how the newscaster’s teenage son was up watching TV and he said their cat sensed it before it happened…

We haven’t found any damage around here and none of us are hurt. So after the gallons of adrenaline that instantly flooded our system finally wore off, we were able to go back to sleep.

Mesh Networking

As I wrote back in 2016, our house is just big enough and the WiFi band is just crowded enough that we need two access points to get good coverage. Back then I chose to dive into Ubiquiti networking gear. You can kind of think of their stuff as consumer grade equipment with enterprise an level feature set (and learning curve!) I installed some of their stuff at church with great success and it worked ok around here, but I was having to reset it more and more frequently. Plus the router we had was also flaking out periodically. It was either time to beef up my Ubiquiti game or go a simpler route. For once in my life, I chose the easier, less geeky route.

Mesh networking is the hot new(ish) trend. Multiple devices are spread around your house and they work together to service all your wireless clients. They automatically hand clients off to the access point with the best signal. Some of the more popular brands are Orbi, Eero and Google WiFi. I chose… none of those. Instead I went for Synology’s offering largely because a group of people at work were singing their praises and it looked a bit more configurable and was cheaper to expand as needed.

For my main router, I chose the Synology RT2600ac and for the extra access point downstairs, I got a Synology MR2200ac.I think I could have saved a little money by just getting two MR2200’s but I opted for the beefier RT2600ac because I have a lot of wireless and wired clients in my house and I figured the extra horsepower wouldn’t hurt.

The system was pretty simple to configure (though not as straightforward as products like Orbi) and I have been happily roaming around my house for a few weeks without ever dropping my signal. I have great coverage everywhere inside, out in the driveway (useful for checking traffic while I’m sitting in the truck) and out in the cul-de-sac. Oddly the only place I’m having trouble is on the back patio. I’m not sure what the deal is there but I’ll have to either place with the placement of my devices or add a third access point to completely blanket my property.

The interface for the RT2600ac is very impressive. It’s basically a full windowed desktop environment inside your browser. You can enable plugins, get traffic reports emailed to you, and toggle feature switches to your heart’s content.

If your existing wireless setup is working well for you, don’t bother changing it, but if you’re in the market for a new system, this Synology gear gets the thumbs up from me so far.