Rutgers Uncategorized

B1G Stadium Sizes

Given some of the comments I heard surrounding the Rutgers – Penn State game about the size of Rutgers stadium, I was curious to see how the stadium stacked up to the competition.  I knew the stadium would not be in the top half of the list, but I was pleased to see that 1) Rutgers was not in the bottom 3, and 2) that it won’t take much to get Rutgers up near the middle of the pack.  My expectation is that a solid few years in the B1G will go a long way toward getting Rutgers stadium over 60,000.  Which, knowing how loud folks from the NJ area can be, will make it sound like there are 120,000 are in there when big games are played.

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Source: Wikipedia


Connecting to an RDS instance in a VPC

Disclaimer: For those who don’t know what RDS and VPC stand for, this post is not for you.

I was working on a project recently where I was developing a Java app that connected to a mysql database. For simplicity sake, I had set up the database in RDS on AWS and wanted to connect from my local machine. I figure I could test the code locally, then push it out to an EC2 instance later.

The problem (security benefit?) is that by default RDS instances in a VPC are not publicly accessible. The RDS team implemented an option when you create your RDS instance via the console to enable this, but since I had created mine as part of a larger CloudFormation script, I was out of luck. I also tried checking the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) toolkit, but again, that option had not yet been implemented there, either.

Some additional internet searching led me to the idea of using a ssh tunnel to connect to my RDS instance via my EC2 instance running in my VPC. Since my EC2 instance was accessible, I could connect to it from my local laptop. My confusion, however, was two-fold. First, where does the tunnel run? And second, what configuration items need to be put in place to make this work. Here is what I learned.

1. Make sure that as part of your CloudFormation script you open the port you want to use on EC2 so that it is accessible. I’m using port 3306, so I added this port to my EC2 security group in my CloudFormation script.

"MyEc2SecurityGroup": {
      "Type": "AWS::EC2::SecurityGroup",
      "Properties": {
        "VpcId": {
          "Ref": "VPCId"
        "GroupDescription": "Enable SSH and MySQL access",
        "SecurityGroupIngress": [
            "IpProtocol": "tcp",
            "FromPort": "22",
            "ToPort": "22",
            "CidrIp": {
              "Ref": "SSHLocation"
            "IpProtocol": "tcp",
            "FromPort": "3306",
            "ToPort": "3306",
            "CidrIp": {
              "Ref": "SSHLocation"

2. The ssh tunnel actually runs on YOUR computer, not on the EC2 instance. As someone relatively inexperienced with creating ssh tunnels, this was a surprise to me.

3. provided a useful tutorial that helped me get my ssh tunnel running. You will need to open up a command line prompt to run this command.

The key piece his article was missing was the need to include a link to the PEM keyfile. My command to launch the ssh tunnel instead looked more like this.

ssh -i <path to keyfile.pem> -N -L 3306:<rds dns entry name>:3306 <ec2 user id>@<ec2 ip address>

For example, my ssh tunnel command might look like this if I were using ubuntu linux on EC2

ssh -i /users/me/mykey.pem -N -L ubuntu@

4. In my Java app, my connection string actually uses the local loopback IP to connect to RDS.


A Reading Story

There is a dream I’ve had several times since my daughter was born.

At least twice, I’ve walked in a to a bookstore in a mall. Kind of like a Waldenbooks (for those who remember) but with better lighting and a more kid-friendly layout. I’ve walked in to a section that holds books for pre-teens – books children around age 10 might read if books were something that excited them.

Each time I’m looking for this specific book. It had a name like “Back to…” or “Return to…” or “Last of…” – I can’t quite remember the title. When I tell the staff who work there – usually in their late teens to early 20s, they get excited. It’s an older book that most children growing up today haven’t read, but if you love books, especially fantasy adventures, it’s one you simply must have read.

In another, related dream, I was back on an old main street in a town I used to live in or visit frequently, perhaps to see a semi-close relative when I was a child myself. A girl I used to play with around my age still lives there, and she still has an old copy of the book, with pages that long ago turned brown. Still, it was exciting to see the book and open it up, to read a few of the words on the first page that launched a great adventure.

I’m not someone who attaches a lot of significance to meaning in dreams. However, I can say without a doubt that these are a set of dreams that contain strong emotions, of nostalgia, perhaps, but also of a love of books, of adventure, and of ideas. Emotions that perhaps I hope my daughter will have and that I will have been able to pass on to her.

News Personal

601 West Camplain Road

I stumbled on a story earlier today about a rundown building in Manville at 601 West Camplain Road.  The decline and outcome of this building is sad to see, given the fact that this building is a part of my family’s history.

My grandfather at one point owned it and operated a store out of it.  My parents used to talk about it as it was a part of their youth and it was a place that holds meaning for them.  Eventually, it was converted to an apartment building.

After my grandmother died in the early 1990s, my grandfather eventually met Lucy and re-married. By the time he died around 2004 or 2005, Lucy was set to receive the inheritance.  Control passed to her, and the building passed out of my family’s hands.




Lillian Pair Update – July 2013

Amazing!  I was searching for Lillian Pair in light of a story I heard recently about offshore tax havens and decided to check to see if she’s still in prison.  Imagine my surprise when I read on the Federal Bureau of Prisons site that she was released on August 30, 2012 and arrested on September 1, 2012 for check fraud.  She apparently pled guilty on June 14, 2013.

Can you believe it?  A few years in federal prison, and how do you celebrate your freedom?  By diving right in with more fraud!  I can only imagine what other mischief she’s been up to.


Letter to the Rutgers Board of Governors & Board of Trustees

Here is my letter to the RU BoG and BoT regarding Tim Pernetti and the athletic department’s “current scandal”. This was written on my phone, so please excuse the typos.

I am writing to you first and foremost to urge you to do the right thing, not theost expedient, with regards to our University’s current situation regarding our athletic department and men’s basketball program.

It is with great regret that our University is today being so negatively portrayed in the media without regards to the actual facts and feelings of those most involved. While we hear a multitude of opinions from outsiders, we on the outside do not know the right and wrong of what has transpired. Our media presents characters as heroes and villains, not the true, complex, and mistake-prone individuals that they are.

I believe Tim Pernetti to be a true Rutgers man of character who has worked incredibly hard to continue building the athletic department in the right direction and I wholly support him in his position. If you find it the correct decision to remove Tim Pernetti, then so be it. I only ask that you do so because of a grievious error he committed and not ad a craven response to the protests of outsiders who neither care nor truly support this great University.

Thank you,
Christoper M. Dymek, RC ’01

Site News

Blog Migration

I know it’s not exciting, but I’m just about through migrating this blog to a new hosting provider.  I’ve been experimenting with Amazon Web Services, with my blog as always providing an excellent opportunity to gain experience with these web technologies.  I’m also using this as an opportunity to adopt a new theme that will hopefully jazz up the site a little bit more as well.


EU Banking Supervision?

I love how Wolfgang Schauble, the German Finance Minister, puts two effectively contradictory statements right next to each other in his FT op-ed:

It is crucial that the new system be truly effective, not just a façade. We must eschew yesterday’s light-touch approach for good and endow this supervisor with real and clearly defined responsibilities, coercive powers and adequate resources.

This also means that it should focus its direct oversight on those banks that can pose a systemic risk at a European level. This is not just in line with the tested principle of subsidiarity. It is also common sense; we cannot expect a European watchdog to supervise directly all of the region’s lenders – 6,000 in the eurozone alone – effectively.

Is a regulator really effective if some institutions remain outside its scope? Hasn’t that been one of the fundamental failings over the past 20 years that led to the financial meltdown in the first place?


Star Wars

Humorous News


This photo still impresses me.