Hola, I'm Duane

A few interesting things about me:

I've developed software used by over 40 million people, including the previous media engine in Yahoo! Messenger.

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I co-wrote the previous #1 plugin for WordPress (out of 20,000), WPtouch, and eventually sold it.

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I've visited 44 countries in the last seven years and currently live in Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain.

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I do part time research on the gut microbiota, insulin resistance, and metabolic diseases.

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I am a published concert, travel, portrait, and landscape photographer; I currently shoot Fuji XT lenses.

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The Year The Earth Stood Still

 Journal

I was looking through some of my old posts recently, particularly with regards to COVID-19 and the first lockdown here in Spain, and realized I hadn’t done an update in a while. Strangely, it’s going on the one year anniversary from when this all started. I had friends visiting from Canada when this all began, and as each day went by more and more activities were suspended in Spain. The first inkling of trouble was that the tickets we had to a futbol match here in Valencia were ultimately cancelled. Thinking nothing of it, we decided to purchase other tickets […]

Walking The Great Glen Way In Scotland

Hiking

This last weekend I finally got around to writing up my trip report for my hike along the West Highland Way in 2018. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m thankful I can finally get around to posting my thoughts on the Great Glen Way. The Great Glen Way for all intents and purposes can almost be looked at as the second half of the West Highland Way (WHW). While the WHW finishes in Fort William, the Great Glen Way literally starts where it leaves off. After I finished the WHW, my friend Tony and I took the train […]

Walking The West Highland Way In Scotland

Hiking

While I’ve done my fair share of hiking in my life, as I’ve gotten older I’ve gravitated more towards multi-day hikes rather than single day hikes. I certainly enjoy an afternoon hike on a weekend, but there’s something magical (and inherently challenging) about hiking for days or weeks at a time. In 2017 I did my longest hike yet – the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I spent 28 days walking from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, a distance of roughly 800km. When it was over, as I hobbled around Santiago de Compostela letting […]

A Lullaby For The Old World Order

 Journal

I realized this morning that I haven’t really given an update since I was smack-dab in the middle of our lockdown here in Spain. Most of us here spent 98 days essentially locked up in our apartments, only venturing outside to quickly get some groceries or to go to a pharmacy. It was one of the most intense and invasive lockdowns of any country anywhere, and many people here really struggled to cope with it. While I didn’t mind being at home, especially since I had many renovation projects on the go, the inability to even go for a walk […]

Spanish Quarantine: Day 20

 Journal

Tomorrow marks the end of the third week of forced quarantine here in Spain, and unfortunately at this point there still is no end in sight. At the start of this week both the active cases of COVID-19 as well as the number of deaths seemed to be on the cusp of plateauing, but yesterday brought new highs for both. I normally try to stay up each night until midnight, mostly to see what the latest numbers are – while they aren’t complete, usually there is an update shortly after midnight that gives some indication of what the next day […]

Spanish Quarantine: Day 12

 Journal

This morning I woke up and like most days since the quarantine started here in Spain, immediately checked the official statistics to see if the curve has started to flatten yet. Today’s update shows rough 5,500 new cases since yesterday with another 443 people having died. roughly the entire capacity of Surrey Memorial Hospital back home in the Fraser Valley. While these numbers are slightly less than the ones from the day before, I’ve learned not to get too excited with a low day on the charts since often the next day more than makes up for it. What these […]

Solidarity In A Time Of Crisis

Social Commentary

On January 7th, 2020, I was on an airplane flying from Vancouver, Canada, to Valencia, Spain, fully unaware of what was occurring in Asia with regards to a novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19. Little did I know, in roughly two months we would be on lockdown here in Spain for the foreseeable future in an effort to curb the rapidly increasing countrywide death rate associated with COVID-19. Like many countries who now find themselves in a similar place, Spain mostly ignored the lessons we should have learned from Italy, and Italy largely ignored the lessons they should have learned […]

The Exciting World Of The Gut Microbiota

Microbiota

In 2004, the Human Genome Project was completed. The goal of that project was to sequence the entire human genome, ultimately revealing the cause of a majority of ailments in the modern world. Instead what it revealed was that most of us share over 99% of our genetic code, and that 1% difference doesn’t seem to explain many of our diseases. So if our own genetics aren’t entirely responsible for if we are healthy or sick, what else potentially can be? The answer to that question came shortly after the development of 16s rRNA sequencing technology – technology which allows […]

How We Wrecked Our Guts

Microbiota

There is great deal of evidence to show that our guts used to be in a much healthier state decades ago. For example, the Hadza in Africa, one of the last ‘hunter-gatherer’ species on the planet, appear to have 300% more bacteria in their guts than we do. It seems that over time we have lost many of these bacteria, and whatever functions they once provided. In terms of gut health, one metric that’s often used is diversity. Similar to the environment, it’s often thought that the health of any ecosystem is related to the number of species in it […]

Local WordPress Development: From MAMP to Local by Flywheel

Code

Years ago, when looking for a way to do local WordPress development, I eventually stumbled upon a pretty nifty tool called MAMP.  MAMP stands  for “Mac/Apache/MySQL/PHP”, and it’s the Macintosh equivalent of the well-known Linux-based LAMP stack. While you can configure MAMP by editing configuration files, I decided to upgrade to MAMP Pro, as it gives you an easier UI to use when managing some of your local websites. Despite MAMP ‘mostly working’, it has a number of really annoying downsides as well: MAMP Pro is paid software, but despite buying it multiple times, I don’t really feel like I’ve […]