How not to pay the $5 YVR AddFare on the SkyTrain with the new Compass Tickets

Since the lovely transit authority here has decided to roll out RFID smart cards, which they call the Compass Cards, they’ve decided that now everybody leaving Sea Island with just only Stored Value on their cards are now subject to the $5 YVR AddFare.

This surcharge has been widely known for years and the most common way to get around it was to just simply purchase a book of 10 1-Zone FareSavers and use them instead. However, since TransLink will discontinue the old paper based fare media and close the fare gates on all SkyTrain stations, trying to purchase or use FareSavers will be impossible.

Keep in mind this work around only works for people commuting to YVR for work or to the newly built outlet stores by Templeton Station; this won’t work if you are not returning from YVR the same day you go there. The way you get around this pesky $5 YVR AddFare is you purchase your return ticket at any Compass Vending machine outside of Sea Island. When you leave YVR, use that Compass Ticket you purchased from the Vending Machine instead of your Compass Card. The reason why this workaround works is tickets sold from the newer vending machines expire on 0400 hours the day you purchase it. The 90 minute transfer window begins when you initially tap in with the Compass Ticket.

Of course, you won’t be enjoying the discount that their Stored Value offers over the full cash fare prices, however saving between $0.60 to $1.30 still beats the $5 YVR AddFare surcharge that TransLink levies on all tickets purchased in Sea Island. However look at the bright side, travel within Sea Island will remain free. As a matter of fact, you can go to any of the newer Ticket Vending Machines that sell the Compass Cards/Tickets and get a free Sea Island only Compass Ticket.

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Upgrading from Windows Azure Websites Update 4 to Update 6 with SQL Server Standard

As you may have known, Windows Azure Websites installations that uses SQL Server Standard Edition for data storage will have issues getting updated to Update 6 as the SQL scripts included in this update used SQL Server Enterprise Edition specific features. I’ve reported this issue to Microsoft on the Windows Azure Pack forums and have privately conversed with a few people inside Microsoft who are responsible for the Azure Pack Websites product following the public post.

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Changing the php.ini File for Web Workers in Windows Azure Pack Websites v2

As some of you may have noticed with Windows Azure Pack Websites v2, you can have the user to specify certain settings inside the .user.ini file if they want to enable fancy PHP options.

However, what if you want to make those changes applied globally to all of your tenant’s web sites by default? Doing some quick Google searches leads you to a dead end. However I accidentally discovered this trick when I was upgrading a lab web farm from Update 4 to Update 6.

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Cleaning up a MS SQL Server after Windows Azure Pack Websites v2 was Previously Installed

As most people will have known this working with a Windows Azure Pack Web Farm lab environment, cleaning up the data can be a pain since the installer refuses to continue if any databases containing Windows Azure Pack Websites v2 data.

You can easily fix this by running these queries:

drop database [Hosting];
drop database [ResourceMetering];
drop login Hosting_FileServer;
drop login Hosting_HostingAdmin;
drop login Hosting_LoadBalancer;
drop login Hosting_Operations;
drop login Hosting_Publisher;
drop login ResourceMetering;
drop login ResourceMetering_Operations;

That should clean up the database server so a new instance of Websites can be installed on that database server.

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Mikrotik CRS125 Series Basic VLAN Configuration

Since I’ve been working with Xarix Cloud Computing and knowing what gear they use for core networking, I’ve decided to procure similar gear that they use to setup a home lab.

The Mikrotik CRS125 series switch is what I’ve settled on. The specific model I got features 24 Gigabit Ethernet Ports, a single SFP port and a Console port. Internals wise, this switch uses the AR9344 SoC for the switch’s main CPU functions and the QCA8513 26 port switch ASIC. Pretty much standard for a managed switch nowadays. All their CRS series switches run off on RouterOS 6.x with switching functionality added on top of the OS.
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