OnBeep China Travel Kit

The Orion standard-issue China travel kit

adventure, onbeep, travel

After our trip with the Highway1 Accelerator group in November, we came up with a basic “away team” kit for the essentials on the CDC travel list for China and/or difficult to get once you are there.

I get asked about how I travel a lot, so I thought I’d share here in hope that it helps you.

(Want your own Official OnBeep Travel Kit? We’re hiring!!!)

First… a word on Toilets & Hygiene

  1. You have to carry your own tissues or small roll of toilet paper for the bathrooms in China, as it will rarely be provided outside of your hotel. Our kit includes a few packages of Kleenex White Facial Tissue, which I preferred to carrying little rolls of toilet paper.
  2. Chinese toilets are typically squat toilets. You will want to know how to use one before you need to use one. (Here is guide to using a squat toilet, here is another one.)
  3. Western-style commodes are often used by locals as squat toilets, which is why you will be glad you brought Charmin To Go Toilet Seat Covers.
  4. Soap is not something that is always provided either, so carry that Hand Sanitizer Gel!


Travel Health

You should see your doctor or your international travel clinic to get current CDC recommended vaccinations for travel to China. Your doctor may also prescribe an Antibiotic for Traveller’s diarrhea, along with other medications such as an antiemetic.

The Orion Labs Travel Kit

We started with the Adventure Medical Travel Medic Kit and supplemented it with extra Advil Tablets (which I needed), Imodium, and RecoverORS Rehydration Powder.

We also added Bonine Motion Sickness Protection because you can expect to spend so long in long bumpy van rides going from the factory to the hotel and back again.

Here is the our full kit…
OnBeep China Travel Kit
Here it is fully assembled
Fully Assembled

(Want your own Official OnBeep Travel Kit? We’re hiring!!!)

Opscode Transition

opscode, Uncategorized
(Originally posted to the Opscode blog on November 13, 2012)

In the past year the Opscode community has grown to 20,000 registered users who have downloaded Opscode Chef almost 2 million times.  Chef now powers the automation of thousands of organizations which combine to reach nearly a billion people across the globe.

This month we will grow to over 1,000 amazing contributors to Opscode projects who have shared over 700 public cookbooks.  We have an outstanding conferencetraining, and event program which has reached thousands of people.

I am immensely proud of what we have created and accomplished together over the past 4 years as both a company and a community.

I also believe that we now have the right team and resources in place for our next stages of growth.  As a result, I have decided that in early 2013 I will step out of my current full-time role at Opscode and transition to an advisory position.

I believe in our team, technology, and the amazing people in our community, and I am deeply committed to our long-term success.  It is simply time for me to step aside and make room for others to make more awesome… I can’t wait to see what we do next.

With much love,

-Jesse Robbins Cofounder, Opscode, Inc.

PS: I will be taking a some time off over the next few weeks.  If you have questions before I return, please contact Jay Wampold – jay (at) opscode.com

Achieving Velocity…

agile operations, agileoperations, conferences, events, jesserobbins, operations, velocity08, velocityconf

I just announced over on O’Reilly Radar that Steve Souders and I will be co-chairing Velocity, the new O’Reilly conference dedicated to Web Performance and Operations. Velocity is happening on June 23-24, 2008 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott in Burlingame, California.

Our theme is “Fast, Scalable, Resilient, Available”. We’re focusing on the crucial skills and knowledge needed by people who are building successful websites. This is the conference that many of us have wanted for a long time, and I’m really excited to help make it happen.

The Call for Participation for Velocity 2008 is open. Please the Velocity Proposals page for more details on submitting sessions. The submission deadline for all proposals is January 3, 2008.

Along with subscribing to the official RSS feed you can join the Facebook group and Upcoming event. Please use velocity08 when tagging.

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Agile Operations: Incident Command for IT

agile, agile operations, agileoperations, disastercamp, emergencymanagement, ICS, incidentcommand, operations

A few months ago I started talking about “Agile Operations”, which is my adaptation of Incident Command to technology development and operations. Blaine Cook brought it up during the Web2.0 Expo Program Committee Meeting, and I realized that I hadn’t mentioned it here before.

I’m in the process of writing an introduction and some case-studies. I’m considering putting together a course.

(from wikipedia)
The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazard incident management concept. It is a management protocol originally designed for emergency management agencies and later federalized. ICS is based upon a flexible, scalable response organization providing a common framework within which people can work together effectively. These people may be drawn from multiple agencies that do not routinely work together, and ICS is designed to give standard response and operation procedures to reduce the problems and potential for miscommunication on such incidents.

ICS has been summarized as a “first-on-scene” structure, where the first responder on a scene has charge of the scene until the incident is resolved or the initial responder transitions incident command to an arriving, more-qualified individual.


ICS consists of procedures for controlling personnel, facilities, equipment, and communications. It is a system designed to be used or applied from the time an incident occurs until the requirement for management and operations no longer exist. ICS is interdisciplinary and organizationally flexible to meet the following management challenges:

  • Meet the needs of incidents of any kind or size.
  • Allow personnel from a variety of agencies to meld rapidly into a common management structure.
  • Provide logistical and administrative support to operational staff.
  • Be cost effective by avoiding duplication of efforts.

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Follow-up from my Web2.0 Expo Talk…

conferences, disaster, gis, openstreetmap, web20expo, web2expo, worldchanging, worldshelters

Mikel Maron posted a great followup to my web2.0 expo talk, explaining the extent of the problem in more detail as well as discussing what is being done to fix it.

The example I gave in my talk was how the Red Cross couldn’t navigate after Katrina because they depended on Google Maps, which was (and still is) out of date. The bridge was destroyed, but Google (and Yahoo, and your mapping GPS, etc) all say it’s still there.

Mikel Maron's image of google mapping error in Waveland, MS
Mikel said:

“It’s not just Google, but every major web mapping provider that’s out of date. Here is Yahoo giving directions over the bridge. The issue is with the data providers, Navteq and TeleAltas, whose business processes insert huge delays between reality and its representation catching up. Yes, there are efforts right now to rebuild the physical bridge, but that doesn’t excuse a huge obvious mistake from persisting for over 1.5 years.

This model of collecting and distributing mapping data is fundamentally broken. Basic geo-information about this world is too important and changing too fast to be in the hands of closed off corporations. Of course, there is another way, where the loop between users of data and contributors of data is closed (in an open way), and where the time data was collected and updated is transparent.”

I highly recommend checking out his blog!

In-flight medical emergencies…

chosenbythemoment, ems, emt, firefighter, firefighting, jesserobbins, lessons, operations, stories

“You don’t choose the moment, the moment chooses you. You only get to choose how ready you will be when it does…”

I passed this Fire Academy lesson to my friend Ethan as I stepped onto a plane, returning home from vacation. I offered these words hoping he would find comfort, or at least company, while he wrote a letter to our many friends affected by the Blue House tragedy.

As the plane climbed out of San Jose I began writing down what I remembered from my crisis communication books, along with the great class taught by the King County Chaplains. Lost in sad thoughts, I almost missed the announcement the flight attendants were making: “May I have your attention. If there is a doctor or nurse onboard please ring your flight attendant call button.”

I rang mine and told the nervous looking flight attendant who came over that I was an EMT and happy to help. She asked me to come back where I found a 28 year old man, clutching his face in pain. The flight attendants said “He’s had eye surgery, and I guess he shouldn’t have flown.”

I began putting on my gloves, which I had instinctively grabbed from my bag as I left my seat. As I turned to face the patient a man abruptly stood up and said “I’m an eye surgeon”.

The doctor asked a few quick questions and then just as quickly… poked the patient in the eye. He stared intently for a moment, and told the flight attendants “This plane needs to come down, we need to reduce the pressure or this man will lose his vision in his only good eye”.

One of the flight attendants was communicating with the pilot and a medical dispatcher via a headset. I suggested that the doctor speak, and gave him the quick lesson in simplex communication. “Press, Pause, Speak, ‘Over'”.

While he did this, I asked for the medical bags and began inventorying them, suspecting that the kits were probably similar to an ambulance jump-kit without drugs or needles. I was happy to find that the aircraft “Enhanced Medical Kits” are really well stocked, and told the doctor what drugs and equipment were available to him.

A few minutes later the doctor was performing minor surgery on this man’s eye, with me holding a flashlight, setting up equipment, keeping a log, and whatever else needed to be done.

The pilots brought the plane down to 3,000 feet as the doctor finished de-pressurizing the man’s eye and saving his vision. I picked up the trash, asked the doctor if he wanted vitals or oxygen for the patient, and began writing a report.

In 2004 the FAA required commercial aircraft to carry an Enhanced Emergency Medical Kit, intended for use by medical professionals that might be on the plane. The flight-attendants can’t even open it, and most of the drugs are out of my scope-of-practice as an EMT. It’s a gift from those who have found themselves chosen by the moment… to those who are about to be.


(note: I migrated this post to here from my livejournal on September 22, 2007)

On risks an rewards…

disaster, friends, lessons, People, stories

(written by a dear friend about the Seattle Shooting Tragedy, reposted with permission from the author.)

Yesterday, when I heard the initial reports about what had happened on East Republican, I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, understand them. On 21st? Where? At a Burner house. Wait, where? You mean where we used to have brunch so often, when six of our crew lived there, like four years ago?

Yes, there. Oh, my. No.

Last night and today, I’ve seen the photos of the house with crime scene tape. I remember helping some of my friends move in, and later move out. I remember the entry room and the kitchen nook and the teeny little upstairs rooms and the bathroom door that saved two people’s lives yesterday morning.

As I write this today, I’m in the uneasy place of knowing that, even though it didn’t happen to *me*, to *my* closest circle of friends, there’s every reason that it could have. I’ve hosted and been a guest at that same after-party a hundred times. Many of us have. I’ve met people at parties, found them perfectly acceptable, and then invited them to wind down with us afterwards.

Many of us have.

Today, many of us are probably wondering whether we’ve been too trusting, whether we’ve been too open, whether we’ve taken too many risks.

But how many chance meetings would we sacrifice in the name of “playing it safe?” How many lifelong relationships grow from those chance meetings? I met [my partner] at an all-night [house] party with a few hundred people, for crying out loud. And she’s just one of so many astonishingly-wonderful people I’ve met through friends, or friends of friends.

Being open to others and to what they have to teach us is always a risk. But even today, I’ll offer that the risk is worth the reward.

In the coming days and weeks, our community has a great opportunity to help those around us. To help them, though, we need to keep taking risks with our hearts, and yes, perhaps, with our lives.

If you are hurting, take the risk and reach out. If you know of someone who is hurting, take the risk and reach out to them.

As it has been written: “I can not wipe away your tears. I can only show you how to make them holy.”


In memory of those killed, March 25, 2006.
(note: I migrated this post to here on September 22, 2007)