Daily Archives: April 6, 2018


2 minutes, 41 seconds

Be sure to read my follow up post about trekking in Nepal after the conference!


This is post closely mirrors my trip 2 years ago to attend SANOG 27: a conference followed by some awesome tourism. Like before I was luck to have my work send me to APRICOT 2018 and was again humbled to have my talk selected for presenting.

APRICOT is the “Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies”. It’s more or less a larger SANOG meeting encompassing a greater regional area so more folks come. However, a lot of the usual suspects were in attendance (if I can get away saying that having only been to two conferences in Kathmandu ;).

Talks and Workshops

Note: All links below have full YouTube streams to watch and decks to download. Be sure to click through if you’re interested in knowing more about any of them!

I attended a slew of talks, but some of highlights for me were:

  • Daniel Griggs of NZRS gave a fun talk, “Accidental Data Analytics” that was eerily similar to mine and presented immediately before me.
  • Yasunari Momoi and Kota Kanbe’s talk “Vuls & VulsRepo” was…just pure awesome. Especially Kota’s half of the talk. He’s inspired me to do a pull request for how to deploy Vuls on Ubuntu server.
  • I missed the first half, but I very much enjoyed Dima Bekerman’s workshop “Brace Yourselves: DDoS is Coming“.
  • My own co-worker Gaël Hernandez’s talk was of course great to see, “Building and operating a global DNS content delivery anycast network“. It’s always a fun twist to see a presentation intended for outsiders on something that you’re so deeply inside of.
  • While it was plagued with some unfortunate overwhelming of the Hypervisor used for the workshop, Nick Hilliard’s, “IXP Manager Tutorial – Part 2” was a good introduction to introduction to IXP Manager, which I only knew about in concept, not practice.
  • Artyom Gavrichenkov’s talk, “DNS Survival Guide” was a fun history of DNS including up to date comparison of which resolvers are fastest (BIND isn’t even on the list ;). As well, his lightening talk on Feb 28th titled “Memcached amplification DDoS: a 2018 threat” was ridiculously prescient: literally the very next day the largest recorded DDoS hit the ‘net. This was a 1.1Tbps (yes, capital “T” for “Terabit”) attack hit GitHub on March 1st using the Mecached amplification.


As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to be selected to speak at APRICOT this year. Unlike my security based talk last trip, I was speaking about DNS and Stats this time. Specifically, my talk was title, “Visualizing a global DNS network with open source tools“. While the final, customer facing product I’m talking about (ccTLD DNS Stats) isn’t live yet (it’s in internal Beta), all the software I talk about is ready for prime time. Well…DNSAuth could use some love, but the other three are prime time ready, for sure ;) Those are:

  • DNSAuth – PCH Go App for cooking pcaps to TSDB faster
  • MapTable – PCH JS app for rendering SVG maps and tables
  • C3.js – Client side, real time charts
  • InfluxDB – TSDB to archive data

Networking and co-workers

It was a real treat to go to Nepal to attend APRICOT. Like all good conferences, you meet a lot of people that you can network with. I had a lot of fun conversations! Best thing of all about going to APRICOT was that I got to chat with all my co-workers, including two I’d never met before who came all the way from Dublin and Johannesburg. Awesome!

Poon Hill Trek

3 minutes, 53 seconds

Be sure to read my prior post about attending the APRICOT 2018 conference in Nepal before the trek!

Intro & Highlights

This was my first time trekking and my first time trekking in Nepal. While we had considered a more rigorous route of the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), the max elevation of 4130m (13,400ft) had me concerned. I opted for a much more tame Poon Hill route, which tops out at 3210m (10,000ft) which was more my speed. In the end the elevation ended up being a non-issue. In fact, just about all my concerns were non issues ;)

We started on day 1 with celebrating Holi. At first we were reticent, but then joined the festivities by having the local kids do us up. It was lovely.

My favorite day for views was day 3. Poon Hill was clear for our pre-dawn hike and the sunrise and Annapurna mountains were breath taking. Bring money to pay for the entrance fee and hot drinks at the top of the hike! The rest of the day the mountain views kept us company and they were epic. Thanks Nepal!!

The rest of the trip was amazing. While you can feel modern amenities creeping in every town, the both benefit the towns folk and pull the “rural-ness” away from what you can tell was once a remote village. You know, the old man in me wants to have no tech when I hike/trek. I’m there to experience the place and nature, not check me email ;)

Farm animals where everywhere and it was a delight to see them. All the locals were nice, though some drove a harder bargain for their tea house prices. Check around a bit and don’t settle for the first one.

Click any of the photos in this post to see the gallery! Note, you’ll see pictures of my work conference too ;)

Finally, there was a really…oddly comforting I guess, moment when the cabi on the way to Pokhora put on “Like a Virgin“. I loved it (it’s the second clip in this video). Sorry I was too lazy to edit this video down, it’s 3 min long:


Based on this write up, among others, we ended up doing this route (all prices in US Dollars and are per person):

  • Day 1: Kathmandu -> Pokhora – 30 Minute Flight $250
  • Day 1: Pokhora -> Nayapul – 1.5 hour Taxi $30
  • Day 1: Nayapul -> Hile – 1 hour Jeep $30
  • Day 1: Hile -> Uleri – trek
  • Day 2: Uleri -> Ghorepani -> Poon Hill -> Ghorepani (day hike to Poon Hill after dropping packs ;)- trek
  • Day 3: Ghorepani -> Poon Hill -> Ghorepani -> Tadapani – trek
  • Day 4: Tadapani -> Taulung -> Chomrong -> Taulung -> Chinu/Jhinudanda – trek
  • Day 5: Chinu/Jhinudanda -> Tolka – trek
  • Day 5: Tolka -> Pokhora – 1 hour Jeep $15
  • Day 5: Pokhora -> Kathmandu – 30 Minute Flight paid for on first item

I strongly encourage you pick up a map in Kathmandu or Pokhora. They’re cheap and really handy to have. We got this one which was readily available in map stores in Thamel.

Packing list

My pack was 9.5kg. I think if I didn’t carry spare running sneakers, USB battery, as fully stocked first aid kit, and micro 4 3rds camera, I’d have been around 7.5 or 8. I have no regrets though! My list is taken (and culled) from wanderingsasquatch.com. The “two shirts, one for hiking, one for not” was really great. During the warmer months you could totally skip the sleeping bag to save some real weight. The tea houses all had blankets. While I took photos with my nice camera I mentioned above, I actually was fine with cell phone’s pictures, given it’s a newer phone. Walking poles are optional, but I loved them. My gaiters and rain pants went unused the entire trip.

Hiking Clothes

  • Hiking Pants
  • 2 short sleeve shirt (preferably a “technical” shirt with synthetic fibers to help keep you dry)
  • 2 pairs of socks (in case one pair gets wet during the day, you can change socks)
  • upper and lower base layer
  • Down jacket
  • Sun hat
  • warm hat
  • Gloves (look for ones with Gore-Tex)
  • Raincoat
  • Rainpants
  • gaiters
  • Hiking Boots Water proof
  • Sunglasses
  • running shoes/flip flops


  • Backpack
  • Phone & Cord (doubles as camera)
  • Map
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water purification tabs
  • Water bladder (2 liter size)
  • Headlamp
  • Pack rain cover
  • Passport & Permits (you’ll be asked for these at every checkpoint)
  • Cash –
  • Ziplock bags for organizing/waterproof


Toothpaste, soap and TP can be bought along the way if you want.

  • Toilet Paper
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • nail trimmer
  • ear plugs (tea houses can be LOUD)
  • First aid kit with at least: band aids, moleskin, ibuprofen, antidiarrheal, tweezers


  • Power Plug adapter (just about every tea house had a universal outlet that fit every wall charger)
  • Pillowcase
  • Trekking poles
  • Real Camera & Extra battery

You’ll want a small pack – no bigger than 40L likely – to fit this in. That big-ass “I fit it all on my back” pack that you carry your tent, stove, pots and pans and food for a week is too big! Here’s my pack (foot for scale) and a day pack I checked at my hotel in Kathmandu with a change of clothes and other stuffs I didn’t want to bring with: