Saturday, January 30, 2021

Every crazy thing that happened in Apple and Facebook’s privacy feud today

Interesting to see how this plays out in the long term. The real telling, or should I say damning question is just now many apps make a lot of revenue off tracking users across other apps and websites. Obliviously companies like Facebook and Google have a vested interest in this because of ads and analytics but for most regular applications the difference is down to how the above pay out from their services.

Personally, I don't think it is an unreasonable expectation that users should be made aware of where their data is being sent. Online most people should already beware of tracking cookies and such. But the same expectation is not there with moving between apps; perhaps it should be given the prevalence of large ad networks.

In the course of my life, often the solutions to problems have been “Put your back into it!”. Either because power tools are expensive, or it’s something I’ll probably use once every several years at best.

Repeat after me: “I will buy a drill.”

Then go buy a drill.

Honestly at this point, the only negative I can see is the dogs might swap from offering emotional support to running for cover. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on what you’re working on.

Friday, January 29, 2021

 Coffee Talk Has Become a Quiet Success in a Turbulent Year

Coincidentally one of the more enjoyable  games I've played in the past year. I recommend it if you play video games that don't involve explosions.

 A gander at the old hard drive.

3 TB of reliable

So the drive is about 7 years old.

SMART via SATA native

And has about 5 ½ years of up time.

SATA native

Connected to my desktop's SATA controller: Crystal Disk Mark shows about the performance I would expect for such a drive.

USB Enclosure

Connected to the enclosure on the other hand, I'm just getting pure crap. Suggesting that either the enclosure is falling back to USB 2.0 when connected to my USB 3.0 controller, or just doesn't like my desktop.

The symptoms observed with the file server was the drive dismounting whenever I tried to start Plex, or try to see if I could get any SMART via passthrough.

Damningly, if I connect an old Samsung SSD through the enclosure: I get about the same level of performance. While nearly old as the drive the enclosure is a 3.0 with UASP that has generally delivered hard drive performance just fine until recently.

Which reminds me that one of the nifty changes of the new 8 TB drive is loading sections of my Plex is now a hella lot faster on my Fire TV than it used to be.

I think that my spare enclosure made its way to work for various need fillings. So the other of the three is hanging off my Xbox with a 1 TB drive that is probably manufactured circa 2012. Perhaps I will swap that 1 TB drive with this 3 TB drive and use that for a comparison; can break that down into power supply, USB cable, and enclosure without having to pull the PCB. More detailed testing will require hooking it up to my Linux machines.

Possible re-homings include my Xbox for storing games, or adding it to my desktop to store video files being processed for my file server. Both tasks fall under transient data storage, and I'm disinclined to use a drive with over 2,000 power on hours for anything mission critical. Hmm, I think modern Xboxes have a limit of 128 GB - 16 TB for USB 3.0 drives.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

 There are days when I can sympathize with Mr. Spock's plight in The City On The Edge Of Forever.

"I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins."

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

As a young programmer, I think it was probably around 2.4 or 2.2 that I started to use Python. Today it remains one of my favorite languages.

I remember thinking quite highly of the Zen of Python at the time. Much time as gone on since then, and to be frank, I think it even more beautiful and dead on balls accurate today than I did then. The older I get as a programmer the more accurately it reflects the reality.

Beautiful is better than ugly.
Explicit is better than implicit.
Simple is better than complex.
Complex is better than complicated.
Flat is better than nested.
Sparse is better than dense.
Readability counts.
Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules.
Although practicality beats purity.
Errors should never pass silently.
Unless explicitly silenced.
In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.
Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch.
Now is better than never.
Although never is often better than *right* now.
If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.
If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Mobile Suit Gundam Anime That Started It All Launches on Crunchyroll.

Now there's a surprise. Crunchyroll has long had plenty of Gundam series available, but I don't recall anyone carrying the original series. Thus why /dev/shelf contains the Blu-ray 😉.

Don't think that I've watched the entire series from end to end in a decade plus. But it's definitely one worth watching. I can't say that I'm a huge fan of the animation style from back then, so much as Gundam's One Year War era.

Tech things that mildly worry me

I find it just a bit worrisome how often I remember shortcuts for running the MMC's various faces.

PS C:\Users\Terry> gci C:\Windows\System32\*.msc

    Directory: C:\Windows\System32

Mode                 LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                 -------------         ------ ----
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09          41587 azman.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09          63081 certlm.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09          63070 certmgr.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:08         124118 comexp.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09         113256 compmgmt.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09         145622 devmgmt.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09          13091 DevModeRunAsUserConfig.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:08          47682 diskmgmt.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09         145127 eventvwr.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09         144909 fsmgmt.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:53         147439 gpedit.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:08         144998 lusrmgr.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09         145519 perfmon.msc
-a----        2019-10-15     09:53         146389 printmanagement.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:53          43566 rsop.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:53         120458 secpol.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09          92746 services.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:09         145059 taskschd.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:08         144862 tpm.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     06:19         144967 virtmgmt.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:08         115109 WF.msc
-a----        2019-12-07     04:08         144673 WmiMgmt.msc

In most cases I'm more likely to do foo.msc from a command prompt than go hunt down what I want through the start menu or other methods. Despite my background having focused heavily on unix systems, I've actually have learned a fair bit of NT over the past 15~20 years. Don't think I'll ever enjoy the care and feeding of Windows systems but it does come with the computer nerd territory, I suppose.

When you consider that for much of the past fifteen or so, the main reason I've kept Windows around has been for video games it may be kind of sad and worrisome, lol.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

My data migration plan is almost wrapped up, yay!

Attempts to start Plex, or fire up Speccy to see if I could get a smart reading, was causing my 3 TB drive to dismount. Read access at least has proven reliable, and despite the drive’s age it doesn’t sound like hell.

Since the important stuff on that drive is copied to my backups drive, and a copy of the backups drive is periodically sent to it: data loss would have been minimal if it went duddaaa splat like my old 1 TB did. Risk of loss was most of my Plex content, and the local mirror of my backups.

Last time I replaced a failing drive: one of the 1 TB drives I bought back in January 2013 died. Of course it was the one used for backups, and a short time after I started backing up the backups in full rather than the most vital parts. Which turned out to be rather handy, even if most stuff on ny backups drive are files I won’t cry if they’re lost—unlike my photo albums.

Faced with a drive going wonkers, and limited time. I did some planning and found myself buying a pair of 8 TB drives — because the price was so good, I decided to get a spare.

Since taking a day to migrate my unbacked up media over to the new 8 TB drive, I’ve also decided to shift gears on how my dual drive arrangement works.

How it’s been done:

  1. Backups drive
  2. Plex drive
Originally these were both 1 TB drives. The 3 TB in question replaced one when various retro fittings occurred. The 1 TB that failed a year or two ago was replaced with a 2 TB. But otherwise things remained the same.

Rather than backup vitals pike photos from Plex to Backups, and then mirror Backups to Plex just in case. I’ve decided to integrate everything into one drive. 

Such that one new 8 TB drive is the complete data set. Backups, Plex, etc. Thus the 2 TB drive can go on to replace either the 2013-era 1 TB drive hanging out of my xbox, or the roughly as old 1 TB used to backup my laptop’s 0.5 TB drive. It could even serve as an extra backup of the most important parts. I’ll figure that out later.

I chose to buy a second 8 TB drive in part because the prices are so nice. And because it’s big enough that whatever fits on the new “Master” drive can also fit on the spare.

The open loop is how I want to handle backups in this new arrangement.

Periodically mirroring the master to the backups would leave me with an automation that makes the spare ready to rock and roll. Syncing up once or twice a month is sufficient risk prevention for my needs. In that time period, data at risk typically exists on other devices or offsite.

Alternatively, I could simply use the “Spare” as a destination for backups of the new master. Similar to how I take care of my file server’s system drive being backed up to the “Backups” drive that is now a folder on the master. Ditto other machines are backed up to that location in similar ways but less frequently.

As I see it the differences are moot from la failure rate perspective.

Mirroring on a monthly basis will generate ample file accesses; the difference is the “Spare” won’t have the wakeful workloads of the “Master”. By contrast the various backup software I rely on, can easily toss differential backups but doesn’t make the drive ready to rock. Doing so will still generate load on the drive whenever the operation occurs.

Thus I find myself favoring the approach where recovery is change mount point, go by new drives. One to replace failure, and one to decommission the spare for less sensitive uses.

Friday, January 22, 2021

 Why a portless iPhone would be a nightmare

Reading this, I kind of have to ask myself: how many people actually use their phone’s port for something other than charging?

I’ve used the Micro-B ports on my phones to mount a monitor, flash drive, or use a keyboard, but this has been a rarity. Most times I’ve used the port for debugging Android applications with logcat. Since I strongly prefer a tablet, the monitor, drive, and keyboard stuff usually fell to that rather than my phones.

In terms of what my iPhone SE 2020 offers, I can’t say I’d actually give a flying floop if it was wireless charging only. In the sense that Lighting already declares I am unlikely to do anything more complicated than mount it in iTunes and copy ringtones, lol

Monday, January 18, 2021


“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

— from Dr. King’s speech in St. Louis on March 22, 1964.

Not the first time I’ve added something Dr. King said to my quotes file, but I have to admit this one is well worth the adding. H/T to The NY Times.



Sunday, January 10, 2021

What happened in the capital was pretty terrible. Well worthy of condemnation, and more than a little messed up. In that vein, as I have a sense of humor I parse this article with tongue very much in cheek.

When I see an interesting article from The Atlantic pop up in my feeds, I usually question whether or not I have time to read twenty pages of article. In this case it was more like an awesome series of giggle snorts describing a day that will reflect poorly in our history books. Thank goodness we still have the right to a sense of humor 😂.
Here’s why everyone should own a cheap Android tablet

An interesting if unusual line of reasoning for a site full of nerds and shifting attention spans.

Tablets are often more natural to repurpose than other computing devices. Phones are often too damned small or the only size you need. Laptops are often too damned big, or all you really want is the keyboard input. Tablets strike an excellent size between being so compact you can Velcro it to the wall, and being large enough to prevent and interact with globs of data like videos and web pages.

Kitchens, bathrooms, garages, craft rooms, head boards, often have space as a premium. If not at first then eventually, lol. If money grew on trees instead of being made from trees and tears, I’d probably have a dedicated tablet just for scribbling notes.

One of the open questions I’ve had since my Tab S3 -> iPad Pro conversion is what do I want to do with Scarlett. The cracked screen works fine most of the time, but I’d largely prefer to avoid putting it in a position where fluids and cleaning are regular needs. The old HDX7 has principally become a clock now that it’s long form reading duties have migrated to a conventional Kindle.

Currently it resides near the charger cluster of /dev/headboard. Which has shown promising possibilities as an electronic picture frame or clock in either room. Mounting it on a kitchen wall or the side of my refrigerator would readily solve the problem that I’ll need to update my grocery list for something, but don’t have the time to leave my kitchen to go get a phone or tablet. There’s also the perk that the S-Pen still works pretty well as long as you don’t rest your hand too heavily on the screen, or need fine lines near the cracked part.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Going on somewhat of a cleaning kick, I managed to sort through and clean various artifacts that haven’t really been gone through in a few years.

Along the way I decided to put some stuff with my treasures box. Not sure if everyone does, but ever since I was little my mother had these jewelry box like things for us. Mostly made up of artifacts from when we were born. Like buttons or coins with our birthdays, or stuff that was my father’s. Various stuff has been collected here since I was a kid. Troll dolls, a folding paper fa from Chuck-E-Cheese’s arcade, etc. More recent additions include a Pokemon TCG coin, my wristwatch, yadda yadda.

The box also contains various things like my dad’s driver’s license and registration. Can’t remember how much has been there next to forever, and what has been merged into that over the years. Most of Dad’s personal artifacts are in one of his old containers. Likewise my mother’s are in various containers she kept her personal stuff in.

In debating where to put some of my mother’s stuff, I opted to put it in my box with some of my father’s stuff. Makes sense to me that her driver’s license would end up next to his. While I was at it, also incorporated are things like the fob and last registration from my first car.

Also a little happy. Looking through my parents things, I found dad’s other dog tag in one of my mother’s boxes. Next to important stuff of her father’s. Last time I moved, I had feared I might of lost it.

And then of course there’s irony. In knocking the box with comments that I should really get something bigger to store this stuff in the frame of the lid finally came unglued. Considering it’s at least thirty years old, I suppose I can’t complain, lol.

Think if I was smart, I’d find some time to clean and organize that entire shelf and make it more orderly. Family albums on the bottom shelf might even be worth the sneezing attack.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Revisiting the problem of sending custom alarm tones to iOS, this time around I opted to save myself some pain. The first thing I did was locate where I stuffed my audio file; the second was plug my iPhone in to iTunes. Because when you utter enough profanities doing a thing it tends to leave a mark 😛.

I've been thinking for a while of setting a new alarm for the weekends. Presently, Misty's morning meds rely on the fact that I'm usually awake around that time and if not, Corky makes sure I am; much as he made sure my mother didn't dose off instead of testing her sugar in the morning. Habitually waking up around the same time has been useful, but lacks fail safes. Thus the alarm clock.

During the week it's kind of wrapped around my trifecta of alarms. One to wake me up, so I can't sleep through the others; one to tell me to get my ass out of bed; and the third to tell me I better damned get my ass out of bed if there isn't a tooth brush in my mouth yet 😲. Each of these have different tones to help know the pattern. Normally on the weekend there's just a late alarm in place to make sure I don't literally sleep the day away, and I'm usually up long before then.

In thinking about whether I want to put the extra alarm on my phone or my tablet, the notion hit me. Separate device, separate why the frak am I waking up reason. I might even migrate that time slot from tablet to phone during the week as further reinforcement that it's time for Misty's meds.

As such the time frame overlaps with the first weekday alarm, as that's the most convenient time to give Misty her meds, and bribe Corky into letting me go back to sleep. Peanut butter is important here, lol. In much the same vain: I'm inclined to use the same alarm tone for the same time of day and purpose.

That just so happens to be the protagonist's morning alarm from Pixel Fade's Ace Academy. Which is a heck of a lot more pleasant to wake up to than the 90 dB alarm clock I had as a kid, lol.