More on Linux – the new media server

As I am assembling my Plex media server, I have been semi-seriously using Linux for this purpose for about 3 weeks now, and here are some more observations.

First, I have been running it on two systems, an old desktop system with an Intel Core i7-920 CPU, 6 gigs of ram, and several disks (1 SSD for booting, and two quick 1TB WD drives, and a BD/DVD/CD rom drive), and the second system, an Intel NUC with a modest 7th generation i5 cpu (two core, 4 thread), onboard video, and ample connectivity.

The version of Linux I hae been using is the current LTS version of Ubuntu, 16.0.4. I did play with the 17.10 version, but it had some interesting bugs. Like turning off the monitor (a Samsung 24″ unit with HDMI) would cause the display manager to crash and restart.

As mentioned in a prior post, I am impressed by how well everything works. Not quite as pain free as Mac OS-X, but vastly superior to my prior experience of about 6 years ago. Upon installation the installer detected my wireless chips, the bluetooth, and the Intel graphics chips. I did need to be sure to get a version 4.1 or later kernel to fully support the CPU, but that wasn’t difficult. Continue reading →

The ‘Real’ Slurms MacKenzie

Lately my wife has been terrified by an invader in the garage. After hours, and well after dark, out of the crevasses in the garage, arises a monster slug, that we have nicknamed Slurms MacKenzie, the party worm.

It is pretty funny, she claims is has been chasing her around the garage. Once Slurms is out, she won’t go into the garage out of fear that it will hunt her down.

Here is the little guy who is terrorizing Vale Drive in San José

The real slurms MacKenzie

Wizzle wazzle wuzzle, let’s PARTY!

More notes on Linux

I have been goofing around with Linux on the desktop for a few weeks now. The prime reason is to build a media server for Plex, but there are a few other projects that it will get leveraged for, including hacking around with my Mojo board.

the good

Installation – it was a bit convoluted to initially install. The PC I set it up on was old enough that it didn’t support booting from a USB stick, so I had to dig out a DVD burner to burn a boot DVD. Continue reading →

Linux Observations – 2017

A follow-on to my last post. Having last fiddled with linux (on the desktop, not as a hosting solution) was a VM running under vmware workstation probably 7 years ago. Back then it was just a fancy, enough to get my feet wet.

Last weekend, I resurrected an old PC (the one that I ran VMWare Workstation on, surprisingly), and the Windows 7 installation was borked. As good a time as any, I grabbed a Linux iso (Ubuntu) burned a DVD (alas, this machine is old enough that booting from USB is not supported) and I was off to the races.

Amazingly, one of my gripes in the past was the lack of out of the box support for a lot of hardware. This system installation it found and properly setup all my hardware. Even the cheap wifi card in this system (it is a small PCI board with two antennae and supporting only 2.4GHz radio). Continue reading →

Resurrection of an old PC

In the way back, I built a PC for a very specific reason. I was working on a product that had several configuration options and to effectively understand how they worked together, I needed to build various scenarios and test them. To accommodate this, I built a pretty solid PC, with a beefy (for the time, 2009) Core i7 processor, a solid ASUS motherboard (my go-to brand), and three disks. One 80GB Intel SSD “boot” drive, and 2 WD Caviar Black 7200RPM drives for storage and other purposes.

The OS was the then just launched Windows 7, and I put 6 gigs of ram in it which seemed to be enough for the era. (at the time 6 gigs of RAM seemed YUUUUUUGE) Continue reading →

SoCal Traffic Observations – 2017

Once a year (at least), I make the trek to San Diego to visit my folks. This year, I did it for Thanksgiving (as I did last year). This time, I was traveling alone, as the boss (aka my wife) was staying in the Bay Area to be with her family. Knowing how awful traffic is on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I made the decision to shift the travel days to avoid the crush leaving on Tuesday early, and returning on Saturday.

That was a wise decision, all around.

I woke earlier than usual on Tuesday, and left the house at 6:15. Out of San Jose, through Pacheco Pass, and down I–5 all was smooth. I got through the grapevine by 10:00. Then I hit the 210.

Hoo boy. Continue reading →

Guilty Pleasure – the Resident Evil Franchise

I have a confession to make. I enjoy the Resident Evil movies. An adaptation of a 1990’s vintage video game, and an early vehicle for Milla Jovovich (who plays the key protagonist, “Alice”), the first episode in this series was released in 2002.

Having never played the game, it was a new concept to me, and for some unexplainable reason, I just enjoy the movie. Having watched the entire series, through the middle movies that were less enjoyable, I still can circle back and watch them over and over.

Set in an underground fictional city, “Raccoon City” the bio weapons lab is working on viruses that can animate the dead, and augment other living organisms. While the original video game was a first person shooter, in the “Doom” genre, where the creepy/crawlies are out to get you, the adaptation is not directly tied to the video game, and the script is surprisingly good.

That said, I can’t explain why I like this series of films, but I do. Part of it is Milla Jovovich, whose other efforts are greatly enjoyable (Fifth Element, Ultraviolet, etc) and turns into a consistent character during this series (how does she look the same over 2 decades?)

Or perhaps it is the action. Lots of violence, zombie apocalypse, and human interest themes. Not sure why, but it hangs together, and the sequels aren’t as sucky as they often are (Matrix Reloaded anyone?)

The real bummer is that none of the common video streaming services have these movies. That means I must rent or buy them. Or wait until my Tivo captures them from a broadcast. Still, that is a small price to pay for my enjoyment.

My guilty pleasures…

The new king of Streaming – Spotify

Throughout 2015 and into 2016, I was evaluating the streaming music services, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, and Apple. The result of that initial evaluation was that the then new Apple Music plan was the winner. The combination of all my music collection in their cloud, plus the access to their enormous library, and arguably at the time, the best streaming over wifi at home and on cellular data. I ended up keeping Apple, and ditching Spotify, when

Fast forward to today, late 2017. I dropped my Spotify account in early 2016 due to a stretch of unemployment, and grooved on Apple. But lately, I am souring on the Apple ecosystem. Not enough to ditch my Mac and my iPhone, but having experienced iTunes on windows (that is truly a trying experience) I knew I needed an alternative for general use. Continue reading →

The Drobo Saga Continues

The Drobo Saga continues

The last episode was about the arrival of the new Drobo 5Dt, and a couple of NAS optimized disks. The installation was trivial, moving the disk pack from the original Drobo to the new Drobo was easy-peasy, and after about 2 hours of “rebuilding”, I added the first of the new drives.

A 4 TB WD red series, “NASware” drive. This caused a “rebuilding” event, but it took less than an hour to subsume it. The next two drives replaced the old drives in the pack, a 1 TB Seagate Barracuda, and a 2TB WD “Green” drive (optimized for DVR’s and low energy solutions). Continue reading →

Missed Opportunities – Photography

Damn Shame – Photography edition

As part of the migration to Lightroom CC, I have spent a lot of time mucking around my photo collection. Lots of good memories, and some retouching (for some reason, I am terrible at having level horizons), and I noticed an oddity.

In 2006 we took a three week vacation to Italy, starting in Rome and headed south. Unlike our earlier visit, where I was shooting film, this time, my main camera was my trusty Canon EOS 20D, my first DLSR.

So far, so good.

The camera uses the ol’ workhorse of storage, the Compact Flash cards. At the time, all I had were less than 1 gigabyte. In fact for this trip, I purposely bought 2, very pricey 1GB cards, for the trip.

Hippodrome of Domitian
The ruins of the Hippodrome of Domitian, in Rome, Italy

The 20D, when shooting RAW format, each image is about 8.7 megabytes. A 1 gigabyte card can only hold 115 or so RAW images. Naturally, I wasn’t going to be shooting RAW. So I was shooting JPGs. Unfortunately as the time went on, I was running out of cards (I traveled without a computer to offload cards). So, instead of full resolution images, I had to downshift to medium resolution.

And it shows with the resolution of the images.

Oh well, c’est la vie.

Cefalu, Sicily
View east from the water in Cefalu, Sicily. A wee bit o’ processing.

Today, fortunately, this isn’t as much of a problem. Yes, I am shooting with a newer (relatively) camera, the Canon 5D “classic”, whose RAW files are about 12 megs each, and a 4 gig card delivers about 277 raw images. But, 16 gig cards are about $20, and I travel with a laptop to offload. My other camera, a Canon G12, has a 32 gig SD card, and it gets well over 1,000 RAW images (also at ~ 12 megs each), on the card.

2006, a lost opportunity.