Line of Duty

I have been on a tear, watching British television shows, and especially their police procedurals. It began with Hinterland, then expanded into Broadchurch, and Wallander. All very enjoyable, all top quality. While searching for something in the same vein, Barbara found a recommendation for “Line of Duty“, and while it isn’t on Netflix, it was on Hulu.

Unlike the other police procedurals, this one has a twist. It focuses on a group that is charged with investigating and ferreting out corrupt practice in the police agencies. The group is AC-12, or Anticorruption unit 12. Continue reading →

Recipes and Inaccuracies

I enjoy cooking. Always have, heck, I worked my way through college in a commercial kitchen as a chef. So, when I get a hankering for something, I just cook it. Either learn to cook it, or just dive in.

A few weeks ago, my sister was visiting, and I decided to make a Dutch Baby, and I found this recipe on the Epicurious web page.

The recipe is simple, the ingredients aren’t esoteric, and I had an appropriate cast-iron pan to make it. Continue reading →

Frustrating Network Issues

Over the holidays, I bit the bullet and completed digitizing my DVD and BD collection in an effort to make it vastly more convenient to watch from the comfort of my couch. As part of this I bought the components for, and built an Intel NUC box into the Plex Media Server.

With me so far? Good. That worked great, and I had a quite robust workflow for creating the digital files needed. I had plenty (oodles and oodles) of storage, and apart from there being an insane Rat’s Nest of cables, power supplies and chords on my desk, all is working.

But that isn’t the point of this post. Continue reading →

To Convert or Not to Convert

To convert or not to Convert, that is the question.
When processing Bluray discs for adding to my Plex media server, I have a workflow. First, use MakeMKV to rip the media to an .mkv file, then it can be uploaded to the Plex directory and made available. However, these files are large. Scratch that, they are friggin HUGE. Alien for example is 30GB.

Disks are cheap, so why even bother converting?

The argument to convert

Continue reading →

Vintage Nonsense: Retro Mountain Bikes

Vintage is all the rage. Hipsters and their vinyl LP’s, even cassette tapes (who the hell wants to remember that shitty format), film cameras, and other things “old”. As things go, most of this is harmless, and in fact, while I will not admit that vinyl sounds better, it is different and part of the charm is the physical act of dropping the needle on the album, and having to turn it over after it finishes.

But the other day I saw something that really shook me to my core. On one of the mountain biking forums that I get notifications from (I am not really visiting and reading there often) a thread was started that was about how to make a new vintage mountain bike. Something from the dawn of time. Chrome-Moly frame, rigid fork, and a 15 speed (3×5) cassette. Continue reading →

Wallander – Review

I have been meaning to write about a show that I watched on Netflix that was quite enjoyable, the BBC production of Wallander. A police procedural, with a backstory, right up my alley.

The series is adapted from the Wallander thriller novels penned by Henning Mankell, a Swedish author. The series starts with the principal protagonist, Kurt Wallander, just after he become the DI (Detective Inspector), of his little hamlet, about age 42, and over the series covers about 20 years of his career. Continue reading →

Music in the New Year

I know that I post often about my musical travails, as I wove my path between the various services, Spotify, Apple, Google, Pandora, and Amazon, so this is another installment.

The last episode found me back in Spotify, cancelling my Apple Music service. Partly this was due to my desire to back away from the Apple ecosystem, but also because Spotify is vastly superior to iTunes in streaming on my train commute.

I have been using it pretty consistently for 2 months, and without a doubt, the Spotify streaming is the champion. The only service that comes close to its performance is the Amazon service. (Google is just lousy at streaming. Every time I have evaluated it, it has been glitchy, even on wired, high bandwidth connections.) Continue reading →

Reflections of 2017, and looking to 2018

Ah, December 31, the year is about done, and there are some thoughts clanking around my head. Time to extract them before the temptation to eat myself into a coma wins the battle.

Number 1 – Work

It has been a good and busy year at work. I am currently in the certifications group at Cisco, and while it is product management, it is different from my prior roles. In many ways that is refreshing, as it brings new challenges, and opportunities.

I started the year as a contractor (or C-Worker, short for contingent worker), but in July I was converted into a full time employee, a pretty significant development. That reduced some (ok, a LOT) anxiety in my status. Being a contractor had some benefits (as in, 8 hours are done, turn off and unplug), but unpaid holidays and unsubsidized healthcare really made it touch and go. Continue reading →

Plex Media Server – Workflow

In the learning path for the population of my media collection as it transitions from disc based media to a disk drive, I have discovered a few truths that I will share.

There are some useful tools to “rip” your media. These are the essential first step in the process, to get your media from the source into a format that can be worked with.

The next topic is what sort of transcoding you want to do. Here is where some of my early choices in media ripping have come back to haunt me. In prior efforts, I was merely attempting to get media in a format that looked good when loaded onto my iPad. That meant that there was a pretty aggressive compression applied to the files, making them both storage thrifty, and acceptable quality for playback. Continue reading →

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 →