This post is a salute to 'young' David Griffiths, who many years ago prophetically commented:
" Copy and Paste:
I need to get a job as a Professional Copy and Paste Operator
I'm really very good at that "
When Savant was enough
Rain Man: Toothpicks
You see, in the olden days, pre ubiquitous World Wide Web, say in about 1985 being a focused geek, or OCD or Savant or Aspergers was good enough to personally remember the intricate computer gobbledygook that 'Techies' like David or Marcus had to deal with.
But by about 1995 we all needed
Copy and Paste
Copy and Paste allows me to take information from one computer screen window and accurately paste it into another.
This morning, some Certificate Information
Yes, come on, even a Savant is not going to be able to remember strings like this
In 2017 we are about to embark a new era, when even the best of us, even deeply embedded in Computer Systems and Technology have only a summary or Surface understanding of Computer / Software technologies that are outside of our expert field.
We do have the edge over 2 other groups in society though:
a) I know I Don't need to know
The people who use technology 100%, but look down on it, they consciously think it's not important to know, or need to know any of those tiresome details.
b) The Unmindful
The unthinking, some say majority. Those who just 'know' whatever they know, they don't need to question their beliefs. They don't even consider that they should know how 'all that shit' works.
So back to us long suffering, proud IT people. Going from understanding just about everything in (say) 1970 or so, to just little slivers in 2017. But at least we have
Copy and Paste
Pi by Hand. Copy and Paste
A nice Tune: Use Copy and Paste
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Monday, January 23, 2017
Subtitle: Comes Great Paranoia
I commented yesterday that the creation of our new Webserver requires a 500GB SSD (Solid State Disk) that I would have to cannibalise from our principal working server.
The trouble is that this disk is part of an existing 4TB array of critical data.
On its best platforms Microsoft has a new-ish storage platform called Storage spaces. You can read how I implemented this here
In particular Storage Spaces lets you combine SSD's and Spinning Hard Disks into a Hybrid Entity providing you the user much faster disk access. Behind the scenes a scheduler moves frequently used files to the SSD and infrequently used files to the Hard Disk.
But, there is no way to simply remove the SSD component, you must destroy the volume, and all your data, and then in my case use another 4TB spinning disk on its own
So, on this Volume I'm destroying is: every Virtual Machine I ever cared about. I'm talking DOS, OS/2, My SAP systems, Linux. Everything. In fact all 3 categories: Development, Production and Template for the last 15 years or so.
I really don't want to loose any of that.
So I made these backups, because there are few things worse than an IT guy loosing all his precious files
- Total Commander backup to another 4TB disk
- Backup to NAS
- NAS Backup to Amazon Cloud
I'd recommend all three of QNAP for NAS Storage, the Hybrid Backup Sync QNAP application and Amazon Cloud Storage
Obviously not everybody is going to be crying about the rather slow 34 MB/sec upload speed I am getting to Amazon, but yes, I am winging about it. Come on Amazon!
Whilst waiting for backups to complete I tried to determine why for some time SyncBack backups have been giving multiple errors. For the record: Bloody Apple!
I have a ticket outstanding to SyncBack, but in essence
-Windows Explorer from a GUI can copy the files
- A cmd.exe copy cannot copy the files
- SyncBack SE can't copy the files no matter what the copy method
- ALL the files in error are Apple Computer Programs
- ALL the files start with name ._
The Big Delete
When disks are used by Storage Spaces they are no longer shown in Windows Disk Management. So after the Storage Space Volume was deleted they now re-appear. It's time to shutdown the system and remove these disks and replace the delete Spinning disk with the copy I made earlier.
A small test
The restarted server with the copy disk works! Well I tested a few VM's and they all loaded. After this event I can of course say "as expected".
Mounting and Copying
So in the data conversion phase I connected a USB 3.0 caddy with the 480 GB SSD to the Webserver I am building.
- Apache webserver is stopped
systemctl stop apache2
- gparted is used to create a new ext4 linux partion on the hard disk
- a plain old mount and copy to transfer the data.
chmod 777 /mnt
mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt
cp -pr /data /mnt
300GB at about 60MB/second. This will take 300,000/60/3600 = 1.4 hours
Hopefully by the end of the day I'll have successfully migrated more than 4,300,000,000,000 bytes of information without error. That's about 80 times the size of Wikipedia. Just saying.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
This is a tale of refection, and testing and economy, and how for once hoarding came in handy
** Note: If you believe Apple computers are perfect stop reading now.
Our current Webserver runs on an Apple mac Mini. Despite various hardware issues Marcus has stuck with the platform and to be fair to Apple, this very small unit is easily able to server over 1TByte (yes, Bytes not bits!!) per 24 hour day from our almost infinitely fast Internet Connection here in Switzerland.
Recently there have been ominous noises from the unit and I feel it is time for an upgrade.
Not Raspberry Pi 3
The initial plan was to create a new system using the humble, yet capable Raspberry Pi 3. Indeed I built the solution but it was just too slow:
- Raspberry Pi 3 with Raspbian Linux Installed
- In a Case so it is protected
- Connected to an external SSD connected over USB via a disk Caddy
- Serving the Internet via the 100Mb wired Ethernet
- Wireless Ethernet for Management access
All was going so well but we found that the performance was not even limited by the 100Mbit lan. Too slow, but a valiant attempt.
Hoarding and the Swi$$ Public
Switzerland is a rich country. So much so that for over 1 year nobody has chosen to buy my wonderful Mini ITX Windows computer. Sure, I've had plenty of time wasters, but nobody would buy this
Intel Dual Core
Complete Computer with DVD Drive
SSD Hard Disk
2 Ethernets & Multiple USB
for the 100 CHF (80 GBP) that it has been on sale for. I know, the Swiss are just not interested. Rather spend over 500 CHF on a new Hardware Firewall (my Units last configuration) than buy this wonderfully capable computer
Marcus has been so annoyed that I have indignantly refused to throw the unit away. We have limited space here in Switzerland, unlike the previous UK Engineering Workshop with oceans of space. So disposal was on the cards until ....
Asrock AM1B ITX
After Pi3 was too slow I found the most amazingly economical Asrock Motherboard that for an incredible 35 GBP is to form the basis of our new server.
I briefly referenced this Taiwan miracle of manufacturing here
The Cunning Plan
- Gut the existing ITX computer
- Install new Motherboard
- Base OS is Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon
- Base Linux kernel is 4.4.0-59
- Base Wiki is Dokuwiki 2016-06-26a "Elenor of Tsort"
- Base Webserver is Apache 2.4.18
Yep, this Asrock product is so amazing. As a hardware guy I am simultaneously almost fainting and salivating ... 3 Graphics outputs and well ...
- All Solid Capacitor design
- Supports AMD Socket AM1 Athlon/Sempron APU
- Supports DDR3 1600 memory, 2 x DIMM slots, Max. 32GB
- 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16
- Integrated AMD Radeon™ R3 Series Graphics in A-series / E-series APU
- Multi Graphics Output Options : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI
- 1 x Parallel Port, 1 x COM Port Header
- 4 x USB 3.0 (2 Front, 2 Rear), 6 x USB 2.0 (4 Front, 2 Rear), 4 x SATA3
- Realtek Gigabit LAN
- 5.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC662 Audio Codec)
Opening up our old ITX firewall
The old Intel Mini ITX motherboard
Ready for a new Motherboard
The Asrock wonder
Passive heatsink comes with the Quad core AMD CPU
Fastest Integrated GPU version of the AMD chip is the 5370. Difficult for me to find, I had to eBay from Germany. And that is Switzerland in a nutshell, imported!
Motherboard is in
This is the 16GB DDR3 laptop DIMM that I bought to upgrade my Lenovo U430 laptop. Except that it did not work. So I bought on ebay a desktop DIMM converter
Okay initial build is 1 SSD for the OS and a 1TB spinning disk for Web data. This is because I have to cannibalise a data SSD from another system by disk shuffling. This will take some days but will help to save some $money. So well, in these times of economy I have to do it. And I will cp -pr move the 300 GB data from the spinning to the new SSD Disk then swap it, later.
After a few test installs I settled on Linux Mint 18.1 using LVM (Logical Volume Manager) to mange the OS disks for maximum flexibility should I need to resize things later.
Oh The Software
So the Hardware is fully operational, now the non trivial install and configuration of the latest Apache 2.4.18 is killing me.
In my day one rather long httpd.conf file was all that was required, well with a bit of PHP and custom shell and Wiki install. Now Apache seems to be having a contest to use the maximum number of configuration files in a whole set of random places.
To be continued.
Intel ITX for sale. Cheap!
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Subtitle: Inauguration British Style
I think there must have been some interference on our Television feed as I watched the BBC coverage of an important political event on Friday January 20th 2017.
This is what I heard:
Together, we will determine the course of the United Kingdom, and the world, for many, many years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to the outgoing Parliament for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another - but we are transferring power from the EC and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
EC flourished - but the people did not share in its wealth.
Politicians prospered - but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes - starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across the United Kingdom.
This is your day. This is your celebration.
And this, the United Kingdom, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the centre of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
The British want great schools for their children, safe neighbourhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.
These are the just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealised potential.
This the United Kingdom carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation - and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all British.
For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of the United Kingdom industry;
Subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;
We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own;
And spent trillions and trillions of pounds overseas while the United Kingdom's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of the United Kingdom workers that were left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.
But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this day forward, it's going to be only the United Kingdom First, the United Kingdom First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit the United Kingdom
workers and the United Kingdom families.
We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body - and I will never, ever let you down. The United Kingdom will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work - rebuilding our country with the British hands and British labour.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy British and hire British.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world - but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example - we will shine - for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones - and unite the civilised world against Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United Kingdom, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us: "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity."
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When the Kingdom is United, the United Kingdom is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear - we are protected, and we will always be protected.
We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we will be protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In the United Kingdom, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action - constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over.
Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of the United Kingdom.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great the United Kingdom Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Birmingham or the windswept plains of Rugby, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all British, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our the United Kingdomn destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, we will make the United Kingdom strong again.
We will make the United Kingdom wealthy again.
We will make the United Kingdom proud again.
We will make the United Kingdom safe again.
And, yes, together, we will make the United Kingdom great again.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United Kingdom. Thank you. God bless the United Kingdom.
I trust I have made my Jingoistic point.
Alfred Piccaver: Always be an England
Sex Pistols: Always be an England
Friday, January 20, 2017
Cars: Moving in Stereo
Never has Marcus seen such divided and divisive views on American Politics, or the new President from: Americans, Europeans or indeed any mindful or mindless group of Political commentators worldwide.
What does the Future Hold?
Fixing America (with Donald Trump) or the UK (with BREXIT) is actually simple. It's similar to running a successful Enterprise level project that I have worked on so many times during my life
- A necessary but not sufficient component is Enthusiasm and Vision
- Somehow you have to convince the majority project participants, in this case population of your country that there is a great future ahead
- That your country will basically be better than the other country
- That your project endeavours will overall be more successful than the other
- To me it is more a Zero-Sum-Gain (than not), if your project (Country) does better, then other producers (Countries) will on balance do worse
- Ethnic differences dividing a country
- Religious differences dividing a country
- Class distinctions dividing a country
- Necessary International Production (no local Materials)
- Laziness and Entitlement
When you have the vision then translating it into practice only comes true by the continued hard work and slog of the majority.
If you have been a Consultant worker bee on a large Industrial project, you may be familiar with: The 4 year project. Where you got the last 9 months to do the actual implementation. Where the planners sat around for over 3 years thinking about it, blaming previous planners, doing some 'investigations' and 'high level prototyping'. You then had 9 months to pull off the impossible. The chance to rarely see your family or friends, and work weekends, and nights and actually put right the design components that were just overlooked. Sigh :-(
Back to countries: if comparable workers in Asia, work longer and harder for less money, accept less free time, less family life, should they have a higher or lower salary than an Entitled, 9-5, M-F, European worker?
Please take a look at the Intense Automation and Industrious working culture of some Asian manufacturing. Ask yourself the question: Can American workers be this productive at that same cost or lower?
In the short term, Advanced Industrial Societies like the UK and the USA can certainly onshore manufacturing, and Sales and Cust. Service, but expect a sizable increase in retail pricing and very different quality. [In the Near future expect advances to remove the need for these jobs altogether, that is beyond the scope of this discussion].
Taiwan Case Study
I just purchased an Asrock AM1B-ITX electronics board. It will form hardware towards a high performance Webserver that I will Engineer to serve over 4TBytes (Bytes not Bits) of data per day. Specs:
- Supports AMD Socket AM1 Athlon/Sempron APU Quad Core
- Supports DDR3 1600 memory, 2 x DIMM slots, Max. 32GB!
- 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot
- Integrated AMD Radeon R3 Series Graphics in A-series / E-series APU
- 3 Graphics Output Options! : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI
- 1 x Parallel Port, 1 x COM Serial Port
- 4 x USB 3.0 (2 Front, 2 Rear), 6 x USB 2.0 (4 Front, 2 Rear), 4 x SATA3 6Gb/sec
- Realtek Gigabit LAN
- 5.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC662 Audio Codec)
Price for this card: 35GBP, ie. 50USD. Including shipping from Asia. When you find an American or European manufacturer that can produce something at this price point, be sure to let me know.
Our Upgraded Society 2.0, would include:
- Rejection of Government and Personal Debt Models. Stop Printing and Borrowing.
- Extremely High levels of Automation
- Reduced Population: not just a Countries right to determine its Immigration policy, but greatly, repeat greatly reduced population
- Reduced Consumption: Mindfulness & the consumption of what you Should, not just what you Can
- Individual Emphasis on Health, Exercise and Not Being a burden to society
- Hard Work
I personally can't wait to see what the new US Administration does to turn around the US economy. We are prepared. Are you?
REM: The End
A message to White Voters
Thursday, January 19, 2017
I just love the Microsoft Arc Mouse, in fact my existing one was getting rather grubby after 1 year+ of constant use so I just bought another replacement.
Actually there are 3 very similar Microsoft mice that you can now choose from. The one on the left is the original and connects wirelessly to your computer via a USB nano transceiver. Part number RVF-00050
Then the other two are the same except for the colour and are Bluetooth connected only.
Why did I go for the non Bluetooth variety? Well because not all of my computers (Windows Server 2012 and below for example) support Bluetooth.
The first killer feature is that the mouse is a svelte black grippy material a bit like an alcantara car seat
You switch it on by curving the mouse and switch it off by flattening it
For travel or storage the nano transceiver magnetically attaches to the mouse body and as you can see power is from 2xAAA batteries.
For about 40 GBP or 50 USD you can get a top notch, rather sexy looking and feeling wireless mouse that lasts and lasts. Nice one microsoft. One of my best products of 2016 used for sure.
All the Mice
Arc Touch Mouse
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
SNL: Donald prepares
How are you going to prepare for Friday January 20th 2017? This is of course the day that in America, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the USA.
From the Scottish Sunday Herald
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Donna Summer: Works Hard for the Money
In recent years January has become a financially depressing time. In our home of Switzerland the tax years runs Jan 1st to December 31st. So banks are obliged to send you Balance statements so that you can fill in your Tax Return.
And with the bank statement comes the Yearly Interest Received Statement.
The Big Picture
For multiple short term expediency and benefits, many governments have made vast sums of money available to Commercial Banks.
Unfortunately it all started with the US and the UK but now even our home of Switzerland has been flooding the Banks with money. So awash with cheap almost zero Interest Government financing; Banks don't really need my money and their corresponding lack of Interest paid to me hits hard on those yearly Bank statements.
For Retail i.e. the likes of me and you, 0.5% Interest is almost only a dream in Switzerland today.
To make you understand how pathetic this is, consider the Chevrolet Corvette C7, with 660 BHP. Available in Switzerland for about 120,000 CHF
So if I was to deposit this cash in a bank each year the bank would pay me 600 CHF interest! (About 600 USD or 400 GBP). Correspondingly retail banks will borrow at less than 0.5% meaning they can finance a top of the line Corvette for under 1K USD per year.
Yep, quite insane
And with this almost zero return on your savings, most people are simply are not bothering. Not saving in Switzerland, Wider Europe or America. Period.
Because you know: The State will take [good] care of you in your Retirement: I'm sure that's what my UK government told me after working and paying taxes for many decades.
Cyndi Lauper: Money Changes
Monday, January 16, 2017
Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle
In recent weeks Marcus and Agata have been extremely busy leaving our Blog coverage to a bare minimum. Despite our advancing years, we have big plans for 2017.
And indeed planning is in fact the key. We are fresh back from about 1 month of Intergalactic travelling, only made possible by Agata's supreme attempts to plan, coordinate and organise everything.
Now in the ideal world this level of precision would not be necessary, and a laissez faire attitude to travelling and living would be preferable. But sadly, that sort of freedom comes with a Budget and a lifestyle that we've resigned will not ever be within our means. So sensible planning, nay, precision planning have all come together for multiple adventures and reports to be detailed in the coming weeks
Now back home with our practically infinitely fast Internet connection we have synchronised tens of GB of Cloud Data
We recall during our travels that there were several days when we had absolutely 0 Internet. And that is a very rare thing indeed. It was not pleasant! [For example, no Internet, no Google Maps and no Navigation :-( ]
We attended a large and famous trade conference, this is now off the bucket list.
For economy we have brought home everything we can. What you also see here (in the bag) are the daily vitamins we purchased, we are not wasting them!
Multiple Marathons were completed, because our rule of thumb is : always be prepared to run a marathon, any day, each day.
There is a mountain of washing to be done, what is shown is but a small proportion. Travelling with daily exercise really increases the complexity of your washing solution.
Multiple new acquisitions have to be evaluated and tested. And if worthwhile full reports to come here
So many objects to file back in their proper place. We are now the owners of more DC Power Banks than we can possibly imagine.
Our first test living in the USA went rather well. Comprehensive reports to follow.
And now, it is definitely time to retire, that 20 hours of travelling back to Switzerland is catching up on us.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Marcus and Agata have been deeply anticipating the screen version of Dan Brown's Inferno
It deals with one persons attempt to pose a solution to the exponential and unchecked Global population growth, possibly the last thing that a technologically developed world needs IOHO.
When we watched Mark Kermode's review of the film we were devastated because
- We respect and normally agree with Mark
- Mark basically said the film was rubbish
We went ahead and watched the film anyway.
In a nutshell:
They only changed the whole plot including the sympathies and motives of major characters. But particularly the ending and climax is altered and therefore the meaning of the whole novel. Director Ron Howard: This is a disgrace.
Without plot spoiling we can say:
- This is a novel by Dan Brown that tackles the subject of population growth
- The book and film talks about the 'One minute to Midnight' moment, stating that we are at such a point
- The plot centres around the Harvard Professor Robert Langdon who awakes with concussion and memory loss.
- He tries to unravel the plot of Zobrist, the billionaire who proposes a radical solution to curtail Population Loss without the need for any loss of any single life
- Unlike Kermode, we have read the book, & we did not find the rushing about of Langdon and Sienna troublsome at all , quite natural in fact
But we are gutted beyond belief that the whole point of the book and plot is totally changed in the film,
Both articles contain the entire plot so read as far as you want to.
Tom Hanks plays a credible Langdon, but the whole meaning of the book, which IOHO is to make you think about unconstrained Population Growth is completely and utterly lost in this films adaptation.
As a consequence we award the film a -1 out 10, please under no circumstances watch this film.
Instead we could recommend the undoctored Audible Book