Category: Nerd Stuff

September 12, 2016

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel this chair…

We’ve managed to catch the train for about three weeks straight. Time that I’d spent in the past writing or doing malware research has instead been used to sharpen my web development skills. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, I’m not looking to change jobs, I just enjoy it and I didn’t like that I’d eliminated it from my life.

Earlier this year, Aesop Rock released a new album, and one of the tracks really connected with me.

The drifting away from the things that you used to enjoy, used to consider part of your fabric of being, part of your soul, and that initially that drifting away was temporary, then a protracted hiatus, then you’re saying “Well, I used to do that.”

I don’t want to overdramatize my love-affair with web-design, but I built my first webpage in 1997. That’s almost 20 years ago. For comparison’s sake, I played guitar from my 13th birthday on to my first semester in college, so about five and a half years. I derive too much enjoyment from it to deny myself of it on some weird professionalism issues.

Whether I’m doing the work for myself or someone else is really secondary to the creation element. I’m learning how to do things the right way in my language of choice, and I’m building little applications that exist only on this tablet I’m writing from. They’re built for an audience of one, and they do exactly what I need, and want, and nothing more or less. At some point I’ll expand that scope, but making peace with the fact that I enjoy it for the sake of creation, has been useful. I’m not getting hung-up on justifying the hobby with being able to monetize it. If I come up with a million-dollar idea, … (More) “I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel this chair…”

August 23, 2016

Single Entendre

So we came down on the side of taking the train. I had to admit that the stress incurred by driving was exceeding the enjoyment I was getting of being home a little earlier. And costs are in favor of the train, too.

This comes just as I’m starting to get creative urges again. I have one project I’ve committed to, getting a new website going for a childhood friend that’s become a popular stand-up comic. But that’s going to be a collection of off-the-shelf software, and I don’t see it being terribly involved in the long run.

I’m not sure what the project is going to be that wins the battle of attracting my interest. I think it’s going to be something with The SCP Wiki, but it’s not going to be Project Foundation, the name that was given to a full wheel reinvention of the website, all functionality. I indicated to them that I’m not willing to put in that much effort until they at least begin the process of incorporating, to reduce the liability I would have of being associated with it.

But there are other things that could be done that don’t involve the full commitment of that wheel reinvention. Honestly, I think it would be a wise mental separation to make this creative outlet something that is not tech-centric. I wrote a post back in April that laid out a plan for a new site, and that is the most intriguing thing to me at the moment. I like the name SCPrompt, as it works two ways. I think I’m going to pitch that to staff in a more concrete manner, and I can build up some of the infrastructure regardless. So there’s a bit of a tech element, but it’s largely peripheral to what … (More) “Single Entendre”

June 7, 2016

Five Green Rings and Two Dead Doves

So, let’s get this out of the way. I exceeded expectations yesterday.

Crushed yesterday, for real. #fivegreencircles

A photo posted by @bluesoulsez on

I’m making use of every function of the app now. I went ahead and bought the Aria scale as well, it’s not too overpriced for including body fat percentage (even if only a rough approximation) and I know myself well enough to know the integration with the app will make me actually use it. I’m using the food log and tracking water consumed. I’m pretty sure it’s everything the app offers outside of run tracking because I’m not running yet.

With all the extra walking yesterday, I consumed 2100ish calories, but that’s fine because I burned over 3,000. That’s a significant deficit, enough to average 1.3 pounds of fat burned in a five-day work week.

I was talking to Diana about this yesterday, from an evolutionary standpoint, we’re good at a lot of things, but out biggest strength might be walking. Early man would bring down a yak or a goat or what have you by walking behind it, never letting it rest, pelting it with stones and throwing spears until it got back up and the chase began again until the animal finally keeled over from exhaustion. We’re not the best runners, but we’re the best walkers on the planet.

So when I got the scale set up (hey Fitbit, make your applications respect Windows text scaling, please.) I got my first number back. 173.2 pounds and 24.7% body fat percentage. I did some mental arithmetic on where I wanted to be, which is 135 pounds as I was when I was about 18, and let out an audible “Fuuuuuuck.” That’s like 40 pounds. But I did a little more … (More) “Five Green Rings and Two Dead Doves”

April 22, 2016

Ready Up

I really couldn’t ask for a better Friday. No alerts in the morning, couple emails to plan stuff for next week, got my evaluation from the boss, got my one-on-one meetings with my direct reports done, and nothing broke or caught fire in that timespan. It left me from 1:00 to 5:00 to plan and do a thorough weekly review.

It’s a really good feeling knowing that you have tracked everything going on at work, and know exactly where everything is at. That you don’t have to think about those things just for the sake of remembering them. You can actually relax.

So, the evaluation. I indicated it would have a lot of influence on how I felt going into the weekend and in general. I’ll just read off the relevant line out of the eight paragraph evaluation:

Daniel is a very skilled technical supervisor. The right person for the job.

The right person for the job. Validation. It’s a wonderful world.

I was initially joking about bringing decaf coffee with me on the train on the way back instead of gross lightly coffee-flavored cold water. I had a decaf pod in a variety pack. Guess what I’ve got today? It would be better if it wasn’t quite so warm out. But it was still a good idea, I stand by it.

All the Nutanix migrations so far have either been flawless or invaluable learning experiences on non-production boxes. My systems guy has done about a dozen machines, and we have about two dozen to go. If we can get about another dozen done in four days next week there’s a half-day off on Friday there for the taking. There actually is a train that leaves at about the right time, 1:07. I think we want this.

I ordered some … (More) “Ready Up”

April 20, 2016

The 28 Year Old Rookie

Twice the last two weeks I’ve made the big rookie mistake of train-riding. I’m currently seated on the wrong side of the train, so I either get a delightful glare from the monitor or a face full of sun. By the time I realized (about five seconds) all the correct seats were already gone.

I ended up getting a reasonable amount accomplished today. Nutanix is one staged patch away from being ready, and we have a migration plan ready for tomorrow morning. I’m working on some of those carrots that are viable now, like a new backup target for some hosted web servers. Joining a Linux machine to an AD domain is easier than ever in CentOS 7, and I left off at a good point. Tomorrow I’ll have logons restricted to a security group and sudo restricted to a different one.

I spent my lunch break remoted home, organizing my storage, moving files around to more logical locations, cleaning up names with Filebot, and generally setting this new array up for success. I also downloaded some 250 games between Steam and Origin, and boy am I happy we’re not doing data caps on residential internet yet because that was about a terabyte of data right there.

I’m going to be really happy to have the system back in a usable state. This has been quite the homework project but it was a lot of fun, too. I’m happy I’m going to be able to game again tonight. I’ve got an odd juxtaposition of game styles I want to play. I want to keep playing FIFA 15, I’ve really been enjoying it. But I also want to play something very difficult like an XCOM or Dark Souls. The thing is, they are difficult through entirely different mechanisms. XCOM uses a … (More) “The 28 Year Old Rookie”

April 20, 2016

It’s like 802.1p for your innards.

So I have titles again now, I ran through my countdown (or countup, I suppose) of ten days. No nicotine and I’m over that mental hurdle now of ten days. Truth be told, everything after that jittery first day was easy. I threw away all my remaining gear over the weekend. At this point I’m ready to enter that “I used to” phase of my life and be more selective, if only a little, about what’s coming into my body.

The hard drive saga appears to be laid to rest. The final topology is 4x5TB drives in a RAID 10, with the 128GB SSD still to be swapped out for a larger model. Those replace 2x3TB in a RAID 1 and 2x1TB in a RAID 0. So my usable space has doubled, but it’s all resilient storage. I took one of the 3TB drives and put it in one of the enclosures that the 5TB drives came in, and connected it to the PC over USB 3.0. With write caching enabled, it’s fast enough to be the data store for Steam, even NBA 2K16 didn’t see a change in load times and it’s probably the biggest game I have in terms of shit to load. I took the 1TB drives and fed them to the PowerEdge server, to bring me up to 8x1TB drives which I’m reconfiguring to an 8-drive RAID 10. That leaves one 3TB drive that I’m unsure what to do with. All my Steam and Origin games fit fine on one 3TB drive. And these drives have a 94% failure rate? Nothing important’s going on it, anyway. I’ll think it over.

We also bought a Keurig and a water filter/dispenser deal over the weekend. I didn’t grasp how much I disliked our tap water until we got … (More) “It’s like 802.1p for your innards.”

April 19, 2016


Over the weekend, I found out that the 3TB drives I’d been using in a RAID 1 at home have had a 94% failure rate from Backblaze. So, you know, good job to myself for finding the news a year after it was released. I ended up buying 4x5TB Seagate drives at they represented the lowest cost per usable GB out of the field. I wanted to use a Storage Space, but mixing SATA and USB 3.0 in a Storage Space led to some abysmal write speeds. So I broke my 3TB mirror, put one of them where my optical drive normally is, and moved all 4 5TB drives into the case, in a RAID 10. That takes me from 5TB usable (2x1TB RAID 0, 2x3TB RAID 1) to 10TB usable, so it’s going to be nearly halfway full out the gate. Here’s hoping there are some higher densities on the horizon before I fill up the other half.

Copying 5TB of files blows. But it’s gotta get done, and it was a good opportunity to reorganize anyway.… (More) “232/240”

April 7, 2016

That script ain’t right

So I have a code offering today, which I’m calling DangItBobby.ps1. It lets you remotely disable the NIC of a computer given only the username that is logged in. In essence, when in the middle of a ransomware infection, and you see that the owner of all the files is changing to Bobby, you run the script and provide credentials of a local admin account. Then you tell it you’re looking for Bobby, it’ll check AD to make sure that’s a valid account, then check with WMI to see if there’s an explorer.exe process running under Bobby’s context on each computer, which you can narrow down with the first few characters of what the workstation might be. If they’re logged into multiple workstations it’ll let you choose which one to work with. Then it’ll give you a list of NICs and a little information about each one, and let you choose which one to disable.

I hope I don’t need to tell you to be careful running this.… (More) “That script ain’t right”

April 5, 2016

The more you know, the less you say.

Pleased to report that Windows 10 hasn’t reduced the Surface Pro 3 to smoldering rubble. In fact, it’s quite a happy upgrade so far. The Verizon USB card seems much happier in 10 than it did in 8.1, and the applications all came over flawlessly so far, quite a feat considering it went all the way from NT6 to NT10. (That’s nerd sarcasm, by the way.)

I was mildly amused by being notified that I’d earned some money from Amazon Affiliates. That would be from my I Miss Grantland project, which runs ad-free and has a page where you can buy books on Amazon from writers featured on the site. The site has been up for about 3 months and has managed something like 104,000 hits. Out of those, about 132 hits were to said book page, representing about 7,000 clickable links. 88 clicks were made (a ~1.3% clickthrough rate) and 7 items were ordered, representing Amazon cutting me a check for almost four dollars. It’s seriously a good thing that the whole thing is automatic and able to run on my shared hosting account, so my only expense is the domain renewal.

It’s not hard to understand why so many sites are fucking littered with ads. All that said, I still run an ad-blocker. Not because I feel people shouldn’t get paid for creating content, but because the current system is a mess and more than a little insecure. E.g., malvertising. It’s one of the great unsolved puzzles of the Web. For a long time, Flash was the enabler of the worst offenders. Now it might be JavaScript. A simple, if regressive, solution would be to standardize on text-based ads, with the use of a 1px transparent image for basic tracking for per-impression based ads. Image-based ads … (More) “The more you know, the less you say.”

April 5, 2016


Well, I feel quite a bit better today. I don’t know if I was fighting some kind of illness yesterday or just didn’t get enough sleep, or perhaps the anticholinergic wore me out, but I spent most of yesterday in an exhausted fog. Felt rather useless at work to say the least. I’d have started to really worry about myself if I had to miss today, not because I might be sick, but because that would mean I’d missed every other Tuesday for the last 8 weeks, and that’s suspicious.

After some discussion on my fears, however unlikely it may be, that we would buy a house and then I would not be retained at work, I think we’re going to hold off on the whole process until the probationary period is over around Thanksgiving. It also lets us keep saving up money which is wise, if we can do it for a year it’s probably going to put us in a position to pay off the credit card debt, maybe pay off Diana’s car, and put us in better shape overall.

There was also some discussion on future plans involving spending money, and how I was a little put out that while I’m bringing in a lot of money, I’ve been really good in not spending it because the house was coming quickly. However, there were still projects coming up that didn’t involve me getting to buy those things that I want. I’m oversimplifying but to Diana’s credit, she heard me out and understood. So she wants me to get the list together of the stuff I’ve had in mind to upgrade.

I’ve been wanting to get back to other forms of media creation, in particular either a podcast, a radio show, or a screencast. My concern is the … (More) “BTYBTL6?”