• Category Archives Computers
  • Shipping

    We got some demo gear back from overseas……

    Guess who gets to fix it?
    It’s a power supply for an important part of the demo next week (and the week after). I really don’t have the time or the parts to replace it, so we just have to try and bend it back into shape and make sure that electrically it’s ok and go with it.
    Thankfully it’s on the back of the box, so it will not be seen, but still. I like that Opto has always deeply cared about the look of their demos and it bugs me that we will be sending this one (in a much stronger padded box) off looking like its been straightened out with a pair of pliers, which is exactly how I ended up fixing it!

  • Cloud power

    Data centers are big power users. I know Apple and Google are doing the best they seemingly can by putting solar and wind farms in near their centers, but there is still more that needs to be done.


    The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025, hampering attempts to meet climate change targets and straining grids as demand by power-hungry server farms storing digital data from billions of smartphones, tablets and internet-connected devices grows exponentially.

    That’s pretty much it. The data centers are on track to use more power than most countries.

  • QNAP Progress

    We have had a few days off work (Thanksgiving), so have had some time to really dig into the QNAP and try and figure out what is going on.
    Its a case of everything is right, but it does not work…. Well, actually, sometimes it does, but sometimes it does not. Some files are the correct size, some of them are zero bytes.
    The interesting thing is that it is only when done over the cloud. When I am at home, I have not had a single zero byte incident.

    Ignorance is bliss, so I have signed Krysta and Terry up to use their phones to backup share their photos via the cloud… so far, so good.
    I will be testing things on Monday at work and see how I go using the Opto software via my cloud. I am hopeful, but not confident.

    One thing that was critical in getting it ‘working’ was my SSL certificate, so a huge thanks to Gary for getting that setup for me.
    Who knew that the QNAP using its self signed certificate was stopping it from working at all….. Sure was frustrating getting that one sorted! (A vague mention at the bottom of an out of date manual about how the SSL certificate had to match the URL of the cloud).

    Lastly, it seems we have a backup running from the cloud to a local USB drive plugged into the QNAP, every night at 1am it copies any files that are new or changed.
    Small moves Ellie, small moves….

  • Dropbox replacement

    Because reasons I had to get off my free Dropbox account. (Sad Face)
    Dropbox, evil or not, is just so convenient. It is a software cloud of your files. You map it to a drive letter (usually c:) and it syncs your files in the background.
    What it meant for me was that I could keep my Opto Software the same across the 4-6 computers that I use almost daily to do my job.
    Anyway, not to be… so, my quest then, unexpectedly and suddenly became ‘find a self hosted replacement’.

    I did what any good geek does and phoned a friends…. Gary and Dan.
    Both had the same idea, Gary suggested QNAP, Dan suggested NextCloud.
    Thinking I did not really have the time to spend with NextCloud, I hoped I could buy my way out of the mess with a QNAP hardware device…. but, sad face, it was going to cost 750 bucks for one of the better models. Ouch.

    Terry wants in on the self hosted cloud as well, he needs to store stuff that he can get global access to, and Dan and I thought about backing up to each others cloud, and I could also offer space for my Dad as an offsite backup for his files as well, so the time invested would be well worthwhile with many people benefiting, but still, $750 cleans out my savings…. So after talking with Terry, we figured the cost of trying Nextcloud is 50 bucks for a Raspberry Pi. Much better.

    Yeah, well, I will save you from the tail of woe, but enough to say, it worked pretty good at home, but over the network, just hopeless. It kept losing its style sheet, so the site would break and I could not keep it connected or copy files from a mapped drive.
    About 5 hours in I called it DOA. (Dead On Arrival). People clearly get it going, but I am just not skilled enough… The last straw was when I, after a lot of digging into my issues, found that the native setup it comes with is not robust enough for more than 1 user and a few files, in order to make it strong, the install/setup was above my pay grade. (yet another sad face)

    QNAP, It is basically a computer with custom software and some hard drives, in other words, a NAS, Network Attached Storage with a cloud component.
    I looked on Craigslist of all places and there was 1 for sale. Just the one and it was a good price, 300 bucks for about the level of the 600 dollar unit. Half price. Sure, a bit of a risk getting it used, but worth it in my mind.
    3 hours grind through traffic and it was all mine!

    So, here I am, about 5 hours in and its not working.
    The NAS part is working fine, but do you think I can get the cloud working. Nup. As soon as I leave the house, I just can not get the cloud sync working.
    At the moment, it creates the files, but they are all zero bytes. Not very helpful… and I have no idea how to fix it such that it actually writes the data after creating the file.

    Now, the frustrating part of all this is that Dropbox is 100 bucks a year, so I am now in the pocket for 3.5 years of dropbox, which ‘just works’ and I have nothing….. and this does not count my time, at roughly 10 hours, it’s lucky I work for free.

    The joys of being not just a baldgeek but thebaldgeek.

  • New Radio

    I bought a radio to do some listening around on the ham bands, to pick up Radio Australia and lastly, to pick up aircraft data.


    Thankfully I got it for less than this guy, I guess by now its a few years old and the price has come down somewhat.

    So far, like the reviewer, I am very happy with it. What I am not happy with is my antenna. I really need to do something about it. Given the super small backyard etc, I am at a bit of a loss to know what to try.
    At the moment I have an end fed dipole. I think I will try a normal dipole (while we still have the two palm trees to tie the ends off on).
    It will end up a vee, but that would be better than a single long wire? I think I am just going to have to try it.