7 Minute Miles

Red Cow + WiFi6

Posted Wednesday, July 28th, 2021 01:59 pm GMT -5 in Baseball,Food,Technology at 1:59 PM

Townball Tavern @ Target Field

Originally published by DK on July 28, 2021 at 1:59 pm

The good old days of teletype

Posted Monday, July 19th, 2021 08:04 am GMT -5 in Games,History,Schools,Technology at 8:04 AM

https://www.vice.com/en/article/qkx8vw/the-forgotten-history-of-the-oregon-trail-as-told-by-its-creators

Originally published by DK on July 19, 2021 at 8:04 am

Help Wanted at USBS

Posted Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 02:38 pm GMT -5 in Football,Technology,Work at 2:38 PM

Events are coming back and U.S. Bank Stadium needs help getting ready. Looking for an entry-level tech support candidate to join my team this summer:

  • Will train – great first job for a tech-savvy graduate
  • NFL game day excitement at least ten days a year
  • Good chance of working with roadies from world-famous bands
  • Get paid to learn really expensive systems and equipment
  • Flexible hybrid remote and onsite work environment
  • Cool office that makes the news on a regular basis
  • Fun team, decent boss

The posting is now up on the stadium website, while here is the direct link to the ADP hiring site (PDF here).

Originally published by DK on June 8, 2021 at 2:38 pm

Hey, we let the Android in?

Posted Friday, May 21st, 2021 03:16 pm GMT -5 in Cars,Technology at 3:16 PM

Had to reboot the Honda

Originally published by DK on May 21, 2021 at 3:16 pm

Football looms 🏈

Posted Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 03:48 pm GMT -5 in Football,Technology,Work at 3:48 PM

Getting ready for another go

Originally published by DK on May 18, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Why is it always $2500?

Posted Friday, April 30th, 2021 06:02 pm GMT -5 in Shopping,Technology at 6:02 PM

I really want one, but will probably wait until after we move…

Originally published by DK on April 30, 2021 at 6:02 pm

The Mystery of AS8003

Posted Saturday, April 24th, 2021 12:35 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 12:35 PM

https://www.kentik.com/blog/the-mystery-of-as8003/

Originally published by DK on April 24, 2021 at 12:35 pm

FIREPOWER 🔥

Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 02:00 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 2:00 PM

Not quite ready, but nearly there

Originally published by DK on April 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Electrical Meeting ✅

Posted Sunday, April 11th, 2021 02:49 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Shopping,Technology at 2:49 PM

That one was rather fun – ordered all the cat 6

Originally published by DK on April 11, 2021 at 2:49 pm

A Return to Baseball

Posted Sunday, April 11th, 2021 01:45 pm GMT -5 in Baseball,Food,Longform,Technology,Work at 1:45 PM

Looking back through the archives, I don’t think I’ve ever actually written about our baseball ticket group. State Farm Insurance Agent Kirk Detlefsen (and his family) have been running a Twins season ticket group for quite some time. I was introduced to them through my Northwest Airlines mentor six years ago and have been hooked ever since.

Each season, Kirk buys up a bunch of season tickets in different sections, then divides them into shares at various price points. A ticket “draft” is held every year and each shareholder picks the games they want to attend. Usually this is held in February in the Delta Club with snow on the field, guest speakers from the Twins and an assortment of ballpark food available for purchase. We didn’t have one at all in 2020 and the 2021 version was held via Zoom (of course). Kudos to all the Detlefsens for pulling that off (and managing 100% digital tickets for the first time ever).

The smallest share in the group is two tickets to two games in the Champions Club. Since these seats are super expensive (and generally not available to the general public via single game sales), this was a nice way to splurge once a year (I split the share with my uncle). After a few years of that, we switched to a share with two seats for ten games in the Delta Club. That’s what we currently have, although it appears that our actual seats may be all over this season because of capacity restrictions.

So what was the return of fans like?

To be honest, the thing I was looking forward to most were the new Andrew Zimmern KFC wings that Stephanie March wrote about for Mpls/StPaul magazine. They are available in Bat & Barrel (which will now be called Truly On Deck, but none of the signage has changed yet), so we headed there first. They still apparently take advanced reservations, as most tables had reserved signs on them and you couldn’t order food from the counter (just drinks at the bar). I asked the person standing at the podium if I had to order through the app, but she wasn’t sure. The tables had QR codes on them, so I scanned that, which took me to a menu page, but no link to order online. Hmm…

So let’s talk about apps for a minute. MLB offers several, but these are the two primary ones I’ve used (and had on my phone): MLB and MLB Ballpark. I could’ve sworn the first one used to be called At Bat, but maybe I’m making that up. The MLB app lets you follow games around the league, while the Ballpark app is supposed to handle all the stuff you need at an actual game – tickets, mobile ordering, Twingo. I opened the wrong app so many times – maybe I need to move them to different screens. I also added the ParkWhiz app to my phone today to park in Ramp A, but more on that later.

There were multiple reports across the league of issues with mobile ordering on opening day, so I was interested to see how the process worked. I was also under the impression that all food needed to be ordered from the app, but that was not the case at all. With limited stands open, lines were long all around the main concourse, but you could place an order at a stand and pay with a credit card (no cash accepted – Apple Pay did work fine, which has been an issue for me there in the past). Here’s what the Ballpark app screens looked like to order my KFC wings:

The first disclaimer screen comes up every single time you try to order. The app doesn’t automatically try to figure out where you are located, so you have to select from the drop-down menu, which has what seems like a million options to scroll through. When I selected Bat & Barrel, there was a limited selection of items – I could order the wings, but no drinks or sides. The app was not integrated with Apple Pay, so I had to manually enter my credit card information. My card got billed right away and the screen said I would receive a text message when my order was ready. The app didn’t ask for my number, though, so I never received a text. Also, once you closed the confirmation window, it was not obvious how to pull up your order info (with the important order number) and I did not receive any email receipts of the transaction. Later I found that you can access a “My Orders” section, but that is only available by starting a new transaction:

There was signage at the front serving area for mobile order pickup, but there was no one working there. After a few minutes of standing around, someone came and asked me if I was waiting for an order, then went back to the kitchen to get it. By this time, there were a few other people waiting too. When they brought out my food, it was in a stapled shut brown grocery bag that just contained the food in a container – there were no utensils or napkins. This was only the second game back after a year of no fans, so hopefully these issues will get worked out as operations get back into the grove. The quality of the wings was really good, but a cheese brat I bought later from the Kramarczuk’s stand was small and overcooked.

While it was great to be back at a game, we had a few other negative experiences. The digital tickets in the app say you must enter at the gate indicated, so we headed to gate 34 when we arrived. Since we were early, there was no one in line at all, but a guest service staffer immediately confronted us. She said this was an ADA entrance and wanted to see our “Sweet Spot” card on the app before letting us proceed (?). That part of the app was not working and she eventually just let us proceed to the empty security screening line. Guessing this process will also get better as the season progresses.

The announced attendance for the game was 9,817 and the concourses never felt overcrowded. People in general followed the mask and distancing rules while moving around, but the concession lines were tight and the group of “bros” behind us decided that since they were drinking all game long, they didn’t need to wear their masks. At all. Seat spacing was similar to the Saints last season, alternating rows with four-seat blocks on both ends in one row with two-seats blocks in the middle of the next. Blocked seats were zip tied shut, but one group asked an usher if they were supposed to cut them to sit (they were in the wrong section). We didn’t see any ushers trying to enforce mask rules, the scoreboard and PA announcements were minimal and it would be nice if the fancam operators would only show people following the rules.

With state regulations capping attendance at 10,000 right now, I don’t envy the task of the ticket office managers. We really like our experience in Delta Club and hope that we can have seats back in there later in the season. It was rather frustrating to see entire empty sections up there the whole game, but I’m guessing that’s because most people wanted to stay inside the warm part of the club (which we would have traded our 12th row seats for in a heartbeat – it never got above 47F). Target Field’s current published capacity is only 38,544, so jumping up to 50% shouldn’t be a huge change. It will also be nice to see the menus expand back to normal – Red Cow, for example, was not offering turkey burgers yet.

The final issue we had (aside from the dumb start-a-runner-on-second rule and Twins loss) was leaving the parking ramp. I drove up to the exit kiosk and opened the ParkWhiz app, only to find my barcode gone and a prompt to login. When I bought the parking pass earlier in the day, they sent me an email with a link to the barcode, but never asked me to set up a login ID and password. With people waiting behind me (and no staff at the exit), I had to pull my car over to the side, find the email, then get back in line. I will now know to have this ready before I start driving, but I wasn’t the only car that had to do this. If there was a regular-sized crowd exiting at the same time, this would be a disaster.

A return to hockey is up next for me tomorrow night (with another Twins game on 4/23). Stay tuned for more reports…

Originally published by DK on April 11, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Interesting txt/html issue

Posted Saturday, April 3rd, 2021 11:58 am GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 11:58 AM

https://www.paulosyibelo.com/2021/04/this-man-thought-opening-txt-file-is.html

Originally published by DK on April 3, 2021 at 11:58 am

15 Years of Publishing

Posted Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal,Technology at 10:20 PM

Happy 15th birthday, 7 Minute Miles! Current stats:

  • 12,192 Posts
  • 216 Pages

Skipping unique visitors or page counts this year, as my web server logs are all mixed up after the big move to AWS Lightsail. I do hope to get that cleaned up soon – want to learn how the new nginx logs differ from Apache (which I used for years). WordPress.com stats report 8,066 visitors in 2020, along with 20,522 views, but I don’t really know how they calculate that. They also report that the “Reflections on Spring Hill Golf Club” post continues to be one of my most visited stories of all time. Rather hoping this will be the year I actually play there…

Won’t get too much into the technical weeds this time, as I have a lot of things cooking right now that I’m sure I’ll cover in more detail soon. Aside from the move to virtual AWS servers, I’m still on WordPress (v5.7) with the same old custom theme and the same set of plugins I had last year. Hoping for a new look in 2021, but I don’t know the timing of that launch yet. No new functionality recently – just lots of under the hood things (including a fix for the weird SSL/emoji issue).

Thanks for visiting!

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2021 at 10:20 pm

File Server Blues

Posted Monday, March 1st, 2021 05:12 pm GMT -5 in Longform,Technology,Work at 5:12 PM

Working in technology usually means a fair amount of fixing stuff that’s broken. The advice of Roy and Moss from The IT Crowd is often handy: “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” Strong Google/DuckDuckGo skills and some free time are usually all you need to fix almost anything these days. I’ve really only had one situation in my tech career that had me stumped for a long time: bad networking at HSRA. That issue eventually got resolved with new hardware, but it’s a terrible feeling when technology doesn’t follow a logical troubleshooting process.

A week ago, another issue surfaced that may join the troubleshooting hall of shame. It started with a team member who couldn’t login to the file server on our office network over the weekend. With most of our staff working remotely, the on-premise file server is usually accessed via VPN, from both Mac and Windows clients. I connected from home and was able to see the file server (and thankfully all of the files) from my office iMac, but could not connect from my MacBook Pro. I find it useful to keep troubleshooting notes for future me, so please continue on if you’d like some nerd-tastic reading.

Like most everything in our building, things are starting to get old. The file server is part of the core infrastructure that was installed back in 2016. Our EMC VNXe3200 SAN is the foundation of a virtual environment with VMware hosts (Dell acquired EMC in 2016). There are a pair of Windows virtual servers, along with a Linux VM. The Windows servers act as our primary and secondary directory servers (Active Directory, still on Windows Server 2012), while the Linux box runs our intranet and some other IPTV services. It’s a fairly complex setup, but has been rock solid up to this point.

The VNXe3200 can serve CIFS shares directly, using AD for file permissions and access management. My AD servers are set to automatically install Windows updates, which I suspect was the root cause of this problem. The SAN hardware all seemed to be fine – no disk, power or network issues. People who were connected had no problems; it was looking like an issue with the authentication from AD. The web-based Unisphere management interface for the SAN was still running the Flash version of the Operating Environment (OE), so I needed to figure out a way around that issue to get more info from the logs (since Flash is now dead).

One of my original project engineers was able to set me up with a very old VM that had a copy of Firefox with the Flash plugin. Being careful to restrict network access for both security and auto-update reasons, I managed to get Unisphere updated to the latest OE version with HTML5 (3.1.12.10186894). Looking at the logs, the SAN had lost connectivity to directory services:

All Domain Controller servers configured for the CIFS server are not reachable. Please check this is not a network connectivity issue. Ensure at least one Domain Controller is up and running and is reachable by VNXe storage array.

It did not appear to be a network issue and I could login to the AD servers with no problem (with multiple user accounts). The support contract I had with Dell/EMC on the VNXe3200 expired and my experience trying to contact them did not go well. They took forever to respond and when they finally did, they wanted to charge me for all of the expired time, plus another year (for an amount that was about equal to just buying a new solution).

My immediate concern was making sure we had reliable backups of all files and folders. My ultra-low cost cloud backup strategy is to connect to the file server on my office iMac and use an app called qBackup that connects to a Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage account. This has worked great for years – the script runs nightly with an incremental backup, qBackup was a one-time cost of $30 and the monthly Backblaze charge is usually under $10 a month. The flaw in this cloud backup strategy is that it takes a really long time to restore 2.5 terabytes of data online (you can pay $189 and wait for Backblaze to ship a hard drive copy, but I don’t know how long that takes).

Since I still had access to the file server from the iMac, I stopped at Best Buy to get a 4TB external hard drive (and some thumb drives for people that needed files right away via SneakerNet). Now I had the cloud backup *and* locally attached copies of everything in my office. I tracked down the original engineer that helped install and configure this setup and he helped me create a new share that is served directly from the domain controller. I copied over all of the backup files from the 4TB drive and tested connections. That worked, so I reviewed security settings with our GM and applied permissions to folders via AD security groups. Cloud backup was re-pointed to the new share and ran successfully from my iMac. I created cheat sheets on how to connect to the new share from both Mac and Windows clients and sent them out to our staff. Done, right? Well…

All of my Mac users had no problem connecting and seeing what they were permitted to see. Some Windows users were also completely fine, but others connected and could not view all of the folders they were allowed to see. I initially had access based enumeration turned on, so some hidden folders were expected (but not ones they should see). One colleague saw all folders in the office, but not over VPN from home (on a brand-new laptop). This TechNote pointed towards a local cache issue (which this article also talks about). We’ve been experimenting with various offline settings and most people are now connected successfully. Here’s how we are troubleshooting Windows connections now:

  • Restart the workstation first, Roy
  • Re-map the network drive using a different letter
  • Use the full AD name (i.e. – domain.local\username)
  • Delete local offline cache files

Dell/EMC sent me a notice this weekend that there is another update to the Unisphere OE (3.1.14.10199487), but I didn’t see anything relevant in the release notes. I did download the huge .gpg file anyways, but so far the health check is timing out and I can’t get it installed. Also forgot to mention that we rolled back two of the automatic Windows Server updates that installed in mid-February (and turned off automatic updates). That obviously isn’t a long-term strategy, so I’d like to get updated to Windows Server 2019 soon (VMware updates too). OneDrive, Teams, SharePoint and even Box/Dropbox for Business are all options that may come into play as well.

Serving files shouldn’t be rocket science. At least I felt a little better when the engineer said, “I’ve installed hundreds, if not a thousand, file servers like this and I’ve never seen one do what yours is doing.”

Trailblazing!

Originally published by DK on March 1, 2021 at 5:12 pm

RIP Fry’s Electronics

Posted Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 08:55 am GMT -5 in Business,History,Links,Shopping,Technology at 8:55 AM

Fry’s Electronics is officially going out of business after 36 years

Originally published by DK on February 24, 2021 at 8:55 am

A Week of Gremlins

Posted Friday, February 12th, 2021 09:09 pm GMT -5 in Longform,Technology,Work at 9:09 PM

Experienced some weird technical glitches this week:

  • The older of my two AWS instances just stopped running right after midnight one night. Uptime Robot notified me right away via email, but I didn’t see it until around 8am, so there was some significant downtime (relatively speaking). The instance restarted fine, but I don’t know what caused that (and Amazon didn’t notify me of any issues).
  • I made one late night attempt earlier this week to move this site to my newer AWS instance, but had two issues: 1) my nginx virtual host config is apparently wrong, as it started sending requests to a different domain after I updated DNS and 2) creating a new Let’s Encrypt certificate failed (probably because the domain name didn’t match). Decided to just revert back for now and make another run at it later.
  • The iOS WordPress app update this week seems to have now broken all functionality with this site. Before, I just had issues uploading featured images (they would upload to the media library successfully, but the app would never get a “finished” acknowledgement). Now it doesn’t even get that far. I’ll just post from macOS machines for now, but that’s a pain for mobile posting away from the house.
  • My office workstation wasn’t set to automatically restart after a power outage, so it’s been off for a week. I have other machines to use at home, but that machine does my automated network share backups to the cloud, so I needed to get that issue resolved in person today. I went to check status when I returned home and initially couldn’t see it, but that turned out to be an issue with the DHCP lease expiring. All good now.
  • Not a glitch, but decided to take a look at my Twitter settings tonight. Dropped some dead accounts (actually really surprised at how many accounts I follow that haven’t been active for 100 days or more), unmuted some people and started looking for a new profile picture. Twitter remains my last social media account – can’t decide if it stays or goes this year. Leaning towards keeping it, with a renewed focus on pruning and more active curation of what I mute and what I follow. Might go private too.

Thankful for a long weekend – stay warm, Minnesota peeps…

Originally published by DK on February 12, 2021 at 9:09 pm

65 Days to Go

Posted Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 10:31 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Sports,Technology at 10:31 PM

Might not stop after a year, but trying to at least that far

Originally published by DK on February 10, 2021 at 10:31 pm

Solid (not stellar) AT&T 5G

Posted Saturday, February 6th, 2021 09:02 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 9:02 PM

Speed test in NE Minneapolis today

Originally published by DK on February 6, 2021 at 9:02 pm

Nothing beats the actual office

Posted Thursday, January 21st, 2021 11:02 pm GMT -5 in Baseball,Football,Technology,Work at 11:02 PM

Flexibility (and safety) is great, but nothing beats in person

Originally published by DK on January 21, 2021 at 11:02 pm

Still an absolute mess

Posted Thursday, January 21st, 2021 12:35 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Technology,Work at 12:35 PM

…but a more organized mess

Originally published by DK on January 21, 2021 at 12:35 pm

End of an era

Posted Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 11:14 am GMT -5 in History,Technology at 11:14 AM

Welcome to the first Flash-free day of the rest of your life

Originally published by DK on January 13, 2021 at 11:14 am

Dell battery management 😡

Posted Saturday, January 9th, 2021 06:46 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 6:46 PM

These things are so finicky

Originally published by DK on January 9, 2021 at 6:46 pm

The new toy has arrived

Posted Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 06:04 pm GMT -5 in Music,Shopping,Technology at 6:04 PM

Haven’t had much time to explore today, though

Originally published by DK on January 6, 2021 at 6:04 pm

First week with Apple Music

Posted Friday, January 1st, 2021 11:23 pm GMT -5 in Business,Longform,Music,Shopping,Technology at 11:23 PM

For most of my life, I’ve been a music hoarder. Visiting record stores all over the world, I’ve collected rare (and not so rare) records, tapes and CDs from a core group of artists that I like. I did vinyl the first time around, made mix tapes on cassette, fell in love with the “pure” sound of CDs and have spent countless hours ripping CDs to MP3/AAC files to be synched with laptops, iMacs, iPods and iPhones. Things I’ve never done: Napster, the resurgence of vinyl and streaming services. A week ago, I decided to do something about that last one.

My daughters are probably thinking “about damn time, old guy.” They are both big fans of Spotify and each gave me a few tutorials on how they use that service and what they like about it. It seems to me that the real competition in this space right now is between Spotify and Apple Music, so I decided to look at that option too. They both have family plans available for about $15 per month, so I signed up to try Apple Music first. They are different in some ways, but similar in most of the important areas. Apple Music probably gets the initial nod from me, just because I am so invested in the Apple ecosystem.

What do I like so far? I finally understand how the integration works with my current library, so it’s cool to have my existing files available in the cloud to be played across all devices automatically. I like the curated artist stations and themed playlists (even if they seem to be somewhat repetitive) and it’s nice to have real radio station feeds integrated again (hello, KROQ). I love that you can download up to 100,000 files locally, as I don’t always have a reliable network connection. It’s great to be able to just listen to things by anybody instantly, without having to risk money buying something you end up not liking (or only need to listen to once).

What are the bad things? The $180 I’ll pay annually to Apple is money I probably would’ve spent at places like the Electric Fetus. According to Jimmy Page, questions abound regarding the fairness of streaming royalty payments to artists and writers. I don’t like the general concept that I’m renting access to these songs and don’t really own them. I don’t have to worry about Apple going out of business any time soon (cough, cough, Zune), but once you start down this road, you are locked in to pay or your stuff goes away. And you can also have the Netflix issue of artists deciding to pull their stuff at any time.

Right now, though, Apple Music seems to be a nice middle road for me. I get the benefits of streaming services, but can still buy things the old way whenever I want. The price isn’t unreasonable and there is still a lot of functionality for me to learn (profiles, interacting with friends and family, music discovery, MusicKit, Apple Music APIs). Strangely, scrobbling via Last.fm only seems to work with the old files in my library, so it would nice to figure out how to integrate between this site and my Apple Music profile.

Originally published by DK on January 1, 2021 at 11:23 pm

Reflections on Season Five

Posted Sunday, December 20th, 2020 06:14 pm GMT -5 in Football,Mini Posts,Technology,Work at 6:14 PM

My head is still spinning after returning home from the last home game of a very strange 2020 season:

  • Games with fewer people aren’t as stressful overall, but it still takes me several hours to wind down after the final whistle blows.
  • Immensely thankful everyone on our team stayed healthy all season.
  • I don’t walk nearly as many steps on game day since we got a Cushman for IT.
  • Five regular seasons already? 2016: 5-3, 2017: 7-1, 2018: 5-3, 2019: 6-2, 2020: 3-5
  • The people in the Vikings organization are extraordinary and it’s a pleasure to work with them year after year.
  • Three stadiums are now newer than us in the NFL, but next year will feel like opening the building all over again.

Just a few things to clean up this week in the building, then on to 2021…

Originally published by DK on December 20, 2020 at 6:14 pm

Just like new!

Posted Friday, December 18th, 2020 06:54 pm GMT -5 in Music,Shopping,Technology at 6:54 PM

Best $20 purchase in a long time

Originally published by DK on December 18, 2020 at 6:54 pm

Kernel Panic Big Sur Update

Posted Thursday, December 17th, 2020 04:43 pm GMT -5 in Mini Posts,Technology at 4:43 PM

The stability saga with my upgraded 2017 Retina 4K 21-inch iMac, MrJackpot, continues. The latest:

  • All panics still involve IONVMeController.cpp in the crash report.
  • Definitely caused by the Aura Pro X2 SSD from Other World Computing.
  • Upgrading to Big Sur initially did not change the number of crashes (which were averaging about once a week while sleeping).
  • The latest Big Sur update (11.1) has made things more unstable, causing multiple crashes a day (even during normal operations).
  • I turned off screen sleep in Energy Saver and unchecked the following: Put hard disks to sleep when possible, Wake for network access, Start up automatically after a power failure and Enable Power Nap.
  • Also ran this command from Terminal: sudo pmset -a standby 0 autopoweroff 0 hibernatemode 0 (which OWC support suggested in a July email). This initially seemed to slow down the number of crashes, but did not stop them completely.
  • So far, the system starts back up with no noticeable file system damage (need to hold the power button for ten seconds, wait, then single press the power button to get the kernel panic multi-language message to appear (above), which then automatically starts the reboot process after a few seconds.

At this point, I don’t know what else to do until I can buy an M1-based iMac next year. I thought about buying an M1 Mac mini with an LG 4K display now, but that’s a pricy option. I sent a follow-up email to OWC support, but frankly I’ve been disappointed in how they’ve handled this issue (which seems to have impacted a large number of people). I’d been a happy customer of theirs since I started my Mac support career at NWA in 1996, so it’s sad and frustrating to be in this situation…

Originally published by DK on December 17, 2020 at 4:43 pm

Today’s brain surgery

Posted Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 12:35 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 12:35 PM

Once I found the right screwdriver, it wasn’t too bad (new battery on a Dell XPS 15)

Originally published by DK on December 16, 2020 at 12:35 pm

How durable is your tech?

Posted Thursday, December 10th, 2020 11:54 pm GMT -5 in History,Longform,Technology at 11:54 PM

The tweet I published earlier this week about old technology lead me down another rabbit hole the last few nights. All this started with a review of equipment at work, some of which have been running non-stop for more than four years without a reboot. We are in the process of reviewing maintenance contracts and it seems everyone needs to get creative these days when it comes to pandemic capital spending and the lifespan of various technologies.

This got me thinking about the many computers I’ve had over the years, long-departed applications and obsolete storage formats. I remember my dad having paper punchcards at his job when I was little and over the course of my career, I’ve managed tape drives, 5.25-inch floppies, 3.5-inch floppies, Zip and Jaz media, CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, external spinning disk drives, SSD drives, thumb drives and various forms of cloud storage. The storage capacity on my current home workstation is insanely large compared to those earlier days, in physical form factors that are smaller, lighter and less expensive by unit than ever.

I’ve always tried to have multiple backups of my personal data in different formats, but it’s amazing how many files have made it this far in my life. Even for the weird, obsolete file formats, many of today’s applications have good importers and translators to open ancient files created with long-gone programs. Old video game ROM files from original arcade games can usually be emulated on current hardware (although I’m having trouble getting MAME to work on Big Sur). I came across this article talking about the shelf life of old game console cartridges from Atari, Mattel, Nintendo and others that still start up and run like the day they were first sold.

That article also talks about NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity and the software used to run multi-year, remote missions. What an amazing engineering and technology challenge! I look back to the multimedia CD-ROM golf guide that I produced in 1999 using the authoring tool mTropolis and old versions of Photoshop and Illustrator. While I still have a few copies of the CD laying around, I don’t think I have any machines that can actually run the guide. My current version of Photoshop (22.1), however, can open all of the original media files. I was also able to open my 1995 résumé file with a current version of Word (16.43) and rediscovered what was very likely my first email address:

Speaking of email, this is probably the only tool I’ve used over the years that I don’t really archive. I would hazard a guess that most of the work emails I’ve written or received in previous jobs are long gone. Even the latest version of Outlook at my current job doesn’t tell me how many messages I have in my inbox any more – it’s just one long, infinite scroll. I’ve been using Google with my personal email domain for years (7.37GB out of a 15GB quota), but I rarely go back more than a month or two to look for things.

My daughter asked me about JPEG and PNG tonight and it’s really nice that these formats have been around for a while now, working on many different platforms and with many different applications. Keeping these files organized is a seemingly endless task, but at least there is little concern about losing access (as long as my backups remain solid). I do occasionally run across old music files that have strange DRM tied to them, but it’s easy enough to replace those. I won’t get into the vinyl > cassette > CD or Beta/VHS > DVD > Blu-ray conversation here, as it’s depressing how many times I’ve purchased and re-purchased the same content over the years.

I’ve been publishing this site for almost 15 years now and would love to have it available to future generations of my family. Web publishing isn’t free, though, and even with the recent switch to AWS, it’s still something that requires time and money to keep online. I should be mirroring the site on my workstation (which I used to do), so that if the public site eventually goes dark, at least the family could run it locally. WordPress, PHP and AWS upgrades (not to mention the issues around things like the RedHat/CentOS dustup this week) mean that online sites can’t really be “frozen” without active maintenance.

Website durability might be my hardest nut to crack…

Originally published by DK on December 10, 2020 at 11:54 pm

The Child on AWS

Posted Monday, December 7th, 2020 10:22 am GMT -5 in Disney,Technology at 10:22 AM

Disney and 7MM both know AWS is where it’s at

Originally published by DK on December 7, 2020 at 10:22 am

Amazon EC2 Mac Instances

Posted Monday, November 30th, 2020 10:33 pm GMT -5 in News,Technology at 10:33 PM

What’s next – cats and dogs, living together?

Originally published by DK on November 30, 2020 at 10:33 pm

Minnesota joins Apple/Google

Posted Sunday, November 22nd, 2020 09:22 pm GMT -5 in Links,Science,Technology at 9:22 PM

https://covidawaremn.com/

Originally published by DK on November 22, 2020 at 9:22 pm

This was handy

Posted Wednesday, November 18th, 2020 04:08 pm GMT -5 in Shopping,Technology at 4:08 PM

No postage returns @ Double Tree by Hilton, Saint Paul

Originally published by DK on November 18, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Queen of the Castle

Posted Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 09:35 pm GMT -5 in Pets,Technology at 9:35 PM

Back to chillin’ on the iMac

Originally published by DK on November 17, 2020 at 9:35 pm

Apple Silicon and Big Sur

Posted Sunday, November 15th, 2020 12:25 am GMT -5 in Mini Posts,News,Technology at 12:25 AM

I don’t really have a ton of comments on the new stuff this week:

  • The upgrade file for Big Sur is huge, then it asks for even more free space to install.
  • Happy it’s still free, but how exactly does that continue to work?
  • Upgraded my work MacBook Air on the first day, then my home iMac the next day. No big issues so far on either one – there was one alert about the Cisco AnyConnect client, but version 4.9.00086 seems to work fine.
  • Out of the gate, Big Sur seems very polished for a dot-0 release.
  • Speaking of 11: while I like the Spinal Tap reference, the end of the “X” is a little sad too.
  • Will the new Safari improvements get me to switch back from Chrome? Time will tell on that one…
  • Hoping the AirPod tradeoff process between devices works as promised, since I switch a lot these days.
  • Happy that Music and Photos survived the upgrade with no issues (and maybe even a little better performance?).
  • All of my old crusty menubar apps seem to work so far (Last.fm Scrobbler, Backblaze).
  • No issues with virtual desktops (i.e. – Mission Control), terminal sessions, Screen Sharing or iCloud Notes.
  • The Apple Silicon stuff is impressive – guessing my first one will be an iMac next year.
  • I would be clamoring for a new Air if they would’ve made the screen bezel smaller – that is the only thing I envy on our fleet of Dell XPS laptops.

In other Kingsbury Apple news, Colleen got her new Max on Friday and loves it. I’m still happy with my decision to get the smaller phone (and the iPad Pro for all of us to use as needed). Not really using the pencil, though (so far).

Originally published by DK on November 15, 2020 at 12:25 am

Phonezilla has arrived

Posted Saturday, November 14th, 2020 01:15 pm GMT -5 in Family,Shopping,Technology at 1:15 PM

“The best phone in the family”

Originally published by DK on November 14, 2020 at 1:15 pm

Well, that’s a new one

Posted Thursday, November 5th, 2020 10:21 am GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 10:21 AM

Shouldn’t it be “more than” an hour?

Originally published by DK on November 5, 2020 at 10:21 am

The secret to IT success

Posted Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 10:53 pm GMT -5 in Pop Culture,Technology,Television at 10:53 PM

It’s funny, but it’s also true

Originally published by DK on October 28, 2020 at 10:53 pm

Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro

Posted Sunday, October 25th, 2020 02:59 pm GMT -5 in Family,Longform,Shopping,Technology at 2:59 PM

It’s that time of year again – the iPhone Upgrade Program notified me that I could trade in my iPhone 11 Pro from last year for a new model. After reviewing the options, I decided to pre-order a 256GB Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro. My most important features continue to be the camera and battery life, but it turns out storage size wasn’t as big a deal as I thought last year. I jumped up to the 512GB version on the 11, but I wasn’t even using 100GB. I’m still a no-case guy, but the colors don’t really do anything for me one way or the other (same with the other new accessories).

The Apple Store app pre-order process is still very easy and I didn’t have any problems submitting it a week ago. Shipping notifications and tracking from UPS went as expected and the new phone was delivered on time Friday afternoon. I don’t mind the lack of a power adapter or “crapbuds” in the box, as I don’t need either. After losing my original pair of AirPods Pro, it has really become apparent how much you need wireless headphones in the Apple ecosystem. It’s just so much easier than having nineteen different adaptors and cables. I found it strange that there was no up-sell during the pre-order process from AT&T to move to a 5G plan, so I’ll have to change that on my own to test the 5G features (no real rush on that yet, as I don’t know about their local coverage, flavors of 5G or impact on battery life).

After unboxing the new phone, I did one final iCloud backup of the old one. The setup process on the new one required having the old phone nearby and started off smoothly, but I ended up having a bunch of issues this time around. The process did something to my watch, which didn’t initially unlock my iMac (but at least I didn’t lose any of my health data). One of my 2FA apps, Google Authenticator, didn’t transfer settings and I had to follow the directions in this post to help with that (TOTP Authenticator transferred seamlessly). My credit union app and debit card required a bunch of manual set up to restore, but my Apple Card transferred over with no issues. Tweetbot needed new auth tokens to work, my personal 7minutemiles.com email had to be re-authenticated, Siri CarPlay location services settings didn’t transfer and it took a long time to pull down all of the items from the iCloud backup.

I also had an issue with the new phone trusting my iMac, but that just turned out to be user error. I still do not like synching music and photos in the Finder instead of iTunes/Music, but I think I finally have things set up correctly now (there were a bunch of random songs selected for sync in the album tab of the music selection, even though I only wanted to sync by playlist). Very thankful that 1Password transferred over with no issues, as that is a vital service for me now. It’s weird reading a Matthew Panzarino iPhone review that didn’t involve a visit to Disneyland, but I guess that’s the reality of 2020. I do agree with him about the general feel of the 12 line versus the 11, but don’t really buy into the Rolex analogy.

Colleen is waiting for the Max, as she wants to have the “best” phone in the family. It will be interesting to see how the larger camera sensor in that model does with overall photo quality, but that one is just too big for my hands and pockets. I think MK wants a mini and SK is probably due for a new one as well. Onward!

Originally published by DK on October 25, 2020 at 2:59 pm

2020 Top 7 Online Reads

Posted Friday, October 23rd, 2020 12:35 pm GMT -5 in Mini Posts,News,Reading,Technology at 12:35 PM

Back in 2017, I posted my top 7 online publications. The list today has changed a little:

* paid subscriber

Originally published by DK on October 23, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Excited for Friday’s delivery

Posted Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 03:39 pm GMT -5 in Links,Photography,Shopping,Technology at 3:39 PM

http://austinmann.com/trek/iphone-12-pro-camera-review-glacier

Originally published by DK on October 20, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Bucky needs to be smarter

Posted Monday, October 19th, 2020 11:32 am GMT -5 in Business,Links,News,Politics,Technology at 11:32 AM

https://www.theverge.com/21507966/foxconn-empty-factories-wisconsin-jobs-loophole-trump

Originally published by DK on October 19, 2020 at 11:32 am

Use WordPress? Wordfence Live

Posted Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 02:41 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology,Video at 2:41 PM

Originally published by DK on October 6, 2020 at 2:41 pm

The iPhone camera is 💯

Posted Friday, September 18th, 2020 10:03 pm GMT -5 in Golf,Photography,Technology at 10:03 PM

Miracle in your pocket

Originally published by DK on September 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm

This is pretty cool

Posted Sunday, September 13th, 2020 09:48 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Sports,Technology at 9:48 PM

Move streak hit 150 days this week

Originally published by DK on September 13, 2020 at 9:48 pm

Well…how did I get here?

Posted Friday, September 11th, 2020 11:21 pm GMT -5 in Mini Posts,Technology,Work at 11:21 PM

 

es • o • ter • ic
ĕs″ə-tĕr′ĭk
adj. Intended for or understood by only a small group, especially one with specialized knowledge or interests: synonym: mysterious.

Mysterious?

Today was one of those days when I worked on so many strange things, I don’t know how I ever learned all this random stuff. I’m sure there are a million people that could step in and learn my job over time, but right now I don’t know what my colleagues will do if I get a fever and can’t go to work. I’m trying to diversify that risk through delegation, training and documentation, but there is a ton of specialization in our environment (which I’m sure is true for many other professions as well).

Seriously, though:

switchport access vlan 360
switchport mode access
power inline auto max 30000
spanning-tree portfast
service-policy output softmax

Who talks like that?

Originally published by DK on September 11, 2020 at 11:21 pm

Another nerd like me

Posted Saturday, August 29th, 2020 08:45 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 8:45 PM

https://www.chuq.me/blog/pouring-one-out-for-chuquicom

Originally published by DK on August 29, 2020 at 8:45 pm

RIP Apple Extreme, 2013-2020

Posted Thursday, August 27th, 2020 08:02 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 8:02 PM

I think this was a 6th generation, but I’m not 100% sure

Originally published by DK on August 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm

Making do with what we have

Posted Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 01:35 pm GMT -5 in Business,Technology,Work at 1:35 PM

The SSD drive upgrades do help

Originally published by DK on August 19, 2020 at 1:35 pm

Forgot about PROFS/OfficeVision

Posted Saturday, August 15th, 2020 08:23 pm GMT -5 in Business,History,Links,Technology at 8:23 PM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_OfficeVision

Originally published by DK on August 15, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Life After Zuckerberg

Posted Thursday, August 6th, 2020 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Personal,Pop Culture,Technology at 10:20 PM

It’s been two and a half months since I last posted to Instagram (and about two months since I officially deleted both my Facebook and Instagram accounts). It wasn’t that hard to give up Facebook – I really only used it to sync status with a couple of games, promote posts from this site and to communicate with more distant family members. Add to that all of the other reasons people don’t like Facebook and it became a pretty easy decision. Now I just need Two Dots to continue to improve the Facebook-free experience and I’ll be fine (LEADERBOARDS).

Instagram, on the other hand, was a much tougher decision for me. From what I can tell, it launched on iOS in October of 2010 and I posted my first image on Christmas Day 2010. The original pictures were 640×640 and I used Iain Poulson’s excellent Intagrate WordPress plugin for many years to automatically pull my pics from Instagram and create image posts on this site. Facebook purchased the service in April 2012, but largely left it independent (image sizes did increase to 1080×1080 in 2015).

Instagram is the de facto social media standard for restaurants and foodies, so that’s really what I used it for in the beginning. I don’t like accounts that post the same thing across all platforms, so I’d use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in specialized ways to help prevent overlap. Now that I’m only on Twitter, I initially tried to recreate some of that there, but I’m finding that I need to continue to prune my Twitter follow list and just move on from some things that I know I’m missing. Some examples: Instagram stories from Armon and Meredith, donut pictures from Erin and everything posted by my wife and daughters.

I finally finished merging all of the Instagram metadata they sent me in JSON format with the image files that I uploaded here. Also starting to get back to equilibrium on my main @kingsbury Twitter account (and will continue to use @7minutemiles to link to stories like this one). Really trying to get most of the politics out of my feed too – no real appetite for doomscrolling these days…

Originally published by DK on August 6, 2020 at 10:20 pm

Free tech training rules

Posted Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 06:02 pm GMT -5 in Schools,Technology at 6:02 PM

Thanks, Amazon

Originally published by DK on August 5, 2020 at 6:02 pm

The Al Michaels seat is 🔥

Posted Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 03:41 pm GMT -5 in Football,Technology,Work at 3:41 PM

Testing broadcast connections

Originally published by DK on July 28, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Sign up for COVID science

Posted Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 11:41 am GMT -5 in Links,Science,Technology at 11:41 AM

https://covid.joinzoe.com/us

Originally published by DK on July 28, 2020 at 11:41 am

The Transition to AWS Lightsail

Posted Sunday, July 26th, 2020 12:00 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Longform,Technology at 12:00 AM

After nine plus years of running this site on a Mac mini in a Las Vegas data center, I decided it was time to transition to the big leagues of cloud infrastructure. This world is dominated by Amazon, Microsoft and Google, all of which have a dizzying array of available services at various price points. I messed around with Amazon Web Services (AWS EC2) last year, when they were promoting a limited free tier for nerds to experiment and evaluate. This year I decided to give Lightsail a try, which is basically an easier-to-use, fixed-priced version of AWS that gives you a virtual cloud-based server.

As you can see in the screenshot of the Lightsail console above, I created an instance with 4GB of RAM, two virtual CPUs and 80GB of storage running in Virginia Zone A. I was tempted to just pick a version of Linux and manually compile and install the various components I wanted. In the end, though, I decided to go with the Bitnami WordPress stack (version 5.3.2-3), which gave me Ubuntu Linux 16.04.6, Apache 2.4.31, MySQL 8.0.18 and PHP 7.3.14 (i.e., the LAMP stack). Throw in phpMyAdmin and certbot and you have a good preinstalled foundation on which to built and troubleshoot. I also decided to switch my DNS management from DNS Made Easy to Amazon’s Route 53, but kept domain registration and management at Hover.

I’ve owned a Tenacious D themed domain name for some time now that I use for testing and initially used that when I signed up for Lightsail (“All of a sudden, there shined a shiny demon in the middle of the road.”). Amazon and Bitnami both have great tutorial and support pages and I also need to give a shoutout to Sanjeev at MetaBlogue, who wrote two very useful posts. Also found this post from Amazon to be very helpful for setting up new certs from Let’s Encrypt (who I love). Speaking of certs, I spent some time adjusting the Apache TLS settings to get an “A” rating from Qualys on their cool SSL test site.

It took a while to transfer 15 years worth of site files from the old server to my iMac, then on to the new instance. The database files were also quite large, requiring an increase in the file upload settings in PHP. Switching from the test domain to 7minutemiles.com seemed to go smoothly at first, but I had a problem with my theme files that took longer than I wanted to troubleshoot (it was a case-sensitive URL thing). All seems well now, though, and even my stupid emoji issue from December 2018 seems to have been resolved on the new server. Lightsail offers the ability to create snapshots of the instance (yay!) and it appears that Vaultpress is successfully backing up from the new server too.

Now on to those elusive mobile theme enhancements and new data entry screens…

Originally published by DK on July 26, 2020 at 12:00 am

82 days and counting

Posted Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 08:30 am GMT -5 in Personal,Sports,Technology at 8:30 AM

All three rings

Originally published by DK on July 7, 2020 at 8:30 am

Couldn’t believe it

Posted Monday, July 6th, 2020 01:37 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 1:37 PM

Restarted after return from vacation and it’s been fine so far, but nearly had an emotional breakdown

Originally published by DK on July 6, 2020 at 1:37 pm

The Art of Email

Posted Monday, June 22nd, 2020 10:12 pm GMT -5 in Business,Longform,Technology at 10:12 PM

When I first heard that the company behind Basecamp was going to release a new email product, I was skeptical. Many others have tried to improve on the pitfalls of email, but nothing has really stood out. I’ve gone through several phases of email management, both personally and professionally. Running your own email server is not for the faint of heart, but I very briefly tried to do that with a mix of Exim, Postfix and a few other tools that tried to deal with the huge amount of junk mail on the internet.

For my personal email, I got in early enough with Google that I get to use their current G Suite service for free. On the work side, one of the first decisions I made in my current job was to move to Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) instead of having an on-site Exchange server. So right now I use the Apple Mail clients for my 7minutemiles.com account and the Mac Outlook clients for work (I like to keep them separate and use both iOS and macOS apps). Spam prevention could be better (especially on the Microsoft side), but I’m mostly OK with my current setup and routine.

I’ve been a fan of Basecamp CTO (and Ruby on Rails creator) David Heinemeier Hansson for quite a while. I agree with a lot of his business philosophies (“It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work”) and he is usually a good follow on Twitter (just avoid the weeks when he is feuding with Apple). When DHH announced that they were doing a new email thing called Hey, I sent in a request to be one of the early adopters. When my invite code came last week, I grabbed kingsbury@hey.com and started to kick the tires.

Things were kinda hard to test out until I auto-forwarded my 7minutemiles.com traffic to this new account (custom domains are not yet supported). The video I watched from Basecamp CEO Jason Fried got me pretty excited about the features, so I was starting to think this might be worth $99 a year. They give you a free 14 day trial to test things out and here I sit with seven days left, an “Imbox” full of sample messages and a growing sense that this is not really for me. So, what are my main issues with Hey?

  • Just can’t seem to get into the right flow of managing messages in any of the client instances (web, iOS or macOS).
  • Privacy and “spy” trackers: Hey makes a big deal out of this, but you know what? Most of the emails flagged with this are from senders that I already opted in, so I don’t consider this an invasion of my privacy. From what I can tell, there is no way to tell Hey that I consider these OK. It’s a cool feature for junk mail, but I don’t want to see those messages at all.
  • Can’t even imagine what sort of infrastructure is required to store all of this data (email, file attachments, added metadata). Curious to see how this scales and how their privacy and security policies will work in practice.
  • The logo and overall design esthetic seems a bit…off to me. “Imbox” also rubs me the wrong way – looks like a mistake.

This would really only be worth $99 to me if I could move over my domain name, which they say is coming soon. Do I roll the dice and subscribe next week (both in anticipation of that feature and to keep the vanity address)? Most signs point to no – Google doesn’t charge me anything now and I’m mostly happy with how I manage email overall. I will keep messing with Hey until the trial expires, though. Who knows, maybe things will click in another day or two?

Originally published by DK on June 22, 2020 at 10:12 pm

iMac Kernel Panics

Posted Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 12:59 am GMT -5 in Longform,Shopping,Technology at 12:59 AM

If you’ve been following along with the upgrade saga of Mr. Jackpot, I’ve got good and bad news to report. The good news is that I think I’m finally back on track now, but the bad news is that I basically need to start all over from scratch. When we last left the story, I had the fan cable problem resolved and was busy clean installing all of my apps and re-building the Music library. This was progressing nicely – I had made my first pass through all of the old music files, adding only songs and albums I wanted to keep, along with finding or updating album artwork for every file. That was about as far as I made it before we went out of town for a few days. When I came back home, the iMac was on with the dreaded flashing question mark folder.

It didn’t seem like we had experienced a power outage, so I first tried a hard restart. The Apple logo appeared and the progress bar started across, but just before it reached the end, the screen went black and the iMac appeared to shut off. I connected the external clone drive I made of the original internal SSD and rebooted again holding down the option key. This brought up the screen that allows you to select which drive you want to boot from, so I selected the clone and hit enter. That made it through to the user login screen, followed by the multi-language kernel panic message. After that went away, the panic log window appeared:

panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff7f8e24b231): nvme: “Fatal error occurred. CSTS=0x1 US[1]=0x0 US[0]=0xb VID=0x126f DID=0x2262
. FW Revision=42A0S63A\n”@/AppleInternal/BuildRoot/Library/Caches/com.apple.xbs/Sources/IONVMeFamily/
IONVMeFamily-470.100.17/IONVMeController.cpp:5320
Backtrace (CPU 0), Frame : Return Address
0xffffff83cb2c39e0 : 0xffffff800c51f5cd
0xffffff83cb2c3a30 : 0xffffff800c658b05
0xffffff83cb2c3a70 : 0xffffff800c64a68e
0xffffff83cb2c3ac0 : 0xffffff800c4c5a40
0xffffff83cb2c3ae0 : 0xffffff800c51ec97
0xffffff83cb2c3be0 : 0xffffff800c51f087
0xffffff83cb2c3c30 : 0xffffff800ccc27ec
0xffffff83cb2c3ca0 : 0xffffff7f8e24b231
0xffffff83cb2c3cc0 : 0xffffff7f8e236362
0xffffff83cb2c3e20 : 0xffffff800cc33409
0xffffff83cb2c3e90 : 0xffffff800cc33329
0xffffff83cb2c3ec0 : 0xffffff800c561565
0xffffff83cb2c3f40 : 0xffffff800c561091
0xffffff83cb2c3fa0 : 0xffffff800c4c513e
Kernel Extensions in backtrace:
com.apple.iokit.IONVMeFamily(2.1)[1898DCFE-5C18-3D87-B9E7-DFC0D22FD7EE]@0xffffff7f8e228000->0xffffff7f8e26afff
dependency: com.apple.driver.AppleMobileFileIntegrity(1.0.5)[0425E074-601A-3487-A54F-1E675D065186]@0xffffff7f8cf87000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(2.9)[3C56BB73-D149-3E84-A2EB-DF806779B96C]@0xffffff7f8d101000
dependency: com.apple.driver.AppleEFINVRAM(2.1)[4E64E519-CD9C-3D03-8E62-1074E9AD54A7]@0xffffff7f8d309000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOStorageFamily(2.1)[E13E9C61-F1F5-3A81-B1EF-65669C3CBDBF]@0xffffff7f8ce65000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOReportFamily(47)[1FB49168-0280-3F04-A99A-F830C915E994]@0xffffff7f8d02f000

BSD process name corresponding to current thread: kernel_task

Mac OS version:
19F96

Kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 19.5.0: Thu Apr 30 18:25:59 PDT 2020; root:xnu-6153.121.1~7/RELEASE_X86_64
Kernel UUID: 7B7F06EE-1B75-345E-B898-2FD4FEC20F0D
Kernel slide: 0x000000000c200000
Kernel text base: 0xffffff800c400000
__HIB text base: 0xffffff800c300000
System model name: iMac18,2 (Mac-77F17D7DA9285301)
System shutdown begun: NO
Panic diags file available: YES (0x0)

This wasn’t super helpful while Googling, but I thought I could at least stay booted to the clone. Unfortunately, when I tried to launch Disk Utility and check the new internal SSD, the screen went black again and the iMac shut down. I tried this process several times and every single time it would eventually shut down. My initial thought was that the new RAM was bad, since it was happening on both internal and external drives and I had that happen once before when I worked at Northwest Airlines.

I sent Other World Computing a support request and went back to work using my phone and laptop. OWC didn’t reply to my initial support request, so a few days later I started an online support chat with them to ask about the status of my ticket. Even that took a few hours before someone popped up, but eventually a tech suggested I get a wired keyboard and try to 1) reset the PRAM and 2) boot into diagnostic mode.

Since I didn’t want to buy a new keyboard, I rode into work and borrowed an extra Windows keyboard. The PRAM reset (option-command-P-R) didn’t make any difference, but I was able to boot into diagnostic mode (hold the “D” key while starting up). It ran tests for about five minutes, but then came back with “No issues found. Reference Code: ADP000.” I left the machine up for about 30 minutes in that mode and it never kernel panicked. I tried to reset the SMC by unplugging the power for 15 seconds, then plugging it back in, but that made no difference. Lastly, I tried to boot into recovery mode (option-R) and was able to get as far as launching Disk Utility before it crashed. I did recovery mode one more time in an effort to launch the Catalina installer, but that also ended in a crash midway through installation.

I then talked to Armon (who was an Apple Genius when I hired him) and he said to try booting into verbose mode, then single user mode. When I did verbose mode (option-V), all of the usual junk appeared on the screen, then it switched back to the white Apple logo with the progress bar. It did finish all the way across, then launched a Catalina install screen (!?). That stayed up for about two minutes before crashing and shutting down. I got to the command prompt in single user mode (option-S), but when I tried to mount the drive (/sbin/mount -uw /), it kept displaying “disk2s1: device is write locked.” I then tried to use internet recovery mode (shift-option-command-R), which connected successfully to my WiFi network and loaded a disk image into memory without crashing. I started Disk Utility to reformat the internal SSD, but it did not appear in the window of available drives. Commands in Terminal couldn’t see it either. Huh.

At this point, I asked OWC support via email if this model could really support 32GB of RAM, as some online sites listed 16GB as the maximum. They told me that it could actually support up to 64GB of RAM and that they were highly suspect of the RAM being bad. I told him that I was going to open it back up and reinstall the stock RAM, then see what happened. I really didn’t want to go through that whole process again, but I really didn’t have any other option (aside from taking it somewhere like The Foundation). I spent an hour or so doing the surgery, then tried to boot up from the internal drive. Fingers crossed, but startup ended with yet another kernel panic. ARGH!

I did the surgery *again* and reinstalled both the new RAM and the old internal SSD. Fired it back up and it’s been running without a kernel panic for two days now. I emailed OWC and told them I needed to RMA the new SSD and I’m still waiting for a reply. I know they have a COVID note on their support page (“we are seeing increased levels of engagement across all of our customer contact systems”), but it’s been a bit disappointing to go through this experience. At least I’m getting very familiar with the inside of this particular model. Which, of course, means that there will definitely be an extra cool new iMac announced at WWDC

Originally published by DK on June 17, 2020 at 12:59 am

Hey, this isn’t Las Vegas

Posted Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 11:09 am GMT -5 in Business,Technology at 11:09 AM

Virtual Cisco Live! 2020

Originally published by DK on June 16, 2020 at 11:09 am

iMac Upgrades

Posted Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 11:02 pm GMT -5 in Longform,Shopping,Technology at 11:02 PM

After several months of frustration with managing my (admittedly) large collection of music and photos on our three-year-old iMac, I decided it was time to either look at a new machine or try to rebuild and optimize the current one. Since the new options I liked were all in the $3,000 or more category, I decided to research cheaper options with Mr. Jackpot, our 2017 21.5-inch Retina 4K model (iMac 18.2).

The 3GHz quad-core i5 processor should still be OK for a few more years and I really like the quality of the screen. I’ve been running just the standard 8GB of RAM, though, which seems meager now. For storage, I originally picked the 256GB SSD option internally, with two external 2TB drives connected via standard USB ports. My gut feeling was that this was now a major performance bottleneck, since the operating system was the only thing on the fast SSD and the photo library and music files were on the slower spinning disc drives with no Thunderbolt interfaces.

I’ve been a customer and fan of Other World Computing in Illinois for most of my IT career. I looked at the upgrade options for this model on their site and reviewed the excellent installation videos several times before deciding to place an order. My goal was to upgrade the RAM from 8GB to 32GB, replace the small internal SSD with their 2TB OWC Aura Pro X2 product, then find a suitable Thunderbolt 3 external SSD option. After consulting with my friend Terry, I opted for a non-OWC option, ordering the 2TB Samsung T5 Portable SSD from Amazon (which, of course, was just made obsolete a few days ago with a T7 version).

OWC rated these installs “skill level: advanced” and I was a little nervous. They provided all of the needed tools and parts, but it was still a challenging installation. Last Sunday was rainy anyways, so the timing for this project was spot on. It ended up taking most of the afternoon, with only one initial issue. The Torx screwdrivers OWC provides don’t have very big handles, so I needed to improvise the T8 by attaching a wrench for more torque to loosen the screws on the power unit (which also had some tricky cable connections). Once everything was apart, popping in the RAM and the SSD chips was easy. I reversed the process to close it back up, then started a clean install of macOS Mojave.

Mojave doesn’t have the greatest reputation right now. Personally, I haven’t had a lot of direct issues with it, but I’ve been carrying along a lot of cruft over the years by doing upgrades and not clean installs. I figured a lot of the issues I’ve had with photos and music are probably related to this, so I wanted to make backups of everything (in multiple places), create a clean install of the operating system, load the latest versions of my applications, then copy over personal files. Time Machine was used for backup number one, Carbon Copy Cloner was used for backup number two (and to create a bootable external drive) and Backblaze was used for backup number three.

Finding license codes for my purchased software took a bit of time. Some companies do a great job of helping with this (thanks, Panic), while others sent me emails after purchase that I archive. It’s interesting how many apps are now subscription services – you just need to remember your credentials to log in, download and activate those products (which now include all of the Office 365 apps, Photoshop Creative Cloud and services like Backblaze). The App Store for Mac remembers your purchases made via that sales channel, so those were easy. Had to use my Cisco login to get access to the AnyConnect VPN client, but otherwise I was able to get everything back in an hour or so. I did end up upgrading 1Password to the latest version, which is also now subscription based.

One area that I need to spend more time on is iCloud. So many things are now tied my AppleID, but it seems like the process is cleaner on iOS than it is on the Mac. I’ve used iCloud for contacts and calendars since it was introduced, but only recently upgraded to the 2TB storage tier for iPhone backups and iCloud Drive usage. I apparently also used my Google Apps account for synching some contacts and calendars, so I need to get that sorted out (and all moved under iCloud). Throw in Facebook and Office 365 integration and my Contacts app is a disaster right now. I do really like how iCloud Drive works, so I will likely move most of my non-media files to that. Also a big fan of using iCloud with the Notes app – super easy to share across devices and basically replaces Stickies for me.

As I progressed with the customization of the new SSDs, I wasn’t very happy with performance. I couldn’t figure out what the issue was, so I turned on the screen saver and went for a walk. When I got back, the machine locked up on me and I had to do a hard power reset to get it to reboot. I noticed the middle of the screen was really hot, so I went back to the install videos and realized I might’ve missed plugging the fan back in. I downloaded the free version of Macs Fan Control and sure enough, the fan was not spinning (and all the temp indicators were high). Guessing the heat was throttling the CPU performance, so it was back to the screen removal tool to pop back inside and reconnect the cable. Thankfully, I was able to reach it without having to take everything apart again. It’s been blazing fast (and cool) ever since and now I’m a very happy camper.

There is still a lot of work ahead of me, but everything is humming along. I’ve started to rebuild the music library using Music, with the files stored on the external Samsung. So far I’ve just downloaded past purchases and ripped a couple of new CDs, but my old library will get added next. I turned off all of the Apple Music and online syncing stuff and performance seems to be fine. I’m hoping Photos running on the internal SSD will also work better, but I haven’t started that yet. Also hoping I don’t need to reset my iPhone to factory default to get photo sync to work correctly in the Finder, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Isn’t technology grand?

Originally published by DK on May 20, 2020 at 11:02 pm

A rainy day project

Posted Sunday, May 17th, 2020 05:06 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 5:06 PM

Replacing the RAM and SSD – “advanced”

Originally published by DK on May 17, 2020 at 5:06 pm

Happy Birthday Apple Watch

Posted Friday, April 24th, 2020 09:46 am GMT -5 in Design,Links,Technology at 9:46 AM

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/apple-watch-fifth-anniversary

Originally published by DK on April 24, 2020 at 9:46 am

Totally forgot about this one

Posted Friday, April 3rd, 2020 10:25 pm GMT -5 in History,Technology at 10:25 PM

PowerBook 5300cs

Originally published by DK on April 3, 2020 at 10:25 pm

Empty stadium, empty office

Posted Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 12:43 pm GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 12:43 PM

Not too shabby

Originally published by DK on April 1, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Survived the first night

Posted Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 12:40 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Technology at 12:40 PM

CPAP for sleep apnea (and the snore score)

Originally published by DK on March 31, 2020 at 12:40 pm

7 Minute Miles Turns 14

Posted Monday, March 30th, 2020 08:00 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Mini Posts,Personal,Technology at 8:00 AM

It’s blog birthday time again – the first 7 Minute Miles post appeared on this domain fourteen years ago today.

Current stats:

  • 11,119 Posts
  • 208 Pages
  • 41,174 unique visitors in 2019
  • 2,169,487 pages displayed in 2019

Currently running WordPress 5.3.2 with my custom theme and 19 plugins on the old Mac mini server colocated in Las Vegas. Favorite plugins: Wordfence Security, VaultPress, Intagrate and Really Simple SSL (with a Let’s Encrypt cert managed via Certbot). Still want to write some custom data entry forms for the golf, run and bike pages, but those (along with making the theme more mobile friendly) have still not made it off the to-do list. Also never figured out the solution to the weird SSL/emoji issue.

Haven’t changed the overall site structure much this year, adding only a new Concerts page that I’m experimenting with using the Vimeo hosting platform. I made some major updates to the Résumé page and just realized that the Biography page now needs a refresh too. After prepping photo boards for funerals in back-to-back months, I should also spend some time on updating the Photos section. I finally moved our Christmas samplers to online-only last year and might do a Hummel section soon too (hit me up if you need any).

As always, thanks for visiting and stay safe out there!

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2020 at 8:00 am

I’m just like Star Wars

Posted Friday, March 27th, 2020 01:29 pm GMT -5 in Disney,Movies,Technology at 1:29 PM

That’s pretty cool, actually – WTG, Let’s Encrypt

Originally published by DK on March 27, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Johns Hopkins Dashboard

Posted Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 07:33 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 7:33 PM

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Originally published by DK on March 17, 2020 at 7:33 pm

Entry-level nerds needed

Posted Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 11:40 am GMT -5 in Links,Technology,Work at 11:40 AM

https://www.usbankstadium.com/connect-with-us/employment

Originally published by DK on March 3, 2020 at 11:40 am

THE most powerful tool

Posted Friday, February 21st, 2020 03:40 pm GMT -5 in Family,History,Personal,Technology at 3:40 PM

I wonder if that IIc in the corner will boot up

Originally published by DK on February 21, 2020 at 3:40 pm
 

Personal Records & Mileage

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  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Full - 3:43:32
  • 50K - 7:37:00
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