7 Minute Miles

Web3 is going just great

Posted Friday, May 6th, 2022 10:39 am GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 10:39 AM

https://web3isgoinggreat.com/

Originally published by DK on May 6, 2022 at 10:39 am

Really wish you wouldn’t, M$

Posted Friday, April 1st, 2022 12:13 pm GMT -5 in Business,Technology at 12:13 PM

People are confused enough by regular malware (wait, is this malware?)

Originally published by DK on April 1, 2022 at 12:13 pm

Missed the actual milestone

Posted Saturday, March 19th, 2022 12:17 am GMT -5 in Sports,Technology at 12:17 AM

…but 700 move days is still something

Originally published by DK on March 19, 2022 at 12:17 am

A Four ACRE Screen (!)

Posted Thursday, March 17th, 2022 12:35 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Links,Technology at 12:35 PM

https://lasvegassun.com/news/2022/mar/14/msg-spheres-vast-digital-displays-taking-shape-jus/

Originally published by DK on March 17, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Breaking in the new laptop

Posted Sunday, March 6th, 2022 05:34 pm GMT -5 in Art,Pop Culture,Technology at 5:34 PM

Valhalla, the 14-inch MacBook Pro

Originally published by DK on March 6, 2022 at 5:34 pm

Nerd access restored ✅

Posted Tuesday, March 1st, 2022 11:23 pm GMT -5 in Games,Movies,Pop Culture,Technology at 11:23 PM

Temporarily lost access to my Star Wars Card Trader account because of Facebook

Originally published by DK on March 1, 2022 at 11:23 pm

Google Apps to iCloud Mail

Posted Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022 11:10 pm GMT -5 in Longform,Technology at 11:10 PM

Back on my birthday, The Verge reported what I heard was rumored to be coming: the service formerly known as Google Apps for Domains would no longer be free to early adopters like me. Now known as G Suite legacy free edition, it was originally a great way to get free email hosting using Gmail’s infrastructure.

At one point, I probably was admin on 7 or 8 domains that used this service – most of which were not businesses. In addition to my personal 7minutemiles.com email address, I also set up email for both kid one and kid two on their personal domains, along with a few charity and friend domains whose websites I hosted. Sure Google would mine the data in your email, but I thought that was a fair trade for good spam filtering and not having to manage my own mail servers (which I did for several painful years).

Google may change course for some users like me (after getting a lot of “feedback” on this plan), but I decided to start looking for alternatives. If I wanted to stay with Google’s Workspace product, the cheapest Business Starter plan was $6 per user per month. Many people like the Microsoft 365 options, which start at $5 per user per month (or $150 a year if you also want to get the Office apps). Lots of other services too at many different price points and service options. What to do, what to do?

I’ve been an iCloud customer for a few years now, first as a cloud backup tool for my iPhone, then expanding to lots of other uses: Photos, Notes, Calendars, Contacts and file storage via iCloud Drive. It really makes using multiple Apple devices much more productive. I paid for a 2TB plan with Family Sharing, so everyone in our family could have their phones backed up automatically. We had a free trial Apple TV+ account, then started experimenting with a paid Apple Music account. When the Apple One plan was announced, it was cheaper for me to switch to that. Turns out that gave me iCloud+ and the ability to use custom email domains with iCloud Mail. Intriguing…

With the Google May 1 and July 1 deadlines looming, I decided I needed to start early on a migration plan. Email addresses are tied to so many things these days, you can’t really just throw them away and start over from scratch. I wasn’t super concerned or worried about retaining old emails, but the mailbox on my personal account was 7.25GB in size (and must contain *some* things I want to keep). A few of the accounts I was still admin for weren’t being used any longer and could just be deleted. The three family domains were the ones that needed a plan. Here’s what I ended up doing for each one:

  • Logged in to Google Takeout and downloaded all Mail data in MBOX format for each account.
  • Logged in to icloud.com, clicked on Account Settings and then the Manage button in the Custom Email Domain section.
  • Followed the directions on this page, then read up about the needed changes to DNS on this page.
  • Since I use the Route 53 service on AWS for DNS these days, I had issues getting the Apple-supplied DNS information to work at first, but this great post by Dale Clifford helped solve that puzzle.
  • Once Route 53 was changed correctly, logged back into icloud.com to finish setting up the domain in Account Settings.

After iCloud confirmed each domain was ready to go, I needed to turn on iCloud Mail on each device we wanted to use. This was troublesome for kid one and kid two, as you need to have a default iCloud Mail address defined before it will let you use your custom domain name account (i.e. – I also have davidmkingsbury@icloud.com, which doesn’t ever get used). We kept getting various errors setting that part up for them, but eventually a random iCloud Mail name took for each of them and sending and receiving worked right away on their custom domains.

We still need to take their MBOX files from the Google Takeout exports and import them to their new accounts, but that can wait for now. For my domain, I found that I could be connected to both the old Google mailboxes via IMAP and the new iCloud hosted mailboxes (also via IMAP) in Apple Mail on my laptop, then just drag and drop messages from old to new. This took a lot of time for thousands of messages, but I also didn’t have to manually re-sort messages after importing from the large MBOX file.

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this very long post. I haven’t done a long form post in quite a while, but it’s always good to document stuff like this for the random one in a billion person who might stumble across it while Googling for help on formerly great Google services…

Onward!

Originally published by DK on February 22, 2022 at 11:10 pm

Route 53 DNS & iCloud+ Mail

Posted Monday, February 21st, 2022 09:58 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 9:58 PM

View at Medium.com

Originally published by DK on February 21, 2022 at 9:58 pm

Assistant to the Assistant

Posted Saturday, January 15th, 2022 08:54 am GMT -5 in Links,Technology,Work at 8:54 AM

https://fourseasons.wd3.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/search/job/Minneapolis/Assistant-IT-Manager_REQ10233293

Originally published by DK on January 15, 2022 at 8:54 am

Planet-incinerating Ponzi grifters

Posted Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 08:32 am GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 8:32 AM

https://www.stephendiehl.com/blog/against-crypto.html

Originally published by DK on January 5, 2022 at 8:32 am

Poor cable management

Posted Monday, December 27th, 2021 08:51 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 8:51 PM

But Cisco + fiber + Cat6 is good

Originally published by DK on December 27, 2021 at 8:51 pm

My own personal IDF

Posted Saturday, December 11th, 2021 10:36 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Technology at 10:36 PM

…or would that be an MDF?

Originally published by DK on December 11, 2021 at 10:36 pm

I should pay closer attention

Posted Sunday, November 28th, 2021 05:31 pm GMT -5 in Business,Cars,Technology at 5:31 PM

Just learned about Rivian today – interesting stuff

Originally published by DK on November 28, 2021 at 5:31 pm

Securing your digital life

Posted Saturday, November 13th, 2021 10:47 pm GMT -5 in Links,Technology at 10:47 PM

https://arstechnica.com/features/2021/10/securing-your-digital-life-part-1/

Originally published by DK on November 13, 2021 at 10:47 pm

Very happy I picked this up

Posted Wednesday, November 10th, 2021 06:48 pm GMT -5 in Shopping,Technology at 6:48 PM

The Belkin BOOST↑CHARGE™ PRO 3-in-1 Wireless Charger with MagSafe – pricey, but awesome

Originally published by DK on November 10, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Top 7 Brands

Posted Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 01:31 pm GMT -5 in Business,Fashion,Mini Posts,Personal,Shopping,Technology at 1:31 PM

I’ve turned into a marketing executive’s dream. Here are seven of my current favorite brands:

  • Apple
  • Descente
  • Disney
  • Johnston and Murphy
  • Mizuno
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Sony

Most of those have been on the list for years and years too…

Originally published by DK on November 9, 2021 at 1:31 pm

Now Hiring – Inquire Within

Posted Saturday, October 9th, 2021 10:16 am GMT -5 in Business,Football,Links,Technology,Work at 10:16 AM

https://recruiting.adp.com/srccar/public/RTI.home?c=1152751&d=ExternalCareerSite&r=5000780763706#/

Originally published by DK on October 9, 2021 at 10:16 am

Verified Cat 6 ✅

Posted Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 11:04 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Personal,Technology at 11:04 AM

Pre-drywall meeting was a success

Originally published by DK on September 14, 2021 at 11:04 am

Data center cleanup day #1

Posted Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 10:55 am GMT -5 in Technology,Work at 10:55 AM

The first of many, I’m sure

Originally published by DK on August 17, 2021 at 10:55 am

New Music Day

Posted Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 08:07 pm GMT -5 in Business,Music,Shopping,Technology at 8:07 PM

Still trying to figure how best to use Apple Music, but this was nice

Originally published by DK on August 4, 2021 at 8:07 pm

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