Services on tolaris.com are back online after being down since late November 2018. Part of the problem was hardware failure, which I solved by moving to Google Compute Engine. But I also needed to apply long-overdue updates to the OS (Ubuntu 12.04 precise to 18.04 bionic), deprecate some older applications (Gallery, Piwigo), and catch up on our Christmas card!
I am about to leave on a business trip, which means I once again have to deal with hotel WiFi. I don’t like WiFi in hotels for two reasons – they almost never provision enough network capacity, and they usually have some kind of irritating captive portal system.
Captive portals often have frustrating limitations, like only allowing a small number of devices on the same login, or regularly requiring those devices to login again to the portal. On top of that, hotel WiFi often uses AP isolation (preventing clients from talking to each other directly) or other issues that make Google Chromecast not work. And finally, configuring all my devices to use the different WiFi settings in each location is tedious.
After creating my own Retropie, I built another one as a surprise gift for my friend Mark. Behold, the MegaPie!
About a year ago, I built my own RetroPie, a Raspberry Pi retro gaming machine that runs just about every video game published more than 10 years ago. Perhaps you’d like to build your own?
Here is how I built mine. I use it to run games from the Arcade (MAME), Commodore 64, Famicom and Famicom Disk System, Game Gear, Game Boy (+ Color, Advance), Neo Geo, NES, PC Engine (+ CD), Sega Genesis/MegaDrive (+ CD, 32X), Sega Master System, SNES, and Vectrex. But it supports many more.
The question of “who to trust with my personal/private data” comes up a lot when you work for Google.
Caveats: I work for Google; you should consider my bias. I drunk the Kool-aid the day I accepted the job offer. These opinions are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer.
Habits are more effective than laws. When you consider to whom you should entrust your data – Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, governments, etc – ask yourself what that entity’s record is on respecting your privacy and acting ethically. Not just “within the bounds of the law” but “does the right thing, even when it is hard”.
I’ve temporarily fixed the SSL cert on tolaris.com by rolling back to an older still-valid cert that lacks some DNS names I don’t really need. In the next few months, I intend to upgrade this server and then configure Let’s Encrypt. I’ve had enough of manually dealing with SSL certs.
Thanks to everyone who warned me that my SSL certificate is broken. I’ll find a new issuer soon.
This happened because Google and Mozilla have distrusted my SSL issuer, StartSSL, for very good reasons. I was unaware of this action – StartSSL apparently took no effort to warn its customers – until the warning appeared in recent releases of their browsers.
Shame on you, Wosign and StartSSL.
I’m seeking a new TV. This is a hard problem because my use case is atypical (I can’t imagine why), and because the features that interest me are not in the comparison matrix of most sites.
My user stories:
- I want to watch Plex, Netflix, Youtube, and iPlayer.
- I want a 10-foot interface (sit on sofa, use remote control) for most watching.
- I want to Chromecast/Google Cast at any time. I want the TV to switch automatically from whatever it is doing once casting starts.
- I don’t care about broadcast / freeview. I will never use this.
- I want good sound, and am willing to buy a sound bar.
- I want to play Wii, and will soon upgrade to a Wii U.
If you are like me, you are notified of both email and syslog errors from your Linux hosts. If you aren’t, you don’t know what’s wrong with your computers. But if you are, you sometimes have to deal with noise, like this totally useless message:
From: Anacron <email@example.com>
Subject: Anacron job 'cron.daily' on host
gzip: stdin: file size changed while zipping
This is caused by a logrotate definition using “compress” without “delaycompress”. The error message is especially unhelpful because it doesn’t contain the filename causing the problem, due to the way logrotate invokes gzip as a pipeline.
It’s that time again! $happy $holidays, everyone! We have a special card just for you:
After years of fun with the “madlib”-style card, we tried something very different this year!