Meanwhile, several months later…

I’m not sure if I should continue paying for this blog. It costs a couple of hundreds bucks a year to host and I rarely post to it. Mostly what I use it for is the shortcuts I have on the main page and a few times referring a previous post to help me remember certain events. Like when did I get my last cat, when did I get the car before the one I’m driving? It’s useful for me on that level, but not much more than that.

I’ve already paid for another year of hosting, but I’m thinking of not auto renewing it next year and just letting this die off. It would be something else if I actually posted more often and shared things that are actually useful to others. But I’m not posting anything useful. Tips or tricks? There are tons and tons of them out there already. There is no need for me to throw in something on my own unless it could be wrapped up in something unique. I’m not sure I have that in me any more. Perhaps I’ll change my mind, but for now, I’m thinking not.

I started this blog years and years ago – way before word press and blogging was a thing. I tried various ideas to make the blog something useful for myself but others as well. Okay, perhaps not useful, but at least possibly interesting.  If you go back and review the years I’ve been posting there are obvious gaps in posts. Sometimes months (as in the recent gap) have gone by and I’ve not bothered to post any thing. I could have. I could have written more on my 4K experience and now that I have updated my main television from a 60 inch LCD to a 55 inch OLED and how much it amazes me to see the difference. I could have written the only reason I did this was due to the fact that I would be able to sell my 60″ and offset the price a bit, but also that it was such a bargain (less than $2k) where others were well into the $3K and $4K ranges. I could mention that my brother in law is not doing so well, that another hurricane threatened my family  down in SC and so on. I didn’t, but could have.

I have no motivation to write in my blog at all any more. And it’s not like I’m spending all my time posting on other things like FaceBook or Twitter either. I’m spending less and less time on those platforms. Mostly because I’m tired of seeing the post where God is great or Hillary sucks, or Donal Trump is a great president or illustrations where he is being himself – I have no respect for him either before nor after his taking office. I’ve never been so embarrassed for this country and I’m currently feeling. I can only go on FB once or twice per week (unless something is happening and I’m keeping track of family). Otherwise I’ll go a long time without it and not missing it at all. However, I cannot give up facebook at this time as I have too many reasons to keep my account active. I’m happy for you if you find meaning in your life by believing in a god. I’m happy if you find meaning in your life if you don’t. I’m happy if you support trump and are happy with the results, or if you don’t have you have no reason to believe in this country. I don’t care about those things and I’m going to stop following you.

Is this my last post onto my blog? I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I may start winding it down. I may move it to my own hardware to host it as I’m not getting any traffic beyond the bots that look for items. Perhaps it’s time for a new reboot, time to focus my attention to something else. Time to make what I do count more for me. I’m doing some “soul searching” I guess you can say but not out of depression or anything like that. It’s just time for a change. We’ll just have to see where things go from here.

Getting a bit more into the 4K video world

A few weeks ago I updated my Apple TV to the latest 4K model. I didn’t have a 4K display or TV yet, but it works fine on standard 1080p. It has updated internals so it’s a bit more responsive and the remote is better than the old one. Of course I now want to update my TV in the living room, but I’m holding off on that. Perhaps I’ll get a bit of a bonus or increase that will offset the cost a bit. Looking for a mid-range unit so I’ll research the options.

However, I did go low to low mid range for updating the TV in my bedroom. And it’s 4K, but slightly smaller in screen size than the 12 year old I had in there.  Of course another Apple TV 4K had to be ordered and that should be arriving the day I write this posts.

Work is good and still challenging. In fact I just spent about 4 hours trying to get a new server and software setup. We’re looking to maybe use Snipe-IT for asset tracking. This will replace the IBM Notes based application that has been in use for quite a long time. I’ll be happy to get rid of that damn thing too as I didn’t develop it and it is very confusing to maintain the design. Yuck.

The next few weeks are going to be very busy for me. This coming week will be the most quiet, followed by a few days the next week with guests from Germany. The the following week a business trip and that will be followed the following week with a much longer business trip, followed quickly by a wedding weekend and a few days of vacation with my oldest sister and her grand kids.

Of course to prepare for my guests, I’ll move my old bedroom TV into the guest room and hook up one of the older Apple TVs. I don’t have a cable tv service so it will have to do.

Mac Pro still running fine on Old SSD, Time Machine backups, Work workload…

Mac Pro Issues (resolved for now)

I’ve not been able to spend a lot of time working on figuring out the SSD issues, but I’ve pretty much just settled back on my Mac Pro drive that came with the machine. I wish it had more space, but for now, I’ll just use external storage to keep things under control. I tried to see if I could use the 1 TB SSD as an external USB connected drive, but it’s not even seen when I plug it in. For the moment, I’ll set it aside and come back to it.

Time Machine Backups going to NAS

Yesterday, while off from work, I decided to see if I could use my Synology NAS as a target for my Time Machine backups. I found some instructions on line but couldn’t get it to work using another “user” account on the device. However, I did find a way to add a quota to the shared folder and I was able to use my existing account yet limit the TM data from extending and using too much space. I also decided to add the shared folder to my TM configuration instead of replacing which means I’ll have two backups for each machine. This will allow one to fail and I’m still covered.

Workload at Work

Work continues to pile up. Not a bad thing, I’m keeping busy, but it seems like every time I turn around there is something else to do. Yes, this is good, but at times I start by feeling overwhelmed and that is adding some stress. I’ll need to work on things to make it easier to handle and work through my last 10 or so years of work (if I’m lucky and can afford to retire some day). I’m still loving my job, just have to keep things in check.

24 Hours later, Mac Pro is running fine

I’ve been working at the Mac Pro for a while today and a few hours yesterday.  My testing has been watching some Podcast videos while doing other things like moving files around and trimming up the content on the old SSD. So far, the symptoms faced before like stuttering and sluggish mouse cursor are not showing themselves. Not sure if this is a timing issue or not, but so far evidence is pointing to the OWC Aura 1 TB SSD.

I’m going to repeat some thing that have caused panic reports in the past while running on the other drive to be sure, but I need to stop using my machine long enough to do that. Once files have moved, backups have been done, I’ll reboot a few time.

Mac Pro still sick! New NAS

Mac Pro

I’ve put my original Apple storage back into the machine, temporarily removing the 1 TB Aura SSD from OWC. Not sure if it will resolve my issues, but it will tell me if the drive I’m using is at fault or if it is something else. I’m really hoping it is something else so I can take advantage of the Aura’s drive space. Otherwise I have to move things around which isn’t fun.

As I write this quick post, my Mac is being restored to a Time Machine back up from an hour or two ago. I hope I can determine things today so I can make some decisions soon.

Synology 918+

I’ve added a new Synology NAS (network attached storage) to my network and so far I’m loving it. So far I’ve only add 3 hard drives to the system. A new 4 TB drive, plus an older 2 TB and 3 TB drives. Eventually I’ll have it loaded with all 4 TB or higher drives. Although I have about 9 TB of drives in it right now, only about 4.75 TB is available for use as I’m using some RAID for data protection. Basically when I’m ready to update a drive, i can just pull one of them out and plug in a new one. The system will incorporate the new drive and restore the data on it’s own. I also put in two 250 GB Samsung 960 SSD (solid-state drives) that act as cache. They help in writing and reading to the spinning drives and are setup as RAID 1 (mirroring). In case something happens, the data is safe. Today, I’ll attempt to take the 4 GB memory up to 16 GB memory – just have to shut it down and install it.

I chose to go with the Synology because of great reviews and it’s capabilities. I’ve already moved my Plex media server to it but I’ll also be able to setup and run virtual machines. There are also great number of applications from business, development and media serving.

Mac Pro issues resolve (I hope!)

For the last few weeks I’ve noticed that my Mac Pro (late 2013, cylinder style) has been sluggish, mouse skipping, video playback choppy. After a reboot it seemed to be fine for a while but then it slowly went back to this behavior. I couldn’t right out say what was the cause and there were several things that happened at once that it could have been. The storage replacement and new OS happened around the same time because one relied on the other. And to add to it, during a shutdown request (or reboot) the system would always reboot and show a shutdown error. Checking the logs gave me to the clues to try and resolve.

When trying to find out why NVME was causing a kernel panic on shutdown, I was lead to the solution – unfortunately it required a reformat of my main system disk. I did everything I could to avoid having to do that, but in then end it was the cleanest and so far the best solution. The issue was due to an error that was being reported when I check the APFS container. It would always say everything appears OK with the drive, but there was a line in the results that would indicate an over allocation. Basically the drive within the container said it had a bit more space than was physically possible. The only way to fix that was a reformat of the OWC Aura Pro X SSD. It was a bit of a pain, but with an up to date Time Machine backup, the worse part was the 2 hours or so it took to get back to a working system. Overall it was an easy thing (at least for me) and it seems to be much more stable than before. I’ll be putting a pretty big load on the machine today to test things out and see how much of the 64GB of memory I can use with running apps.

 

Another DAS Keyboard Professional 4!

I’ve put it off long enough. I decided to enhance my typing on the Mac to a new level and went from the Apple Keyboard to the DAS Keyboard mentioned before. I decided to spend another $150 on this new keyboard because my old one is awesome. It’s dedicated to my work laptop while at home. But why did I not try someone else? Because I think the service I got when my cat chewed through the cable was excellent! Not only was the technician helpful and understanding as I explained my situation, but found a “cable lying around” and sent it to me at no charge – not even postage!

I didn’t get the “Mac” version of the keyboard though, just the normal windows one. It works fine on the Mac, although the keys are swapped (the Generic Windows/Command) could be moved with the Alt key, but I don’t think it’s that important. I do have some keystrokes that are different on Windows versus Mac and that will take some getting used to, though I also had this problem on the Mac keyboard as well. I want to use the CTRL-Left or Right to move between words and it doesn’t quite work that way.

I still prefer to use the track pad with the Mac over the mouse. I have a magic mouse that I rarely use. In fact I only use it to see if I can use it and then put it back into the drawer.

Outlook Rollout at work commencing / New SSD is now up and running / DAS Keyboard cable replaced

Implementing MS Outlook at Work

I’m not actually doing any of the conversion or migration work, but I’m doing my best to support the one who is. I try to grab what tickets I can do and of course answer the questions that come in. No matter how many emails and posts we provide there are those who don’t know what’s going on and need help. There are types of people who don’t care how things are supposed to work only that they do. These are the types of people who will pretty much receive and send email, accept invitations and maybe bother with filing emails into folders. Then there are types of people who want to do it all. They assign new quick steps, try to create new shortcut keys for repeating task, the whole works. Then there are those in the middle who want to do a bit more but still only use about 30% of the functionality. It’s touch to come up with solutions that help all these people. In general, the younger the employees, the more they’ll do with the tools. The older ones tend to do it only because they have no choice.

In the US, we have a few more weeks of migration, then we start migrating the rest of the Americas (North and South). The rest of the world has either started or will be starting in February for the full roll out. It’s challenging but it’s also a bit rewarding too.

New SSD is finally working in my Mac Pro

In my last post I talked about the issues with the replacement SSD I got from OWC (MacSales.com). This was to replace another SSD card that I had used to upgrade my Mac Pro 2013 last year. When I attempted to work on the before I couldn’t get it to be seen no matter what I did. After filing a support request and waiting a couple of extra days, I finally got a response. I decided to give it the old college try once again and sure enough by the time I was finished and actually issuing the right start up command keyboard sequence the drive was found and I’m currently running on that. I creating this post on my laptop though because I’m having to move my home folder from an external spinner to the SSD I just installed. I will keep everything just in case I need to revert back to it, but I think I’ll be good for a while.

The main mistake I was making was to hold the Command+Option+R key down for recovery. I was holding the Command+R down and since there was no drive in the machine it was reaching out to the internet to download and run a disk image from there. However, it wasn’t pulling down the right recovery console as expected, but the one for the OS of the machine when I got it. By holding down the Command+Option+R, I was able to get the right recovery tools and was able to see the drive in the provided disk utility in that version. Once I saw it, I was able to then use the restore from Time Machine backup to the new SSD and I have my full system back. Now it’s just moving my home folder back to the SSD so I can get the best performance from it.

DAS Keyboard replacement cable

The USB cable needed to repair my DAS Keyboard came a couple of days ago in the mail. Looking at the cable, it appeared to be a standard USB 3 Micro-B with some extra stuff to secure it in place on the keyboard. I would have discovered this before had I only completely pull the cable the first time I took the keyboard apart. It had a blob of plastic holding it in place (like hot glue) so I didn’t since the keyboard was actually still working (at times). In any case, I was able to take the cable the support team provided (at no costs to me by the way!) and fix the keyboard. Before installing, I put a pretty heavy coat of dishwashing liquid soap on it to deter the cat from biting and chewing it. Tech wise, things are looking up for a bit!