As everybody knows, console cables and their corresponding interfaces are a scourge on a network administrators existence. They are always too short, COM-ports get renumbered, Baud-rates are unknown, etc. By their very nature, you also have to be physically present in the vicinity of the box you’re trying to configure. Today we’re going to change all that, by constructing a wireless console cable adaptor with almost infinite range.
I can almost here people shouting something about SSH and Telnet to their screens, as well as something about the Airconsole. First and foremost, telnet and SSH are both wonderful, after you’ve configured the device, but for initial setup, they sadly can’t be used. Airconsole is quite nice, and I use it almost daily, but it’s useful when you want to sit somewhere comfortable when configuring a device in the same room as you, not so much when you want to be comfortable on a beach half a world away from the offending device.
This we’re going to change today, with one device, the B+B SmartFlex router.
If you haven’t noticed already, I have something of a thing for everything time synchronization related. “Proper”, exact time is something that I find important, it’s probably OCD related.
As a part of my day job, I manage a quite large network, with hundreds of different devices. And all of these require some method to synchronize their clocks. Anyone who has at some point tried to diagnose a network problem knows how absolutely critical it is to have proper time available at the devices, so that you for example have any chance to compare logs etc.
The 2920 series switches from HPE/Aruba has a special feature that no other switches in the old ProCurve/E-Series line-up has; dedicated stacking interfaces. On other HPE switches, stacking merely facilitates “simplified” management, by allowing you to manage any switch in the stack from the stack commander’s CLI. On the 2920 series however, you can use dedicated stacking interfacing, giving you 2 20 Gbps links to other switches in the stack and merging two to four switches into one coherent switch. This is quite similar on how stacking works on some Cisco models, but the specialized stacking interfaces gives you higher speeds between the members. In this article, I’ll show you have to set up the commander switch and how to add switches to the stack once it’s created. I’ll also go into how it affects the configuration of the switches, which is quite crucial if you want to stack switches that are already in production.
So, you guys seem to have liked my Techniworm Mochamaster tutorial (I won’t lie, that article outperforms every other article on this site by a factor of 10). I started thinking about what I could write next, and it occurred to me, the French Press! Second only to espresso, French press coffee is among the most horribly mangled and mistreated coffee you come across in cafés worldwide (not counting Greece, what they do with instant coffee there is too horrible to even contemplate). A lot of it stems from the usual suspect, cheap and stale pre-ground coffee, but some places put a lot of effort into their FP (french press) coffee, and it still comes out tasting like industrial sludge. So, since I’ve been studying this brewing method for quite some time, I thought I’d share a bit of technique or two that I’ve picked up over the years that really makes a difference.
A couple of years ago a bought a Royal Balance Syphon brewer, and I made a video of how it works. It’s the oldest design for an automatic coffee machine, invented in the 1840’s by the Frenchman Louis Gabet. and basically does the all the same things as your modern Moccamaster, except heat the coffee after it has finished brewing. Sadly my machine’s tin coating of the copper boiler has eroded away over the years, rendering the coffee it makes undrinkable, but it’s still a nice piece of semi-functional art.
If you’re interested in how to actually use one, here’s a short instruction; the ratio of coffee to water is the same as for any other coffee maker, approximately 60 grams of coffee to every litre of water. I used half a litre of water in the video, and 30 grams of coffee. I’m not 100% sure of the optimal grind for it, but considering the short brewing time (which is suboptimal) you’d want something similar as to what you use in your drip brewer. As you can see in the video, I use preheated water from a kettle, and I urge you to do the same, the boiler takes around 10 minutes (which I cut out of the video) to build up enough steam to push water into the brewing vessel when you start with water just off the boil. Starting with cold water would probably take longer than you’d fancy waiting for coffee.
I’ve been doing Sous Vide cooking for a couple of years, and every time I cook something, I go online searching for proper cooking times and temperatures.
Today, while cooking some lamb tenderloin for Easter, it dawned on me that I quite frequently look up the times and temperatures for cuts I’ve already cooked several times with good success, which is quite redundant and doesn’t give me consistent results. So, hereafter I’ll post the times in this blog post, giving me a place to maintain the information, and another good reference for the rest of the world.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing around with a FreeBSD distribution that’s quite interesting, FreeNAS. FreeNAS basically turns any old box you have lying around into a NAS, though you should definitely not run it on any old box. The only problem was, I got a bit excited when setting up my system, so I configured a RAID-Z vdev for my zpool. Technically, this was not an issue at the time when I set up the pool, since I was using old leftover 160GB and 250GB drives. But after a while I replaced the 160GB drives with two 1 TB drives I had laying around. And a couple of days later, I ordered 2 4TB drives to replace the 250GB ones. And then RAID-Z started to be a problem. You see, RAID-Z suffers from the same problems as RAID5, aka. that if you set up an array with large SATA drives (1 TB or larger), and one drive fails, you’re almost guaranteed a bad day (if you’re not running enterprise grade drives, more on this later in a separate post). So before I went and installed the new drives I migrated my whole pool to a backup drive and destroyed the old vdev and pool. Here’s a short guide on how I, relatively successfully did it. Read more