Quarterly inventory – 2023 Q3

Dear FutureMe,

Today would be a good day to do a quarterly inventory.

How is your personal life going?

How is your work life going?

How is your Volunteer Service life going?

Personal Life

Not really a whole lot going on. My mom did want to move in to a senior assisted living facility, so we took a tour and got a complimentary lunch. However, the place charges $8,000 per month which is $96,000 per year (and the move-in fee is one month’s rent, so $104,000 for the first year). Although my mom has some money, this was too rich for her blood. The residents we met loved the place. They say it is like a cruise ship that is parked. I was mildly interested to see if they are publicly traded, but alas they are not. Their headquarters are in Seattle WA, but they are privately held.

Happy that I have a Nextcloud server running on a tiny PC here at home. I had to configure pfSense to do Dynamic DNS to map the server name to my home IP address. The Internet gateway had to be beaten into submission to pass outside traffic in: pfSense had to carefully map the listening IP address and port (with an SSL upgrade) on the public Internet to the inside address and port. Running physical hardware is I think a better option than renting a Linode. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Linode running my email server on my own domain. But for serving up a calendar, address book, to-do list and media files – oh so many media files – the Linode would have been rather expensive. $110 later, I’ve got a (refurbished) 16 GB RAM Intel Core i5 running a cool 12 watts at idle. Storage is over on the Synology NAS (not exposed to the Internet). 12 watts isn’t as low as a Raspberry Pi, but still, it’s pretty good.

FINALLY! My new cell phone has an address book with entries. The entries are stored on the Nextcloud server, which is nice. I’m having to use Nextcloud email to get access to the address book contacts; and I’d prefer Roundcube, but that they are there at all is good. When I added them to Nextcloud email, it did create Birthday entries on my calendar which is sweet.

I’ve been trying to get Home Assistant, running on a Raspberry Pi 4, to connect to the files on the Synology, but it doesn’t work. I’m pretty sure it is that the Synology requires SMB 3, and Home Assistant isn’t specifying vers=3.0 correctly. It could be something else though, which is extremely frustrating that I cannot tell what the hell is what.

Been playing a lot of Factorio. Did get Elder Axe’s blueprint used and fully implemented; it is probably the best blueprint I’ve used so far. That said, it is missing a few assembly machines, and only has a single yellow science and a single purple science, so progress toward artillery was extremely slow. Bulked up my defenses and let the game run over night and during the day when I’m not at home. Still needed to manually craft some materials (low density structures) for yellow science bottles to be produced in less than a week’s time.

Work Life

The email retention project will soon be winding down. There was some kerfuffle because Opentext (who bought Micro Focus and GWAVA, who bought Attachmate, who bought Novell) wants to increase the yearly charge a huge amount, and we have documentation that their records are screwed up. They are claiming some people are new, when I show we paid for them three years ago, so they are not new. The whole mess though did kick us in the butt to export everything out of the server so we can power it down and delete it. That would free up 15 TB of storage, which is a reasonably large amount.

I did get to fix a broken system where server templates run a script on startup that send an email to a Mediawiki server, and the body of the email becomes the documentation for the new server in the wiki. Fixing that was cool, because it was a nice feature way back when, to get some documentation simply because the new box powered up and asked the server team member to answer a few questions. It’s not 100% solid though, as I just learned of two servers, and they are not in the wiki. 🙁

Volunteer Service Life

I’ve registered for a couple conferences; one is out of town with a hotel/motel. I also get to go to an Election Assembly, although a friend booked the motel. I’ll drive as we carpool three people. I get to man a Public Information booth at a health fair here in a couple days. One person on the Board of Directors for our local 501(c)(3) is ineligible to run, and another has announced that he may not run for health reasons. That leaves me and two others as elected members. Maybe one other person is interested in running? I also attended a technology workshop via Zoom, and heard that apparently I’m a “dark knight”. I’ve done technological stuff (it’s just WordPress), so like a knight, I’ve shown up to save the day: but I’m a dark knight because zero other people understand the dark arts I’m using to keep the website running. Did I mention that it’s just WordPress? But if I were to get hit by a bus, people might feel helpless to continue on (which would be a shame, since it’s just WordPress).

Leave a Reply