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  • Review of Note-Taking Apps 2023 September

    By Derek | September 29, 2023

    AI Generated Image of a MacBook Pro, then slightly blurred.


    I’m switching from storing notes in three different apps.

    For me, personally, Evernote has been my go-to for nearly a decade. I’m switching away from it due to recent issues like slowness, especially with search, (very) occasional sync issues and of course, they are going to nearly double the price of it this coming year. For years Evernote’s Pro subscription was $60-75/yr, with small increases over time, but this coming year, they have increased prices by over 100%. Apparently Everrnote feels like people are locked in and will just accept it and stick around. Nope. Especially as I was already looking to switch for other reasons, before they announced the pricing changes.

    I’m migrating everything all-in to Obsidian. Give me a year or two with it, and I’ll determine if that was the right place after all.

    Currently I’m simply syncing Obsidian’s content with iCloud, but plan to pay for Obsidian’s Cloud sync within the next couple of months, as my annual Evernote subscription gets closer to expiration. I’m also still working on migrating my notes from Evernote. I’m choosing to do a more manual migration, rather than an export and import, as I’m finding a bunch of notes that I no longer need, but also due to the fact that Obsidian allows me to organize things in a far better manner (for me) than Evernote did. Evernote relied on “notebooks” and “tags” with search to find stuff, but that doesn’t make your data very discoverable or “organizable”. Obsidian seems to be far better in that regard.

    For the record, while researching this article, I discovered NotesNook, which I hadn’t heard of. If, for whatever reason, Obsidian doesn’t work out for me, NotesNook looks pretty nice, and I think I will give that a try.

    Some of the apps listed in this review were excluded by me right away, as I need multi-platform (Windows/Linux/Mac/iOS) support, and I need it to work well, but included here as they may fit your needs.

    If I’ve missed an app you know of, or are interested in, let me know, and I’ll add it to the list. If I’ve missed a favorite feature of yours in one of the apps I’ve already listed, let me know, and I’ll add it.

    Apple Notes












    Google Keep








    Microsoft OneNote




    Notational / NVAlt
















    Standard Notes




    Version 1.4

    Additional clarifications, URL additions, and other corrections

    Version 1.3

    Added Notion

    Version 1.2

    Added Apple Notes

    Topics: Apple, Linux, Me, Microsoft, Reviews, Technology, Work | No Comments »

    SteamDeck and Upgrade

    By Derek | June 22, 2023

    Valve's SteamDeck

    Recently, I purchased a SteamDeck. I’d wanted to buy one, but I wanted it to be able to hold a good amount of games.

    As of this posting, the SteamDeck comes in three different capacities.

    With the sizes of games these days, at least for modern AAA games, all but the largest capacity one won’t hold too many games. As an example, Read Dead Redemption II is about 130GB, so it won’t even fit on the smallest one, and fills up 1/4 of the largest one they sell.

    It turns out, the NVME drive in the SteamDeck is user upgradeable, and not that difficult to do.

    So, I bought the smallest capacity one, with full intentions to upgrade it.

    If you’re worried about voiding your warranty, you could read this, from iFixit. Essentially, opening up the ‘Deck doesn’t void your warranty, unless you break something while you’re doing it.

    The trickiest part is purchasing a larger drive in the correct physical size, a 2230 NVME.

    You can buy a 2TB (2000GB) replacement drive on AliExpress for about $170. I found this reputable seller link from a YouTuber. The only downside with this method is that it takes a few weeks to arrive. I waited two weeks after I ordered the drive to order my SteamDeck, and the ‘Deck was still delivered first. The drive I ordered from AliExpress was a Western Digital drive.

    Now, however, it appears that iFixit also now has a SteamDeck Upgrade Kit which comes with the appropriate tools. iFixit’s kit comes with a Micron-branded drive. Note that I’ve linked to the 2TB model, with the tools, but you could always swap out for the bare drive if you already have the tools you need. The toolkit version only adds $5 to the price, so it’s a good deal either way.

    Both drive brands are reliable, so you should be good whichever way you go.

    I’m only going to summarize the process here, then link to the appropriate tutorials.

    Step 1:

    Step 2: Clone your internal drive to the new one. I own my own NVME enclosure, as I clone drives for friends and family regularly. Using the built-in Linux desktop to clone the drive is fairly straightforward, and doesn’t take too long. This seems to be easier than installing fresh.

    Step 3: Put the SteamDeck in Battery Storage Mode before you open it.

    Step 4: Swap out the original drive for the new one. If you’ve cloned the drive, you’re pretty much done, otherwise, you’ll have to create a USB-C flash drive boot image to install SteamOS on the replaced, blank drive. I haven’t personally used this method, yet.

    Hope this helps, I’ve gathered all the links, below, as well.


    Topics: Entertainment, Games, Me, Technology | No Comments »

    Moving, Downsizing, New Phase

    By Derek | March 15, 2022

    Our 40 foot toy hauler.
    Our 40 foot toy hauler.

    In January, we contracted with an investor to sell our house. We knew it would take us a while to get completely out of the house, so we pushed the close date as far out as we could. They let us set it all the way out to March 11th.

    We bought a 5th wheel camper, a toy hauler, to downsize into. The long term plan is to buy land in the country, move the toy hauler to the land, and then build a house. Here’s a link to the floor plan of the RV.

    Everything went pretty well up until basically the last week. We spent a bunch of time organizing my office, and Jill’s office, deciding what we needed to keep and what we needed to get rid of.

    Previous to this week, we had our garage sale, and it was pretty successful, we were able to sell or give away a ton of stuff. One thing that really surprised me is the fact that no one wanted to buy any stuffed animals. Also, most of our furniture didn’t sell.

    We seriously underestimated how difficult downsizing from nearly 3,000 square feet to the toy hauler, which is about 360 square feet. This move has almost killed us. This past few weeks have probably been one of the most difficult trials of my life.

    I took a second week of PTO from work, so that we could complete the move, and close by Friday, March 11th. This past week, we were working on the house non-stop for 16-18 hours a day, including drive time between the old house, the RV, and storage. We’ve maybe been getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night. We’re all exhausted, and that includes our two nieces, who’s help has been invaluable during this time. They have both pitched in and helped so much I don’t think we’ll ever be able to repay them.

    Last Saturday, Mar 5th (I think) I slipped on the stairs while carrying something heavy with Ian’s help, and broke my toe. Then Monday, a good friend of ours tumbled end over end down the stairs after losing track of an old solid nightstand, which, naturally, landed on top of him, as well as the hand truck we were using. We took him to his choice of urgent care, and it turns out that he fractured his wrist, got bruised all over, sprained his elbow, the blade of the hand truck cut him on his shin, and he had rug burn in his face. This reminds me, I need to call and check in on him again.

    This week, we’ve had some extended family come, and take other large items that didn’t sell at the garage sale, but were still too nice to trash. Most of our furniture, our entertainment center, desks, our Purple mattress, etc. We don’t have room for any of that stuff in the RV, and we don’t want to pay to put it in storage, so we gave most of it away.

    One of the difficulties that we had was that we needed to replace the mattress in the RV, just so that we could begin staying in it. We got the RV set up around Feb 15th. We also did have some quality of life repairs done to the RV, by a great company who has been wonderful to work with.

    After doing a ton of research, we ordered a new RV King size Sleep Number mattress (our Purple mattress was only a Queen size) for the RV on the 27th of February, with planned delivery (to the store) on Monday, March 7th. Monday came and went without a phone call from the vendor, so on Tuesday morning, Jill called them to inquire about our new mattress. The truck hadn’t made it in, due to inclement weather. It was on the way, though. Call back tomorrow, they said, to give them time to receive the truck, and unload it. Wednesday, mid-afternoon, same, the truck just came in, and they’re unloading it, please call back in the morning. On Thursday, they finally had our mattress, and we were able to go pick it up, bring it to the camper, and set it up. (It’s wonderful, by the way).

    Meanwhile, running ourselves ragged emptying the house the entire week, we all got sick. It’s possible that someone who came over to help us brought something, but we’re not positive that it wasn’t just our bodies being run down that helped cause it. Jill was sick starting on Thursday, the 10th, and was worse on Friday. She pushed through it since we just had so much to do to finish.

    Our investor was able to allow us to move the closing date to Monday, Mar 14th, so that helped.

    It was Thursday night that our niece and her husband also brought their big truck to the house to move our chest freezer to their house, for now. We don’t have room for it in the RV, and we didn’t want to get rid of it, especially with so many shortages on electronics and what not we are experiencing right now in our world.

    Friday night, the 11th was our first night spent in the RV, and it was to be a very cold night. We tried running the furnace, but kept getting the propane smell in the house, and the propane alarm kept going off, so we aired out the RV, thrice, then finally left it off. Either it has a leak, or we just don’t understand how to run it. I spent a good amount of time going over the instructions, but…

    The good news is that the RV does have a small electric “fireplace” in it, and we were able to run that, so that it stayed around 60° inside, and was tolerable, if somewhat cold, with our blankets. Considering that it was 26° outside, that’s pretty decent.

    Our dogs aren’t sure what to make of the RV yet. With all the boxes and “stuff” crowded in here, there’s not a lot of room to move around, and even once we get everything put away (or more stuff given away) it’s still not a huge living space. Certainly not what they, and we, are used to.

    I’m pretty sure I had my first ever panic attack on Saturday. I started feeling woozy and had to sit down, I wasn’t able to really walk around, but I was still able to direct people on how and what to pack. When, after an hour or so it hadn’t subsided, Jill decided to take me to the ER. They checked me out, and saw that my blood pressure was very high, but by then it was starting to settle down. We got back to work.

    Late Saturday evening, Ian got sick. He started feeling run down, tired, and had a slight fever, so we left him at the RV with the dogs, so we could keep working. This actually worked out ok for us, since we didn’t feel like we wanted to leave the dogs alone without us after only one night in the camper.

    Saturday night we still had no heat in the RV, since we hadn’t had time to stop and think, much less have someone come check out the system. We do have a Mr. Buddy heater, so we found it and started to look for our propane to turn it on. Well, it turns out that all of our 1 pound propane tanks, that we’ve been slowly stockpiling since 2020’s Snowpocalypse were all somehow “missing”. We had three full cases (36) plus about 6 extra loose ones. One single canister had been used for a few hours, but the rest of them were brand new, and most of them were still sealed. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember touching or moving them. We originally thought that maybe someone who was helping us move, “appropriated” them. But that wasn’t it. Jill finally had time to check the camera footage Tuesday, and there’s me, moving them and packing them. So, yeah, with exhaustion and all I didn’t even remember touching them.

    What sucks is that we couldn’t find them when we needed them, we sure could have used them for these couple of past very cold nights, one of which dropped below freezing. I mean, that’s exactly why we bought the damn stuff in the first place.

    On Sunday, on one of our trips back to the RV, it was super hot inside. Ian had left the electric furnace on all day while we were gone working on the house, and had climbed into our bed, bundled up, and put on his jacket. He was way too hot, with over 105° fever, so we ran him to urgent care, and had him checked out. Turns out, he tested positive for Flu A. The doctor and I had a nice chat about how flu is starting to come back after being “gone” for two years. Of course, he mentioned that he’s seen more cases this year than what was typical, before the event.

    Again, we worked until about 2am trying to get moved, then finally collapsed and tried to sleep. I’ve been sleeping decently well, if not enough, but Jill hasn’t been sleeping well at all, due to the nagging cough she’s had since she got sick.

    On Monday morning I had to go back to work. I also called our RV repair guys, and they planned on coming out Tuesday afternoon, to either fix the propane issue, or show us how to run it.

    We’re still not done yet. On Monday, Jill made a trip, on her own, to try and get some more out, plus a bunch of stuff that didn’t sell at the garage sale, or wasn’t taken by the extended family, or trash. She was able to enlist some help from one of our niece’s older kids, who was on spring break, and get about 90% of it done, including a trip to the dump. I was feeling like crap, so when I got off work, I took a long nap. After I woke up, I would have joined her, but my car was parked at the old house, as it had been overheating.

    Jill got back to the RV about 8pm, and she brought food with her, so we ate, and then headed out to the old house, at about 9pm. We got a couple of blocks from the old house and she realized she had left her purse at the RV, so we had to turn around and go back for it, as it had the house keys which we were supposed to leave in the lockbox for the closing. It’s a minimum of 45 minutes each way, and we’re still supposed to “digitally close” by midnight.

    We finally got to the old house about 11pm, to finish getting the last little bit out, plus the remainder of the food in the fridge and freezer.

    We got it done and began the closing paperwork at about 11:30pm. We had to take and upload a bunch of pictures of the interior of the house, which took forever, because we no longer had our cable internet hooked up. We uploaded the last picture and clicked submit at 12:01am. They seemed ok with that, our digital closing was approved Tuesday morning.

    We decided that we’d take my car to the mechanic Monday night, rather than bring it all the way up to Canyon Lake, but we only got a couple of miles from the house before it started really overheating, so we had to call AAA to come tow it, then follow them over to the mechanic. Of course, we had to wait almost an hour for AAA to get there, and then still turn around and go home, which is about an hour from our mechanic shop.

    Once we got home, we still needed to unload the freezer and fridge food from the car, then put it all away. We got it in the house, then Jill worked to put it away, since I had to work Tuesday morning and it was already nearly 4am.

    I got up Tuesday morning when my alarm went off, but felt so poorly, with fever and chills, that I went ahead and called in sick to work, and went back to bed. When we finally got up around 1pm, I was feeling a bit better.

    We checked our email, found the closing documents that needed signed and got that taken care of through Notarize.com. We completed the sale of our house, finally.

    The RV repair guys showed up and determined that the propane tank that was selected for the heater (it’s switchable between two 40 pound tanks) didn’t have enough pressure to ignite the heater, which is why it wasn’t working. They swapped over to the other tank, and the heater came right on. So, they suggested we buy a third tank as a spare, and then swap out the empty and have it filled. While they were here, they also explained how to change the water heater between electric and propane, although we discovered that the power switch for it is actually broken and will need replaced. A task for another day.

    Finally, we were able to get showers and clean clothes after about a week in the same stuff. Man, I felt like I almost needed to burn my clothes. It’s amazing how much more human you feel after a good shower.

    Now all that’s left is to go through tons of boxes we just threw into the garage of the RV, and get organized for this new phase of our life.

    Here’s some photos of our adventure:

    Topics: Family, Friends, Me | No Comments »

    Auto mount NAS or server share to a Raspberry Pi

    By Derek | August 21, 2021

    Recently I had an interesting experience attempting to get a share on my NAS mounted to a folder on my Raspberry Pi.

    Apparently, each step is mostly documented on the internet, but I wasn’t able to find it all in one place, so I thought I’d document it here.

    Here are the steps in detail.

    Step 1

    Change the raspi-config option for networking on boot.

    If you’re running the pi gui, click Menu => Preferences => Raspberry Pi Configuration. On the System tab, ensure that Network at Boot is selected on Wait for Network. Click OK.

    Generally, it’s easier to do steps 2-6 using the terminal, so that’s what I’ve documented.

    Step 2

    Make the NAS pingable by name, aka setup a hosts entry.

    If you haven’t assigned your NAS a static IP address, or more preferably, a DHCP reservation, on your network, you’ll want to do that before you start this step. This prevents your NAS from changing it’s IP address in the future, which DHCP normally allows.

    Check your router documentation or do an internet search on how to reserve a DHCP address for your network gear.

    Save yourself tons of headaches later, use a reserved DHCP address for your NAS or server.

    Add an ip/host entry by editing /etc/hosts. Your EDITOR will be nano, or vim, whatever you are comfortable with.

    $ sudo nano /etc/hosts

    Make a new line after the last one, then add the static or reserved IP of your NAS. If you have multiple NAS devices, you might as well add and test them all right now, each one on a separate line.

    Where I’ve typed <TAB> you’ll actually press the TAB key on your keyboard.

    ip.add.re.ss <TAB> nas-hostname

    In my example, I added the following: <TAB> drobo

    Save and exit. If you’re using nano, press CTRL+X then the “y” key to save the file.

    $ ping  nas-hostname

    If your ping doesn’t work, check that you have the correct IP address, and that you’ve spelled the nas-hostname correctly.

    Step 3

    Configure a folder to mount your share.

    I used /mnt, so I created my NAS folder there. My folder name is the name of my NAS, which I entered in /etc/hosts.

    I also wanted each “share” from my NAS under the NAS name. If you have multiple shares, create multiple folders here. The only trick is that Linux paths use a standard forward slash “/” instead of a backslash like Windows does.

    $ sudo mkdir -p /mnt/nas-hostname/sharename1
    $ sudo mkdir -p /mnt/nas-hostname/sharename2

    The -p allows the entire path to be created at once.

    In my example, I performed the following:

    $ sudo mkdir -p /mnt/drobo/archives

    Step 4

    Determine your pi username.

    Use the id command to determine your user id and group id.

    $ id

    uid=1000(pi) gid=1000(pi)

    The info returned also includes other text, which we don’t need.

    Generally, if you’ve not customized the user on your Raspberry Pi, your username will be “pi“, and your uid and gid will be 1000, but we need to know for sure.

    Step 5

    Add your mount line to /etc/fstab.

    Use your editor to open the /etc/fstab file.

    You want to be very careful in here, as making a mistake in this file can prevent your Pi from booting.

    $ sudo nano /etc/fstab

    Make a new line after the last one. Everything below goes on a single line, don’t worry about how long it is. Don’t forget to use the TAB key on your keyboard in place of where I’ve typed <TAB>.

    //nas-hostname/sharename <TAB> /mnt/nas-hostname/sharename <TAB> cifs <TAB> username=your-nas-user,password=your-nas-password,uid=your-uid-from-above,gid=your-gid-from-above <TAB> 0 <SPACE> 0

    Remember, all one long line. Let’s break it down.

    The first section, before the first tab, is the network address of your NAS. Again, forward slashes for path entries.

    The second section is the mount point you created on your Pi, forward slashes for path entries.

    The third section is cifs in lowercase.

    I’m kind of assuming that your NAS is running some form of Windows Networking, also called SMB or CIFS.

    CIFS is the protocol, or language, that Linux will talk to your NAS on.

    If you prefer to use a different file sharing protocol, you’ll have to know what it is, and what options to use.

    If you can get to your NAS from a Windows machine, in general use CIFS here.

    The fourth section lists your mount options. Your username, password, uid, and gid go here.

    The fifth section lists the number of times the drive will be allowed to mount before file system checking runs on it. Generally, 0 0 is fine here.

    Double check your work, spelling, format, everything. Make sure you haven’t modified any other lines in this file.

    Save and exit.

    //drobo/archives <TAB> //mnt/drobo/archives <TAB> cifs <TAB> username=pi,password=raspberry,uid=1000,gid=1000 <TAB> 0 0

    Step 6

    Test your mount.

    Let’s be sure and test that it works before we reboot.

    Make sure you aren’t in the directory you made, above. Also, make sure the sharename directory is empty, as the mount will overlay (and hide) any files there.

    Change directory back to your home directory.

    $ cd ~
    $ ls /mnt/nas-hostname/sharename

    No files (except the . and ..) should be listed.

    Run the mount command.

    You’re running the command as root, with sudo, but it will use your uid and gid to assign the mount to you, so that you can both read and write files there. If you left the uid off the mount entry in fstab, the resulting mount would be read-only to your user, and only the root user could change or create files there.

    $ sudo mount -a

    Change to the mounted directory.

    $ cd /mnt/nas-hostname/sharename

    Show the list of files, and make sure what you expect is there.

    $ ls 

    If your NAS share has files on it, you should see them now.

    If the files aren’t there, maybe it didn’t mount? Check your mount line in fstab, or see the Troubleshooting section, below.

    Test that you can create a file.

    $ touch a-test-file-name
    $ ls

    You should see that file created in your list of files.

    If everything worked so far, you should be good to reboot, and ensure the mount gets mounted on boot.

    Note that changing the Wait on Network option may make your Pi take a few more seconds to boot up, but it doesn’t seem to have any ill effect if you don’t have any networking connected, other than, of course, you won’t be able to mount or access your NAS.

    That’s about it. I hope this document helps!


    If you have trouble getting your NAS to mount. Check the system log file.

    $ sudo grep -C4 mount /var/log/syslog

    While describing what you’ll find there is really outside the scope of this article, one of the most common issues has a tendency to be when your NAS or server only supports an older version of CIFS. Sometimes, mount has difficulty negotiating the protocol to talk to your NAS. Look for something like:

    mmm dd hh:mm:ss pi-hostname kernel: [    9.845181] CIFS: No dialect specified on mount. Default has changed to a more secure dialect, SMB2.1 or later (e.g. SMB3.1.1), from CIFS (SMB1). To use the less secure SMB1 dialect to access old servers which do not support SMB3.1.1 (or even SMB3 or SMB2.1) specify vers=1.0 on mount.

    If you see this, but it still mounts, that’s actually good. If you see something like this, and it doesn’t mount, edit your /etc/fstab again, and add:


    RIGHT after your uid and gid on the line, like this:

    //drobo/archives //mnt/drobo/archives cifs username=pi,password=raspberry,uid=1000,gid=1000,vers=1.0 0 0

    Using an older protocol can make you less safe, but if you can get your drive mounted, you can always increase the version number until it stops working, then go back one.

    In general, the versions and their compatability are as follows:

    SMB 1 – Windows 2000
    SMB 2 – Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1
    SMB 2.1 – Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7
    SMB 3.0 – Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8

    Topics: Linux, Me, Technology | No Comments »

    Burgers, Movies, LEDs, Produce, Acura, Star Citizen, Health, Work, Games, Garden, Friends

    By Derek | June 2, 2020

    Monday. (25th)

    Slept in way late again. Got up to take our older son to an appointment, only to find out that, of course, they were closed today, being a holiday, despite the fact that it was scheduled for today. 

    Played a little Pokémon while we were out, when we got back I exercised first thing. 

    We left again to go get lunch, ended up eating at Biff Buzby’s. Jill and I split a half-pound burger and some onion rings. Then we had cobbler with ice cream. 

    Came back home to watch a movie. I picked out Tristan & Isolde, which we hadn’t seen before. 

    We got part way through it before we had to take our older son to work. They had the day off yesterday, so naturally, the work piled up for them. We didn’t stay and chat, so they could get started and hopefully finish before tonight’s storm came. 

    Came home and finished the movie, then ate some quick dinner and watched Life As We Know It

    Added some blue LEDs to the bottom of my monitor. Bought them on Amazon for $6, they are USB powered. (pic) 

    Blue LEDs

    Tuesday. (26th)

    Got up earlier than we have been. 

    Headed out first thing to take our older son to the appointment that was scheduled for yesterday. 

    While we were downtown, we swung by River City Produce and picked up a few items for ourselves, and our friend who runs the BBQ joint.

    On our way back, we dropped off our older son, the produce delivery, then had lunch. I had the Frito Pie, and so did our younger son. Jill had just brisket and salad. 

    After lunch, we took Jill’s stepmom a Frito pie as well, then ran across town to Gunn Acura to get a service done on Jill’s MDX. We camped out in their waiting room for a couple of hours. Our younger son played on his iPad, Jill kept up with the news, while I colored some pics on Jill’s iPad. We also played a little Pokémon while we were there. 

    Got home in time to take our older son to work. 

    Came home to watch Class Dismissed with Jill, while I exercised.

    Ordered pizza for dinner, philly steak, sausage, onions and extra cheese, plus Asiago cheese. It showed up during my exercise, so we took a break to eat, then I finished my exercise. 

    The movie wasn’t quite over when our older son was done with work, so we ran to take him home, then came back to finish our movie. 

    Once the movie finished, our younger son and I fired up Star Citizen for a bit, but we didn’t play long, since both of us were over tired from the day.

    Become a Star Citizen and get 5,000 free Credits https://robertsspaceindustries.com/enlist?referral=STAR-H4F3-KZZH

    Time for bed. 

    Wednesday. (27th)

    Regular work day for me. Meeting day, plus all hands global meeting.
    Watched Wrinkle in Time.

    Took our older son to work, then back home.

    Time for bed. 

    Thursday. (28th)

    Regular work day for me. Got quite a bit accomplished. Worked with a co-worker to roll out a new alert that he wrote to our dashboard, so that we can track some containers with out of date software, and correct the issues. The containers are supposedly set up to upgrade certain components on their own, but have not been, for various reasons. This new check well allow us to find and correct them, as well as document and correct the underlying issues. 

    Started watching Starsky and Hutch

    Our younger son did his martial arts class over Zoom, still. They are re-opening the dojo next week, but they have little squares on the floor for the kids to stand in. We’re going to try going back, and see how it is. 

    After work, took our older son and his wife out to dinner for his birthday. We went to Chili’s and had Southwest Eggrolls. Man, those are good. 

    Came home and exercised, I hadn’t had a chance to do that yet. We’re still watching episodes of Phineas and Ferb while I exercise. 

    Bought and played a little bit of Minecraft Dungeons before bed. It’s only $20 on Switch, although it looks like there’s some DLC that I can get. 

    Friday. (29th)

    Regular work day for me. 

    One of the Rackers in our work Slack had everyone throw their names in for a random drawing of a free pizza. He then had it ordered and delivered to the Racker. That was pretty cool. 

    Watched Superman with the family. It’s cheesy in a good way. 

    Finished watching Starsky and Hutch. 

    Watched Bad Boys for Life. A friend of ours said he really hated it, but I thought it was decent. 

    Jill made hamburgers this evening for dinner. Fresh arugula from the garden, onion, pickle slices, and some wonderful cheddar cheese to go on them. She also made the hamburger meat with some shredded zucchini. Yummy. There’s even a patty left for me for lunch tomorrow. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture. 

    Saturday. (30th)

    Regular work day for me, got quite a bit done, working on migrating instances around in one of our regions. 

    Watched Scoob! with the family before bed. 

    Sunday. (31st)

    Today our friend David came over to visit, and play games. We ended up ordering pizza for lunch after he got here, and then played Stellaris until he had to leave. 

    Jill took our older son to work, then we all went together later to take him home.

    Monday. (June 1st)

    Slept in a bit this morning. 

    Jill and her sister made a trip to River City Produce this morning, then we left to go meet a friend for lunch at Don Pedro’s. 

    After lunch, I headed out with our friend to do some computer & networking work at his small business, and Jill headed back home to run some errands. 

    Worked until evening, then Jill came to pick me up, and we headed home.

    We just kind of hung out and talked about current events, and what’s going on in the world. 

    Tuesday. (2nd)

    Worked a non-standard day this week to perform our latest code release (deployment) for the product I work on. As I’ve moved to the  engineering team, officially as of yesterday, I’ll be doing more of these types of tasks as they need done.

    We started around noon, and finished up a bit after midnight, with all six regions that we support.

    Jill brought me Frito Pie from our favorite BBQ joint, but I was effectively on the computer all day. Our younger son got to go to martial arts physically today for the first time since the house arrest started. He said he enjoyed being back, even with the restrictions they have put on the kids. Everyone in their own box on the floor (at least six feet apart), smaller class sizes, shorter classes, no using their potty, sanitize before going in, and only one person in at a time until they reach their assigned spot. 

    Jill also had to both take our older son to work, and pick him up without me this evening, usually I like to go, especially in the evening, but I just didn’t have a chance to break away. 

    I did finally get to take a break around 10pm to get my exercise done. While I was exercising, I did my Duolingo for the day… still working on that, up to a 56 day streak now. 

    Time for bed. 

    Topics: Auto, Entertainment, Family, Food, Friends, Games, Health, Me, Microsoft, Movies, Photos, Star Citizen, Technology, Work | No Comments »

    Spyro, BBQ, Robotics, Movies, Computer & Drobo Upgrade, Star Citizen, Health, Pokemon, Power Outage

    By Derek | May 24, 2020

    Monday. (18th)

    Slept in a bit. Got up and worked in my office for a bit, before I exercised. 
    Worked in my office a bit more. I’m still trying to get it organized. 

    Jill and her sister went to Tractor Supply. We’re trying to buy or build a coop for our backyard chickens. 

    On the way to take our older son to work, Jill’s AC compressor “turned off”. I think her AC system needs a recharge and it was getting frozen up. 

    Worked in my office a bit more until our older son was done with work. 

    Stayed at our older sons house and chatted with him a bit after we dropped him off. 

    Came home and played Spyro Reignited Trilogy until past my bedtime. I’m about 45% done with the first game. 

    Tuesday. (19th) 

    Slept too late. Got up and exercised. 

    Took the family to our favorite BBQ place for lunch. 

    Our robotics parts came today. We got our field extension and the new field elements for this year. We opened up the field elements and assembled one of them, just to take a picture of it near our team’s robots from last season, so we could send it out and they could see the size of it.

    Watched Highlander

    Our younger son’s new SSD drive came in, he was running out of space on his computer (250G), so he bought a larger drive (500G). He bought an NVMe, the 250G is a standard SATA SSD. So, I used Clonezilla (in Linux) to clone his 250G to the new 500G, then used GPartEd (in Linux) to grow the partition size. We’ll give it a week, and then we’ll wipe the 250G, plug it back in and use it for something else. 

    In addition to that, my mSATA drives came in. I ordered a couple of 64Gs to place in the mSATA bay for my Drobos. This gives the Drobo a Hot Cache so that it can build a list of the most used files and speed up access to them.
    I was able to upgrade one with no issues (my Archive drive) but when I upgraded my Plex drive it gave me a fright. 

    When I booted the Drobo back up, it came up with zero hard drives listed. I removed the mSATA and rebooted a couple of times, no luck. So, I set about to research why that would happen, and I didn’t really find any good information on line. As this Drobo is about 4 years old, and out of warranty, I ended up disassembling it completely, and cleaning it really well. The fan is still working, so no trouble there, but it was very dusty inside, including where the backplane meets the motherboard.

    So, I got it all cleaned up, and put back together, and it’s working great again. Whew. 

    Wednesday. (20th)

    Regular work day for me. Wednesday is meeting & planning day for my team. 

    I also found out today that myself and my co-worker will be moved to the engineering team for our product, under the engineering manager. This takes effect on the 1st. My current manager is moving on to head up another team that will be dedicated to a very large customer contract that our company just signed, one of the largest in our history. A bunch of good news today. 

    After work, we took our older son to work, then came home and I exercised before dinner. 

    Watched Highlander II: Renegade Version, aka Director’s Cut. If you liked the first movie, you owe it to yourself to watch this version, if you haven’t. It’s not a great movie overall, but this version fixes many of the issues with the theatrical release. When I say not a great movie, what I mean is that it has just the right amount of 80s cheese, despite being released in 1991. 

    Played some Star Citizen with my younger son before bed last night. We played in the Test Universe, so it was a bit buggy, and they rolled out a patch while we were playing, which disconnected us and we had to wait for the servers to come back up. They’re working to get ready for the free fly event next week.

    Thursday. (21st)

    Regular work day for me. I’m still working on re-kicking our old, now empty hosts to the new version of our software, so we can put them back in rotation. It’s a fairly large job, since there are tons of hosts.

    Watched Highlander III: The Final Dimension (also called The Sorcerer)

    Watched Highlander IV: Endgame

    We took our older son to work, then came home and I exercised.
    Took our older son home after work, then played some Star Citizen in the Test Universe with my younger son before bed. 

    Become a Star Citizen and get 5,000 free Credits 

    Friday. (22nd)

    Today marks the 30th anniversary of Microsoft Windows Solitaire, and the 40th anniversary of Pac-Man. Yes, I’m older than those things, I can remember when both of them came out. 

    Got up sleepy, and too late to exercise before work. Regular work day for me. 

    Watched Highlander V: The Source. Now that I’ve seen them all, I would say the universe is interesting… essentially, the first two movies, 1 & 2 (renegade) are probably best viewed as if they happen in a different, alternate timeline of the latter three (III, IV, and V). The backstory changes, and becomes a bit confusing if you try to put them all in the same timeline.

    Technically, III mentions the final event of 1, so I guess you could just have 2 in it’s own timeline. Who really knows. For the most part, they are fun action flicks, I guess, if you don’t try to take them too seriously. 

    Watched Red Sonja. Another cheesy 80’s movie. It’s in the same land as Conan, and has Conan in it, but he doesn’t play Conan. Heh. 

    Played some Star Citizen with my younger son before bed. Still played in the test universe. 

    Saturday. (23rd)

    Slept way in. Exercised first thing. Worked in my office a bit before we had to leave. 

    Went to a wedding of one of Jill’s friends from high school. The wedding itself was outside, so it was super hot, but the reception was in a very nice hall and the food was great. Geronimo Oaks in Seguin was where it was at. 

    They had live music and an open bar. Very nice. The band was very good. I miss my friend Stephen’s band. 

    Stayed pretty late, then came home and went to bed. 

    Sunday. (24th)

    Slept in. Exercised first thing. 

    We all left the house to run some errands, and play some Pokémon. Today was Community Day. Today’s Pokémon was Seedot. Not really a great Pokémon, but ok. 

    We ate lunch at Whataburger, yummy. Then sat in the parking lot across the street and caught Pokémon. Once we left there, we went to park at the back of our friends’ BBQ joint, since it’s usually a great place to catch Pokémon, and there are a couple of Poke stops to spin. 

    We found that one of the owner’s cars was in the parking lot, so we thought we’d call them and let them know we were hanging out, so they wouldn’t freak out when they came out. They’re closed on Sundays, but we thought the might be there working. 

    Turns out, they went to Trader Joe’s and asked us if we wanted anything. Jill asked for some “dirt mints”, then had to explain that they’re actually called Green Tea Mints. Our niece thinks they taste like dirt. They definitely have a strange taste. The name stuck. 

    While we were waiting for our mints, our older son asked us to bring him some Barbacoa tacos. We grabbed a couple from the Mexican place next door and ran them over to him. 

    Once our friends showed up with our mints, we went back to the house. 
    Our younger son and I started playing some Star Citizen, until the storm came and the power went out. 

    The outage lasted maybe an hour and a half, then everything came back on. We had shut down most of the electronics earlier, in preparation, and gotten out our batteries and flashlights. We were ready. 

    Time for bed. 

    Topics: Entertainment, Family, Food, Games, Health, Linux, Me, Microsoft, Movies, Robotics, Star Citizen, Technology, Work | No Comments »

    TV, Game, Duolingo, Health, Star Citizen, Furniture

    By Derek | May 17, 2020

    I decided to change it up a bit with my posting, some days are less exciting, and I don’t want to waste my reader’s time, so I’m going to write in my journal every day, but post every few days when there’s something interesting to post.

    Wednesday. (13th)

    Regular work day. Everything went well, and we got some good stuff accomplished.

    Watched an episode of Knight Rider with our younger son.

    Exercised after taking our older son to work.

    After taking our older son home, I played a little more of Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition, then we went to bed.

    Thursday (14th) & Friday. (15th)

    Regular work days for me. Not much exciting going on. Stayed on top of my Duolingo and exercising, though.

    Saturday. (16th)

    Took the day off today, for a rocket launch, which got cancelled due to Covid. So, we slept in.

    Taking the day off worked out, though, ’cause some friends of ours were having a baby shower this afternoon, so we went down to their property, and hung out for several hours.

    After we got back from their place, I played some Star Citizen until past my bedtime.

    Become a Star Citizen and get 5,000 free Credits https://robertsspaceindustries.com/enlist?referral=STAR-H4F3-KZZH

    There is a “free fly” event coming up — if you get an account made, and get the game installed, you’ll be able to try out some ships without purchasing any, or a game package. Click my link above if you haven’t made an account yet.

    Sunday. (17th)

    Slept in, but exercised first thing. Today is my 40th day in a row for Duolingo.

    40 Days Streak of Duolingo

    Yo hablo Espanol! Well, I’m learning, anyway. I took a few years of Spanish in high school, but honestly, without the regular practice before now, I don’t remember much. Duolingo seems to be working, though.

    We finally moved our new (very heavy) nightstands upstairs.

    New (to us) nightstands

    Took Jill to get her pedicure, the salon just opened yesterday. You don’t exactly need an appointment, but they have a waiting list that you can get on through their website. After we ate lunch, we tried Shake Shack, we sat in the car for two hours, since the inside waiting room is closed.

    She got out just in time for us to leave and take our older son to work.

    After we took him home, I played a bit more Star Citizen before bed. 

    Topics: Entertainment, Family, Friends, Games, Health, Me, Photos, Star Citizen, TV, Work | No Comments »

    Health, Taxes, BBQ, Drobo, Games

    By Derek | May 12, 2020

    A good Tuesday. (12th)

    Slept in a bit, but exercised first thing when I got up. 

    Worked on our taxes a bit again this morning, I think I have everything I needed to do complete. 

    Kept up my Duolingo streak! (pic) 

    Duolingo 35 day streak!

    Went to lunch at our favorite BBQ place. I was pretty hungry, so I had the frito pie. 

    Spent some time setting up my second Drobo. I’m plan to migrate my Archives folder off my primary Drobo to this lower capacity one. That will free up more room for my Plex collection on the primary Drobo, and also give me some data diversification. Got some rsync tasks going between the two for now.

    Took our older son to work, and played a little Pokemon while we were out. 
    After he finished, we took him home.

    When we got home, I decided to play a little Freespace 2. This is a game that I missed out on growing up. I played through the tutorial levels, then decided to see if there was a graphical upgrade for it. I was able to locate it, and started getting the upgrades and mods installed. I couldn’t get the YAL (launcher) to launch the game properly with the mods installed, or at least it didn’t look like it was working, so I set it up to download a different launcher, and went to play another game I missed when it came out, Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition

    Played through that for an hour or so before bed. 

    Topics: Entertainment, Family, Food, Games, Health, Linux, Me, Microsoft, Photos, Technology | No Comments »

    Slept, MCU, Quiet

    By Derek | May 11, 2020

    A Quiet Monday. (11th)

    Slept in a bit. Got up, ate breakfast, read a bit before getting on the bike. 

    Updated my MCU Timeline post.

    Watched some Extras for the Star Wars Rebels show.

    Took older son to work, then home. 

    Pretty quiet day. 

    Topics: Entertainment, Family, Health, Linux, Me, Technology, TV | No Comments »

    Health, TV, Mother’s Day, Movie

    By Derek | May 10, 2020

    Happy Mother’s Day! (10th)

    Got up a little early to exercise, watched the end of Marvel’s Luke Cage, season 2. Next up is… the remaining episodes of Agents of SHIELD, season 5.

    Worked on cleaning my office a bit.

    Took Jill out for lunch for Mother’s Day. We ate at Salsalito’s, which is our favorite Mexican place. 

    On the way back home, we called my mom to chat. Chatted for a good few minutes. 

    Watched Definitely, Maybe with Jill.

    Topics: Entertainment, Family, Food, Health, Me, Movies, TV | No Comments »

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