Friday, October 19, 2018

Upgrading to Beta

Even though we have severely downsized Marcus and Agata did realise that in this life  (the only one that we will know) it might be nice to once own a Professional Tool Cabinet.

You know, the sort of thing you see in Garages of the rich and famous, in movies and the like.

And so I introduce to your the Beta C38 Side Cabinet, 7 Drawer version

For the last 15 years in Switzerland our tools were housed in a variety of identical Black IKEA zippable boxes.  Now we have finally nested in England, to mark a sign of permanence we invested in this cabinet.

Our tool collection is not that impressive, but it can be upgraded over time ...

 Just getting it into the cave from our seller was a 2 person job.  I thought it was Aluminium, still extremely heavy.  And large enough that it would not fit into our car so we took alternative transport for pickup.

 Finally it was frog marched into its resting position and the fun job of filling it with tools began.

Logically we thought most often at the top and least used at the bottom?

A drawer for cycle specific tools.

What Place Luxury?

Marcus wants to clearly re-iterate my position on Luxury / unusual and maybe illogical purchases.

Whilst I would encourage everybody to live within their means that is not to say you might not once in a while indulge your legal passion, perhaps treating yourself to an expensive item or experience that is perhaps above your pay grade.

Just make sure that this is an exception and not an addictive habit that you can't afford.  The above tool chest is a luxury to us, but it should last years, and provide us with a quality and functional place to store our tools.  And in buying it we still had enough money to do a very healthy weekly food shop.

So yes, BETA cabinet was bought, we can recommend it as a quality though expensive Italian product and available here

Thursday, October 18, 2018

In SecurITy we Trust

Subtitle:  Musical Interlude

It has been just a terrible week for IT security or lack thereof.  I will just highlight some of the issues, many ridiculous that Marcus and Agata have been analysing this week.

As a consequence, well I encourage you to kick back and listen to the disco music presented below, whilst looking at the list. And if you are an IT professional, with what frequency do you review and implement fixes to your core OS and applications?

First Some Music

This selection is from the Funky Beat Addiction Tv, Youtube Channel.  Warning: you need to like or at least entertain  Disco :-(

Marvin Gaye: What's Going On

Michael Jackson: Startin Something

aHA - Take On Me

Spandau Ballet: True

What is keeping us Busy

Microsoft Windows 10 extensive update 1809 started deleting data.  Oops

Microsoft Released Windows 2019 server then withdrew it because the packaging was missing important stuff.  Oops

LibSSh, a library used by just about every UNIX/Linux server worldwide to enable ssh communications contains a flaw enabling you to connect without any credentials/ password

Google's new Pixel 3 phones contain a Titan M security chip.  Googly has started giving out details.  And here

Google + Due to a software bug, exposing personal details of over 500K users Google decided to shut down its Google+ social media project in 2019 for end users. Many Users, Marcus included, use Google+ as a primary directed technical network via named Communities.  Nobody is quite sure what can possibly replace this useful resource.

Apple iOS 12.  Well with the issues it is now at 12.0.1

Our weekly update of our Raspberry Pi , Raspbian OS farm is starting.

And with that: back to our reading and Fixing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

In 2018, it's not just a Phone

Peter Gabriel: Self Control (none)

As the end of 2018 nears I sincerely pity anybody who with a straight face says that they can get along just fine without a Smartphone.

From Driving, Walking, even Cycling Navigation, to Calendaring,  Health Monitoring, Photography, News, Audio and Video Consumption, hell even the basics of Email, and being a Phone, the Smartphone in 2018 is now most people's favourite and most treasured gadget. 

And thanks to the generosity of others, and a flexible Unlocked Phone, Marcus is now able to customise his Smartphone experience to exactly how he likes it.  Only in Android of course :-)

Lineage OS

Lineage is probably now the leading enthusiast Android Operating system, having taken over from CyanogenMod.  I am back to the absolute pleasure of having my phone exactly how I like it.  Back in control at last.

With Android, LineageOS  (or similar),  you really can customise your Smartphone experience to exactly how you would like it.

Happy ... oh yes I am.

On this day in Irony

On Tuesday October 16, 2018, Huawei, a Chinese company that I once admired, has made further advances in its Smartphone line, by launching the technically impressive Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 Pro impressions
But dear Huawei, since summer 2018 this has happened

Huawei decision at XDA

What this means in plain terms is that without an unlocked Bootloader no user can replace the installed Android Operating System with one they have compiled themselves or by another.  No phone can be 'rooted'.  No developer will consequently spend any time developing Android enhancements for Huawei.  The Huawei developer community will just fizzle out over time

In the End

Unlocked Android:  Together, Not the Same :-)

One Love

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Day at the Wales National Geraint Thomas Velodrome

Subtitle: Not just about the Cycling

Marcus and Agata are just back from a day at the Wales National Velodrome where we re-learnt the practise of indoor cycling on specialised bicycles on a banked wooden 250m track

In Pictures

 David from Evesham Vale Triathletes  (EVT) was one of the principle organisers

We each got the loan of Dolan, fixed gear, no brake bicycles.  It's worth spending the time to get your seat height right otherwise your pedal force will be compromised.

 We were accompanied on the track by an instructor who I swear had longer gear ratios than any of us.  Surely this is the reason we could not catch him?

 The format for the day was a series of routines with a pep talk at the beginning.

 Getting your feet into toe clips was between difficult and almost impossible for larger feet.  Because larger feet just don't fit into the clips and are just sticking way out behind the pedal.

 Brave Agata

 We catered for all ages on the day

 Last race of the day

 Sadly it is all over and time to go Home.

That Theft
If you don't know I will update you that the Tour De France champion Geraint Thomas, learnt his 2018 winning trophy to 'The Cycle Show' in Birmingham.   We covered it here

What we did not report was that at the close of the show it was found that some total and utter tosser (or perhaps group of wankers) has stolen his trophy.

I mean come on!  This first brings shame on the UK as a venue where people will come and exhibit this disgraceful criminal behaviour.   I don't blame the organisers because who could believe this kind of action?

I have no idea what somebody would do with such a trophy.  If you are an advocate of the sport surely you realise this trophy belongs only to the victor, who via his team and personal Superhuman effort has earned every gram of it.

Overall a sad day and at the time of writing, trophy is still stolen.

Learning Points

 I should say perhaps re-learning points because our last Velodrome time was at the UCI headquarters in Switzerland.  Today ....

- Bring some cycle shoes with correct cleats 

Otherwise (like us) you have to use training shoes and toe clips.

This turns out to be dangerous and awkward to get your feet in, and much less effective in getting power down as your spongy foot digs into a pedal, which in Marcus case because of large feet and small clips meant off centre too.  Useless!

We don't have any spare shoes or the Look Cleats necessary so we have a plan to buy them before our next session.

- Listen to the instructor

Actually Marcus spent so much time getting his feet into those bloody pedals I missed some instruction and got demoted out of a group, presumably for bad behaviour and not complying with instructions

- Remember it's a fixed gear.   

The bicycles have a fixed gear and no brakes.  So for the first 10 minutes coming to a halt involves putting pressure backwards on the pedals and remembering as you grab for the brakes that they are not there

- There is a lot of traction

On steep banking your first impression is that you are going to slide off.  But it never happened.  But apparently if you do start to fall , fall uphill.  Downhill and you'll probably end the day in hospital

Final Thanks

Thanks then to EVT  (Evesham Vale Triathletes) for organising, and for our driver Stuart whisking us to and from Wales so efficiently.

A great time was had by all at EVT,  no accident, scrapes or injuries too, always a plus :-)

Monday, October 15, 2018

MUM: MikroTik User Meeting, Birmingham 2018

Becoming any sort of technical expert in a chosen field of Computing is a difficult task on so many levels.  Marcus' deepening fascination with Networking continues and as such Agata and Marcus attended the MikroTik User Meeting  (MUM) conference in Birmingham UK.

(To recap  from  MikroTik is a Latvian company which was founded in 1996 to develop routers and wireless ISP systems. MikroTik now provides hardware and software for Internet connectivity in most of the countries around the world.)

We had a fantastic time.   I reflect that once you are past the newbie stage you can then just soak up the details from presentations; as everything begins to slot into place, and ones understanding grows exponentially

This Link takes you to a Youtube playlist of the whole day.  Below I just go into some more detail and reference the individual presentation videos.

Opening including New Announcements

Common WiFi Mistakes

Basic security from 'out the box'

Script your life easier

Best talk of the day in Marcus' opinion

The Power of scripting is fantastic and I learnt some frightening stuff about how easy it is to geo-locate based on MAC addresses

How to deploy high availability networks and resistant to failure 

A great hands on talk about somebody who started small and just grew and grew and his problems and how he overcame them.  Wonderful story.

Making a TIK Secure

New Features of the Bridge in RouterOS 6.43

The Dude is not Dead

This gave Marcus new enthusiasm to actually implement Dude and also some practical examples of how to do it.

New Kit
 Some of the exciting new announcements were on display.  In particular I would highlight

 Router with a 10Gb port, Gigabit Ethernet Ports, PoE and optionally 4 chain wireless

Decently priced 10Gb Switch

In Our Household
We have a division of specialisations.   Marcus focuses on Infrastructure and Systems work.  Agata is more coding, oh and asking me tricky questions.

So if I can tell you that even Agata enjoyed the day of Networking presentations, and recommended that Networking newbies attend the next conference.  Well there can be no stronger advocacy.

I hope that no reminder is necessary and that you read my article from last week.  20 GBP is all you need to get started!  What can possibly be stopping you?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Skeptical Sunday

This week,  the messages of note that were delivered to my inbox included:

Meanwhile in Ireland