April 2018

Easter Dinner...

…at Galpão Gaucho in Cupertino with my sister. They’re new, so I’m willing to cut them some slack for not being as awesome as the one in Napa, but they need to up their game. And train all the servers to look at everyone’s yes/no card, not just the first one they see at the table. About half of them passed me by because they saw that my sister wasn’t ready for more meat yet, despite my card being clearly visible at the edge of the table.

We also hit the Daiso and Marukai in the same shopping center before dinner. Always a good time. (if you know the area, they took over the old Elephant Bar)

We, um, had to change the subject after a few quick passes on gun control and the Florida spokespuppets, but that was the only land-mine pot-hole in the conversational highway.

Who knew?

Who knew the NRA was filled with female Iranian muslim vegan animal-rights-activist [update: refugee, too] bodybuilders?

3D Cheesecake

Something different: cheesecake girls with a pulse. Not a representative sample, just some pleasant diversions that got saved to my laptop over the past few months…

Important Reminder:


Well, that sucks

Turned on the TV for the first time in a few days, only to find that Dish Network has replaced TV Japan with something called “Family Gekijyo”, which looks like utter crap. I scrolled through several days of listings, and found a whole lot of ancient cartoons and not much else. And I don’t mean good ancient cartoons.

They’re still charging me $25/month for it. Or, rather, they were until I logged in and canceled it just now.

Now to decide if I might as well cancel the whole thing. I don’t like surprises, and there was very little worth watching anyway. Time to investigate TV Japan’s new streaming service, dLibrary Japan, I suppose…

On a related note, the SyFy Krypton series isn’t very good, but at least in the latest episode the male lead does more than pout and brood. Still, no one in the cast is giving me a reason to care if they live, die, breed, or get bottled. Dark Matter had better acting and better eye candy.

On an unrelated note, the Bluray release of Testament of Sister New Devil headlights highlights just how ridiculous that series was. I hadn’t seen the OVA before, but that just turned it up a notch. Honestly, Maria-chan is the only one whose figure isn’t udderly ridiculous (until she transforms at the end and joins the rest of the “more cowbell” club).

dLibrary Japan Update

Started the free trial. Selection is currently weak (mostly historical dramas and ‘comedy’ shows), but a lot better than “Family Gekijyo”, and much less expensive. No idea how good their streaming servers are yet, and they don’t seem to have a FireTV version of their app yet, so I have to watch on a smaller screen for now.

I’ve been wanting to watch Doctor-X anyway…

Unrelated, “gosh I wish I could update the config on my Harmony Hub; if only their servers were up”.

I may finally break down and see if I can get a FireTV registered to my Amazon Japan account and stream with Prime. Hopefully it doesn’t require a full-time VPN, and just connecting ‘from Japan’ once will do. Haven’t checked to see if they enforce a billing-address requirement for streaming, or if it just works like the Kindle where you need to have appeared to come from a Japanese address at least once.

Worst case, my sister will be frequently visiting Tokyo as part of her new job…

Ubuntu-powered sex toys

In beta now, Bionic Beaver. Next up should be Steely Dan; it fits their marketing strategy.

Too late, Dish!

Yesterday, I discovered that Dish Network stopped carrying TV Japan at the beginning of the month, replacing it with a really lame channel called Family Gekijyo. Today, my mail contained a letter from Dish:

Great news, on April 2, 2018, DISH is launching a new Japanese Pack! This will replace TV Japan. TV Japan has decided to remove their channel from your Dish TV programming line-up.

The new Japanese Pack will include the following channels:

  • Family Gekijyo: the international version of this popular Japanese channel is being created to offer general entertainment programming including, live action series, anime, documentaries and game shows. Plus, news programming to come!
  • MLB Network: this channel is the destination for baseball fans and offers live baseball, original programming, highlights, and insights and analysis.
  • Bloomberg Television: this channel offers the latest global business and markets news.

Translated to English: “we didn’t offer TV Japan enough to renew their contract and had to scramble to find something, anything, to replace it with. We know it’s crap, but we hope to string you along with two unrelated channels and a $5/month discount for three months so we don’t lose that sweet, sweet $25 you’ve been paying.”

Too late. If I can get it through Comcast Business (unclear if their TV offerings are the same as the consumer Xfinity), I’ll dump you completely. I could replace you with DirectTV, too, but that would be more of a hassle.

Tips for the day

When the HVAC people insist that the maintenance can be done with zero impact on the running server room, don’t believe them.

When they say no one will need to be onsite, don’t believe them.

When they say they’ll bring in adequate portable cooling to keep the temperature down, don’t believe them.

When they say that the additional portable cooler they’re rushing over should be enough, don’t believe them.

When they say that the even bigger unit that’s on the way should finally be enough, don’t believe them.

Surprisingly, the switches and NASes that passed out from heatstroke all recovered.

Please Don't Tell My Parents...

…that Penny’s story is over. Richard Roberts’ fifth tale of Penny Akk, Junior Supervillain, has finally been released, and it was worth putting up with his publisher’s three months of ominous silence.

In order:

Everything but the anthology containing Summer Of Lob is on Kindle Unlimited.

Dress for the job you want



Cheesecake Champloo 21: food and drink

Back to cleaning out the leftovers folder, this time with a vague theme of food and/or drink.


Alexa, stop funking with me

“Alexa, play that funky music, white boy”.

"Play that funky music right."

“Alexa, play the song ‘Play that funky music’.”

"Playing 'Play that funky music 122bpm' by Soulsearch."

“Alexa, stop. Play Wild Cherry’s ‘Play that funky music’.”

"Playing 'Play that funky music' by Wild Cherry."

“Alexa, play it again.”

Note: most lyrics sites have the first line of this song wrong, which is how this got started.


Amazon Music got their lyrics from one of the worst sites:

Yeah, there was a funky singer
Playin’ in a rock and roll band
And never had no problems yeah
Burnin’ down one night stands
And everything around me
Got to stop to feelin’ so low
And I decided quickly, yes I did
To disco down and check out the show

It’s like someone trying to quote a movie from memory after seeing it three months ago.

Dear Iyo Matsumoto,

That’s going to leave a mark.


Use my pronouns, or else!

I’d say all the cool kids are doing it, but I’d have to leave out the “cool” part…

  1. Ham
  2. Mustard
  3. Rye
  4. Toast
  5. Bacon


Just got a push-poll on my cellphone for a Democrat running for the state Senate. Tried to persuade me by supporting illegals and higher taxes, and opposing Trump and the NRA. You could say that it succeeded in pushing me, but not in the direction she’d like.

Synology DS918+ quick notes

Just bought a new NAS for home, and decided on a Synology DS918+ with 4 10TB drives ($539 + 4 x $310). Why not another ReadyNAS? A combination of price and vague dissatisfaction with the ones I’ve used in the past; I may write that up sometime.

Why not FreeNAS? Because I didn’t feel like building one from scratch right now (as much as I like the idea of a ZFS-based NAS), and the prebuilt unit we once bought from iXsystems ended up going back due to being a piece of junk. Both Synology and ReadyNAS use BTRFS as their filesystem format these days, which offers a lot of what you get with ZFS without the need to occasionally resort to command-line incantations. (“Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That!”)

Drive installation was painless (simple snap-in hot-swap trays), and while I found the “desktop” web GUI a bit overdone, everything works well. The biggest annoyance was figuring out which of the “private cloud” packages to add, because they recently changed all that, resulting in some confusion. (short version: only install the Drive package and desktop/mobile clients, and open TCP ports 5000, 5001, and 6690; also use the builtin LetsEncrypt support and set everything to require SSL)

The “EZ-Internet” cloud/firewall config was useless; it’s just a UPnP wrapper, and when it realized that it couldn’t auto-configure my OpenBSD router, the only help it offered was “hey, you should open some ports”, with no indication of which ones were actually required for the installed packages (see above).

Side note: I was amused and pleased that Drive, their latest, greatest personal cloud solution, required installing the Perl package. 😜

I went with their ‘hybrid’ RAID config, SHR-1, because it resizes better when you add more drives or swap in larger drives. This gives me 26 TB in usable space (9.1 * 3 - overhead), which is plenty for now. Down the road, if when media, disk images, and automated backups start to fill that up, I’ll add the DX517 expansion chassis and another 5 10TB drives and bring it up to 52 TB usable.

If you’re following along at home, you may wonder why adding 5 drives doesn’t give closer to 70 TB, and the answer is paranoia. SHR-1 uses a single parity drive, which means you can only afford to lose one disk. This is generally not a huge problem if you have a spare on-hand and swap it in immediately, but there’s a non-trivial risk that another drive will fail while the first one is rebuilding.

If you think about it, this is even more likely when you buy all your RAID disks at once from the same manufacturing batch, so you really want two parity disks and a hot spare, so that the system can start rebuilding as soon as one disk fails, and can survive losing another one during the rebuild. Having only one data disk in a four-disk chassis isn’t terribly useful, so for now I’m running in a cheaper, less-paranoid configuration. When I’m sure that I like the Synology enough to really rely on it, I’ll buy the expansion and convert the RAID to SHR-2 with a hot spare. And buy a cold spare disk as well.

Additional performance enhancements I can add include bonding the two 1-gigabit ports together, bumping the memory (official max 8GB, but there are reports that 16GB works), and adding SSD cache drives. That last is specifically why I chose the 918+, since it has a pair of M.2 slots on the bottom, and some of their other models require you to buy an expansion card first.

Building the volume was quick, but it took ~16.25 hours to run the initial parity consistency check, so performance was sub-optimal until that finished. The GUI was occasionally a bit sluggish during that time.

Next up: setting up dedicated Time Machine volumes for the Macs and testing their Windows backup client.

Oh, and I named it Index.


First Time Machine backup complete. Just because I was curious how well it would work, I backed up 425 GB over wireless, which took about 7.5 hours.

Hilarity ensued

In Newman, Goergia, a tiny group of peaceful Nazis were once again severely outnumbered by ready-to-rumble Communists, assorted hangers-on, and bored cops.

The bad news? “There were only 10 reported arrests” (of Commie thugs wearing masks).

700 cops from 42 agencies, hundreds of protestors, and about 20 Nazis.

With apologies to John Denver...

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶
Well, flyover country’s kinda laid back,
Ain’t much an old Deplorable like me can’t hack.
Grab a couple guns, toss ’em in the back.
Thank God for the NRA.

Well, inanimate objects never did me no harm,
There’s no one in my family afraid of a firearm.
Eddie Eagle says ‘kids, it’s not a magic charm’.
Thank God for the NRA.

Well, I got me a rifle to make the Left piddle,
With the black scary parts that all do very little.
Logic’s wasted on a mob that needs committal.
Thank God for the NRA.


When the shootin’s done and the guns are aglow,
I pull out my cleanin’ kit and give ’em all a go,
Lock ’em in the safe where I keep the fresh ammo,
And thank God for the NRA.

I’d do Mozambique drills all day if I could,
’Cause the wife says it scares hippies from our neighborhood.
But unlike them I’ve a job, pay’s pretty good.
So thank God for the NRA.

Well, I got me a rifle to make the Left piddle,
With the black scary parts that all do very little.
Logic’s wasted on a mob that needs committal.
Thank God for the NRA, woo-hoo!


Well, I wouldn’t trade my guns for diamonds or jewels,
I never was one of them bunny-huggin’ fools.
Rather have my rifle and my loadin’ tools.
Thank God for the NRA.

Yeah, city folk spittin’ on Army and Marine,
A lotta sad losers thinkin’ that’s a-mighty keen.
People they can’t understand, they gotta demean.
Thank God for the NRA.

Well, I got me a rifle to make the Left piddle,
With the black scary parts that all do very little.
Logic’s wasted on a mob that needs committal.
Thank God for the NRA, yessir!


Well, my rifle was my daddy’s till the day he died,
And he took me by the hand, held me close to his side.
Said, “Live a good life, shoot the rifle with pride,
and thank God for the NRA”.

Well, my daddy taught me young how to hunt and how to whittle,
Taught me how to work and play a tune on the fiddle,
Taught me that with lib’rals, ya lead ’em just a little—
And thank God for the NRA.

Well, I got me a rifle to make the Left piddle,
With the black scary parts that all do very little.
Logic’s wasted on a mob that needs committal.
Woo! Thank God for the NRA, yeah!
🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

Overflowing Museum of Cheesecake: Saaya

Cheesecake galleries come and go, but one that’s built up a fine collection is Ōmoriagari Gravia Kan, which can very loosely be translated to “Overflowing Museum of Cheesecake”.

As a change of pace from the usual Gelbooru roundups, I decided to occasionally feature some of the flesh-and-blood women collected there.

First up is 24-year-old Saaya Irie, who’s been a busty bikini model for 13 years now. Yes, I mean age 11. No, those pictures aren’t on my list.


Old NAS blues...

One thing I’m doing with the new Synology NAS is making sure that everything is successfully migrated from my ancient Infrant ReadyNAS NV+.

There are two basic reasons for this:

  1. The NV+ uses a non-standard power supply, and both of the ones we had at the office eventually burned out, requiring a temporary swap of mine until the data could be retrieved and migrated elsewhere. Mine’s still good, but if it goes…

  2. While the firmware has been updated to cope with the most famous SMB security hole, it’s otherwise an ancient version of Debian on a custom SPARC chip, and even with the RAM upgraded to 1GB, it’s painfully slow at serving up files. It has decent write speeds, but when it comes time to get your terabyte of data back off, it takes forever, especially if you’ve got lots of little files.

I figure the copies should finish by the weekend. Maybe. On the bright side, it’s so slow that the Synology has plenty of bandwidth left to handle copies of every other old drive in the house…


After letting it chug along overnight, it’s averaging a steady 2 MB/s. With 500 GB to go, that’s just about 3 more days. This is so ridiculous that I had to double-check that it really is getting a full-duplex gigabit connection and not falling back to something like 10-megabit/half. No, it’s not the network; it’s just that mind-bogglingly slow. When this is all done, I’m going to reset it to factory defaults and do some testing.

Screw it, it’s sneakernet time!

I grabbed a spare 1TB USB drive, formatted it as EXT3, mounted it on the old ReadyNAS, and told it to back up the largest of the volumes (301 GB). It’s rapidly catching up to the aborted rsync job. As a bonus, the built-in backup job uses Perl. 😜


The 301 GB sneakernet finished considerably faster than the rsync job, and my other ReadyNAS just took a few hours, so I now have all my eggs in one basket.

And my basket is now running: find . -not -name '.*' -type f -size +4096 -print0 | xargs -0 md5sum to figure out just how much duplication there is in the ~6 TB of files (not counting the 2 TB of Acronis, SuperDuper, and Time Machine images…). I figure there will be at least six copies of this video:

Update: nine copies of it. 😊

Cheesecake Champloo 22

Theme: “just cleaning out the leftovers again”.


A tale of three deliveries

The things you learn from Arlo:

3:00 PM, USPS: large box left in middle of porch, visible from street.

3:01 PM, ONTRAC: medium box left on top of first box.

4:28 PM, UPS: previous boxes moved out of sight from street, neatly restacked with new box.

7 inches of bliss...

One of the quirks of my house is that the kitchen “island” is angled to create more space in the breakfast nook. This means less space to get in and out of the kitchen, especially since the pantry door and the refrigerator are right there.

As part of my minor remodeling, I’m going to replace the 28-inch pantry door with closet doors that don’t open out so far, but that still leaves a bottleneck getting past the full-depth fridge. The solution to that problem turned up yesterday when I was browsing at Lowe’s: the first counter-depth fridge I’ve ever not hated.

It’s a good 7 inches shallower than my current one, which will make it much easier for multiple people to use my kitchen at once. The interior layout’s more sensible, too. Not cheap, but this is precisely the sort of thing I took some equity out of the house to buy.

Last time I was in a rush because the old fridge had died while I was out of town, so I took the best-looking thing Sears had in stock. Apart from a persistent fan noise that they could never get rid of, it’s served me pretty well for nearly 12 years.

I sort-of bought a new dishwasher as well (current one’s ~18 years old), but they won’t actually sell it to me until someone comes out and measures to make sure it will fit. I went with a high-end Bosch, largely for the promised noise reduction.


Yes, the tech confirms that the industry-standard slot in my kitchen will fit an industry-standard-sized dishwasher. Now I can actually buy it and schedule the install.


As installed, the new fridge gives a full 8 inches more room to get in and out of the kitchen. Unfortunately, the stainless doors are non-magnetic, so I have to get some 3M clips to attach recipes, etc, to it. I can use the sides, but the space is limited.

'I can quit any time'

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”