Moving is hard

I only move within Canada, and even I think moving is hard.

I left my drivers license, banking, financials all registered to my parents house until I bought my own place last year. Before that I moved about twice a year for more than a decade before that, across five cities in three provinces, and I have no idea how much paperwork would have been required to do that kind of thing properly. I guess maybe I would have been pretty good at it after the first half dozen times?

I do think it’s funny that the way to get a hold of me that has lasted the longest is an old hotmail account I made back in middle school that even the spammers have given up on.

Internet of things that do what they’re told

I really loved this talk between Cory Doctorow and Tim O’Reilly

The purpose of the IoT is to give humans superpowers

A lot of our Internet of Things models proceed from the idea that a human emits a beacon and you gather as much information as you can — often in a very adversarial way — about that human, and then you make predictions about what that human wants, and then you alert them. What if instead you had a device or a device ecosystem that was local to you, that didn’t share your information with anyone else, that gathered information that you gave voluntarily because it was just for your own benefit — myware, not spyware.

Then, as you moved through the world, other things emitted information about themselves. Your device took them in, looked at your very intimate, not-for-sharing preferences, and presented you with options, rather than treating you as an ambulatory wallet to try and game into admitting dollars. If you think about every offer that every business that you pass today might make to you, it adds up to a gig or two. We can handle that in our sleep. Why are we trying to tailor which information comes to you? Why aren’t they all promiscuously broadcasting, then you receive them and filter them at your end using your device that can keep your secrets for you?

This is why I haven’t gone in on any ‘smart’ devices yet – I keep looking for a self hosted personal assistant… and if it talks to any server, I’d like it to be one of mine.

Fake raid metadata

Thanks to this guy I finally got my 1tb disk initialized to use in my raid array – it had some garbage about being attached to another raid that I couldn’t remove or overwrite, so I finally plugged it into a usb dock and into my linux laptop and used dd to wipe the first and last 200 sectors or so 😉

1\ Very helpful post.
2\ For some guys like me dmraid wont work.. In which case only option is to zero out the drive with dd. But good news is you dont have to zero out complete drive. Just zero out 1st couple and last couple of sectors. Follow commands below

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=2
fdisk -s /dev/sda
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda seek=(number_of_sectors – 20) bs=1k

number_of_sectors = output of fdisk -s /dev/sda

This worked for me.. Thought I should put it out.


The original link to the dmraid solution, which wouldn’t work for me for some reason…

Acer E3 111

I picked up a new acer laptop last weekend for 170$ from Canada Computers.

On one hand, the keyboard is crap, it’s a bit slow, the screen has poor viewing angles and the wifi is a bit flakey.

On the other, it was 170$, the screen is minimally adequate, battery life is decent, has usb3, and after I replace the HD with a SSD, there will be no moving parts because it’s fanless. Did I mention it’s 170$? I also like the multi-touch touchpad. My current laptop is a 10 years old IBM ThinkPad – the keyboard is glorious. Everything else is suffering… although CrunchBang linux actually made it seem a lot faster than it was.

Since I need win7+ on the move, and since I already have a win7 desktop that’s only 8 years old and was such a beast then that it still functions now, I picked up the cheapest thing that met my needs and I’m happy with it. In a year or three maybe I’ll see something better, or maybe I won’t need windows anymore. I think I want a luxury, low power laptop and I couldn’t find anything out there for me this year. Maybe I’ll have better luck next year.

CrunchBang ‘Detect Disks’ error fixed

Even though I have an almost obscene number of computers, I’ve really been missing having a personal laptop. So I’ve resurrected the IBM Thinkpad T42 that was old when my brother bought it used for school years ago. I had CrunchBang Statler installed on it before, currently trying to update it to CrunchBang Waldorf – Have to thank Larry the CrunchBang Guy for his Thinkpad specific guide to the ‘Detect Disks’ error on install – Disabled the floppy drive and away I went 😉


New Floors!

Putting in our new floors today. Had a lot if help 😉


One room and hallway mostly done, two rooms to go. Edges take far longer than areas with these floating cork planks.

Baby tunes

So, here’s a first for me – a post about a finished project. Well, OK, not finished but in production at least.

Friday night the radio in the nursery kicked it.

Nursery Radio

I think the warranty has expired.
I’ve been meaning to make a headless RasBMC player anyway, so I distracted the baby with the box from my new router and jumped in.


It works! My music is mirrored on a NAS with an SMB option. I can export my existing playlists to the hard drive with a few tweaks in notepad++ to fix the paths. I’ve got a usb powered surface transducer to help keep the sound low.

Eventually I’d like to pack the entire thing in the clock radio guts. But that will have to wait 😉