ZeroFiller: Nearly Fill Up a Disk with Zeroes for Snapshot Backups

ZeroFiller - Some Source Code - Screenshot

ZeroFiller (for Windows!) This might be a relatively niche utility, but I figured I’d share it because it might help someone in the same situation. File Version Description ZeroFiller-v0.8-20171023.zip v0.8a2017-10-23 The ZeroFiller executable only (requires .NET 4.5.2) ZeroFiller-src-0.8a-20171023.zip v0.8a2017-10-23 The ZeroFiller source code (requires >= Visual Studio 2017, probably) Backups I run a lot of VMs and I’m a bit obsessed with backups. I do high-level backups (meaning files, DB data, configs, etc.), as well as low-level backups of the actual VM disk images. The raw virtual disks get snapshotted on the host system, then the snapshot’s raw data is backed up using dd, gzip, and rsync. It’s not fancy, and it basically grabs the machine in a crashed state … Continue reading

Enterprise Network Switches for the Home: Ramble feat HP Procurve 5406ZL

The HP Procurve 5406ZL and…

…a whole lot of other crap, vis a vis my opinions on used enterprise-grade networking hardware for the home (or small-ish business).

I purchased an HP Procurve 5406ZL on eBay mainly because I “need” 10GbE on my home network, which is almost recursive because it’s for editing 4K video, which I need for editing this video.

The bottom line for me is that you can’t beat the feature/price ratio when it comes to equipment like this. That is, if you can afford the resultant power bill.

Razer DeathAdder Button Swap (Left- to Right-Handed Mouse)

Razer DeathAdder Button Swap

I’m a leftie, but all my life I’ve used right-handed mouse in my left hand. I needed to replace my old Microsoft Optical Mouse, and found the DeathAdder Left-Handed Edition. It’s the perfect size and shape for me, but they did the weird thing of switching the left- and right-click buttons. It’s easy enough in most any operating system to swap the buttons in the settings. However — at least with Windows — the buttons are only changed locally. So when connecting to other hosts via Remote Desktop the buttons revert to their hardware configuration. That’s a no-go for me, but I liked the mouse so much that I decided to mod the hardware instead. Fortunately, it’s very easy to … Continue reading

Choosing a Disk Drive: HDDs, SSDs, and Then Some

This video covers almost everything you need to know about HDDs and SSDs to make an educated choice before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

Well, almost everything. This video is primarily directed at the home user trying to get some additional storage, whether that be an extra drive in their workstation, a NAS, or a full file server. If you’re trying to choose between SAS drives for a large-scale datacenter installation, then you probably know this stuff already.

As I promised in the video, here’s some links to my HDD TCO worksheet from 2013 (though I may have updated it in the interim with a couple of “new” drives). Please download the Excel version and use this for any drive that you want. If you make any interesting changes or large scale updates, I’d love to see it, so please let me know!

I also added a bunch of notes so you know what I meant with all the field names.

HDD Total Cost of Ownership Worksheet (Google Sheets – View only)

HDD Total Cost of Ownership Worksheet (Excel – View and edit)

Let’s Open: Intel Mini PC G2 (from AliExpress)

This video features a review and teardown of the Intel Mini PC G2 manufactured by — uhhh — Random Chinese Company 5000.

Did it ship with tons of bloatware and malware? Is it too good to be true that it comes with a full copy of Windows 10? Are the specs worth a damn in the real world? Watch me ramble on about it to find out!

If you want to buy this cylindrical masterpiece mediocrity, a link to the original AliExpress listing is below (which may be way out of date by the time you read this). Note that this is not an endorsement and I don’t receive one penny if you do end up buying it.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/In-stock-High-Quality-Windows-10-MINI-PC-Host-32G-Memory-Bay-Trail-CR-2-4G/32596403800.html

Not every product from China is crap, but in the “Let’s Open” series I’m buying stuff that seems really good on paper, but has a whiff of the toilet about it.

JetBlue: Password Encryption is for Suckers

JetBlue: Encryption is for Suckers

The Background The Missus and I flew to Florida a couple of days ago, and as usual we took JetBlue. The only eventful part of the flight was a pleasant arrival 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The flight crew had mentioned that the satellite TV was out of commission, and that all in-flight movies would be free for the duration. I thought that was a good way of handling the issue, and figured that was then end of that. However, the next day we both received emails from JetBlue stating that we’d been signed up for their Travel Bank, and that a $15 credit had been applied to both of our Banks in exchange for the inconvenience of the malfunctioning … Continue reading

How to Choose the Right “4K” (UHD) Monitor – Featuring the Crossover 404K

If you want to see a man in a basement ramble on about monitors for over an hour, this is the video for you!

I cover a wide variety of monitor specification-related topics, and how they all come together with the Crossover 404K. But don’t worry, even if the 404K is obsolete by the time you find this, it should still be helpful! (Maybe.)

Digital Juice Sound Effects Library File Renamer

digital_juice_by_tappy

What’s this for?? I have some Digital Juice SFX library DVD files from circa 2006 or some such. The DVDs contained tons of small WAV and MP3 files of sound effects, foley and music. They’re meant to be accessed with Digital Juice’s Juicer app, which contains all the metadata. I lost the DVDs a while ago, but had already copied them to my file server. The problem is that I don’t want to use the Juicer app. I have a bunch of other sound libraries, and want to be able to search them all at once. Unfortunately the sound files on the DVDs are all named generically, such as 00293_SFX.wav, which is pretty useless. My savior I did a quick … Continue reading

DIY Motion Control Camera Slider

Motion Control Slider - YouTube Featured Image 01

Introductory Video This video is and introduction of my motion control slider project, showing the basics of what it can do and how it’s used. Time Lapse Assembly Video I figured that I’d record the entire assembly process of the MC slider from start to finish. This video shows about 24 hours of real time in 15 minutes, and in it I discuss some of the problems I faced and design choices I made. Feedback If you’ve got any comments or random abuse to hurl, please post it here on the ol’ blog. Seriously, I’d appreciate any and all suggestions and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. As promised in the videos, various downloads and a parts … Continue reading