Lots of Digging

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted up here. I’ve created a reminder on my phone to post at least once per week, so we’ll see if that helps me or not.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve finally gotten on the Minecraft bandwagon. Yeah, I know it’s late, but I tried playing the game about 10 years ago, and for some reason I wasn’t interested. But, I revisited it and have to say that it’s really been a great mental relaxation game. Nothing too heavy. Simple. It’s been fun playing on a server with a couple of friends, which helps too.

I’m still working on the lighting project for the kitchen cabinets. I’m really hoping to be done with the entire project by the end of September. Decided to use a Raspberry Pi and a microcontroller, which is new for me. It’s taking more time than expected, but is moving forward.

Keeping my eye on this:

McDonald’s Update

I brought the Toyota to Walmart to get the obligatory oil change and it looks like it’ll be about a two-hour wait. That’s fine with me, though. I’m just sitting at the in-store McDonald’s, having a cup of coffee.

I was able to go measure the box containing the patio furniture and it looks like it’ll just barely fit in the car.

After reading some news articles, I’ll hit the floor and scout for a few more things.

Site Tweak, Beginning the Weekend

Since the site’s back up, I decided to head over to the Internet Archive‘s Wayback Machine to force a snapshot of this site. After doing so, I thought to myself “I wonder if there’s an automated way to do this?”. And, there is. I’ve installed a plugin that will submit a new snapshot each time the site is updated. Publishing this post will be the first test.

There are several projects lined up this weekend:

  • UPS Battery: I ordered a new replacement battery for the UPS on my workstation, since the battery in there is pretty much dead. Gotta go pick it up from the store tomorrow.
  • Patio Set: Heading to the store to get a new patio set for the house.
  • Ceiling fans: I ordered three ceiling fans; one for the office and one each for the upstairs bedrooms. Tomorrow they get installed.
  • Loft Furniture: We got two couched for the loft upstairs. One was a regular sofa and the other was a sleeper-sofa. The sleeper-sofa still needs to be moved upstairs.
  • Clean House: It’s time for a through once-over; cleaning the bathrooms, good mopping of the tile floors, and vacuuming the carpets.
  • Organize Garage: Will be heading out to get some shelving units for the garage to tidy it up and prepare to house my new (third) car.
  • Build Hacker Boxes: I signed up for the Hacker Boxes subscription service. I still need to build kit 16, and kit 17 just arrived.
  • 3D Printer: Need to get the printer up and running.

Ok, I’m gonna start prepping stuff. More later…

A Long-Overdue Update

Hey, the site’s working again and I’m back…

We moved into the new house on October 29, 2016, which was five months ago. Of course, just prior to the move I shut down and packed up the entire network from our old apartment and brought it to the house. For the first 3.5 months here, the servers were powered up, but there was no internet connectivity to them. This was due to the fact that the ISP Ethernet hand-off was in the laundry room, whereas the server rack is located in my office. And there was no Ethernet between. Workstations, mobile devices, Apple TVs, etc. were all using the default Wi-Fi from the ISP. Then, finally, about 1.5 months ago, I finally got up into the attic and ran some cable to cross-connect my pfSense firewall to the ISP. Viola!

So, you may ask, if the servers have been online for the last month-and-a-half, why has the site been inaccessible? Well, that’s because I upgraded the ESXi hypervisors and ran into an issue with unsupported network cards. As a result, the entire DMZ (where this site is hosted) was not accessible. Until today. I’ve fixed the issue, obviously.

Anyway, the house is doing great. Lots of little projects, organization, and decorating still going on. More on that soon. Also, I’m going to be posting some project-related info soon too.

First Walk-Through

Today Cari and I had the first walk-through with the builder to see what needed to go on the final punch list. Other than the basic painting retouches, the biggest concerns we have were:

  1. No electricity. Yeah, that’s a big one. It sounds like Tampa Electric will be onsite tomorrow to install the meter. But the fact that the air conditioning wasn’t running during the walk through today was a really bummer. Very hot and sweaty.
  2. No decorative stone. Around the entire front of the house is stonework that wasn’t in place yet. However, the truck arrived while we were doing the walk through, so that looks like it’ll be done in time.
  3. No sod. The entire front yard is still without sod, and it looks crappy. But, it’s all supposed to be finished tomorrow too.

So, fingers are crossed that everything will be fine for the final walk-through on Thursday morning.

The House is Almost Done

We’ll be closing on the house on October 6th. I just got notification that the mortgage is complete too. We’re almost there. Here are some photos from last Saturday (September 24):

Some new landscaping, including a Bird of Paradise.


More buses, plants and a palm tree.
More bushes, plants and a palm tree.


A wider view of the front yard.
A wider view of the front yard.


Timer for the sprinkler system.
Timer for the sprinkler system.


Hot water heater is in!
Hot water heater is in!


Kitchen countertops are in!
Kitchen counter tops are in!


A closer look at the granite.
A closer look at the granite.


The kitchen sink in the island.
The kitchen sink in the island.


And the granite in the bathrooms.
And the granite in the bathrooms.


Carpeting in the Loft.
Carpeting in the Loft.


...and the front bedroom upstairs.
…and the front bedroom upstairs.


The master bath.
The master bath.

2010 L.A. Trip

I happened to stumble across my old Tumblr page today. Apparently, I created it around the time I went to L.A. in May 2010 for a short, 4-day trip. I was seriously considering moving out there, and Zeke (Eman) had set me up with a interview at the Ski Channel. The interview didn’t go so well, but I had an opportunity to see what L.A. was like and it was a large basis of why I went back out there again in December 2010.

Anyway, I pulled all of those Tumblr posts into this blog and deleted the Tumblr account. If you go back to around May 2010, you’ll see the posts.

Network Re-engineering Complete

Soon after I got this site back up, I decided to re-engineer the internals of the network at the studio. This, ultimately, took this site down again (along with others).

The biggest change was the refactoring of the hypervisors’ datastores. I have two hypervisors running VMware ESXi. Each hypervisor had a series of internal hard drives that stored all of the data (datastores). When I first implemented the hypervisors, I thought I was clever by having these disks internal, as I was using the OSes of the VMs to mirror across multiple physical disks for redundancy, as well as JBOD the disks for greater storage. The problem was that this wasn’t conducive to having the hypervisors redundant, only the hard disks. The only way to fix that was to get a NAS or SAN that supported iSCSI. So, l got an enclosure, populated it, and began the process of building new iSCSI targets. After moving the data off of all the internal HDDs onto the iSCSI targets, I was able to vMotion VMs all onto one hypervisor, shut it down, and remove all of the internal drives. Then, I repeated those steps for the hypervisor. Ahh…

Fireworks and Firewalls

July 4thHappy Fourth of July, all! Cari and I have spent Saturday running errands, and yesterday was a lazy, movie day. Today is shaping up to be a mixture of the two. I think we’re going to go check out the fireworks tonight after I make a huge batch of nachos. Mmm…

Why no posts for a while? A little history: There were a bunch of WatchGuard Firebox X700s sitting around, unused for years at my old job. I got a hold of one and upgraded the RAM and CPU, put quieter fans in it, and loaded pfSense on it. It ran great.

But, the Ethernet interfaces were all 100MBps, and as I programmed the device more and more for the new house, I realized that moving data from one network segment to another was painfully slow with those interfaces and I began hunting for a new system with gigabit Ethernet. I found what I wanted, but needed to order from China. So, on Saturday, June 11, I did just that and then immediately went to some Forums where people had been talking about this appliance and posted that I had ordered one too, and would update everyone on my experience.

That night, sometime after 4:22am on Sunday, my Firebox died. Of course. Almost three weeks later, I finally got the new firewall in, programmed it, put it in place and began using it.

So, with bringing this website in-house a couple of months ago, the entire site was inaccessible until the last few days. Hence, no posts. Hopefully this new firewall is going to last a long time. So far, I love it.

Well, time to go jump in the pool for a bit.