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What Game Should I Get?

Q: Hi all. I just got a new computer and want to know what’s the best wargame to get for it.

A1: My favourite wargame is Halo 3 for the PC.

Q: I have a Mac.

A1: It doesn’t run on a Mac.

A2: I love . It’s a first person shooter.

Q: I don’t like first person shooters.

A3: I have . It’s a turn based game.

Q: I really prefer a real time strategy game.

A4: I have this RTS called set in Ancient Rome.

Q: I prefer WWII.

and so on . . .

Get my point? If you would like to find out ‘what the best game is’, please be as specific as you can or you will get responses all over the map. At least we knew that Q had a computer and not a phone.

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Installing Minio as a Service on CentOS 7.3+

Introduction

This document outlines the procedures to install Minio as a Service on a new CentOS 7.3 Minimal server. It provides a little more detail to the procedures in the references at the bottom of this article.

My Test Environment

I’m using VirtualBox on a Windows 10 Workstation, with a fresh install of CentOS 7.3 Minimal. Also installed is a copy of Git Bash for Windows.

The reason I use Git Bash is because I can copy/paste text from the examples below into the Git Bash prompt.
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Cloudberry Backups to an SFTP server

Backing up your data to a Linux based SFTP server is an inexpensive method that separates network shares (which can be attacked by crypto viruses) from your backups. You can configure Cloudberry’s SFTP backups with either password based access or with a shared cryptographic key so that regular passwords aren’t used. This document provides steps on using both methods to access an SFTP server with Cloudberry Backup.

SFTP advantages:

  • Linux is easy to install.
  • Doesn’t require advanced hardware.
  • SFTP comes pre-configured with CentOS 7 server.
  • Can easily be run on a cloud server, such as Digital Ocean or Linode.
  • On systems with multiple mounted drives, you can specify the storage locations.

SFTP disadvantages:

  • Not as fast as some other protocols, such as Minio

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Looking to Sell my ASL Collection

That would be my large collection of Advanced Squad Leader Modules. Feel free to email me at atuline@gmail.com for additional questions/offers.

I’m located just outside Vancouver, BC and you’re welcome to come over and have a look. Be prepared to hear ‘no thanks’ if you’re going to put in a lowball offer in order to get a ‘deal’.

Oh, and did you see Maps 42 and 43? Yep, those are originals.

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FastLED Support Q&A

I’ve made a LOT of mistakes over the past couple of years, and thought I’d pass along some of the things I’ve seen and done.

Q. Where’s the documentation?

A. FastLED Documentation is located at:

http://fastled.io/docs/3.1/modules.html

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Dusting off the Arduino Cobwebs

As you get older, it takes a bit of time to get back up to speed on things. In this case, I hadn’t been programming the Arduino with the FastLED display library for a few months and I started to get back into it. When I last left, I’d standardized and documented my wiring colours, pinouts and to use either the Arduino Nano or the Pro Micro. So far so good, as it was all nicely laid out for me.

I had a spare Nano kicking around, so I attached it to my USB port, started up the Arduino 1.6.3 IDE and loaded a basic FastLED program. The Nano was recognized as a Com port in the IDE (so I didn’t have clone FTDI issues to contend with), checked the code and started to program it. Despite several attempts, the code never did upload so I put the Nano aside.

Next, I got out a previously used Pro Micro and I immediately encountered driver issues with it. Remembering that I had to use Leonardo drivers, I fiddled around for half an hour with drivers, but never did get it recognized correctly. Let’s toss that aside as well.

Finally, I opened up a brand new Pro Micro, installed it, and saw that it was immediately recognized. At that point, I threw out the Nano and the first Pro Micro (I’m not very sentimental). I then programmed it up, and . . . nothing happened. I re-checked the wiring and the code a couple of times, and again, no LED’s. I then added some debug code for the serial monitor and saw that the Pro Micro was indeed being programmed correctly. I then triple checked the wiring and saw that I’d soldered part of the insulation to the data pin and had no connection. After the insulation was removed and the connection re-soldered, I tried again, but alas, no lights. Things weren’t going well today.

I checked the wiring thoroughly and saw (barely) that the data wire was also sliced halfway down its length, so I cut the wiring below the slice and then soldered that to the Pro Micro. At long last, the LED’s came on as expected and I’m now back (tentatively) in the FastLED environment.

Moral of the story: Check everything. Several times.

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More Backups and Synchronization

I have spent rar too much time this past week reviewing and updating the backup procedures on my development workstation. In the past, I was:

  • Using Acronis to backup the files on drives C, D to drive Z.
  • Using Syncback to occasionally copy Videos, Music and Photos to an SMB share on a Synology DS209J.
  • Using the Synology DS209J as a media server.

The challenges I faced:

  • Acronis has failed in the past, so I need to either trust it again or dump it.
  • The Synology server is embarassingly slow. File copying is slow, and videos occasionally stutter.
  • I’m concerned about SMB shares being trashed by a possible Cryptowall virus.
  • Am a bit low on disk space in areas.

Hardware changes made:

  • Replace the Synology with a CentOS 7 VM running on an existing ESXi server, and install Plex on it.
  • Add a 4TB WD Red drive to the ESXi server, create a 4TB ext4 volume and attach it to the CentOS VM.
  • Replace an existing 10/100 ethernet switch with a 10/100/1000 ethernet switch.

Functionality to test:

  • Disk and file backups with incremental and block level support for extra large files.
  • Cataloging of the backups.
  • Directory/file synchronization.
  • Cloud and SFTP support.

Software tested:

  • Syncback (I have been using Syncback free)
  • Syncovery
  • Acronis Backup/Recovery (I already own this)
  • Acronis True Image
  • Cloudberry

 

A Realization

It slowly dawned on me that when performing occasional full backups with Syncback, what I really wanted to do was to perform file synchronization. In this case, I didn’t want incrementals or the ability to restore an old version. I just wanted a source and destination synchronization of my media directories. It also turns out that dedicated backup software such as Acronis or Cloudberry don’t really support that functionality. So, let’s look at each of the packages I tried.

 

Syncback

There are several versions of this product, and Syncback free has allowed me to backup across SMB shares without any problems in the past.

It does not support block level backups, which I felt were important with the number of Virtual Machines I’m using.

In order to Synchronize to the CentOS server via the more secure SFTP, I needed to purchase Syncback Pro (and not SE).

Being about same price, the block level support of Syncovery put it ahead of Syncback Pro.

Syncovery

This product costs about the same as Syncback Pro, but does support block level backups, as well as file/directory synchronization.

I ended up buying a copy of this to use strictly for synchronization with the new media server. Maybe I’ll use it for full backups down the road once it gains my trust. I’m not there yet.

Acronis Backup/Recovery

I already own this product, so I spent time determining if I wanted to continue using it or replace it with an alternate. After significant testing, I decided to update it and use it for backups. One of the main reasons was that using the catalog for file recovery was easier to use than the alternatives.

Acronis True Image

This package had great reviews, however the simplistic interface was not for me. I ditched it early on.

Cloudberry

This product performs backups to various local and Cloud services and worked very well. I have a client that uses it and it’s a good product. In order for me to purchase Cloudberry, Acronis Backup/Recovery had to fail in some significant fashion and the only weakness I could see with Acronis (other than the fact that it’s huge), was that the version of Acronis I own does not support Cloud Services. Fortunately for me, that was not a requirement and as a result, Cloudberry was off the table.

 

Current Status

Acronis now performs custom daily/weekly backups of drive C and drive D to drive Z as well as to the CentOS server via SFTP. One of the advantages of the custom configuration is that I can tell it to purge old backups when the destination drive gets full. At 4TB, that should take a while.

Syncovery synchronizes the Photo, Music and Video directories to the CentOS server via SFTP for use by the Plex media server. It also does so at a MUCH faster clip with the new gigabit switch.

Oh, and I’m also running Crashplan as a backup of last resort. When it comes to backups, you can never have too many.

 

 

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