current backup regime

my home setup: all linux boxes (and VMs) go to a 4TB Netgear NAS over SMB using CrashPlan’s free version (encrypted and incremental. might do a wee piece on that soon).
NAS to external 2TB external USB twice a month (this is drive is stored remotely the rest of the time).
i realise that my data is then only being stored in two locations but another 2TB drive isn’t an option at the moment.
server setup: backed up nightly to Amazon S3 using Jungle Disk. VM snapshots taken a few times a week. files and databases also archived to Dropbox.


fitbit charge

i’ve had a couple of ‘smart’ wearables. a pebble watch (good) and a sony smartband (might not be called that but it was pretty useless whatever it was called). recently spotted the fitbit charge for a good price (n.b at lot less than they’re advertising on their page). a simple looking activity tracker. i wasn’t expecting a great deal from it but have been pleasantly surprised. let’s start with the device itself.

fitbit_on_wristthe OLED screen stays dark when not in use to conserve battery but when you double-tap the screen it lights up and you can view the current time, number of steps taken, calories burnt and distance travelled (when i got to 10,000 steps it displayed some fireworks to celebrate the ‘achievement’). it feels good on and i’ve found that i forget i’m wearing it. a rubberised band houses the electronic gubbins and there’s a charge point on the reverse. one caveat…it isn’t waterproof. i think they say it’s splashproof. i won’t be risking wearing it in the shower. the strap has two buttony-type-things that snap into corresponding holes to adjust the width. i bought the large version and i’m using the 6th and 7th holes. it’s best to leave a pinky finger gap free. it comes with a ‘wireless’ dongle (read: messed about with bluetooth) so you can sync it with your PC but it’s MS and mac only so isn’t of much use to me (there is a way to get it working with linux but i haven’t tried it yet) so instead i went with the android app. this syncs the charge with your phone…assuming your phone supports bluetooth 4. there’s a slightly out of date list of devices to be found on their site. i have a z3 so am good to go. the app will sync with your charge constantly (well, at very regular intervals) if you want it to but i don’t want increased battery drain on my phone. i just enable bluetooth went i want to sync and this works well. many activities are tracked. here’s my progress after being up and about for 11 hours (mostly at work)

fitbit_android_1it seems to be reasonably accurate though i’ve heard of an extra 5% being added to your step count which would then effect distance and calories burnt.

after another few hours i’ve got to this point

fitbit_android_2not bad. the android app also syncs with the fitbit servers so you can view your progress (and retrospective history) on your dashboard. that looks a lot like this

fitbit_dashboardthe sleep monitoring, which i haven’t mentioned up until now, seems quite accurate too though how it will deal with my bouts of insomnia remains to be seen. so it’s early days for the fitbit and me but i’m enjoying it so far. interesting to see how different routes to my bus stop in the morning differ for example. might get me to take the stairs more than the lift. it apparently should last a week on a single charge. i would like it to be waterproof but maybe the more expensive models do that.

are you

looking for a simple, and easy to use, free blogging platform? might i suggest nibbleblog? only just came across it but it looks good and is highly configurable. sometimes you just want something that works and doesn’t require extensive code knowledge or take 72 hours to setup.
check it out. it’s also SEO friendly out of the box. it doesn’t even use a database…the only real requirement is PHP
there’s a demo on there too. bit late in the day for me to be switching this site to it but i’ll give it a go with some other projects i think as i’ve found it rather refreshing.

fitting a bigsby to a telecaster

i have a telecaster copy that i bought with the thought of modding it (the guitar cost me £48 from and is of surprisingly good quality). up until now i had only sanded various bits of it and fitted some new tuners.
now it was time to fit a bigsby vibrato/tremolo. i bought the ‘bigsby’ on for £18. a real one would have cost quite a bit more. there was an obvious issue. the rear of the tele’s bridge (where the saddles are connected to) is too high for the strings to fit under the bigsby’s first roller. first of all i bought a bridge plate from the US but didn’t read the listing properly and later realised that it was for a tune-o-matic bridge…which i didn’t have. even if i bought one of these the strings would still be to high and the angle too steep.
my solution? bodge it. here’s the original bridge

tele_bridge_beforeand here’s the tool i’m about to use. nothing subtle…it’s a dremel with a grinding disk attached.

tele_bridge_with_remelbefore i started i masked the pickups off so that none of the metal that was about to be removed would stick to the magnets. i wasn’t sure how the dremel would cope with the steel of the bridge. turns out that it coped very well and here’s how it looked after my initial cut.

tele_bridge_afteri had to go back and extend a couple of the notches as they weren’t quite reaching the holes that the strings pass through.
once that was done it was time to attach the vibrato unit. there are instructions on bigby’s site that show you how it should be done. i just used my eyes and lined it up with the fingerboard.

tele_with_bigsby_placedused a bradawl to create pilot holes for the 4 screws then secured them tightly. the rear of the vibrato hangs over the end of the guitar by a fewmm but it’s no big deal. so now it was time to string it up. here was the hardest part of the whole thing. took me nearly an hour. an hour for six strings. much rage. much swearing. i think i’d be able to do it more quickly the next time but i found it incredibly frustrating. here’s the guitar with it fitted and strung. turned out better than i thought it would to be honest.



minecraft – unable to authenticate when playing online – linux

linux. i just installed mate ubuntu 15.10 alpha. went to play on my minecraft server after installing openjdk 8.

whenever i clicked on the server and selected join it threw an error something along the lines of ‘failed to login the authentication are currently down for maintenance’. the mojang status page maintained that everything was fine so what was the problem? SSL certificates were the problem. they were broken or non-existent. the fix…as root

update-ca-certificates -f

not sure if this is just a problem with this alpha build but that fixed it for me.


lincoln avenue high flats demolition

lincoln avenue, knightswood, glasgow. two out of the six high flats are being demolished. this is the last of the two (i used to stay in the one that was first to go).



they can’t use explosives as there are houses all around.
always thought it fascinating to have a peek at people’s choice of colour scheme.

backup blues

i’ve been rather obsessive about backing up my data since i lost valuable files back around 1999.
up until recently i backed up to 2 2TB drives at home and one which i kept at my office and brought back occasionally (read: less often than i should) for a refresh. this has been working fine until i bought a NAS device (a netgear ReadyNAS 104…liking it a lot BTW) for local streaming to DLNA devices, a sonos and storage of VM snapshots and various other files.
the NAS has 4 bays and i’ve filled two of them with more 2TB drives. they’re setup as RAID 1 so that effectively gives 2TB of storage as one drive mirrors the other (i will expand this at a later date).
up until now i used a combination of deja-dup and rsync to keep things up to date…the question is how should i proceed now? should i continue my original method with the 3 externals and leave the NAS to its own devices (copying new data to it as it is created)? or should i look at backing up the NAS too? that could be to one of the various online services that i have accounts with or to another external drive (that could get costly).
the possibilities are starting to hurt my head a bit…

how big have tape drives gotten these days…