Audio Music

ROON Update Planned

Roon had been running badly on the SuperMicro servers. Time to see if we could figure out why and what to do about it. A little tinkering around found that our POP_OS VM was paging out over night and when we resumed play, it would page fault back in. Not the best UX. So, time to come up with a fix.


Add a Spot of Mint in Your Life

Dish Network, struggling to make a go of satellite television service, decided to enter another difficult business, mobile telephone service. They bought the FCC mandated bits of Sprint that T-Mobile could not keep, bought some small wireless carriers for bodies and kit, and bought $30B of 5-G spectrum at auction including what came with Sprint.

Almost 3 years on, they have yet to realize revenue from that $30B in spectrum. Their deal with the FCC required them to have coverage over 70% of the country’s population by 2023 summer.

With $30B of spectrum assets in inventory, the company’s market capitalization is only $8B as I write this. Major brokerages are neutral but Dismal Wizard is feeling abandoned.

Since the acquisition, our prepaid monthly service has been grandfathered in. Chat bots have replaced the live Wisconsin support people that made Ting unique. The live support operators that picked up on the third ring, were pleasant to work with, and could actually help. This service plus T-Mobile fulfillment put Ting at the head of the pack.

The virtual network continues to operate on automatic. Same great T-Mobile service delivery as always. But there are signs of trouble. Dish are decommissioning the Ting web app at the end of February. Without prior communication. DW learned of this when he, by chance, opened the app on his mobile and saw the “I’m going away” message.

Dismal Wizard dropped by Edgar to see what Dish had to say about itself. Not much, lots of Dixie whistling. After 75 years on this planet, you can name that tune pretty quickly. Oh, and they keep issuing debt securities. Dismal Wizard feels seawater sloshing about his ankles. Time to go for a swim. So we did, to Mint Mobile after an exhaustive 5 minute study of Read on to learn about the new kids.


Ureter Cystoscopy

Dismal Wizard has the family legacy, bladder lining cancer, a gift from maternal grandfather. In his offspring, 4 of 12 have the disease and. in all, it remained local to the bladder lining and easily managed. FISH genetic testing (looks for mutations) revealed that your author has genetic mutations associated with the disease.

The standard of care is to inspect the bladder quarterly for polyps or other changes. This is an awake office procedure taking all of 5 minutes or so. This is a cystoscopy procedure (endoscopy via the urinary path). The opening used determines the features needed in the tool used as it has to open the way ahead to facilitate passage, it has to provide light and return a live color image, and if repairs are to be made, it has to allow the introduction and operation of tools, usually a heated wire loop or a surgical laser.

After the break, Dave will review the most recent CAT scan results for you and the followup the imagery required.

Personal Computing

A Desk Stand for the Dismal Wizard’s Desk

Desk litter had taken over the Dismal Desktop. It had become time to bring some order to the chaos present. Gadgets had overrun the place and there was no room to put away the keyboard, mouse, track pad, and other magic things that let me drive my Apple Silicon iMac. The reporters at 9 to 5 Mac came to the rescue.

Personal Computing


Dismal Wizard had heard about NextCloud in several YouTube software videos and got curious. TrueNAS, our file server system, can run NextCloud in FreeBSD Jail. And there is a plugin installation procedure for installation. So, Dismal Wizard had a go and he’s learning what NextCloud can do.


WallBox VooDoo

Driving Electric is a joy… except when it is not. On Tuesday evening Dave put the car on to charge. All went well. No harder than charing a phone if you stay out of the car’s charging menus. For some reason, he dragged out the WallBox app to check on the charge and discovered that there was an update to apply to the EVSE. And …

Personal Computing

Apple Time Machine SaveSets on TrueNAS

Apple MacOS Ventura Time Machine and TrueNAS Core 13 are a match made in heaven (well Unix heaven). TrueNAS Core 13 combines the OpenZFS file system, FreeBSD, and an IXsystems user interface as a convenient home or small office file system server for people knowing just enough UNIX admin to be dangerous. This article outlines the work flow for creating a TrueNAS Core spool volume for a MacOS user client and user account on that client.

Personal Computing Technology Video

Introducing Channels DVR

In the beginning there was ATSC 1.0 off air. With Dismal Wizard’s return from Rhode Island to Virginia, we installed a TV antenna and set up our first TabloTV DVR. Ten years later, ATSC 3.0 has been rolled out. ATSC 3 continues with the 8VSB waveform but has changed the protocol data unit formats to allow additional video codecs to be used including the recent H.256 codec. These changes allow more on-air channels than were possible with the original ATSC 1 codec suite.

The ATSC 3.0 signal has 2 parts, a bootstrap sent periodically that describes the signals available in the channel and the various program frame streams. The receiver listens to the bootstrap to determine what is available and what can be decoded.

After the break, I describe the changes we made to move to ATSC 3.0 here at Dismal Manor.

Citizenship Twittering

Life on Mastodon

Dismal Manor Gang, anticipating the Twitter Apocalypse, created After about 2 months of activity, the Gang has become taken with the joint and is pretty much ignoring Twitter. Mastodon is a lot like pen pals. A post goes out to the gang and you hear back from a few. Maybe holiday cards is a better model. Everyone appreciates hearing form you but not everybody sends a reply.

I’m following about 250 and have a similar number following the Gang. Some of our Twitter pals have joined us on one or another Mastodon nodes. But most followers are new, many are UK, and some are EU and US. Here’s what we are finding.

Home automation Home Economics Technology

Keeping Warm in 2023

This post grows out of some remarks exchanged with a UK household. UK folk (like US folk) are notorious for overriding their home heating automatic controls, generally a waste of energy. In this post, we’ll examine the economics of Dominion’s Time of Use home electric tariff supplying energy for our dual fuel heat pump plus gas furnace home heating. This analysis will examine energy use of two strategies, burn natural gas myself or let Dominion Electric Power burn gas and deliver electricity.

Of necessity, this is a somewhat complex topic that is influenced by local climate, the local utility, and the scheming of the local legislature. In the US, a mix of Federal and State law govern electric power but building codes are local. Here in Virginia, our winter climate is similar to that in much of the UK (0C to 10C daily swing).

In this analysis we looked only at utility steam-electric power as the best home heating and cooling options for our region are electrically operated. Home photovoltaic power is becoming increasingly common in our region but its use for home heating and cooling would require high-end equipment with storage.