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.

Holiday Letter

2022 is over!

Dave rants about some of salient features of 2022. The big one is that it is almost over! During the year, Dave traded autos, continued care for bladder lining cancer, and is breaking up with Twitter to follow Mastodon. Most of this article is about Mastodon as Dave’s AniPal (dog, cat, and plushie buddies) are unwanted participants in the drama that is Twitter and are looking to abandon ship.

Home automation Personal Computing

Home Bridge Update

The Ubiquity UniFi Protect cameras went missing from Apple HomeKit Secure Video. Some updates and some reconfiguration were needed to revive them.

  • The nodejs library had gone out of date
  • The various plugins had been revised
  • The UniFi credentials system had changed
  • The beast needed reconfigured

Just the usual DIY bit rot and acts of Apple. There is nothing hard here but it took some effort to gather together the needed instructions and to locate the Home Bridge reset procedure. To save others this leg work, I’ve gathered together the work flow and primary references.

Personal Computing Twittering

Is There A Pachyderm in Your Future?

Well, Elon Musk did it, he bought Twitter. And he hung a $44 Billion millstone about Twitter’s neck. The debt service on his borrowing is $1 Billion per year. And what did he put up for collateral, Twitter? Unlikely, not even his billionaire buddies would smoke that crack. So there is probably a big chunk of Tesla stock on the line. Will it be interesting? You bet. $44 Billion controlled flight into terrain will make a spectacular kaboom!

So if you have a social media habit, and the Dismal Moocher does, what are the alternatives? Everything out there has wealthy owners except for one, Mastodon and the Fediverse of social media applications. More after the break.

Car talk Driving Electric

Simplified Electrify America Arrival Procedures

Recently, Dave and the Greyhounds drove from Norfolk to Aylett, Virginia and back to attend the James River Greyhound reunion event. This trip was long enough to require that we recharge on the return route or become an item on the 11 PM news. “Electric Vehicle blocks HRBT, film at 11.”

As long term readers recall, we found ourselves at the Richmond Walmart charger in EA newbie hell as EA guidance on the charger itself is obsolescent (a polite way of saying it is wrong).

On my return, I discovered the video linked in Reference [1]. The EV Motoring presenter demonstrates use of the recently revised EA App.