Personal Computing

Updating TrueNAS from V12 to V13

Earlier this week I updated Peabody and Sherman to TrueNAS 13. Following the update, I discovered a couple of issues. First, replication from Peabody to Sherman had stopped. That is, Peabldy was no longer transferring backups to Sherman. And Time Machine had stopped. What the hey.

With some community help, it turned out that I had made a mistake in doing the update and that I ran into a somehwhat hidden design feature.

Car talk Citizenship

EV Surprise

Featured image by the author.

I received a postcard from Virginia DMV reminding me that it was that time again and that I should renew my motor vehicle registration. When I arrived at the DMV website, I found I had a second task to perform …

Citizenship Personal Computing Technology Twittering

Mastodon, the New Kid in Town

Featured image by Eugen Rochko at Github used in accordance with the AGPL

Dismal Manor Gang has pitched its social media camp at Mastodon.Online. Mastodon is a new federated social network similar to Twitter in many ways but improved in important ways.

Home automation Technology Zero Carbon

Smart Thermostat Upgrade

For many years, a Nest Learning Thermostat has controlled heating and cooling at Dismal Manor. About a year ago, I replaced the Nest Beta program edition with a current production Nest Learning Thermostat. In mid-April, we had a surprise run of hot days so I decided to change from heat mode to cool/heat mode. I made the change, found the thermostat calling for cooling, and hot air coming from the registers. What’s up, Nest!

Car talk Greyhounds

VW ID.4 life with dogs

I thought I’d report my experiences taking the greyhounds on outings in the ID.4. Additional room for Rocky was a significant motivation in retiring the Mk 7 GTI DSG. Almost no reviewers show their dogs in the vehicles they review or comment on suitability of a vehicle to haul big dogs so I thought I’d do that with the VW ID.4


Skylum Luminar Neo is Here

Photo: by the author and edited in the new Skylum Luminar Neo

Skylum is a group of Ukrainian photographers and programmers with a 20+ year history of developing photo editing tools designed to reduce the amount of fiddling needed to develop and render fine art photos. Luminar makes the process so quick that phone snapshots can be made presentable in a minute or two. With a bit of care, Luminar Neo can make sophisticated edits as demonstrated by the candid portrait edits toward the end of this post. Luminar can be used from within Photos or a Photos image may be added to the Luminar catalog to retain the edit history.

Skylum Folk are at Risk in Kyiv

Skylum was proudly founded in Ukraine, and our core development center is based in Kyiv. At this harrowing time, unfortunately we cannot guarantee the on-time delivery of updates to Luminar Neo. We strive for excellence in everything we do, and we will make sure to further develop and improve Neo and to keep you updated on any news.

A number of the leading small software shops are located in Ukraine and are directly affected by Putin’s war. These engineers remain in our thoughts.

Car talk

Thoughts on Millennium Falcon’s First 3 Months

Featured image by the author. Vehicle display images by the author.

Why Millennium Falcon? Well like the Falcon, the ID.4 is sort of big, sort of fast, and sort of nimble. But only sort of. There is no mistaking it for a 3-Series or S4 Avant. It is still a bit of a sled. With a bit of personality like the Falcon.

Car talk

VW ID Family Charging

Photo by the author.

The VW ID.4 and its siblings are known to be difficult to charge. In particular, the scheduled charging features don’t behave as owners expect them to. At this point, it is unclear if there are actual software problems or just user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) problems. These problems are sufficiently bad that the Internet is littered with whiny posts about the issue.

VW seems to have done a good job of anticipating how owners would want to charge their vehicles. They have not done such a good job of making it happen. This seems to be partially a UI/UX design problem in that the user interface is a bit muddled.

It also appears to be a result of clinging to the ICE fill up when the nag comes on model rather than adopting a different fill-up model suited to BEV home charging. We’ll explore this after the break and report once we have some experience.

Personal Computing

On Computer Access Security

Masthead image courtesy of YubiCo.

How secure is secure enough in this age of phising and breakins? Is a security hierarchy possible as not all accounts support all security methods. And what about the accounts that are still mired in the 1960’s days of shoulder surfing? Read on.

Personal Computing

A Tale of Two Password Managers

Dismal Manor tries to be somewhat security conscious. We try to use unique passwords for all log-ins, keep passwords in an independent password manager, and to use 2 factor authentication, preferably a physical key where we can. In this article, we look at BitWarden and explore the possibility of migrating from 1Password to BitWarden.