Personal Computing

Planning Peabody’s Pool Structure

Image courtesy of iX Systems

Long time viewers know that I’m TrueNAS fan and that our local TrueNAS server Sherman has gone a bit wobbly. I’ve repaired Sherman and ordered him a partner, Peabody as in Peabody and Sherman. As you know, Mr. Peabody invented the WayBack machine. Peabody will serve music and Sherman will be Peabody’s replication target giving us an on-site backup. As always, some assembly is required. In this case, I’ve decided to rework the new server’s file system to make it a bit more graceful to use.

Personal Computing

The WayBack Machine goes wobbly

Long time followers of the Dismal Manor Gang know that Dismal Manor has a thing called a WayBack Machine. You may know that it has something to do with photographicals we dogs wish were long forgotten but you may not know much more about it. It is no where near as magical as Mr. Peabody’s WayBack Machine appearing on The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The original was a cartoon mortal’s attempt at a TARDIS but worked only for planet Earth.

Our WayBack machine is a TrueNAS file server that stores our Apple Time Machine spool volume, our local audio media, and video clips. It is going wobbly. One of the disks, a brand made by sinners rather than the faithful (Stranger in a Strange Land), has presented with unrecoverable bad blocks. First there were 16, now 24, so it was time to replace the disk. Read on to learn how this went for us.

Personal Computing Photography

Skylum Luminar Product Family

In this post I’ll describe photography at Dismal Manor, our equipment, and the production workflow here. We use Skylum products in that workflow, currently Luminar AI but expect to migrate to Luminar Neo in 2022.

Personal Computing

MacOS Monterey, Apple Silicon Edition

This post reports initial impressions of Apple MacOS Monterey running on Apple Silicon. The OS is solid and well behaved but, as usual, some applications need further refinement. This note summarizes what we have learned so far about the following areas.

  • MacOS 12 Monterey itself
  • MacOS 12 Monterey support applications
  • Apple Applications like Photos and Music
  • Apple Focus

I decided to write this post to capture some of my early misadventures with Monterey. Here we talk about some new features and review some old ones. To cut to the chase, Monterey is well sorted and ready for general use.

Audio Personal Computing

Modius Mystery

The other day, I had the urge to listen to Gumby and Modius to get a better feel for the difference between the two. So I put both in a Roon audio group and started a record playing in the group. Gumby remained on SPDIF. Modius was shifted to SPDIF. Different Roon Bridges served the common source to the two devices. Modius hung. I did some poking around the next day to see what I could learn.

This attempted experiment started a rather lengthy snipe hunt. Several misunderstandings on my part prolonged the hunt. The investigation uncovered a misunderstandings about MacOS System Information display and found a misconfigured Raspberry Pi based Roon endpoint. Read on for the details.

Personal Computing Technology


TeXmacs is a technical writing system for use by scientists and engineers. TeXmacs is a reimplementation of Donald Knuth’s TeX document preparation system that offers a unique advantage, the ability to embed interpreted computing language sessions using tools like Octave, Python, Maxima, etc. To learn more about using TeXmacs in a MacOS environment, read on.

Audio Music Personal Computing Uncategorized

An Inexpensive Streamer

Featured image courtesy of Darko.Audio [1]

I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb here and recommend a piece of kit that I don’t actually own or use but that is a close cousin to kit in use here at Dismal Manor.

When Jason Stoddard, co-founder of Schiit Audio, has one of his periodic ask me anything interviews, a viewer invariably asks if Schiit will make an inexpensive streamer. Jason invariably answers, “no, that’s not our thing”. Jason has wisely chosen to avoid all the pain of what works with what in Linux Land.

But the question comes up sufficiently often that folks might like an answer. Back when I was looking for a streamer to replace AirPort Express and ChromeCast bits, I happened to discover John Darko’s Darko Audio YouTube channel. One evening, John reviewed the Allo Digital DigiOne Signature streamer and gave it marks that placed it firmly in high end sonic company with the Bluesound Node. After a bit, I ordered the boards and enclosure and put one together that I use in my lounge as my main stream receiver. I have a secondary HiFiBerry stream receiver that I use with the TV and video players.

In this article, I’ll tell you about a newer Allo Digital product that takes a bit different tack that will work nicely with today’s kit. That product is Allo Digital’s USBRIDGE Signature [2]. We’ll also look at what the more commercial products offer that is not part of the DIY streamers.

Personal Computing Technology

Cox IPv6 at Home?

Cox offers IPv6 home service but with not much of a knowledge base for setting it up. In the simple case, DHCP6 does all that is needed. If you have a Cox provided or supported router, Cox will do all you need. If, like Dismal Manor, you have Ubiquity UniFi software defined networking, some additional configuration is possible.

IPv6 was designed to solve the network address exhaustion issue and make routing simpler. It does this by providing an explicit network number and a separate host address field. IPv6 allows the local network to partition the host space into slices using several of the high order bits of the IPv6 host address. In this article, I’ll explain how they are used here. This setup requires visits to several UniFi SDN configuration pages. Find the proper page and setting using the search tool.

Ubiquity continues to work on the UniFi SDN configuration capabilities and is delaying release of a UniFi SDN user guide until they reach some internal milestone. Keep an eye on UI.COM support to see if this has happened.

Personal Computing

And the baby’s name is “Fruit Machine”

Your editor has been reading entirely too many submarine adventures based on the patrol reports and memoirs of World War II submarine commanders. The British called their torpedo fire control computer the “Fruit Machine”. The term is heavily used in WWII submarine adventure novels such as those written by John Wingate.

Given Apple’s new colors, I broke with the hall of fame greyhound theme to name the new machine Fruit Machine. Yes that’s her hostname.

After posting this article I made a second search on “Fruit Machine” and came across some LGBTQ slang usage I was unaware of. My apologies to my LGBTQ friends and readers.

Home automation Personal Computing

Air Tags?

I had tried an earlier tracker that worked so well it became E-waste at the end of battery life. Basically, the radios weren’t there yet. A tag in the laundry basket could not be found or heard. Discovery of a tag left away from home relied on the general population running the tag app on their phones. Some did but the coverage in Norfolk, Virginia was truly sparse. Oh, and the battery life was about a month. BlueTooth Low Energy was not so low.

But I also watched the Apple announcement with some interest as I had just laundered one radio car key and cleverly hid the other in pants I’ve not worn for a while. The near death experience of the first key increased my interest in finding the second. I also have a couple of sets of Yubi Keys that unlock several important 2FA things. It would be really bad if they both went missing.