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!

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.


Just One Phone?

Many of us have just a mobile these days. Dismal Manor has not adopted that strategy for a number of reasons.

  • Mobile phones are failure prone.
  • Mobile phones and “land-line phones” are not equivalent.

So we have one of each. Just recently, T-Mobile was hard down in Norfolk Virginia. OOMA VoIP was fat, dumb, and happy but nether matches the 5-nines reliability of a plain old central office switched line. And neither is equivalent to a switched line.


WeatherFlow Tempest Weather Station

The Dismal Manor Gardens have a new accessory, a WeatherFlow Tempest weather station. This post introduces the device and the company. Our little device includes a rain fall sensor and a lightning sensor that supplements the live sensors (greyhounds). We get a pretty good idea of the amount of rain that has fallen and the amount of nearby lightning.

WeatherFlow collects, refines, and analyzes meteorological data, produces refined data from it, and produces near-cast forecasts using national forecast guidance with the local data.

WeatherFlow offers several applications of its refined observations and model results. Interestingly, the example applications do not require a local sensor as they use near-cast offshore conditions and activity specific models to make judgements about the suitability of the forecast conditions for the several sailing sports and fishing.


Please Ticket Software Problems

These questions are too deep to answer here. I think two things are at play.

  1. Google or the Duck can provide instant gratification
  2. Too many products are unsupported so Google and the Duck are the only game in town.

I think the young folk who entered the trade in the microcomputer age are resigned to dealing with unsupported and community supported products. It wasn’t always that way and some products come with robust support even in 2021.

Today, I dropped by church to update the campus WAN network settings in preparation for Cox retiring the address segment our house network was on. Being an old codger, I asked myself if I was satisfied with my backup. I wasn’t so I tried to cut a new one. It didn’t save. I tried to change my WAN address to the new values provided by Cox. They didn’t take.

Backups worked when I last did maintenance in early July, so I return home, tail between legs, to see what the buzz was.

Home Economics Home Remodeling Technology

Dismal Manor Goes Electric

Well, part way, we have a Wallbox EVSE. A VW ID.4 lead sled is on order and the black forest elves are tinkering away on it as I write. In Order Locked limbo awaiting on the boat state.

So, in this post, I want to write a bit above EVSE shopping, and evolving plans to de-carbon Dismal Manor which currently has gas hot air heat and gas hot water.

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 Technology

UniFiOS, The Missing Manual

Recently, IT System Integrator forums and YouTube channels have been all a-twitter because it appeared that a UniFi user ID and network connection were required to use any of the UniFiOS hosted controllers introduced with along with UniFiOS. After hearing Tom Lawrence and Willie Howe rant about the issue, I decided to experiment a little to see if their complaint was true of my deployment.

I wrote the previous post reporting my experience trying to log in to my controller host while divorced from the Internet. As expected, it smoked so I opened a ticket.

The various Internet communities can be helpful when I’ve overlooked something or misinterpreted something that is common product knowledge. When something appears to be a design issue, only the designers can help. So I ticketed my experience.

Ubiquity Support has responded with what appears to be the solution to my concern raised in the ticket, that local service should be possible during an Internet fade. Read on for the fix.

Personal Computing Technology

UniFi OS Login Issue

The good folks at Ubiquity have revised the architecture of the UniFi software system to provide a uniform user management and login environment for Network, Protect, Access, and the coming Talk.

A roles based access rights scheme greatly simplifies user administration and has greatly reduced the number of UniFi related passwords in 1Password. So, life is good in paradise? Not really. Read on to learn of the unanticipated consequences.