It's official, I've got a silicon relative of Cerberus under my desk.
- MacOS Ventura (or its older sibling, OS X El Capitan)
- Windows 10 (with it hosting Ubuntu running under WSL v1)
- Ubuntu 22.04.3
It's official, I've got a silicon relative of Cerberus under my desk.
|Performance Report From Our WiFi Access Point|
With various system & application installs I've been doing this week, I've copying big payloads between systems and downloading packages from Internet.
The most noticeable thing was that downloading a 4.7 GB file from archive.org took a leisurely 30 minutes. Both our internal links and my FiOS Internet are better than that, so it was probably on their end. But it points up that we have gotten rather used to end-to-end 1 Gb/s performance.
The impressive thing is not actually the network speed, it's that internally we've had this basic infrastructure for 16 years. When we moved to Kenmore 2007 and discovered using WiFi didn't cut it, we installed a Gigabit/second unmanaged Ethernet main switch in the network pantry and ran 16 ports to it. Since then we have run additional six ports, added four small switches in various rooms, upgraded the Wi-Fi access points, and did multiple upgrades of our Internet service. However, we have never upgraded the speed of the main switch, and the wires running from the network pantry to our desktops are the same ones we installed originally.
(And even our oldest computers, my early 2008 Mac Pro & our 2012 MacBook Air, have Gigabit Ethernet ports. A few $35 Raspberry Pi units don't. Ah, well.)
No doubt our infrastructure has slid from bleeding edge to merely slightly above average, but I'm still happy with it.
I guess I've been doing it right.
P. S. In the there is always a faster gun nearby department, I should point out I know we do not have the best network on the Northshore of Lake Washington. That would go to a former coworker one town over who has 10 GB/second Ethernet and VLANs in his house. To each their own …
|xena's configuration before I upgrade the OS|
Early in my time at Google (2008), I wanted to switch from a VGA monitor to a larger monitor which supported dual DVI, which my spiffy work Mac laptop used. This meant I might also upgrade my (as it turned out to be last) Pentium PC; I got seriously carried away and spent too much money to get 42 pounds of a high-end Mac Pro (the ones that look like cheese graters) with:
The Mac Pro was christened xena, the Warrior System (Second of her Name). Both xena and my on-call Mac laptop talked to a 30" HP monitor, the same model as I used at work.
She later got mid-life upgrades of two SSD disks (160 GB and 512 GB) and a USB-3 card.
xena was ahead of her time for a home machine. She was sufficiently ahead of her time that she was always under utilized, and 16 years later, xena's performance specifications are still not horrible. (Her power consumption was and is horrible, but nobody's perfect!)
After seven years, xena was retired in favor of a 2015 iMac (kendra, fourth of her name); we also replaced my spouse's system with the same model. That wasn't an upgrade for me per se, but kendra did have a slightly higher clock speed, twice the memory (16GB) and used a fraction of the power.
kendra and her twin lasted seven years as well, and were replaced last year by Mac Studios twins (tamara & minerva) using an Apple M1 Max chip with again twice the memory (32 GB), and 1 TB SSD. Again, they may not be upgrades, but the pure SSD makes it far smoother. kendra and her twin both got food chained to family in Syracuse.
xena is still here; after eight years of retirement I'm still looking for a use for it, but it's such a nice system I can't ship just it off, especially she's sort of The Last of the V8 Interceptors.
For reasons not completely understood by even me, this summer I acquired three upgrades for xena:
The 1 TB SSD was because I didn't want run on platters, and I had stolen the 512 GB SSD (mentioned above) for another system. I want to make it triple boot (MacOS, Linux, and Windows 10), and that wasn't happening on a mere 160 GB SSD.
The video card makes at least a some sense for two reasons. First, the old cards would occasionally cause corrupted video for reasons I never figured out. Second, one cannot do (an officially unsupported) upgrade of MacOS beyond a certain point without a Metal-enabled video card.
The memory was mostly simply I didn't want to even think about memory when I do find a use for the machine.
I've been sitting on them until Katherine was free to install them (which happened this weekend). And oh, my goodness, they work!
Now I just have figure if I will:
First, sad news: Pepe Le Pew, our only 8GB Raspberry Pi 4B, has been stress tested and founding sadly wanting. It's been flaky for an indeterminate length of time, and by stress testing it crashes reliably. (Its older smaller brothers, both 2GB Raspberry Pi 4B units, Foghorn Leghorn and Wile E. Coyote, have had no such problems.)
So Pepe Le Pew is in the recycling bag. Luckily, the supply shortages for Raspberry Pi have eased; I was to able order a replacement unit for only a small premium, and it arrived promptly. The arrival led to concern over a new system name. That's more important than in most houses, because our machines have assigned IP addresses and names for remote access. (It's not like you can point at the things!)
The topic of the name led to:
me: "I need a system name, a Looney Tunes character."
Katherine: "Marvin the Angry Martian"
me: I don't think "Angry" is part of his name. We know he is angry, but it's not in his name.
Katherine: "The name not to use is Michigan J. Frog. It performs brilliantly … until someone is looking."
Good advice, but this didn't give me a name (I'd already used Marvin the Martian). I then considered the protagonists of various Looney Tunes cartoons; while I had used most of them, I realized I had missed one: Porky Pig.
I wasn't sure of that name. A Raspberry Pi 4B is not a bloated system, however, the unit is bigger than its siblings. I did consider that a secondary function of that machine and its extra memory is to run the free Raspberry Pi version of Mathematica.
Give our nickname for Mathematica is Mathpig, we have a winner.
For years, I kept making half-hearted attempts at getting MAME (the arcade simulator) working. Several months ago, I tracked down a collection of old games (which don't come with MAME due to copyright reasons), and did get MAME working with them on a dedicated Raspberry Pi 3b with an SDXC card for storage. That particular machine has gone to a friend, but last month I acquired a Raspberry Pi 3b+, and got the setup working again.
I also recent got MAME added to one my bigger Raspberry Pi 4b units with M.2 SATA SSD storage. Then I put dosbox on it, and it works well for older DOS and Windows 3.1 programs; I've got a dosbox configuration which has running smoothly with speed of a 486DX-33. And the 4B is not dedicated to games, it also runs emulated IBM machines and other software.
(Falcon 3.0 video doesn't look any good on the 4B, but anything older is fine. And I can slide Falcon into a VM onto ada, our one modern Intel x64 box. Hope is not lost)
I decided to go for the gold and also put dosbox on the Raspberry Pi 3b+ that runs MAME. It … didn't go well. Not even Lemmings runs cleanly.
But I don't need multiple machines to play multiple versions of TETRIS on, honest. Right?
I wanted to visit the East Coast this spring. However, after having a chat with both various people and my legs, my travel plans are set for Spring 2023: I'm not going anywhere far this spring.
Basically, when walking, I have too limited a range. I could do two miles a day in Stoneham when I weighed more, but since I let a MS relapse scare me two years ago, I have not been getting out. Now, walking just 0.26 miles with a cane inside leaves my legs tired. That's too low to even visit someone and do things like visit a park, hit a mall, and go out to dinner in the same day. I want/need better range to take a trip, even if using my cane and services like wheelchairs in airports.
The good news is that I've been walking enough to show myself:
And I have a plan, namely a treadmill. My sister happens to already own what I am looking at, a Horizon T101. It's small and basic; the unit is not good for a serious runner or a tall person, but I'm neither. My stretch goal for Labor Day is to able to do two miles on it; I'll settle for feeling comfortable after walking half that.
(One caveat is my knees could start acting up. I'll deal with them when I've enough done work to wake them up.)
Of course, upstate New York is beautiful in Fall Foliage Season …
p.s. My exercise bike rides will continue, probably at a reduced pace. And it probably puts the kibosh on my previous secret plan, getting a road tricycle this spring.
Back in in the age of steam and the Intel 80286, after graduating MIT Katherine set off with friends on their bicycles to ride from Boston to Santa Barbara. She left behind with me two plush creatures (Binkley & Gunther) to help me track her progress.
After Katherine's ride, Binkley & Gunter joined her at UCSB; the staff shortage in Boston was corrected that Christmas by the arrival of Snuffles, the Plump Plush Platinum Programming Polar Bear (or Snuffles P. Bear for short). Snuffles was a happy resident of my (ever bigger) CRT monitors for ten years.
|The Tribble, Snuffles, and an assistant on duty ~ 1997|
Until this month, that is. I discovered that one can buy stands for LCD monitors. Thus, she able to reclaim her time-honored position, joined by a few senior friends.
The Tribble, Seymour Crayola,Thomas Techer Bear, and Snuffles P. Bear
(click for a larger image)
I just program for Drew because Binkley Bunny (who is as snowy white as I am) and Gunther Bear used to help Drew program from the top of kendra's monitor. They went west in September  with Mom so that Mom and Binkley could work on their PhDs. That made the Wonderworks understaffed, so at Christmas  Mom asked me to live with Drew.
— Snuffles P. Bear
My mom is very proud that I'm a computer literate bear. She also thinks Drew has gone off the deep end, although she doesn't mind.
— Snuffles P. Bear