Quick notes on photo scanning, securing and backing up Synology

OK, some quick notes on the logistics of managing the home IT. It’s a real job ūüôā

  • I never could get the Synology DS-212J to work. It is so frustrating. I’m pretty sure there is a firmware bug, but can’t prove. The symptoms are that it worked fine, I did a firmware update and suddenly the two 4TB drives I had no longer worked. It works fine with SSDs, but not with real hard disks. The problem is that the drives are just not recognized by the firmware at all. I’ve tried basically every kind of HD. Stymied.
  • Synology. Wow they’ve really advanced their software. but if you have one of these boxes, here is what you should do: a) Make sure you are running RAID10 with modern drives, running SHR2 or RAID6 is very likely to cause a disk failure. Right now I’m in the middle of copying lots of data to make room for a RAID10 system with SSD speedup. The exact configuration is 4x10TB with 2x1TB SSD, this gives 20TB of storage that is vulnerable to two hits on the drives, but on the other hand, on rebuild, you are unlikely to have another fault.
  • Also you should really move to two factor authentication on everything and Synology now allows this. You go to your DSM manager and click on the upper right icon which is the picture of a face. You will get to a dialog and click on it. You should use Authy by the way on the phone and there is a nice Authy Desktop application to keep this. You might also think about enforcing two factor on all your administrator accounts.
  • Also for backup if you subscribe to GSuite, then you can use the new cloud backup with Cloud Sync if you want readable document or Hyperbackup to push all your NAS contents up to Google Drive (they allow up to 2PB, so that should be enough). You can even encrypt the contents so Google can’t read it. It is a good solution now that Crashplan is going away. You should probably also pay for another service, but this actually works pretty well. If you want something simpler you can also use Backblaze. The big advantage of Backblaze is that they store unlimited copies, so if you make a mistake you can still get your data.
  • Finally if you are doing the conversion of old photos to online, then checkout wirecutter for a good list of scanning services. You want one which will scan in high resolution and which also does touch up. It pays (no pun intended) to pay a little bit more because you are only scanning once. The alternative is to roll your own like me. Buy a good film scanner and get Vuescan, it’s complicated to use, but you get exactly what you want. For me that’s a good 8-bit Jpeg scan for older photos, but since storage is free, you can also do a 16-bit TIFF scan for true archiving.

Getting rid of expressvpn.tun, fixing VMware Fusion and Mac OS Fuse X

This has been bothering me for a while, this takes up a High Sierra device slot and so you can’t run VirtualBox, VMWare Fusion, OS X Fuse with this loaded. And I keep getting the error “No peer process to connect to”.

There is a red herring that has to do with the kernel extension and signing problems. But the real issue is that there are not enough device slots to run properly.

However, you can’t get rid of it easily because my ExpressVPN subscription ended and you can’t just load the software without a valid subscription.

Also searching the file name expressvpn.tun¬†doesn’t work because that is just the logical name, not the file name.

Looking at forums, these kexts normally live in System/Library/Extensions or /Library/Extensions and the way that you remove an extension is to remove it.

I found a kext called tun.kext so I moved it and expressvpn.tun no longer loads. Now I get a slot back!

It’s not a bad thing to check what is loaded as kernel extensions with kextstat | grep -v com.apple¬†and if you do I found some interesting things:

  • HornDIS. This is apparently an extension that is USB tethering for Android devices. If you don’t need this, then you remove them for the two Extension libraries above.

Instaling Canon PIXMA Pro9000 on MacOS High Sierra

Well, it’s a shame when printers outlast their drivers (which seems more and more common), but we have a decent Canon Pro9000 that I use literally once a year to print photos for grandparents. This printer has been obsolete for the last four years and MacOS no longer has the right drivers for it.

A quick search on the Canon site finds that the CUPS driver for MacOS Mavericks (wow that’s a while ago) is the last one published. It has a 2017 date though, so it is obviously being maintained, so hopefully it will just work. Someday every printer will just have AirPrint and use PostScript. OK, I can hope. But the process is:

  1. Download the Printer Driver
  2. Open the DMG and run the CUPS installer
  3. Go to System Preferences/Printers & Scanners and choose the + icon to add a printer.
  4. You should see the Canon Pro9000 as a USB device. Click on it, and it should use the Canon Pro9000 driver you just installed and choose Add.
  5. I normally also choose Share this printer on the network so it works for all my machines.

 

VMware Fusion 10 no peer process to connect to

Well, on High Sierra when installing with Home-brew, I get this error over and over. I fixed it previously by checking on the System Preferences/Security/General and enabling a kernel extension, but this doesn’t seem to appear anymore.

It worked fine until this latest Fusion 10.1, so I’m wondering if that is the problem. Note that if you use brew cask install vmware-fusion¬†you will not run into the quarantine problem.

So I’m a little lost on how to make this work.

Creating Windows Bootable USB from Mac

Seems like every two years I have a post like this, but here is an update on how to do this:

  1. Ignore the guides that talk about unetbootin, this does not work on High Sierra nor did it work on Sierra. When I tried to use it with a Windows ISO, it did create a bootable drive, but there was no option for Windows in it.
  2. Ignore the guides that talk about using Bootcamp Assistant to do this, in High Sierra, they removed this option and it appears that you cannot create a bootable this way.
  3. This guide also does not work. Using a Disk Utility format from the command line with diskutil eraseDisk MS-DOS _Volume Name_ MBR disk_n_ where disk n you get from looking at diskutil list for the disk number. Then apparently you can just unix copy all the files from an ISO. So first mount the ISO and then do a cp -r

Things you still need for an EV

Well there are all kinds of new things you need with a Tesla, one of the main things are additional applications including:

  • EV Trip Planner. This takes in actual data from real cars and then calculates mileage with wind and elevation taken into account.
  • A Better Route Planner. Like the one above. You can set charge minimums at each supercharger vs home. But you need to know the individual range characteristics of your car.
  • Teslafi. This stores information about your car. You give it credentials and it shows you detailed statistics. Really helpful statistics.
  • Teslafi Firmware. There is no way to force an update to your Tesla, but at least this tells you what firmware you should be on. And theoretically, when you get services, you can get the latest update.
  • Eve for Tesla (Teslaapps.net). You put this on the browser window of your Tesla and you get really useful widgets like gmail reading, etc.
  • Remote S. This is an IOS application that has more detail than the regular Tesla mobile application. Also if you leave it open it records statistics as you drive.

And of course monitor the forums:

There there are the adapters:

  • Spare J1772 to Tesla. This is the one used most often for Level 2 Chargers. It is $99 (what a rip off for a connector). directly from Tesla.
  • Chademo to Tesla. Wow, $500 for a plug that converts from the Japanese Chademo to Tesla.
  • CCS to Tesla. There don’t seem to be any of these things and that means if you want fast charging other than at Tesla Superchargers, you are stuck with Chademo. It’s not clear if it is worth $500 for the adapter above.
  • Level 2 home charger. For $500 if you have a L14-50P installed, you can get 40 amps x 240V or 9.6kW at home. The nice thing compared with a Tesla home charger is that you can also use it for your non-Tesla cars as you are using J1772.

Then there are some old fashioned things you still need even with an EV thanks to Wirecutter:

  • Weego Jumpstarter 22S. Yes, the Tesla does have a 12V battery and things don’t go well if it is out. In fact, it is in the Fronk, so if the battery goes out, you need to know how to get to the emergency trunk release (for late model, hint, you need a screwdriver and look at the lower left of your fender). Another hint, don’t keep anything in the fronk you don’t really need as it’s easy to pop open (the alarm does sound though). Modern jumpers use Li-ion and can also be used as a battery pack. $60-70 at Amazon buys you a good one. You don’t need a lot of start power since it doesn’t need to start the engine.
  • Tire gauge. Given range anxiety having the tire pressure right is even more important in a EV. ¬†So get a great tire gauge (unlike the Chevy Bolt there is no easy way to see tire pressure on the mobile app).
  • Flat fixer. Yes, the Tesla does not have a spare tire, so you need the goo to patch it up or you can call AAA or Tesla roadside service. But Wirecutter has a good list.
  • Adventure Medical First Aid kit. Amazing how most cars don’t just pack this but for $20 it’s easy to fix. Personally I like to supplement with a compress bandage just in case there is a massive chest wound or something really serious.
  • Stone Point Warning Beacon. These are tiny LEDs, but a lifesaver if you don’t want to get run over.
  • Glass breaker. Yes, if you get trapped you want a fast way to get out.
  • First Alert Fire Extinguisher. Hopefully you will never need it.
  • Black and Decker Wide Mouth Bag. Someplace to put all the junk
  • Goop Cleaner. Some way to wash your hands after it is all over.
  • Duct Tape. Yes this is the way to fix just about everything.

Oh no! Deleting iPhone Photos

OK I’m an idiot, when you delete photos with your iPhone, they live for 40 days or so in your deleted folder which is great. But when I just took an old iPhone out and it started to sync again, it left 1,000 duplicated in there. So I started deleting things on my Mac iCloud Photo Library. But I accidentally put some photos I actually needed there. And two click later, I had irrevocably deleted them. Yuck!

So what’s a person to do?

  1. First immediately cut off internet access to your Mac and your iPhones. This can save the delete instructions from going all the way down the pike. In my case, it was too late, when I looked at iCloud.com, the photos were gone already.
  2. But my iPhone still had 1,000 or so photos left, so something had been saved. Recover those photos by moving them into the “Restore” category, then dock it to your Mac and use Mac Photos to copy those files out with import and then for safety also export them somewhere in case the sync eats them later.

But I still had some photos I had lost. So what to do, going through the internet, there are host of products that report that they will save you:

  1. iCloud Backups used to also backup photos, but if you are using iCloud Photo Library, backups no longer contain photos, so when I used Syncios Recovery it showed no photos there at all.
  2. As an aside, Syncios does not get along with two factor authentication, so you have to turn that off first. Remember to turn that back on when all is done
  3. However, you can use it to get into your iPhone and it turns out that it will try to recover photos that you’ve deleted. Now in my case, this didn’t actually work. It didn’t seem to find any new photos.

 

Windows 10 and Firewire IEEE 1394 if you haven’t updated in the last two years

OK, I’m sure this is a common problem and I’m no Windows 10 expert, but some notes on making a computer work that is trying to use an older camcorder with Firewire:

  • Make sure you have taken the updates. Windows 10 has lots of them. I can’t actually remember where I found the automatic Windows update screen, but you want to turn it on.
  • Go to Control Panel/Security and Maintenance and turn on Network Firewall, Virus Protection, Spyware and unwanted software protection,
  • Make sure you take the nVidia updates.
  • Older computers back then didn’t have Wifi, so just get a USB Wifi adapter
  • Run Windows Update Advisor. This seems to do the major version updates. And it is where I ran into problems.

Windows Update Problems

  • Error Oxc1900208. Wow, I have not used Windows in a while, but to get a huge hexadecimal number on something like the Windows 10 Creator Update. That’s quite a strange thing in the 21st century. The translation by the way is that some application is incompatible. No one seems to know how to figure out which application it is on the entire Internet. But there is some who think you can find it at c:/windows/panther¬†and look for xml files. These files seem to work last year, but not in 2017. Basically, the advice is just remove antivirus if you have it and pray
  • Confusion between Windows Update and the Windows Update Advisor. Apparently, there are two update mechanisms, if you go to Window menu on the lower left and right click, you can eventually find the Windows Update manager (man does Windows have lots of ways to do the same thing).
  • Right now Windows Update is working but not the Windows Upgrade Advisor. Argh! It did try to run the installer once and complained about an application that is not actually installed (called DeepFreeze), so ugh, what’s a person to do.

The second issue is that Windows 10 does not really support Firewire/1394 anymore. According to Studio Productions, the fix is to install the Windows 8.x legacy driver on Windows 10. (Boy does that sound scary!):

  • Down the .msi file and right click and install it.
  • At least on Windows 10, the information (designed for Windows 8.x) is wrong, the .inf file lives in c:\program files (x86)\1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller (Legacy)\x74_driver¬†and you right click on Legacy1394¬†labeled as Setup Information.
  • Then Right click on the Windows Icon, choose Device Manager and to to IEEE 1394 Bus host controllers¬†and right click select install/find the drivers/look for myself and then select IEEE 1394 Bus host controller (legacy)¬†The default is a driver that doesn’t work properly. So this can get reset.

 

Photo albums

A few years ago, we use AdoramaPix to do two photo albums. They were stunning, color matched and hand done, the software was a little clunky in terms of layout.

This year looking through the reviews, trying Mixbook. I don’t know how this will come out, but they are supposed to do a decent lay-flat book with good quality paper.

Tom’s Guide and so did Photo Book Girl liked them for instance. Also you can find 15% off rebates via cashbackmonitor.com and¬†Photo Book Girl is providing 50% off

Photo Workflow 2017

Well I haven’t been doing much camera work in 2017 and I’m probably 80% iPhone (thank you X!) and 20% Canon 5D Mark II (yes I know I need to upgrade but with the iPhone being such a big part of it all, I’m confused as to whether to move all the way to medium format and just stop at the Sony A7RIII, talk about first world problems!).

Anyway, the big changes in workflow are:

  1. Move to using Apple iCloud storage. Since they switched to $15/month for an entire family to share 2TB, it is much easier to have (finally!) a photo backup for all our picture takers than to worry about uploading to a Mac every two years or so. This has had a big change in workflow because I now longer need to constantly sync from the iPhone and in many ways, it is easier to sync things into iPhoto.
  2. The Canon 5D Mark II of course has neither location nor accurate time, so I have to correct those and I’m shooting in RAW so it has to happen early in the process.
  3. Lightroom now had HDR and Panoramic modes, but I rarely shoot those anymore since most of the HDR and Panoramas are much more easily done with the iPhone. I don’t really bring the tripod for panoramas at 25MP, so that’s gone.
  4. 99% of the photo consumption is now via phone for the family, so the workflow is optimized for this.

So here is the latest workflow:

  1. Make sure that iCloud Photo Storage is turned on for all the iPhones.
  2. Because iCloud Sharing limits the size of pictures to 4MP, if I need photos from other cameras, I have to Airdrop them. This is actually really fast thanks to Wifi Direct and it incorporates all the photos directly into my Photos timeline which is super convenient.
  3. If I have taken any Canon photos, I now need to integrate them into the timeline, so I pull the RAW and edit them in DxO (now called DxO Photo Lab), I still like the automatic corrections is applies way more than Lightroom. I use these to discards baed shots so I end up with a directory of RAW photos. Now generate JPGs for regular viewing. I normally turn up the JPEG conversion pretty high to 97/100 because disk is basically free.
  4. Now I crank up Lightroom and open it up. I need to do this because I need to make sure the dates and times are correct. Since most of these photos are taken overseas, I’m always forgetting to set the date and time correctly. You fix this in the Library mode choosing Metadata/Capture Time
  5. Now go to the Maps tab and put the photos in the right places in the world.
  6. Finally write the time changes with Metadata/Save Metadata to File

The biggest change then is in organizing things. I haven’t yet committed to iCloud for all photo storage mainly because 2TB isn’t actually enough storage for all my photos and I’ve had crashes in the past with 50K+ photos, so at least for this year I’m still maintaining a disk store. What I will probably do is run this in parallel for a year because I still want the RAW files maintained. So from here it gets a little clunky, but the goal is to publish nice shots to iPhone users with iCloud Photo Sharing.

I don’t have good solution for Android users right now because by default Google Photos doesn’t seem to be installed or enabled on those devices, so right now it is mainly sending them WhatsApp message (which seems to be the most common messaging platform for my friends and family on Android):

  1. Export the iCloud Library photos and the Canon photos put them into a file store using focused jpg/year/year-month/year-month-date hierarchy. I put the raws in a parallel system in raw
  2. Now create a photo album on the hard disk in album/year/year-month-event label. This is work but it means that everything else is an export from here.
  3. For really beautiful photos that are not specific or personal, create a scenes/year directory
  4. These are then manually copied onto the Synology NAS (running right now with RAID10) and then there is GoodSync backup to another Synology NAS running SHR2 (RAID6). Finally there is an offsite backup that runs nightly to Google Drive via the Synology to Google Drive tool. I also manual backup the photos every so often to the tongfamily.com hosting as a final cloud backup.

Now to export into iCloud,

  1. Import the Canon photos into Photos. Then create a shared album and stick them all in there. Someday, if I trust Photos enough, I might just drop the file based storage, but that’s the experiment for 2018.
  2. WhatsApp the other photos to android users.
  3. Take the scenes and publish them on Instagram (which seems to be the photographers medium of choice now). I also usually cross post on Facebook because what the heck might as well give it all to them.