Wifi USB Dongles for Linux

For some reason this is one big blind spot for Ubuntu and the like, getting these dongles to work is a pain:

  1. On Ubuntu 14.04, I got the DWA-182 working by installing drivers. It uses the rtl8812au driver and you have to modprobe that in actually find a repo by abperiasamy to make it work.
  2. 802.11n adapters. For slower speeds, go to Penguin and they actually test, but they don’t have 802.11ac drivers.
  3. Wireless Shack reports that the TP-Link Archer 4U also works, it has the same rt8812au driver.

There are raspberry pi instructions in the git repo and the Ubuntu 16.04 ones seem to require some magic as well.

The horrible world of EV Adapters (and I thought USB C was bad)

Figuring out charger you should get at home is pretty complicated and if you want to charge from a variety of different locations away from home at grandmothers or at a shop, this is even more confusing. There are three steps: a) figure out the maximum intake rates of your car and then b) get the right charger if you do not have a Tesla, and c) get the right plugs.

Acceptance Rates and Car Input

Ok the first thing is to figure out what your car can actually handle. This is a complicated subject because there are actually two major modes:

DC Fast Charging

This means 400V and up direct current input, in this case, you are basically connecting the battery directly to the charging system and it is something that only happens at a commercial location. The other difference is that cars have their own internal AC to DC convertor (just like a laptop), but in DC charging, it bypasses it and charges the battery directly. Each car has a different standard for doing this:

  1. Tesla. They have a proprietary connector and most Superchargers v1 are 120Kw maximum and Superchargers v2 at 145Kw with an upcoming v3 at 800V allowing up to 500kW (whew). This is however limited by software in current Teslas to 120Kw (1.2 * capacity of 100kWh). There is a further limit to maximize battery life In the car although typically it is more like 90Kw.
  2. Finally, this is a peak rate with only an empty battery, so it declines very quickly as you get to full, still even the “slow 90Kw” isn’t too bad, you get about 50kWh or about a half charge in 30 minutes with an empty battery.
  3. Now in fact, if you drive a battery pack that hard, you will reduce it’s life and also as the battery gets full, the charge rate declines, so that you only get this with a very empty battery. This by the way is for the older Tesla 18650 battery, the new Model 3 and late model 2017 will use the Tesla 2170 cell. Even after 50 charges like this at full rate, you can see battery life decline, so it’s a real problem.

Now for a car like the Bolt, they use something called CCS Combo, this basically means that below the 240V Jedec J1772 connecter, there is a direct current plug that handles 400Vs. There are a blizzard of other standards here, but basically, the Japanese are using CHAdeMO for fast charging (Leaf, Nissan,…) while Americans and Europeans are using CCS. These things are way uglier than the Tesla because they dedicate on circuit for AC charging (the JEDEC J1772) and one for DC. Tesla uses software to control this.

  • CHAdeMO. Thee are 40-60kW chargers at 400V that are designed to get the older 80-100 miles Nissan Leaf to 80% charge in 30 minutes.
  • CCS or Combined Charging System. These are 50kW in the field with 100kW on the horizon. The Bolt has an 80kW maximum input. It is rated to get 90 miles of charge or 22.5kWh or charge from a depleted battery.

240V Level 2 or 120V Level 1 AC Charging

This is the most confusing thing in that this is actually using the AC-to-DC converter in the car and there is both 240 and 120V. You still have to buy an external box though which has protection and other circuitry in it costing $400. I’m not sure why 🙂

The main variable is called acceptance rate, the systems know how to switch between 120 and 240V (although the box itself might not), so there is a maximum amperage that a car can handle for “home” charging called acceptance rate by Clipper Creek. If you stare at the eye chart and the first column here is what you can learn and this tells you the minimum current (this is what the plug says and is the peak, for sustained, you need to make a number that is 80% of the maximum)

  • BMW i3. 7.4kW which translates into 7,400/240=31 Amps or 40A plug or 14-50P plug
  • Chevy Bolt. 7.2kW or 30 Amps maximum so need a 40A circuit or above. A good choice is the 50 amp 14-50P plug such as the Clipper Creek HCS-50P for $660 at Amazon or the JuiceBox Pro 40 at $620 which include Wifi connection and an application too.
  • 2017 Nissan Leaf SL and SV. 6.6kW or 27.5 Amps or 35A circuit such as a 14-50P plug
  • Tesla Model S 100 Single 9.6kW or 40 Amps or 50A circuit with a 14-50P plug
  • Tesla Model S 100 Dual 19.2kW or 80 Amps or 100 A circuit cannot use a plug, needs a hardwired charger
  • Tesla Model X 100 Standard 11.5kW or 48 Amps or 60A circuit such as the 14-60P although this will need an adapter plug to work (see below)

Plugs Galore

Man there are just too many different standards for plugs in the world. As soon as you leave the world of regular plugs (in the US, these little things are called NEMA 5-20P). The decoder ring btw is, so for instance a NEMA 14-50P means:

  1. First digit 5, 6, 10, 14…. indicates a family of plugs, typically, they are pretty much the same but have different amperages and voltages. NEMA 5 is 120V and is the usual outlet in the US. NEMA 6, 10 and 14 are typically 240V. The NEMA 14 family is a big one and they are intentionally incompatible by making the neutral pin different shapes, so you don’t burn things out.
  2. The maximum amperage that they can carry, is in the second digit, so 20 means 20 Amps, etc. Normally this is the peak rate, so for sustained carrying, you take 20% off, so a 14-50P for instance should only carry 40 amps at most.
  3. P for plug and R for receptacle, it’s important to get the right gender for your plugs.

So what does it all mean, well, it turns out that each manufacturer gives you a very different set of charging:


The Tesla comes with a charger which has a bunch of adapters that have at their ends a Tesla proprietary plug and then a:

  1. 14-50P. This is a plug for the 14-50R that is normally used for RV parks and so forth. It is the recommended charging solution in homes as you just need a plug. It charges at 40 amps
  2. 5-20P. This is the normal 120V system and it seems to dynamically figure out how much to draw.
  3. Jedec J1772. This actually plugs into the car and allows any Jedec 1772 connector to work. One implication of this is that you could get any of the Jedec 1772 chargers noted above and use it or use it at non-Tesla charging stations.

So what are the key adapters to get based on the 14-50P that is on the end of the Tesla. I’ not clear how it deals with the amperage issues, but here are the solutions:

One important optimization that the folks at EVSE Adapter have figure out is that if you have an EV charger that does not use the fourth “neutral” pin, you can eliminate it and then you can just use the top there three current carrying pins, so one adapter can work for 14-30P, 14-50P and 14-60P  for $55 as long as you make sure your charger is smart enough not to over demand. The most interesting is the 14-30P as it handles the other common circuit.

If you do not like the idea of not using the neutral, you can get a “full” connector for the future. So for instance AC Works has a 14-50R to 14-30P adapter for $50 or the 14-50R to 10-30P. This is a common dryer circuit connection.

There are also a blizzard of non-locking (no L) and locking connectors (with an L) that you find in marinas and some RV locations, but they include ones made by AC Works on Amazon of by EVSE Adapters that work with Tesla. You could go broke buying all of these, so you should figure out what you have at home (or a frequent spot like grandma’s house) and buy that connector.

  1. 50 foot 14-50R to 14-50P extension cord. Because it is so hard to get to the right spot, this is huge and heavy, but that’s why Teslas have a frunk :-). $149. EVSE
  2. 5-15P. Not sure you would ever need this unless you lose the Tesla little connector, but this connects from 14-50R to a standard US wall outlet with 15 amp maximum, 12A continuous. $49 EVSE
  3. 10-30P. Three prong dryer plug. Older style dryers. EVSE $55
  4. 10-50P. Older style ovens. EVSE $55
  5. 14-30P. Four front dryer plug. This one has a 45 angle pin
  6. 14-50P. The base has a 50 amp and a vertical neutral pin
  7. 14-60P. 60 amps, not the 14 series are all the same except for the lower pin which is used to make sure you don’t plug the wrong things in. This one has a horizontal pin
  8. 14-30P/14-50P/14-60P. This removes the neutral wire and thus you can use another of these, but you must use with a charge like the Tesla which manages current otherwise you will blow a fuse or worse. The 14-60P is pretty rare, so if you only think you might use a 14-30P, then better to just get that dedicated plug and not risk issues with non-Tesla chargers. EVSE. $55
  9. L14-20P. Backup generators and audio power amps. EVSE $55.
  10. L14-30P. Twist lock for backup generators and audio apps. EVSE. $55.
  11. 6-20P. Hotel room air conditioner outlet 240V/20A. $55 EVSE
  12. 6-30P. Electric welders and some EV stations. EVSE $55
  13. 6-50P. Welder plug and some EV stations. EVSE $5
  14. L6-20P. Locking plug. Industrial equipment and eaf charging using Quick220. Or use the 5-20 instead and then current is set automatically. $55. EVSE
  15. L6-30P. Locking plug fo industrial equipment. $55 EVSE
  16. CS6364, CS6365,CS6369,CS6375. Thee are marine 50 amp twist locks. EVSE $85.
  17. TT-30. These look like 10-30P but are 120V at 30 Amps in RV Campgrounds. EVSE. $55

Bolt EV

Ok the first thing is that included charger with the Bolt is only 120V and not 240V, so if you want an reasonable charging (unlike the Tesla), you need to get a 240V charger:

  1. It comes with just a 120V maximum charger with a NEMA 5-20P and then a Jedec J1772 plug that goes into your Bolt, so you just use it to “trickle” charge from a normal adapter. You have to manually set it for 8A or 12A (960W or 1.4kW) so remember to do that in the car or with the Bolt mobile application
  2. The enterprising folks at EVSE figured out this was silly (whatever happened to universal input 120-240V as in normal consumer electronics), so for $199, you will mail your charger in and get back a 240V capable one. It isn’t clear what amperage is supported, but since it says charge in half the time, I’m guessing, it is a 12A charger that works at 240V so you get 1.4Kw maximum at 120V and 2.8Kw at 240V, so not quite as good as dedicated chargers. And you are modifying an existing charger.
  3. EVSE has a configurable charger for $350 with different You have to be super careful though, you basically shake the thing and set the amperage that you want to draw, 12A, 16A, 20A or 32A. Basically you are defeating the safety check that the plug sizes give you, so caveat emptor! Personally, it seems like way too risky to me as I’m forgetful but it also comes with a universal 14-30,-50 and -60 plug so you can use any of the Tesla accessories above. Theoretically the most that will happen is that the circuit breaker will trip and this is definitely the power user’s device. As an aside, the maximum would then be a 32A into 14-50P so you would get 32A x 240V = 7.7Kw which is the maximum intake of a Bolt anyway (the Tesla maximum is 11Kw or 45A or  normally but you can get 17Kw aka 72A)
  4. NEMA 14-30P Charger. You can buy a new $500 240V EV Charger and this comes with it’s own limit and dedicated plug, in this case you are more limited, but you shouldn’t kill any circuits. As an example, a 24 Amp 240 EV Charger with a NEMA 14-30P will mate with a NEMA 14-30R that is typically installed for dryers in homes. This will give you 24×240=5.8KW so not close to 7.7Kw
  5. NEMA 14-50P Charger. This will give you the 32A maximum you want for a Bolt EV. It can supply 40A, but the bolt maximum intake is 7.2Kw

So what adapters should you get:

  1. If you have gotten a 24

Thanks Mike and T-mobile with Netflix

Wow, Mike, thanks so much for the Hook Up to T-mobile. I can’t quite believe how well it has gone. Basically we pay half as much as we did with Verizon and the features seem endless, but if you are a T-mobile subscriber, then you do need to get on the billing page and make sure that you’ve activated all the cool new things that they have.

It isn’t super easy to do, but super rewarding to to https://my.t-mobile.com:

  1. Netflix on Us. Wow, basically, T-Mobile takes over your Netflix billing and they rebate you $10/month, net, net, the HD plan we are on is now $120 a year cheaper (and if you have connected T-Mobile to a Chase Ink account, you get 5x points now on Netflix so save another 10%). ! It is not easy to do however, because you first have to have T-Mobile One plan. Then, you need to go to the Plan page and click on any one of your family members and choose change services. Do not click on the change plan or change data add-ons, it is any one of the individual phone lines. Now, you add Netflix and it is “On Us”, it will say add to all your lines, then you go to the confirm page. At the very top, there is a button which you can easily miss that says, “Continue” or something, this takes you to a Netflix authentication page.
  2. KickBack. This is pretty cook, if you use less than 2GB per month, then you get $10/month back from T-Mobile, so your $25/month unlimited plan because a 2GB $15/month include voice, text as well. Wow, but you need to activate for each account that you own. You need to go to each line and activate it.
  3. Spam Block and Spam ID. They have some advantage spam calling detection, but you also need to enable it for each line.
  4. GoGo Inflight for an Hour on Alaska Airlines. If you fly Alaska, you can use an hour of free wifi and you get free Facebook, texting and iMessages online.

Now for some basic hygiene which is hard to find, but important

  1. Profiles. Go to the upper right button called Profile and click on each, then go to Privacy and Notifications  and make sure to turn off all of it and the Insight stuff as well.
  2. Line Settings is a good place to put the actual names for the phone numbers.
  3. It is also a good place to make someone else a Full Permissions person in case you want a way to manage the account that isn’t you.

Adding Dampeners to a WASD Code Keyboard

This actually works for any Cherry MX keyboard with Cherry MX stabilizers on the big buttons. I’ve been trying to figure out the ideal keyboard. The Cherry Green has an awesome click, but my fingers literally got tired from the 0.65N force required. So I got $15 Cherry dampeners. These are the lights variety that reduce travel by 0.2mm, the blue ones are 0.4mm.

There are no instructions for how to do this, but there are YouTube videos, to summarize:

  1. Use the WASD keycap puller and get the wire ears around the sides of the key and pull straight up. You do not want to torque it.
  2. Turn the key around and put the donut around the circular bottom. Then push it straight down.

It is tedious, but it works.

The tricky part is that the wide keys have stabilizers that are little steel bars with additional inserts. When you pull a key like this up the whole thing comes apart, but the process is a little tricky and not documented in YouTube or anywhere else:

  1. Put the rubber donut into the center. The take the white Stabilizer inserts and put them into the two side holes.
  2. Now put the stabilizer bar and put it’s two sides into those wholes.
  3. Now you have to make sure that the keys just below the key you will be inserting are removed. Now gently put the key on top of the Cherry X cross.
  4. Turn the keyboard so you can see the wire that is just under the key.
  5. Use a pen tip and gently push the wire so it clicks into the supports under the key.


Tube size and tire width and stem length for deep disk wheels

Seems like semi-aero is the way to go and I’ve got a bunch of standard tubes that don’t have enough stem to inflate properly. You need about 10mm to make sure that a presta tire pump works.

ENVE has a nice table for this but basically

  • Standard rim is 25mm high (an inches). Use standard 32mm high tubes.
  • 35mm. These are semi aero and need 48mm. You will have an inch sticking out.
  • 45mm. Use the 48mm. Hmm seems like a tight fit.
  • 60mm, 65mm and 70mm John. Uses the 80mm

Excel Sports has a good set of general recommendations:

  • Continental Race Light. These are about 20 grams lighter than the Continental Race so more likely to puncture, but grams are grams 🙂
  • Valve stems should be 18-20mm longer than the wheel set height. That means for standard get 34mm, for semi-aero get 42mm and for deeper you need 60mm or 80mm. You do add weight with the longer stem and they don’t look pretty.

Finally what width should you run. Well 700×23 was what have been using but many folks have been switching to 700×25 for durability. Although some wheel sets (like the ENVE SES 3.4 for example are optimized for 25mm to be more aero?). It is 38mm deep in the front and 42mm in the rear, so you would need 38+18 = 56mm minimum in the front and 42+18mm = 60mm in the rear, net, net the 60mm works.

Also if you have 23mm you can use the lighter and less durable 18-23mm or the heavier 23-25mm.

Tubes do weight something. The continental race light is 65 grams vs 120 plus for tougher tires. So that’s a 130 grams (5 ounces) across too tires.


Finding a good VPN

With all the notes on security, figuring out what a good vpn has been hard and you probably do not want to use those $50 for life services, seems to be good to be true, so in looking over reputable providers:

  1. Private Internet Access. We’ve been using them for year, but sadly over the last few months, the service has definitely become worse. There see to be lower performance and so now the search is on for something else. The other issue is that on an iPhone, it constantly drops the connection and then leaves the internet connection in a strange state. We also tried it with Tunnelblick but that wasn’t super stable, the dedicated client seems to work better.
  2. ExpressVPN. Before VPNs became illegal in China, this was a super good service for phones. However, on our Macs, it also seems to disable internal mDNS browsing, so we can’t see our file servers and so forth.
  3. TunnelBear. I’m trying this one now, but they allow 500MB per month free and will report back.

Charging your EV

iOK, it takes forever, but I finally have the complete decoder ring for what you need to charge most EVs at home.


If you have a Bolt EV

  • In stall a NEMA 14-50R plug (these are $8 parts, but you want an electrician since you will need a 50 amp circuit breaker). While you can get the Clipper Creek HCS-50P, it is nearly $600 and isn’t portable but the Maxx-40 is $400 and is portable. This will give you a 40 amp circuit at up to 9kW charging although the Bolt will only pull 7.2kW, but you might as well get something for bigger cars in the future since the prices are the same.
  • If you already have a NEMA 14-30R Plug. While you can get a separate stand, it is way easier to buy a “portable charger” on Amazon, these are about $500 and it gives you a NEMA 14-30R plug on one side and then a JEDEC J1772 plug for the car. This gives you a 30 amp circuit breaker, so it can handle 24 amps sustained. The Clipper Creek LCS-30 is $500 from Amazon. The Clipper Creek folks have a particularly easy numbering scheme L means it is portable and H means it is hard wired station, then the last number is max amperage.

If you have a Tesla

  • Install the 14-50R plug and the Tesla has the charger built in so you don’t need to pay anything extra, this gets you 9kW charging, the thing actually supports 11kW, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to get this installed in a home.
  • You can also get a dedicated 72 amp charging with a dedicated box from Tesla for $500, this isn’t a bad deal if you really need lots of charging at home, but make sure to order your Tesla with the optional “big charger. Practically speaking, most folks will probably just do the 14-50R.

If you have both a Tesla and a Bolt or something else

  • Get a pair of 14-50R plug and the Maxx-40, then you can charge the Tesla from the Maxx-40 since it has a J1772 to Tesla convertor or if you need them both, you can connect the Tesla directly to one plug and use the Maxx-40 for the other car.

It is complicated because there are so many different manufacturers, but here’s how to think about it:

  1. You want a Level 2 charger at home, this is way better than the 120V charger you get with say a Bolt EV. The math here is pretty clear from Clipper Creek, but basically every car has it’s own internal charger that has a maximum, you can see it on the list but the Bolt EV for instance has a maximum of 7.2KW (what they call the acceptance rate) and the Tesla X is a whopping 11.5 or 17.5 if you have the upgraded internal charger. As an aside you can check this and look at the Chevy standard charger that they market which is a 32 amp box. As an aside.
  2. If you go to commercial setups like a Tesla Supercharger or what is called a CCS (combined charing system), you can do lots more. The Bolt for instance can handle 55kW. This is a common installation, it is 440V (wow!) at 125 Amps. If you do the math with a 60kWH battery that means you can theoretically charge from empty in an hour or so! The level 2 chargers typically run at 6kW (
  3. If you are just running around town, then you can also plug into a 120V outlet and there is a setting on the Bolt (which I never remember to set) for 8 amps or 12 amps, that is 960watts or 1.4kW. It is decent for trickle charging.
  4. Installing a circuit. What does that mean in practice, well divide by 240 Volts to get the maximum amperage a car can accept. With the Bolt EV that is 7.2kW/240=31 Amps and for the Tesla X regular that is 11.5/240=48 amps. Note that this is what is called sustained amperage, so you need something that is higher at the circuit box. For instance a 32 amp sustained needs a 40 amp circuit break and a 48 amps needs more like 60 amps so you need to install a direct connect circuit since they don’t make a plug like this. If you get the fast package, you can charge at 72 amps (!!!) but you need an 80 amp circuit and it is direct wired to the charger. It is also Tesla only, so you can’t use with other cars.
  5. If you are lucky you may already have a dryer circuit in your garage already and there are sea of plug standards, but the two common ones are 14-50R, this means type NEMA type 14 (a standards body), carrying 50 amp maximum (so it supports 40 amps continuous) and R means a Receptable (e.g. the outlet). The other common one is called the NEMA 14-30R, this is 30 amps and has a different plug so you don’t accidentally put one into the other.

Switching to AMD Ryzen Threadripper

It has been at least 15 years since I last built up an AMD machine. We’ve looked at it over the years, but although AMD has been cheaper, they never had the single core performance that was even close and they chewed up power.

Now however things have changed with their latest processors. They use a system of cores that within 10% of Intel but they have a neat system of interconnect and are aggressive on some important features needed for big machine learning rigs.

Intel has always been stingy on Overclocking, Cores, PCI Express lanes and also ECC because they want to push to Xeon. In fact the best compromise for a long time has been the overclockable Xeon 1650 V3. Even a V3 still works well because Intel performance has been pretty stagnant in the last four generations.

Well there is a new kid on the block, the AMD Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper that has me speccing AMD for a variety of systems:

So here are the net recommendations from low to high.

Mini-ITX for compiles not gaming

Ryzen 1700X in mini-ITX. ($1K) If you want a great compute machine (and be able to validate tensorflow or cuda builds), then the Ryzen 1700X is a pretty good choice. At $1K, it’s got an amazing 8-core Ryzen so works well for threaded jobs

It includes a low profile GTX-1050 (see Tom’s Hardware, but the sweet spots in performance as of August 2017 are GTX-1080Ti, 1080, 1060, 1050 ti and the 1030 if you can find it) in a tiny mini-ITX case. There is no expandability but since X370 motherboards only support 8x/8x multiple GPUs that’s not that big a deal. You can overclock this with the X370, so getting to 4GHZ and beating Intel single core is within reach!

ATX Tower for gaming or ML

Ryzen Threadripper 1950X ATX. ($4K). Well it does cost $1K for the processor, but this is the best value right now, you get a full 16-core system with 64GB of ECC ram and with 1.5TB of SSD storage. A really reliable well price system.

Note that you have to make sure you get a motherboard with ECC support. Make sure to get unbuffered ECC vs registered for Ryzen. Unregistered ECC works through 128GB or so but at higher densities, you need registers as direct driving the memory doesn’t work. Finally there is even ECC for call low-registered (LR) real large configurations and beyond that there is LB or Lower powered buffered. The ASRock Taichi seems like a good “budget” choice at $340 (Newegg)

While most ECC runs at DDR4-2133, you can get DDR4-2400 unbuffered ECC if you look for it. Kingston for instance has this running at CL17 for $188/16GB. You also need to make sure your motherboard supports it and turn it on in the BIOS. Both ASRock and ASUS are safe choices as they do handle this properly.

One important note is that right now, ECC does correct single bit errors and seems to report them properly to linux kernels 4.10 and above, but uncorrectable errors of more than 2 bits do not generate a machine check, but that’s better than nothing.

Single rank. Also there are different speed limits for single rank (memory on one side of the chip) and dual rank. In general dual rank ECC is limited to DDR4-2400 and single rank to DDR4-2666. So if you think you will never need the full 8x16GB, a reasonable configuration is single rank 8x8GB single rank. Then you get the quad channel performance and single rank speed (DDR4-2666). The drawback is that you are at the limit of the machine. See the Corsair CT8G4WFD8266 ($110 each vs $190 or so for the Kingston 16GB KVR24E17D8/16, so they are more expensive and run at CL19 vs CL17 for DDR4-2400 vs CL15 for DDR4-2166) which is $188 at Newegg or from Amazon third parties.

Cooling. What is interesting is that with an Asetek AIO cooler, but interesting, my old favorite, the Noctua NH-14U TR4-SP3 variant did even better particularly with an additional fan. I do find that many times, the air cooled systems do run better. Certainly that is silentpcreview.com has been finding. It makes some sense if you think about it, what’s the real benefit of water cooling, it is not a big water reservoir, it is the larger cooling area you get with two fans. This monster draws lots of power, so you need a great cooler. The really expensive Kraken 62 seems like a nice choice, although the Corsair H100 series is really popular.

In terms of motherboards, get one that supports 16x PCI Express to all the video slots. There is no reason to have all those lanes and not have the motherboard expose them.


ATX Dream Machine

Ryzen Threadripper 1950X eATX.  ($15K) Ok you don’t need everything here, but for $15K, this is definitely the dream computer of a lifetime, but the best components are the 1950X which is 16 cores of glory and definitely the fastest chip out there. That plus a  10Gbps Ethernet is what you need for a dream machine that will be doing lots of machine learning from a big database.

Storagewise, it has an SSD boot drive, but the storage array is 2xSSD and 2xTB that you can run in ZFS or btrfs, this will give you 10TB of storage that is RAID-1 mirrored, but most of the time with the 2TB of mirrored SSD, you will be running at SSD speeds. Finally the box supports 16x for 3 cards, so you while no one in real life with get a P100 ($5K!) or a V100 (even more), if you outfit it with three 1080Tis you have the best value in Machine learning today.


WordPress White Screen of Death

Suddenly all of the managed sites I have have gone “white”. That is WordPress just returns nothing to a curl. This is apparently a very common thing and there are three common issues:

  1. You are out of PHP memory
  2. You have a bad plugin
  3. You have a bad theme. Change back to a default them

Here are the diagnostic procedures

  1. While you can use ftp to do this, It is way more convenient if you enable webdav so that you can actually edit things directly from your computer.
  2. If you do this, then you can connect to the server from say the Mac with Connect to Server and then typing in the appropriate url https://box211.bluehost.com:2078 is an example that would you connect to Bluehost.com and their server named box211. Note that you definitely want to use encryption, so that is why you have port 2078
  3. If you do this then you can go to terminal and just edit or you can see if in finder.
  4. The fix is to go to wp-contents/plugins and rename it to something else, this disables all plugins and you should be able to get access to your wp-admin page. Now rename it back and all the plugins are deactivate.
  5. Activate them one at a time and keep refreshing your home page until you find it.

In our case, the automatic update is normally a great thing, but if a plugin distribution is bad then this will happen. It looks like the latest version captcha fwiw has the problem. You shouldn’t need it if you do not have comment and so forth enabled.

Photo sharing redux for Android and IOS

I’ve been using a combination of bluehost.com with phpgallery for private photos plus iCloud Photo sharing, but there are two problems:

  1. Bluehost.com shared hosting is just unbearably slow for this purpose, not surprising given the low fee, even with unlimited storage it takes a long time to load and managing the gallery is definitely a pain.
  2. iCloud works pretty well for iOS users, but not at all for Android. Also, with sharing, they limit the resolution of the photos to 2Kx2K which isn’t so nice with 50MP images, so you don’t get high resolution. You can pay more, but they are pretty expensive.

There are a couple of options that are marginal cost zero if you already have Amazon Prime or use Google Gsuite to manage your mail for you anyway because Spam stinks. Both allow unlimited photo storage at unlimited resolutions (if you pay for Google Drive unlimited at $10/month).

The main issues are:

Amazon Prime Photos. This is great and free and allows unlimited storage. The main gotcha is that you lose control of the naming of the photos. This makes it pretty useless if you’ve got say 40K photos across five families (hint!). It basically names it all to Date.jpg

Google Photos. This is a pretty chimera, you basically have a separate uploader that only works against non-network drives for Mac and Windows. There is a buried checkbox that says, when you are uploading photos, do you also want them to go into Google Photos. There is also another buried option in Google Drive which says do you want to see your Google Photos inside Google Drive. If you do this, then you can download.

The other interesting oddity if that if your photos are less than 2MP and videos are 1080P then it doesn’t count against your Google Drive quota.

Synology does have a Cloud Connect feature so you can in the background dump all your files onto Google Drive. This is not the same as Hyper Backup which does the same but at the block level for storage. However, if you can’t use Cloud Connect to upload Google Photos.

So if you have photos say on a network server, the only way to do this is to download your photos to your laptop so it isn’t a network drive and then upload it with the batch uploader with the Google Photos option checked.

Net, net, the best way so far seems to be to use Google Drive to host all the photos using the $10/month unlimited GSuite plan and then selective add those photos to Google Photos for album sharing.

I haven’t gone through the whole process yet, but it does look like you do lose all the directory and file names like Amazon Photos. So there isn’t an answer quite yet. I may in the end have to host my own Digital Ocean site with a custom gallery 🙁