Gadgets & hobbies

Electronic gadgets, hobbies, developing

PlantronicsHub – major memory leak?

I’ve noticed that process SpokesUpdateService  promoted to the top of my Memory usage list with 2.8 GB RAM used! It turned out to be part of PlantronicsHub software. I will disable to for a while an see how it will behave.

Note: this step needs to be repeated after every PlantronicsHub upgrade.

 

New home virtualisation lab

Intro

It’s been a while since I’ve built my current home lab. It’s based on Lenovo M910t. In general, I’m quite happy but it’s lacking expansion flexibility.

So I’m looking for a replacement. Below my notes from research and calculations of total cost.

New system components

Cost estimation.

ComponentDescriptionPrice [PLN]
Total [PLN] / [USD]7307 [PLN]
1964 [USD]
Case - Fractal Design Define R5 👍
- be quiet! Silent Base 800
- Phanteks Enthoo Pro
439
CPUAMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X3365
MotherboardMSI X399 SLI PLUS1290
RAM - 48GB from old PC
- 16GB - Crucial 2400

Total: 64 GB (with option for expansion up to 128 GB)
630
PSUSeaSonic Focus Plus Platinum 650W (SSR-650PX)478
HDDPC
- 2x 2TB from the old (ZFS root, RAID1)
- 1x 4TB from the old + 2x 4TB new (ZFS storage1, RAID5)

Total: 2+8 = 10 GB HDD

On-demand backups
- 1x 2TB from the old (backup, via old USB dock)
880
SSD - 256GB from the old (zfs storage2-ssd)0
M.2- 256GB from the old (ZFS cache)0
CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3
- Arcetic Freezer 33 TR 👍
170
Video cardUsed one from ebay or Allegro35
Delivery20

Considerations

  • Do I really need 16-cores/32-threads AMD 1950X? Perhaps 12-cores/24-threads 1920X for 2699 PLN (1k less!) would be sufficient?
  • CPU cooling fans may not have enough clearance to populate all 8 RAM sockets? Answer here.
  • Is it possible to use 6 RAM DIMMs? User guide says that allowed configurations are 1, 2, 4 & 8. This forum thread advises that any even number of DIMMs is perfectly supported.
  • Cases
    • 8x 3.5” HDD case or 6x 3.5” HDD + 3x 5.25” bays for my old Icy Docks bay?
    • What’s the min width to fit 155mm-high CPU cooling? Phanteks Enthoo Pro can fit max 193 mm cooling -> OK

References

Does the CPU cooler has enough clearance for all RAM DIMMs?

Tech It Out was kind enough to provide this response and the photo on the MoBo I’m interested (MSI X399):

And how does it look on the picture:

 


Sample quotations

From Morele.net

From x-kom.pl


Summary

After deeper deliberations (it’s hell lot of money! And I’m completely self-funded… Also Threadripper 2 is about to be released on August) I decided:

  • Immediately buy 2x 4 TB WD Blue disks and replace my Storage1 pool 3x 2 TB → 3x 4 TB which should give me enough disk space
  • Wait till August and see how (and if) release of new CPUs and MB chipset X399 change the situation.

Regardless of all, this was quite interesting exercise!

My current Home Virtualisation Lab “Wieloryb”

Wieloryb as a home lab

My current home server which I use many for virtualisation, serving also some net services is reaching memory and disk-space limits. I named this server Wieloryb which in Polish means The Whale.

Hardware

So far I have:

  • Lenovo M910t server
    • 64 GB RAM
    • 1x 1 TB SATA HDD (3.5”) – configured root ZFS Pool (RAID1)
    • 3x 2 TB SATA HDD (3.5”) – storage1 ZFS Pool (RAID5)
    • 1x 254 GB SATA SDD (2.5”) – storage2 ZFS Pool
    • 1x 254 GB (M.2) – cache for ZFS pools (Cache and L2ARC). I know, L2ARC should be mirrored but I decided that I will take the risk
    • PCI-e 4x SATA board to provide 4 + 4 SATA connectors (M’board + PCI-e board)
  • The three 2 TB HDD disks and 254 GB SSD disks are stored in Icy Dock 4-disks cage. The disk cage allows to connect all 4 disks through 4 SATA connectors
  • The disk cage is powered by an external PSU (as the PC’s PSU is not strong enough)
  • On-demand backups are made to a 4 TB SATA HDD using i-tec USB HDD dock
  • Remote management is possible thanks to Belkin Net KVM
  • Sending critical alarms via SMSes as well as forwarding of SMSes from my old mobile SIM are done thanks to Nokia USB stick and Gammu software
  • And finally – a small UPS

Picture of the lab

 

Software

For greater flexibility and separation between different tasks I decided to use Proxmox as virtualisation manager. No issues with that: it does what it should, small issues can be justified by a very attractive price (0 USD…).

How to workaround MacBook Pro 2017 scroll lag

Another embarrassing problem with my MBP: when scrolling in e.g. Chrome, Safari or actually – any other window, there is annoying lag. When you scroll continuously, it’s more or less fine, but when you pause to read and then want to scroll, it stutters.

After a bit checking here and there, it turned out that if I increased keyboard backlight timeout from 5 seconds to 1 minute, the problem has been worked around!

Well done Apple, well done‼

 

Chef resources failing with wrong constant name

When trying to add a custom resource, no matter what, I always got a  wrong constant name  error, for example:

It turned out to be an issue with my cookbook name: it’s not allowed to have a cookbook name starting with a number (as later, it’s converted into a class name).

So my cookbooks as below are causing the problems:

They should be renamed into something else, for example:

Note, inside the files, there are references to the names, so you may need to update them accordingly, for example using:

After this, no more strange errors after adding resources.

PS: When you work on MacOS, you may face another problem with your resources: MacOS trash files (._* or .DS_Store) are causing another (similarly looking) error. Take a look at this web page.

 

Deleting unwanted time zones from Apple Calendar

When you add some timezones to your Apple Calendar, it’s somehow difficult to remove them and you end up with a list which you perhaps don’t need anymore:

 

How to remove them? Rather easy, but we need a plist editor (easiest way to get it is to install XCode). Once we have it, just type in your terminal

Find attribute RecentlyUsedTimeZones, unfold it and delete unwanted items:

(more…)

Open Cisco Webex through Alfred workflow

A MacOS Alfred workflow to open a predefined Webex session.

Pre-requisites:

Introduction

It’s pretty basic, but helps me to speed up a very common activity (which I always tend to do on very last second when a my conference call is about to start)…

So when I urgently need to open Webex conference, instead of searching through my browser bookmarks, just press Option-Space and type webex:


Then press Enter to get the list of your web conferences, for example:

Hit cursor down or up to select bridge you want to open and just press enter.

Installation

After downloading the workflow, just doubleclick the file and it will get imported to your Alfred.

Configuration

Ok, how you could add your most frequently used Webex URLs to the list? Navigate to Alfred workflows, find Webex workflow and select Open in Finder:


Then open configuration.txt in your text editor:

In the file, set your URLs in format <Name>|<URL>, for example Jarek|https://webex.com/joint/jarek.hartman:

Save and done!

Kindle Vocabulary Builder into Memrise

Introduction

A script to pull Kindle Vocabulary Builder DB and convert into Memrise course.

The latest Kindle Paperwhite (second generation) offers the Vocabulary Builder feature. With Vocabulary Builder, you can look up words with the dictionary and memorize their definitions.

For my self-education I use http://memrise.com/ (both on my phone and desktop PC). I thought it would be great to pull words which I’ve checkded when reading English books on my Kindle and push them into my Memrise course.

How does it work?

  1. The script reads through the vocab.db to look for all Engligh words (in table WORDS).
  2. Each of the words (aka stems) is used for a definition lookup in the Cambridge Dictionary
  3. Retreve word definitions, usage example, pronounciation, audio mp3 and insert into a new SQLite database memrise.db (the mp3 is written to the disk only, folder audio)
  4. Each new word is written to a text file, in a format suitable for bulk words import into Memrise.

Pre-requisties

  • Kindle Paperwhite (or newer)
  • vocab.db file (retrieved from your Kindle, from /Volumes/Kindle/system/vocabulary/)
  • python 3
  • BeautifulSoup

References

I heavily sourced from two GitHub projects:

ToDOs

  • Parametrize hardcoded things – especially language pair English-Polish
  • Upload Audio files with prononciation

Usage

DB conversion using the script

At minimum, the tool does not require any parameters, it will search for vocab.db in the current folder and will write output files into the same, current folder.

Pay your special attention to memrise.txt which has been generated:

This is the file, which will be used for bulk word add into your Course.

Bulk word add

Go to your Course, press Edit and in the Advanced options, look for Bulk add words:

Bulk Add words

Open memrise.txt in an editor (e.g. Notepad), select all, copy it and paste into Memrise Bulk Add form then press Add:

Bulk Add words

That’s it!

Download

Download the script from GitHub: https://github.com/jaroslawhartman/kindle-to-memrise