unRAID Upgrade

 

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I’m in the middle of a large upgrade to my primary media NAS running unRAID. I upgrade the OS to version 6. It is much more polished. I also upgraded the Parity drive to a 6TB hard drive. It is a Seagate ST6000VN0001 hard drive. I really like the Western Digital in the 4TB range but in 6TB Seagate benchmarks much better, and they only run 1-2 degrees warmer than the WDC Reds. So the parity calculation took seemingly forever. I must have refresh the status page 500 times and compared my remaining time calculations with the software many times. The unRAID estimate would fluctuate wildly between a few minutes and weeks. The actual time was close to my calculations which were averaged over several days. It didn’t help that I was doing a data load simultaneously as well. Nothing like stress testing your hardware. In the end it finally finished after 3 days, 17 hours and 46 minutes.

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The main function is to serve video and audio content via Plex to all the TVs and iPads in the house. Plex makes life pretty nice.

Chrome is really starting to suck these days

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When I switched from Firefox to Chrome about six years ago it was like a breath of fresh air. It was clean, super lightweight, and most importantly it was fast, really fast. I had never seen Javascript render so fast. Those days are long since gone. Google has fallen victim to its own success. Google keeps adding more and more features and the browser keeps getting heavier and slower.

Plugins generally are heavy weight and slow. A few still retain much goodness. After the terrific plugin YouTube Options shot themselves in the head by charging a ridiculous monthly fee a new one emerged called Magic Actions for YouTube. It is a super useful plugin and I like it except for one thing. They decided upon the super-idiotic route that flash control panel took; you change options from a live web site. They do this for several reasons. It allows them to advertise more easily and they can more obnoxiously beg for money. Fortunately I only have to go there a once or twice a month to change things. The other annoyance is they add a toolbar beneath the youtube window which I never ever have had a reason to use and they refuse to let you disable it. Like I can’t remember I am using your plugin? Oh that’s right you put it there for more subscriptions to your YouTube channel. Shameless.

These are my must have plugins:

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Youtube switched from Flash video as default to HTML5 as default. This is one more welcome nail in the Flash coffin. However, we lost video larger than 2k (1080p) and WebM container format via the VP9 codec does not look as good. It looks good but the difference is noticeable. Sorensen Spark is superior. This is coming from a tried and true Flash hater. I can rant about browser plugins forever.

But I digress … Chrome consumes gobs of memory. This is a screen shot of the memory usage after running Chrome for five minutes.

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As you can see Chrome is using a ton of memory. This is absurd. I also see millions of there error messages in my logs:

kernel[0]: Google Chrome He (map: 0xffffff80bb8b21e0) triggered DYLD shared region unnest for map: 0xffffff80bb8b21e0, region 0x7fff94e00000->0x7fff95000000. While not abnormal for debuggers, this increases system memory footprint until the target exits.

I had to finally resort to disable the error reporting as my logs became useless:

$ sudo sysctl -w vm.shared_region_unnest_logging=0

Google, please fix this crap. Your features deployment have overtaken your stability. I really don’t want to have to switch back to Firefox. I really don’t.

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Disney domains

 

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In less than a week after creating a Disney account these are the domains I have received email from:

@disneyonline.com

@wdw.disneyonline.com

@experience.disneydestinations.com

@disneydestinations.com

@vacations.disneydestinations.com

@disney.com

@mkt5993.com

@disneyprivacycenter.com

I’m looking forward to even more email.

 

 

 

Disney servers suck

This has been happening for days.

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I’m so sick of it. I’ve stumbled across tons of 404s on their site as well. Page render times are terrible as well. Sometimes 20 to 30 seconds to render a page. Trying to plan your trip using their tools is pretty painful. Their pages are in no way optimized. Look at this one stat:

3578 rules (87%) of CSS not used by the current page

There are other horrific examples.

I had to call tech support for My Disney Experience to get our accounts to be able to access a single itinerary. The CSR told me that most people just share a login.

What is with go.com for all their sites. Seriously how does it help SEO, no one remembers you use go.com for anything, give it up already. It is a horrible idea that should be long retired at this point.

In terms of password security, they don’t allow non alpha-numeric characters to be used. They allow four character passwords of all lower case numbers or letters. They allow 1234 as a password. Yikes. The password recovery tool sends email and it comes from a twdc.com domain which is not immediately recognizable although they do a domain forward to thewaltdisneycompany.com if you investigate a little. They really should have an immediately recognizable domain for email. The best part is in the footer they say the following:

Copy and paste mydisney@disney.com into your address book to ensure optimal receipt of these communications.

Talk about a mess for people who like to have some semblance of email security. The worst security is probably over the phone. The only thing they verify a caller against is the name and address on the account. They then tell you the current email address and ask if you if that email address is correct.

They also still have SSLv3 enabled which makes them vulnerable to POODLE attacks. The certificate uses a weak signature, SHA1. Perhaps upgrade to at least SHA2. This server accepts the RC4 cipher, which is also weak. The server does not support Forward Secrecy with the any browsers i tried. Disney … get it together.

Much better now …

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Running this command made my life much better.

$ defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 0

I’m more happy than I was before running this command. How did I get so happy? Let me explain. Google claims “By default, Google Software Update currently checks for new updates once a day.” This is completely false. It checks hundreds of times per day or more. It almost seems like it checks all the time. There is functionality to throttle the frequency of checks. However, if you change the interval to any other value it is not respected.

$ defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval <frequency>

This does nothing. This command is not respected. My firewall logs were clogged with attempts from the various Google attempts to check for updates. Automated updated were nice but I really didn’t want to have to be bothered with parsing out all the update checks to see useful information in my log files. It would check for updates as often as every fifteen seconds for hours on end.

It all lives in this directory:

/Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle/Contents/Resources/

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If you are really paranoid there is also a plist in /Library/LaunchAgents called com.google.keystone.agent.plist this will force a check upon login.

I don’t know why Google doesn’t allow the user to directly control these processes. Google continues to hide more and more features it thinks are power user only features.

More info here: https://support.google.com/installer/answer/147176?hl=en

Office 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 is seriously ugly. There is way too much contrast in the UI design. It becomes difficult to look at after just a few minutes. Too much whiteness. There are options to change it to Grey and Dark grey but it really does very little to offset the harshness of the UI. Pretty much a fail.

Also Skydrive somehow enabled itself on my test computer. Here is how to remove it.

For 32-bit users – regsvr32 /u “%programfiles%\Microsoft Office\Office15\GROOVEEX.DLL”
For 64-bit users – regsvr32 /u “%programfiles(x86)%\Microsoft Office\Office15\GROOVEEX.DLL”

NFO Creator for Boxee Box

I’ve had a few movies that BoxeeBox has been unable to identify lately. It is really annoying especially if you ever move source files around on your LAN. I have so much content I can;t cram it all onto a single source without paying a fortune. A while ago I started using my own cover art because BoxeeBox would lose them from time to time. Now, when BoxeeBox has a tough time identifying a movie I use NFO Creator for Boxee Box. This has proven to be pretty flawless. This site is highly recommended. Handwriting your own NFOs is just plain silly and a waste of time. Having your own NFOs allows you to also add the information of your choosing instead of relying on BoxeeBox. For the truly anal retentive you can tweak your descriptions to your heart’s content.

With the future of BoxeeBox very uncertain this may become a necessary tool in the future. My hope is when the first generation BoxeeBox is abandoned by D-Link, they make it usable for LAN content and ditch the Internet streaming features which are the cause of a lot of trouble. This seems almost improbable given D-Link’s history. One can only hope.

Adobe CS 6 Annoyances

Adobe CS6 still has a few annoyances in it. There are quite a few less now that Adobe Contribute has been removed from CS 6 Master Suite. CS 5.5 annoyances were plentiful. The remaining annoyances are Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Bridge. These are the commands. The commands are all one line. It;s best to run it as Administrator or an admin user. There is no 64-bit Office Plugin, AFAIK.

regsvr32.exe /u “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 10.0\PDFMaker\Office\PDFMOfficeAddin.dll”

regsvr32.exe /u “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 10.0\Acrobat Elements\ContextMenu.dll”

regsvr32.exe /u “C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat 10.0\Acrobat Elements\ContextMenu64.dll”

delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shel\lBridge

Don’t forget about ShellExView, a very handy utility to manage you context menus and what not. My template is annoyingly un-wide. Sorry.