Apple Magic Mouse 2 Recharges Stupidly

Having to charge an Apple Magic Mouse 2 with a cord has got to be the stupidest thing for a product you can buy in 2019. This is the perfect use case for wireless charging. I don’t care about a fancy charger built in to the mouse pad. With any standard charge pad (which I already have on my desk at work for my phone, for example) I can just pick up the mouse and set it on the charger when it needs to charge, then readily pick it up and move it back to the mouse pad to use it. None of this find a cable, plug in, unplug, deal with cable crap. Why oh why are we adding new cables to supposedly “wireless” products?

At least the AA batteries version didn’t force you to add a new cord to the mix (the charging cord) and I could use rechargeable batteries with that that swap faster than any recharge time on the Magic Mouse 2.

Magic Mouse 2 is literally a step back to corded mice. Charge wirelessly or get the fuck outta here with that noise.

Incoming SMS on a Multitech rCell 100

The Multitech rCell 100 is a neat little standalone device with an API that can be used for OOB access and to send or receive SMS messages for things like paging. I have Nagios using it to send SMS messages directly into the cellular network, avoiding gateways and cloud points of failure. However, I found that on Verizon SIM cards incoming SMS wouldn’t work to send commands to it. But there’s a way around that that’s probably faster than dealing with Verizon.

The issue seems to be no storage in the SIM for incoming SMS. I can change the smsd config in the rCell 100 to not use the SIM card for storage as follows after you SSH into the rCell.

Change filesystem to write mode:
mount -o remount,rw /

Edit the config file:
vi /etc/smsconfig

msg-store-read: SM
msg-store-send: SM
msg-store-new: SM

Change to:
msg-store-read: ME
msg-store-send: ME
msg-store-new: ME

Change filesystem back to read only:
mount -o remount,ro /

Restart the smsd process:
killall smsd && smsd

No More Sprint

Finally dumped Sprint due to a failed EVO 4G LTE. Ended up going to Verizon with a Galaxy S4. Yeah, one evil over the other, but the big thing was that Sprint’s service sucked rocks in a big way. They are literally the only major provider that does not have LTE service in my area. AT&T has it, T-mobile has it, and Verizon was the first to have it. Sprint service just kept getting worse. It’s too bad they couldn’t get their act together.

Slow SMB Browsing with MacOS X

Ever since Apple dropped Samba and went with their own SMB stack in MacOS X the browsing performance suffered badly for SMB shares on a Debian server. After much searching the solution that finally worked was to set the following in smb.conf:

socket options = IPTOS_LOWDELAY

The Cloud Fails Again…

Amazon AWS is suffering yet another outage, this time taking all of Netflix (and things like Instragram) down with it.

8:21 PM PDT We are investigating connectivity issues for a number of instances in the US-EAST-1 Region.
8:31 PM PDT We are investigating elevated errors rates for APIs in the US-EAST-1 (Northern Virginia) region, as well as connectivity issues to instances in a single availability zone.
8:40 PM PDT We can confirm that a large number of instances in a single Availability Zone have lost power due to electrical storms in the area. We are actively working to restore power.
8:49 PM PDT Power has been restored to the impacted Availability Zone and we are working to bring impacted instances and volumes back online.

Mass Effect 3

Warning: potential over-analysis of a video game follows. Plus if you haven’t played Mass Effect you’ll be completely confused.

The Mass Effect series has been my favorite gaming trilogy as of late and so it was no question that I was going to start playing its final installment on release day. I dove into it with the same completionist attitude I had with the previous installments.

I love the back and forth with Liara during the Shadow Broker DLC in ME2. “Remember when you could just slap omni gel on things?” That reference to ME1 made me smile. Seeing characters pop up here and there, or not, also made me feel. I had hoped to see Emily Wong or Kal’Reegar again, but alas they perished off screen. But the penultimate ending to the trilogy is just… bad. No matter what happens you lose and everyone is simply fucked. In fact, you might as well have actually helped the Reapers succeed. Maybe Saren’s way was the right way in the beginning and we’ve actually been the villain.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time doing every single side mission, quest and scan, no matter how minor. Some of my decisions sucked – I was shocked when I overheard the refugees mention that Kelly had been coldly executed during the Cerberus raid on the Citadel – and some made all my previous actions feel like a payoff. I put a lot of work towards trying to have the best possible outcome in then end, because that’s just how I roll.

Mordin’s death to put right what was once wrong in curing the genophage was both sad and rewarding. In my game there was no other option as far as I was concerned. I couldn’t betray my friend Wrex, a friend who would follow me to hell, just to make some shady back room deal with the Salarians. Had it been his brother because I foolishly killed (or was forced to kill) Wrex way back in the beginning on Virmire then yeah, I wouldn’t have felt bad lying about curing the genophage, and I would have been disappointed to have Mordin die for that. For me, watching Mordin put things right while singing “scientist Salarian” to himself just about brought a tear to my eye.

Being able to bring peace between the Quarians and the Geth was one of those good moments. Will the peace last? Maybe. Legion “dies” sort of, but we’re shown a machine that became alive and ultimately chose to give up its life for the greater good. Again depending on choices made along the way one may feel differently about Legion’s fate, or even killed him in what effectively would be the genocide of the geth. Either choice had its consequences, but provided I could I saved them both (and I did) to ensure both sides would be there to fight the Reapers for the best possible outcome.

Seeing and speaking to Thane in his final days in the hospital was cool, as were all my encounters with those I’d saved (my entire crew survived in ME2). But when Thane showed up to fight Kai Lang? Epic. The choices I made resulted in Thane showing up to kick some ass. He ultimately dies from a combination of his wounds and terminal illness, but like Mordin it was a good end. The other minor missions were nice to see Miranda, Jacob, and Jack again.

And then the final push comes. My squad and I fight valiantly alongside literally the rest of the galaxy (Geth plus Quarian fleets together) that I worked hard to bring to bear in full force. Full of inconsistencies, plot holes, and straight up WTF. No matter what, everyone dies and the Reapers fulfill their annihilation whether through their hand or mine.

  • I bought the Quarians to Earth. I was able to create peace between them and the Geth, but no matter: with the mass relay network destroyed, they will never see Rannoch again, even though earlier the way for them to return home was paved through peace with the Geth, because it’s way the hell on the opposite side of the galaxy after I convinced them to come to Earth to fight the Reapers. And since they can’t eat anything on Earth they’re just going to starve to death as a best case scenario. More likely though is infighting as resources grow scares, or die trying to go home to Rannoch because the journey is too long and too far.
  • I brought the Geth to Earth. As machines they don’t need things like food and would survive the long trip without mass relays – at least until they run out of fuel, lose power, and shut down. This also assumes that the newfound peace doesn’t collapse under the strain of the Quarian’s aforementioned bleak situation.
  • I brought the Grogan to Earth. Wrex, the leader with a vision for a new future for his people that others will rally behind, is certainly there. But like everyone else that was duped into bringing everything they had to Earth for a final push they’re now just as stuck without the mass relays. Those left back on Tuchanka will probably just revert to the old ways and kill themselves off. Mordin’s sacrifice, while profoundly powerful at the time, ultimately meant nothing.
  • I brought the Turians to Earth. Like the Quarians there’s nothing for them to eat, and unlike the quarians they probably didn’t bring any greenhouse ships with them. So now that the fighting is over whoever is left is probably going to grapple with the Quarians for something to eat once the reality of the situation sinks in.
  • I brought the Salarians to Earth. I also brought races like the Volus and the Elcor. None of them are going home, either. Even if everyone wanted to sit around and be happy on Earth, the planet is in absolute ruin, to be bombarded with wreckage falling from orbit, and there’s simply too many of everyone combined for the planet to support at its best. With everyone in close quarters without a unifying cause faced with strained resources from whatever remains is the perfect recipe for old conflicts to rise again and attrition through infighting to finish off the survivors.
  • Everyone on the Citadel is simply killed when it self-destructs. So much for all of the refugees plus its former regular population. In fact, the choice to let more refugees on board might as well be an assist to the Reapers because it simply increase the body count. The most likely end for them was that everyone is asphyxiated or vented into space.

And then there’s the Normandy. Why would Joker suddenly run from the fight? How did he know the mass relay was about to self destruct and manage to make it there before the Citadel did its thing? How did anyone in my squad even get back on board when they were supposedly all down on Earth fighting? Liara was with me during the run to the beam with ol’ Harby firing lasers of doom at everyone, and somehow she is suddenly back on the Normandy running away to crash land on some unknown jungle planet? None of this ending sequence is even remotely believable.

Of course, all of this assumes that everyone wasn’t simply vaporized by the destruction of each mass relay as was shown when the Alpha Relay was destroyed and released a supernova in its wake. This would mean that every system with a mass relay plus everyone on the Citatel were simply annihilated and the only thing left are far-flung colonies in the ass end of the galaxy. In which case, well, everyone and everything still dies.

The sad thing is that I loved the games but knowing how much futility there is in the end makes playing to better the universe simply no longer makes sense. You may as well run around the galaxy softening it up for the Reapers to finish off because that’s what happens regardless.

Ethernet-based I/O

In my search to find cost effective I/O modules I came across ControlByWeb Ethernet I/O the other day. The product line is impressive and they’re reasonably priced. There’s digital input, analog input, temperature input, and relay outputs. Some have advanced features such as SNMP support, but at the bare minimum they all support HTTP/XML and Modbus/TCP. The devices can also interface with each other directly and several even have a 802.11af POE powered version. I’ll probably end up using modbus since I already have some RS-485 modbus stuff in place.

My first planned project for these Ethernet I/O modules is to monitor a multistage cooling system; things like thermostat stage calls compared to compressor calls since there’s an economizer in the mix that modifies the true compressor staging calls.

San Diego’s Epic Power Outage

On September 8th, 2011 the vast majority of San Diego County and the southern part of Orange County returned to a simpler time.

All of them? That sounds like a big “oops”.

To the bunker!