In a previous post I have looked at what hard disk password protection would do for me and what its limitations are. One issue is that it’s no longer straight forward to just use a password protected drive in a USB to SATA converter as a lower level ATA command is required to unlock the drive. On Linux, the drive can be unlocked with ‘hdparm‘ but there are a couple of pitfalls that took me quite some time to figure out.
One thing that still bugs me a bit about my Linux installation is that the system partition is not encrypted. In practice that should mostly be o.k. because I mapped ‘/tmp’ to memory and ‘/home’ is mounted to an encrypted partition during boot. But still, it bugs me a bit. And notebooks on the move do get stolen or are lost by accident. So when I recently thought a bit about the password protection offered by hard drives, I investigated a bit to see if this would help me out.
Until only a few years ago, 2D bar codes didn’t really make it into the limelight. That has quite changed now and I use 2D bar codes on a daily basis. And some applications are actually quite unexpected.
For a long long time I wanted to find out a bit more about the history of Digital Equipment Corporation and its legendary co-founder Ken Olson. I’ve never worked on a DEC machine in my career, but many of their machines are famous, e.g. the PDP-1 and space war, the PDP-8 as the first ‘affordable’ mini-computer, the PDP-7 and 11 on which Unix was created, etc. etc. I did, however, use one of their services that they created in their final years. Anyone remember the Altavista search engine? And I remember their Alpha processor design and Windows NT running on it. There are a number of books on the history of DEC and here is a review of “The Ultimate Entrepreneur – The Story of Ken Olson and Digital Equipment Corporation” by Glenn Rifkin and George Harrar.
In a previous post I wrote about installing a Wi-Fi repeater in my home and how I could then reach a sustainable data rate of over 800 Mbit/s. Very close to Gbit Ethernet! Unfortunately the connection was not stable. After a few days the repeater just stops working until rebooted. After experiencing this a couple of times I had a closer look to find out if this was a software instability or something else.
It is interesting to see how the users of my Nextcloud keep pushing previously existing limits, real or perceived. Back in 2018 I had a post of how to increase the maximum file size Nextcloud could handle and I was happy to see that I could easily go up to 5 GB files. I didn’t push it beyond that as I couldn’t imagine anyone would want to send bigger files. But recently, I was asked if a 20 GB file could be stored on my Nextcloud for sharing and I have a to admit I was skeptical. So I set out to try if and how this would work in practice.
After writing about all the good things I noticed after upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04 to 20.04, it’s time now to also talk a bit about the things that I didn’t like after upgrading. So here we go…
Back in 2009, I installed a derivate of Ubuntu 09.04 on a notebook ‘just to try it out’ and have remained with Ubuntu ever since. It was my first Linux I used full time as it was clear to me that closed source software connected to the Internet would not work for me but eventually against me. Over the years, I’ve upgraded to the Long Term Support (LTS) versions 10.04 12.04, 14.04 and finally to 16.04 in 2016. I skipped 18.04, as 16.04 was ‘good enough’ and, as far as the operating system is concerned, I don’t have to live on the bleeding edge. But since Ubuntu 16.04 will reach the end of its support cycle in 2021 and some annoying quirks had never been fixed over the years, I decided to jump on the 20.04 Long Term Support (LTS) bandwagon as soon as possible. After using the new system for two weeks now, it was time to write down the things I like about 20.04 and compare it to 16.04. In a follow up post I will rant a bit about the things that I don’t like, which are unfortunately just about as many.
A practical tip today: When I am abroad (o.k. that doesn’t happen a lot right now…) I do tend to occasionally change the network I am roaming in for a number of reasons. Unfortunately that usually takes a long time as the device searches in lots of bands for 3 different network technologies. But this process can be sped up significantly!
Over the years I kept upgrading my VDSL line and also my Wi-Fi network setup to benefit from increasing data rates offered by my fixed line carrier. With 802.11ac, I get around 350 Mbit/s in the downlink direction and 200 Mbit/s in the uplink direction with my Lenovo X250 notebook at my desk. When I move closer to the access point, I can get around 600 Mbit/s out of the link. But since I don’t work close to the access point, that’s more of a theoretical value for me. Now one could argue that this speed is more than enough for my Internet access. That’s true but since I also run a number of servers at home and occasionally transfer very large files or VM images, more is better and useful. So at some point it was time again to see if I could improve my Wi-Fi setup to get more than the 350 Mbit/s. 1 Gbit/s is the value to beat as that’s what I would get over Ethernet or fiber. Beyond that and I would have to upgrade my servers. As you can see in the title of this post, I could push my setup to a sustainable 800 Mbit/s at my desk.