Online Meetings On The Road – Some Thoughts

Not meeting in person but in online meetings these days has the advantage, or disadvantage, you decide for yourself, that you can also participate while on the road. While I try to avoid this as much as possible as I prefer a bigger screen and a quiet environment for meetings, the only alternative sometimes is not to participate at all. Surprisingly I found that conference calls while on the road work better than I anticipated at first.

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Annoying Cookie Consent – But…

In recent months, more and more web sites greet me with super annoying pop-ups and request my consent to their use of cookies. Some even give me the option to control for which purposes cookies are used. Of course, web site owners don’t do this for fun but because of laws such as the GDPR that have come into effect in recent years. While I think that the GDPR is a good thing overall, I am particularly unhappy about this side effect.

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Comparing Two Streaming Data Rates In Practice

Image: Video stream graphsWe’ve had a visitor at our place recently for a couple of days who used a video streaming service quite a lot. When I had a look at our Internet connection usage statistics, I was quite surprised how differently the service behaved when it came to resource usage compared to the video streaming provider we use in the family. Yes, we only use one! Perhaps a generational thing. Anyway, when I had a closer look at the datarates of the two streaming services I was quite surprised that there is a 10:1 difference.

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Book Review – Weaving the Web

In 1999, Tim Berners-Lee, together with Mark Fischetti, wrote ‘Weaving the Web‘, a book on how he invented the World Wide Web in the late 1980s and the early 1990’s. It is still published today so it’s not difficult to get hold of it. You can also lend a copy in PDF format from Written less than a decade after the web had its early break through, it is now two decades old itself and offers incredible insight into the early days, the thoughts of the time how it should evolve and it made me reflect on how it turned out today.

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Is your USB to SATA Adapter UAS capable?

In the previous two posts on how to use the password protection feature of hard disks and SSDs and how to unlock them when temporarily connected to another computer via a USB adapter, I mentioned that the adapter has to support the UAS (USB Attached SCSI) protocol. Unfortunately, some (older) USB-3 to SATA adapters do not support the protocol which results in strange hdparm error messages. As I was doing this for the first time, I had the dilemma that I didn’t know if the strange error messages were a result of a mistake I made or if the adapter did not support the required protocol. After a bit of searching I came up with the following procedure to check for support:

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How to Use A Password Locked Disk over USB

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.

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Protecting Hard Disks and SSDs with a Password

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.

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Book Review: The Ultimate Entrepreneur – Ken Olson and DEC

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.

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