Monday, October 12, 2020

Easy Money Links and Referral Codes for Webull, Raise, Tesla, Discover, Cash App, Gasbuddy, Get Upside, Amex, Rakuten, Mypoints, SoFi, PEI, Money Networks, more to come!

I've got some videos with more stuff or more in depth evaluations of some of these here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHfnZVroL1-VYU8usosblA0w8As2b-nGg

Robinhood:

  • Free stocks! Stocks given are random. Could be Ford, Apple...might be Groupon or Zynga. I got a GE and Zynga, wife got Groupon. I've gotten close to 20 free stocks I bet. Plus it's a good starter for trading stocks. -=> https://share.robinhood.com/robertb4367


SoFi:


PEI:

  • A bit of work to set up but it just builds extra money in the background when you use your credit cards. I'm sure they are tracking spending habits. Not yours, just an aggregate. I don't care, it's free bucks for doing nothing. You can a bonus when you use my link. $20 to cash out but eventually you'll just get it. https://getpei.app.link/invite?code=theroblog


Tesla:

  • Ok, not an easy money link but you can save some money using my link for $100 off solar roof or panels, or 1,000 free supercharger miles...I'm trying to earn a Powerwall. -=> https://ts.la/robert99827

HEB Card:

Netspend:

  • This is the same as the HEB card above in the areas that count. No fee as long as you have activity every 90 days, 5% FDIC Savings interest rate, and if you load $40 (you can get one every 6 months or actually 181 days basically...I'd wait maybe 190 days to be sure) you can get another $20. Make sure you have a recurring deposit, like $1 every 60 days or something to avoid the inactivity fee. Link to get it: https://www.netspend.com/get-a-prepaid-card/?aid=RAF_1&site_id=RAF_OAC_URL&uref=8161238103 

Discover:


Cash App

  • https://cash.app/app/VTWFXHX $5 to sign up and send $5 to someone...PLEASE copy the code 'VTWFXHX' and put it in the box when you create your account...the link doesn't track my referrals if you just download the app after that, so, please use the code. We both get $5. 


WeBull


Raise

  • Buy gift cards right on your phone that show up in 1-2 minutes. So, you're at a restaurant or Auozone or whatever store and you buy the EXACT amount of gift card you need and get at least 5% back. Plus you can still use coupons and other deals as this is just a form of payment. $5 bonus to start. I've saved about $450 in 2 years. https://geta.raise.com/RBULLOCK3365



GetUpside

  • This is a little involved, but basically you claim the offer (There's a lot of fast food and gas station offers) and upload your receipt. Examples around me are 22 cents off per gallon of diesel, 16 cents/gallon gas, and 10-15% off Popeye's and Wendy's. It's a quick few bucks, and once again, it stacks with other offers as the business doesn't see anything. -=> https://upside.app.link/HAC7F


Gasbuddy



Amex American Express


Rakuten


Mypoints











Migrating Storj from Mac OS X Windows GUI VM to NAS, Docker, Linux, etc.

Quick post:

rsync over SMB is painful. Don't.

rsync over NFS from a direct attached Drobo...less so.

Best is probably a direct copy to disk, move that disk to Unraid, and cp it over. THEN do an rsync from your live node, stop the node and sync (maybe) then you're done.

Reminder for OS X: Disk Utility won't mount an NFS share for you any more. It's CLI time.

First, create a directory on your Mac you'll mount the NFS Share in.

Then, to mount, this: sudo mount -t nfs 192.168.1.175:/mnt/user/storjnode2 /Users/robertbullock/storjnode2

Use your IP for your server obviously and the end bit is where you'll see all the files. You might consider, again, copying the files over THEN doing an rsync. 

I recommend the -aP flags like this:

rsync -aP /Volumes/Drobo\ Series\ 3/StorjStorage/storagenodeWin10VirtualBox /Volumes/storjnode2/storage


You can just type the command and flags then drag the source to the terminal window, hit space, then drag the destination. (This is an older command structure when I was using SMB...ugh.)

I'd appreciate comments on how this could be faster. I'm only getting around 5mBytes/sec over gigabit Ethernet.

Tips for an out of work IT guy accepted: http://paypal.me/beachfitrob Every quarter helps!




I built an Unraid server in a Dell T310 Poweredge

I built an Unraid server in a Dell T310 Poweredge. I have the Xeon version (did anyone buy anything less?) with the SATA/SAS N621K backplane.

Notes: Get an H310 IMHO and flash that to a dumb SAS HBA/IT controller. There's a post on my blog here about that process.

I put a 2x5 5.25 to 3x3.5 trayless adapter in the double T310 Bay. It WILL NOT fit the stock opening.

Pics to follow, maybe, but all you have to do is remove the lower support lip by bending it out with a screwdriver and taking a pair of pliers and bending it back and forth a bit til it snaps off. Then put a single screw in the side or two if you like, thru the friction finger thingies next to the blue retaining mech. Just slide the whole bay a bit back and forth til the screw hole is in the corner of the slidey hole...yeah this needs a pic.

It's the iStarUSA BPN-DE230SS: Click to see on Ebay or Click to See on Amazon (I'm out of work, please use these links.) 

The H310 connects fine with an SFF 8087 cable to the T310 N621K backplane. Click to Buy one on Amazon or Click here for Ebay (did I mention I'm unemployed?)

I'd get one 8087 to 8087 for the backplane, and one that's a breakout cable (the one with 4 SATA ends) to run to the trayless bay, leaving one to connect to an SSD you could throw anywhere in the case with whatever fastening scheme you like...or just lay it on the bottom.

I've set the power management in the BIOS to min, and it seems to help fan speed as my drives trip the higher speed...thanks DELL.

You can of course use the onboard SATA ports on the T310 but I have to see if they are limited to 2TB, which seems likely. Still, they're there and free and you already have power and one SATA cable from the removed DVD drive, right?

...more to come.

Did this article help you? Send me 50 cents at http://paypal.me/beachfitrob ;)


Thursday, October 08, 2020

Megarec.exe for Flashing Dell H310 from HP

Yes, the formatting for this post is ugly to say the least. Maybe I'll fix it since I'm out of work...if you look on the right and 'Buy me a Cup of Coffee'.

Here's where you get the needed files. I made this post because I don't like using strange programs from who knows where:

This assumes your computer can boot via BIOS from a DOS usb stick and you've prepared it. My Poweredge T310 can, no problem.
Copy of sbrempty.bin (to zero part of the controller's ROM):
http://www.mediafire.com/file/ukhbhrqj4sh6lzq/LSI-9211-8i.zip/file

Paranoid about the contents of sbrempty.bin?
Yeah, me too:


Portions of these instructions cribbed from somewhere...there are about 1000 reposts.

Copy the files you'll need to the root USB folder. (C:\). You'll need megarec.exe, sbrempty.bin, 6GBPSAS.fw, sas2flsh.exe, and optionally if you want a BIOS a copy of mptsas2.rom


  • megarec.exe -writesbr 0 sbrempty.bin
    • If this command fails it should be safe to proceed to step 2. (Note from me: Worked fine for me.)
  • megarec.exe -cleanflash 0
  • Reboot the computer and boot back into the USB drive.
  • sas2flsh.exe -o -f 6GBPSAS.fwAlso, if you just type 'sas2flsh -listall' IIRC mine just said the board was operational and let me input 6GBPSAS.FW as the firmware to flash when it asked. Reboot.
If you want to add the BIOS (which you don't need for UNRAID but I think it might be nice to have, will respond back if anything significant is useful in the BIOS) you can do that in a separate step:

sas2flsh.exe -b mptsas2.rom Reboot.

When you reboot, if you want to enter the controller BIOS (mine complained about being disabled) keep hitting Ctrl-C.

Notes:
Works fine so far! rsyncing my Windows GUI VM data on a DAS Drobo over to my Unraid server via an NFS mount...don't do rsync over SMB if you value your life.

Oxed for Mac OS X hex file viewing:
http://www.suavetech.com/0xed/0xed.html

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

OpenOffice crashed when Opening Passworded File. I'm on Version 4.1.7 and OS X 10.14.6

I'm out of work. :( If this fixes your problem, by me a cup of coffee using the link on the right side of this blog. If I had $1....I'd have a dollar. 



Crash dump:

Path:                  /Applications/OpenOffice.app/Contents/MacOS/soffice

Identifier:            org.openoffice.script

Version:               4.1.7 (???)

Code Type:             X86-64 (Native)

Parent Process:        ??? [1]

Responsible:           soffice [9009]

User ID:               501

Date/Time:             2020-10-07 11:32:28.271 -0500

OS Version:            Mac OS X 10.14.6 (18G6032)

Report Version:        12

System Integrity Protection: enabled

Crashed Thread:        0  Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread

Exception Type:        EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGSEGV)

Exception Codes:       KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at 0x0000724565a10950

Exception Note:        EXC_CORPSE_NOTIFY

----

Ugly, Right?

I found this fix and knock on wood, it worked just now after consistently crashing over and over. I could start a new doc but when I opened a passworded file I've used over and over for years...crash.

Mac OS, it just works, right? B.S. it does. TBF, it's because this is probably because in my case it's an upgrade over an upgrade over an upgrade....

From This thread: https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=85216

"Also, check in your user preferences to see if Java is enabled.

On menubar: OpenOffice/Preferences/OpenOffice/Java
Make sure "Use a Java Runtime Environment" is checked and there is a check mark beside a installed JRE."

In my case, there was no runtime selected. I also did the bit about allowing OpenOffice to control my machine found in the System Preferences pane at Security and Privacy -=> Accessibility. I added OpenOffice to the list.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Tale of Two USB 3.0 (3.1?) PCIe Cards in a Mac Pro 2009 (flashed to 2010) Inateck KT4004 vs. Newertech MAXPower 4-Port USB 3.1 Gen 1 PCIe Controller Card

 


I wrote a previous post about system hangs, my Drobo 3 ejecting (not during sleep, just using the Mac Pro normally) and so I replaced my KT4004 with a Newertech MAXPower.

The Inateck I bought because I'd had an older Mac Pro (2008) with one of their powered cards (via SATA power) and it worked well but I left it in the 2008 when I sold it as it's a bit of a pain to remove/install.

I also replaced the cable just to help troubleshoot...of course I could have gotten a bad card/cable...but I still have the old ones, so, moving on.

Similarities:

Both are FL1100 chipsets and have 4 ports each. 

Why I like the Newertech better

Let's be honest. Foremost is it's a name brand. That's the warm and fuzzy factor.

For the objective reasoners, it's a 4x PCIe card vs. a 1x PCIe card. I don't know if that's what sped up my Drobo 3 by a factor of 4 in throughput (it's supposed to be a 5Gbps card just like the Inateck) but it did. Someone explain in the comments, because I think it might be a flaky card. The Mac Pro 2009/2010 is PCIe 2.0 so a 1x card like the Inateck should be plenty for a Drobo 3.

That said, the Newertech is a 4x card, so at the least, if you have multiple USB 3 devices, especially storage, that would be the obvious choice for overall much better throughput.

Update: It's a PHYSICAL x4 card but only RUNS at x1 speed....which begs the question as to why you would make the card physically an x4 since now it won't work on a PC I have in an x1 slot...power draw maybe? But I don't know if you get extra power capability with extra lanes...

System report confirms x1 speeds. So I still wonder why my Drobo speed sucks...it just seems to vary widely. I am going to try my old USB 3 cable next and cross my fingers as I fling chicken blood at it and standing on one leg.



Thoughts? Is my math right? I get about 100 megabyte/s r/w on it now which is only around 20% of the bus speed of 5Gbps and half of the 2Gbps for an x4 card.

It SEEMS like my speed had dropped from previous benchmarks on the Inateck, but perhaps 25 megabyte per second was all a 1x card could manage? 

Again, check my math in the comments.

Here's the punchline. On Amazon, the Newertech is only $5 more. Spend it.

I won't even link to the KT4004 at these prices. But if you use this link -=> https://amzn.to/3n7yZdG you'll help support me as my main job ends Sep 30, 2020 due to Covid.

Or take a look on the top right sidebar here and 'Buy Me a Cup of Coffee'. Or if your Tesla options printed, become a Patreon sponsor.




Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Mac OS X 10.13 Slow, acting weird, Disk Utility Errors, Finder Hangs, Can't Open Finder Windows: Drobo!

Update: Seems to be working now but I didn't do anything super technical. I still don't know what the issue is. I think maybe some sort of tiny disk error or issue that the Drobo or Disk Utility corrected...but nothing I could see. If I could only see those secret Drobo logs. But I might panic if I saw the sausage being made.

Update 2: I replaced the USB 3 card and cable because it seemed like that was a factor. The mouse and keyboard would stop working during these system hangs. It has greatly improved my Drobo 3 read/write times...so read the next post up about that swap. I benched it just now at around 100MB/sec which ain't shabby. 

One note is if your Drobo series 3 falls below 15% free space, performance SUCKS. I'm at 12% free and it still sucks.

I'm playing with Unraid, and will be selling my Series 2 Drobo at least. 

Working on this issue as I write and here's what I think solved issues for me:

Drobo 3 wasn't mounting the Time Machine or regular volume (it would only mount one) on the desktop as it should. Right now I'm running Disk Utility First Aid on it. I also have Drive Genius and I may pull the drives to check their SMART status and sector scan them in a sled on my desktop Mac Pro. This shouldn't do anything to the disk as it won't understand the file system to potentially write to anyway, I believe.

(Someone comment if I'm wrong.)

I'm also going to finally, two years after release, upgrade to 10.14 Mojave.

The finder preferences were perhaps corrupt. I deleted them using the terminal as I could not even open finder windows to do it with the GUI.

I'm on OS X 10.13.6...and thank God I have a budget gaming laptop running Windows 10 to type this on.

Also:

I had what looked like an aborted Time Machine backup hanging around and it throws TONS of errors in Disk Utility when you run First Aid.

Here's how to delete them:

MacWorld Article 1

And here's how to turn off mobile backups if you have a desktop or just want to save space. 

MacWorld Article 2

I don't know the purpose of a Mobile Backup for me, personally, as I'm always connected (nearly 100% of the time) to my Drobo 3 anyway.

After deleting the bad snapshots using the instructions in article 1, my boot drive went through First Aid no problem.

Personal Note: my company is entirely gone in about two weeks due to Covid19. Please give me a Subscribe on my YouTube channel so I can monetize it. 

Honestly, there's some good tech and money videos on there. Thanks for helping me out.



Unraid 6 and Time Machine: Can't Mount Share in Time Machine Preferences

 From the Unraid wiki: (https://wiki.unraid.net/UnRAID_6/Configuring_Apple_Time_Machine)

"From here, there are just a few more steps:

  • Connect to your Time Machine share by connecting to it through the Finder.
  1. Next: go to Time Machine Preferences on your Mac and “Select Disk”.
  2. Your newly mounted Time Machine share should show up. Select this share, enable encryption if desired and click “Use Disk”.
  3. Now, Time Machine will say it’s trying to connect to your share. Before clicking connect, it’s recommended to eject your mounted share from your desktop and then connect.
  4. Time Machine immediately begins making periodic backups—automatically and without further action by you."


Simple fix: in my case, under OS X 10.13.6 High Sierra, I HAD to eject the mounted share. So it's really more like a requirement.

The gist of it is: Mount your share so the Time Machine Preference Pane can 'see' it, and then when the window asking for your password and user to connect is open, switch back to the Finder and eject the share THEN hit connect.

I'm out of work. No job. :) Buy me a cup of coffee or what you'd give any other IT savvy panhandler here: 


Will solve OSX/Unraid/SMB issues for food.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

VirtualBox and Windows 10 Unidentified Network "FIXED" (Mac Pro Desktop)

First off, I'm losing my job in 2 weeks as my company goes away. Thanks #Covid.

So PLEASE if you want to help me, drop $1 in my coffee can: http://paypal.me/beachfitrob

Here's all I did to 'fix' it: select en1. i.e.: Try the other Ethernet port in the menu on the (OS X Version) Oracle VM Virtualbox Machine under settings for the Windows 10 VM that's having the issue.

I forgot I had switched to the other physical Ethernet port on my Mac Pro. (Mac Pros have two Ethernet ports built in.)

Duh. So the VM was bridged to the disconnected Ethernet port. I originally had it set up on en0 and hadn't run it in a while...don't even remember why I switched it...troubleshooting some other thing IIRC.

Drop that 25 cents out of pity: http://paypal.me/beachfitrob :)

-Rob




Sunday, July 26, 2020

Drobo Series 3: Added a new drive I checked, now there are 3 Red Lights and one Flashing Red light.

Update: 23 September 2020 I'm out of work. No job. :) Buy me a cup of coffee or what you'd give any other IT savvy panhandler here: 


Update 2: Drobo is fine now after the rebuild. Just a poor contact or something and reseating the drives fixed it.

As for the error, Don't panic.

I added a 3TB drive I surface scanned twice, had only about as many power on hours as my SSD, and the SMART data all checked out. It is an Hitachi Enterprise grade drive I got JUST out of warranty but it was super clean too.

Betting it was sold off because the warranty ended. I got it with a 1 yr Squaretrade warranty for about 40 bucks and it's going into my storj node.

I digress.

I cleaned it a little with uncompressed air before all this.

I pulled the smallest drive and got the above lights twice on power up.

Powered it down a third time and after that re-seated all the drives.

Worked fine and it's rebuilding now...9 hrs to go but I think that's a bit on the high side as it was only originally a 1TB drive.

Of note: sometimes the Drobo ejects off my MAc but I think the power supply may be getting old, or it's the aftermarket USB3 card in my Mac.

Disk First Aid always checks out, so, I guess it's fine.

And yes I'm planning a Cloud/image backup here shortly. :)



Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Migrating from Parallels 8 to VirtualBox: The Lazy Way

This is not exhaustive, or complete. At most, it's a set of clues...there's my disclaimer.

Make a copy of your virtual machine. Then if you screw up, no big deal.

What finally made me do this is Parallels could actually GREY SCREEN and reboot my Mac Pro desktop. Ya done, ancient copy of Parallels running an ancienter OS.

If you need to change from the expanding format hard drive image in Parallels, this has some good info:
https://www.rational-pi.be/2016/10/converting-a-parallels-virtual-machine-to-virtualbox/

The command line tools mentioned there are in the same place on version 8.

Fortunately, my hard disk was already in plain disk format.

The next hurdle is the VM locks on agp440.sys just like back in the day when you tweaked XP too much.

Step 7 here https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Migrate_Windows "Enable IO APIC" got me to the user listings screen.

It took a while but I got logged in via safe mode with command prompt.

Windows did some driver work, some it couldn't find, etc. Rebooted and I could log in.

Hardware I'm on:
Mac Pro 4,1 flashed to 5,1
XP 32 Bit OS from a ZE4100 laptop. It had 192 megs of RAM. Wow.
Virtualbox Version 6.1.8 r137981 (Qt5.6.3)

Reactivating Windows XP in 2020:
Worked fine via the internet in the virtual machine via the virtual network adapter.

Did I help? Send me a dollar. :) -=> paypal.me/beachfitrob

Ask questions in the comment section. I do respond.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Free Faster Hotel WiFi Hack

The free WiFi you get is usually slower than the paid, but here's how to get faster WiFi for free: use a USB WiFi adapter in addition to the built in laptop WiFi.

Things you will need:


  1. A USB WiFi Adapter like this very cheap one that I personally use: https://amzn.to/2X36LpZ It's 802.11ac Windows 10 works with no additional drivers.
  2. A Speedify Account. Free for 5 gigs a month, and it's a VPN which I highly recommend for public wifi. Really, you shouldn't use it without a VPN. Speedify. I have a paid yearly account. It's pretty cheap.



The way it works is you will get 2 'slots' vs. 1 slot so if the network is overloaded, you get a bigger piece. If it's limited to a certain speed because you're not paying for the higher speed, you get two pieces of pie vs. one.

All you have to do is connect your laptop wifi first, and once it's done, disable that connection temporarily.

Then plug in the USB and set that up. Re-enable your laptop WiFi.

Speedify will combine the links.

You could actually do this as many times as you have USB ports and you could also use one USB adapter as a shared hotspot for your other devices so you don't have to log into hotel WiFi with those.

Enjoy, and use my Amazon link above to support my blog. Or click here for ANY purchase. I get a tiny commission: https://amzn.to/2UTwiza

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Best Backpack Bag for Disney World or Disneyland Park. Easy Security Check!

This is what I always bring to the parks.

Couple of reasons.

1. Easily pass through security because they can see through the bag. If you don't have much in it, they will often not even open the bag because it's see through.

2. The less obvious reason is that the bag BREATHES so your back stays cooler. It's full of holes. :)

Support my blog and buy one you like on Amazon. There are many choices: https://amzn.to/32SlIw8

I have one with the external pocket.

One idea, depending on what's in the bag and the weather, is a frozen water bottle against your back in the bottom of the bag.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

K150 Ebay PIC Programmer for $7. And how to get it working under Windows 10. Prolific

First, the chip that gives the problem is the Prolific PL 2303HXA. It's a USB to serial.

Windows 10 will install drivers when you plug it in but they don't work. You'll see a message in device manager about contacting your supplier.

(I may experiment here a bit later with drivers...update to come...but it may be academic. I just like to have official drivers when possible.)

So a bit of backstory:

Supposedly this chip is End of Life and 'not supported'. Or another story is Prolific wrote their drivers so counterfeit chips won't work. But others have surmised that even older devices from reputable vendors are also rendered inoperative on OS versions they are supposed to work in.

So he said, she said.

There are good directions and a download for drivers from before Prolific broke them here:

http://leftbraintinkering.blogspot.com.br/2013/05/usb-to-serial-prolific-2303-device.html

The way *I* installed it is plugged it in and went thru Device Manager and did a driver 'Update' but I clicked on the option to select the driver myself from the directory I extracted the above ZIP file to.

Windows did not complain and AVG did not see any threats.

Here's a video explaining  how to get it to work. One major thing is I don't think the software appears to work until you do an operation on the PIC in the socket. It will do read/write/verify but the software always complains that it can't communicate with the board.

I'd be really ticked if I'd spend the $59 original price with that level of software quality...


The software the video shows is at the top of this page:

http://www.kitsrus.com/pic.html

...which was a bit tricky to find.

ALSO. Apparently there are different versions of http://www.kitsrus.com/zip/DIYpack25ep.zip for the firmware the PIC on the programmer uses. The longest DIP on the board is a 16F628, and that holds the firmware. The software has to match.

So if you want to update the firmware, you have to install a new PIC. So if it's soldered in, FUN.

Still wondering why these are $7?

Anyway, you're doing this for fun right?

Here's the one I bought on Ebay.

Did I help collect all the info you're looking for in one spot? Buy me a cup of coffee on the Ebay link on the right.

To do:
Verify that mine works and note the firmware. I'm waiting on PICs to arrive. As I said, it won't do anything until a PIC is put in the ZIF socket, apparently.

Misc Notes:
There are 3D printable cases on Thingiverse, and the one I tried was KINDA close. Took a little cutting and I just taped it closed. YMMV. Better than nothing.

Prolific has a CheckChipVersion.exe program that could talk to the chip once I got the drivers installed and it did tell me the chip I have was a PL2303HXA. I don't know if it's a 'real' one or not.





 
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