Recent Blog Posts

Review: Epson DS-40 WiFi portable document scanner

Epson DS-40 Portable WiFi Document Scanner

I've always been fascinated by digital scanners; my Dad worked in an industry that allowed him access to some of the newest tech in terms of computing, so I was able to use a full-color (16-bit!) digital scanner hooked up to an early Mac IIci running Photoshop when most people still used computers with 8-bit displays.

3-pass color scanner SCSI with PowerBook 180c
My very-old 3-pass color scanner connected to a PowerBook 180c. It took over a minute per scan—and much longer at 'photo' resolutions.

Ansible for DevOps is $0.99 for Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2016!

I decided to discount Ansible for DevOps on LeanPub to $0.99 for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The book has already been purchased by over 8,000 people on Amazon, LeanPub, and the iBooks Store, and is the only book available that covers the latest version of Ansible—and is continuously updated!

I've written a lot about the process of self-publishing, in case you're interested. I'm hoping to keep updating Ansible for DevOps every quarter or so indefinitely, to make it the best resource now—and as long as possible—for learning infrastructure automation!

Figuring out why an external USB hard drive won't spin down on my Mac

I am using a 2011 Mac mini as a backup server for all the data I store on iCloud, and for the first few days while I was setting up the Mac, I noticed the 4 TB and 2 TB external USB drives I had plugged in would spin down after a few minutes, and I would have blissful silence as long as there wasn't an active operation on that Mac (which should be fairly rare; just hourly Time Machine backups and periodic SSD activity since the iCloud libraries are all on SSD).

However, after a few weeks, I noticed that at least one of the two hard drives runs continously, 24x7. Something on the Mac mini must keep hitting the drive and preventing it from spinning down.

To see what was happening, I used sudo fs_usage | grep VOLUME (in my case, VOLUME is 4\ TB\ Utility) to monitor what processes were accessing the drive, and what files they were accessing. After a few minutes watching (and doing nothing else on the computer, to make sure I wasn't causing any extra filesystem seeks), there were a couple regular culprits:

I made the switch from Aperture to Photos

Aperture to Photos macOS Sierra upgrade and migrate library using iCloud

tl;dr: ~600 GB photo library, took ~3 weeks to migrate, some things are awesome (access to all my photos everywhere, on any device), some things less so (faces don't get synced, no loupe, no five-star rating system, no pro-level editing/batch workflows). All-in-all, I wish Apple didn't ditch Aperture... but it's not the end of the world moving to Photos.

There are many, many photographers who were disappointed Apple decided to discontinue Aperture development. Aperture was by far my favorite tool for both organizing and manipulating RAW photos taken with my DSLRs. It was fast, it had tons of great organizational features, and was highly adaptable.

Experience with getting LASIK a second time (2016 Edition)

In 2010, I had LASIK eye surgery on both eyes and had my vision corrected to 20/16. It seems my eyes weren't content, as they elongated slightly in the following years, and my vision degraded back to about 20/60... meaning I had to buy a couple pairs of glasses from Zenni to bridge the gap until I decided whether I'd get LASIK again.

Apparently only a small percentage of those who get LASIK after their mid-20s have their vision degrade much further... but being a Crohn's patient with moderate to severe symptoms I'm used to being in the 'unlucky' percentile! So I decided to go in for a second round of LASIK.

Jeff smiling with glasses pre-LASIK
Despite the smile, I was getting quite tired of these spectacles!

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