Recent Blog Posts

If you're having trouble formatting a new SSD in a Mac, it could be the cable

tl;dr: If you see weird errors when using or formatting a drive internally on a Mac (especially after upgrading to a newer and/or faster SATA hard drive), it could mean the SATA cable needs to be replaced.

Mac mini mid-2011 lower SATA hard drive cable with connector
Who would've thought such a tiny cable could cause so many problems?

I have an older Mac mini (mid-2011 i5 model), and I use it as a general media server and network backup. It handles Time Machine backups for two other Macs, it has about 20 TB of external storage connected, and I also use it as a 'home base' to store all my Dropbox, iCloud, and Photos content locally, and store an extra Time Machine backup of all that. I'm a little nutty about backups... but I haven't lost a file in two decades and I don't want to start now ;-).

Sponsor my Open Source development work on GitHub

tl;dr: You can now sponsor my open source development work via GitHub Sponsors.

GitHub sponsors geerlingguy

GitHub Sponsors is the latest foray into building a more sustainable future for open source software development. There have been many attempts before, a few of which I tried (Gratipay, Patreon, etc.), but most of them never reached a critical mass, and at most you'd end up getting maybe $20-50/month out of the platform. Another prolific open source contributor I've long followed wrote about the topic of open source support and developer burnout in a post this year, Webform, Drupal, and Open Source...Where are we going?.

Limiting disk iops on a larger Munin server using rrdcached

I've long used Munin for basic resource monitoring on a huge variety of servers. It's simple, reliable, easy to configure, and besides the fact that it uses Perl for plugins, there's not much against it!

Last week, I got a notice from my 'low end box' VPS provider that my Munin server—which is aggregating data from about 50 other servers—had high IOPS and would be shut down if I didn't get it back into an allowed threshold. Most low end VPSes run things like static HTML websites, so disk IO is very low on average. I checked my Munin instance, and sure enough, it was constantly churning through around 50 iops. For a low end server, this can cause high iowait for other tenants of the same server, so I can understand why hosting providers don't want applications on their shared servers doing a lot of constant disk I/O.

Using iotop, I could see the munin-update processes were spending a lot of time writing to disk. And munin's own diskstats_iops plugin showed the same:

Rescue photos and other files from an SD or microSD card with PhotoRec

As a photographer who's taken and processed at least 200,000 photos in the past couple decades, you'd think I have a solid workflow that results in zero lost files... but you'd be wrong. 99% of the time, I follow the workflow:

  1. Import photos from memory card.
  2. Make sure backup of imported photos completes (so I have two local copies—I also have one copy back up to a cloud storage provider, so two local and one cloud backup).
  3. Format the memory card.

A lot of photographers shoot with two memory cards, and have photos written to both—that way the 2nd card would be a double-failsafe. But for most jobs, I don't do that. And one of my digital cameras doesn't even have two memory card slots, so this isn't an option!

Anyways, more often than I'd like to admit, I do something dumb, like:

Molecule fails on converge and says test instance was already 'created' and 'prepared'

I hit this problem every once in a while; basically, I run molecule test or molecule converge (in this case it was for a Kubernetes Operator I was building with Ansible), and it says the instance is already created/prepared—even though it is not—and then Molecule fails on the 'Gathering Facts' portion of the converge step:

Ostomy Awareness Day 2019 - #MyOstomyMyLifesaver

Osotmies are Life-Savers UOAA Ostomy Awareness Day 2019

I have Crohn's disease. More specifically, severe Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is one of a class of autoimmune diseases. The common theme for these diseases (including RA, Lupus, Colitis, MS, Psoriasis, etc.) is your body's immune system decides it's more fun attacking your own body than it is to attack outside infections.

Currently, there are no cures for Crohns or Colitis (a very closely related Inflammatory Bowel Disease). There is no diet, no lifestyle change, and no pill that can make those suffering from a Crohn's disease flare-up heal permanently.

There are a lot of drugs that can help. I should know, I've been on literally every one of them.

But for many people with IBD, the drugs stop helping (or never help in the first place), and your immune system goes thermonuclear on your guts. This happened to me last year.


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