Tech Grunts - 2019 Quarter 2

A new page? Damned right. Tech Grunts. Stuff I’ve done in tech in the last quarter. Savour it, because frankly I don’t do enough technical anything out of my job to warrant a page, but here’s some simple bits, which will leave you realising how dull and domestic my life now is, from a certain perspective. Sigh.

Home networking.

This was actually a bit funny. I was copying some files to the 2011 Mac mini which is currently bolted to the TV (sort of) and also copying the ~100GB of photos on there to the backup server, and thinking. “This seems slow. This could be quicker”. Peering behind the TV, the horrific amount of cabling, under all the dust, was a dear, old friend - my Planex 8 port switching hub. More specifically, my Planex FX-08IMW which is a 100mbps switching hub. That in itself is not a bad thing, and the device is 12 years old, and works so well that I’d completely forgotten about it. More power to it. However, files have gotten bigger, and that photo backup, not to mention GoPro video backup was indeed taking longer and longer, so I went to cost up an upgrade.

That came as a BuffaloTech LSW6-GT-8NS. It’s off-white, instead of the nice blue, but still has 8 ports - Gigabit now - a metal case, which I like with all the RF / EMF behind the TV, and an internal PSU, which I also like and probably negates the metal case. So that is now done, and file transfers are much faster, and suspect that switch and it’s 4+ devices have a little less congestion at times at ~10x the available bandwidth.

Meta Data Sadness

I started ripping my CDs to FLAC a long, long time ago, and for the most part I thought I got most of the meta-data correct, but I noticed the artwork wasn’t working for some albums on mobile, and some bits of data were wrong, such as minor typos, album years being wrong and such. Also, it seems I’d been a bit inconsistent with how I’d handled multi-disc albums, and some of the ‘Various’ CDs.

So, I took a rainy afternoon and went through and checked them all and fixed the ones which needed attention. Most of it I did via Foobar2000 on the Windows machine, and by and large the issue was missing dates, and a number whose artwork seemed broken, and what they had in common was that they were all converted from scans to ‘jpegs’ using the app ‘Acorn’ on my old Mac. I’m not saying they break the JPG standard somehow, but I’ve noticed when attached in AAC/MP3 files, they seem to be hit n miss on my phone, so I rescanned a couple or simply used the .tif I’d wisely kept, and re-saved it via GIMP, and so far they seem fine. Yes, I did need to re-convert quite a few of them again to compressed audio for general usage, and went for Nero AAC ~292kbps. One other resource I did find during all this was AlbumArtExchange, which has a huge collection of decent scans of jackets and covers, which was really useful for those CDs I own, but where my CD booklets had gone missing (we lost a shoebox in the last move somehow).

As I likely wrote on a page here long ago - always keep lossless copies - you never know when you’ll need them.

Video Editing

One thing I try to do is make some short home videos every quarter to send to family. They usually just amount to about 15-20mins per quarter, but it seems to take an age to get them done. That said, the most recent wasn’t too bad, and makes me glad I moved to DaVinci Resolve for editing, even if the Windows box is getting a little long in the tooth.

For this time, I did some voice over instead of subtitles in places, utilizing my new mic setup, and self-consciousness aside, I’m actually pretty pleased how it worked out. Since I’… a year behind on them, I’m hoping I can get through two in the next quarter, and be caught up by the end of the year.

Next quarter I’m hoping to have a few short videos on YouTube/Vimeo.