Category Archives: Technology

Battery backups: maintaining access when there’s no power

A little background: Some years back I learned a very hard lesson about losing power on a RAID array that didn’t have an onboard battery backup. The result was ~7TB of data gone, about 1.5TB completely irreplaceable including old school work and photos. This was a hard pill to swallow and helped me get better about redundant backups and another thing that was especially important: UPS backups, or Uninterruptible Power Supplies.

A UPS is a device which provides power for a short time during a home or business power failure by providing an AC output to whatever is plugged into it. I have several of these scattered throughout my home, including for my desktop and a couple lights around the house which act as emergency lighting using older, smaller UPS devices. My servers are always running UPS backups, but on a big larger scale.

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Raspberry Pi offline Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a vast archive of knowledge and information we tend to forget is there. An encyclopedia of knowledge brought by users and edited by a community, it has a high accuracy rate and information on just about any subject you could want. You can also download an entire archive of it at around 90GB at the time of this writing!

I’ve had the idea for a while now about making an offline version to run locally for myself or friends, maybe something just to browse during a flight or roadtrip. Or, as my prepping thoughts say, maybe something for when the power’s out and easy to access! Enter the Raspberry Pi, a low cost and low power computer to run this using a suite of tools you can run off a battery pack and access from one’s phone/tablet/computer. Well, this is easier than you might think! I’ll be going over the ideas and thought processes of this at a high level as the project took some time. I can provide more details if you’d like by reaching out to me at if you’d like.

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Project: NAS backups share using Windows/Backblaze personal

There’s two types of people: Those who have backups, and those who will lose data. Several years ago I had a raid card failure on a RAID 5 array (three disks) that lost about 5~ TB of data. Of this, about 1.5 was completely irreplaceable data, things as far back as high school projects. After this, I went into backup mode and always had redundant copies both locally and online (cloud based). At this point I’ve made a pretty solid system for handling this across multiple systems. Lemme walk you through it.

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RG350P Handheld First Impressions

After saving up for this handheld, I pulled the trigger on this recently and have been pretty impressed overall. The system runs buttery smooth, comes preconfigured with a large number of emulators and ROMs and just generally feels like a solid little handheld from the hay-day of Gameboy goodness.

Running at 100 bucks with a micro-SD card, the system isn’t super expensive when compared to my Nintendo DS with a custom Kart to run roms (about 90 bucks total and much more limited in what it can do in comparison). This handheld even plays PSX roms without issue and has excellent loading times when compared to my playing times as a child.

Things of note:

  • Quick to boot. Plays games very well once you find the right roms. Surprised it plays PSX roms as well as it does (Vigilante 8, Driver, Crash Team Racing each for 30 mins or more without issue).
  • The system will randomly not boot (stuck on black screen) but hitting the reset button immediately resets and fixes it.
  • Came with 32GB MicroSD card loaded with ROMS which makes managing them much easier. Comes with a bunch of emulators (including DOSBOX which is neat) and all are preconfigured and just work which is excellent.
  • Lots of menu options that make it pretty solid to use. Can also save game states to come back to them if the games don’t support saving (very neat feature).
  • Worth 100 bucks? I’d say so for sure, especially with the loaded SD card.

I’m going to be spending a lot of time tinkering with this. It appears it supports networking (guessing via one of the two USB-C ports) so will need to check that out for easier ROM management off my internal SFTP server. In the meantime, I’ll be reliving my childhood on a 4 inch screen.

unRAID: capacity and ease of use over performance

I’ve been looking over various NAS (Network-Attached-Storage) operating systems for some time now. Naturally, there’s two big players in the game that everyone seems to go to: FreeNAS and unRAID. Both boast a considerable user base, community add on support and a ton of customization but one big difference at a quick glance: FreeNAS, as the name implies, is free while unRAID is a pay for licensed OS. But a quick glance only shows so much.

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Automated Youtube Downloads Into Plex (Windows)

Welcome to another Overly Complicate Project! This time, it started with some advice from our friends at r/DataHoarder and a fun tool called “youtube-dl”. This has taken a bit of tinkering and some custom code, but I now have an all-in-one solution that downloads Youtube videos from a playlist/channel, confirms progress to save bandwidth on future downloads, and stores them into a Plex library for local viewing. Let’s begin.

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WordPress permalinks issues

After running into this issue once more with a fresh WordPress install, I’ve found the only way to use custom permalinks is to have them custom set up like this:

Go under Settings > Permalinks

Click on “Custom Structure” and insert like this:

/index.php/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/

After hours of google searching with people saying anything from disabling plugins (there were none) to reverting settings (it was a NEW site with no posts prior to changes), this is the ONLY way I’ve gotten the custom WordPress Permalinks to work in the manner I wanted. Hopefully this saves others time/frustration.

Archiving youtube and website data

YouTube has become a bit of a dilemma for many people like myself who enjoy music and video edits with said music; We love supporting artists we enjoy along with the video edits. But, with companies locking down on content, these videos and channels are going offline suddenly and often without warning. I’ve taken to downloading backups of these as often as possible. With a little help from r/datahoarding, I now have a great set up that does this with minimal user intervention.

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My choices for browser addons

A web browser is something everyone uses but no one really thinks about. Sure, some people prefer Chrome or FireFox (myself being in the latter), or some even stick with the MS choice of Edge or IE. But what a lot of people don’t know, is there is a myriad of add ons, themes and plugins that make them so much more than just a browser. Some of these addons also provide extra layers of security. That’s where today’s discussion will be: The addons I run for security and privacy and what they do.

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