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Author: Carl

Did you try turning it off and on again?

Today has been a good lesson in complexity. I self-host a number of things. I really enjoy the ability to have things running at home I can play with and not pay a monthly fee to sit idle as I lose time or interest in that particular item.

But tonight, I was reminded how irritating it can be. We had a series of severe thunderstorms and lost power for a moment. And I mean the blink of an eye. My NAS and desktop computer rebooted. The laptops (obviously were ok) but not even the monitors flickered nor did the router notice anything.

But it was enough to knock the NAS and Proxmox server out of whack. I tried to pull up something to listen to on Plex and it dutifully told me there was no media. As it lives on the NAS and the multimedia NFS share was currently unavailable.

So I rebooted the NAS and the proxmox host since I didn’t feel like getting into a troubleshooting session tonight. And that didn’t work.

So I went looking for how to simply reconnect the NFS share I was sure was available from the NAS. And… got lost in a hole of promox forums and people talking around each other’s questions.

I got as far as being able to see which shares the proxmox server knew about, but not how to actually get them reconnected. This is something I would still like to know. I’m sure there’s a pvesm incantation I can chant to make it all work. But I’ve not been able to find it.

Eventually after the third (fourth?) reboot, all was well and my multimedia, backup and other shares are back online and all is well in the world But it’s still an irritating diversion and reminder that I don’t know as much as I think I do. I know just enough to be dangerous and then run to the hive mind when there’s trouble. 

That’s a major deduction, Olympic announcers

I love the Olympics. Every four (or 5) years the world comes together to show off such immense and diverse talents across a mind-blowing array of sports. I love watching.

I saw a man take gold in a Triathlon he was never expected to win. I saw an Australian swimmer upset Katie Ledecky. I saw that same Ledecky out-swim a field of other world class athletes in 1500 meters like she was out for a morning warmup. I saw the world talk about Simone Biles take herself out of the team competition. (Good for you! Take care of yourself. You owe nothing to anyone but yourself.)

I love watching women’s gymnastics possibly the most of all. (But did you see the synchronized diving??? Those British lads were stunning!)

What I could not stand was the commentating for the gymnastics tonight. We saw Simone Biles take herself out of the competition. What we then saw was the rest of the team perform extremely well. Better than Biles had been up to that point. We saw young athletes with the weight of the world and American Media on their shoulders go out and deliver superb performances.

We saw athletes at the height of their sport.

But what we got from NBC was criticism and negativity. Nowhere was there a cheer of excitement or praise for a well-landed tumbling pass nor tricky maneuver. We got moans and gasps of disappointment as every deduction was dutifully called out. Every failure remarked upon.

And when they weren’t criticizing, they were silent. Terry Gannon, Nastia Liukin and Tim Daggett called the night and while I don’t recognize Tim or Terry’s voice. It was a male voice leading the complaints. They were no Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

All three of them could take a page from Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines. They are calling swimming and doing a much better job. The excitement in their voices. Reminding us all of the amazing feats we were witness to.

I almost turned off the coverage after the gymnastics portion of the night. But the swimming restored my enjoyment of the night and the games.

Maybe it’s harder for the commentators to remember we are witnessing thrilling races head-to-head and stellar individual performances. But when we tune in to a sport for the first time in 2016, I want more than a frustrated sounding announcer to point out every little flaw and failure of these athletes.

Share the wonder. Marvel with us. This is a treat to watch. You have an opportunity to improve our understanding and enjoyment of an event. Or you can remind us how easy it is to fall into the trap of negativity and nitpicking every mistake and misstep. Choose enjoyment.

Who’s afraid of the Four Day Work Week?

Here’s an enchanting idea. Being able to go to places open the same hours as I work. Being able to make appointments during weekdays. Not always trying to manage the rest of my life around the time I spend yelling at computers and bending them too my will.

If you’re a “full-time” employee, your work week is likely five days (if not more), and spans 40 hours (if not more). You might be paid by the hour, or you might be on salary, but you probably have two days “officially” off every week (although work might slide into those days) and they probably land on Saturday and Sunday.

Now imagine that your salary and benefits stayed the same, your responsibilities at work stayed the same, but everyone at your company only worked four days a week. Think about your current life, and the current make-up of your week, and what you usually have to smush into the weekend. What would you do with extra day off, every week of the year, for the rest of your working life?

Who’s Afraid of the Four Day Work Week? – by Anne Helen Petersen – Culture Study

When you have time away from work, you’re able to refresh yourself and return to work with renewed vigor and focus. I work in a white collar industry that involves computers all over the place. My job isn’t physical. I’m not moving, lifting, running, or carrying things around. Thought that can absolutely be part of a computer job. Technical Support isn’t just 1s and 0s.

My job is mental. It’s keeping systems and information flows in my head. It’s remembering how different variables work together within a greater system to perform tasks. It’s knowing where the limits exist. And a simple Yes/No answer could be the result of an hour of work researching and testing.

Time away from work to unwind my brain and let is breathe and focus on other things is vital to my performance. I dive deeply into hobbies because I need the break. I need the time to unwind and unstressed and build up reserves for another five days of 8 (or more) hour days diving into complex problems and stuffing flowcharts, settings, variables and options back into my head.

Findings from Iceland support this. I didn’t read the full report (PDF) but the same answer appears whenever experiments like this take place.

Worn down by long hours spent at work, the Icelandic workforce is often fatigued, which takes a toll on its productivity. In a vicious circle, this lower productivity ends up necessitating longer working days to ‘make up’ the lost output, lowering ‘per-hour productivity’ even further.

Sound familiar? Replace Icelandic in this sentence with United States and the same applies.

And we don’t even have any of the following (emphasis mine):

But if you don’t have time for an 82-page report, the highlights are as follows: Iceland has a strong social safety net, with low income inequality, significant parental leave, and a robust universal health care.

How many weeks have you really only worked four days? Slow Monday. Taking it easy from a rough weekend. Friday hits and you’re so exhausted you coast through the day counting the hours until the salvation of a too-short weekend arrives.

This is the principle at the heart of the four day week: working less can actually mean working better. That idea is particularly difficult for Americans, who fetishize long hours for many ideologically tangled reasons, to understand. It’s true in knowledge work, it’s true in medical fields, it’s true in construction. You’re just a better worker — a safer worker, a more creative worker, a more astute and alert worker — when you’re not exhausted.

There’s so much in this article to unpack. But it’s time to start thinking about how we work and why we work like we do. Work has expanded through technology to reach into your homes, vacations and every moment of our lives. Long commutes take more and more of our personal time out of our hands and place them into the realm of working hours. But aren’t counted as such.

As a society, we’ve repeatedly shifted our understanding of the “standard” work week. We’ve shifted — through union force, through governmental edict, through business leadership — when it’s made sense. When the work could be done in fewer hours, when employees demanded it for their own health, when societies realized the way things are doesn’t have to be the way things will be. And now is one of those times.

Anne Helen Petersen has quickly become one of my favorite writers and Who’s Afraid of the Four Day Work Week? is this week’s reason to keep loving her work.

Cleaner nginx proxy configs

I’ve been slowly teaching myself self-hosting things over the past few years. I’ve got a decent variety of things running at home. But I find it frustrating to keep track of their IPs and ports so I setup a reverve proxy which is a fancy term for one little linux container on my network directs you to everything else. Now I can hit plex.domain.tld, or wiki.domain.tld and get to where I want to go.

I had all of these setup with their own individual config files were very short. Most of them were little more than:

# A small thing running on a raspberry pi

server {
listen 80;
server_name pi.domain.tld

location / {
proxy_pass http://192.168.0.99:80;
}
}

I know there’s an easier way. And tonight I found a post that laid it all out and it clicked for me.

Timothy Quinn’s Using Nginx as a Reverse Proxy for Multiple Sites laid it all out and I realized all I needed to do was add all of my little config files to one big file. And I add a comment to the front of  each config to remind myself what it was and anything important to remember. This worked great for my Tiddlywiki, RSS reader, Calibre-web and Bookstack instance I have running.

His example is for sites with SSL enabled which I’m not going to move tonight. But I replicated this for all of my sites not running SSL. My next task is to move the SSL-enabled ones. But I run Nextcloud for myself and my wife so I need to take more time and make sure I do that right since it’s as close to a “production” thing that I self-host. So if it’s down, it affects more than just me.

Dates with people you don’t know discussing books you’ve not read

Woke up this morning with remnants of a dream in my head. I present it to you now.

You go on dates. But you don’t know the other person. On the date, you read books. Discuss books? Books play a big role. So it’s people you don’t know discussing books you haven’t read. That’s the headline.

And there’s a number. 2 books? 9 dates? Dreams are weird and foggy afterwards. There’s some specific number if books and dates. And some reason both are important.

You are both knowledgeable enough about the book to discuss its merits and the problems it presents. You’re looking for solutions. The books are the way to those solutions. This is about dating and problem solving.

Maybe it’s a way to determine compatibility between people. Can they solve problems? Can they hold a conversation without shouting or bullying? Are they problems solvers at all? Or do they simply talk about or around the problem in front of them?

No idea. It’s a dream. Dreams are weird and I rarely remember mine. And this one was coherent enough to capture what I have. So here it is. Enjoy?