Posted by: rolande | August 27, 2014

CoraLife BioCube 14

BioCube 14I am a bit of an aquarium geek or fish geek, whichever term fits best. I’ve had a 6 gallon Marineland Eclipse6 acrylic tank on my den desk for nearly 8 years now. I have kept a variety of freshwater fish with some driftwood planted with Java Fern and Anubias. It hasn’t been a bad aquarium and has served its purpose fairly well. The pump, filter, and bio-wheel have been okay but nothing spectacular. What can you expect for a small 6 gallon complete system? At this point, however, the acrylic has taken a beating with my kids and is really showing its age with a lot of visible scratches and marks. The acrylic has also displayed what looks like cracking in a few spots that has me concerned it will randomly spring a leak one day. So, I’ve decided I’ll be proactive and replace the tank. After all, I need to have an aquarium and so do the fish.

So, I went to several fish stores and looked around online and I discovered Read More…

Posted by: rolande | August 24, 2014

Purigen = Magic

Seachem PurigenI have always loved having an aquarium, since I was young. I had a small 10 Gallon freshwater tank one for about 10 years through college. I was never very successful at it, until I added a Whisper filter and learned about doing water changes. Up to that point, my fish never lasted more than a year. Once I learned the real fundamentals of maintaining a healthier environment, I was able to get a couple of fish I had to live 3 years. Once I graduated from school I was without a tank for a number of years.

After my oldest daughter Olivia was born, I decided to put a small freshwater tank together to entertain and teach her about it. I got a 6 Gallon Marineland Eclipse6 acrylic tank with a self-contained 3-stage filtration and lighting system. I decided to plant it with Java Fern on some Malaysian driftwood and a couple of Anubias plants to make it a little healthier environment for the fish and make it prettier to look at. I’ve had this system for about 8 years now and am on about my 3rd generation of livestock. So far, I’ve had a pair of Rasboras that lived almost 6 years and I had a school of Neon Tetras that lived over 4 years. I currently have 2 Cherry Barbs that are over 4 years old and a group of Neon Tetras with the oldest ones that are just over 2 years old now. So, since I learned all the important basic stuff to do to maintain the water, I’ve been fairly successful at keeping fish well over their expected lifespans. In addition, the tank has generally looked fairly clean and not been an algae eyesore.

Notes on Maintenance

Probably the most important thing, especially in a smaller tank like this with a low power filtration system that doesn’t get very much water movement, is to Read More…

Posted by: rolande | August 2, 2014

Buying and Installing a Reverse Osmosis Filter System

wattspremierroplusIf you’re like me, you are concerned with having access to water for your family for drinking and cooking and food preparation and maybe even your fish aquarium that is as pure as possible without necessarily breaking the bank. It costs quite a bit to buy filtered bottled water from the store, especially in single serve bottles. It is also not very environmentally friendly either with all the plastic bottle waste. Obviously, the bigger the containers, and the more you buy, the cheaper it is. But you can’t keep huge amounts of water just sitting around in containers. It takes up a ton of space. It is heavy to lug around. And, if you don’t consume it in a high enough volume, it is bound to sit on the shelf for longer periods of time in bottles that are possibly not the best containers for an extended amount of time.

For drinking water, we have a filter system included in our refrigerator that is actually not that bad. It is certified to the NSF 53 standard for removal of chlorine and organic and inorganic volatile compounds. This has provided us somewhat clean, healthy, cold water for some time. The problem here, though, is that we have fairly hard water that includes quite a bit of dissolved lime and calcium. These minerals combine with the chlorine used to treat the water. So, even though my fridge filter is designed to remove chlorine, it is really only removing the free chlorine and not the chlorine that has combined with the high mineral content in our water. Additionally, there are several other contaminants that are occasionally present in our water system that are minimally right at or just below the maximum EPA guidelines. This reminds me of the old joke about the FDA’s regulations on the maximum amount of Read More…

os-x-mavericksThis is my second post on performance tuning the OSX network stack. My previous post on this topic has gotten over 55,000 views and generated quite a bit of feedback and questions. This updated post is intended to address performance tuning the IP stack on OSX Mavericks and, hopefully, eliminate some of the confusion around many of the caveats and options, as this is a fairly complex topic. Much of this configuration and the settings are backwards compatible to previous OSX releases. However, please refer to my original post for the gory details and caveats related to previous OSX releases.

MBUF Memory Allocation

Probably the most fundamental yet debatable system option for network tuning is memory allocation to the mbuf buffer pools. This boot-time parameter governs the scalability of network connections, in terms of the simultaneous number supported and how much data can be queued in either direction. This is the basis for determining most of the buffer and socket threshold values which can impact network throughput and connection scalability. The default value seems to be set based on the amount of physical RAM your system has installed. Based on my research, BSD, the underlying OS that OS X is built on top of, defaults to Read More…

Posted by: rolande | May 16, 2014

Enabling IPv6 On My Home Network Part 2 AT&T

IPv6 ReadyI originally setup IPv6 on my home network using Hurricane Electric’s tunnelbroker.net service. This worked okay for some time, until late summer of 2013 when my provider, AT&T, decided to rollout a firmware update to their 2Wire/Pace residential gateway devices which broke the ability to forward the 6in4 tunnel encapsulated traffic. That is another long story in itself. So, needless to say, I was unable to run IPv6 publicly for quite some time, due to this issue.

I upgraded my service to the new AT&T U-verse Power Tier back in October which replaced my old 2Wire 3801 residential gateway with the brand new Motorola NVG589 unit. This unit was deployed with AT&T’s IPv6 6rd tunnel solution enabled out of the box. This provided IPv6 access to the segment directly attached to my residential gateway with a /60 netblock assignment. It’s a pretty generous assignment, aside from the fact that it only assigned a single /64 to the local LAN and there was no obvious way to delegate the 15 other /64 networks to a downstream router.

Well, that appears to have finally changed. You are now able to use Read More…

Posted by: rolande | April 3, 2014

Lost in Translation

What it’s like to be a network engineer, translated into normal people speak:

User: I think we are having a major road issue.

Me: What? No, I just checked, the roads are fine. I was actually just on the roads.

User: No I’m pretty sure the roads are down because I’m not getting Pizzas.

Me: Everything else on the roads is fine. What do you mean you aren’t getting Pizzas?

User: I used to get Pizzas when I ordered them, now I’m not getting them. It has to be a road issue.

Me: As I said, the roads are fine. Where are you getting pizzas from?

User:…I’m not really sure. Can you check all places that deliver pizzas?

Me: No I’m not even sure all the places that deliver pizza. You need to narrow it down.

User: I think it’s Subway.

Me: Ok I’ll check…No I just looked and Subway doesn’t deliver pizzas.

User: I’m pretty sure it is Subway. Can you just allow all food from Subway and we can see if Pizza shows up? Read More…

Posted by: rolande | March 18, 2014

Two Pizza Rule

Scott Adams just hits the nail right square on the head. This reminds me of many a requirements gathering discussion. Where talent and teamwork collide to make the fundamental tenets of the meeting seem completely ridiculous and unclear. As I read each statement, I could identify different engineers I’d worked with that fit each of those perfectly. :)

Dilbert2PizzaRule

Posted by: rolande | January 10, 2014

The Word is Geek

geek-venn-diagram
This Venn Diagram pretty much speaks for itself. No matter what my kids may think, I’m really not socially inept.

Posted by: rolande | January 10, 2014

A little geek humor…

To most people, *this* is how they perceive the world of networking. This should help to remind others how much people really need geeks.

Network-Schematic-for-Dummies

Remember, geeks make the world go around and deserve respect. This is another example to help remind those ubiquitous non-geeks how special we are.

Setting-up-a-network-for-dummies

This is for those who have dealt with unending customer asking such stupid questions that they can rip a hole in the space-time continuum.

Mouse-and-RAM

Posted by: rolande | April 21, 2013

Tracking your Pool’s Water Quality History

taylor-test-kitsWhen you have a pool, one of the many fun jobs is tracking the quality of the pool water to insure the pH is in the right range and the chlorine isn’t too high or too low. However, these are the basic, superficial measurements. Beyond these typical measurements, though, it is just as important to know that your water won’t scale or eat away at the pool’s surface over time. When I was a teenager, it was my job to track the pH and chlorine in our pool. Back then, I never realized or fully appreciated the importance of the overall chemistry of the water. The calcium hardness and alkalinity and temperature play a big part in that equation, in conjunction with the pH. Now that I am much older and have a lot more invested in my own pool, I want to be sure that I am monitoring the right indicators and have a history of it so I can see the effects over time and how particular treatments impact the water.

I have created a Pool Water Quality History Google spreadsheet as a template that anyone can use to record and graph their own water quality over time. One of the key indicators I wanted to capture automatically was the Read More…

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