Posted by: rolande | April 17, 2020

Quality Espresso on a Budget

Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker

If you’ve seen my previous article on coffee, you’ll know I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to coffee. It took me years to be able to appreciate it. I happened to go to a coffee shop a number of months ago here in Dallas and had quite possibly the best cup of coffee that I have ever tasted. What I realized was that they were Read More…

macOS Mojave 10.14This is my third post on this topic. My previous posts have been viewed over 146,000 times. So, I guess a few people have found my analysis useful and worthwhile. Please refer to these previous posts for further explanation and detail on the specific settings beyond what I’ve included here.

It seems that Apple keeps changing old default settings, removing options, and adding new parameters with each new OS release. So, I may be a little slow but I eventually get around to upgrading and sifting through the changes. The information in this article is targeted to the average home MacBook user and does not really address much of the high end power user needs like 10Gig networking. So, without further ado, here is what I have discovered so far Read More…

Posted by: rolande | September 24, 2017

High Quality Cost Effective Home Air Filtration

A number of years ago, when I lived in Ohio, I had some work done on my HVAC system by a Heating & Cooling contractor. They had made a strong recommendation to replace my standard paper filter I was purchasing at the hardware store with this filter called a MicroPowerGuard. They gave me the whole product pitch and I remained a bit skeptical. After doing a bit of my own research on it, I decided to take them up on the offer.

The day they installed the filter, I had been particularly bothered by something in the air and my allergies had kicked in. I remember at the end of the day realizing that my allergies had calmed down within an hour or two after the filter had been installed. I kind of shrugged it off as a coincidence, at that time.

Flash forward to 2017 and Read More…

Posted by: rolande | June 16, 2016

Doesn’t Everybody Want Awesome Coffee?

So, I have to say that I showed up quite a bit late to the coffee party. I’ve always loved the smell of coffee but I guess I just never tried some that got me hooked and made me want more. Well, practically overnight, I turned into a fairly big coffee nut. Now I’m constantly looking for info and ideas about creating that next best cup of coffee. I thought I’d share some of the info I have found and collected for anyone else who might be interested in making the best coffee and save them the work of all the reading I did.

Coffee is sort of like seafood. The fresher it is, the better it is. Until you’ve had either of them super fresh, you don’t know what you’re missing. I’ve had the freshest seafood practically served right off the boat from the South China Sea, when my parents lived in Hong Kong. I had no idea how incredible it could taste. It was fantastic! The same goes for coffee, except that coffee freshness is a little more complicated. You want to find freshly roasted beans that have been roasted about Read More…

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. You can also find my latest updates for High Sierra and Mojave in my most recent post here.

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 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…

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