Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Windows Networking is Just Plain Weird

Woke up at 2am (CDT) this morning due to some congestion, and noticed that the computer on the other side of the room was no longer showing my photos, but rebooting. I became more fully awake as I saw messages that looked like Windows wasn't doing just a regular update but a full-on install. Thoughts of programs to have to install, messages I might not have thought to copy to Evernote from a Sticky Note, and so on suddenly filled me with dread.

Once I had fixed some tea and blown my nose a couple times, I was relieved to see that the MS 10 preview had indeed installed a whole new build, but that everything was just where and how I had left it the night before... except that the new Notification center was complaining it couldn't connect to my HD array downstairs. I get this message all the time when Windows reboots as it doesn't seem to consider that the network has to connect before it can see the drive (same problem on my other Win machines), and so clicked it to clear it.

Then opened This PC and double-clicked on the drive and... well heck. It really wasn't talking to it. Do another reboot, and no more luck than the first time. Start investigating and notice that the install did NOT preserve my IP settings. Heck again... fix that, and still no love.

Make the walk downstairs and see it is waiting to install an update. Figured it might be a security update and that could be what was causing the problem, so reboot there. Sure enough, the new update cleared out the IP settings for this adapter as well. Spent time fixing that, and then found myself back where I had been a few months ago. Downstairs computer could see every other computer in the house except the Bedroom computer. Bedroom computer could see every computer in the house except the Downstairs computer. Most mystifying, Laptop computer could see and map to both of those computers even though they couldn't see each other.

Start a DL of Ubuntu just in case, and decide to visit my router. Sure enough, it was needing a firmware update as well. Applied that, and low and behold, everything can see everything again.

If it wasn't for the experience with the Laptop I would be blaming the router for this "fun", but I can't see how the router could be at fault if the only computers that stopped seeing each other were the two that got the MS update. I am tempted to think that rebooting the router forced both machines to rebuild their cache for the home network and that is what cleared things. But I have to admit it is more trouble than it should be to keep a Windows share up and running.

Still, since Hearthstone isn't available on Ubuntu, and Win 10 is still being developed, I'm not quite yet to do a full conversion around the house.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Getting Back to It Just Works

It has been quite the weekend here. It started with the decision to make about going to Ubuntu 14.10 or MS 10 TP. Given how little difference there is in Ubuntu 14.10 compared to 14.04, and that I was getting a bit tired of the daily reboots to re-establish my shared drive connections, I decided to give the latest Windows a try.

DL'd the ISO, and then used the Win 7 USB-DVD tool to create a bootable SD Card.

From there I had anticipated an experience similar to when I first tried Win 8 a while back. But was incredibly pleased to see that it read the Activation Key from the BIOS and so didn't have to type anything in, it properly got the right nVidia driver for my graphics card, and things were pretty smooth until I got to the shared drive point again.

Spent much of the last 24 hours trying different combinations of the Powerline adapter on one machine and the USB 802.11ac (Netgear A6200) on the other, and various IP adapter settings. The problem is there are so MANY options that trying to tease out a combo that doesn't leave your machine open to easy hacking while still letting you communicate back and forth involves adapter settings, network settings, and firewall settings. I kind of wish MS would let you choose to open everything up and then walk through a wizard to start closing up, or the other way around. Instead you're half open and half closed...

In any event, the trick that seemed to get me the most stable environment and the fastest transfers was Powerline up, USB down, shared (but not default) workgroup, fixed IP address, Turn on file and printer discovery, and NetBios over TCP/IP. The last option is one that SHOULD be the default if you setup a fixed IP address since Windows still uses it for discovery, but somehow thinks that if you are setting up fixed addresses you don't need it.

With all that I finally have both drives seeing each other properly mapped (no more "Network Discovery"), and my transfer speed is between 7-8MB each way.

Given all that, perhaps next weekend I can spend time doing something besides just making things work the way they should out of the box :-)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Publishing Time Again - Rosetta of Gliese

Yup, a new hard scifi book for your reading pleasure :-)

Blurb first:

This was it! The first signs of intelligent life outside of Earth!

It was only a slight disappointment when the first probes to Gliese 581g determined that it had died out almost 5000 years earlier. Dr. Kim Evans was part of the team picked to investigate what had happened to the Gliesians. Come along for a Hard Sci Fi thriller looking into Archaeology, Biology, and more on an alien world. And join Kim as she passionately works to unlock the planet's greatest secret.

Kindle version is available free through the Kindle Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited programs.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Adding Bicycle Crumple Zones

My ebike just clocked 1000 miles with the new setup (the 48V/1000w upgrade I got in late June) and I had intended to talk about how things are going as summer draws to an end and I get closer to one full year of bike commuting.

However on Thursday things changed a bit.

About a month ago I had noticed that my panniers seemed to be giving out at the seams, and on the one side it looked like they might even be rubbing a bit against the wheel. So I replaced them with a pair of folding baskets -

I generally leave them fully deployed, and they do a decent job of holding everything up. Mounting was a bit of fun, but I've learned to love zip ties, and those with some creative use of the original brackets have kept everything sturdy and in place.

On Thursday I was riding in the bike lane (marked and everything), when I noticed a car creeping forward as if it was going to try to gun it and make the turn onto Blanco. I moved over a bit, but presumed that as I got closer they would stop. They didn't...

Fortunately, the folding basket on my right side folded in a bit, and absorbed most of the impact. It also meant that the car had no damage either, which meant only a couple minutes of holding my tongue as the young lady driving explained that I came out of nowhere and she didn't see me. My bike is a rather loud yellow, I have lights everywhere even during the day... I guess I was missing a neon sign or something.

In any case, while I did have to bend things a bit back into shape and replace a few zip ties, the end result was pretty minor. I didn't buy the baskets as a safety feature, but it makes sense that adding some "crumple zones" would help on a bike as much as on a car.

Something you may want to consider if you're going to be doing the daily commute on a bike yourself.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zoe's Secret is #3 at Amazon

As the screen capture from this morning (8/19) demonstrates, I now have the number 3 Contemporary Fantasy book at Amazon:

Of course you'll notice that is #3 for FREE books. Which means that I'm a bestseller but making zip for it :-)

In any case, the book is free through 8/21 (goes back to $2.99 after that), so grab a copy from Amazon if you haven't already done so. Direct link is: