#weeklyreview 23/24

There we have June already. About 40% of the year already gone.

Went swimming with my daughter and managed to capture a pike on photo

Resurrected an old iPod touch from the drawers as kiddo needs a dump music player for the upcoming school trip. This isn’t entirely trivial anymore. Today one usually only got streaming. Now to find digital music for offline playing is a bit of an exercise. Fortunately she loves my old music as well and also listens to a lot of podcasts that are available for download.

Next challenge is headphones with wires …

Spend quite and amount of time and filament this week to calibrate the 3D printer properly. Just to find out that the heater on the extruder eventually was broken. Fortunately I still had the old Extruder laying around and could swap out the whole thing.

Got myself a little treat off Kleinanzeigen: an old GDR Marschkompass F73 from Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik manufacturing. Thats a famous GDR compass that we used to have on the scouts club. Unfortunately I didn’t preserve my own and now had to get a used one. But it’s in decent shape after all those years and the packaging looks original as well. Only the instruction manual looks a bit odd over this scanned version here.

On Friday my daughter and me went once more to the local “Paint-your-style” shop. You can paint various items of pottery here and they’ll burn and glaze it for you to pick up. Really looking forward to pickup my new cup 😉

#weeklyreview 21/24

finally handing out this very late review because … life 🤷‍♂️

Anker USB hub Ethernet Port

I had bought the Anker 565 11-in1 USB-C hub because it’s got a good review from a German tech magazine. But at some point it stopped working with its Ethernet port. The LEDs lit up briefly but the network interface didn’t show up in the OS. I tried debugging it for a while and initially thought it is a problem with Apple Silicon Macs because the adapter was working on an older Intel Mac at home. I even contacted Anker support but there were only semi-helpful. At least they were asking for some debugging information and had recommendations on cross checking etc. The adapter normally doesn’t need any drivers to be installed as macOS does contain all needed drivers already.

Eventually I narrowed it down to be an issue with my own machine as the adapter was also working on my son’s M1 MacBook Air. So no problem with the Apple Silicons.

Eventually I found a Reddit entry where people were discussing about Broadcom ethernet chipsets and their drivers. Then it came to me that I also had a specific driver package installed for an older USB-C adapter with ethernet chipset. This one was needed for that particular chip. Apparently that driver captured the device when the Anker USB-C hub was connected and crashed, rendering the ethernet port unusable.

After I deinstalled that driver the Anke USB-C Hub was working fine again with its Ethernet port … 🤷‍♂️

Token2 keys

Finally got my Token2 T2F2-PIN+ Release2 Type-C FIDO2, U2F and TOTP Security Key with PIN complexity feature keys delivered and started playing around with them. These are special in the way that each can store up to 300 passkeys. I’ve got two models: one just USB-C and NFC, the other a Dual Port USB-C/USB-A and NFC. They both also work on the iPhone.

First task was to set the PIN on both. on macOS that’s the only use case where I need Google Chrome. This can configure the PIN for security keys via Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Security -> Manage Security Keys -> Create a PIN

One can also manage the individual entries on the security key via that method.

I’m using these hardware keys for Passkey authentication now. To add that physical layer of security over just storing the passkeys in my macOS/iOS Keychain or 1Password.

I use two keys and create all passkeys on both for redundancy in case I’m loosing one of them or they eventually break.

Debian BookWorm override DNS for DHCP Pihole

I’m running a bit of a convoluted network setup on my MacBook because I hate online advertisement. The best ad-blocker I’ve seen seems to be Pi-Hole. This blocks advertisement on DNS level. Means all the ad-sites just don’t resolve in the browser and rather getting a DNS error message rather quickly. That way pages load quickly without the ad and tracking parts and this solution works on all applications. Even non-browsers.

For this to work PiHole has to be your default DNS Resolver. Usually you’d get your DNS resolver via DHCP from your router. And I bet in most cases the router itself is acting as the DNS resolver as it’s the case for most FritzBox routers in Germany.

Now if you roam with your laptop between different networks you’re also switching the DNS resolver frequently. Changing your home DNS resolver to a PiHole in the home network doesn’t help when you’re in the office network or other locations.

So I opted for a Debian linux virtual machine running on my Laptop to do the blocking. I’m using UTM for virtualisation and running the Debian ARM version for performance. However I had to tell the Debian that it should get a DHCP address from hosts network stack but ignore the DNS resolver and instead use its loopback interface for DNS. This is where the PiHole software would run the DNS resolver.

Debian 12 (Bookwyrm) is using the systemd network manager. That’s why just changing the file /etc/resolv.conf doesn’t solve the problem. One has to create a file in /etc/systemd/network/ and name it like <interfacename>.network (e.q. enp0s1.network) with the following contents

[Match]
Name=enp*

[Network]
DHCP=yes
DNS=127.0.0.1

As you can guess … these settings apply for all interfaces matching the Name pattern, telling systemd to do DHCP but use 127.0.0.1 as the DNS resolver and ignore the DHCP provided resolvers.

My macOS then got a special network location profile which is also using DHCP in general, but overriding the DNS resolver (I don’t know why it’s always called “DNS Server” in most settings… thats not a DNS Server but a DNS Resolver!!! ) to point to the PiHole virtual machine (which is always getting the same IP address from UTM)

#weeklyreview 20/24

On Monday the daughter of a colleague joined us in the office for a day of “Schülerpraktikum”. She was bright and curious and tried to follow us into the depth and breadth of working in a digital map making company. Hope she took something away for her

On Tuesday my personal trainer examined my exercise posture in the gym … and of course I did it all wrong. All power, no control. She tortured and lectured me for about 1 hour before we got to our weekly run.

I guess I have some homework to do now 😉

a fox casually strolling along in our backyard among the townhouses

On Wednesday I met with an old friend over beers. He was my first mentor in my first commercial job about 24 years ago. On my way back late in the evening I saw a fox casually striding along between the people “Strasse des 17. Juni”. A rather large and busy road crossing one of the many large parks in Berlin.

Thursday morning Leo and me met in Treptower Park to enjoy the good weather and work a bit outside. We both had online meetings that we took from there and I guess the colleagues on the other side of the screen where a little envious about or open office 😉

Mandarin ducks with little ducklings in the Treptower Park

On Saturday we took a trip through the countryside again to visit some plant share market, get new soap from Naturseifenmanufaktur Thoma and ended up having ice cream in Prenzlau and a visit atop the Marienkirche.

#weeklyreview 19/24

Almost time for the 20/24 already. But I felt lazy this week 🤷‍♂️

Finally moved to a new department which was in the works for some weeks now. Take on the duty to bring back program management in our organisation to gather with a team to establish more formal business planning and operations again.

We had all this in the past and let go of it at some point. Now apparently it turned out there was value in this kind of work. Now let’s see whether we can make this more sustainable and visible this time.

The week was short due to some public holidays. Nevertheless worked on Friday which most people probably took as bridge day.

Of course there is still woodworking to do. “Convinced” (gave the choice of either one 4h session or 2 x 2hr sessions) the kid to help with the wood splitting. Almost done with the splitting now. I think another 2-3h session and we should be done with the splitting at least. Just the stacking remains. Will try to get this done over the next couple of weekends.

3D Printing

attempted one more model of a charging stand for Apple iPhone and Watch. It looks nice, but turned out to be totally unstable. My phone (iPhone 12 Pro Max) is too heavy for this stand. It always tips over, no matter which angle I mount the phone.

#weeklyreview 17/24

Ok, trying to get this one done a bit earlier than usual 🤣

Rowing against myself

The rowing machine in the gym has the feature to re-row a previous session. Then you’ll see a pace boat on the display with the past sessions speed and can compete against that. I used my session from last weeks Monday and beat myself by a few dozen meters. Coming week will be harder to achieve this I guess.

otherwise the gym and fitness week wasn’t spectacular. At least got one running session done with my friend on Tuesday. Slow and shorter than usual, but better than nothing. The evening appointment the same day got skipped.

The weather this week was a little weird. We literally had snow on Monday. I had an appointment to get the summer tires put onto the car for Wednesday. I’m usually late with changing my tires. But this might have been a close call this year.

Food experiments

Saw a recipe on my insta stream to make some tasty paste from chilli flakes, garlic, onions, soja sauce, salt and pepper and sunflower oil. The ingredients meant to be topped with the heated oil and then stirred. The oil supposed to be 180ºC.

On my first try I got the oil much too hot for lack of proper measurement equipment. The chilli flakes almost got up in flames and turn to charcoal pretty quickly.

After getting a proper thermometer the second attempt yielded a glass of tasty hot paste 🙂

Hacktivism

Printed out some shopping cart coins and left them in shopping carts in the countryside supermarket. There is room for improvement on the surface quality. I’ll need to find a better model or make one myself. But the mission is clear: put the locals into conflict between a free cart token and their political views 😀

Obligatory woodworking

Of course there was some woodworking on the weekend. Stacked the firewood that we had split the last weekend. One more round stack finished. Just a few more weekends and we should be done 🙈

Also managed to mow the lawn. Was about time. And we hadn’t mowed the back of the property the whole of last year. It’s meant to be a meagre meadow, which, despite of its name, is actually very rich in plants and insects. As opposed to a nicely manicured lawn. But every other year you should mow it, to encourage the grow.

And while mowing I suddenly catched the smell of fresh peppermint. Apparently I found the spot where we had planted them last year. Found a few plants I didn’t mowed down and made the first fresh peppermint tea this year 🙂

#weeklyreview 16/24

Hangover

As reported last week, we went to a birthday party and of course stayed to the very end. Quite a bunch of beers and Küstennebel 🤷‍♂️ was involved. I had a bit of a hangover (for me that means lack of sleep, thirst and still not safe to drive a car).

data archeology

This week was the time that my wife asked me for old data from several years ago. As a good nerd I of course had some old disks and archives that could potentially contain the data (an old address book).

First challenge was to remember on what piece of software I was hosting the address book services and on which of our devices a copy would be present. The data was last seen around 2017. I found old disk images from the MacBooks but wasn’t able to restore the old macOS address book files on nowadays macOS. Then I thought I might just check whether there is a backup of the server side. And indeed I found an old archive of the webserver with the ownCloud installation and a dump of the mySQL database.

I was able to import the ownCloud dump into a local mysql instance and found some tables that looked like they contain the address book entries. Fortunately ownCloud was saving the vCard entry in a single table cell with some meta data in other cells.

Lazy me asked ChatGPT to write a Python script which would extract the vCard cell from the database and write it into a text file one per each entry of the database table. To my surprise this worked on the first attempt. All I had to do now, was import these vCard files into my new nextCloud instance.

Doodle / Rally

Every once in a while we have to find a common slot for some activity among friends and family. A service like Doodle became famous to create a poll and find a common slot. This week I became aware of “Rally” an opensource tool to do exactly that. Of course I quickly installed my own instance 😉

Kitchen tricks

One of my favourite dishes at the moment is a block of feta cheese surrounded by a whole bunch of cherry tomatoe, garlic and olive oil. Put in the oven for about 50min and enjoy.

I cut the cherry tomatoes in have so the loose a bit of water are not popping/splashing when trying to stir the whole dish after cooking.

Finally remembered an old trick to cut a lot of these small tomatoes in short time. Just use a second cutting board and a long knife. Put as many tomatoes on the board as fit and the knife can cut, place the second board on top to hold the tomatoes in place with a gentle pushdown and then cut with the long knife between them board through the tomatoes. One cut and have a pound of tomatoes cut…

Lamb watching

On Saturday we payed a visited to the local Shepard to watch the newly born lambs. Always cute.

#weeklyreview 15/24

admittedly this blog post is coming a little late … but hey… better late than never 😉

Snake swimming

During our weekly swim in the lokal lake we encountered a grass snake this Sunday. That snake is living near the water for quite some years now. It can be seen swimming in the summer occasionally. Even when there are people bathing sometimes it is crossing the beach.

The only thing I was surprised about is that it could be seen swimming at this still rather low water temperature of about 11ºC.

BookWyrm update hassle

I tried to update my BookWyrm instance to the latest version (0.7.3 pre-release) this week. This turned out to be a bit more laborious than I thought … Of course there were issues with the pre-release and I had to do a roll-back. The release came with some database migrations (changes to the database schema) that were not backwards compatible. So for the roll-back I had to find the migration information and undo these changes in the database. But then again the migration files of Python Django made this relatively straightforward.

LinkDing now supports Screenshots

Another tool that got an update this week was LinkDing – my bookmark archiving service. The new release now contains an optional container image with the chromium browser engine to take snapshots of the websites you’re adding to your Bookmark archive. This is really neat as the plan of course is to keep this archive around for a long time … likely longer than some of the websites that the links point to.

One can also add more snapshots at a later point in time to the same entry to keep some kind of evolution of the site.

Paperless WorkFlow

Even more software fiddling this week. I’m slightly obsessed with my PaperlessNGX installation now. All my documents go into Paperless meanwhile. Some of them I want to share with other users on my instance. So I created a workflow that adds certain permissions to documents if some conditions are met. In my case the trigger is the correspondent of the new document. If that matches a certain entity, the document is shared with a specific group on my instance.

Wood

Of course we did some more woodworking on the weekend. There were still trees left in the forest for us to fetch. This time it was a little easier as Dad payed a guy with a Forwarder to get us the trees close to the main path. No more hauling the logs with wheelbarrows.

Party Nazis

On Saturday evening we went to a birthday party of one of the locals here. That’s alway fun as one meets whole bunch of people from different backgrounds. Especially different from how we used to live in the big city etc.

I talked to one guy I didn’t know before and he was quite nice. We got along well and talked about where we’re coming from, what we were doing etc. Abruptly the guy asked whether I’d vote for the “DIE GR¨ÜNEN” party. One of the three coalition partners in the current government and the most hated party among the people from the rural area. Hated of course for other reason than the right-wing guys spreading fake narratives about them…

I admitted that most of the times I’d vote for that party. He acknowledged and told me the mandatory story of why he hates the party. Then we switched topics and continued to have a good conversation about all sorts of stuff.

A while later he again asked me – with a little disbelief – whether I’m voting for the “DIE GRÜNEN”. Again I said “yes”. He responded that I surely have noticed by now that he’s on the rather opposite political spectrum. He obviously didn’t like that party, that was obvious. He added that he’d consider himself a Nazi. Blunt straight out. I was a little surprise that he made it that clear. But we still continued to have rather nice and relatable conversations that were by no means Nazi coloured or propaganda. Nobody tried to convince the other of their world view. In fact he emphasised that he enjoyed the conversation and that we got along so well despite our opposite political stance.

Of course some people might now shout: how could you talk to this guy!?

But I believe these kind of conversations and maybe even relationships are very important in keeping the bridge to those people. Showing them that they matter as human and listen to their worries and fears. Building trust and find common ground. So that conversations about the hard topics can take place on a better foundation than mistrust and mutual hate and despise.

Village conversation DIE GRÜNEN

To finish the weekend on a different note this time I stay longer to participate on the village conversation organised by the DIE GRÜNEN Uckermark. Thats a series of talks with the local members of the party but also some higher up staff from the country or even national government on the panel. They briefly introduce themselves to then answer questions asked by the participants. Topics those find relevant and want to ask a party thats member of the government.

It was a small round of about 30 people, but not less interesting and lively.

#weeklyreview 13/24

The Zone of Interest

Watched “The Zone of Interest” in the local cinema. The film won 2 Oscars at this years ceremony for best international film and best sound.

In my humble opinion the movie is rather overhyped. It’s ok. The visuals are good and the cast plays really well. The story or maybe rather the script is confusing. The sound was particularly bad at the location we watched it. Not sure that was due to the poor equipment or settings at the venue.

I definitely liked “Treasure” from Julia von Heinz, which I saw at Berlinale a few weeks ago much better on the topic of Auschwitz.

Charite

On Tuesday we took a friend who’s suffering from severe ME/CFS to an appointment at the Virchow Klinikum of the Charité Berlin. The German healthcare system doesn’t allow him to get a transport voucher and he’s really not in a condition to take public transport nor can he pay for a Taxi.

For us it was a nice trip to Berlin with a good lunch at a Thai restaurant.

For him it was at least the most relaxed trip in his series of visits to the Virchow-Klinikum.

Wood working

We’ve got some woodworking done during the week. My dad organised some trees from the town forest that we were allowed to cut into pieces and haul out of the forest. Since the paths in the forest were still not usable with our cars we again had to carry the wood quite a bit through the forest on to the main paths where our cars with trailers were parked.

We’ve also borrowed an hydraulic wood splitter from friends again to cut the logs into smaller pieces and then stack the freshly cut wood into round stacks for drying.

Started the first stack with a too small diameter and didn’t pay enough attention to the angles. Looks rather wobbly and I needed to secure it with a fence around. The second looks more like a cone but seems to be stable enough to stay without fence support.

D. Kahneman R.I.P.

This week we’ve lost another one of the great thinkers of our time. Daniel Kahneman was probably most famous for his “Prospect Theory“. Explaining why we people often seem to make decisions that are not the most rational. That was something that has bothered John von Neumann and his followers to some extent at least when trying to apply the game theory foundations developed by von Neumann to real world scenarios. Men don’t act purely rational an awful lot of time.

#weeklyreview 12/24

Stumbled upon a toot mentioning the “Enable Mastodon Apps” plugin for WordPress. This basically allows Mastodon clients to login to a WordPress instance and post updates and replies. The plugin is still in early beta but works well with Ivory and IceCubes app on the iPhone. I can now post a brief update from within the Mastodon client that will be persisted as an entry on my blog. I find that idea rather neat. Mastodon itself still feels kinda ephemeral to me.

Sports

I’m a bit behind on sports this week I think. Stayed home Wednesday and Thursday. Tried running on Thursday but stopped after one round in the park. Wasn’t feeling it. Tried again on Friday morning and did a good 10k in the park.

I’m keeping up my push-up streak so far. 45 days in a row of at least 20 push-ups. Since begin of March I’m trying 30 per day. Thats hard most days. Some days too hard, so that I only did 20 or 25. But it’s improving slightly. The increase was certainly too steep and I should do smaller increments. And I’m such a habitual animal that I can’t change pace when I started. So I’m leaving it at 30 for the time being and will increase in smaller steps when I feel for it.

Friend is trying to add one more per week. Maybe thats a good strategy. Will see.

GPS Outage

When we were driving from Berlin to the countryside on Friday late afternoon I noticed that the car navigation system lost track of where we are. At first I thought it’s just a short glitch. But it didn’t recover (as usual) after a few turns. For the rest of the journey it was completely off. I checked my phone and noticed that it also couldn’t find its position. Apparently GPS was not working at that time.

Possible GPS Jams can be found after a day at https://gpsjam.org/?lat=49.64017&lon=28.04866&z=4.6&date=2024-03-22

The Man from the Future

I finished reading the biography of Johnny von Neumann. I liked the book very much. Not only because of this amazing achievements and life of von Neumann, but also because of the rich writing style of the book. The language is colourful and sophisticated. The author: Ananyo Bhattacharya is the chief science writer at the London Institute for Mathematical Science. The British English is much more dense that the usual American English of books. I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.

Mudfest

On Saturday we went into the forest to get some firewood from the municipal forest. The trees are already down and we “just” need to cut them and get them out. Plan was to cut them to length of about 30cm already. So that I don’t have to cut them again at my place. We had to get quite deep into the forest. The main paths were OK but we would like to get closer to the allotted trees and go on the side paths. Since it was raining the days before that turned out to be a bad idea. The car got stuck already at the attempt to turn into the path. it was just too muddy and slippery. Fortunately we had a second car and a rope to tow the first car out.

So I ended up carrying the logs about 10 – 30 m from the forest to the main path. Since the logs were also wet and slippery I could only grab one or two at a time. That day I clocked apparently 11km of walking according to my watch. Will definitely need to optimise this for the next round. We only managed to get out 2,5 trees that day. About 2 cubic meters and there is 12 m^3 to fetch …

#weeklyreview 11/24

Over the weekend I was fighting with the NextCloud All-in-One Container setup. It’s supposed to make the setup easier and convenient, but in my case it didn’t really. I tried also the normal mere PHP Installer on a web server. But that setup requires me to maintain the Database and additional components like Redis cache and so on myself. I wanted to have all the needed stuff in Docker containers and behind my default Reverse Proxy Traefik. Usually one gets a docker-compose.yml file with all the services and thats it. NextCloud chose a different route and is using a setup container to pull and bring up all the application components. They don’t provide a docker-compose.yml with all these components unfortunately.

But eventually I’ve got the thing running and snug behind by Reverse Proxy which takes care of the SSL certificates.

Cold?

I think a brought back a slight cold from the weekend. Went to bed with a stuffy nose and slight headache on Monday evening. Decided to stay home on Tuesday and figure oute whether thats a cold (or even COVID) or maybe just allergies. Took a COVID test which fortunately turned out negative. Went for a short run in the park to see whether my endurance is impacted. Doesn’t seem to be. So just added a few freshly made ginger shots. Felt much better on Wednesday already. Guess that was a short cold or something then.

Stammtisching

On Wednesday I went out Stammtisching with two friends and learned a lot about Berlin night club scene. Maybe a bit too much …

Unfortunately the waiter at the venue showed his misogynist side and treated by female friend rather badly. She had him reported to the manager and filed a formal complaint against him. The guy was treating all women rather badly. Commanding them around and didn’t pay attention to them.

He even had the balls to approach us outside after the complaint and ask what he was doing wrong. Say that he didn’t do any misconduct. But in that only addressing me and my other male friend. Not even looking at the woman among us.

He’s got a passionate and enduring enemy now …

Nails

Thursday was about time to get our nails done again. So I brought my wonderful pouch to the office and we practiced our nail game.

That same night our notorious Beer & Burger crew finally met for another session and my dear friend Klappstulli gifted me a stunning new color of nail polish

Ray Cokes

This week I saw a post on Insta that the Berlin based radio station “radio eins” will host a new live show by Ray Cokes. Yes! The Ray Cokes who hosted MTV Most wanted in the early 1990s.

Why is that so remarkable for me? Because I learned English by watching MTV most of the time in the early 1990s. And especially Ray Cokes and Steve Blame shows on MTV. I opted out of English lessons in school (yes, that was possible at some point) as I felt I don’t learn much new from the teacher at that time.

We actually had a legendary good teacher at my later school (Gymnasium). But unfortunately he wasn’t my teacher and I had already opted out then.

To my regards these lessons actually worked out good enough to admit me to the higher level English course during my apprenticeship at SIEMENS NIXDORF. During the screening test for the courses I thought I’d make it only to the entrance level course as an Ossi. But turned out my English was already pretty good. I was just lacking speaking experience.

I thanked Ray Cokes for teaching me English back in the days and I’ll definitely going to listen to that radio show.

Alice & Bob

On Friday I attended a workshop and get-together of the Alice & Bob Company. That was founded by a friend and ex-colleague of mine a few years ago. They showed how they’re helping their clients to build a digital foundation for their businesses and help them keeping the complexity of that foundation in check. I’m always happy and proud seeing friends founding and running their own companies successfully.

Felling trees

On Saturday we feel a dead tree in our forest. The pine died from a strangling fungus infection a few years ago and was at risk of falling in the next storm. So we took it down. The fungus it was suffering from caused the trunk to saturate with natural resin at a certain height. This resin saturated wood can be used to kindle a fire. It was even used instead of candles before the 20th century.