Saturday, December 31, 2016

That was the year that was

This time last year, work, including some extra responsibilities, voluntarily taken on, that had spiralled beyond what I had expected, combined with the commute to the Science Park, and having to keep things functioning on the domestic front, had really ground me down. I didn't even manage to summon up the time and energy for several of the needful gardening chores (woodwork maintenance and apple tree pruning) across the holiday break.

So, sooner than I had planned (meaning to do it this coming year, as a down-shift towards retirement), I applied for reduced working hours, which cut in from the start of May.

That did the trick for the moment -- I've been able to attend more to things that are neither work nor the bare minimum of domestic chores. That included enough time in the garden to do pre-emptive weeding, even suppressing the bindweed as it emerged, as well as time to do more in the kitchen than simply heat up ready-meals every day, while still leaving time to just kick back and unwind. I even managed to do a tiny bit of side-project coding (hence the few posts on Rust in recent months), which is up on the zero I managed in 2015.

In the wider world, what a year it's been, too.

A year ago, we didn't know the date when Cameron (who he?) would call the referendum he'd been bounced into, and I expected it would be late 2017 and the status quo would prevail; and I was expecting that Hillary would comfortably beat whichever of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio (who they?) won the Republican nomination. At the end of the year, what had transpired was beyond anything I could reasonably have hoped for.

What I hadn't expected was the number of people I follow on the internet who I thought were reasonable and level-headed, yet who completely lost it following the election of a New York liberal to the Presidency, like they actually believed all the "literally Hitler" caricatures.

It all means 2017 is going to be interesting, though I devoutly hope, not too much in the Chinese sense.

December Cycling

Up to 14369.0, ??, 126.1 -- with the odo on my main bike having failed on the last journey home from work for the year, so 19.6 + three commutes, including some long way round + two shopping trips + 4.1, at most being 120-ish miles, or 3340 at year end. There was too much to do in the garden to have spent much time on two wheels over the holiday. But I have fitted a new odo to the main bike and will be counting from 0 rather than making up a number around 4600 for the total miles done so far on that one.

With the likelihood of driving a couple of days most weeks in the coming year, I'm not setting myself any new personal best or even better-than-last-year targets.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bringing your consumer NAS onto a static IP or non-standard DHCP subnet

Having gone through this again recently, as I upgraded from the Seagate Central I bought a couple of years back to a later and bigger version, a note to self for when I go through the exercise again in a couple of years, to save having to put it together again --

  1. This is the Secret Sauce : with a dual-NIC computer (e.g. one that's on the home subnet on WiFi but also has an unused ethernet port) set up Internet Connection Sharing of the WiFi to the ethernet. That makes that PC act as a DHCP server on the default 192.168.0/8 subnet on the ethernet link, which is where we can bootstrap the process.
  2. Connect the NAS and the PC to a switch.
  3. Now administer the NAS from the PC to configure its network settings to your main home subnet.
  4. Do not panic if the NAS admin page tells you the reconfigure has not been saved because contact has been lost with the device.
  5. Unplug the NAS from the switch and connect to your router.
  6. Now breathe a sigh of relief as you can now see the NAS on the main network, then complete the NAS set-up.

The presence of known vulnerabilities in consumer NAS software means that it is also advisable, after a first firmware update, to close all outbound connections from the device, apart from DNS (which tends to be the protocol used for connection liveness testing), so it doesn't go calling out to any remote access server. You do block all the inbound connections already, don't you?

Yes, this means you can't watch your movies while on holiday, but if that's what you want to do, why ever go anywhere in the first place?