Windows – Migrating Printers

At my POE we use virtual printers for all manner of file production.  It’s annoying.  What’s more annoying is when it’s time to upgrade a server using virtual printers.  Thankfully there’s a way to sorta kinda help the process, by sorta kinda easing the migration process.  The following screenshots are from Windows 2012 R2.  If you’re using a different Windows OS level your mileage may vary.  It’s my understanding that the titles of some of this differs by OS.

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pi-hole – Whitelisting Domains

Pi-hole is awesome, but sometimes it works too well.  For instance, my wife wants to watch the recipe videos on the Food Network site, and because of embedded ad content they get pi-holed.  Here’s how to whitelist domains:

First, you know that your pi-hole has a web interface, yes?  Point a browser to http://[thepiholeIPaddress]/admin/index.php to get to it.  From there you can check out the query log, which you’re gonna need.  If you find the log all full up and cumbersome, you can empty it.  Hop on your pi and, in a Terminal session, run:

sudo truncate /var/log/pihole.log --size 0

This will zero out the query log file.  Now use your browser to hit the site containing the data you want whitelisted.  You’re going to want to make sure that traffic other than your own is at a minimum while you do this, or you’re going to be seeing a lot of information in the log that isn’t applicable to the browsing you are doing.  Anyway, these days sites pull from a variety of domains, so you can’t just assume whitelisting the domain of the url will be sufficient.  For example, to get videos to work on the Food Network site I had to whitelist assets.adobetm.com.

Once the page has finished loading check the query log.  In it you’ll see both allowed domains and those that have been pi-holed.  Make a list of the holed domains; you’re going to have to add them your whitelist individually and then test to find the one you’re after.  To add a domain to the whitelist, open the whitelist (again in Terminal) in nano:

sudo nano /etc/pihole/whitelist.txt

Use your arrow keys to navigate to the bottom of the whitelist and then add your domain.  At this time, wildcards are not supported in this list.  Once you’ve added the domain, save the whitelist via ctrl+o.  Then open a second Terminal session and reload your pi-hole’s settings by executing the following:

/usr/local/bin/gravity.sh

Once reloading has completed refresh the page containing the data you’re trying to whitelist.  If you’ve achieved success, close your Terminal sessions (you can exit out of nano with ctrl+x) and call it a day.  If not, remove from the whitelist the domain you just added and move on to the next holed domain in your list.  Rinse and repeat until you see what you’re looking for.

Some people seem to like using the Whitelist Assistant Chrome extension when doing this.  I find pi-hole’s query log to be absolutely sufficient.

 

 

Acoustic guitar drying, cracking

I moved from a super humid place – Atlanta – to two super dry places – first Tempe, AZ and then Bend, OR.  The other day I pulled down my Martin, who is neglected over my Taylor parlor guitar, to practice slide and discovered that the back was splitting:

crack

After first getting over my freakout about my precious (read: expensive) guitar cracking, I did what I always do and took to the intertoobs for answers.  I found a luthier discussion board and read about how they’d try to fix cracks by hydrating the instrument by bagging it with a wet sponge.  This, hopefully, would close the crack and allow for a surgical glue repair.  Guitar, bagged.

IMG_0535

4 days later, this is the status of the crack:

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Excellent news.  I’m going to keep it bagged for another week or so to see if the crack will close altogether.  Then I’ll remove the strings and see if I can reach into the soundhole to apply a bit of superglue from the inside, so I’m not potentially marring the outer finish.

Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth

For years now, perhaps even more than a decade, I’ve had problems with my stomach.  Bubbles, cramps, swelling, pain, unpleasant bathroom issues ranging far beyond mere urgency.  At best it was distracting.  At worst, actually debilitating.  It cast a shadow on everyday life, and ruined what should have been good times.  Eating out made it worse.  Eating not-great food made it terrible.  Thus some of my worst bouts occurred while traveling, ultimately making vacations unpleasant.  Traveling across Europe should be fun, not uncomfortable and stressful.

Along the way I had a myriad of diagnosis.  IBS. Nervous stomach.  I had a variety of procedures to no avail, from ultrasounds to, eventually – when I finally became frightened enough to start wondering if I had cancer or Crohn’s – a colonoscopy (which cost an arm and a leg since my insurance is terrible and I had it done prior to the recommended age of 50).  Nothing.  “You must have some sort of food allergy,” said the gastroenterologist.

Sure.  But it must be an allergy to food in general then, because it doesn’t matter what I eat.

Pre-colonoscopy my troubles were at their most severe.  I’d gone from being a long-term vegetarian to veganism, both because I was finding my personal ethics shifting that way and because I thought it might help my problems.  Instead it seemed to kick things into a higher gear.  Finally, a naturopath brought up SIBO – Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, and recommended I take the breath test used to diagnose it.  The test came back proof positive.  I definitely had SIBO.

That was a couple of months ago.  Since then my diet shifted into elimination mode.  Eggs came back in.  Nearly everything else went out.  Most SIBO sufferers rely on meat to get by in the beginning, as meat doesn’t sit and ferment in your gut.  I couldn’t do this.  I hadn’t eaten any meat of any kind in probably 20 years.  I tried fish – twice – and both times it made me sick.  But I couldn’t eat most protein alternatives either.  No beans. No tofu. No tempeh. Also, no fresh vegetables. No dairy. No wheat. No onion. No garlic. No processed food.  No sugars. Nothing with any thickeners. No soy. No beer. No fruit.  Coffee black only, with coconut oil in it to help cut down on the acid, and not too much of it.

I started keeping a food journal.  I began to take two different antibiotics, the insanely expensive Xirfaxan for SIBO and another for Candida (which I was also diagnosed with), with each meal, 3 times a day, for two weeks.  I ate eggs, a tiny bit of spinach and tomatoes, and protein shakes. 3 meals a day, at least 4 hours between each meal, no snacking (which becomes easy when there aren’t any snacks you can eat). I discovered I could handle sourdough bread in small amounts so long as it had a minimal amount of ingredients.  Luckily, local baker Big Ed’s makes a sourdough english muffin that’s both delicious and simple, and it became a staple.

Have some pills.
Have some pills.

I also started taking fistfuls of supplements as prescribed by a local nutritionist in town versed in SIBO treatment.  Some are to try to put back in vitamins and minerals and whatnot that my diet lacked.  Others are natural antibiotics, proven to fight the microorganisms that make up SIBO (proven in many cases to be more effective than the prescription antibiotics).

Pillz

It has been nearly 2 months now.  I’m down to about 136 pounds (for perspective, I’m a 5’10” 45 year old man).  I’ve made precious few missteps in my diet, because it has been working.  My stomach has, for the most part, calmed down.  Bathroom issues have minimized. In some ways I have my life back.  In others, not quite yet.  I’m low energy.  Tired a lot.  I tend to turn in for the night at 9 PM or even earlier (more perspective: I’m up, or I’m supposed to be anyway, at 5:30 AM for work).  I used to exercise vigorously roughly 5 times a week, running 5 miles or mountain/fat biking decent distances.  I can’t run. Not yet.  I’ve been on a few tame mountain bike rides (12 miles) and once hiked Misery Ridge at Smith Rock.  Afterwards I slept 12 hours and felt beaten for the following 24.  Post antibiotics my toes have broken out in swollen, prickly rashes.  I’m no longer hungry all the time, but oftentimes I abruptly fall off an edge if I don’t eat in time.

Being depressed about my stomach feeling terrible shifted to being depressed about being crippled by the treatment.  And the food – it’s amazing how you can go for months without eating something and have no problem with it, but as soon as you’re told it’s forbidden it becomes all you want to eat.  I burned through massive sugar cravings, carb cravings, you name it.  Pizza, cookies, pastries, pasta, salads, Mexican food, Indian food, burritos, I want it all. Now. Immediately. I would contemplate murder for something as simple as coffee cake.

But I progress.  I’ve slowly begun introducing things back to my diet.  Individually.  It has to be that way.  If I eat too many new things at once, and I suffer for it, I don’t know which of those things is the culprit.  So one at a time – which is harder than it sounds.  Most beans still mess me up, but I’ve begun eating some sprouted lentils with success. I’ve made lentil curry, lentil fritters, lentil taco filling – all pretty bland since I can’t use onion or garlic or their powders.  Unspiced organic tortilla chips have thus far been well received, as have sprouted corn tortillas.  I’ve begun adding the smallest amount of homemade cashew milk to my morning coffee.  I’ve experimented with a mid-afternoon snack between lunch and dinner with varying results.

Some things I’ve tried still don’t work.  No tofu. No tempeh. No dairy with lactose.  For the most part, however, progress is slow but steady.  I even managed to survive visits with my family to Food Fight! and SweetPea in Portland, though I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it was very hard, and made me very grumpy.  I talk about how I can’t wait to eat a burrito, or pizza, or simply a muffin, but the truth is I’m really not sure if I ever will be able to do so again.  I’ve developed a healthy fear of food… which is crazy considering I’m a huge food lover.

Most of this – it’s psychological.  It’s wonderful to feel better.  I’m reminded of it every time I slip up, and slips have been few and far between since the are instant reminders of how I used to feel nearly all the time.  I just have to shift my thinking on food.  Food is, for now anyway, no longer pleasure, or fun, or entertainment.  It’s fuel. Sustenance.  Nothing more.  I’ve considered just doing protein shakes for the foreseeable future. Fuel. Sustenance.

During this process I found a SIBO Facebook group, and now I consider myself lucky.  Many people have had it far, far worse than I have.  I feel for them.  At the same time, life is relative.  I’m finding this very, very frustrating.  Some days I don’t want to get out of bed.  Other days I’m ready to go back to bed by lunchtime.

I’m not going to turn this on-again-off-again blog of mine into a SIBO journal, but there will undoubtedly be future posts about it.  It’s become a huge factor in my life.

Windows 7 with 2 NICs

Despite supposedly having no data caps, the other day my provider interrupted my surfing with a message stating that I’d downloaded an “excessive amount” and should contact them to upgrade my plan.  Interestingly, their website also doesn’t show any data caps or, for that matter, any plans for me to upgrade to.

I’m not real worried about it, but at the same time since I work full time remote I really need my intertoobs to work all the time.  Then I remembered that the vacation rental we manage next door to me has internet that rarely gets used.  Time to slap a wireless NIC on the server and push internet traffic through that router!

Doing so was easy.  I had a halfway decent USB wireless laying around.  I slapped it in, joined the next door wireless network, and then ran a route print:

Selection_009

The highlighted bit is the new NIC.  Above it is the wired NIC connecting the server to my local network.  You want the Metric on the NIC you want internet traffic flowing through to be the lowest.  Luckily mine defaulted to that.  If yours doesn’t do that you can manually set the Metric by navigating to the Advanced properties of the Network Adapters:

Selection_010

After that I simply removed the Gateway address from the properties of my wired LAN access NIC and voila – all my intertoobs were coming from next door while my LAN still had full access to my server.  In order to double check I logged into my router and disabled internet traffic for the server IP address.

I also installed a groovy little tool called Network Manager so I can watch the traffic:

Selection_011

 

Windows Sticky Notes

I admit it – I use Windows Sticky Notes.  I hate how unconfigurable it feels though.  The font is terrible, for instance.  Lucky you can change it with a reghack.


REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts]
"Segoe Print (TrueType)"="consola.ttf"
"Segoe Print Bold (TrueType)"="consolab.ttf"

What’s happening here is, because the notes demand to use Segoe Print as the font, you’re changing what font Segoe Print actually is.  Replace the .ttfs with fonts of your choice.

There are also a myriad of shortcuts for modifying existing note text:

Ctrl+B – Bold text
Ctrl+I – Italic text
Ctrl+T – Strikethrough
Ctrl+U – Underlined text
Ctrl+Shift+L – Bulleted (press once) or Numbered (press twice) list
Ctrl+Shift+> – Increased text size
Ctrl+Shift+< – Decreased text size
Ctrl+A – Select all
Ctrl+Shift+A – Toggles all caps
Ctrl+L – Left aligns text
Ctrl+R – Right aligns text
Ctrl+E – Centers text
Ctrl+Shift+L – Small Alpha list (3rd), Capital Alpha list (4th), small roman (5th), Capital roman (6th)
Ctrl+1 – Single-space lines
Ctrl+2 – Double-space lines
Ctrl+5 – Set 1.5-line spacing
Ctrl+= – Subscript
Ctrl+Shift++ – Superscript

Pale Moon and HTTPS Everywhere

For reasons I won’t get into here, the EFF has decided for now not to support Pale Moon, which is my current browser of choice (sideplug:  Like Firefox but tired of it gobbling all your resources and crashing?  Pale Moon my friend).  The inability to install HTTPS Everywhere nearly had me leaving Pale Moon until I discovered that there’s a fork of it out there that works!  So use Pale Moon, and install Encrypted Web (and uBlock Origin).

The Future

I’ve read some pro-capitalist (anti-socialist?) rants lately, some penned by people roughly half my age, that have disappointed me in their shortsightedness.  I’ve also read some writings by people like Stephen Hawking – who recently said we should not fear artificial intelligence, but rather capitalism – and a raft of economists, technologists and anthropologists – who are predicting a near future of technologically driven job scarcity – that lend credence to my disappointment.  You don’t have to like it, but you’d be a fool to ignore it: we’re on the precipice of a future with a very different economic landscape, and more likely than not – especially if you’re young – you’re going to be in big fucking trouble if your value system doesn’t change, and fast.

Trust me.  I know.  Because, on a very small scale, I’m one of those people making you obsolete. Continue reading