Game Reviews: A Plague Tale: Innocence, Cloudpunk

Gaming
Dec 25, 2021
Game posters for A Plague Tale Innocence and Cloudpunk

I’m going to close out the year with two game reviews from very different titles, which you may want to check out on those new gaming systems you got for Christmas (for those of you who can find and afford them). A Plague Tale: Innocence is a beautiful and well produced title; a puzzler with dark, medieval and supernatural themes. Cloudpunk is on the total opposite end of the spectrum: an independent title, with pixel art animation, that takes place in a dystopian future.

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Burning Witches

Politics
Dec 22, 2021
hand holding burning torch

You are in The Crucible. Someone in your town has been accused of witchcraft. Do you defend the witch, or walk away from those screaming for fire and blood? Would you burn the witch? Would you turn on your friend if they were disloyal to the Soviet empire? Would you turn in your neighbor for hiding Jews? Those who conform instead of standing up for deep moral convictions, are the ones who survive. In every authoritarian state, genocide, or episode of mass-hysteria, those who stand to defend others are often the first to be imprisoned, arrested or killed. Figures like Gandhi, Martin Luther (both of them) and others, are the outliers that give us hope. Yet, the tragic reality is that those who either stay silent or embrace atrocities, are often the survivors.

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Game Reviews: Frost Punk, LEGO Builder's Journey, Runner 3

Gaming
Dec 19, 2021
Runner 3
Runner 3

I’m switching to a new format, combining game reviews into monthly posts. I’ve been keeping up with writing reviews, but have fallen behind at posting them. I finished a couple of PC games back in October. Runner 3 was a game I started years ago and finally picked up again to finish. LEGO Builder’s Journey is a recent title I purchased mainly for the RTX graphics. Frost Punk is a game I’ve wanted to play for a while, and finally grabbed while it was on sale.

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ZFS Woes, or how ZFS Saved Me From Data Corruption

Technology
Nov 7, 2021
OpenZFS
OpenZFS

I’ve been using ZFS for years on my Linux storage server. Recently I upgraded from Alpine 3.12 to 3.14, which included a ZFS 0.8 to ZFS 2.0 update. Not soon after, I started getting random file corruption issues. I didn’t see any SMART errors on the drives, but still assumed that my hard drive could be going bad. My storage had outgrown my previous backup drive anyway, so I purchased an additional drive. When I attempted to sync snapshots to the new device, I started to see I/O errors and kernel panics. I took a long journey through ZFS bug reports, attempted to switch to Btrfs and even migrated my storage to a different computer. In the end, ZFS saved me from what could have been disastrous amounts of data corruption due to faulty hardware.

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Upgrading OpenSMTPD 6.3 and Running E-mail in Docker

Technology
Oct 31, 2021
Photo of vintage airmail envelopes

I’ve been administering e-mail servers since the early 2000s, for both my myself and for various jobs. For a brief period I stopped hosting my own e-mail, but returned to running my own stack due to the revelation of domestic spying in 2013. Even though the larger providers have made e-mail less reliable than it once was, I’m still glad I host my own e-mail. I had been using an OpenBSD 6.3 VM for e-mail, and couldn’t upgrade to OpenSMTPD 6.4+ because of some big configuration file changes. Thanks to many good 6.3 → 6.4+ tutorials, I finally tackled this lingering piece of technical debt, and migrated my e-mail from an OpenBSD VM to my standard Docker infrastructure.

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Lineage with microG on a Sony XA2

Technology
Oct 26, 2021
Lineage with microG Logo
Lineage with microG Logo

I’ve owned a lot of smart phones. I started off in the PalmOS world and have been solidly in the Android camp for the past several years. Although I’ve used a lot of custom ROMS, I typically still install Google Apps and services. As my concerns over privacy have grown, I’ve started looking at microG, a bare-bones implementation of Google Services that limits personal and location information being continually sent to Google. I purchased a Sony XA2 a few years ago as a backup device, and decided to try out the Lineage for microG project on this device. Although flashing a new operating system on a phone should be a common affair by this point, I ran into issues that left me digging through forum threads for help. Hopefully documenting the errors I encountered, and my solutions, will help others with similar devices.

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Far Cry New Dawn

Gaming
Oct 12, 2021
Far Cry: New Dawn

On the other side of an apocalypse, survivors emerge to build a new world. Their weapons are duct taped and welded together; bizarre amalgamations from a fiery past. Remanence of an old cult can be found along the countryside, as well as new villains who control the highways and like to paint everything bright pink. They game was marketed as a light sequel for Far Cry 5, about half the playtime of a full length title and priced appropriately. It has some beautiful visuals, questionable dialogue choices and all the guns and explosives that are expected from any Far Cry game.

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Setting up IPv6 on a Linux Router

Technology
Oct 9, 2021
World IPv6 Launch Logo
World IPv6 Launch Logo

It’s fairly straightforward to build your own router, and there are a number of tutorials for setting up IPv4 forwarding and NAT rules on Linux. However, IPv6 is a bit more complicated. There are many BSD and Linux based operating systems like pfSense and OpenWRT, which have web management tools to make setting up IPv6 straight forward. However, if you like to run your own custom Linux distribution on your home router and control everything from the command line, this tutorial will take you through configuring dhcpcd, dnsmasq, unbound, iptables and ip6tables for full IPv6 support on your local network.

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Legacy Media

Politics
Sep 30, 2021
Woman reading a burning newspaper

In late 2020, I was waiting in a dentist’s office. The Today Show was on, with hosts spouting the most absolutely insane stories that could only be classified as fear porn. When I got home, I talked to an old friend asking her, “Is this what people are watching? Is this why the world has gone insane?” I have avoided traditional news media for over a decade. In 2007, I wrote about the deceptiveness of main stream media when it came to reporting on various contentious topics such as the Bush torture memos, the war on terror and the 2008 financial collapse. Since my return to America, our main stream media has only gotten worse, spreading fear and anger, both domestically and abroad.

There has been a large rise in independent media. A new era of reporters, interviewers and analysts are opening up the landscape of news and punditry. They are changing things in a big way. To those whose eyes are open; those who are paying attention: What we used to call Main Stream Media is clearly nothing more than propaganda networks funded by advertisers. Large industries have tremendous influence over both government officials and news narratives. Fact checking websites have arisen to fuel the industry that has been actively misleading us for our entire lives. We are at a crossroad where people will either embrace the orthodoxy of globalist narratives, or turn their attention to those who present more complete breakdowns of the complicated topics that are in the social consciousness of today.

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Installing Void Linux with a Serial Terminal

Technology
Sep 27, 2021
Lanner FW-7541C-E01 (Front View)
Lanner FW-7541C-E01 (Front View)

I recently picked up a Lanner FW-7541C off eBay for $88.31 (including shipping). This industrial device has a 2-core/4-thread Atom D525 processor, a 30GB SATA SSD, 4GB of DDR3 ram and six independent Intel gigabit Ethernet adapters. It’s a well built little device I bought to replace my custom Linux router. However, it has no video output ports. It took some work, but I was able to setup and install Void Linux on this device using the serial port console. This guide goes through building the installation media with the custom parameters needed for a serial console. It also goes through the post installation steps that will keep a login prompt active on the serial port after install.

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