Plex Fun

(not so much)

I had noticed that the frequency of updates to the Intel NUC that powers my Plex Media Server had tailed off (it ran Ubuntu 18.04 LTS) an indication that there was a new version of the long term support OS coming.

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The Drobo is back online

It took almost 6 weeks from the first support ticket, but yesterday afternoon (July 28, 2020) the RMA unit arrived from Drobo. Ironically, it shipped from their office in Sunnyvale 4 days before via FedEx, and the total distance from their facility to my house is about 16 miles.

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Time to move from g-suite?

The tale of this domain (actually, the sister domain, tralfaz.org) has been told, a few times in these pages.

However, one tale I haven’t told is how when Google Apps became available, I moved from the creaky old email platform (hosted on a local Bay Area ISP, BEST Communications (an ISP that is so dead, I couldn’t even find an archival reference) probably in the 2005 or 2006 time frame.

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Fucking hell – Redirects

Following on from the website migration, there is another tale to tell.

A tale shrouded in the mythos of the early internet. It was the late 1990’s and I had an ISP that provided me my ISDN service, as part of their monthly charge for this “business” class service (at the time it was truly stupendous speed and bandwidth) was a free domain and email hosting.

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Time for new Tech

My last “fresh” computer I bought was a 2015 vintage MacBook Pro, 13″ with retina display. I bought it refurbished in 2016, and it has served me well, but it was getting tired.

All the while i had a 2014 vintage Mac Mini that started life as a editing computer for my wife’s video production consulting. It was decent for the time, a dual core intel i7, with 8G ram, and a terabyte “hybrid” disk. But it has been feeling its age, and with the payment of my salary from the trust/estate, I vowed to upgrade my tech.

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Hand Dryers – The Dyson Airblade

An embarrassingly long time ago, I had my first encounter with a Dyson Airblade hand dryer. I don’t remember when, or where, but I do recall it being the only touchless, air dryer that actually friggin’ worked to get my hands dry.

The amazing Dyson AirbladInsert your hands past your wrists, and slowly withdraw, and BAM, your hands were dry. As dry or even drier than using 3 paper towels. Awesome.

Fast forward to today, and obviously, the patent has expired, because at every public bathroom on my recent trip overseas was a similar hand dryer. I was thinking to myself how cool this was that it had become mainstream.

Then I used one. First in the public bathroom in the Frankfurt airport. Wash my hands, and insert them into the faux-Airblade, and … Continue reading →

Frustrating Network Issues

Over the holidays, I bit the bullet and completed digitizing my DVD and BD collection in an effort to make it vastly more convenient to watch from the comfort of my couch. As part of this I bought the components for, and built an Intel NUC box into the Plex Media Server.

With me so far? Good. That worked great, and I had a quite robust workflow for creating the digital files needed. I had plenty (oodles and oodles) of storage, and apart from there being an insane Rat’s Nest of cables, power supplies and chords on my desk, all is working.

But that isn’t the point of this post. Continue reading →

To Convert or Not to Convert

To convert or not to Convert, that is the question.
When processing Bluray discs for adding to my Plex media server, I have a workflow. First, use MakeMKV to rip the media to an .mkv file, then it can be uploaded to the Plex directory and made available. However, these files are large. Scratch that, they are friggin HUGE. Alien for example is 30GB.

Disks are cheap, so why even bother converting?

The argument to convert

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Plex Media Server – Workflow

In the learning path for the population of my media collection as it transitions from disc based media to a disk drive, I have discovered a few truths that I will share.

There are some useful tools to “rip” your media. These are the essential first step in the process, to get your media from the source into a format that can be worked with.

The next topic is what sort of transcoding you want to do. Here is where some of my early choices in media ripping have come back to haunt me. In prior efforts, I was merely attempting to get media in a format that looked good when loaded onto my iPad. That meant that there was a pretty aggressive compression applied to the files, making them both storage thrifty, and acceptable quality for playback. Continue reading →

More on Linux – the new media server

As I am assembling my Plex media server, I have been semi-seriously using Linux for this purpose for about 3 weeks now, and here are some more observations.

First, I have been running it on two systems, an old desktop system with an Intel Core i7-920 CPU, 6 gigs of ram, and several disks (1 SSD for booting, and two quick 1TB WD drives, and a BD/DVD/CD rom drive), and the second system, an Intel NUC with a modest 7th generation i5 cpu (two core, 4 thread), onboard video, and ample connectivity.

The version of Linux I hae been using is the current LTS version of Ubuntu, 16.0.4. I did play with the 17.10 version, but it had some interesting bugs. Like turning off the monitor (a Samsung 24″ unit with HDMI) would cause the display manager to crash and restart.

As mentioned in a prior post, I am impressed by how well everything works. Not quite as pain free as Mac OS-X, but vastly superior to my prior experience of about 6 years ago. Upon installation the installer detected my wireless chips, the bluetooth, and the Intel graphics chips. I did need to be sure to get a version 4.1 or later kernel to fully support the CPU, but that wasn’t difficult. Continue reading →