My amazing aluminium lunchbox: Using a NUC5i3 as HTPC, web server, cloud server and living room gaming PC

I never did buy that Intel NUC D34010WYKH, the home server upgrade that I recognised some two months back was a completely frivolous investment. I didn’t buy it because I bought the new 2015 Broadwell-based model instead. All told I spent 5000 DKR (~€670/$750) on the thing plus components and accessories. So let’s get to the point: Is it just as ridiculous and frivolous a waste of hard-earned cash as I said it would be? Yes, it is. Do I regret it? No, I don’t. Not one bit.


# Uncomment for a colored prompt, if the terminal has the capability; turned
# off by default to not distract the user: the focus in a terminal window
# should be on the output of commands, not on the prompt

- from the default Ubuntu (Debian?) .bashrc

Seriously? Moralizing about the use of colour on a console? Who the Hell are you, the Talibash?

NetworkManager and intermittent lags in Steam Home-streaming

Steam in-home streaming is great. I can play graphics/CPU intensive games on my laptop sitting on my couch. Or I can let the (Windows) laptop run Spelunky while playing at my linux desktop. But I had a problems with it: I kept getting intermittent lagging. A little notice would pop up in the bottom left corner informing me of slow network speeds. Both machines are on wifi for network and so I thought putting the laptop on ethernet would solve the issue. Halving the strain on the air waves should do the trick but it made no difference. Which meant that the problem was likely to be on the linux desktop and it’s wireless connection.

Now, the most characteristic thing about the lags was the regularity with which they occured. I didn’t measure them but I started thinking to myself, “It’s gonna come any minute now…” About every two minutes for ten seconds or so. More than enough to get yourself good and killed in Spelunky. I tried network monitoring to see if I could catch whatever process was stealing Steam’s bandwidth but with no luck.

The reason for this is that it wasn’t a process hogging bandwith per se, it was NetworkManager scanning for networks. This happens at some specific interval and tends to cause a drop in bandwidth, something that is most noticeable in live streaming.


Alphanumericalize: Filename munging music file names in ABCDE

Ripping CD feels a lot more 2005 than 2015. And it was probably already starting to feel old back then. However, I never got round to do a systematic, lossless rip of my entire CD collection. So before it’s too late I have bought a DVD-RW drive that will never get to write a single disc and armed myself with a 1Tb USB drive to hold all the data.

My weapon of choice is ABCDE, A Better CD Encoder, a Bash based CLI tool for ripping that has been in continuous development since before 2002 (!). ABCDE has many advantages over GUI CD rippers, the most obvious being that you don’t need to fiddle with the mouse, you just hit enter. This is important if you’ve got a case of hundreds of CDs to get through.

Another advantage is that the settings file allows you to string a piped line of stream editors together when forming the file name. What this means is that once you have determined how the file names should be formed, e.g. “Artist/Album/Track no. – Track title”, you can further manipulate it e.g. by making it entirely lower-/uppercase, removing slashes and other control characters etc. The genius of ABCDE is that rather than implement these features itself, it simply allows you to use tested and true unix utilities, like sed and tr and whatever else you care to throw at it to accomplish this.

Here I’m going to detail generally how this ‘filename munging’ works and specifically I’m going to show how to get file names that are universally OS-, URL- and command line friendly by only using numerical digits, the letters a-z, underscores (_) and hyphens (-).


Ubuntu Revisited: Back in Brown with 14.04 Trusty Tahr

My pseudo-review of Arch made me realize that it wasn’t the right distribution for me anymore. Not really a critique as should be evident from the pros and cons article. Currently for me the cons just outweigh the pros and when an upgrade broke Gnome badly, well it was time to leave. I bought a new usb wifi dongle, pulled out the old one – the main hardware component tying me to Arch – and broke up camp. So where did I end up? The answer surprised me as much as anyone. Well, anyone that hasn’t read the post title.


Arachnophobia: Getting the macro keys on the Razer BlackWidow to work on linux

I bought the Razer BlackWidow for the hardware, not for Razer’s Synapse software or all the joys that it offers (Google suggest for searchers entering Razer Synapse? “Razer Synapse sucks”) Which meant that I was perfectly content not to use any of the special function keys on the keyboard. However the thought hit me that I had five Firefox profiles (yes, I prefer not to do my banking in the browser I watch smut in. There. Happy?) and there were five macro keys sitting in a row, not being used. 1+1=?