• Category Archives Tales from a Tech
  • I am a Computer Tech by trade, and sometimes have some great stories to tell.

    Tales from a Tech Archive

  • PHP Forms are the work of the Devil

    I am at the end of my rope.  I’ve been screwing with this PHP form for hours now, and the only conclusion I can come up with is I need to burn it all down and start over.

    The Memoriam script on TRC has stopped uploading images, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.  It was written YEARS ago by my friend Mikey P., and he’s been missing for a year. I just can’t figure out why this isn’t working. The whole form works, but the minute you submit it, it looses the picture entirely!!

    I’m going to have to start over from scratch, and thats the LAST thing I want to friggen do.


  • Curse you, Windows 10!

    My Dad brought his laptop down to me today, the thing was all screwed up.  Windows had forced him to install the fancy new Edge browser, which then made him sign up for a Microsoft Live account, which in turn bound itself to his local profile. And somehow completely screwed it over.  Every time he logged in, it glitched and forced him into a temporary profile. I tried numerous things to fix it to no avail.

    I ended up backing up all his data and giving him a fresh install of Windows.  I hate that Microsoft is forcing their crappy new Edge browser down everyone’s throats, especially since it MAKES you use a Live account to even use it. Its just so stupid.

    On the upside, his laptop is running much better now with a fresh install. I also swapped his 4GB of memory with the 8GB in my old iMac (as the iMac is just being used a glorified Plex device) and that helped immensely.

  • Progress on TRC 9.0

    I have been diligently working on TRC 9.0 for the last… well, several months.  I’m finally at a point where its mostly done, and just needs some testing / tweaking.


    Yes, its a new domain name!  I figured 20 years in, we were due for a new domain. Also, it will make it easier migrating from Drupal to WordPress, as I need to keep some portions of the old site as they are and moving Drupal to another domain was something I didn’t want to deal with, even remotely.

    Check out the site, give me some feedback.  I need to find anything and everything that isn’t working correctly so it can get fixed before I switch the site over to being live!

  • Plex: Guillermo

    This weekend Aerock came to visit and we built him a shiny new Plex Server!  I actually managed to duplicate my downloading VirtualBox and re-purpose it to be used by other people.

    As we were watching “What We Do In The Shadows”, Aerock decided to name it Guillermo (one of the characters).

    I’m thinking I should offer this downloading virtual machine up for anyone else who might be interested (for a small fee).

    Its essentially a VirtualBox running LinuxLite, and a handful of software.  The purpose is to have a torrent downloading machine that is on a VPN, so the VPN doesn’t interfere with Plex running on the same machine. It uses Transmission for torrent downloading, and has Sonarr and Radarr setup to download your torrents. It makes searching very simple, and even moves files into the right folders for Plex when the download finishes!  The version we are using is preconfigured to use Windscribe VPN, but as long as the VPN has a Linux version, we can make it work 🙂

    Anyone interested in a copy?

  • TRC 9 Progress Update

    I’ve been working on TRC 9 a bit lately.  Made some progress, had some setbacks, the usual.

    I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about the news archive that is in Drupal. I managed to find a plugin that will import content from a Drupal site, but sadly it imports every thing with today’s date. That doesn’t really work the backlog of posts on the site.

    I’m back to square one, so I’ll need to find some way to preserve what we have with Drupal. I’m thinking this is a good reason to get a new domain for the new version of the site. I’m still thinking it all over.

    But I did make progress.  Got quite a few static pages converted over!


  • 2020 Tech Upgrade

    I spent a portion of my tax return this year on a much needed series of technology upgrades.  No, I’m not getting a new computer, but I did buy two shiny new hard drives!

    STAGE 1 – Desktop Swap

    The first stage of my project was to swap the cases for my personal desktop and the Minecraft server.  The Dell case I’d been using as my gaming desktop was originally purchased to be the Minecraft server, as it had a nice 8-core i7.  Minecraft ran like a dream on it, but I had to re-purpose it as my main desktop when my old iMac started to die (more on the iMac below).

    I got a new 1 TB SSD to use and moved my desktop into the HP case I had been using for Minecraft.  I don’t notice any real changes, everything seems to run about the same or slightly better. I went from a 2nd Gen i7 to a 3rd Gen i5.  Everything I researched online said this was a decent move.

    Minecraft is so happy to be back in the Dell case!  Spawn rates at farms are better, lag is down, the world loads smoother, its just all around great!!

    STAGE 2 – Plex Upgrade

    This was the most important part of my purchases.  Plex has been struggling for space for a few months now, and needed a new HD.  I ran into some annoying issues with the copying process though.

    I figured I could just pop the new HD in my server along with the old one and its SSD boot drive. Well, I was horribly wrong. I hadn’t been in there for some time, and forgot that it only has 2 bloody SATA power plugs. No possible way to plug in 3 drives at once.  I got creative.  I removed the boot disk, and plugged in the 5 and 12 TB drives. I then booted to PMagic and spent 10 hours copying data from one drive to the other.

    I got the new drive installed and had to redo most of Plex to point at the new location.  Things are running GREAT!  I had to spend an annoying amount of time fixing the download VirtualBox as it didn’t like me moving directories around.

    STAGE 3 – Restore Video Cold Storage

    This is where I ran into the worst problems, and sadly they are still on-going.  My old iMac, Anubis, has an old 2 TB drive that I’ve been using as “video cold storage” for some time now. It had nearly a terabyte of old tv shows on it, including over 220 GB of Classic Doctor Who.

    Well, I hooked her up with the intent of copying the data off and discovered she no longer boots.  She’s dead Jim.  I’ve spent the last two days going through every possible thing I can think of to repair the HD and access the files.

    • Attempted safe-mode boot = FAILED
    • Attempted boot to recovery partition = FAILED
    • Created boot thumb drive to run first aid = FAILED
    • Pulled the HD and attempted to run first aid using my MacBook Pro = FAILED
    • Running Recovery software = currently running, but not looking promising

    From what I can see, the HD has just lost its partition table.  It had 2 partitions on it, but it looks like its just un-allocated space. I’m trying everything to recover the partition, but nothing seems promising yet 🙁 The picture on this post is of the current setup trying to recover the data.

    I’m afraid I’ve lost all the goodies I was storing there.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, this HD is about a decade old.  And there is a silver lining, Anubis is going to inherit the old 128 GB SSD that I replaced in my main desktop!

  • TRC: Big things are coming…

    I made some progress on TRC 9 this weekend. Finally settled on a WordPress theme and pulled the trigger on buying it.  I have a lot of configuration to do still, but the picture is a sneak peak.

    Its all uphill from here.  Need to get the layout/theme straightened out to where I like it, then start the arduous process of converting the bulk of the site.

    Expect more updates in the coming weeks 🙂