tiny Reader RSS

I recently started using Tiny Tiny RSS as feed reader. I was looking for some reader I am able to host by myself. To achieve this, I’ve set up a dockerized version of tt-rss to be hosted on my server (more on this topic later).

While I am overall pleased by the overall experience with tt-rss, I was looking for a complementary iPhone app. I found (and can highly recommend) tiny Reader RSS by Pascal Pluchon.

The app comes with a clean UI, very easy to use. When opening the very first time you might run into the error API_DISABLED.

To fix this, log into tt-rss and navigate to you settings pane. Simply check Enable API to allow the app to communicate with your server.

Link: https://tt-rss.org
Pascal Pluchon’s site: https://www.pluchon.com/en/index.php

The Missing Gadget – USB Charging Port at Microsoft Surface AC Adapter

I currently work in a clean desk office space. Every evening, I pick up everything belonging to me beside the monitors. Every morning I come, I prepare the desk. Putting my laptop there, attaching the power plug, the monitors and so on.

Every morning I get all my devices out of my bag. And every morning I see the same picture.

My daily USB conneectors

And here begins the fun. I currently use a Microsoft Surface Pro – and while I truly love this device and it’s functionality, the USB capabilities are a major drawback. Similar to my MacBook which only provides one USB-C port, the Surface only has one standard USB port.

Microsoft Surface with only one USB port

Most of the devices I can switch based on the particular need (at the desk, in the meeting). However, most of the time, the USB port is occupied to load my mobile devices. Headphones, phone, one more phone, battery pack need to be charged during the day.

Why are USB power outlets on workplaces not a standard, nowadays? On my desk I find power outlets and netport ports. However, no possibility to charge my USB devices. Maybe you have this already on your working space, but here, we don’t have it.

Eventually, Microsoft Surface AC adapter comes with a very simple solution . It provides a USB power outlet allowing you to charge your devices without the need to occupy one (or the one) USB port of your laptop.

This solution is just obvious and practical. I wonder why this is not a standard on AC adapters meanwhile. I hope to see this more often in the future.

Windows 10 PowerToys

I loved PowerToys for Windows 95! Now they are back. To be found on GitHub. Available summer 2019.

PowerToys is a set of utilities for power users to tune and streamline their Windows experience for greater productivity.
Inspired by the Windows 95 era PowerToys project, this reboot provides power users with ways to squeeze more efficiency out of the Windows 10 shell and customize it for individual workflows. A great overview of the Windows 95 PowerToys can be found here.
The first preview of these utilities and corresponding source code will be released Summer 2019.

Link: https://github.com/Microsoft/PowerToys

My recent Gaming Podcast Listening List

Currently, I commute roundabout 1 hour a day each way. Mainly caused by construction sites and daily crashes on the highway, I spend way too much time in the car. Therefore, I started to listen podcasts about two years ago on a regular base.

For several months, I now had quite a fixed setup of Germany podcasts, I listen throughout the week. Said this, all podcast are German only. There are some additional English speaking podcasts on my backlog, not mentioned here.

Bits und so

Bits und so Podcast

Bits und so is my favorite podcast about Apple. This podcast provides 2-3h information about new developments not only but mostly about Apple products and service. This is one of the most professional podcast you might find hosted by Timo Hetzel.

Link: http://www.bitsundso.de/

Der Nintendo Podcast

Der Nintendo Podcast

Hosted by Lukas Schmid and Johannes Gehrling, this is the very only Germany speaking podcast covering Nintendo topics. It is offered on a weekly base – about 1 – 1,5h of new information and a lot of chitchat about Nintendo related topics, including special guests and flashback episodes covering the Nintendo history.

Link: http://www.pcgames.de/Der-Nintendo-Podcast-Thema-267835/

PC Games Podcast

PC Games Podcast

Also on a weekly base, the PC Games Podcast provides information based on one of the hardest jobs on earth: playing Games. If you want to stay up to day this is a great add on to the PC Games magazine, though.

Link: http://www.pcgames.de/PC-Games-Podcast-Thema-233689/

Spieleveteranen Podcast

Spieleveteranen Podcast

This is a must if you grew up with Atari, C64, Amiga and all the other stuff. If you know Kaiser, Hanse, Baldurs Gate this is a must. You will have high-res flashbacks of you childhood. Promised. Hosted by Heinrich Lenhardt und Jörg Langer, there is also a PATERON bonus program with additional episodes available.

Link: http://www.spieleveteranen.de/

Elite Dangerous: PYRIE EURK QX-U E2-0

While I took part in the Distant Worlds 2 Expedition in Elite Dangerous, I eventually arrived at PYRIE EURK QX-U E2-0 which was the third black hole I visited in the game. While the nebular gives a very special view on the balck hole, I dropped into this system quite unprepared. My ship dropped out of supercruise and was somewhat damaged. After traveling several weeks without any savepoint (some ten thousand of lightyears) this was quite some exciting moment.

Personal Remark

From time to time I will post some remarkable waypoints on this blog. Elite Dangerous is an evolving game, some kind of a space simulation, which is largely covered in the press. In case you want to contact me in game, feel free to find me using my XBOX Live with my gamertag aheil.

Entrypoint Pitfalls in the Mac-o-Windolinux Docker World

I do some work on my MacBook with macOS, on my Windows laptop with Windows 10 and Ubuntu WSL. I work in Visual Studio Code onWindows while running Ansible scripts in my Ubuntu WSL on the same code base. What could possibly go wrong? While I spent the last few evenings debugging, I completely forgot about the obvious. I should know better, though.

CRLF vs LF

When working on my Windows machine I regular forget about file formats. While in many cases the systems are nowadays very resilient, when creating Docker containers this can end up in a big FUBR. In the likely case, you freshly built container using an entrypoint script tells you during a docker-compose up something like

standard_init_linux.go:xxx: exec user process caused "no such file or directory"

go and check the file format of the entrypoint script and switch to LF. At least Visual Studio Code makes it easy.

To bash or not to bash

In case you see exactly the same error, check the entrypoint script again. Is it using bash as mine?


Go ahead and make sure bash is installed in your image. Use something like the line below. On a very regular base, I completely forget about installing bash but keep trying to use it again and again.


apk add bash

No Permission

In case you encounter another obscure message telling you

standard_init_linux.go:xxx: exec user process caused "permission denied"

check the permissions of the entrypoint script.

chmod +x entrypoint.sh 

should do it on on your host. As I run my deployment using Ansible, I use a task similar to

 
- name: Copy entrypoint.sh file
copy:
src: entrypoint.sh
dest: "{{ install_dir }}/entrypoint.sh"
owner: root
group: root
mode: 0755
force: yes

I am still not sure if setting755 and root are best practices and should be modified.

Tool Tipp: Fast.com – The Netflix Speedtest

From time to time you might be interested in how fast your internet connection is. In real. There are various tools out in the wild. In Germany most of the time Speedtest ist used. Many providers also offer a speed test – which in fact ist just a branded site of Speedtest.

The issue here is the fact, the speed test servers are living behind “the internet” in some other computing centers. They never give you a real idea of your connection speed. They give you an idea of how fast the data transfer to these servers is. If the test is run repeatedly, it also provides different results. Depending on the server on the other side.

Today, I learned about fast.com which is a speed test based on the Netflix servers. It seems that if some company knows how to transport large amounts of data bypassing the restrictions of the internet, Netflix is the one. Said that it seems these Netflix servers are the ones least affected by the rest of the internet. Tests I run on fast.com is mostly appropriate, providing similar download rates I see with Xbox Live downloads while other test sides show large divergences.

Therefore, fast.com ist my recent tip if it comes to testing the speed of your internet connection.

fast.com speed test results

Organizing Ideas – A not yet lost Battle

Recently, I have the problem to organize my ideas. To put it upfront: I don’t provide a solution. I simply describe the problem here.

Every time I surf the web, read blogs or news sites and scroll through my twitter feed, I find something interesting. Sometimes colleagues or friends point me to something, sending my a message through on of the many messengers.

Eventually, I want to work through all these articles and sources but often I simply get lost. I forget, don’t find the time and when I have time I don’t remember what or where to look at.

Problem 1: To many Inboxes

Multiple private E-Mail accounts, work e-mail, SMS, multiple messengers, blogs, news sites, work e-mail, Confluence to-do lists, private Microsoft OneNote, work Microsoft OneNote, Teams at work, an Evernote account and so on, this is an endless list of inboxes. Fome quite some time I used Pocket to collect many of these inputs but eventually Pocket turned out just be one additional growing inbox.

For now, I became very pragmatical and forward everything to one single mail account. Links, tweets, articles, photos and so on. Everything I want to read later just piles up on one single account.

Problem 2: Working through the Pile of Shame

For those with kids, they know the problem. Between work, preparing meals, keeping things up and running and spending time with the kids, there is only a little time to get other things done. Especially tasks which take a good amount of thinking, coding or diving deep into technologies. Over time this became a growing list, a queue with no consumer. One problem here is indeed to organize your ideas. I tried Microsoft OneNote, Evernote TheBrain. Eventually, I created just more lists to work through.

At one point I thought about how I organized my ideas and thoughts while writing my doctoral thesis. Eventually, the answer was the act of writing itself. I wrote everything down into a large document which ended up as my thesis. A lot of information was deleted on the way, but at the very end everything was well structured, perfectly organized and compressed to the most relevant information.

While writing another book is still on my list, the solution to my utter problem became obvious. I started to revive my blog. I wrote regularly until 2011 but due to changed focus in my jobs, blog entries became more and more infrequent. I rethought the initial idea of the blog: writing for myself and started to work through my lists and putting down as much as possible to my blog.

How is it going?

Here you are and read one of the things I had on my list. I recently tried to get rid of my “old” lists, one after another is being worked through for interesting stuff, ending in the blog. I am still looking for a nice tool setup which might help me to organize all this information without creating just another inbox, though. Therefore, the problems are not solved yet, but at least they are addressed.

Google XML Sitemaps

I started to learn a bit about Google Webmaster Tools and how to increase the findability of one’s website. First of all, I was looking for a flexible sitemap generator for WordPress where I ended up with Google XML Sitemaps.

Google XML SItemap Plugin

This plugin generates a sitemap file which can be consumed by search engines like Google or Bing. To do so, you have to verify your website with the various providers. Usually, this is done by adding some meta tags to your HTML pages to prove you have full control over the server. Currently, this can be achieved by WordPress’ Jetpack. That way you don’t have to fiddle with the header.php file of your WordPress installation.

WordPress Jetpack Site verification

You don’t have to, but you can sign into the Google Webmaster Tools to check the verification status of your site.

Bing Webmaster Center

Also Bing Webmaster Center will provide you a Meta tag you can provide Jetpack to verify your site and to improve the discoverability of your site.