Tidying up 8TB worth of external drives

Way way back in the day my friend’s dad was quite familiar with how computers worked. He showed me how to open his beige case up and point out the individual components. I had no idea what he was talking about. But two things stood out to me, and since he said it I never forgot those words: One, if you can get more space, take it. And two, you will always run out. Stay organized and back it all up.

Over time I was introduced to a variety of computer systems and their operating systems. From Atari to Gateway, from Apples to Dells, desktops, laptops, netbooks, powerbooks, iPads, iMacs, .. and in 2017 I was able to do finally upgrade my old 24″ iMac from 2009 with a 27″ iMac from 2017.

Not only did this upgrade come with a much improved Intel CPU, and other faster internals. The screen went from an old fashioned 24″ to a 27″ retina 5k, and the internal drive from 640gb slow spinnable parts hard disk to a new Nvme 1TB SSD that’s significantly faster. Of course, the ports on the back went from USB2 to USB-C/USB3, which really helps as well. And the latter, that’s what this blog article is basically about.

Because from way way back in the day all the way up to this new SSD drive, I’ve had many drives. And because I’ve been quite picky with the ones I bought: They actually lasted! On top of that, my policy on how to deal with data apparently has helped as well. Which is: Each time I need a new drive, try to either buy one that’s dramatically faster, or if it’s for storage, then dramatically bigger. And get the data off of the oldest, smallest, slowest drive and then destroy that one (after it has served it’s purpose of being an ‘extra’ backup drive for a while. Any drive of course that shows any sign of breaking down is getting destroyed without remorse.

Okay, that brings us to today. The new iMac is here, and I’ve familiarized myself with it. And in the last six months I’ve been saving up to buy a few SSD drives (on the cheap) and a few usb-c and usb-3 cables (to sata3 adapter) to help me quickly connect these old(er) drives to the system. Excellent! It really works well, and I am very happy about that.

One extra thing that I had to do is split the dozen of drives in three piles: These are big and fast, these are new and faster, and these one or two are just terrible and have bad sectors and are falling apart.

The last pile I went through, got the data off of them that I wanted to keep, checked the data’s integrity and backed it all up. Then those drives were destroyed. They were too small to be used for backups, and too unreliable to be used for projects. To name a few things.

The pile of drives that were new and fast I’ve tested. The best performing ones I’ve put on the usb-c connection, and the bigger and a bit slower ones I’ve put on USB-3. The usb-c connected drives I basically consider internal secondary drives and I don’t remove those. They are quiet, all SSD as well, and I consider them part of the system. The other ones on USB-3 I consider media. This also means I can unplug them if needed, or at least unmount them. Sidenote: The usb-3 drives are pretty quiet, so it’s fine to have them on the whole time. Unlike the 4bay that I am mentioning next.

And that left me with 1 free usb-3 port, and a pile of drives that are older, slower, and of different sizes. And they certainly do not need to be connected all the time, or mounted all the time. In fact, they might contain data I don’t wish to have linked to a system that’s always on the Internet. My solution was easy: A four drive bay external usb-3 enclosure. And nothing fancy, no need for hardware RAID, etc. I really just wanted to put those four drives in there and have them mount, so I could access them. And it worked. It’s not too expensive (around 90 euro), and all my old 3.5″ drives mounted just fine. They sure are noisy though, geesh. But that’s okay. It’s a solution to a problem, and I only incidentally need access to those drives.

Assume everything is connected at the same time. All the ports in the back are occupied by external hard drives and SSD drives. What do we have?

Well, an internal 1TB drive, and on the usb-c ports I have both SSD, they’re 240gb and 525gb (my first time machine). Then the 3 usb-c ports have my LaCIE 500gb drive, my extra backup drive of 320gb that’s basically a clone of the LaCIE drive. And a 2 TB media drive that’s being used for projects, clips, photos, and what not. Yep, that’s already the first 5 TB of data.

The last usb-3 port has the four bay enclosure with inside it three 1 TB drives, and a 750gb drive. There you have it, the last 3, making it a total of 8 TB on this system.

Performance note: The internal SSD is the fastest, obviously. The usb-c ports are 10gbit, giving the really fast external SSD their best performance possible at 6gbit max. The usb-3 ports are 5gbit, but have older hard disk drives, at 6gbit, but of course at 5gbit max. Not that they can reach those speeds, but I thought it was worth mentioning it.

Why do I have it like this? Because this is what I can afford. We’re talking 150 bucks in enclosures and cables, versus a hardware RAID nas on Thunderbolt 3 with 2TB ssd drives etc. Something that’s too expensive, obviously.

Fine! What kind of speeds are we talking about? Well, the internal drive has read speeds of around 2500, the external ssd around 500, and the older drives around 100. The point is 50% performance, and 50% access to my data. Before this setup on the old system, I had a couple of usb ports with only 2 external loud enclosures, on usb2. And it was a terrible experience to make backups, and to do anything with the data. Now I have every drive connected to the system, and I can tidy things up. And whatever I don’t use daily I can just unplug. And the drives that do need performance are performing really well. Not only that, if I somehow get a 2TB sata3 drive, I just unplug the 240 and there we go, done.

Anyway, let’s move on to the tidying up of all this data.

My desktop finally has all those drives mounted, so first thing I did was change all the passwords on the encrypted drives to something new (so it was no longer a guessing game anymore since I never write these passwords down). And I made sure every drive that wasn’t enjoying full disk encryption is certainly encrypted now. At the same time I was also renaming them, giving them some tags, and simply making sure I know what’s on which drive predominantly.

I wrote down what type of data I might have, media, documents, music, you know, the works. And I’ve decided where to store what, how, and why. And just took it from there. No more ‘organize this folder’ directories spread all over these drives, but a central point where I can dump that and go through it. No more img_41.jpg files all over the place, but moved to a central point, organized by year and type (personal, private,.. etc) and if it was part of a project, properly organized and moved to the projects. All that sort of stuff.

But you can do that for days, weeks, probably years. Because, eight terabyte really isn’t a joke. It’s years of data, from 1995 onwards, even if it are just 3 files. Or a backup .zip from 2006’s old powerbook. A server .tarball.gz dump with databases and web server files, that’s encrypted and needs to be moved to the right place (and maybe there are 17 backups of it that need to be figured out). Not to mention checking file integrity, corruption (and avoiding it). While dealing with older and newer file system types.

At the same time the current system is trying to index all of this data, and keeping track of it. As well as backing it up on Time Machine, or at the least, I have to also back it up manually because I can’t depend on just that automated backup system from Apple.

I know, it doesn’t have to be finished tonight. And throughout the years I’ve attempted various times to address this problem. Now with this current solution of a faster system, more i/o with faster transfer speeds, and better ways of handling bigger data or massive amount of .txt files, etc. It’s a lot easier. And with all these drives mounted, there is overview as well. It’s no longer on a per disk basis.

That’s actually the other reason I write this blog article. To kind of show the importance of knowing what data you have, and to let you think about storing it, backing it up, organizing it. Letting you think along with me if you might have 3000+ pictures that need to be deleted, or.. moved to a project folder. What’s public? Personal or private?

Oh, let’s talk about that. Since a year or so I’ve moved more towards a system where I consider public data on my system stuff that I can just grab and share on social media, with friends or strangers. It’s already been vetted by me basically. Then there’s personal data, maybe that’s not really public, like a picture of my family dinner. But I can still share that with certain people. Like my family members or close friends. But maybe I would have to think twice about sharing it on the Internet or whatever. And there is private data. That’s just for me, my eyes only. By default this is where everything goes. Unvetted, so to speak. These can be screenshots of things I buy online, to personal conversations that are backed up (like an email thread or staff forum discussions) – things that aren’t meant to be shared with others.

This is a system that works pretty well. Everything that goes onto the computer one way or the other is by default private, until reviewed and considered public or personal. An example: You and I have a chat session over lunch about your new website. I give some pointers, we draw a couple of things on the iPad, and we take examples of the web for inspiration. This ‘concept’ data goes into the projects section, is considered private. There’s no big secret here, but it’s obviously not meant to be shared online. It’s your site in development, that’s nobody’s business. A project can always have an _export/ folder with _public/ content that eventually made it to social media after a private chat: “let’s post a sneak peak on instagram? sure!”.

Okay, so I have years of data, spread over various systems, loads of duplicates, loads of backups, and some of it is private, some of it is public. It needs to be tidied up. Now I can. At least, I can make a start, and I can do it a lot better.

And who knows, at some point in the future all these drives get replaced with a 10 TB external drive, giving me all those external ports back again. But at least I know what I will be putting on it. Oh, and if you want to help me out get to that point: Feel free to give me a personal gift of some money to save up for it, or perhaps the drive in question. I am always open to improving my tech stuff.

Back to tidying up, I’ve distracted myself long enough writing this blog article. And the backup has completed transferring between a couple of drives. It’s time for me figure out what to do with this archive of backups before I move on to the next thing.

Oh, if you have some computers, some hard drive, and no idea what to do. Hopefully this post can help you get started. If not.. contact me. I am sure we can talk about your personal situation and I’d love to give you some personal advice on what hardware to get (if any) or on how to get your data organized. And please, on macOS, just right click that external drive, select ‘encrypt’ and give it a password you don’t forget (and don’t have to share with others). It’s the first step to show that you actually care about your personal data.

Having a Sam day

Okay, bare with me on this one. Because this might be a bit strange to some that know me, but .. I might be offline for an hour or two. Hold on!.. hold on! I am okay! Don’t panic.

I am going to have what I like to call a “Sam Day”.

Psst, if you don’t want to read this all and instead listen to this second blogisode, check out the video at the bottom of the page 🙂

Samantha, a friend of mine, has this company called ‘SamCoaching’. Which is about helping each other make career choices, etc. One of the things that she does that stood out, is something that I try to apply once in a while.. For a couple of weeks she goes offline on purpose, to step away from tech and social media and such.

Well, actually. I try to think about that myself and then purposely decide to turn off all my devices. Maybe once a week, once a month.. sometimes once an hour. I just need to unplug from the Matrix. Let’s link to her page if you’re interested in more info, (but then come back ok? :p This blog is about ME ME ME).

Let’s quote her: “Your online should help improve your offline” (something along those lines). And I agree. Your offline life shouldn’t suffer from being online the whole time. Instead, what you do online should simply help you with your offline (stuff). Am I making any sense? Well, it makes quite a bit of sense to me.

https://www.facebook.com/keuzecoaching/

Anyway, she encouraged us on her Facebook a couple of times in 2017 to just go offline for a few weeks. And I ignored that. A few weeks? YEAH RIGHT .. I am far from being able to do that. But I didn’t really-really ignore it. If you have been following my blog over the last couple of years you might have read about this topic a few times. I’ve mentioned that I just want to go for a bike ride, a walk, or just turn off my tech stuff, and go enjoy doing offline things.

But .. I can do it much more right? And more on purpose, .. longer? The new year seems like a great excuse.

So yeah, today I am having what I have noted on my #todo list as a ‘sam day’. It simply means that I try to put my tech away, I turn on do not disturb or even airplane mode and just stop caring about notifications and social media replies. And all that stuff that’s just so distracting. A little me time for a healthier mind isn’t a bad thing, and instead of sitting down behind a computer for an hour, .. walking for an hour helps me physically as well.

And sure, I can’t do two weeks, like I said, I socialize online, I teach myself things online, I help others online with their stuff, .. all sorts of things: Tech is important to me. Walking away from that means I feel a tiny bit more unhappy throughout the da… wait, am I? How the hell am I supposed to know? I don’t actually stay offline long enough to find out. This year I want to find a balance that works, for all those reasons. And Sam’s that great mental reminder. Oh, and she said she also calls it SamCoaching once in a while and sam is from samen (together), so I guess I have to go offline and socialize there a little more as well.

Here we are, online, writing this blog. But, when I went to bed last night I turned off my devices, and I left it off when I woke up. I took a few hours to tidy up the place and play with kittycat (She’s @SashaPurr on Twitter by the way), and I only turned on my phone to start an hour long podcast. Which I listened to while having a walk outside.

Remember 2016? It was such a lovely day to go for a bike ride.

What do we have this year?

So yeah, it wasn’t the most wonderful walks of all. But it was nice to listen to some podcast and not think about social pokes, or items on a todo list or anything like that. And the audio was a great distraction to make time fly. It made walking easier. I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Maybe Sam didn’t mean it like the way that I apply it, but .. using my tech to get me online to get a podcast downloaded that I could listen to offline to be more offline. That worked for me. :p

Surely this one hour this year is nothing compared to what the Spring and Summer seasons might be when it’s even nicer to go for even longer walks, but it’s a start.

“Hey Siri, set a weekly reminder to have a Sam day”. And maybe eventually I’ll make that a daily thing.

I cannot stress enough: password manager

Because people hate reading, I will just simplify this and then get into it a bit deeper.

1- Get a password manager, and use it!
2- Use unique, long and strong passwords (with a couple of exceptions) with 2FA.
3- Stop coming to me if you don’t listen, I am tired of solving your stupidity.

Psst! This blog post has a unique podcast style audible version at the end. You don’t like reading? Check out the video!

Yes, I am being rude, but I continue to receive weekly requests to help people out with their account problems online. And while I love to help my family and friends, it’s not needed. I am literally wasting my time. Because despite that I harp on this over and over again: You still use the same easy to guess password everywhere. Or you simply don’t use a manager and you can’t even remember which email you’ve used to sign up with in the first place.

And how do I solve this problem for you? I hack you. Basically. And it’s not even a hack. I just go online and check known sites where they have multiple gigabytes of databases with your email address in it. And trust me: It’s in there. If the password is old, I just wait two months, because another big site will leak their data and we have the newer one.

How is that even possible? Simple: Websites don’t always anticipate their success. They start with an idea, put a user system to it, apply basic authentification and then go through stages of upgrades and updates. But security isn’t being taken serious. They think encryption is fine. Well, sure, it can be. If you don’t store the decryption keys on the same system. They get hacked, and yep, the hackers just decrypt the data using the key provided by the company itself. Or, they only use an old hashing system. Their developer thinks md5/sha1 hashing is ‘good enough’, but it’s so outdated you can just look it up on a rainbow table (as they call it) and match a hash to a known entry. There are numerous examples like this. And trust me: malicious users target popular sites. And they do get in. Ask Facebook, ask LinkedIn, ask Twitter, ask PayPal, ask your bank for crying out loud.

It’s annoying, and it’s harder, and more time consuming to have different passwords for various sites with additional layers of security, and extra encryption or hardware keys for two step authentification, or an app on the phone for two factor auth. But sorry, it’s what is needed.

Who cares! I got nothing to hide. Is that a challenge? Want me to tell your husband who you’re actually talking to on Facebook msg? Because you use the same password on a gaming website that stored their passwords in plain text? Want your boss to get copies of your emails about your political opinion (where you’re not holding back because you think you’re talking to a brother or whatever) and your email password is the same as that LinkedIn password from a few years ago? Imagine how long malicious people might have already been inside your accounts and you haven’t even noticed. Just waiting for you to share your credit card details with your dad who needs help online.

Stop scaring me! Sorry, I am not. It’s the reality of the world we live in. And malicious people don’t care about you – they care about your identity, your PayPal login that’s linked to your bank with a 50,000 credit limit. They care about your business account for insider information to make stock choices that can ruin your boss’ company and make them rich.

Ignoring it is fine, as long as nothing happens. But don’t call me anymore please to help you out when it goes wrong. I’ve done it for so long and by now the Internet has matured enough that it’s mainstream to every generation. All our operating systems are online, with in the cloud features, syncing, family sharing, etc. Your grandma on her iPad watching Netflix.

When something happens now, I just want to say: You knew this, you’ve chosen to ignore it. Please contact me before anything happens – so we can talk privacy and security and help lower the risk of compromise, lower the damage, help you stay in control a bit more.

So 1. Get a password manager. They’re much more affordable than the damage from a stolen identity. And they are cross platform these days as well. Get a family account, so you can help yourself and your family members. Just write down in a login the name of the thing you signed up on, the url to find it, the username you created, which email you signed up with. What password you set, which security questions and answers, write down those 2fa backup codes, if you can turn on 2FA and note down that you have 2fa turned on or off.

2. Most password managers hook into the browser, you can just copy paste long, strong, unique passwords of 32 characters of shit and never remember them. You have an app that works and does it.

Which app? 1password (from agile), get the stand alone version.

3. If you do desire to get some help, I’d love to help. I have no problem giving you security and privacy advice on the Internet. I am always open to help share what I have learned myself.

Oh, and you’re so perfect? No, my details are out there as well. Because I sign up on loads of sites and they all get compromised and have their data leaked online – nothing I can do about that. But I moved to 1Password, and use 32+ character long strings – and I change them every 6 to 12 months. And I’ve been using a password manager for years now. Which is why it’s such a surprise to me that you haven’t yet. I blog about this every year, I tweet about that every year. I post warnings on Facebook, every year! When are you going to finally take your online presence a bit more serious?

(Don’t get me wrong, in case of a compromise or data leak you are not at fault, you’re the victim, but instead of panicking if your password that’s now public is going to be a problem, you should ‘only worry’ and you should only have to change it knowing it didn’t affect your banking, email, business accounts, etc)

How to get 1password? I want to be clear, many password managers out there use their own site for sharing the vault with your data. I am utterly against that. Agilebit has changed in the last year to a subscription model and I am not too happy about that. I want the vault on my systems and my systems alone. There’s no need to put it on Dropbox, iCloud, or Agile’s own servers. No matter if I hold the decryption keys and they claim they’re the best in the business. I’ve learned to never trust anybody. (Thank you Steve Gibson “trust no one” TNO) But 1Password is the only one who does properly secure the data you enter in the vault. And their apps work on Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, .. and they still sell the standalone version.

They’re hiding it on a phycologically ugly old page away from their frontpage. But you can get it here:
https://agilebits.com/store

However, they do sell the subscription model if you trust that. You will have more convenience of them handling a lot of the backend, but in exchange you give them your data in a vault to access through the web as well. What you do is your choice, but this year I still recommend to sync local over your lan with the standalone 1Password version on a Mac and with iOS.

One reason I am against giving them my vault is when they said (not a direct quote) “it doesn’t matter if we get compromised, if the malicious people have your vault they still cannot get into it”. Yeah.. famous last words. Who cares if I am the only one with the master password, and that they cannot get into it. That blob of data is still my whole life – every account and bank details, credit cards, etc that a malicious person has a copy of. I want to know there are 3 copies, one on this mac, one on my iPhone and one in my mind. Go with the standalone.

Anyway, I am going on a tantrum (and I can! this is my blog, *scoffs*)

There are a few exceptions to my preaching, when it comes to unique and long strong passwords of a billion characters, etc. The master password. Your Apple ID, .. stuff that when you think about it you can NOT copy/paste from a password manager. Through examples: You can not get a copy of your Apple ID from the password manager if you can’t download the app on a new device. You have to login to your Apple ID to download the app in the first place. (Yes, there are ways around that obviously) And you can’t get a copy/paste of the password managers’ master password because you need to open the app first. Duh moment here!

In those cases I do recommend to either apply common sense to create something that you know and others can’t brute force too easily. Avoid mega complex long strings that you can forget, because you shouldn’t forget those important passwords. But of course, these passwords obviously do matter, they are the access to so so much more. Your Apple ID should be strong and unique, but not too complex that you can’t figure it out. So either have it also on the app on your phone so you can read it from the screen and still semi easily type it over, or write it down somewhere and store that in a safe place.

And I can get technical here, because there are more of these situations: Start your computer (you need a bios password), your operating system loads (you need to login to your account), you mount a hard drive (it’s encrypted, you need a password for that), and you need to get into iCloud (your apple id is needed a lot), and your password manager (has a master pass you need). After all that, you’re ready to get into your email finally.. PFF, but let’s keep it simple. I know almost nobody cares about their precious data they don’t back up (yes, I judge all of you!) so nobody has a strong computer login, almost nobody has full disk encryption, and nobody has a bios password set. So I am sticking in this blog post to your master password and the apple id. (if you’re on windows, you’re in a whole different world of pain, please please use a password manager).

Anyway, my point was that there are a few exceptions. And that managing your online presence isn’t easy or convenient. But it’s a lot easier than problem solving.

Wow, made it to the end! Thank you for reading, and despite my cynical look on things, or my negative attitude: I mean well. I want you to not be a victim of data leaks and account compromises, and I could go on for hours – but it starts with taking your online presence serious and using a password manager.

About a dozen Pringles boxes

Surely enough I’ve mentioned this on at least social media, if not on my blog somewhere: I find creative ways to save up a bit of money. In the past I’ve simply created a second bank account for saving up for my iMac. I’ve also bought little mini box with layers in it to put stickers on to have goals to save up. And this time around I’ve gone a little crazy: Pringles boxes to the max.

Pringles has those cylinder shaped boxes for their chips. And throughout 2017 I’ve been buying their smaller versions and kept them for a Dutch Sinterklaas project. That’s over now. And I have the boxes left over. Perfect. Now I can start saving in them in 2018. Voila, it’s 2018 now.

A year has 12 months, I have 12+ boxes, it’s meant to be (angel music starts playing).

They’re a messy pile on my kitchen table so I am not going to include a picture of it, you have to use your imagination this time. But basically they will end up in my closet or something with a bit of paper in them with a goal. And that’s it. When I get home I check what money I came home with and spread that around those boxes. Slowly saving up for those goals. Cheating isn’t possible. I can’t put 10 euro in one box knowing what’s inside it, because I want it more. Nope, the papers go in the boxes folded, the boxes go randomly in the closet. And throughout the year I just put the money I come home with in it.

Maybe I end up with just a euro in 12 months from now, but my aim is a bit higher.

Why so many boxes? Because it makes me realise I need ‘more’ pieces of money to be able to fill up more boxes. Just one means I can be mentally content with just dumping in the 10 or 50 cents and forget about it. Maybe keep the 2 euro in my pocket for bread the next day. Nope, not now. Now I put the 10 in one, 50 in the other and the 2 euro in the third. Just how it is. Tough luck for me.

Why am I so stupid doing this? Because saving is tougher and tougher, and I have tried to lower my bills, be more aware of electricity and water / heater usage, and all that. But in the meantime everything gets more expensive; Making saving money even harder than the other year. I don’t mind struggling a little bit, but only if there’s something at least at the end of the rainbow. And I don’t mean a bigger bill. I mean a few boxes with some extra cash in it.

What am I saving for? Whatever! Lunch with the family, a birthday party, Christmas in France riviera, a new pencil, or some paint for the bedroom. It doesn’t matter. My todo/wishlist is big enough and only growing – and surely not getting any less.

This also forces me to mentally be more aware of what I spend, how I spend it, and when I get home after spending money that I don’t spend the leftovers the day after but that I use it for more important things at the end of the year.

And if this means I can’t buy the bread tomorrow, maybe that will make me buy cheaper bread, or at least buy smarter on my groceries. A box of rice maybe, instead of potato wedges. A bottle of lemonade or box of tea, instead of two cans of cola. Heck, it might even be better for my health that way as well.

So yeah.. I might have a closet somewhere with little boxes filled with coins and paper money by the end of the year. The hardest part is that when I need money for super serious things and bills like rent, that I don’t touch these.. They are considered to be input only.

“Hey Sir, set a daily reminder at 5 pm to save a bit of money”, “ok, but Apple already has all your money” DAMNIT SIRI

Copyright 2018

It’s that time again. A new year means that webmasters (ouch, that term!) have to review the sites they have/manage/operate. From backups, archiving, bug fixes, security patches, a/b testing, and whatever else your todo list might entail, all the way up to checking if the data in the footer is still valid.

Are the links still valid? Is the information listed still correct? Contact options still working? And of course: the copyright. Update it if it doesn’t do it automatically yet.

I’ve posted about this in the past, so let’s just link you to that post 🙂

http://mrfloris.com/article/2241/copyright-2016/

Please read the whole blog post, but for the inpatient ones:

Here’s how I do it in PHP: (My preferred method)

Copyright &copy; <?=date("Y")?>

Here’s how I do it in JavaScript: (Note: This is client-side)

Copyright &copy; <script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear());</script>

And here’s how to do it in Ruby:

Copyright &copy; <%= Time.now.year %>

If you have a website and need some help changing the code, feel free to contact me. Maybe I can help.

Hello 2018

Here we are, another year on our calendar has started. Welcome to 2018. Hopefully you had a wonderful holiday season with positive experiences and fantastic foods. But *snap*, let’s get back to reality. Life’s tough, and sometimes a struggle. But here we are. How about we work together to make the best of it, and then pay that forward?

Last night I fall asleep watching a show on Netflix, yay for having an iPad by the way, and feeling great that it’s the first day of the new year and that this will being so many opportunities with it. I put a scratch ticket away that told me I won six euro. Ha! What a fun way to start the new year. It made me think back of those nights years before where instead of something fun, I actually had nothing but negative feelings, bad news, or that sort of stuff. Yeah.. I am glad this is where we are today.

There and then I decided that even if it is just six euro, that it’s perhaps a nice idea to put that aside for something nice to do later this year. And that maybe something positive will come from it. A first step towards taking advantage of upcoming opportunities perhaps? And I woke up to an email that someone donated me fifty euro “just because”. What? Hello Karma, I see you’ve made it to 2018 as well. I am not really supersticious, but it’s almost a sign.

Karma, opportunities, positive thoughts, .. what’s missing? Paying it forward. While still waking up and going through some messages while petting the cat snuggled up against my hip, I decided to get out and get up in a bit and first do something for someone else. One way or another. And to hold myself accountable I would for example share that with others.

One of my friends’ daughter wants to play Minecraft, so let’s make sure that server is online. I’ve already worked on it earlier in December, and she joined just the other day. But there’s not much to explore just yet. My plan was to live-stream on Youtube updating the spawn area of the Wilderness world so it’s more fun to go there. Paying forward to hopefully finding her feeling motivated to make fun builds and get her friends involved and have a fun time playing together with them.

Having skipped breakfast basically, I had a drink of water and cleaned the water and food bowls of my cat. A little pet on her head and it’s time to start some laundry, open the balcony door for some fresh air and gather up some garbage to throw out when I go downstairs later. Huh, I thought, I haven’t had nothing but throughts in my mind the last month or so that I wished to pick up bloggng again. Maybe it’s time to do something for myself as well. So here I am, writing this right now. Thank you for reading it.

And as my mind wonders what else I want to do, I realise this years’ todo list is going to be even bigger than the last couple of years. I have to update my blog to better support 2018, I have to post to the public that the new year is a great time to change your most used passwords again. To let site owners know they have to double check the footer on their site. And start budgetting for upcoming stuff, etc. My head is overflowing already. Yep. Real life kicks in. I am sure when I am downstairs later a new bill is already waiting for me in my mailbox.

For now, I have had a nice night, some positive karma, and I paid it forward. For today this will be the blog post and the other thing I can do today is share my smiles with family members and meet up with my sister or niece, and say hi to my parents. Laundry should be done by now, and it’s time for a shower. I appreciate it that you follow what I do with my life, it motivates me to share my knowledge online, give suggestions and recommendations, and help where I can. While making tutorials and videos about stuff I am working on. So stay tuned, subscribe and like, and tweet me back or reply to facebook. Let me know how you’re doing as well.

My own little world

Nope, not going to charge my batteries so I am ready to talk to others. I am not going to sit here waiting for others to show up and give me attention. I am not going to be there for others for once and give them their attention. I want to avoid conflict, frustration, irritation, or a smile, some love, or a snuggle. There’s no need for anything right now. My brain is full, my world is getting griefed and my walls are crumbling. ‘Things’ are piling up and everything appears to be undetermined.

tldr; For myself, I just need to be in my own little world for a while. Just for a moment. I need myself. To be myself.

Finding myself is something different than running into myself and dealing with confrontation. Time moves, forward, we experience it ‘that way’, and I can’t stop what is ahead of me, what’s the logical cycle of life and what I just simply have to go through. So, no, sorry Universe, not today. Floris is closed. Shut down, get out. Go bother someone else.

My dreams, my void, my moot arguments, my intensely meaningful reasoning, and anything in between from having a shit to idling on the balcony in a rainstorm with a cup of tea. My mind, my thoughts, my movements, my decisions, my .. self. My little world today.

After asking Siri to just get lost the lights turn off slowly as I dwindle away in a sleep. No noise, no background chatter, no pokes and no calls. No shaky eyes, no headaches, .. just nothing. I experience nothingness. And it’s close to feeling normal. Dreams, they happen, REM sleep achieved, waking up with a smile and moving on. Not checking any systems, any devices, not trying to share a smile with anybody. Just a cup of tea and I am even ignoring the cat at this point. I smile and step into the light rain on the balcony and sit in the corner, no wind, no rain. Feet up, tea down, cat on lap asking for food. Later. You can wait.

I charge my phone and ignore the pokes and calls that I missed, I put my earbuds in and turn on some loud music and disappear with my eyes closed feeling the cold wind trying to touch me to tell me to go inside and do what the Universe wants from me. Yeah. go fuck yourself. not working today.

My little world, my experiences, my choices to clean and tidy or not, and move things around and throw stuff out, or whatever. When i am in the kitchen I give the cat some food and give her a pet, well there. I shared some love.

Easter is over, I spent time with family, I had a rough week of emotions and headaches and the stress of real life. I just want to sit here and hear the noises and be entertained, to feel silence ~ no vibrations from anything in this world. Life would be perfect right now if this was a post apocalyptic world and there’s nothing but the weather to create a tremble underneath my feet. It is pretty Zen, blocking out the world, diving into my mind and ignoring the thoughts.

The lights turn on in the apartment as the weather gets worse, and the devices are now charging so I can leave my apartment whenever I want to. I throw some laundry in the machine and go through a todo list for online and offline stuff and sit down after washing my hands. Cracking open a can of soda, enjoying the ice cold drips against my lips and the texture of something sweet. Earbuds in again, phone on a podcast, and let’s just sit there in a different world for a few hours. Airplane mode on, I don’t want any unexpected disruptions expecting my attention. Family, friends, life, bills, .. it can wait. If i was dead you’d all forget me after a short period of time. So just a day without me should be manageable.

Loudly I scream along with the lyrics of 30 Seconds to Mars, their hidden track. I wish I could play the drums. I make a mental note to visit my niece this Summer to learn how to play some drums and this song.

A look at the time and I notice it turned from 4am to 6am to 12pm, and time had no grip on me. Nothing mattered.

Is that the trick though? Don’t care about others, be selfish, disappear in a world of ignorance and find happiness when you believe that nothing matters? Surely I have that wrong. For today though, i am a little step closer. Stronger for tomorrow.

How will I find myself? It is as if I remember a decade ago I would have the obvious answer, and now I am struggling to find where to start finding a response to that question.

Who I was when I was younger, or as a teen, what went on in my mind. My universe, my world, my moments, my mind, my soul. It seems to have been someone, growing, growing towards something. It was as if it had a goal. That feeling, it is now so far behind me, away from me.

In my book I once wrote that the a delightful thing about falling apart as men is that we can get up and start again. Maybe I have learned that each time I break, I am like water and slip through fingers trying to hold me up, while I try to be so powerful that I can hold up a boat, but in reality pieces of me get washed away by being who I am.

Today, I close my eyes and I feel who I am, making sure I won’t lose it all.

A confusing post? Shrug, I wrote this for me, not you. Sorry.

A friendly place to be: omgboards.com

Back in the day when I started a forum on creations.nl, I got sucked into being part of communities, and building them.

I have helped out with sites so they could get started, customize it to their need and give advice on how to manage them. It was fun, up until real life and online stress kinda took the fun out of it. Time for a break. We survived for ten years, and it was time to call it quits. But, let’s call it hibernation, and the long winter is over. We’re back.

Our sites are merged into one, restored from database backups, and upgraded to the latest LAMP setup and latest software packages. And we (re)started the community under one domain name: omgboards.com

Some of you reading this might think: hey, didn’t I used to post on one of your sites back in the day? You’re welcome to find the answer, see if you have an account, restore it, and come say hi. I’d love to share a smile and a post with you again.

If you don’t have a clue what I am talking about: Before social networks and facebook, twitter, etc, we had online bulletin boards, forums, communities, and we had a great group of friends and you can be part of that if you want. Just sign up and come say hi.

creations.nl went through a history of domain changes, vbfans, wetalk, all the way to now https://omgboards.com/

Anyway, a bit more on the history of my creations.nl community, check this post. And to read more about us being back, check this one.

Thinking about the Internet of Things

I love sci fi, I love gadgets, I love tech, I love things that are shiny. I freaking love Apple stuff. And I want it all, now, and that includes hoverboards, flying things, mini micro nano robots and amazing tech that helps me every day.

The iPhone was a good first step about ten years ago. I think since it’s a decade later, I am ready to invest in something else.

Automation, augmented reality, virtual reality, blah blah, it’s all in the making, and so super shitty right now. I need a license still to buy a car and legally drive it. So those things are off the table for me. I can’t see 3D stuff, and with my bad eyes, most assisted reality (they should really just call it that, HEY APPLE, you paying attention? Give me a free maxed out iMac and you can use that term).. anyway, with my bad eyes and no 3D I can not really use those assisted reality things, so that’s sorta off the table.

What’s left are the sci fi feelings and techy gadgets that are here today, and have undergone a few iterations and generations. But I hate them, if I am honest.. the privacy and security issues that come with it require me to just not buy it, and then again their price is just a luxury elitist value. And what you get for it is a replacement for getting up and dialing a knob yourself.

But okay, I love this stuff, I don’t care. I don’t care that it makes me look spoiled and rich, which I am not. Fuck – trust me, my life really isn’t that great; you probably have it better off. BUT ANYWAY, that’s not the point. I feel more ‘nice’ and happy having my sci fi gadgets. It’s why I save up money and get an iPad, an iPhone, and a new computer (like, what, .. every ten years. sigh).

So it’s time for something new, something shiny, something that has a new car smell and I want to brag about and that helps me be more lazy and cozy at the same time, and makes me feel that all this shit I deal with every day is worth it a little bit. Because I say ‘Siri, goodnight’ and it turns off my lights, and changes the heater, and that sorta nonsense.

I feel like I am in this old apartment that’s not worth anything, it’s like a prison that I can’t escape (but I am working on it, I can be patient). So what I would like to do is actually learn about the internet of things, figure out how to say fuck you to the privacy and security stuff that’s the elephant in the room (I have a solution I will share in another blog post) and just shrug. I got 400$ left? I saved it up? Do I need a new iPad? No? Okay, let’s get a Sonor speaker, or a Google Nest thingy, or some Philips Hue lights.

Right? Okay, not too hasty. They are privileged and luxury items. I do not need them. But would it really be so bad to get something you don’t need. WOULD YOU REALLY BE A DICK FOR JUDGING ME FOR HAVING NICE THINGS? Maybe you’re not the person that’s compatible with my life then.

Yeah, I am a bit irritated about the mental struggle of not being comfortable money wise, and deciding what to spend it on. I am 40 now, I feel like I am halfway there, I see everybody around me having health issues and their focus changes on what makes them happy in life. Why wait until I can’t get any of this awesome shit that made me so happy to dream about during my childhood. Why not now?

I am going to break the news to you if you haven’t noticed it yet: I want the sci fi shiny things, but I will put some thought into it. So I get “the apple of shiny things” and not the lame loser fake kickstarter nonsense that seems like a dream but it really is “the microsoft of products” and just doesn’t do what you want it to do. And I know, that means it’s probably a bit more expensive. Therefor I have to save money for it, and think twice, and all that.

I’ve mentioned this before on my blog. Every year I review what is old and how to move forward. HDD slow and old? Screw it, from now on any new system is SSD onwards. USB 2 no longer usable in todays world? Fine, don’t even consider it. Move to usb-c and enjoy these thunderbolt3 speeds. I am all in. Is this retina screen really that much better? Are we in a 4k and 5k world? Great, don’t buy a 200 dollar curved widescreen fake 2k monitor for gaming. Get the quality monitor that is great for everything else.

And this year it’s about thinking and prepping for the future. Before I am 60 or 80 and stuck somewhere unable to even use my phone as a controller or unable to speak and tell my assistant to turn off the heater. Let’s learn what wireless and network connected lights, heaters, fridges, microwaves, security camera, and whatever else is out there, there is. So I can say : I do want this, I do not want that. And then moving forward only consider good quality stuff instead of a normal lightbulb, .. “etc”.