Author Archives: andreas

RFC Quick Access

To follow best practices, understand and learn new de-facto standards, I read and refer a lot RFCs (Requests for Comments). Luckily, the IETF provides an endless list of RFCs to do so.

If often need quick look into these RFCs while being in an editor or at a console windows. To avoid switching from the keyboard and losing focus, I use a small batch file called rfc.bat to gain access to RFCs very quickly.

rfc batch file call on cmd.exe

The batch script simply calles the IETF RFC URL with the RFC number as parameter.

@echo off
start https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc%1

Where ever the batch files lives, make sure the directory is in your path. I use a folder called c:\Prg\batch which is synchronized over all my computers.

I have adapted this approach to a variety of manual tasks to open files which live on a dedicated place. E.g. I use a much more sophisticated script to open Visio diagrams based on process numbers from our company sharepoint to gain quick access instead of maneuvering through a bunch of websites. These are more than 500 documents named based on a alphanumeric pattern, so this way makes it much more easy to find and open the documents.

I don’t know how I was able to survive without…

… comic style images of me. No kidding. I text a lot with my wife. At work or university, sometimes there is only a little time between appointments – sometimes not enough for a phone or Facetime call.

Personal emojis as provided by Bitmoji make the difference. We (my wife and myself) use this a lot – and it’s fun even for a grown-up adult.

iPhone iMasse Screenshot using the Bitmoji emojis

It comes as a iPhone app which provides an keyboard with the emojis, but also a an Android app and is available as Chrome extension as well.

To create your avatar you simply create one selfie, and within seconds you’ll have your personal comic style emojis to be used in almost any ab by copying and pasting the images.

It’s not a productivity tool at all and basically, it is just a little bit of fun – but hey, who told that life should be no fun at all?

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