Week #694 & #695

Friday, June 7th, 02024 at 13:31 UTC

Week #694

Monday was a public holiday in the US, so it was pretty quiet around here. We worked a bit on a CSV conversion project for an Australian company and put the finishing touches on that.

We had another meeting about our book idea. They were very receptive and willing to help sell it, but they weren’t willing to publish it. It was a stretch, but wanted to atleast make an offer. That two rejections now. We sent off to another publisher for feedback, but their process is incredibly annoying. We missed some cut-off date and now they won’t review it until mid-september (at the earliest) and it could take 10-12 weeks to get a reply. That’s December 1st! Which leaves no time for this to be available for Christmas. We like the plan ahead, but in this instance didn’t plan far enough.

We also managed to gave a morning coffee meeting with a friend about a LONG running old TV project idea. He was very receptive and had lots of ideas. Luckily, there is no deadline, but we wanted to get things percolating and meet-up before the summer break.

On our never ending quest for backups and storage, we picked-up another 4TB NAS drive and put that into the QNAP DAS. Which mean we went straight into the account software and logged it. (A stitch in time, saves nine). That also prompted-us to get the accounting books all balanced. Having a USD account means things never quite add-up due to exchange rate fluctuations and banking fees, but we’re in a good spot now.

The QNAP DAS which was connected to the router effectively made it a NAS drive (sort of). We setup an rsync script to back-up a few different sources back to the new 4TB drive for redundancy. We tried the RAID, but for now having an error immediately write to two places was a bit too scary, we want a bit of delay, so a nightly rsync is now in place. The next issues is that the rsync wasn’t happening on the router, but on a desktop machine. Doing a 4TB+ rsync over the wifi was not working, so we’re in the process of shuffling around these drives back to a server on the network, which also means changing the network topology a bit. (More on that in week #695)

Throughout the week, we continued working on a prototype for a company down in Miami. They are moving fast and are much more focused on their project. That means we have much better directives and goals for the prototype.

We took some time to setup OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) on an old computer. We connected our ring light, USB Microphone and other devices to an older laptop to make a recording station. After a little learning curve, we managed to jump right into some picture-in-a-picture screen sharing action. It worked really well and hopefully we’ll be able todo something with this in the near future.

We had a meeting on Friday about a potential new project. It was great to say no. After the meeting and learning more about the team, we’re confident that we’re not the best fit for this project. It would take too much time and too much hand holding, which we don’t have time for. We gave them some advice and are willing to spot check anything they need help with, but we can’t do any day-to-day work.

It is the end of the month this week. We managed to send off two big invoices which have a good turn around payment and the smaller regular payments.

Week #695

In our quest to improve our network topology, we shuffled around a few routers. We currently have 3 routers, 2 older Airport Extremes and 1 new Unifi Express. The Airports are great and the tech inside (WiFi 6e) is still on part with stuff you buy today. They are also super simple to setup, handle backups and play well in an Apple ecosystem. Sadly, they are no longer produced and we needed more coverage over two floors. The Unifi express is a great and powerful little router, but it only has 1 LAN port so it ended-up being an edge node. That caused issues because the Unifi router wasn’t really extending the network, but instead creating a new subnet.

This week, we bought a small Unifi flex mini switch. That allowed us to move the Unifi Express to the main network node connected to the WAN, add the switch to the LAN and then (up to) four more routers extending that network. Now everything is on the same subnet and all the devices can see each other. The other bonus is that we can take advantage of all that Unifi has to offer. The biggest is the ability to VPN back to the network from outside. The Airports has the ability to port-forward, but the VPN server is built into the Unifi hardware!

We had a kick-off meeting for another project down in Australia. This one is another data-bridge style project where a company has their inventory data in one system and needs to get the shipping info into another along with general data into a 3rd analytics tool. Luckily, we can use more APIs and (hopefully) automate more of this workflow.

Our two Miami projects continue on pace. Hopefully, we’ll be able to talk more about these in the future.

Next week is Apple’s WWDC conference. Some co-workers will be there for meetings, so we’re making lists of questions to get answered in-person.

Our two big invoices were paid this week. Our accounts are all balanced and VAT reports sent in.