New Monitor Day!

A few months back I decided it was time to replace the piece of shit 32" LCD TV I was using as a monitor with something decent, as it was getting hard to look at and I was quite sure I was giving myself eye strain just using it for work. I ended up spending too much, opting for a 1440p, 144Hz IPS monitor which is pretty nice, really. I've been very happy with it since I've had it.

However, using the 900p LCD as a second screen (for monitoring/alerts for work) has been less than stellar. Next to the IPS, whatever 10-year-old panel is in that thing looked positively awful, and text was quite difficult to read on it as well. Furthermore, on Linux at least, using two screens with two different DPIs is still a terrible experience, even in 2018.

Sabriena and Duncan both replaced their 900p monitors with 1080p units, which we were able to buy locally. They're Acer G246HL - not amazing (60Hz and TN panels), but still a dramatic upgrade from what they had. I'm pretty happy with them, my only complaint would be there's no built-in speakers on the models that they got... not a problem for Sabriena, but we'll have to buy speakers for Duncan in the near future.

For me though, I wanted only a few things: exactly 27" viewable area, and 1440p, so that I would have the same DPI. And then I figured I wanted an IPS panel, so they looked at least reasonably close to each other. The next major requirement was cheap, because I'd already spent too much on one monitor.

Friday I found the ViewSonic VA2719-2K was on sale again at one of my preferred local retailers, so I decided to place an order, and it came yesterday. Other than needing to sit it on a motherboard box to get it at my preferred height, I don't really have any complaints about it. I figure when the budget recovers a little bit I'd like to get a dual monitor stand anyway, so I can put up with the box for now.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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Laptop - back in action!

The SSD in my laptop (an 80GB Intel unit of questionable age that I was gifted by a friend) has started showing some alarming issues (errors in dmesg) so it was time to do something about it. I'd been meaning to get another SSD for my desktop (it currently having the 500GB SSD from my laptop for quite some time) so that I could put the SSD back in it, specifically I wanted to put the image back on the SSD that I took from it using dd as there is commercial software on there that I can't reinstall, that I haven't finished reverse-engineering yet.

So I bit the bullet and ordered an SSD Monday night (Labour day) and ordered an SSD for my desktop, and it arrived Wednesday (PCCG continue to impress). I spent Wednesday night reinstalling Windows on my desktop, and set aside a 50GB partition for Linux for work, and installed that. Everything looked good for Thursday, so I went to work as usual, then after work I disconnected all the drives from the desktop (because I've made that fucking mistake before), hooked up the old SSD and the hard drive with the disk image on it. Booted up Ubuntu on a USB stick (which proved to be a mistake because Linux is missing SIGINFO so you have to guess how long dd has left based off write speeds).

So far so good, despite running off the end of it (as it's a 750GB with 500GB worth of partitions on it), stuck that in my laptop and it fired right up and began the arduous task of updating Windows. Sweet!

Hook everything back up on my desktop and Windows started up, thought nothing of it, ate dinner and so on. Then for some reason I rebooted my desktop and noted that the grub menu wasn't appearing. Uh oh.

Turns out when my desktop's new SSD was reinstalled, it picked Windows' UEFI loader instead of grub. Then Windows, in a very borg moment, seems to have decided to "repair" my drive and restore it's own loader everywhere. I spent a while trying to understand how the fuck to reinstall grub to UEFI from a USB thumbdrive, and in the end I just wanted to go to bed so I just reinstalled Linux just to get it ready for work again today.

Quite happy with the performance of the laptop though, considering it's age. I did make one tweak - disabling Turbo Boost as I'm no longer gaming on it and it significantly reduces the fan noise not having it on, at little appreciable difference in performance from my perspective.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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Website - moved...

So I finally got off my arse and ditched S3. S3 works well enough for what it is (arguably better than anything else I tried) but it was pretty much overkill for this website, and if you don't couple it with CloudFront there are some serious limitations (such as the ability to set security headers, which kinda bothered me). I already had a small webhost box set up (a couple of them actually), so I figured I might as well do that and trash my AWS account completely.

Pointing Pelican at it was easy enough, I just used rsync instead of s3cmd. A bit of configuration later:

gzip_static on;

error_page 404 /404/index.html;
error_page 403 /403/index.html;

add_header x-frame-options "SAMEORIGIN";
add_header Referrer-Policy "same-origin";
add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff" always;
add_header X-Xss-Protection "1; mode=block" always;
add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000" always;
add_header Content-Security-Policy "default-src https: data: 'sha256-BHQ9y6QUlMkXhVGW7D/Jpqswc/+M9yamTE+1cfKdMcs='" always;

... and we're in business. The SHA-256 blob is necessary so that my use of timeago.js will fire without needing another external script, but I can probably do better than that at some point anyway.

Because the machine is hosted in Sydney, instead of a west-coast S3 bucket, performance for the only audience I actually give a shit about (myself) is greatly improved.

Update: So interestingly, the very hour I swapped Cloudflare over to point at the VPS, the number of SSH attacks on the server skyrocketed. It stayed that way for about 12 hours, before dropping back to the "usual rate". I wondered allowed on several different chats if there were a way to unmask the origin of a site that's behind Cloudflare. Apparently, in some situations there is, but none of those appear to apply to my site.

I've double and triple-checked that I've not screwed anything up. To combat the most obvious explanations: No, I did not point the site at the VPS absent the CF cloud for any length of time. No, there are no common hostnames on the same domain that resolve to the IP. Yes, I realize that cheap VPS providers are scanned all the time - the issue is a marked uptick in attacks quite quickly after the change. This is not a new VPS, and I've been tracking attacks on it and other hosts as part of my "penaltybox" project for quite some time now.

So as it stands, I'm just chalking this up to a creepy coincidence. Despite having had a healthy paranoia for decades now, I don't actually believe anyone's out to get me, but it did lead to some interesting reading.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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Graduate!

A rather exciting email from RMIT today - they've reviewed everything, and accepted my application to graduate in absentia. I had to confirm my mailing address and my testamur would be mailed out in a few weeks.

I didn't think there would be much issue with this, as I covered all the courses laid out in my study plan, absolutely crushed the final two, and despite floundering a bit with the non-IT classes I finished up with a cumulative GPA of somewhere around 3.8 which is a pretty fair effort considering I worked full time for most of it.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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