Manual kmod rebuild

Just leaving a note to myself for future reference.

Needed to rebuild the kmod-wl package because of a borked update process (something made the computer crash mid-update).

A bit of Google searching brought me to the script in /etc/kernel/postinst.d/akmodsposttrans.

Running sudo /usr/sbin/akmods --from-kernel-posttrans --kernels `uname -r` rebuilt the missing kmods and a modprobe wl got the wifi back up and running.

SSD upgrade

A couple of months ago, I gave my computer its first significant upgrade since I buffed the RAM to 24 GB.

I’d been wanting to add a SSD drive to the system for a while now, and finally bought a 250 GB Samsung EVO 850 to function as the boot drive.

Installation was pretty easy. The hard part was fishing out a spare power cable and finding a spot to secure the drive. The case is technically out of free drive bays, but SSDs are pretty thin, and I was able to find enough space between the CD drives and one of the hard drives to secure the SSD to.

Once the drive was installed, the computer got a fresh Fedora 25 install with the SSD as the boot drive. As expected, once all the packages were downloaded, installation went quickly. Really quickly. For a fresh install I’m used to leaving my computer alone for an hour or so while it’s installing packages. With the SSD, everything was installed and I was rebooting in under 30 minutes.

Boot times for my computer are around 1/3 or so (haven’t really timed it) of what it used to be booting off the spinning disk. A couple months in, I haven’t noticed any significant change in performance and there’s still plenty of room left on the SSD.

The original boot partition has been changed to a /var mount point and now the computer is on Fedora 26 Alpha.

Now I want to get SSDs to put into my laptops.

New in the podcast list: Internet History Podcast

There’s a new podcast on my listening list: Internet History Podcast.

I learned about it when a couple people in the Charleston Tech Slack mentioned it a few weeks ago. After reading a little bit about the podcast, I added it to the list.

Although it’s called the Internet History Podcast, after listening to the first few episodes, it’s really more the World Wide Web History Podcast.

The 20th anniversary of the Internet Era as we know it is this year, 2014.

I know, the Internet was invented long before, and even the web was born a few years previous… but 1994 was when Netscape was founded. And I think we can all agree that Netscape, and the Netscape IPO represent the birth of the Internet Era (in capital letters) as we’ve all lived through it the past decades.

I’m only 7 episodes into the series so far, but it’s been pretty good listening. It’s pretty neat hearing the stories of the people who were at the bleeding edge of developing and creating the Web

RadDB: Radiology Equipment Tracker

Long ago, when I first started at MUSC, I inherited a stack of binders that contained all the reports for the imaging equipment that needed to be tested annually.

There was a total of about 50-55 or so  units, and for the first couple of years, I’d find a few units here and there that weren’t in the binders, but still needed annual testing. By the time I was reasonably sure I had all of them accounted for, there were around 70 units.

For a while, I could keep track of all the units and when they needed testing in my head for the most part. I knew I was going to need a better system to keep track of things though.

Around mid-2001, I came up with what seemed to me to be a reasonable database schema to store everything in, and cobbled together a bunch of PHP scripts (back when PHP was used mostly for templating and generating dynamic HTML pages) to serve as the front end.

It worked pretty nicely, but adding anything new was a fair bit of work and my scripts didn’t really interact with each other. On my list for a long time was to rewrite the whole thing as a more self-contained web application that would be easier to maintain and enhance. Work and life kept me busy, and my scripts worked well enough that there wasn’t a whole lot of motivation to revamp everything (“If it ain’t broke…”).

Fast forward 15 years later to 2016. With my equipment inventory at around 175 units, people discovering my project, and asking for new functionality, there was significantly more motivation to rewrite everything. I spent a few months in early 2016 checking out various PHP frameworks before settling on Laravel.

The RadDB project kicked off around May of 2016. With most of my programming time happening during short windows between testing equipment, and after work, I managed to replicate about 80% of the functionality of my original hodge podge of scripts by the end of 2016. With the start of the new year and a new round of testing, I decided that RadDB was ready for production, so I set it up on my desktop at work and released it into the wild.

I use it to:

  • keep an inventory the imaging units and x-ray tubes I need to lay hands on each year
  • add/edit new imaging units and tubes
  • generate reports on the types of machines, where they’re located, and who made them
  • track when they were tested
  • track any problems I might have found during testing
  • tell me what machines
    • still need to be tested
    • which ones have been scheduled for testing
    • which ones have already been tested
  • store test reports and service reports
  • track calibration dates for my test equipment

Still a lot of work that needs to be done on the project. Most of the other features I want to implement involve learning other parts of Laravel (authentication, services, unit testing) so I don’t think those will be too hard to get done.

I’ve really enjoyed working on this rewrite, and learning how to use Laravel in the process. It’s a pretty cool framework and easy to learn. For the most part, I can imagine what I want, think about how to do it and then code it up without having to do a lot of mental gymnastics and translating to get it to work. I’m looking forward to doing other projects in Laravel.


Climbing the Laravel learning curve

After checking out several different PHP frameworks, I settled on using Laravel for redoing the x-ray equipment tracker that I use at work. It’s been a TODO project on my list for quite a while now and for the past couple of months, I’ve been studying the Laravel docs, writing up the redesign of my project and trying to put together some code.

I’ve managed to learn how to use Laravel enough to implement some simple tasks such as displaying lists of the x-ray units stored in the database. It’s actually been surprisingly easy, and I haven’t really had to write a whole lot of code. For the simple tasks that I’ve implemented so far, Laravel has done most of the heavy lifting. I just write the code to say what I want and how to display it, and Laravel does the rest.

So far most of the work I’ve had to do was in redoing the database schema to match the conventions used by Laravel’s Eloquent ORM. That mostly involved renaming tables and indexes, and trying to figure how to define the relationships in the model files.

Still have lots of learning and work to do, but I’m making progress. Baby steps.