RadDB: Storing and viewing test data

Development on my equipment database has slowed down a bit partly because of being busy at work and partly because the database files on my home computer keep getting corrupted for some reason and I haven’t bothered to figure out why or fix it yet.

The equipment tracking part does pretty much everything I need now (still a few things to take care of), so my latest efforts have been on trying to get the test data locked in my spreadsheets into the database.

I started off using the PhpSpreadsheet package (which is still under development), but I found a lot of what was in the documentation wouldn’t work. I ended up going to the older PHPExcel package instead. Using this made it relatively easy to create some Laravel Artisan commands that pick out the test data from my spreadsheets and stick them into the database. Now I can batch add data to the database using a simple shell script. One problem with the current commands is that they won’t work with older version of my spreadsheets yet because the locations of some of the data has changed over time. Not sure I’m too worried about that yet. They also don’t handle problems very gracefully yet. Something to work on later perhaps.

The DB schema for the test data is still being worked on, but I think I’ve got something that will let me pick out data for an individual survey, as well as show a time series from a specific test for a given machine.

Current works in progress are views to display the test data. I’ve got a few done, but still have a bunch more to do.

I love how easy doing all of this has been with Laravel.

New monitor stands

One of the guys from the Charleston Tech Slack was selling a dual monitor mount, so now my two computer monitors are now mounted off the desk at a much more comfortable working height.

Computer monitors before
Computer monitors before

One 6mm hex wrench and 8 M4x12mm screws later, the monitors were mounted on the stand and reconnected to power and the computer.

Computer monitors after
Computer monitors after

It’s a pretty sturdy stand and seems to be holding my 21″ monitors pretty easily. I added an additional piece of 1×4 to where the stand clamps to the table as an additional shim and to help spread the load on the table top a bit more.

The monitors are up about 5 cm higher than they were with the factory stands, and a lot of space underneath the monitors is freed up. Pretty pleased with this setup.

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