My Rambling Thoughts

Pilot Juice them Up!

I have used Pilot G-Tec-C4 pens for a long time. However, I switched to Pilot Juice Up 04 last year.

I originally bought this pen for my son. I decided that G-Tec-C4 was too fragile for him. But this pen worked so well that I ended up using it for myself. One downside is that the ink does not seem to last long. The pen casing is robust and can last 3 or more refills.

Prior to this, I let my son use Pilot Juice 5. I started with the 0.38mm version and it seemed to spoil easily. 0.5mm worked well.

Juice 5 was okay, but Juice Up 04 was better — and looked more classy. :lol:

FansToys Ultra Magnus is eye-catching

I said I was not going to buy FansToys Ultra Magnus and probably not their Optimus Prime either.

I'm going to take that back. They look so gorgeous!

I already have four Optimus Prime. Looks like I'll have a fifth. :lol:

FansToys Ultra Magnus (Margh), despite being a white Optimus Prime wearing armour, does not look blocky at all.

I almost got XTB Ultra Magnus (Commander Stack) previously — it was an impressive figure too — but its arms were rather long.

I sold my MP-22, but got THF-04 (KO of MP-22). I'm wondering to keep it or sell it.

But I have to be careful. FansToys is master at photography. Some of their products look fantastic in photos, but turn out to have some limitations in actual products.

Last upgrader to Ubuntu 22.04

Why do my HDDs like to fail in March? Ubuntu 24.04 is coming out next month. This means I got to install 22.04, then upgrade to 24.04.

It was the same case 12 years ago — I had to install 10.04 and then upgrade to 12.04 later.

My file server was "stuck" at 18.04 because I started with 12.04 and at that time, while 64-bit OS exist, I expected them to co-exist "forever" and I could just use 32-bit with PAE. I also didn't expect to use more than 4 GB of memory.

But the switch flipped around 2015. Every major OS started to obsolete their 32-bit version. Ubuntu 18.04 would be the last 32-bit version — with no upgrade path.

Since U18.04 would be supported for 5 years, I could put off upgrading until 23.04. That time had come and gone.

There is a tutorial to convert 32-bit Ubuntu to 64-bit. I thought of trying it on a cloned HDD, but never did.

I always put off installing from scratch because of the additional setup I needed to do. Now that my HDD died, I no longer have a choice. It turns out my worries were overblown.

As usual, I installed the server-only edition, then ubuntu-desktop. However, this time I forgot to use the --no-install-recommends parameter.

After that:

  • Installed VNC. vncserver no longer exists, I use TigerVNC instead.
  • Installed samba. The existing conf files can be used almost as-is.
  • Installed apache2. Enable ssl and rewrite. The existing conf files can be used as-is.
  • Installed PHP (now 8.1.2) and extensions (php-curl, php-gd, php-mbstring, php-sqlite3, php-xml).
  • Installed SVN. The existing conf files can be used as-is. The existing SVN repos appear to work as-is (after changing its user and group id).
  • Installed Deluge (bittorrent). Copied .config/deluge. The torrents don't show up. It turns out U18.04 is using Deluge 1.3.15, U22.04 is using 2.0.3. Deluge 1.3 torrent.state file must be converted to 2.0 format. Luckily someone provided a Python script online.
  • Thunderbird is working fine once I copied .thunderbird.
  • Fixed the Ethernet network name as eth0.
  • Enable crontab one by one after checking they still work.
  • And some minor touchups.

It's easier than I expected.

Versions of key packages:

Tiger VNC1.

Using snapped version is Ubuntu's new strategy to keep frequently updated apps (with large dependencies) up-to-date.

Rethinking the file server

My file server is using the Asrock N3150-ITX m/b and resides physically in a In Win BK 644 Micro ATX tower (300W).

The m/b supports four SATA3 ports. It also has a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot and a half-size mPCIe slot. Half-size = 26.8x30 mm.

The casing has room for two 3.5" HDDs and one 5.25" drive bay.

I'm wondering if I can boot from the mPCIe slot. First, it is not a mSATA slot. It is also a good thing that it is not, otherwise it would share one of the SATA controllers. I want mPCIe + 4 SATA ports, not mSATA + 3 SATA ports.

From what I google, there are almost no mPCIe SSDs. Even if there were, they were long obsolete (i.e. too small). mPCIe is now replaced with M.2, specifically type M for NVMe SSDs. (Type B for mSATA.)

There are mPCIe to M.2 type M adapters. Due to space constraint (only half-size, remember), I need the adapter to have a flex cable. Typical M.2 SSDs are 2260 or 2280 (meaning 22x60 mm or 22x80 mm). Shorter ones exist, but I prefer lower chip density.

One concern is that mPCIe is only x1. I'm guessing the version is 2.0, so x1 is 500 MB/s, which is plenty fast.

NVMe SSDs use x4 (since M.2 provides it), they are said to work with x1 too — though slower.

The most important unknown is, will the system boot from it? Some say it will if we enable network boot.

If it works, I can use a small SSD (say 1 TB) to be the boot drive and put /home on it. The spinning HDDs will store purely data.

File server disk allocation 2024

Changes over the years:

HDD size1 TB2 TB (pri)4 TB (pri2)
/20 GB10 GB15 GB15 GB80 GB
/var2 GB2 GB3 GB3 GB
/var/log1 GB1.5 GB1.5 GB
/var/tmp1 GB1.5 GB1.5 GB
/tmp2 GB2 GB3 GB3 GB30 GB
swap2 GB2 GB2 GB2 GB8 GB
Reserved8 GB8 GB
/home900+ GBThe restThe rest300 GB300 GB
/dataThe rest1.14 TB
/data22.08 TB

I decided to simplify the partitioning and do away with /var, /var/log and /var/tmp.

The partitions were laughably small in the past. :lol: They are now sized to be inline with modern expectations.

I'm not sure if I should have two data partitions or not. The intent is to separate short-term and small data (e.g. downloads, manga, music) and big-and-mostly-static-data (e.g. pics, shows).