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[Still (Not)] Budgeting

~ 10 years ago I listed to a podcast about budgeting software for private households and learned how much it can help and how much of a difference it can make. Back then I had the time and energy to try out various software and pan and budget the heck out of my monthly income. But it didn't work. I didn't manage to stay in the budget unless I planned to not ever save anything and to not ever eat right. At the time I didn't realise how much more money people in regular jobs make than me.

Now I have a proper job, but not the time and energy to plan things right unless I make it my only hobby. I could probably even save money "for later" (whenever that will be). But it's hard for me to not opt for the more convenient and less time consuming option in almost every decision. And I can't stop myself from buying nice things to make up for the stressful life that I have otherwise.

Today I'm slacking off, after a quiet day at the home office yesterday because of IT problems that shouldn't be my business and therefor prevented me from doing much work. No checking out budgeting software today either.

But I need this lazy, unproductive time from time to time. Time and time again I have to remind myself that time relaxing is time invested in my health, which will be useful at a later time. For the time being, I keep ignoring that time flies by when I spend time instinctively satisfying my basic needs instead of using time efficiently and getting things done in time.

Sorry, people whom I have promised to do or make things for. I sometimes have the time, but not the energy.

I wonder how savings richt I could be if I would seriously start to budget.

Film: Have Dreams, Will Travel

I don't know what the more correct title of the movie is. Some call it Have Dreams Will Travel, some call it A West Texas Children's Story and I don't know where either title was originally used.

It's about the adventure that Cassie and Ben have after her parents die and his don't even notice that he leaves without saying anything. It's also about trauma processing, communication in relationships (parental, friendships and romantic). That's what I see in it at least.

Cassie: I think it's time for us to leave.
Ben: Leave?
Cassie: Look. Those two people who you live with. They're nice and everything, but-
Ben: My parents?
Cassie: Right. But from what I can tell, they don't really have anything to offer you and they certainly don't have a thing to offer me.
Ben: So, where're we goin'?
Cassie: Baltimore. I have an aunt and uncle there. I haven't seen them since I was five but from what I can remember they're both extremely hip.

The overly compressed sound (accoustically compressed, not in terms of saving storage) is so cinematic that it's conspicuous for a movie made in this century. But it fits the overly grainy film-look and does a good job at creating this big-life-story vibe that dominates the whole movie. Like many dramas this movie has a recurring melody, creating a melodramatic yet optimistic mood.

The characters are so well defined at first that it almost came as a positive surprise that they both have deeper personalities. But I soon got used to the movie not becoming as comedic as I first thought it might be.

There is something about some of the dialogues that make them refreshing and simultaneously irregular for child characters and very fitting for these particular child characters.

Cassie: See, a real plan is more than just some pipe dream.
Ben: Pipe dream?
Cassie: A pipe dream is an unrealistic fantasy that deludes oneself into thinking that it's an actual plan. It's a very popular expression. I'm surprised you've never heard of it before.
Ben: I didn't say I'd never heard it.
Cassie: Anyway, a real plan is an actual goal that you believe in enough to create a set of circumstances. Which leads you to, and into, a plan. Comprende?
Ben: Where do you come up with this stuff? I mean, what part of your brain works so hard it makes you think and talk like that?
Cassie: My father was a professor with a very wide vocabulary and lots of unique ideas. When he wasn't teaching his students, he taught me.
Ben: So what does your mom do?
Cassie: She never did anything.

The last line of that quote may have a different meaning that I thought when I watched the movie for the first time.

The fact that I was surprised by the dramatic loss of Cassie's facade later on may make me naive, but for me it just means that I got a non-obvious important change of the story route. And it's nice to get a story told with a non-obvious route. Whether that's because you're tired, three, stupid, naive or because of excellent writing doesn't really matter. Other viewers may have been able to deduct more about Cassie early on than I was, with her efforts to do things in grown-up ways. I didn't even know what Ben meant when he asked Cassie what she's hiding. That just created all the more potential to be sucked in by emotions to be discovered by my naive movie-drama graving brain.

Over time I think Ben proved that he is the more grown-up one in the relationship. Not by having a large vocabulary or a life plan, but by simply addressing the issue he sees.

In the end, Ben makes his parents choose (in a away) what's more important for them to have - their passionate hobbies or their son - and decides for them at the same time. The result is the most glorious mixing of (fake) sad cry tears with (fake) happy cry tears I've seen in a mov- anywhere really.

I sort of expected this movie to end without any closure. It seemed like one of these movies. But not only did it have a closure for Ben's parents and a happy ending for his part of the story. It even has a happier ending above and after that, depicting the best possible futures Cassie and Ben could have perceived to have together. An utopistic extra happy ending that I didn't see necessary. I keep saying that I'd like to see more movies without a happy ending. This one has two but also shows that a movie can still be as emotional and melodramatic as it is even with a double happy endling. Maybe they felt they needed to quickly tell how happy they both end up in the future so that no viewer with a similar life story or trauma kills themselves after watching the movie.

I think it's interesting that AnnaSophia Robb (Cassie) isn't seen more in movies as an adult now. She has this sort of model face that men find so beautiful and she can act, I think. Maybe she's working more as a model. Cayden Boyd too. He looks like a model for a shaver commercial now. But he only had some small TV show roles in recent years. I haven't seen him in any other role. Maybe he sucks at acting.

File Attachments

This is where the film could have ended in my opinion. But what do I know?
This is where the film could have ended in my opinion. But what do I know?
"Who knows anything when it comes down to it? I don't. Actually, contrary to what I wrote above this scene is much more open than I first thought. They don't meet Ben's parents. Both parents go inside without seeing the children. To me that seems like they may have never met again, or not until years later maybe. But what do I know?
"Who knows anything when it comes down to it? I don't. Actually, contrary to what I wrote above this scene is much more open than I first thought. They don't meet Ben's parents. Both parents go inside without seeing the children. To me that seems like they may have never met again, or not until years later maybe. But what do I know?

Fred - Part 3 - Power Supplies

This entry is a reply to or continuation of the entry 'Fred - Part 2 - The Case Lid And Cooling'.

After getting rid of the fan wall, the power supply was the main source of noise. The original PSU was a 3U redundant (2+1) server power supply. Noise does not matter with machines like that. I wanted to be able to have it running in my living room though, so the noise had to drop a fucking lot. Seriously, that's said so many times for people who don't work with servers like this. But people are still surprised when they hear a server fan for the first time. One of original 60 mm fans in the back is louder than my vaccum cleaner. And there were two of those, four 80 mm fans and five 40 mm fans. Three of the latter in the power supplies. Because I have no means to control the fans in software and don't need all the power the power supply can supply, I tried how much I can lower the noise by adding resistors in series to the fans. That did reduce noise a lot. But not only aren't these fans optimated for quiet operation, they are 40 mm fans. They will nver be quiet enough.

So I looked online for a power supply that

  1. fits in the case (it's not completely an ATX case)
  2. can supply enough current for everything and
  3. is trustworthy/doesn't appear to be too cheaply built

I found a Newton Power Model NPS-300AB B, which doesn't meat points 2 and 3 but fits so perfectly into the case that it was a weird feeling to accept that it is mostly coincidence. I got it for a couple of euros on ebay. Most sellers seem to think it's some piece of premium equipment because it's used in some Fujitsu servers or something. But it's really just a cheap ATX power supply in a non-standard case. But because it that non-standard case fitted so well into my non-standard server case, I got it anyway. I only had to drill the screw holes and that was it. It's hardly enough for 14 HDDs and the internet says it's really cheap and not trustworthy. But I went with it anyway in order to pay tribute to r/thingsfittinginthings.

Not a year later the PSU died. Probably overstressed it for too long. I replaced it with a better SFX unit. I had a nice and thick plate of stainless steel lying around, from which I cut an adapterplate.

I'll attach some photos below. Maybe I'll continue this series of entries on Fred some other day with experiences of dust and head and such over time.

File Attachments

The old power supply after it died. (The unplugged fan and the missing screws do not resemble how it looked while it was in use.)
The old power supply after it died. (The unplugged fan and the missing screws do not resemble how it looked while it was in use.)
Maybe it would have lived longer if I had cooled it better. It wasn't efficient. It would have been too loud.
Maybe it would have lived longer if I had cooled it better. It wasn't efficient. It would have been too loud.
The new power supply. Fits well in height and leaves more than enough room for its modular cables (even for the ones that aren't used) and airflow.
The new power supply. Fits well in height and leaves more than enough room for its modular cables (even for the ones that aren't used) and airflow.
I'm happy with the adapter plate and how it turned out, even though I originally made it for a different SFX unit and the fan cutout now seems redundant. But it actually looks kind of professional. That's rare enough with me. I bet you can't tell which part I made myself. (Or is this because the photo is so bad?)
I'm happy with the adapter plate and how it turned out, even though I originally made it for a different SFX unit and the fan cutout now seems redundant. But it actually looks kind of professional. That's rare enough with me. I bet you can't tell which part I made myself. (Or is this because the photo is so bad?)
I made my own modular cables with old molex connectors for the HDD backplane. The unused cables in the plastic bag has its place at the back of the PSU.
I made my own modular cables with old molex connectors for the HDD backplane. The unused cables in the plastic bag has its place at the back of the PSU.

Useless Memories (Part 3)

I'm helping a friend who is carering to a group of businesspeople at their company-organised yearly get-together. For him it's a gig he is hoping will become a regular thing and a relatively reliable income some day. For me it's mostly cleaning glasses between refills. For a while, that is all my friend and I were doing: cleaning, rinsing. We took turns. At one point this guy comes up to us to let us know that his drink tasted a bit like dishsoap. He was nice and really just wanted to let us know so we can be more careful in the future if necessary. I don't see a reason for him to lie or exagerate. And he was sure that's what the taste was. It makes sense, too. We were hurring a bit sometime because there weren't that many glasses, a residue of dishsoap would be invisible but ruin the taste of the drink. But, for some reason or not, I defaulted on "But I'm not aware of me or us doing anything wrong." I didn't quite put it into those words. But my hesitant reply must have conveyed that that was how I felt about the "unterstellung". My friend was (and still is, successfully) more customer-aware than me, thanked the guy and assured him that it won't happen again. Guy was happy, friend was mad (today I think at me; back then I thought at the guy). And my stupid non-committing and abweisende reply is what I think of nearly every time I wash any dishes by hand, which since my dishwasher broke a few years ago, is a lot. I don't think I will ever either get rid of that memory or figure out how remembering it might still help me.

SBWG 0.10.11

It's been two months since I published a new version of SBWG (and therefore since I worked enough on it to make me feel that an increase in the version number may be justified). I hardly get around to working on it, lately. But when I do, I try to make some solid small steps towards the improvements I wish do be done to SBWG.

So, now there is a new version (0.10.11) but I haven't published it yet because before I do I want to test it a bit more when I'm not as fucking tired as I am right now. Writing this entry could actually be considered part of the testing that I still want to do. But as I said, I'm fucking tired right now. So I'll continue this entry another time.

Edit 2022-09-12: I did some tests with fake content offline and feel confident that I fixed more than I broke in this version. I'll add it to the project page soon.

Two long procrastinate areas that have been overdue to get fixed for a while now are permanent caching and parallelisation. For permanent caching, the bugs that I found are fixed. Aggressive caching with option `--cache` (`-C`) works and it certain groups can be selected (excluding others) for permanent caching. In my test this speeds up everyday web site re-generations by up to 100%. But it also means the user has to be aware of the cache files that persist after SBWG is done and will be used the next time. Changes to existing entries will not take effect without removing the relevant cache files. For parallelisation, the bugs that I found and that affect the generated HTML are fixed. I still consider parallel mode to be experimental. Sometimes messages on stdout are weird or cut off. But who used very verbose mode and looks at every message anyway? Parallelisation is functional and usable is what I mean to say. In my test on a Core i5 with 4 cores (8 threads) it speeds up everyday web site re-generation by around 380% with default settings. It depends a lot on how much of web site generation is generating thumbnails and other image sizes of file attachments or gallery images. Those aren't sped up that much because the CPU already is the bottleneck for those. HTML file generation profits more from having more parallel threads than CPU cores (or threads) running.