Touching Base…

Wow!  Two months since my last post – not sure if that’s a record or not.

It’s not that things haven’t been happening – it’s just that at this season, and this part of our lives, not much happens out of the routine.  I’ll try to fill in a bit though, and as always, pontificate with copious verbosity.

I’m typing this on my newly re-formatted laptop.  That’s always a mixed blessing.  It’s nice to have a clean start, but it’s a pain in the neck to get everything set up the way you like.  It’s too bad that Windows always seems to bugger stuff up eventually with it’s updates.  Update 1909 really seems to be borking all my computers here at the homestead.

As part of my ongoing commitment to ensuring the safety of our data, I have given up on Dropbox – it never encrypted it anyway, but most egregiously, they raised the price close to 50% this year, while offering nothing enticing as a benefit.  2TB storage and the very flaky “selective sync” or “on demand” files just didn’t cut it for us.  We don’t have quite those huge needs in space, and with slowish internet, on-demand loading isn’t really convenient.

So, I switched to Resilio sync a number of months ago, and have purchased three very small microcomputers running Windows 10, Resilio, and a few other small apps.  I have one at the cabin keeping our personal files and Plex movies and tv series in sync, and in turn, it connects to another microcomputer I have set up in the city to syncronize the same data off-site.  This also makes my video files available to family in the city.

Tiny microcomputer with 1TB SSD zip-tied to it.  No other connections required (RJ-45 if preferred) – Google and Dropbox, watch out!  This particular machine is heading to Waterloo.
And here’s the aikiServer – as well as the other associated internet stuff (router, PoE adapter, external backup drive).  I zip-tied them to the bottom of the chrome shelving, and after this picture I also cleaned up the cabling so the shelf underneath is still quite useable.  I have also replaced the classic Asus AC66 router with a TP-Link.  Asus 2.4Ghz signal suddenly died – which seems to be a common complaint.  Maybe I should put these comments in the actual post?

Because I’ve begun storing important work-related files too, I have also decided to set up a third redundant server that I will send to Waterloo to be set up there to keep a third node in the cloud.

I like Resilio very much, although it does still have a bit to go to get to Dropbox’s really outstanding synchronizations.  I find that often moving a file from one folder to another within the same Resilio sync still causes it to be re uploaded and downloaded to the other nodes.

This is about half as painful as it was a month ago – when our new local cellphone tower came on-line!  We have been watching them assemble it since last fall.  A few weeks ago they finally completed it and then replaced our entire canopy service – upgrading from 900Mhz to 3.5/3.6GHz.  This has added about 50% to our download speed, and 100% to our upload speed.  An embarrassment of riches!  We’re now about 5 down and 2-3 Mbps up!

Our new tower!  Our cell signals still are just okay, but our internet is muchly improved!

I have ploughed lots of snow.  This past Thursday we received another 15cm.  Not really welcome, but not the end of the world – especially since February was so sunny and mild that much of the snow on our roofs had melted and slid off.  I ran less than a tank of gas through the generator in February!

Snow, snow, snow.
Crap!  Truck slid off the parking spot and into the bank.

The AGM batteries in the attic are working well.  They are letting me know that the attic space is strangely much colder than I expected!  It can be as much as 10 degrees cooler up there than in the cabin – which is odd as they are technically in a heated space (although I do have steel wool insulation between the main space and the attic – there is no vapour barrier.)

Our rentals in the city went okay this past year.  Once again we “lost” significant money on owning and operating them.  We definitely want them to be well kept and show well, and we are blessed with wonderful tenants.  Hopefully this year we can see some sort of financial return on the work we have been putting in.  Then again we’re always looking to add to our holdings, and each new purchase seems to eat up any benefits from the others.  I suppose when we finally press pause on expansion though, that should change.

We would really like to travel somewhere different this year.  Kenny has been a bit into castles for the past year or more, so it would be fun to show him some real ones (although Casa Loma last year was a pretty good stand-in I think).  It’s challenging though when we want to try to be eco-conscious too.  At least our current lifestyle is hopefully somewhat easier on the earth than other paths we could have chosen.  Raising a child definitely can change so many of your ways of thinking and plans.

I’ll keep trying to post in spite of other priorities competing.  Wish me luck!  Remember to rate, comment and subscribe in the doobly-doo so I know you all care.

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