The “Endomondo” of an era.

I’m probably the last person to report on this, but I learned a couple of days ago that popular fitness app “Endomondo” will be closing its doors for good at the end of the year. Gosh darn it.

Both of of you that have followed this blog for any period of time, know that Endomondo pops up quite regularly, either in the form of a screenshot, or a batch of statistics about a particular walk. I’ve used it since I’ve had a GPS enabled phone, so you’re probably talking about 10 years, and several phones.. I fired it up the other day, as I was about to record a (lockdown-sanctioned) pokemon walk, and was presented with this screen…

Ugh. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of data on there which I wouldn’t mind keeping, thankfully, they have a “Download My Data” function, so hopefully I’ll be able to retrieve part, if not all, of everything that’s on there.

Apparently, there’s another app called “MapMyRun” which they recommend downloading, as you can see… Well, seeing as my running days are long behind me, I downloaded “MapMyWalk”. I did a search for “MapMyWaddle”, but it doesn’t exist… whether the information generated by this new software is as intresting as Endomondo remains to be seen.

Raspberry pi – Used memory cards vs Windows.

Daddykins was helping a friend of his with a Raspberry Pi issue. Part way through the conversation, he mentioned that his Raspberry Pi had stopped the cards from working. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this. and I thought I’d knock up a few screenshots, and Daddykins can send the link to help with the problem. I’ve also seen this cause problems when trying to burn a new image onto a memory stick you’ve used previously.

Here, I’ve inserted a 16Gb memory card that already has a Raspberry Pi image on it. As you can see, the free space is only a few tens of megabytes, and certainly not the 16Gb on the card. Even if you go to format it, it’ll only show a small amount of space.

This is because, when the card is set up to be used with the Raspberry Pi, it uses the vast majority of the memory card that Windows doesn’t recognise. You simply need to delete these areas (partitions), and combine them back into one area that Windows can see.

Right-Click “This PC” in your start menu and select “More”, then “Manage”

When in there go to “Storage” and select “Disk Management”

You’ll see your memory card listed. As you can see, the drive is split into two. You might see three or four. The size of the first part will match what you can see in Windows, and the others will be the rest of the card that Windows currently can’t recognise. Make sure you select the right drive, because you’re about to delete whatever is on there…. selecting one of your hard drives instead of the memory card will really put a dampener on your day.

Right click each of the parts and select “Delete Volume”. If done right, the split will go, and you’ll end up with the whole card as “unallocated”.

Right click once more, select “New Simple Volume”. Click Next 4 times (This will allow Windows to take care of the drive size) Click Finish, Windows will ask you to format the drive, and you have a full-size memory card again!

Hope you found this helpful. I’ll be back with more blog related stuff when I’m actually doing something interesting. I might even finish the “10 Days of Albums” series… if you’re lucky.

Day 10. Watching someone fix an Amiga

If today (well, yesterday now… but stick with it) makes it past a couple of sentences, I’d call that an achievement. I wouldn’t say that’s been the most boring day so far, as I actually left the house. I went to Iceland again. I needed bread, and some more bits for the house. Some of the stuff that I couldn’t get last week because I didn’t have a pound for the trolley.

The day started off late. I don’t think I got up until about 12. This was mainly because I didn’t go to bed until at least 5. My sleeping pattern’s all messed up, but then it doesn’t really matter does it? Daytime and night time are both the same at the moment, there’s absolutely no need to stick to a timetable. I’ll be doing the same thing whether it’s day or night, so it doesn’t really matter.

So, yeah, Iceland, then. Once again, they have the queuing system in place, which is unsurprising. The lady at the door was keeping the amount of shoppers to a bare minimum. I think she was only letting about 5 people in the store at any one time. Can’t say I minded. It’s obviously for a reason, and there were only two or three people in front of me, so I maybe waited 10 minutes or so? Daddykins handed me a shopping list of thnigs he needed too… Cheese, eggs, dilutey juice, some frozen meals, and of course, the bread. I actually remembered all of that. In fact, it was the high point of the day.

One thing I did watch was one of by favourite Youtubers, GadgetUK64 try to fix and Amiga 4000 motherboard by replacing the “Super Buster” socket on the motherboard. Before he did this, and with the chip in place, the machine would only boot up to a yellow screen. This usually means that there’s some type of issue / exception that’s stopping the Kickstart ROM from booting. Usually this is a hardware fault.

In the end he didn’t fix it, but it gave me something to look forward to tomorrow. Which is today, as I never got this published on time. Oops

Day 9… almost double figures

Another day stuck within the confines of Mercuryvapour Towers. Of course, this isn’t new, as the world has to put up with the same restrictions now, but still the novelty wore off a long time ago. And I’m sure the novelty of reading these wore off a while ago did too. Writing them certainly did.

Today, I ventured as far as the kitchen. Other rooms visited include the living room and bathroom. All good stuff.

One thing I did forget to mention is that I cleaned my housemat yesterday. Well, I say mousemat, it’s actually a rubber drip cloth, taken from a nearby pub. Well, I say taken, I did actually ask if I coyl have it. I didn’t just roll it up off the bar and stick it in my pocket.

As you can see in this picture, it’s pretty dusty. I can confirm that this dust has all gone, and it’s currently drying in the bathroom.

So, back to today, then. I’ll give you three guesses what I did. Yes, that’s right. Euro Truck Simulator Not much of a surprise there. What was a surprise to me, however, is that I found something new in the game. I’m not sure if it’s a new addition, but there was an actual accidident in the game, and the road was blocked by a helicopter!

Spoiler alert, there’s no “collision detection” on the rotor blades of the helicopter, so you can easily get past by going over the hard shoulder. Of course, I saved the game before I tested this out.

I also went past another accident on the other side of the road…

Yeah, it’s come to something where I consider this blogworthy, but I insisted on keeping you updated. Bet you wish I hadn’t.

Well, that lasted long. (Days 5-8)

Tsk. There I was, planning to do a detailed description of every single day in lockdown, and I got bored after about 4 days. Actually, I tell a lie. I wrote the posts. I just couldn’t bring myself to post them, because they were just too dull for even this blog….

Of course, nothing’s TOO boring for this blog. In fact, here’s what I wrote for Day 5…

It’s bloody beautiful out here at the moment. Sat in the back garden while my dinner cooks, and it really is spring like. The sun is warm and bright. Today’s the type of day that I’d have gone for a walk on my dinner hour. Instead, I’m sat in the back garden, watching the birds peck away at some leftover bread

Leftovers. That’s a phrase you don’t hear much of these days. Especially bread.

I was never a big bread eater anyway, so all of this bread shortage stuff isn’t affecting me anyway. Now, a pot noodle shortage, that’d be terrible.

The weather really is nice today. I’m sat in the back darden as the remainder of the sun disappears behind the houses. There’s the sound of the birds tweeting, against the low rumble of the dual carriageway. Hardly anything compared to its normal noise.

I’ve not long returned of having my foot checked. It’s looking great, apparently. I think this period of rest is really helping matters. It’s strange how I’m now starting to see positives in all of this.

That was was the Wednesday.

Day 6, the Thursday, consisted of this….

In contrast to the almost summer-like day we had yesterday, today has been pretty dull and cold. It didn’t start off to bad, with a nice sunny morning, but as the day has gone on, the mist has rolled in, and it’s got pretty chilly, which is a bit of a shame.

It’s one of those days where it looks like it could be nice and warm if it wasn’t for the mist sticking about.

I’m so bored. While I was 9n my lunch break, I wondered if Julian Pettifer is still with us. He is. You may remember him from hundreds of news reports from the 60s, and also presented Busman’s Holiday before Sarah Kennedy and Elton welsby.

He’s written a few books and has an OBE now.

That alleviated the boredom for a few seconds

Yeah. So, there wasn’t much happening on the afore-mentioned days. Friday rolled around, and I didn’t type anything. This so far has been the most interesting of the days, as I actually left the house, so I thought I might as well type out that. For you see, us plebs are allowed out of the house to shop for essentials such as food, and to do a minimal amount of excersise. Well, I clearly wasn’t going outside to do the excersise, so off I went to Lidl. Despite it only being a short walk, I got Daddykins to take me in the car, and shortly noticed that I shouldn’t have bothered. For you see, seeing as us humans are such filthy, disease ridden rcreatures, we’re now only allowed within two metres of one another, and to keep our spread of disgusting microbiorganisms (is that a word?) to a minimum, they were only allowing a few people in the store at any one time. It was quite a surprise to see the queue going around the car park, ending near the edge of the car park where Grayfields is. ABANDONED.

I quickly jumped back in the car, and we headed off to Iceland. There was a queue, and once again, our unclean hearts and minds were not permitted to be within two metres of one another. There were only five other people in the queue, and it quickly went down. I was finally able to get some essentials. Bog roll, bread, eggs and Monster Munch. All things that had been sadly lacking. Well, we still had a few bog rolls left , but it always pays to get some more I suppose when the opportunity is there. No, it’s not panic buying, it’s just covering for all eventualities. The shops have finally took the approach of restricting the amount of things you can buy like that anyway, which hasn’t came a moment too soon. Honestly, the mentality / greed of some people astounded me.

It’s funny that I mentioned not really eating bread on Wednesday. I can report that this, for some unknown reason, is the softest, most delicious loaf of bread I’ve had for some time, and I’ve nearly eaten it all by myself. I’m one of those complete weirdos that completely flatten the bread with my hands (yes, I washed them beforehand!), roll it up, then flatten it again. I know of only one other person that does this.

Anyhoooo, enough about that. The front door closed, and I’m now on full lockdown. I’ve became acquainted with an old friend called Euro Truck Simulator again, and I’ve had… some time playing it. Here’s my current “ride”.

Yes, I’ll admit it. I paid 39p to have the Chinese / Year of the Rat paint pack….

Worth every penny (It wasn’t though, was it? Ed).

One game feature is that you can have live music from online radio stations playing, basically acting like the stereo in your cab. Since I discovered this feature, I’ve been listening to Clyde 2. It was one of the only English ones I could find at the time, and I’ve been using this in the game ever since. Last night, it really got on my wick. I’m obviously playing this game to escape the fact that we’re in lockdown for the foreseeable. Unfortunately, the radio station liked reminding us, the listener, of this every five seconds. After a song finished, it was either a mention that we should stay in, or an advert telling us that we should wash our hands at every given opportunity. One slice of good fortune is that the news bulletins for this particular night didn’t play properly, leaving the radio silent, thankfully.

Saturday came, eventually. I didn’t actually go to bed until 3. There’s not much point sleeping at a particular time, as I’ve got nothing to get up for. I think it was about 10 when I finally surfaced. Again, computer on, and Euro Truck similator got loaded back up. Of course, this time, I gave the English stations a miss. If I’m going to have some escapism, I’m going to do it without getting reminded of the thing I was escaping from every 2 bloody minutes. This time, I just happened to put one on called Mint FM, and to pardon the pun, it was mint. Some really good songs, some I hadn’t even heard before. Even better was the fact that it was all automated, and without adverts too. Not a single mention of that bloody C word…. you can make your own minds up which word I’m referring to… 11 letters, or 4 letters…

I even tried my hand at “broadcasting” – streaming your game to anybody who wants to watch it. Apparently, it’s something that the cool kids do, but I had no idea if anyone was watching, so it was all a bit pointless really. Maybe it’s something I’ll experiment more with in the future, but more than likely it’ll be something I forget entirely about.

So, as I’m typing this, we’ve broken into Sunday. Officially the shortest day of the year, as I’m sure that by the time I get this typed, edited and published, the time will have jumped from 1AM to 2AM, and we’ll be officially in British Summer Time. Not that we can actually do anything with it. Sigh.

Synology DS218+ RAM upgrade

Recently I had the chance to aquire a Synology DS218+ NAS drive. I’ve had a DS216j for quite a few years – this beast has not missed a beat in over three years, constantly spinning its 3Tb drives for 24 hours a day.It’s been a web server, SFTP server,email server… download / torrent box. It’s been a very good servant. but recently, it’s been showing its age, especially when trying to use some of the built-in apps on it, such as the gallery, so I decided to get an updated model.

I could have went with another make, but when this beast has been so good to me, it felt wrong to stray away, so I went for a DS218+ with a 12tb Seagate Ironwolf drive.

It arrived a couple of weeks ago, and it’s currently spinning away next to the old DS216j.

One thing that drove me towards that model is that it was upgradeable – or at least the RAM is. It comes with 2Gb built in, but the blurb on the website said you could get a memory expansion for it. It could go up to 6Gb. Cor! I had a feeling this would be a custom memory module, and probably more expensive than normal RAM, so I thought I’d just update it if and when I needed it.

After it arrived, and while fitting the drive, I noticed the RAM expansion looked particularly “normal”, just like a standard laptop DIMM socket. I did a bit of digging around and yep, it takes normal DIMMs. Hurrah! In fact the article I was reading suggested you could get a larger memory module such as an 8Gb one, and it’ll work fine. So, I got it.

It arrived at Mercuryvapour Towers just a few moments ago. So, how easy is it to fit? Oh, very. For some reason, I thought this would be a little more involved but it really isn’t.

The memory I opted for is… “Crucial CT102464BF160B 8 GB (DDR3L, 1600 MT/s, PC3L-12800, SODIMM, 204-Pin) Memory”. It set me back just under £30, but looking at the prices on amazon today, it’s gone up to £34.

Anyway, shut down the device. Slip off the front cover, and remove the right drive bay. Under this, you will see a white DIMM socket. Slide in the memory module (with the notch on the left hand side), and youll hear the levers click. Just the same as any other RAM module really.

I booted it back up, and confirmed it did indeed read 10Gb. It was all a lot easier than it sounded in my head.

Finally, the last step is to perform a memory test on the device This isn’t something you can do from inside the NAS operating system – instead, you have to download the Synology Assistant software. Download, install and run it. Select your NAS drive, click the cog button in the top right, and click “Perform Memory Test”. Go back out to the device list, and you’ll now see a “Memory Test” button. Press this, and it’ll warn you that this will take time to perform the memory test, and that’s going to reboot the machine…

The software will report that the device is “Performing Memory Test”, and the power light on the NAS drive will constantly flash orange. Unfortunately, there’s no progress monitor, so I have no idea how long will be left. At the time of typing, it’s up to about 90 minutes. If you’re going to do this, I’d recommend doing it when you’re not planning to use the device. (EDIT: It took just under 4 hours to complete the memory test)

No doubt some of you are wondering if you can update the 2Gb that’s already built into the device? Apparently, yes, you can. It’s just another memory module. Unfortunately, it’s inaccessible without fully dismantling the device, so you have to question whether it’s even worth doing at all. 10gb should be enough for a NAS drive under any circumstance… it’s more than what’s in most perfectly serviceable PCs.

EDIT: I was doing some thinking about what the whole point of 10Gb would be, and I think I’ve found it. Virtual machines. I’m actually typing this right now on a virtual machine that’s running of the NAS drive. I’m currently running a bare, yet serviceable Linux Mint installation from it. Something which I don’t think would be possible with my previous NAS drive. This could be fun!

Das ist a nice keyboard!

OK, well I know that the last proper blog post (ignore the Facebook one) was about keyboards. Well, you’ll be excited to know that this one is too. Of course, you only have to scroll down slightly to find the “absolute bargain” with that Dell keyboards.. a little bit of spit and polish (rather, a load of Cillit Bang, and even more of those disposable blue cloths), and it was back up and running.

Anyway, Thursday, is of course, market day. I’ve mentioned this many times. Sometimes, I weep when I find a badly treated CD that I’ve been after, sometimes I laugh at the prices that some of the stall holders charge, and sometimes, I swear in disbelief at the bargains that can be had, when the person just doesn’t know what they’re selling.

So, I was on an early shift at work. It was sunny, and all of those two things combined mean that I headed off to the flea market. You gathered that, otherwise I wouldn’t be typing this now. The first stall is always a hive of miscellany. My eyes were immediately drawn to a box of records. No surprise there, but the next box along stopped me dead in my tracks. The records no longer had any significance. There were keyboards. and there was one that stood out in particular. A huge one. A single keypress immediate;y informed me that this was no ordinary keyboard, it was mechanical. The satisfying clack of the key. The overall look of the beast. The fact that it looked practically brand new.. There just had to be a catch somewhere.

I grabbed it instantly, and went over to the guy selling them. £2 each. What? Money exchanged hands, and I walked away with a keyboard. I had no idea if it worked. I walked through the town clutching this keyboard, I must have looked a complete wally., but I don’t care. A mechanical keyboard for less than the price of a pint.

It’s actually perfect timing. Some of you have noticed when I’m typing something that there are double characters especially Cs and Ys. It appears that those two switches are possibly on the way out. They might just need cleaning, or they might need replacing entirely. One thing I know is that it’s not easy to do, so I was sort-of hesitating over getting a different keyboard. I suppose this will have to do for now!

Right, so far, I’ve raved about my purchase. I do have a couple of reservations about it. It’s a touch-type keyboard, meaning that none of the keys have marks. It’s completely blank. One thing is though, I’m typing using it now, and the words are flowing like beer from a keg. There are obviously the odd mistakes, but they creep into my typing anyway. Using this might actually improve my already fantastic typing abilities. Ahem.

Another thing is that… I’m not sure it’s a genuine product. It’s by Das Keyboards. A name I’ve actually heard of. This one is apparently the MX3000. There is a Cherry keyboard of very, very similar design, though checking out the Youtube videos on it, It looks better made, I’ve had Cherry keyboards in the past that have had different branding on them, so it might just be a case of that.

Just look at how plain the logo is though.

I’m not going to rip it apart to find out to see if there’s anything more identifiable on the parts inside,, but I do know that the switches are Cherry branded

There’s also the fact that it’s an ANSI keyboard (American), as opposed to the ISO (UK) standard. It’s not much of a problem, but the smaller return key, and you can only get to the backslash by pressing AltGR and # as there’s no dedicated key for it. Seeing as I use the backslash key a lot MIGHT prove an annoyance, but I’ll wait and see.

I’ve been using this as my main keyboard since Thursday now, and I’ve had absolutely no other issues with it. I’m surprised how quickly I got used to not having letters on the keys. As I said, maybe this will improve my typing, maybe I’ll get sick of it and fling it in the cupboard with the other 5,000 keyboards that I own.

But yeah, no letters!