Unlimited prepaid 4G data sim for Taiwan – Chunghwa Telecom

Are you traveling to Taiwan sometime soon and would like a data sim for internet access? I can recommend Chunghwa Telecom’s offerings – this was the provider I ended up choosing during my travels. You can purchase a card with unlimited data on a time basis anywhere from 3 days to 30 days. You’ll get some voice credit included for making calls too, it’s a pretty good deal and certainly better than the options I’d come across nearby in Japan and Korea. For a 30 day SIM it’s ~1000NTD or roughly $45 AUD at the current moment. Another great inclusion is that Chunghwa operate WiFi hotspots in various locations so you can connect to these using your SIM card and unlike other providers you might have run into you don’t need to enter in login details each time you connect. The SIM card provides authentication so you can seamlessly jump between hotspots and 4G.

Current pricing directly through Chunghwa

You can purchase a SIM either directly through Chunghwa here.

Or via one of their resellers such as kkday here.

Both options offer airport pickup – simply choose the date you intend to arrive and then you can pickup the SIM at the airport. You will need to book your SIM ~3 or more days before the date you intend to pick it up. Personally I bought my SIM through kkday as at the time they allowed a shorter period of time between the booking and pickup date. Instructions on where to pickup the SIM are shown on the website and it was easy enough to find on the day. You will need two forms of ID – a passport and some other kind of photo ID such as a driver’s license.

The speeds were very good and there wasn’t any limiting or speed throttling that I noticed. I performed a large backup to Google Drive >200GB without any issues. This is a “true” unlimited service. I had no issues getting decent signal and speeds outside of Taipei either, the SIM worked great in Hualien for instance.

138mbps download / 37mbps upload – 4G speedtest in Taipei
~93mbps download / ~28mbps upload over WiFi in Taipei

FreeNAS CPU core and disk temperature check script

This is a nice simple script to display CPU core and disk temperatures on a FreeNAS server. Tested with FreeNAS 9.10.2-U1


Create a file with the following content – Mine is just called “temps_check_script.sh” as an example.

# Write some general information
echo System Temperatures - `date`
uptime | awk '{ print "\nSystem Load:",$10,$11,$12,"\n" }'

# Write CPU temperatures
echo "CPU Temperature:"
sysctl -a | egrep -E "cpu\.[0-9]+\.temp"

# Write HDD temperatures and status
echo "HDD Temperature:"
for i in $(sysctl -n kern.disks | awk '{for (i=NF; i!=0 ; i--) if(match($i, '/da/')) print $i }' ) ; do
echo $i: `smartctl -a -n standby /dev/$i | awk '/Temperature_Celsius/{DevTemp=$10;} /Serial Number:/{DevSerNum=$3}; /Device Model:/{DevVendor=$3; DevName=$4} END {printf "%s C - %s %s
(%s)", DevTemp,DevVendor,DevName,DevSerNum }'`;
done


Run it with ./temps_check_script.sh – The output looks like this:

System Temperatures - Wed Jun 21 07:53:16 AEST 2017

System Load: 0.17

CPU Temperature:
dev.cpu.3.temperature: 40.0C
dev.cpu.2.temperature: 44.0C
dev.cpu.1.temperature: 40.0C
dev.cpu.0.temperature: 42.0C

HDD Temperature:
ada0: 27 C - Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
ada1: 27 C - Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
ada2: 27 C - Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
ada3: 28 C - Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
ada4: 28 C - Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
ada5: 27 C - Hitachi HDS5C3020ALA632 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
da0: 32 C - TOSHIBA MD04ACA400 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
da1: 31 C - TOSHIBA MD04ACA400 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
da2: 29 C - TOSHIBA MD04ACA400 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
da3: 30 C - TOSHIBA MD04ACA400 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
da4: 31 C - TOSHIBA MD04ACA400 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)
da5: 30 C - TOSHIBA MD04ACA400 (SERIALNUMBERGOESHERE)

Me Know No Nihongo – Part 1 – Learning Hiragana & Katakana

Welcome to the first post of the “Me Know No Nihongo” series. In this series of posts I’ll simply be going over some of my Japanese language learning – primarily using the textbook “Minna No Nihongo”. I am by no means an expert when it comes to the Japanese language, in fact I am pretty far from that! Essentially I intend to use this series of posts as a means of revision for myself and to perhaps help some other learners out there that are using Minna No Nihongo. Even if you are using a different textbook, hopefully you can find something useful in my posts. I will outline and share various learning tools and methods that have helped me personally. This will include many free or cheap resources that are readily available, and also some that I have created myself. I will rarely ever delve into the concepts – for the most part I will just be providing resources and learning techniques. (Yes, “Me Know No Nihongo” is a dumb play on “Minna No Nihongo”)

 

Part 1 – Learning Hiragana & Katakana

You may already know that written Japanese is split into Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji and Romaji. Hiragana and Katakana are the “Kana”. These are essentially the phonetic alphabets in Japanese (technically they aren’t alphabets but I won’t go into that). You will need to learn how to read, write and pronounce all of the characters. It is a lot easier than it first seems. It won’t take you very long to conquer.

I would first recommend getting an app called “Dr Moku”. The developers claim with this app you can “Learn Hiragana and Katakana IN ONE HOUR with mnemonic tricks!”. It certainly took me a longer than an hour to learn all of the Hiragana and Katakana properly, but maybe it will only take you an hour. I found this app to be very helpful when starting out.

I’d recommend doing drills as often as possible using an app called Kana Mind.

You can practice your actual writing/stroke order using an app called Kana Writing. This works really well if you have a tablet or phone that you can comfortably use a stylus on. You want to emulate the writing experience as much as possible. Once you have gone through the entire Hiragana and Katakana in this app a bunch of times, start writing everything out on paper as well. It may be a bit dull writing the same characters over and over again but at a certain point it will all just “click” and you’ll start progressing quickly.

A little bit of poor form there having “Writting” as an error…

These timed drag and drop exercises are also helpful for character recognition.

Hiragana Drag-n-Drop

Katakana Drag-n-Drop

You may also want to print out some charts, or perhaps use these as a desktop wallpaper. Click on the images below to open the full size images. They are pretty big and are perfect for printing.

Try to get some practice in whenever you have a spare moment. Taking a dump at work? Get your phone and do some app drills. Stuck on a phone call? Practice some writing by just doodling on some nearby paper. You should have everything committed to memory a lot quicker than you would have thought it’d take.

 

Additional resources

I’d recommend heading over to the Learn Japanese sub-reddit. There are a lot of helpful links, posts and people!

4RU Rosewill RSV-L4500 ~22TB usable storage FreeNAS Build

This is my current storage/labbing box, which originally started in a Fractal R3 Define case, and had slowly been upgraded over the years.

  • Rosewill RSV-L4500 Chassis
  • Seasonic S12II 620W Power Supply
  • Front fans – 3x Corsair SP120 Performance Edition ~2350 RPM (these are way louder than the stock fans!)
  • Center bracket fans – 3x Corsair SP120 Quite Edition ~1450 RPM
  • Rear fans – 2x stock 80mm fans that come with the case
  • CPU Fan – Noctua NH-L9i
  • Motherboard – ASUS P8B-X
  • CPU – Xeon E3-1220 – 3.1ghz (LGA1155)
  • RAM – 2x – Kingston Technology ValueRAM 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 ECC CL9 DIMM (16GB total)
  • LSI 9220-8i in IT Mode + motherboard SATA for disks
  • 6x 4TB Toshiba MD04ACA400 in RAIDZ2
  • 6x 2TB Hitachi (5200rpm model) in RAIDZ2

As you can see, it’s pretty damn messy to cable when you have no backplane!

nas1 nas2 nas3 nas5 nas6

The front fans and also the rear fans are powered using chained molex adaptors which is certainly messy. The center bracket fans are plugged straight into the motherboard. I’m considering one of those fan controllers that have something like 8x 3pin fan headers powered by a single molex, which can then either float in the case or be mounted somewhere. Not sure yet if I should replace the rear 80mm fans or not. There is a single fan header empty near that end of the motherboard, running one off that would be neater than the molex.

It took quite some time to choose a power supply for this build. This PSU was chosen based on how I could distribute the rail amperage for the disks. You will find it’s not really possible to use the chained SATA power due to how close the drives are together when bending the cable. A bunch of SATA power and SATA>Molex splitters have been used, however everything is distributed so that no single cable has too many drives so that the rails are not overloaded.

Ambient temperatures are pretty high here. I’m yet to do a full load/temp test on the CPU since changing all of the cooling from stock – previously when the ambient temp was ~27c the CPU at ~90% load was hitting ~65c on all cores – not great considering the intel rated max for this CPU is apparently 69c.

I think if you live somewhere with an ambient temperature that sits around 20c, you’d be totally fine using all of the stock cooling for this case.

Schedule commands in LFTP using “at”

You can schedule downloads and uploads in LFTP in a simple manner by using the “at” command. Anything following the syntax described in this image below should work.

at


Mirror/download a remote folder two hours from the current time, using 10 connections + segmentation

at now + 2 hours -- queue mirror --use-pget-n=10 yourdirectory/


Mirror/download a remote folder at 1AM tomorrow, using 10 connections + segmentation

at 1:00 tomorrow -- queue mirror --use-pget-n=10 yourdirectory/

PC stats monitoring on your phone with Logitech Arx & AIDA64

Ever since the original Logitech G15 keyboard came out I’ve really taken a liking to the idea of having a little LCD screen near the keyboard for stat monitoring. I much prefer this to an on-screen overlay. The G15 and G19 are pretty old now and I don’t believe the LCD screen concept ever took off past those models. Logitech now has “Arx” which aims to replace this concept. Logitech have keyboards now with an “Arx dock”, which is basically a phone dock. The idea is that you can use the Arx software on your PC along with the Arx app on your phone to monitor all sorts of things. AIDA64 has support for Arx, so you can pipe your AIDA64 stats into Arx. This is particularly useful when overclocking – you can monitor your temps and resource utlisation while gaming or encoding. You can even take your phone into the bathroom and keep monitoring!

 

Here is a basic guide on how to get this going. I’m going to assume you do need a Logitech keyboard to use the Arx software, but this may not be the case. There is no technical reason for Arx to require a Logitech keyboard to function, but it’s entirely possible that Logitech stop the software from running if you don’t have one.

arx1
Enable Logitech Arx support in AIDA64.

 

arx2
Setup your template under “LCD Items”.

arx3
Make sure AIDA64 is enabled within Logitech Arx / Logitech Gaming Software.

logitech-arx-aida64
Install the Logitech Arx app on your phone. It can auto discover Arx over your network. On your PC you will have to allow your phone to connect to Arx via a popup notification that should appear. When you first run Arx on your phone AIDA64 will suggest a resolution to set within AIDA64’s LCD config, you can see that I’ve already done this in the first screenshot. Once you’ve setup your LCD template in AIDA64, you should be good to go.

Lossless video capture without needing fast and huge storage – x264vfw

To get the best quality out of your video captures, it’s best to capture losslessly and encode the content post-capture rather than trying to do it in real-time via software encoding or using hardware encoders. Unfortunately normal raw lossless capturing requires very fast storage and a pretty hefty amount of disk space. SSD drives can cope, but depending on the length of your captures you may well need over 2TB of space, which is currently quite expensive in SSD form. An alternative is to use RAID0 arrays or similar. If your storage cannot keep up with the required write speeds you will end up with dropped frames.

x264vfw
amarectv & x264vfw

A great solution is using the x264vfw codec in lossless mode. You will still have large file sizes (expect past 1GB or more for every minute), however the sizes are much smaller than normal raw lossless capture. This also means the write speeds required for capturing without losing any frames are lower. The highest I’ve seen x264vfw jump in lossless mode is ~60MB/s when a ton of action is going on, otherwise in my captures I’ve seen speeds generally hang around 20MB/s. A standard HDD can cope with this without issue, just make sure the drive isn’t being used by anything else.

For more info on x264vfw, other lossless codecs, and capturing in general – Check out “TheThrillness Blog”.

 

Fixing “Can’t connect to Group Policy Client service” on Windows 10

This is the method I’ve used to fix the “Can’t connect to Group Policy Client service” error on Windows 10. Symptoms – Log into Windows, no desktop icons, start bar not really working, and a little lock icon in the taskbar with that error message. A system restore will probably fix this problem, however it wasn’t an option for me as I’ve disabled the system restore feature.

In the start bar type cmd so that you see the command prompt shortcut.

Right click it and run as Administrator.

Type netsh and press enter.

Type winsock reset and press enter.

Reboot the PC.

This might not work on your first try, so try it twice just to be sure.

You should now be back at a working desktop after logging in.
Go to Start > Settings > System > Power and sleep > Additional power settings

Click on choose what the power buttons do over on the left.

Scroll down to shutdown settings.

Uncheck turn on fast startup
(If this is greyed out, up the top you need to first click “change settings that are currently unavailable”)

Save the changes.

Changing the NTP update interval on Windows 10 / 8 / 7

Open the registry editor and browse to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet\Services \W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient

Select –
SpecialPollInterval

The default decimal value will be 604800 seconds – 7 days. Change this to whatever value you wish. So for example, setting this to 3600 will force the NTP service to perform an update every hour.