06 Apr, 2015

Nikon AW130 Mini-review

Posted by: alex in: Gibbering

I recently went on a once in a lifetime trip to St Maarten.. it was pretty awesome. I had done some pre-scouting online, and worked out that my primary photographic objective was planes at SXM (you’ll know when you see it..), but that there were also some really cool beaches there, so I figured now was as good time as any to get a water-resistant digital camera, and that since I would be taking photos of planes with good lighting at close range, there would be no need to take my DSLR and piles of L-Series lenses.

Also on my wishlist for a waterproof camera were Geotagging from GPS and wifi connectivity. All of these led me to the new Nikon AW130. My local camera store had one, and I picked it up for C$414 (with taxes included). Not super cheap, but affordable still. I also took along my iPhone 6, but not for underwater use, perhaps obviously.

I took about 500 photos with it, but before I get effusive about its photos, let’s break down what I don’t like about it:

  • No ISO, Aperture or Shutter speed settings
  • Flash Auto, Flash Off – no Flash Mandatory
  • Built in image sharpening
  • Image dynamic range sucks compared to iPhone 6 (which is an astonishingly good camera..)
  • Falls victim to megapixel myth – so much noise reduction in the sensor that it may as well have been half the resolution
  • Only does 4:3 photos – c’mon, it’s 2015
  • UI issues a-plenty with geo-tagging – as soon as it gets wet, every single freaking time, it asks if you want to use the last GPS location for geotagging, or to just leave it blank. I feel that should be a setting you can set and forget. Turning on or off GPS tagging is NOT obvious – I would think a “geotag images – yes or no” option would be good – but no, you need to turn “Record location track” on to enable geotagging, AND to enable the GPS location display – ie, unless you turn this on, the GPS doesn’t run. There’s also no satellite diagnostics or status.
  • It also has a confusing “shake” UI for single handed underwater use.. not sure how I feel about it. It looks like you can turn it on/off.. but shaking it when it is off also has a UI response, so.. I don’t know what it means.
  • WIFI – creates a network, doesn’t join one, so you can’t photograph and upload to facebook or flickr directly. When you connect your mobile device to it, and pull photos off (only photos – can’t download videos from it), it only pulls them off at low resolution, not full resolution.

But on the plus side – it works nicely underwater, and takes pretty good photos, limitations notwithstanding. I don’t regret buying it, and it was great to have it with us for the trip. It’s just.. a pretty shitty UI. But I’m spoilt by iOS.

Check out the photos from our trip – some are from the iPhone, and some from the Nikon.

St Maarten 2015

As another observation, it’s also really weird holding a brand new piece of digital equipment.. and jumping into the ocean with it.


If you’re trying to set the time on a brand new out of box Cisco Nexus 5500 and you get the message “Setting clock from CLI is not allowed in this VDC.”, it’s because the clock protocol is set to ntp, even though you didn’t configure NTP. Go into config and type “clock protocol none”, and then it will let you set the time.

Then, when you’ve finished the config, set up NTP!

And while you’re at it, this page from Cisco is awesome for troubleshooting VPC

Comments Off on Setting clock from CLI is not allowed in this VDC.

I did a recent migration of SAN to NAS for a client recently, and had to unmount all of their datastores.

This little one liner lists all SAN volumes, then gets rid of them..

# esxcfg-scsidevs -m | sed -e ‘s/\:1 //g’ | awk ‘{ printf(“esxcli storage filesystem unmount -l %s;\nsleep 1;\nesxcli storage core device set –state=off -d %s;\n”,$4,$1);}’ > /tmp/

Hope it helps someone, somewhere, someday.

12 Jul, 2013

Las Vegas with Penny and Kim

Posted by: alex in: Gibbering

Las Vegas with Penny and Kim

This week, I went to Las Vegas. For a day. I arrived in at about 9:30PM, and left the next day at the same time. I went along for Chris and Rachel’s wedding.. and their wedding guest, Kim, Penny and Laura. Yay seeing Perth people. I also had a pretty full week at work.. so I’m sitting at home on Friday night thinking back over my week – “san installation, crazydayinvegaswithkimandpenny, san installation, network installation, san installation..”

These days I’m doing a lot of work implementing Datacentre equipment, including SANs, servers and switches. I recently installed some Brocade VDX6720 switches. Pretty cool stuff, especially the way that TRILL and vLAGs work so easily. I had a loaner switch, running Network OS (NOS) 3.0.1aa, while waiting for the final switches to be delivered. When the final switches were delivered, they were running NOS 2.0.1, so I had to upgrade them. That wasn’t the smoothest of experiences.

In Brocade’s defence, I should have read the manual closer, both of these issues are in there, if you read it all.. but time is money!

1 – I couldn’t get it to download new firmware over SCP – it kept reporting file not found, and that’s hard to diagnose. Might not be brocade’s fault, so I went to use the USB method of loading firmware. It took about 15 minutes till I re-read the manual and saw that you can only use the Brocade branded USB key to do that. Yes, there’s a USB port on the thing, but you can only use the ONE USB key it came with to load firmware onto it (or a similar Brocade one, at least they aren’t node locked)

2 – Turns out by “not supported”, they mean that a direct upgrade from 2.0.1 to 3.0.1 will almost brick your switch. You need to upgrade to 3.0.0 first. I missed that bit. One of the switches didn’t have VLAN information on, and came back pretty quickly, while the other, that I had configured VLANs on, would crash at startup.

eAnvil rev B found
Info: panic dump has been initialized!
Exisitng reboot reason fsize = 5 rb=
Global Fan Direction is 0

The file contains no trace dump information.

Network OS ((none))

(none) console login: ********************************************************************************************************
** Crashed in OM/Worker (WaveNs::ClusterLocalObjectManager::boot(WaveNs::WaveAsynchronousContextForBootPhases*))

WaveNs::PrismLinearSequencerContext::executeNextStep(unsigned int const&)
/lib/ [0xc306e5c]

Thu Jul 11 22:04:07 UTC 2013 :: Confd: Waiting for Dcmd to become ready...

How did I recover? Well, reading scrollback I noticed a “Found 2(threshold 5) abnormal reboots within 3000 seconds window(threshold)” message, and wondered what would happen if I hit 5 abnormal reboots? Well, that gives you an option to “clean databases”, which fixed it good and proper.

3 – Bonus gripe here. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to configure a range of interfaces, like cisco’s “int range” or dell’s “int blah/0 to blah/2”. I’ve seen some people say on forums that they wouldn’t buy Brocade again because of this. A little harsh, but it seems like a pretty trivial feature to add.

03 Feb, 2013

FileVault on SSD

Posted by: alex in: Gibbering

After the previously posted of “thieving gits” in 2009, I now encrypt my laptop, and was prepared to take a performance hit for it, and this is just fine.

For the OCZ Agility 4 I just got (AGT4-25SAT3-512G) – this is the “411”, as they say here. Without encrypting, blackmagic speed test was 208MB/sec write, 252MB/sec read. Encrypted with Filevault, it’s 196MB/sec write and 215MB/sec read, which is good enough, especially considering I was getting about 40MB/sec read/write on my encrypted 5200RPM HDD (vs 70MB/sec read/write on my wife’s unencrypted 7200RPM HDD)

One of the pieces of advice I’ve seen about SSDs is to not encrypt them because the extra write cycle will wear them out quicker, incompressible data leads to slower transfer rates, garbage collection/trim will slow them down, etc. Well, that hasn’t been my experience, and these concerns are even addressed specifically for this drive.

02 Feb, 2013

OCZ Agility 4 in MacBook Pro (Mid 2009)

Posted by: alex in: Gibbering

I sort of regard replacing hard drives like changing oil in a car – something you need to do to keep things working. It might last, but it probably won’t.

So along those lines, I’ve just replaced the hard drive in my MacBook Pro with a new SSD – my local computer store had two 512GB OCZ Agility 4’s for a very good price – so I got that.

One things I was worried about was how it works with the crazy NVidia MCP79 SATA interface in these.. they are a SATA-II controller, and have a bit of a bug, where if they see a SATA-III device, it goes “wtf is this?” and clocks it down to SATA-I speed, instead of SATA-II. For hard drives, that doesn’t matter – but for SSD’s, it’s going to limit performance. I have an SSD in my work MacBook Pro, of a similar vintage, and it only runs at SATA-I speed, and it’s good enough, but not great.

I did some reading on OCZ’s offerings – for their “3” series of drives, there’s a utility you can download to set them to SATA-II, but no such utility exists for the “4” series. Well, turns out what I had seen suggested is the case – they will detect they’re connected to an MCP79, and automatically claim to be SATA-II. This is the main reason I’m posting this – in case someone else has similar concerns ;) So this SSD is doing 208MB/sec write, 250MB/sec read, which is pretty impressive.

As a side note: I saw a storage company’s SEs who I work quite closely with while I was buying this – and made a joke about how much cheaper they were than their SSD’s ;)

09 Sep, 2012


Posted by: alex in: Gibbering

Eagle by theducks
Eagle, a photo by theducks on Flickr.

Damn fine bird

08 Sep, 2012

Artists Point / Mount Baker, Washington State

Posted by: alex in: Gibbering

Went to Mount Baker today – beautiful place. Also set up to only have comments via Facebook. Sorry.

10 Aug, 2012

Wow, it’s been a while!

Posted by: alex in: canada|Gibbering

It occurs to me that it’s been almost 10 months since I updated this! So what has happened since then..

  • We went to NYC and Washington DC. Was very awesome. Went to Comic Con in NYC, Smithsonians in DC.
  • Had Elizabeth’s family visit over Christmas. Spent time over on Tofino with them, also a few weeks of them camping in our house. Was also awesome
  • Went to Perth in April for Swancon. Saw many people, didn’t take too many photos. But it was still awesome.
  • Became Permanent Residents of Canada
  • I no longer work at UBC – over the course of a few weeks, we went back and forth over some terms of a restructure they wanted to make in my group, and we weren’t able to come to a meeting of the minds on terms, and they have to do what they have to do, so I got a redundancy. It was a little bit of a shock initially, but not much, I’d been half expecting it as an outcome – their hands were tied by my position description. By that evening I had an invitation to come talk to a reseller about working for them instead. Yay networking!
  • So I’m now a Solution Architect / Professional Services Engineer for a reseller, which included a nice pay rise, and get to regularly go hands on (elbows deep..) into storage (NetApp, Isilon) and virtualization (VMware) systems. Lots of fun. New job is based in Vancouver for the most part, with occasional visits to the BC Interior, a 48 hour visit to London Ontario, and also several days in a warehouse in an unspecified industrial area of rural Washington state.
  • My dad came to visit for a few weeks as well – that was fun – we saw all the sights that the lower mainland of BC had to offer. He’d previously been here and visited Vancouver Island, before we lived here, so this was all new for him.
  • Have two other friends from Perth visiting (separately) over the next few weeks, which will also be nice.

Immigrant Stamp


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