Registering a DNS nameserver

Recently I had to sign up for a new VPS for my business, and took me a couple days to figure out how to register nameservers for DNS.

This is actually trivial, so I’m embarrassed to even post it, but in case I forget again, this post should server as a reminder.

I used NameCheap for my domain hosting.
Once logged in, go to the management page for that domain, then Advanced DNS.

At the bottom there is a section for Personal DNS Service.
That’s where the magic happens.
Add Nameserver dive you the option to enter an IP address for a subdomain.
The Search link will list all the nameservers already assigned to that domain.

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10GB network upgrade

A while back I installed a few 10GB nics running over CAT6, and have enjoyed the higher throughput to my FreeNAS box.
The FreeNAS box is running a bunch of spinners in RAIDZ, so while the sequential read/write have been pretty good, the 4k read/write have been pretty lousy. For the longest time I didn’t know if the low 4k file speed limitation was due to the fact that the array is based on spinning disks or because the CAT6 protocol has too much overhead and limits the throughput of small files. Read More

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Insta360 Pro image quality

The Insta360Pro 360 camera can record in 4k, 6k and 8k video formats for viewing in 360 environments.
I got curious if there’s a difference in output quality depending on which resolution I record at.
As it turns out, there is a difference. Read More

1 Comment VR

Video file and display resolutions for VR experiences

I was trying to figure out an ideal video resolution to record VR video in, for my HTC Vive VR headset. By ideal, I mean what video file resolution would take full advantage of the display’s resolution.
I am asking myself this question because I don’t think the current state of technology has a good answer and I want to know what recording resolution do I need to max out the amount of recorded detail.

It’s display resolution is 1080×1200 per eye, with a field of view of 110deg side to side and 100deg up and down.
That means that side to side, to cover 360 deg the ideal resolution should be 3534px (360/110*1080).
Up and down, to cover 180deg, the per eye resolution should be 2160 px (180/100*1200)
So the ideal 360deg file resolution should be 3534 x 2160px per eye. For stereo video, the vertical resolution needs to double, so it beomes 3534 x 4320. That’s very close to 6k resolution (4,992 x 3,744, which is 18MegaPixels)

Everyone that’s tried a VR headset in 2017 will attest to the the fact that the display resolution is rather poor. But even with this ‘poor’ display resolution we need 6k (18 MegaPixel) video to take full advantage of it. 6k video files are massive and working with them is not a simple task from a computational perspective. Only the very best/most powerful machines can handle smooth editing at these resolutions. 7680×4320

If we want to increase that display resolution to get a less pixelated image in the headset display, we are also going to have to increase the recorded video resolution. So even a modest 1.4x increase in headset display resolution on both axis (which results in a 2x total resolution increase) means that we need 10k video to use the display’s full potential. Going to 2x increase in display resolution on both axis (so a 4x increase in total resolution) means… I don’t think we even have resolutions that go up that high… 20k resolution?
I could not even speculate on what kind of internet connection and bandwidth you would need to stream that kind of video file from youtube.

All this being said, while a 4 times increase in resolution of the display is significant, it does not come close to full potential of what the eye can see and distinguish.

The current 4k video streams available on youtube do not contain enough information to take full advantage of the display resolution in today’s generation of headsets.

1 Comment Video, VR

RAID0 cache drive upgrade in UnRAID

Just installed two 1TB drives in the UnRAID box, and wanted to set them up in a RAID0 configuration.

First step is to move the data off the current cache drive (250GB SSD). This involves moving the data to the HD array by setting the Share settings for “Use Cache” to “YES” from “Only”. Then click the “Move Now” button on the Main page. I had to do this for both the “appdata” and “domain” shares.

All that’s required is to select the two devices as cache devices, start the array. If there are multiple cache drives selected the system will automatically set them up as RAID1. This can be confirmed by clicking on the cache drive and looking in the “Balance status” section. Data, System and Metadata will all show RAID1.

Because btrfs is very clever, the cache drive RAID array can now be converted to something else, which is a RAID0 array in my case.
In the “Balance” field enter “-dconvert=raid0 -mconvert=raid1” and click the “Balance” button.
This will convert the array.
The Balance Status will reflect this change, with Data now being RAID0 and the storage about is increased.

To move the data back to the SSD cache, set the Share settings for the user shares for “Use Cache” to “Prefer” and then click the “Move Now” button. This will move the data back to the SSD cache and off the HD array.

Reference 1reference 2, reference 3

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Installing FreeNAS as a VM in UnRAID

This took a while to figure out as I had to try several combinations of settings to get it running.

UnRAID 6.3.5
FreeNAS 11

When setting up the VM for FreeNAS, use “FreeBSD” as the template.
For BIOS use “OVMF” and Machine  should be “i440fx-2.7”

When installing FreeNAS make sure it is set to UEFI boot.

In order to PASS THROUGH a generic PCIe device in UnRAID, (a SATA controller in my case), use this guide.

1 Comment Linux, UnRaid

Vuze Camera – Use on external power

When the camera is on and recording while being attached to an external battery bank, the camera’s battery does not charge. In fact the battery level decreases. It decreases very slowly, but still decreases. The power consumption of the camera is higher then what the external bank can dump into the camera.

The documentation mentions the internal battery life is about 2 hours, and the charging time to full capacity is about 3 hours. So it makes sense that the external charger (even thought it’s a 2.4A charger) can’t deliver enough power to run the camera, let alone run the camera and charge the battery.

This means that the camera can’t be used for an unlimited amount of time, even if plugged into the wall. I don’t know how long the camera can stay on in this mode, but it’s substantially more then just using the onboard battery.

Also, it should be noted that if you want maximum battery life out of the camera, it’s best to plug it in right at the start of the operation of the camera, when the internal battery is fully charged. If you wait until the internal battery is depleted by any amount, an external battery bank or wall plug will be of less use then if the internal battery was full.

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Crypto mining strategy

Contemplating what strategy I should use for the funds I am earning from mining. Currently I’ve been converting the BTC earned into $$ to pay off the debt incurred by buying GPUs for mining. But is that best strategy?

One of two things will happen: mining profitability will gradually fall to values where electricity cost overtakes profits, or mining profitability will continue indefinitely (or at least for the long term).

If all BTC earnings are kept as BTC, and the price tanks, then all earnings are worthless.

If all BTC earnings are converted to $$ right away,  then you are not capturing on the increase of BTC in value. We’re already quite high in value. In the short term I don’t think the BTC value will sky-rocket to double what it is today. That is very unlikely. Perhaps in the long run, but likely not in months.
As with any business, priority one is to pay off the initial investment. In my case since the GPUs still have value, I’ll place a value of 40-50% on them on the used market, since if it comes to selling them off, the market will be flooded with GPUs.

In the short term converting the BTC to $$ will protect against large losses. It’s much easier to imagine the BTC price fall dramatically (by 5-10 times) then doubling again in the next few months. A price doubling would bring a gain of 2 times. If the price drops by 5-10 times, then that’s a much harder hit to my $$ wallet.


My strategy for the short term is to convert all mining earnings to $$ at the highest exchange possible, to protect myself against the potential loss.