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Archive for the ‘Solutions’ Category

Mounting a Synology drive on Ubuntu Linux

Posted by jaystile on April 26, 2013

I was having a little trouble mounting my Synology network drive as described on the wiki. This is was on a clean installation of Ubuntu Linux 12.10.

These are the steps I took to figure out what was going on. First I had to find the IP address of the drive on my network. So, I downloaded nmap and then scanned my local network.

sudo apt-get install nmap
nmap -O

I found I was have troulbe with just using nfs as I had to use a username and password to connect to the shared drive. I found that using cifs worked for me. I installed it and then tried mounting the drive and it worked! Then I unmounted because I didn’t want to have to do this every time I wanted to access the drive.

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/synology
mount -t cifs -o username=MYUSER,password=***** // /mnt/synology
mount -a
ls -la /mnt/synology
umount /mnt/synology

I decided I wanted a little more permanent solution. So I created incorporated the ‘Basic Method’ steps from the synology wiki. I edited the /etc/fstab with the following:

// /mnt/synology cifs user,uid=yourusername,gid=users,rw,suid,credentials=/etc/cifspwd 0 0

Next was to create to the cifspw file.

sudo su -
echo username=yourusername > /etc/cifspwd
echo password=yourpassword >> /etc/cifspwd
chmod 0600 /etc/cifspwd
mount -a
ls -la /mnt/synology

I hope that works for you!

I built a new PC and had to try something new as my original instructions didn’t work for the fstab and creditials file.
I ran the command

 sudo su -
 dmesg | tail

I noted that there was an error: CIFS VFS: No username specified. After a quick google search some nice person posted a solution. However, it was a touch out of date as the package smbfs was retired and cifs-utils was the recommended package offered by apt-get.

sudo apt-get install cifs-utils

After a restart my mounts came back up correctly,.


Posted in Programming, Solutions | 3 Comments »

An Avatar Postmortem: The Continuing Life of Jake Sulley

Posted by jaystile on January 17, 2010

I went and watched Avatar in 3D with my buddy. It was a visually splendid movie and I enjoyed it. I have to recommend not drinking the ‘small’ movie theater Coke because you’re not going to last until the end. At the end of the movie Jake Sulley has all kinds of life fulfillment. My question is, will he still feel that way in 10-20 years?

I’ve been having the ‘life fulfillment question’ conversation with many of my male friends. Many people don’t realize this but as men (as with women, but this is from me and my friends point of view) get older our choices become more limited. We graduate high school and our options are limitless. We then have to make a choice: college or work? Well, if you want to make a reasonable amount money working for someone else you need a degree. Starting college all your options are still wide open. You could be a doctor, lawyer, scientist, professor. You choose your degree and your field of expertise becomes much more limited and so do your job options. During college and early work years you’ll see/date/romance many women. You find your special someone (i.e. someone who puts up with your bullshit) a marriage is scheduled for the future. Your options have just become more limited. Now as a family you decide to put down roots and purchase a home. It’s a very exciting time, until you realize you now have golden handcuffs. Once again, you are limited. Limited by the places you can go. There will be no new apartments or switching states for a different job. Now you are hoping that your employer keeps you employed so that you can afford to keep your house. Chances are you’ll decide to have a family, because there is no one going back in your family tree that decided to ‘opt out’. Those who do ‘opt out’ don’t spread the compelling need to not-procreate.

In my point of view, once you have children you are now locked in. You are on autopilot until until the offspring are independent. Don’t lose your job because you don’t want to have to find a new job, sell the house, switch schools. There is a lot of pressure to keep the status quo. Now, back to Jake Sulley, he managed to make every choice and limit his options in about 3 months! It was a very exciting time. He chose a job (hunter), a mate (Neytiri), and a place to live. Yes, he had a great purpose and rescues the world. After they establish a new home and have kids, what does he do? Well, he goes out and hunts and then comes back home and what? What new choices does Jake Sulley get to make? He too is on autopilot until James Cameron comes up with a new adventure for him.

There should be a clear distinction between my questions and the choices I’ve made. Like most men, I made choices and I would make them again. My choices have been the correct ones. I enjoy the work that I do. I love my wife. My home is very nice. My children are awesome. The question is how does one avoid the monotony of maintaining the status quo for the good of the family? I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m working on it. I’ll let you know if I figure it out. I know it has something to do with goals and adventures in our free time (and nothing to do with the computer or television). The things I remember the most are the scenery during the ‘Elephant Rock Ride’ and trails I’ve hiked and the lobsters we steamed. I heard that they are already planning a sequel to Avatar, we’ll see what kind of life is in store for Jake Sulley.

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Parenting: Budgeting for the Young and Old

Posted by jaystile on September 2, 2009

This is a follow-up post to my parenting post about children and money.

Everyone needs to budget based on their income! (I’m looking at you House of Representatives, Senate, and White House) I would guess that most people don’t budget because they simply do not know how. And if they try and learn most of the online tools require you fill out approximately fifty thousand items to come up with your budget. This can be a little overwhelming for someone who doesn’t want to make a budget in the first place. I like the 60% Solution!

If you’re too lazy to read the link here is the short version.
The 60% Solution for Adults

  1. 60 percent: Monthly expenses — such as housing, food, utilities, insurance, Internet, transportation. This is the part most commonly thought of as a budget.
  2. 10 percent: Retirement — and if you’re doing it right, this is being automatically deducted from your paycheck for a 401(k) investment.
  3. 10 percent: Long-term savings or debt reduction. It’s best to invest this in something such as stocks or an index fund, and this can serve as your emergency fund. But if you are in debt (not including a home mortgage), I would advise that you use this portion of the budget to pay off your debts, and even draw some from the other categories such as retirement to increase this to about 20 percent for now. Once your debts are paid off, you can switch this to long-term savings. You still need to have an emergency fund, but while you’re in debt-reduction mode you can either create a small, temporary emergency fund out of the money from this category or the next.
  4. 10 percent: Short-term savings — this is for periodic expenses, such as auto maintenance or repairs, medical expenses (not including insurance premiums), appliances, home maintenance, birthday and Christmas gifts. For this savings account, be sure to spend the money when you need it — that’s what it’s for. When these expenses come up, you will have the money for them, instead of trying to pull them from other budget categories.
  5. 10 percent: Fun money — you can spend this on eating out, movies, comic books — whatever you want. Guilt free.

The 60% Solution for Children

  1. 60% – Long term savings. Car, College, or Wedding. There is a high probability that your child will want to have one of these in the future. The most important lesson for a child to learn is to save for the things that they want.
  2. 10% – Charity and gifts. Children will need to buy gifts for parents, siblings, and others. This will be a large part of their income and they will feel good when they can spend their own money on the people they love. If they are so inclined I like the charity of Heifer International for my charitable giving.
  3. 10% – Short term savings. Teach your children about planning ahead. So they can have a little extra money when back to school shopping to buy those clothes that you will not buy for them because they are dumb looking.
  4. 20% – Fun! Go ahead and spend on whatever you want after all they are kids still! (And you are making them save 60 cents of every dollar for college.

Do it! For my budget I’ve set up multiple savings accounts with online banks (like etrade.com; emigrantdirect.com; ingdirect.com). The money gets automatically transferred to individual accounts based on my budget categories when my paycheck arrives. For children you could use the envelopes method or setup online accounts for them. I’m more inclined to recommend the online accounts because they pay interest and it’s harder to get the money for an impulse shopping spree.

Envelopes This is an old-fashioned system that works. Have an envelope for groceries, gas and fun money. When going grocery shopping, bring the groceries envelope. You know how much is left in the envelope before you go grocery shopping. Spend the cash for groceries, and then you can easily see how much is left now. Simple, and no tracking necessary. When the money is gone, you’ve spent your budgeted amount. If necessary, you could transfer cash from one envelope to another, and there’s no need to adjust your budget.

Conclusion I personally subscribe to a more complex budget, but I’ve been using a budget tracked in a spreadsheet for at least the past seven years. What’s that you say? You cannot afford Microsoft Excel? Try the Free Open Source alternative OpenOffice. As you start keeping a budget it becomes more specific as you start planning for vacations, college funds, ‘soft retirement’. Budgeting is important to make sure you don’t get caught with you pants down when it’s time to buy new tires or rebuild the transmission, pay the max deductible for your health insurance because some a-hole ran you off the road on your bicycle and you had to go to the emergency room. Also, to make sure you know if you can afford a reoccurring monthly expense of hundreds of dollars for satellite tv, cable internet, and cellular phone service. If you’re not able to save you have not lived within your means. Time to get a roommate or move to the not so nice side of town.

Posted in Parenting, Solutions | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Parenting: Children and Money

Posted by jaystile on July 17, 2009

This post is in response to Lenore (America’s Worst Mom) Skenazy’s request: Giving Kids Control of Money (So They Don’t Always Need Yours)

Money seems like it is a very difficult concept for parents to discuss with their children. I’m guessing it is because it is usually a difficult topic in general for the household (i.e. WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH OF IT!). I’m providing my two cents on what I’m planning on teaching my girls about money.

Learn to Earn
I think the most important lesson for a child to learn is to earn the things they want. Delayed gratification will set them up to be better investors in the future. My family is well off and I can buy my kids any toys that they want. My daughters are currently 3 and 4. They see the neighborhood kids with their scooters flying up and down the sidewalk. They tried them out (with their helmets on of course!) and really enjoyed them. I bought two scooters at the store for them. All they have to do to earn them is get ready in the morning: Make their bed; get dressed, brush their teeth and brush their hair. If they do all that without me or my wife telling them to they get a stamp. Seven stamps = 1 Scooter. They haven’t earned those scooters yet with only two stamps each, but they want them, and they beg and plead. Dad says to them, “Of course you can have your scooter as soon as you get seven stamps. How do we earn stamps?” The kids groan “Make our bed, get dressed, brush our teeth and hair.” Dad says, “Great! Then do that and you can get a scooter!” This technique worked for earning a bicycle bell by finishing reading lessons.

Buy for Value
I really don’t have a problem with my kids wasting money on items that will soon lose their interest. It is my job as a parent to point out that the toy will become boring once they get it home and offer them alternate suggestions. Give your kids a choice. Dad says, “Are you sure you don’t want to save your money for that new bike you wanted?” Its a good lesson to teach to children to buy things that have lasting value. It’s hard from them to see a toy go for sale for $.25 at the yard sale when they used their hard earned money to buy it. The same goes for adults who put a $25 sticker on a $800 treadmill they only used once.

As kids get older the toys will become more expensive. I’m sure I will hear the whine at the store, “~DAD~, I REALLY WANT THIS GAME! They are sold out everywhere!” Fine, I say. I’ll break out the wallet and buy the game (because honestly, it is a pain in the ass to find high demand products. Nintendo Wii near it’s release date, anyone?). However, it will go on lay-a-way. For those who didn’t grow up with parents that were out of work frequently and couldn’t get credit (as easy as it is to right now) a store would hold an item for you. You would make weekly payments until the purchase price was fulfilled. Then you got to take home your item. The same works for the game. Your child can earn the game (back to the earning concept) by doing extra work around the house or paying you back when they get cash from grandma and grandpa. As long as they keep making weekly payments, you’ll keep holding the item. If not, there is always E-bay or craigslist.

Get a job!
As your kids get a little older (10yrs and up) it is time to learn the value of money. I don’t really like the concept of an allowance. I especially don’t like tying an allowance to jobs that have to be done around the house. Everyone lives in the house, everyone has to help out with the weekly chores according to their ability (dishes, sweeping, vacuuming, toilets, laundry, etc). If my child needs something (food, clothes, shoes, etc) I buy it for them. If they want something above and beyond their daily needs they can again earn it. They say “~DAD~, I REALLY NEED THESE JEANS! Everyone is wearing pre-ripped, pre-strained, overlarge ones and I don’t have any!” Dad says, “I’m not buying those, they’re stupid looking. But if you want to do extra work around the house…” Give them the choice, do they not want the jeans or do they want to work for them? I’m all about getting extra work done around the house. It would make my life easier if they took out the garbage. But let us be honest about how much money is deserved for each task. If they want to take out the garbage for me, great! That is unskilled labor worth minimum wage. I take the minimum wage rate and calculate their earnings for the 10 minute task. According to the current federal minimum wage of $6.55 they earned $1.09 (and that is tax free!). That is learning the value of a dollar. Now, if they decide to do more unpleasant work like scrubbing out the trash cans, I’m willing to negotiate (because I don’t want to do it myself!). Just keep the rates honest with the work they are doing. If they make an honest effort at trying to earn the money, I see no problem helping them out by paying $20 of their $60 stupid looking jeans.

One issue confronting our youngsters is that they can’t get a job even if they want a job. Child labor laws have really hurt companies ability to hire anyone under 18 years of age. That’s fine, because it is time to sell your child out. Sell your offspring’s skills to friends, neighbors, and relatives. I know a lot of people who could use help shoveling snow, mowing grass, walking dogs (and picking up said dog’s dookie), ironing, being a second pair of hands, washing windows, washing floors, painting, pulling weeds, raking leaves, watching children, lifting heavy objects, emptying gutters, washing cars, cooking, cleaning and all those other skills you have taught them. Also, make your kids work cheap. The neighbor kid offered to cut my grass for $50. It only takes me 45 minutes, get off my grass you little cretin. However, cheap labor will get you more jobs in the future. If he had said $10 he’d probably be cutting my grass twice a week.

I had some more to say on teaching your child budgeting. But we’ll save that for another article.

Posted in Parenting, Solutions | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Solution? The Problem with Garbage Dumps

Posted by jaystile on November 26, 2008

One of the problems with garbage dumps is that we are mummifying our trash. Researchers find newspapers from the 1950s that are still readable and meat with fat on the bone that has not started to decompose. A garbage dump is actually supposed to mummify its contents so that dangerous chemicals and runoff do not invade the groundwater. We need garbage dumps! However, recyclable and compostable materials that should be decomposed or reprocessed are filling up our dumps. While the government has seriously cut back on the number of new permits for garbage dumps. Because of that, I’ve been thinking about what I could do to help the planet and minimize my footprint on it. One of the things we do in my family besides recycling (Thank you Waste Management for the ease of Single Stream Recycling) is composting also know as aerobic digestion. One of my problems with the compost pile is that we cannot compost all food waste. If you live in a densely packed neighborhood like I do you do not want a big stinky compost pile. Which means you cannot compost any diary, meat, or anything that putrefies. I was wondering if we could compost more items if we did it for a larger community? The methane released from decomposition could be gathered and broken down further by burning it in a generator providing electricity back to the community.

While I was doing a little research for this post, I stumbled upon two articles from ecocycle.org: Zero Waste Recycling and Single Stream Recycling. Someone has already beaten me to the punch in trying to solve the world’s problems! I was going to present the concept of community composting which would allow a group, like an HOA, to sign up for compostable materials removal. Like trash pickup, you’d put out your can of grass clippings, leaves, and food waste and in return you could pickup finished compost for your personal use. It sounds like efforts are being made to have a 3-bin style separating and using one truck to pick it up. One bin for recyclables, one bin for compostables, and one bin for trash. Let’s hurry and get me my 3-bin separator!

There are some other cool technologies out there for composting. I had first read about an anaerobic digester from a Heifer International newsletter. The anaerobic digester is an underground storage tank which is fed by manure and compostable materials. In rural areas in Africa the digester’s bacteria produce methane in the digester and this gas is siphoned off and used for cooking while the slurry (which is near ordorless after processing) is used as fertilizer. On PBS I heard of dairy farms using a similar system to use the methane to power generators to operate their farms and receive carbon credits.

Anaerobic Digester

Anaerobic Digester

I am glad to see people taking a greater interest in the life cycle of their garbage. And I appreciate the efforts being made by companies like Amazon.com who are trying to minimize the use of plastics in packaging in favor of recyclable materials with their ‘hassle free packaging’.

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