Making a Pi cluster rack mountable

Firstly, Happy Pi Day! 3.14 (.2019).

So the Computer Science department here at the University of Surrey have a rack of 100+ Raspberry Pi computers, all with TPM Hats, all stored in a mobile 19-inch rack. The issue is that they’re all mounted to a sliding shelf and getting to Pi’s in order to power cycle them or change their SD cards requires you to have arms like Dhalsim (Street Fighter).

So after a bit of googling I found these designs for a rack mount solution that turns the Pi’s into blade-esc machines. The issue is I’m not sure if the designs will accommodate the TPM Hats, so that’s where the amazing technicians in the Electronic Engineering department and their wonderful 3D printer come in. I’ve passed them the designs and by Monday should have two frames and a sled upon which to mount a Raspberry Pi and it’s hat to see if they’ll fit.

Mostly in just posting this because it’s a bit of fun and I find 3D printers fascinating. To think that you can now make things like this at home. Next step will be the Star Trek replicator!

Go little 3D printer, go go, go!

The Lodge – Part 2

The ground for the lodge is finally all cleared and ready. The sleepers have all been taken thanks to a little sign put up by my Mum offering them for free, so they’ll be going to a good home to build some raised flower beds.

Also thanks to my Uncle and a good bit of research we now have a good idea of how to tackle the electrics.

New Bike Tyre

Finally got my the tyre on my Kawasaki replaced, almost three months since I got a puncture while travelling down the A303 one sunny (pre-winter) evening.

Bought a replacement Road Pilot 4 from MyTyres, and got it fitted along with an oil change by Vincent’s Motorcycles in Farnborough. Big shout out to Mark who did the fitting and oil change. Top service!

I’ve decided to keep the old tyre, as I’ve heard I can get it patched for only £20. Might be worth doing in case of emergency and I need a tyre. 

New photo

It’s not often I have any photos taken of me (the occasional selfie not withstanding), but I needed to urgently replace the photo on my CV (Résumé). The one I had on there was just horribly casual and just didn’t really portray me in the right light for a professional document.

So with the help of a work colleague I took 10 minutes out of our day and had a few snaps taken down at the lake here at the University of Surrey. Continue reading “New photo”

Bash script: Disk Quota check for Project Spaces

Since my return to work after the Christmas break, I had a challenge to write a script to provide our users a way of querying the disk quota available to them on their network storage.

Linux users know that you can simply run ‘df <path>’ to find out what space you have available, and for our regular Linux users you’d be absolutely correct (though I would suggest they add a ‘-h’ to make it human readable).

This is all well and good until you start talking to users of our Quantum StorNext system, which gives you some silly amount which is of no use to the users. So how do we get around this? Continue reading “Bash script: Disk Quota check for Project Spaces”

Taming the Smart Home

Christmas 2018 has been a bit of an eventful period for Smart Home owners.  An Amazon Alexa outage over the Christmas break due to the number of new devices being connected, leaving users with red ringed devices, unanswered questions, and lights stuck in on or off.

Philips Hue also suffered an outage during the holiday break, with their service going down for multiple days.

These outages are interesting because they affect people in different ways depending on what devices they own and how they are choosing to interact with those devices. But what are the alternatives for turning the lights on and off when Alexa can’t do it for us? Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Taming the Smart Home”

Micro Machines

Over Christmas and New Year I’ve taken the opportunity to sort out or clear out some of my old childhood toys in the attic. One of my favorites as a kid was Micro Machines. These tiny replicas of vehicles (both from real life,  science fiction TV/Movie, and from the made-up world of the people behind Micro Machines) provided me hours and hours of fun in imaginary worlds and scenarios.

From what I’ve been able to gather from research, Micro Machines were going up until recently, or may indeed even still be going today Certainly Star Wars Episode I / II / III all have Micro Machine models of them. There is still a reasonable number available on eBay too, with some unopened sets selling for many times their original amount.

I had five main sets of Micro Machines.

  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Babylon 5
  • Military
  • Science Fiction

I took some time to photograph the three TV/Movie sets as they were the dearest to me, and probably the most iconic of this amazing series of toys. Continue reading “Micro Machines”