Weeknotes 523 Feb 2021
After half-term last week, we’re back to home schooling. But now we have the prospect of schools reopening in two weeks time.
I’ve got fairly addicted to GeoGuessr over the last couple of weeks, having stumbled over GeoWizard’s YouTube Channel. Essentially you are shown a Google StreetView image and you have to figure out where in the world you are.
It has a number of different modes - including the far easier(!) task of just having to identify the country. In the normal mode you are free to move around and explore the area to try to find clues. There are other modes where you cannot change the view at all - all you have is the one image.
Having played a few maps that are restricted to the UK, you soon realise we have a lot of country roads that go on for miles with absolutely no hint as to where they are.
With a free account, the site limits you to one game a day - I lasted a week like that before paying up to satisfy my craving.
Farewell Napster. Hello Spotify
A bunch of the digital services I pay for all seem to renew around now. It made me realise I ought to take stock of what I do and don’t pay for and see if there are better options.
A good case in point is Napster - yeah I know. We got a 6 month free subscription a few years ago when I bought a set of Sonos speakers, and it has just hung around. In recent weeks, probably since upgrading to Big Sur on my laptop, its being getting really unreliable - killing the browser tab if I leaving it playing in the background for too long. I then had a frustrating morning when the app just refused to play anything at all.
So I thought it was time to try something else - cancelled the membership and signed up to Spotify. I then discovered the Spotify player in Chrome was showing a lot of the same issues - so perhaps it was more a Big Sur/Chrome/media type issue, but anyway…
One immediate advantage is the Spotify app which just works and comes with Sonos awareness built it. It’s just that bit easier to switch between playing on my headphones and the Sonos next to my desk without having to switch between lots of apps.
Speaking of listening to music, we spent some time sorting out boxes in cupboards this weekend. Boxes from when we moved house over two years ago that got shoved in a cupboard and largely forgotten about. A couple of those boxes contain all of our CDs, and we’re now faced with the choice of what to do with them.
They are largely redundant - we can ask Alexa to play pretty much anything we want at any time.
But the CDs do still serve a purpose - even if we don’t physically play the CDs they are tangible things we can browse through to pick what we might want to listen to. The kids both have CD players in their rooms - and we’ve slowly introduced them to new (old) music by giving them CDs from the box they may like.
Inevitably, they are only going to get more redundant. At some point the kids will have devices that will be able to play anything they want and we’ll no longer be telling them off for getting their finger prints all over the shiny side of the discs and causing them to skip endlessly.
So do we sell them? Is there any market for 2nd-hand CDs these days? I suspect the effort of cataloging them all in order to sell will cost far more in time then we’ll get back financially. There must be a more charitable solution. The alternative is they go back into a box in the loft and we’ll forget about them.
Moments before I was due to start my Twitch live stream last night, I saw some notifications that the Node-RED flow library site was down - Cloudflare returning some big nasty-sounding errors.
I went ahead with the live stream, but decided not to try fixing it whilst streaming as it would likely involve logging into various services and I didn’t want to risk showing things on the stream that I shouldn’t.
I carried on with my planned content for the stream, but my head really wasn’t in the right place to spend the time pushing pixels around the screen whilst trying to improve the layout of the MQTT nodes.
Once I finished the stream, I dug into the errors and found the misconfiguration that had caused it.
Here’s what had happened as best I understand it.
We use Cloudflare to manage the DNS of all Node-RED websites. The flow library itself runs as a DigitalOcean App.
DigitialOcean also use Cloudflare to manage the DNS services for their systems.
The flow library configuration in Cloudflare had it set in Proxying mode - so all traffic would flow via Cloudflare. It turns out you cannot do Cloudflare proxying on top of another Cloudflare managed domain that is owned by someone else.
The annoying thing was this misconfiguration was done when I moved the flow library to DigitalOcean back in November. For some reason Cloudflare happily let me configure it like that and waited until 3 months later to sudden start complaining about it.
The fix was to turn off proxy mode and switch to just DNS for the flow library.
I do have a draft blog post that describes the work I did to migrate the flow library to DigitalOcean. By “draft blog post” I mean I have a almost blank markdown file in my drafts folder with the title set. In this 2021 spirit of just writing things down, I should probably get that draft drafted.
Digital Service inventory
I wrote a couple bullet points ago about taking stock of the digital services I pay for - before getting distracted about CDs in boxes. Rather than bury it in weeknotes, I think I’ll do a separate blog post that lists them off. I think it’ll be interesting to record it so I can see how the list changes over time.
That’ll do for this week.