Canon MF455dw

Canon MF455dw

It’s been 9 years since I bought a new laser printer. I typically don’t replace my equipment until it’s either broken or having too many problems to deal with. My Canon imageCLASS MF4890dw has been chugging along faithfully since I bought it back in 2014 but it recently fell into that “too many problems” category: the ADF has been squeaking and jamming regardless of my attempts to clean it, replace the rollers, etc.; one of the flatbed cover hinges broke back in 2020 and while I was able to replace it, last year the plastic slot that holds the hinge in place cracked so now the cover won’t stay open on it’s own (and the hinge pops out when I open it); and finally despite replacing the toner cartridge and cleaning, it’s been printing black lines down the left side of each page. That was enough to push me over the edge to look for a replacement.

I didn’t do a ton of research this time … I have been really happy with my Canon printers so I just looked for the latest revision of what I already had. Canon’s MF450 series has a few models that are all very similar, the primary differences being the inclusion of a fax, and print speed. There wasn’t much of a price difference for the top-of-the-line model (and it was readily available) which is why after reading a few online reviews, I selected the Canon imageCLASS MF455dw.

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Chatting with ChatGPT

Seems like everyone is playing around with ChatGPT from Open AI. Earlier this month when I was working on my NAS re-org I actually tried using it to help me write some firewall rules and this is what I got:

CHatGPT "discussion" about firewall rules

CHatGPT “discussion” about firewall rules

Not too shabby. It’s been in the news lately because all sorts of people (students, bloggers, even lawyers) are using it to write stuff for them. So I figured, why not turn my blogging activities over to the AI? Well, here’s what I got.

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Seattle Sports Weekend

When my daughter first went off to college in Ohio I told her we’d do a daddy/daughter hockey trip at some point and go see the Lightning play the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then the pandemic happened and the NHL schedule never seemed to align with travel plans. When the 2022-2023 schedule was released last summer it looked like an Ohio away game just wasn’t in the cards so we decided to go a little farther: Seattle. My sister is still a Kraken season ticket holder so she came here to Tampa to see the Kraken play the Lightnig back in December (we won 6-2), and then my daughter and I flew out to Seattle last weekend to catch the Bolts in the Emerald City.

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Synology DiskStation DS720+

Synology DS720+

During my recent switch from LastPass to Vaultwarden I was planning on using Docker but then discovered my old (2014) Synology NAS didn’t have the CPU architecture to support it. I was already in the middle of one big winter break project, why not add another? Time for a NAS upgrade!

My DS214 started out with two 3TB drives, which I then upgraded to 6TB in 2018 and then 8TB in 2020 (after one of the 6TB drives started exhibiting bad sectors). I didn’t need a capacity increase again, just a hardware upgrade so I started looking at the newer 2-bay DiskStations. The end result was my purchasing the DiskStation DS720+.

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Goodbye LastPass, hello Vault(Bit)warden

Unless you’re not interested in tech news or have been under a rock for the past two weeks, you’ve probably heard about the latest LastPass breach debacle. Two days before Christmas, every LastPass customer like myself received an e-mail informing us that, in a nutshell, back in August 2022 an unauthorized third-party had acquired LastPass vault backups from a cloud service. But don’t worry, they said! As long as you’ve got a strong master password, you should be fine. But not everything in your LastPass vault is encrypted, specifically URLs and now that this unknown threat actor has a list of LastPass customers, their vaults, and the URLs in those vaults, let the phishing attempts begin! Not to mention they have time to brute force the encryption on those vaults with poor master passwords. Even worse, since the initial announcement, there has been zero further details provided by LastPass, even on their own support forums (which are now full of message threads with other angry customers also leaving) and no mention of the breach at all on their homepage!

So yeah, after 12 years as a LastPass Premium/Families customer, I’ve switched.

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Keeping the Kinetic Kudu

The calendar shows October which means it’s about that time for my fall sports update and an Ubuntu upgrade!

In their first season (after a late start due to the lockout) as the Guardians, my Cleveland baseball team (the youngest in the league) ended up winning 92 games and the Central Division. They then knocked out my Tampa Bay Rays in the wildcard round (sweeping them in two games in the new best-of-three format) and introduced the baseball world to SpongeBob (aka, rookie Oscar Gonzalez). Unfortunately, they lost to the New York Yankees in the ALDS, but it did take all five games (and then, thankfully, the Yankees were swept out of the ALCS by the Astros, so that was satisfying).

The Bucs (with Brady back for one more year?) and the Browns (despite the departure of Baker Mayfield and the Deshaun Watson controversy) both started out with promise of good seasons, but currently sit at 2-5 and 3-4 respectively (and yet even with a losing record, the Bucs are tied for first in the NFC South). Tom Brady may be regretting not retiring last year, both on the field and at home. Basketball and hockey are just ramping up with the Cavs at 2-1 and the Lightning off to a slow start at 3-4 like the Bucs.

On to Linux: Canonical released Ubuntu 22.10 (Kinetic Kudu) last week so it was time to upgrade. It took about 45 minutes for the do-release-upgrade to download and install all the updated packages, then I re-applied my customizations to some affected config files and rebooted.

The first problem I had was that I couldn’t SSH back into the server. Luckily I also have a monitor and keyboard hooked up to the NUC in the closet, so I was able to confirm the server was up and running. Doing my normal Google research, I found that a change in the openssh-server was now using socket-based activation. I had been overriding the default port in sshd_config and supposedly my changes should have been carried forward by the change, but it wasn’t. Once I figured that out I was able to SSH in on the default port of 22 (and then removed my customizations from the config file). The second issue was a lack of outbound internet connectivity which turned out to be related to systemd and resolv.conf. Once I added my Pi-Hole to the DNS line in /etc/systemd/resolved.conf, the server was able to resolve and connect to external sites. Finally, I had to re-upgrade to Calibre 6.7.1 since the Ubuntu “upgrade” actually downgraded it to 6.3. But hey, no PHP issues this time! 😉

Seeya back here in April for spring sports (hopefully spring training!) and Ubuntu 23.04, the Lunar Lobster.

Apple Watch Series 7

[ I’ve been slowly (hardly?) working on this post for the past few weeks, but now that we’re stuck at home waiting for Hurricane Ian to arrive I figured I should finally get it done. ]

Apple Watch Series 7I’m a long-time user of fitness tracker tech: I got my first Fitbit in 2014 (after cancelling my original pre-order in 2009), followed by the Charge 2 and Charge 4. There was a brief time when my daughter had a Charge before she just stopped wearing watches altogether. My wife, on the other hand, went through a Fitbit Flex and Alta before I got her an Apple Watch (Series 3) in back 2018 (which she still has a loves). Honestly, with all of the other Apple devices in our home, I’m surprised it took this long for me to decide to switch and back on Father’s Day (two years after getting my Charge 4), I became the owner of an Apple Watch (Series 7).

[ Of course, since I got it, Apple announced and released the Series 8 … great timing! ]

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Labor Day Weekend 2022 at Disney

Another summer has passed (although it’s still in the 90s here in Florida!) so it’s time for our annual Labor Day Weekend vacation trip to Walt Disney World. To avoid the holiday weekend traffic that is typical on I-4 over to Orlando, this year we left Thursday evening and checked into our hotel room in the Gran Destino Tower at the Coronado Springs resort.

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Node-Red (with Ring and HomeSeer)

“Even with my tendency to tinker, adding yet another system on top of Homebridge seemed like too much to me.” – me, two months ago

Yeah, I said that back in late May (in reference to Scrypted) after getting Homebridge set up and integrated with my HomeSeer home automation system. But here I am, two months later writing about another integration to my system. This time, it’s Node-Red.

NR is “a flow-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways.” I had read about it on the HomeSeer forums (back when I was re-organizing my home automation setup and switched to Ring from ADT Pulse), and made some notes to look into it later as it seemed like a lot of people were using it to extend and integrate their automations with other systems. Last weekend I had some free time and decided to poke around and tinker with it.

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