Vacation by bike 2017: Preparations

This year I wanted to do something different, and I had this idea stuck in my mind for quite a long time: In 2012 I made an attempt on a two-week vacation by bike. It flopped though, since my bike broke down.

By now it has been replaced and I want to try it again. In a few days I am going to leave for another tour; the route is called Mönchsweg! That’s more religious touch than I wished for and I would have liked to avoid that. But the route is nice, and distance and direction are perfect. There’s also an option to add a second stance to the tour. I feel like I learned a lot from the failed attempt from 2012 and I am inspired by the overly successful tour of Patrick (German site). I won’t be able to keep up with a ride across Sweden but the route I chose is of considerable distance anyway: from Bremen to the Fehmarnbelt at the Baltic Sea I will travel around 557 kilometres.

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Radurlaub 2017: Vorbereitungen

Dieses Jahr sollte es mal etwas anderes sein und eine Idee kreiste auch nach langer Zeit immer noch in meinem Kopf herum: 2012 plante ich schon einmal eine mehrwöchige Radreise; die scheiterte dann leider am altersschwachen Drahtesel.

Mittlerweile ist der ausgetauscht und ich möchte es nochmal versuchen. In einigen Tagen starte ich auf den Mönchsweg. Den religiösen Touch habe ich mir nicht ausgesucht und gerne vermieden. Aber die Strecke gefällt mir; Distanz und Richtung sind ideal und ich lasse mir die Option offen, womöglich noch eine zweite Etappe anzuhängen. Aus dem missglückten Anlauf habe ich dabei gelernt und bin von der extrem erfolgreichen Tour von Patrick inspiriert. Mit einer Durchquerung von Schweden kann ich sicher nicht mithalten. Aber meine gewählte Strecke wird mich von Bremen immerhin bis an den Fehmarnbelt bringen — 557 Kilometer laut GPS-Track.

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Change is a matter of priorities

“I cannot change myself. I am an old man! I know that I have my ways and shortcomings. But I have accepted the fact, and it is not possible to become someone I am not. That would be self-sabotage. You just come to terms with who you are, and embrace it.”

The above quote is something someone close to me said recently when he was confronted with some harsh but well founded criticism (it really was, and didn’t come from me. It was something spoken in the group of close people in which we held the talk). Quite frankly I was appalled by this statement and immediately rejected that line of thought. For me it is fundamentally untrue; something that I always knew to be false subconsciously but never could grasp as clearly as I can now. And as with so many things it boils down to priorities.

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Figuring out the WhatApp database format

I’m currently fiddling with the WhatsApp ChatStorage.sqlite database that I extracted from a recent local iOS backup. I want to parse the contents into properly marked-up HTML files, and store them outside of the iOS backup. To become more independent from the iOS backup and WhatsApp itself

I already got pretty far (massively improving my SQL skills in the process), but of course I want to add as much context to the messages as possible. WhatsApp saves the metadata for media items (namely links, replies, image thumbnails) for messages in the ZWAMEDIAITEM.ZMETADATA column of the database. On iOS this column contains blobs of binary property lists, that can be inspected on MacOS using the plutil tool. Still there is some figuring-out for me to do, and I’d like your help for that.

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ZFS all the things! Manually building a zpool on Linux from scratch

Eversince I started building my own homeserver and backup infrastructure I’ve been a huge fan of the Zettabyte Filesystem, ZFS. It has been in development for quite a while, is considered incredibly stable, and offers all the features you’ll want in a filesystem for long-term file storage: built-in data compression, copy-on-write, snapshots, checksumming, block-level incremental send and receive functionality, etc.

Until recently ZFS was limited to Solaris and FreeBSD almost exclusively, however with the advent of the OpenZFS project and its intention of bundling efforts to provide stable ZFS support to a variety of operating systems there are more options available. At work I am tied to using Linux, and I recently (after a few months of distro hopping) arrived back at a vanilla Ubuntu, which meant: ZFS support almost out-of-the-box, and I thought I’d give it a show in favor or my previous thumblings with btrfs. Since I forget quite quickly about how I go about such things, I thought about writing it down for future reference—and yours!

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