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home: Broke HDHomeRun, Strange @ behavior with iMessages, Backblaze, and Homebrew

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Ok, this has to be in the department of infrastructure breaks too much, but I never log in to my MacBook Pro 2017 that I use for backups, and to review here is how I handle backups right now based on the 2022 strategy which has been working pretty well, but it's a six-layered backup strategy:

  1. Synology DS-2413+. This is a 12-drive system, I have three volumes, one volume for personal files and the other for media. Then one of the volumes is a local snapshot back of the personal files.
  2. Drobo Pro and Drobo. I have USB copy to Synology and two old Drobo's which are set up to use USB. These have had instabilities where the USB driver kills the Synology and I think with the upcoming DSM 7.0, I lose USB drives but I'm not sure.
  3. Synology DS-1812+. This is an 8-drive system and it gets network snapshot replication of the personal files so that if the Synology fails I have this copy locally.
  4. Synology Drive backup to MacBook with RAID1 Thunderbolt array. I also backup from the Synology 2413+ to a MacBook with a drive array.
  5. Synology Cloud Sync to Google Drive. I copy my photos and key documents onto a Google Drive so that all the photos have a place to go and this is my first off-premise backup.
  6. Hyperbackup of the DS-2413+ and the DS-1812+ to Google Drive. This is the next level of backup, so both the Synology are end-to-end encrypted backups to Google Drive and yes, I need the Xfinity unlimited data package to upload all this, it takes months (?!!) to do the initial sync.

Backblaze hang on Mac forces an Inherit

The problem I have is that the BackBlaze application just seems to have hung, so I tried brew reinstall Backblaze but I could not get the user interface up at all. So I tried a download of the DMG files and now it thinks this is a completely new machine. This makes sense because all the configuration information is blown, so now Backblaze is working on a 16TB inheritance. Geez, that is going to take a while.

And after about 30 minutes it really did work, so just beware, don't reinstall without also inheriting.

Synology Drive hang

This also worked for months, but it is now reporting a permissions problem and hanging. Argh. I did a reinstall and it seems to be working again but it still reports permissions and I can't figure out where the error is. Is it on the source of destination, the error doesn't say?

HDHomeRun gaining channels by direction and height.

We've been using HDHomeRun to get over-the-air TV for things like news for a while and it works pretty well. The main issue is the antenna is not as sensitive as the OTA antennas on our LG B9 and LG CX, but we could get some of the major networks. But lately, I've lost the big channels 4, 7, and 11. It is strange because other channels like 33 and 56 come in fine and they are on the same towers according to Antenna Web. I'm not sure if this is related to the move to ATSC 3.0 (aka Nextgen), but suddenly I've lost a bunch of them of course it could be atmospherics, I'll have to play with the antenna, there is supposed to be ATSC 1.0 broadcast compatibility for a long time, so I'm confused. The main thing about ATSC 3.0 is that it can broadcast in 4K, but it is not clear if this is really happening or just a future feature.

Eventually, you do a new ATSC 3.0 decoder like the HDHomeRun Flex they seem to have eliminated the HDHomeRun Scribe which had its own internal 1TB drive. I think that's actually OK since with today's USB Drives it's just easier to stick a USB SSD in the thing. You can also use drives on the network if you want. It is $199 for the new Flex with 2 ATSC 3.0 so I might experiment with it if I can't get my stations back but note that these signals are much lower, so Antenna recommends a big directional antenna and a pre-amp to make this work. I may have to get someone on the roof to install all this!

When I look at the stations here in Seattle, I do see they are transmitting 6MHz channels in both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 and it looks most of these are just duplicates. And no one knows what the image quality will be since they are going to cram 4K into the same 6MHz channels at HD, but I can't get any of these even though it reports I should only need a small multi-directional. I think that this is because there is a huge hill in the way. And it depends on orientation, so if I stick the thing exactly against the wall pointed at 270 degrees, I can get if you remember channels 13 and below are VHF so should radiate better than the UHF ones (boy I'm old enough to remember this!). The frequencies were actually very different with channels 2-6 at 54-88Mhz (so below the FM bands) and then 7-13 at 100-200Mhz, while UHF is really high up there at 500MHz or so.

So with this orientation, one signal makes it across the hill, and then there are two channels that are across the lake from miles away. This just reminds us all that RF is not magic, obstructions like mountains matter, so with Antenna WEb, I get these directions (although with Antenna Direct I get slightly different headings):

  1. KCTS-DT 9 PBS. RF channel 9. 1 mile 247 degrees. 4 total channels
  2. KWPX-DT 33 ION. RF channel 33. 17 miles at 103 degrees, 8 channels
  3. KWDK-DT 56 DAY. RF channel 34. 17 miles at 103. 1 channel

Then on the other side of the office also pointed 90/270 but pointed towards a window so it has a chance to see around the building. I get lose the channel at 247 degrees but gain a bunch at 271+ degrees.

It is pretty clear that the close by channels on Capital Hill are actually hard to get because they are shielded by the nearby mountain, but the big towers on Queen Anne 3 miles away on within reach so sorted by antenna location, this adds:

  • KUNS-DT 51.1 UNI. RF Channel 30. 3 miles at 271 degrees. 3 channels
  • KIRO-DT 7.1 CBS. RF Channel 23. 4 miles 272 degrees. 7 channels
  • KWPX-DT 33 ION. RF channel 33. 17 miles at 103 degrees, 8 channels
  • KWDK-DT 56 DAY. RF channel 34. 17 miles at 103. 1 channel

Also, the AntennaWeb judgment of what kind of antenna is needed doesn't really apply since with all these UHF stations, it's really the hills that matter. The confusing thing is how sometimes I can get other stations on the same two towers at 271 and 272, but other times they just fade for instance seems to fade in and out even though KUNS-DT 51.1 is on the same tower and I can get reliably. This is really strange since they seem to share the same actual RF channel (although I think this is a typo in Antennaweb) but the 7.1 and 4.1 seems pretty unreliable

  • KOMO-DT 4.1. RF Channel 30. 3 miles at 271 degrees. 3 channels (AntennaDirect says 285 degrees)

When I loaded up the Digital TV Antenna application on my phone I discovered that almost all the stations are really 270 degrees, so I tried to just mount the antenna in the same direction but higher and closer so away from the skylight. Going up just a few feet to the top shelf completely changed the reception, so it seems that being so close to the computers and probably something in the wall was not good, so now I can get but interesting lose channel 4 even though it is on the same tower as KING-DT

  • KOMO-DT 4.1. RF Channel 30. 3 miles at 271 degrees. 3 channels (AntennaDirect says 285 degrees)
  • KIRO-DT 7.1 CBS. RF Channel 23. 4 miles 272 degrees. 7 channels
  • KING-DT 5.1 NBC. RF Channel 25. 3 miles 271 degrees. 5 channelsKONG-HD 16.1. RF Channel 25. 3 miles 271 degrees. 3 channelsKCTS-DT 9 PBS. RF channel 9. 1 mile 247 degrees. 4 total channels
  • KUNS-DT 51.1 UNI. RF Channel 30. 3 miles at 271 degrees. 3 channels
  • KWPX-DT 33 ION. RF channel 33. 17 miles at 103 degrees, 8 channels
  • KUSE-CD 46.1. RF Channel 12. 17 miles at 103. 6 channels
  • KWDK-DT 56 DAY. RF channel 34. 17 miles at 103. 1 channel

Finally, I can sometimes get channel 11 but I think this is just too close to really getting reliably, if I move it to the other wall, then I lost 5.1 because I think that signal is leaking in through the skylight but do gain channel 9. RF is strange! But after an hour or two of moving the antenna around, just being 2 meters higher seems to make a huge difference so when I tried again I lost channels 5 and 16, but gained 4, 10, and 20?! These are not even listed on the Antenna web but are KQAH-LD and TBN HD and in Antennas Direct Channel 20 is 24 miles away at 258.55 degrees and channel 10 is 286.4 degrees at 3.62 miles.

  • KOMO-DT 4.1. RF Channel 30. 3 miles at 271 degrees. 3 channels (AntennaDirect says 285 degrees and the actual signal is very marginal)
  • KIRO-DT 7.1 CBS. RF Channel 23. 4 miles 272 degrees. 7 channels (AntennaDirect says 286)
  • KUNS-DT 51.1 UNI. RF Channel 30. 3 miles at 271 degrees. 3 channels (AntennaDirect says this is wrong it is also 17 miles at 118 degrees and this signal is marginal which probably means AntennaWEb is right)
  • KWPX-DT 33 ION. RF channel 33. 17 miles at 103 degrees, 8 channels (AntennaDirect says 118 degrees)
  • KUSE-LD 46.1 IND. RF Channel 12. 17 miles at 103. 6 channels (AntennaDirect says 118 degrees)
  • KWDK-DT 56 DAY. RF channel 34. 17 miles at 103. 1 channel (AntennaDirect says 118 degrees)

Trying Amplifiers does not help

I also have two simple amplifiers. That is they take in the Antenna input and try to boost the signal. Strangely neither of them worked. They actually reduced the number stations.

Stations change depending on the time of day

Ok, this is the strangest one, maybe it is weather dependent, but I woke up the next morning and did another scan a discovered I had more stations late at night, even though nothing had changed, so my lineup was 4, 7, and 51 up close and the trusty 33, 46 and 56 from across the water, but added 9, 13 and 16 which is that near antenna. Then this morning 9 disappeared leaving me only 13 and 16 although both are very weak (lots of artifacts):

  • KCTS-DT 9.1 PBS. RF Channel 9. 1 mile 247 degrees, 4 channels (disappeared this morning)
  • KCPZ-LD 13.1 Fox. RF Channel 22. 1 mile at 247 degrees, 4 channels (which is supposed to require a medium directional antenna, but is strong this morning). And it is very weak which makes some sense.
  • KONG-DT 16.1 IND. RF Channel 25, 3 miles at 271 degrees. 3 Total channel (this is a weak signal and supposed to require a large directional with a pre-amp)

And now with the rain this evening..

I see 7, 9, 33, 46, 51 and 53 so 9 is back and 4, 13 and 16 are gone. Geez.

Strange iMessage handling of @ signs wait for it!

OK for the final department of strange undocumented things, the latest iMessage is doing something magic with @ signs. If you type @rich for instance and that person is in the iMessage group, then it will highlight. Conversely, if you want something like rich@tongfamily.com this does not work unless you wait, the problem is that it looks for either the first or last name and sees the "@tong" and thinks it means someone else. YOu have to wait 1-2 seconds to type the name.

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