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Indiegogo project goes live

Our indiegogo project goes live today!

going in indiegogo project goes live

In the recent months I have been working tirelessly out of my home studio to finish this little trailer and today our Indiegogo project goes live. I helped shoot this with a 5 man crew as sound and when an actor didn’t show up for his role ended up having a small part in it.
The script is in it’s finalizing phases and you have time to make a contribution to Canada’s film scene.
Please check it out if you get a chance and support my career! Otherwise I have made a horrible mistake…

Pride Short Film Digital Release

Hey all,

Andre Rehal’s short film about an underground fighter who tries to carve a small piece out for himself is finally released digitally.
Josh Vamos worked with Niall Collins to complete the film with Mathew Rosen composing. Over a portion of a few months we worked to bring a longer version of this film to life with ADR a sound effects edit and mix to bring the capture the mood Andre was creating. Audio Post Production can be expensive and finding a post production facility to take care of your film can be difficult. I am proud of the whole team in this great accomplishment!

Please check it out here at filmshortage.

Short Film

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Fixing a Raspberry Pi SD card that won’t boot

I have had a system that would not respond countless times with a Raspberry Pi when I was trying to roll my own. I have had also a few times where I just unplugged a system by accident futzing with something adjacent to it. There have been times when I would reinstall from scratch again. Do as I don’t. It was terrible. Now looking around I notice there are a lot of guides that tell you to bend pins, or get another card but I think people need another alternative. One that is a lot less intrusive than going nuclear and bending shit with a fork tine, or dropping another buck on a “cheap” computing option. Fixing a Raspberry Pi SD card that won’t boot has been something I have had to do many times early on.

The problem with Secure Digital media is that it isn’t all that secure and your data isn’t all that nonvolatile either. If you are writing to the disk and you power it down there is going to be corruption. From video files that weren’t cut before the camera was turned off, to SD cards that suffer a brownout here and there, SD cards get corrupt. Just do yourself a favour and try to mount the card first on a PC or something before you go to drastic measures. Fixing a Raspberry Pi SD card that won’t boot isn’t really all that difficult all the time.

Chiggity Check yo self…

There are a lot of articles out there about this but not one really brings this up. My boot corruptions have most usually been solved by removing the SD card and moving it to a PC or Mac or Linux machine and running a simple disk repair on it. Chkdsk, fsck, or Disk Utility it doesn’t really matter becomes sometimes the boot partition just isn’t marked active it seems. At least for me running Volumio it usually takes only a simple FSCK to get things going again. Which is great when you took time to install drivers and set up extra software. Fixing a Raspberry Pi SD card that won’t boot is simple as you make it really. DO a backup though because sometimes things can’t be repaired.

Mining bitcoins with p2pool

Here is my experience and testimonial with mining bitcoins with p2pool, I don’t know all that much about it’s inner workings but I assume that I have worked out a somewhat reasonable formula for success. You need to have a few things in line for this to be a profitable venture guaranteed. First off is the cost of electricity. If you have to pay for it you need to look at wattage vs gigahash closely. If power is not an issue then any old antminer will add a few gigahash to your pool and hence further your chances of hashing shares concurrently into the sharechain and hence earning a payout when a block is solved. Bitcoin is pretty deep and you can learn a lot from mining it. You will be exposed to it. Once you start doing it you will try to refine your approach and hence will become more familiar with it’s workings which I won’t go into much here. There are a ton of good videos on youtube for that. The focus here mainly is mining bitcoins with p2pool. I am not sure what the usage would cost for a few antminers so, I would say approach with some caution.

ASIC miners can be cheap when the power efficiency of them is slightly outdated. An ASIC miner is the only real way to mine BTC now. Mining p2pool with a hundred next gen Xeon processors wouldn’t compare to modern ASIC miners. That is why some coins have chosen to be ASIC resistant like Dash. I grabbed a few Antminer S1‘s this year (2015) for $100 CDN each and bough a PSU for each of them on sale for $50 CDN and had a mini mining operation on my hands. I had no idea how to make it work and finally feel like I can make a few common sense suggestions to make sure you can be profitable. First things first you need a good PSU for mining you can’t cheap out and you need to be sure to have a good amperage on your PCI-E 12V rails. You also want 2 of them for an Antminer but the main focus here is amperage. On average an Antminer S1 is going to run at about 4 amps. That is just a rough guestimation. You need 2 PSU’s for an Antminer S3 for overclocking. The big thing is what Amperage can run on that 12V PCI-E rail. The Corsair 500w single rail PSU with a 30A PCI-E 12V rail is perfect. They are great for stability. I use a 500W Corsair 80 Bronze rated PSU. The main thing to be careful of is the number of PCI-E rails. Single is better with high amperage. Some PSU’s just can’t cut it under the load and I find these Corsair PSUs to be reliable, here they are presently a good price. You don’t want the cables to get warm to the touch. So far my 3 PSUs (one made by EVGA) are holding up great with no scorching or heat on the lines. Cheap PSU’s just won’t do if they pose any risk.

Next, you’ll need a computer that you can run day in and day out with a good CPU in it and 4 gigs of RAM and an SSD in it; on which you store the blockchain. This SSD needs to fit the blockchain data files which presently weigh in at about 43 Gb and will constantly grow. So leave a good amount of breathing room on this disk. This machine is going to have to have a few packages installed. First get Python 2.7 and python-argparse as well as Twisted or python-twisted on linux They all pertain to python and different libraries that necessary to make P2Pool work. Python 2.6 is one of the first things you will need. This is assuming you are using a Windows installation. I took this all from this initlal post on bitcoin talk. First download the Bitcoin Core, this is the wallet that your miners will be getting transactions from and will be the link to the p2p BTC backbone via a node. Running your own node requires you to download the blockchain and index it. This requires a good while from scratch so downloading the bootstrap and placing it where it needs to go. This can speed up indexing the entire blockchain which is every transaction every made using BTC. It needs to download and slowly verify and it can take a day or so on a good connection with your firewall port forwarded for your node at port 8332. You also want to find the Bitcoin folder in the program files folder and configure the wallet into server mode. Create a file called bitcoin.conf in notepad and enter the following:

server=1
daemon=1
rpcuser=somethinghere
rpcpassword=somethingherehardtocrack1923234234098234
rpcallow=127.0.0.1
minrelaytxfee=0.00001
mintxfee=0.00005
limitfreerelay=7

This will set your bitcoin core wallet into server and daemon mode running in perpetuity, well that is the hope. Two of those lines set minimum thresholds on transactions. I am not sure these settings are right for you. The truth is once you start down this path of running your own node you now have some server admin responsibilities. Downtime is not really an option when mining bitcoins with p2pool so make sure things are chugging along every few days at least. The simplest way to run bitcoin and specify where to keep the blockchain is with the command line or by adding an argument to a shortcut. Try not to shut the computer down improperly or you risk corrupting the blockchain and being taken out of commission for a day or so while it reindexes. In that case it’s best to sign up with a few pools. That way you can add them in the miner config as fall back pools if yours goes down for say, an automatic update. I store or look for the blockchain at a path of my choosing by running:

<pre class=”prettyprint”> C:\”Program Files”\Bitcoin\bitcoin-qt.exe -datadir=G:\Pathiwant\
</pre>

Now download P2Pool 14.0 or higher. The reason is now that BIP66 has gone into effect, mining bitcoins with p2pool’s old versions are now unable to mine on the current blockchain. This is due to the hardfork of P2Pool to keep compliance with BIP66. Since these changes I have had pretty good luck since I put everything on an SSD and fired up a few tweaked antminers.

To get P2Pool running you need to create a shortcut to the application by right clicking on the executable file. Then right click the shortcut and select properties. Then in the target field add your user and password you had selected in your bitcoin.config file. You have to get the syntax right here. Look at the photo below. When you want to look at some graphs of your performance just hit your loopback IP or localhost at port 9332. http://127.0.0.1:9332 will do.

Windows
Windows
Capture
graphs
snippingtool
trafficrate

Next you need to do the same for cgminer’s application, adding some flags to the target of the shortcut. Add the below text after the path to the program with a single space.

-o http://127.0.0.1:9332 -u user -p password -btc-address (whateveryouraddressisinyourbtcwalletbecarefulenteringit)

Run the BTC core wallet, wait for it to load. Be sure you got your wallet address right. Then when that is done run your P2Pool shortcut, let that sync. Then run cgminer from your shortcut. And point your miners to the node IP using the prefix of stratum+tcp//192.168.the.IP:9332.

Getting the miner to respond can be difficult when you first get it. To get the miner to turn on when you flip the PSU switch on you need to short two pins on the main 24 pin cable from the PSU. It’s actually necessary and common practice to insert a cut-down paperclip into the end of the cable. Some smaller ones work perfectly. Here is a guide. Please be safe. Take proper precautions with electricity mains always. Don’t have anything plugged in while doing this.

The beast lives…

Now that you have it on and the lights are blinking hypnotically and it’s whirring and making noise it’s not mining bitcoins on p2pool yet, you need to get into it via the web GUI and your browser. Check the miner for an IP marked on the case and type it in like this obviously one at a time. Turning off DHCP and getting the network settings all set up is a little confusing, just make sure you don’t duplicate IP addresses and you should be fine. Try pinging it always first. If you can’t get anything there, I’d suggest a factory reset. Possibly then making sure it is the only LAN port plugged in and making things simple. For factory resets there is a strange offset button on the S3 by the LAN port and visible on the control board of the S1; if things just won’t work. To reset it, let the S3 boot up fully, give it some time. Then hold the reset toggle for ten seconds, wait for a few minutes, rinse (sic) and repeat. The S1 is more simple . Then plug it straight into a PC’s LAN. Set the IP to something matching the same subnet as marked on the case of your miner. Then try to punch the default IP into your browser and use the default login for the GUI.

user: root
password: root

Immediately change these for security in the system tab.

I set the difficulty on my miners. To make sure I don’t sweep up all the low hanging fruit from less capable miners. It’s done by adding a few numbers to the miner name. Some suggest not setting it and letting the pool set the difficulty. The number thrown around for an S1 is miner/256+256. I am testing this currently. When configuring make sure to give each machine a new miner name so the logs see them as individuals.

 

How I had my miners configed
How I had my miners configed

That’s it. You should see some text scrolling and that is it you are now mining bitcoins on p2pool. At some point you’ll see a share. This means if there is a block found that you will have a share in the sharechain and will receive a payout. It’s shares and block timing. I just made 5 MBTC today with some really good luck and 800Gh/s. Let me know how this goes for you. You want your efficiency to be above 120% hopefully. Try not to stare at them too long.

p2pool
Cgminer

I hope this guide helps you. If you want more info or to connect to my node let me know in the comments.

Quadro FX 4800 teardown

Recently I had been having issues with heat and intermittent freezing of my Hackintosh. These crashes always happened during graphical processes like watching Netflix, or editing sound and it started getting out of hand as the temperature outside was rising. I figured I was experiencing that which I had been seeing at work with a few workstations at the studio. The older GPU’s were starting to get sluggish and glitching out. The thing is after 7 years of dutiful service, the paste that is nestled between the chip and heatsink just gets a little less thermally conductive. There is a lot of talk of how Arctic Silver is useless but it does edge out a few extra degrees of cooling efficiency and is rated for around 5 years. As with all thermal pastes, with time they migrate and leave air gaps. This brings the temperatures of the cards up slowly but surely and eventually the heatsinks and fans you have will be no good against the volume of heat generated. When this happens we do not cast these cards aside, no, we hold fast to the moorings. They can be restored to their earlier function by simply reseating the heatsinks with new thermal paste and cleaning off any of the thermal tape or pads that were in there previous. The Quadro FX 4800 teardown was relatively painless, and totally solved all my problems with heat, freezing and bluescreen’s of death.

It’s too damned hot…

There wasn’t a lot of documentation on opening this specific card but with a little sleuthing, you can figure out how to disassemble and restore your card to it’s previous glory. You will need thermal paste, I use Arctic Silver 5 because I’m a f4n 30y. It really does work and I see a few degrees difference in real world tests, so sue me. Other than that I needed some thermal pads which are a silicon pad that has a light adhesive on either side. They are used for workstation installations and reliably move heat from components to heatsinks that are buffered by a large gap. They come in various thicknesses and it is important to make sure you get ones that are thick enough. There was one spot on my card where I had to double up just to fill the gap. The pads are available on e-bay or at very specialized computer repair stores. I also can’t stress my recommendation enough for some plastic spudgers. They are used for decoupling sensitive parts you don’t want to maim or scratch. For uncoupling the molex connectors that are so fragile, it is absolutely pivotal. Having some rubbing alcohol or JY-8 to clean up is something you should have on your list along with coffee filters or some other lint-free disposable cloth.

 

And now, as promised, the Quadro FX 4800 teardown…

Please read the instructions carefully. This is a simple teardown but there are ways you can be too rough with the small fragile parts. Take care not to strip screws or break any cables.
1.

Removing the first set of screws…

There weren’t any guides online but this wasn’t my first rodeo so I decide to map the route myself. The Quadro FX 4800 teardown wasn’t that difficult, if you take care. First, there are eleven screws on the back holding the rear heatsink to the card.

Removing the first set of screws
2.
Quadro FX 4800 teardown
Quadro FX 4800 teardown

Prying this part away carefully is the easiest part of the disassembling this card. Once you get it off you get a good luck at what your thermal coupling looks like. Mine were smeared a bit and definitely a bit melty. Below you can see some of the pads stuck to the memory or the heatsink. A few were removed before I snapped this photo.

3.

So this is what we are going to replace. With a little alcohol you can easily degunk the chips and heatsink, this is important so that the old material doesn’t create air gaps. The thermal tape they used left a slimy residue.

2015-06-29 21.32.54
2015-06-29 21.33.04

Here you can see they did migrate a little and this is probably why they aren’t working so hot right now. 😉

2015-06-29 21.33.10

Don’t forget to shine up the heatsink when you wipe each component gently.

4.

Now remove these screws holding the heatsink firmly on the integrated heat-spreader.

Quadro heatspreader screws
Remove all of these screws once you have everything cleaned up.
5.

Here you can see two more screw holes that hold the front heatsink and fan assembly to the board at the rear of the card.

Two screws on the back…
6.

Before you pry the case away there are two cables connected. One of these cables is opposite to your 6 pin PCI-E power rail. Make sure not to open the case to far and be gentle unseating those guys by gently prying and rocking them out with a spudger (on each side) gently till you can grab them firmly without touching the thin cable.

Quadro FX Debris
Be gentle with these cables and don’t separate the board until you have disconnected them both!

 

7.

There is another near the S-Video port, use the same smooth motion to remove it.

Cable near the S-Video port
Cable near the S-Video port
8.

Now pull the card free, gently rock it off the face of the chip. There, pat yourself on the back, you have succesfully completed the Quadro FX 4800 teardown. The thermal paste wasn’t too tough to pull apart for me but I have heard that it can be a pretty sticky. Now you can visually tell what components had thermal coupling on them by which chips are gooey. Take a photo for reference, it’s just good to feel secure that you didn’t leave one out. Clean everything up and get rid of any dust.

Seperate the fan from the board
Seperate the fan from the board
9.

Once you have everything cleaned up reapply arctic silver thermal compound on the heat spreader and start placing the thermal pads on the components with tweezers. Make sure you pad everything that had thermal tape removed.

I call my man sun cuz he shine like one
Make it gleam
10.
I use tweezers to place them
I use tweezers to place them
Thermal pad placement
The back too.

Revers the steps and put everything back together!

After this I had no issues with crashing. This card idles at fairly high temperatures and is rated for 90˚C but I was hitting 65˙C shortly after booting and hurtling upwards during h264 playback. Let me know if that helped and as always donate BTC if you feel generous!

 

 

Please Donate To Bitcoin Address: [[address]]

Donation of [[value]] BTC Received. Thank You.
[[error]]

Mining with P2Pool in the wake of the 2015 hard fork

Bitcoin is a digital currency that you have probably heard of before. It is ubiquitous in only the nerdiest of places so far. It also has trenchant links with the black market that can hike it’s value, which is something I have reasoned as more or less, why the value is currently stable; solely because of the black markets’ influence on fluidity. In light of the new hard fork I think p2pool will be a great way for DIYers to get some real coins, with Antminers coming down in cost. Now don’t get me wrong, I was pretty stressed out about buying my first bitcoin miner. I have student debts and I didn’t want to end up spending money on a box that eats power, spews heat, and noise but I was pretty sure I had it all figured out.

Using a VPN Service

VPN Servers are available now at as very reasonable rate these days with some plans coming in at sixty dollars or so a year. That’s really cheap as chips when you realize what is at stake. With all the revelations in the past few years of what internet privacy is like these days it’s easy to see why some might just get into a plan.
First of all, it offers a lot of benefits if you’re using streaming services like Netflix or want to use services not available in your area. A VPN is a stepping stone of the internet, as it were. You connect to the server with your traffic using various level’s of encryption to an end point. From this endpoint you emerge to view websites, regardless of the your origin. Using a VPN service is great for people traveling to China and staying at hotels that limit the access you have to the open internet.

There are plenty of service providers to use. You have to chose one based on your needs. HideMyAss is a great option and if you are using a VPN service for encryption or just to get past geoblocking of content. 12 VPN is great for those in China as they support their users in punching through the ‘great’ firewall. The other great thing about VPN is that your traffic will no longer be in plain site when on HTTP sites. By using one your traffic becomes indecipherable.

I like using a VPN service from my router. It just make it so that all devices can watch the same content behind the firewall. Whether I am on a laptop or desktop or phone. It is easy to configure using tomato and HMA actually has a guide for L2TP or for OpenVPN which are really easy to follow. If one of the servers isn’t working try another end point as sometimes they go down without any indication from support.

Alternatively you could run the application provided by your service provider will encrypt the traffic on that one specific machine. It’s almost instantaneous to set these things up as well. You could sign up and be encrypted within 10 minutes.

It really is that simple. The other option is to build yourself a little Linux based WiFi VPN hotspot so you have an always on encrypted network available for your wireless connected devices.

Using DDNS on an Asus router

DDNS or Dynamic Domain Name Service is a great tool for getting access to your home or small-business network from abroad. First, allow me to explain what the function of DNS. When you type myfavouritesite.com into a browser you are actually using a DNS address. A Domain Name Server translates that name to an IP address in a string of four numbers. Essentially, the internet is like the phone system. Kind of.
Well, not really. It only resembles it on the surface but anyway, I digress.

The internet is kind of like the phone system and the DNS is kind of like the yellow pages. When you type a URL into your browser it first sends that name to one of your ISP’s DNS servers or a third party server like google if you wanted. That server looks up the phone number and points you to it. The result is an index so people don’t have to memorize strings of numbers to go to their favourite web sites.
DDNS is a service that reports your WAN IP changes and registers it to a designated DNS address. You want the extra D. You see the the first D stands for dynamic. Using DDNS on an Asus router can make everything in your life easier.
Usually when you have a home internet package your IP address isn’t static, it changes from week to week or month to month. This is known as a dynamic IP, it’s like your phone company didn’t have to commit to giving you your own phone number. This makes it difficult to reliably hit your router when your phone number keeps changing. Mind you it isn’t a bad thing as their is some anonymity in your IP address.

Using DDNS on an Asus router

DDNS is a service you can install on a PC that reports your wan IP to a service like www.noip.com. Signing up is free and they will register a DNS name for you to use that will always point to the right IP. Tomato allows you to use the service right on the router. Create a host name on noip.com and use it to access your server remotely.

A host you set up will look like

mysitename.something.com

Enter the DDNS section of the webGUI and enter your noip.com information. This shows an example of what a working and non working config will look like.

So now when you want to access your site use your NOIP host name followed by the port of the service you are trying to reach.

For remote access just enable it for the torrent client in the webgui admin access, and ssh. This requires a hole in your firewall. But you can easily accomplish this with port forwarding. The only one I haven’t had luck with is ssh, in which case I ping the DNS name and get the IP from there. But nevertheless, once enabled by default the remote webgui is simply the ddns name you set and the port you select on the webGUI. Like this

mysiteofchoice.secondary.org:9912

The port is just added onto the back with a colon. Transmission is available at port 9091 by default.
Stock router firmware as well as open-source firmware usually requires you to install a BitTorrent client by yourself using optware or entware package installer. Luckily Tomato comes with Transmission built in so you can quickly and easily get your router going with torrents. The setup is very easy and all you need to do is enable it in the webgui and set a user and password under remote access.

Using DDNS is the first step to the ultimate Asus router.

Bey

20140511-184136.jpg
20140511-184145.jpg

Setting up bandwidth tracking on tomato USB

Tracking the data you are using day to day is way better than letting your ISP do it for you. Why would you want to trust the people who will make money off you to let you know your usage? You have no point of reference to argue if your being taken advantage of! I like how tomato’s usage is realtime so what the meter says, is what you are at, total bandwidth. Setting up bandwidth is a great way to track how much internet you are consuming at the WAN and at each device on your network. So if you share bandwidth this is the best way to track it all.

Most ISPs will warn you when you’re usage is reaching the cap but sometimes the warning comes too late. It doesn’t bother them at all when you go over because you foot the bill.

Setting up bandwidth tracking on tomato USB

To track your own data usage on TomatoUSB just enable bandwidth monitoring. Setting up a path is a good idea. I had no luck with cifs on mountain lion but on snow leopard all you need is to setup a share and point the cifs client to it. In windows you need to create a folder and right click it then select advanced sharing. Take note of the share name you use.
In OS X just hit COMMAND+SPACE to open spotlight and search for sharing. Then turn on sharing and SMB for windows sharing and create a name. A cifs share includes an IP address for the computer so make that static and take note of it as well.
Another option is to set a local path on your USB data partition. Just make sure you select create a new file. If you get a cstat or rstat error your path isn’t correct and the database file cannot be written to.

TomatoUSB media management

You may have just set up your Tomato router and want to add a bunch of files to your server. All of your music, books, movies, TV as well as your personal data can be placed on the server for remote access.
An easy way to manage the data is with samba. Enabling SMB on Tomato USB is a good option. It basically allows you to create a bunch of user profiles so you can share different data with different people locally or remotely. Different people can have access to different folders to separately store things from each other. Most operating systems will let you mount SMB file systems right out of the box, without the need for additional software. FTP is built into OS X but it’s not the best protocol that let’s you manage files. You could use something like FileZilla though.

TomatoUSB media management

First go to the file sharing page on your Tomato webgui. Turn on file sharing. If you want to manage users you can turn on password authentication. I just turned on the allow users to manage and bam. Next make sure the workgroup is set to something you will remember. This needs to be set on the network adapter page of every machine you want to see this disk.
Once it’s set you should see the machine just appear in the left hand panel of explorer and finder.

It’s pretty much just that simple. If you want to access it remotely you need to set up a VPN. Luckily that is built into tomato as well. It allows you to see all of your local network remotely.

As the name implies, File Transfer Protocol is best suited to transferring data. In tomato it is too slow to play video with because the protocol uses a raw stream of data with no buffer, most software for media doesn’t support it either like Plex and XBMC. It’s good if you want to host files for download on a website or to deliver files to people.

THE BEST FILESYSTEM FOR STREAMING MEDIA ON TOMATOUSB isn’t SMB…

Hands down, NFS is the fastest protocol for streaming HD media. It has a low overhead compared to SMB which is necessary for keeping a constant bitrate. It’s not the best choice for tomatousb media management but each tools has it’s use.

It’s not quite as easy to set up as SMB really. But I’ll guide you through it.