Thursday, February 22. 2018
As an employee of (a subsidiary of) Activision/Blizzard, last year those who wanted, got keys for Destiny 2.
It never worked! I never go to play it.
... and BANG! The dreaded Nightingale error:
For past couple of months, that's how much I saw Destiny 2. That isn't much. Darn!
Actually, there is an Internet full of people having the same problem. There are various solutions to, which have worked for some people and for some, not so much.
After doing all the possible things, including throwing dried chicken bones to a magical sand circle, I ran out of options. I had to escalate the problem to Blizzard Support. Since this wasn't a paid game, obviously it didn't reach their highest priority queue. But ultimately the cogs of bureaucracy aligned and I got the required attention to my problem. But ... it was unsovalvable. Or it seemed to be one.
Today, after escalating the problem back to Bungie, they pointed out the problem. My computer didn't manage to reach their CDN, so the game got angry and spat the Nightingale on my face. They also hinted me about what my computer did instead and ...
Somewhere in the guts of the Destiny 2, there is a component reading the value of environment variable
HTTP_PROXY. I had that set on the PC because of ... something I did for software development years ago.
After deleting the variable, the game started. WHOA!
So, it wasn't my router, DNS, firewall, or ... whatever I attempted before. Problem solved!
Sunday, February 11. 2018
MaxMind GeoIP is pretty much the de-facto way of doing IP-address based geolocation. I've personally set up the database updates from http://geolite.maxmind.com/download/geoip/database/ to at least dozen different systems. In addition, there are a lot of open-source software, which can utilize those databases, if they are available. Wireshark, IPtables, Bind DNS, to mention few.
The announcement on their site says:
We will be discontinuing updates to the GeoLite Legacy databases as of April 1, 2018. You will still be able to download the April 2018 release until January 2, 2019. GeoLite Legacy users will need to update their integrations in order to switch to the free GeoLite2 or commercial GeoIP databases by April 2018.
In three month's time most software won't be able to use freshly updated GeoIP databases anymore for the sole reason, that NOBODY bothered to update to their new
To make this clear:
MaxMind will keep providing free-of-charge GeoIP-databases even after 1st April 2018. They're just forcing people to finally take the leap forward and migrate to their newer libraries and databases.
This is a classic case of human laziness. No developer saw the incentive to update to a new format, as it offers precisely the same data than the legacy format. It's just a new file format more suitable for the task. Now the incentive is there and there isn't too much of time to make the transition. What we will see (I guarantee you this!) in 2019 and 2020 and onwards software still running in legacy format using outdated databases providing completely incorrect answers.
This won't happen often, but these outdated databases will reject your access on occasion, or claim that you're a fraudster.
Saturday, February 10. 2018
I've never disassembled an Apple laptop. A while back I got a chance to peek into one, as I was summoned to add more SSD-capacity into an Air. As you can see from the spec, it is a rather early model of Air. But hey, Apple hardware is quite robust and the value you get for your money is huge. So, after 7 years of usage, it is still worth replacing the SSD with a bigger one.
The instructions for this can be found from EveryMac.com, but I'll describe my experiences here. Also having video instructions only is not something I'd like to see. A high quality picture has its value too.
- Make sure there is a restorable Time Machine backup of the laptop.
- If you don't care for the data on the machine, this is not necessary.
- Make sure you can boot the device from an USB-stick:
- You can restore entire SSD content from Time Machine.
- You can do a fresh install to the new SSD
A new SSD is needed. Given the availability and low price, a Transcend 240GB JetDrive 500 SATAIII 6Gb/s Solid State Drive Upgrade Kit for Select MacBook Air Models (TS240GJDM500) was selected.
Getting one from Amazon.de was a painless and fast operation. Initially, I was wondering why would be selling an "external" replacement part, because the SSD I wanted to replace is surely inside the Mac. It surely has to do something with making an Apple spare part available. Normally parts are not available for general public.
To pop open an MacBook Air, you will need a pentalobe TS4 screwdriver, and to disconnect the SSD from the motherboard, a Torx T5 screwdriver is needed. Both of which are known to hardware hackers, but not commonly owned by general public. Luckily somebody knows this, and in the box with the new SSD both are there:
Popping the hood of a mac is almost a no-operation. There are 10 pentalobes there, remove them and the lid will open easily. After all the years of usage, there was some dust in the CPU-fan, so I carefully removed all that before proceeding.
When the guts are seen, first task is to remove the battery connector. This ensures, that the motherboard and SSD are shut down during the operation. The connector can be disconnected quite easily without any tools:
After that it's just to flip the lid back on and tighten 10 pentalobes.
Entire hardware job was completed in 15 minutes. That part was designed to be replaced!
Now we have a laptop with a completely blank SSD in it. Of course I had to test it, but it really doesn't do much on boot. The only real option was to insert an USB-stick and press the Option-key to get the boot menu, select the USB-stick and then get to the Install/Upgrade -menu. Select Disk Utility from that:
As expected, the new drive is unitialized and you cannot select a device with that status as macOS install destination.
Since Apple engineers are quite smart, to convert an uninitialized drive to an intialized one, the operation needed is to erase it. WHAT! Yes. To repeat, the operation is to erase the drive. The drive is completely empty, it does not have a partition table, file system or data in it, but in their infinite wisdom Apple engineers have decided, the only way I can initialize the new SSD is by making double-sure there is nothing on it.
The erase will take a lot of time. Most if it, the installer tries to do something erase-related to it, but keeps failing miserably mainly due to lack of partition table. After the erase completes, there is a file system and regular macOS install can proceed. I chose to restore the machine from a TM-backup:
That really took couple hours and I didn't want to eyeball that through.
Job well done!
First boot from newly installed SSD, from restored machine image was success. First login indicated no changes at all. It was just like this machine was running as-is.
Ultimately a great success (like Borat would say)!