29
Oct
2018

OPNSense – Dark Theme!

OPNSense is great and all, however it’s quite the strain on the eyes to look at:

Phowar… blindin!

The UI is lovely and all, however when you’re messing with it late at night (like me), you might want to grab the Cicada theme:

Aaah… that’s better!

To enable the theme after getting it from System > Firmware > Plugins, go to System > Settings > General and select it from the Theme dropdown:

And that is it! There are other themes too, but I do like the black and orange look of Cicada!

18
Oct
2018

OPNSense 18.7: Higher CPU usage?

Just a short one – I made an observation going from OPNSense 18.1 to 18.7 that the average CPU usage has gone up slightly:

The first half of this year showed about 0.05% CPU usage on average, and after the update this has sprung up to 0.20-0.25%. 

The CPU is the Intel J3455, a 10W TDP chip with a Passmark score of 2144 points. This is a low power chip that would be more sensitive to the changes in background usage than for a desktop chip for instance – however the actual CPU usage is still tiny on average and I’m not worried about it (0.25% is still a tiny, tiny amount).

Zooming in on the data, you can see why:

Every 30 minutes there is a spike (though sometimes there isn’t one) – these were not there before the update. Some routine task has probably been added – though I have no idea what it is looking at the update notes.

I hadn’t changed anything about the network or setup between the updates, just to be clear. The spikes are quite a high usage – on the order of up to 6% CPU usage. This is still negligible though, and I can’t tell when it’s happening during online games or anything like that.

If someone knows what this is about or if they are getting the same behaviour – please feel free to let me know!

16
Aug
2017

2017 has been the most interesting year for PC tech in a long time

And I really mean it. Its been a very interesting year – mainly thanks to the return of AMD.

You cannot deny that there has been a certain level of stagnation in the processor market for the last five (plus) years. Intel just plodded on releasing the same quad core chips with marginal improvements each generation – which in all fairness; did work out well for them.

A while back I recently upgraded my main system to a Ryzen 7 build after spending so long with an FX based system. Being a student at the time when I put the FX system together – being able to build a six core system for under £200 was absolutely fantastic. The performance was, for the time, fairly decent – but I don’t think I’ll ever experience such value for money again.

Unfortunately, AMD just didn’t follow up on the FX line. It’s (from a consumer standpoint) like they stopped altogether on the higher-end processor market. This is what gave Intel the increased dominance as of recent years.

However great it is for a company to have that “monopoly”, ultimately it’s the consumers that suffer. Some well placed competition in the market is what drives innovation forwards, and it’s clear to everyone and their dog that Intel is only this year willing to start innovating again.

I’m talking about Coffee Lake of course – finally bringing an end to dual core chips and moving the consumer market onto six-core chips for the mainstream market. Heck even the i3 is a quad core, and the i5 and i7s are six core chips. About damn time too – the industry has been yearning for higher and higher core count chips for the last few years.

This is what good competition brings for consumers – technology advances to outdo competitors. We need companies like AMD to shake things up, to be the underdog, the usurper. I, myself, own both AMD and Intel systems and personally I just want the best product from either company that suits my use case. Intel’s i3 is what powers my 2016 NAS, and it’s bloody awesome for the low power consumption. And I went with Ryzen since it’s damn good performance for the money.

So this is why this year has been so interesting. AMDs release has really shaken up the industry in a way that I haven’t seen for… Well since ever really. Even if you’re an Intel user, this can only be a good thing.

That’s my little “r/ShowerThoughs” inspired take on 2017. Here’s to innovation and progress!

01
Mar
2017

Upcoming…

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon

31
Mar
2016

Sneak peek: NAS miniseries

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Stay tuned…

01
Jan
2016

Happy 2016 everybody!

Happy new year! I hope you all have a great day, I have been very busy and I haven’t been able to post very much recently, but one of my resolutions is to post more to this site and increase its usefulness to everybody. Have a good day peoples!

21
Dec
2015

Windows 10 Crashing at idle

…..sigh. I’ve had Windows 10 for a while now, and I’ve started noticing some weird behaviour. If I leave the system idle at the desktop for a while (or even lock the PC), I’ll come back to it and it would be running Linux. Strange!

I decided to video the screen to capture what was going on, and I got this:

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…what? KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED(NTFS.SYS)? The only data I could really find about this was from back when Windows 10 was in beta! So far, I haven’t found the cause. It doesn’t seem to be hardware, since Linux runs just fine all day every day without even a hiccup. Strange.

I’ve noticed that the system bluescreens after exactly 10 minutes of being idle, and comes up with different bluescreens! I also get IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL quite frequently. It’s time to start troubleshooting.

I’ve ran memtest86+ overnight and not had a single error, so its not RAM or CPU. I’ve installed the latest network, sound, chipset, video drivers from manufacturers websites. I’ve reinstalled Windows! I’ve disconnected all but the SSD, all USB devices, the WiFi card, disabled networking and audio in the BIOS. I’m really at a loss now.

I have a suspicion its a Windows 10 bug, or an incompatible device driver somewhere. I’m going to have to investigate further into the crash files and see if there’s any clues into what the heck is going on. It’s not hardware related, because the system runs Linux happily all day every day without even a hiccup, and no hardware errors get logged. Very strange.

I’ll keep you posted about this, after a lot of Googling online this is a problem that affects some other people, so I’ll definitely be posting my fix soon if I find one.

12
Oct
2015

Just some light humour

Oh, I’ll be showing how to edit the GRUB list tomorrow!

07
Jul
2015

New series: Asus Zenfone 2

I recently got an Asus Zenfone 2 to replace my aging iPhone 4. Stay tuned for a full feature analysis and review!

30
May
2015

The woes of iMessage

Why, when I send a text via iMessage, does this happen: 

It sits like that for aaaaages before finally sending. Switching airplane mode on and off doesn’t help things at all! Grrr!