Nov 18, 2016

Trying out yet another new Adsense Alternative

It's been a few years since I was kicked out of Google's Adsense program, and I'll be honest, I've never truly recovered. I used to write here on a daily basis, but because I don't get hardly any revenue anymore, I only write when I have something to say, or something I want to record for my own future reference.

I've tried various alleged Adsense Alternatives since I got kicked out of the program, and none have ever come close to providing the same kind of money that Adsense did. Well, now I'm trying out yet another one, and hopefully I can start making money again. It's called Adbuff.

I'm hoping this one is better than others that I've tried because they are way more strict in regards to the applicants they choose. In order for your site to even be considered it must meet these requirements:

  • English Sites Only
  • Over 2,000 Uniques /day
  • Traffic from US/Canada/UK/Australia
  • No free hosts (ie blogspot)
  • No streaming sites
  • No faucet sites
  • No download sites
When I submitted Bauer-Power, it took over a month to get approved! I'm glad it finally did! After getting approved I tried to submit two of our other sites, Mainwashed and BauervsWild, and both of those were immediately rejected because they either didn't have an Alexa score, or had a really low Alexa score. Picky picky! 

Still though, that's not a bad thing since they are offering only quality websites for advertisers, there is a chance that they can also charge a premium for the ad space, and therefore pay more to publishers... At least that's what I'm hoping for. I literally just put the ads on the page, and have no idea how well it will perform yet.

Wish me luck! If I can start making money again, you will start to see more articles again! If you are looking for an Adsense alternative too, click here to check them out! What do you have to lose?

Oct 12, 2016

How To Fix Slow SSTP RRAS VPN on a Citrix XenServer Virtual Server

Ever since moving to Windows 10 and Windows 2012 R2 we've seen a serious drop in performance when using SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) on our Windows 10 machines. After weeks and weeks of troubleshooting, we believe we have the issue narrowed down to some NIC and registry settings on the RRAS (Routing and remote Access).

NOTE: This is for virtual servers that run on Citrix XenServer. Some of these things may be different in your environment...

The first thing you need to do is go into the device properties of you NIC and select the configure button. Under the Advanced tab disable all of the "offload" settings.


The next thing you need to do is make the following registry changes:
  • Set DWORD value EnableTCPA=0 in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
  • Set DWORD value DisableTaskOffload=1 in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters
  • Set DWORD values TcpAckFrequency=1 under every interface GUID under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces
  • Reboot 
After doing all of that we saw a significant performance increase in file transfer speed and general network performance.

Give it a try, and let us know in the comments if it worked for you or not. If not, let us know what you had to do differently!

Oct 6, 2016

Bauer-Power Media Launches a New Podcast - Mainwashed Weekly Scoop

It's been a few years since I did any kind of actual show. As some of you know, I used to do Tech Chop weekly on The Tech Podcast Network. I stopped doing that because it started to become a full time job writing scripts, coming up with content, filming and editing every week. I never lost the bug though!

Well, recently I've been listening to a lot of audio podcasts and thought, I could start doing another show, but this time just do an audio only podcast that folks could listen to while working out, during their commutes, etc. I also thought it would be easier to come up with content from the news, and since I mostly read political news for my Mainwashed Facebook page, I thought why not do a political podcast? I also decided to do this one off the cuff, so there is no script to write every week. Editing a show takes about 20 minutes of my time max!

So, this last Tuesday I kicked off the first ever Mainwashed Weekly Scoop show where I give my unfiltered take on some of the national and world political news I see all the time. I say unfiltered, because I used to be a sailor and like to express myself with colorful words every once and a while. That being said, this isn't a news show for kids!

It's still brand new, but I'm planning on posting a new episode every Tuesday. Right now you can subscribe directly from www.mainwashed.com, but I've also submitted it to the following Podcast sites:
If your political views lean a little right, but still consider yourself a Libertarian, then you should check out the show. If you are a granola eating, left leaning Communist, then you should probably stick with MSNBC.

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!

Sep 20, 2016

How to expand a LUN on your SCST Bauer-Power SAN

I thought I had already written about this, but apparently I haven't. Many moons ago I developed what I like to refer to as a Bauer-Power SAN. It was actually an idea I got from a former boss of mine named Craig MacKinder who is the current owner of Blueshift Information Systems. He had originally built similar SANs using Gentoo Linux. I think the only real difference between his and mine are that mine are built with Ubuntu.

Anyway, some people may not like these SANs because managing them is done purely via a Linux terminal, and there aren't any cool GUIs to help you with it. Because of that you need to know your way around a Linux terminal to manage one. If that isn't a big deal to you, then you can save tons of money by using these instead of something like a NetApp.

Anyway, the point of this post is to tell you how to add more space, or expand a LUN on your Bauer-Power SCST SAN. You can do it in these 5 easy steps!
  • Create a temporary thin disk file the size of the amount you want to add to the LUN (For example 100 GB is 100G or 1 TB is 1T).
    dd if=/dev/zero of=temp_expand bs=1 count=0 seek=100G
  • Append the temporary file to the end of your LUN file.
    cat temp_expand >> LUNFILE
  • Once the partition is extended you can delete the temp_expand file you created.
    rm temp_expand
  • Now to have scst recognize the change you must force the device to resync. You can get the device name of the file you are extending from /etc/scst.conf.
    scstadmin -resync_dev DEVICENAME
  • Now you should see the additional storage on the partition you are trying to extend, and you can extend the partition. In Windows you need to open Disk Manager and rescan disks first. Then you can right click the drive and click extend.
See, that was pretty easy right?

Sep 12, 2016

I made the switch from Plex to Emby on my Roku. Maybe you should too!

The other day I was upgrading the Plex server at my girlfriend's house like I usually do when I see there is an update. This time the update caused RARFlix on her Roku to stop working! I wrote about how I switched to RARFlix a while back when Plex started charging for the use of their standard Roku app instead of letting you use it for free, but giving you more features if you purchased a membership. Sorry, I just don't think having the ability to stream my own damned media should cost a monthly fee like Netflix!

Well, when this latest update broke RARFlix, I decided that enough was enough and turned to a really cool alternative in my opinion... Emby!

Here is a list of features from their page (Click on the image to zoom in):


For the most part, the free version of Emby does everything that Plex used to do for me which is great. One thing that I think it does better though is find artwork for my TV shows!

Here is what the TV interface looks like:


If you are ready to make the switch away from Plex, check out Emby!

Sep 9, 2016

3 Technology Concepts that Could Shape the Future of Gadgetry

As usual, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was chock full of cool futuristic gadgets, from 8K TVs and OLED laptops to virtual reality goggles and obstacle-avoiding drones. One of the most impressive displays was Samsung's smart clothes, a set of smart exercise clothing that tracks your movement and body contractions. While some of these gadgets are ready to hit the market, others are still in the conceptual stages. Here a few tech concepts still in the prototype phase that should make an impact when they reach the market.

Smart Contact Lenses, Eyewear

In 2014, Samsung filed a patent in South Korea for smart contact lenses as yet another platform to augment reality. The smart contact lenses come equipped with a display, antenna, camera and sensors to detect blinking. The display projects images onto the wearer’s eye, while the camera can be activated with a quick blink to send a signal to the contact lenses' sensors. The smart contact lenses require a connection to upload images to an external mobile device for processing photos.

Samsung’s new smart contact lenses appear to be a tasty appetizer to the company's forthcoming Gear Blink line. Gear Blink will add contact lenses to the smart wearables category that also includes devices like Google Glass, which allows users to take pictures with a quick blink of the eye.

Meantime, Samsung’s VR Gear and Microsoft’s HoloLens both enable users to view distant locations through a holograph, as if the users were right in the room. Google also owns patents for smart solar-powered contact lenses that can analyze the chemical content of the wearer’s tears in order to monitor low blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Car-Charging Tires

With hybrid, electric and solar-powered cars growing in popularity, innovations in car battery technology have become increasingly important. Goodyear has devised a promising new way to recharge car batteries using the heat generated by rolling tires. Unveiled at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show, Goodyear’s BHO3 tire is made of thermo-pizoelectric material that takes the heat generated by tire friction and transforms it into electrical energy. The tire material also absorbs heat and light energy that cars receive while idling and adds this to the car battery’s power reserve.

Goodyear also used the Geneva International Motor Show to unveil a second concept tire with three tubes under the tread and an internal pump to adjust inflation to road conditions. Other innovators, including engineer Dileep Bhoi, are testing whether tire and steering wheel motion can harness enough electrical energy to recharge a car battery or power other electrical accessories.

Holographic Phones

In Star Wars, Princess Leia sent Obi-wan Kenobi a holographic message using R2D2 to project a 3D image into space. Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab is working to bring a similar capability to smartphones through its HoloFlex project. The HoloFlex uses a 1920x1080 high-definition flexible organic light-emitting diode touchscreen display that renders full 3D images, which depicts how an object looks from a particular viewpoint.

Users can view the object from any angle by rotating their smartphone. The screen is flexible, and users can move objects along the Z axis by bending the screen. The HoloFlex will make it easier to edit 3D models; enable holographic virtual conferences, where you can see the other person’s face from any angle; and empower holographic gaming.

Aug 31, 2016

How I Recovered My LaCie 5Big Network RAID 5 Array

I had a pretty crappy week. I'm sure you can imagine with a title about how I had to recover important files from a failed LaCie 5Big NAS unit. It's a device that I inherited years ago and was made in 2008 so it's well out of support. Well, I noticed last week some time that one of the drives failed on it. Not thinking too much about it, I ordered a new hard drive from Amazon. By the time I got the new drive, the unit stopped responding altogether and said that two other drives had failed!

Luckily it turned out that only the original drive actually failed. The other four drives were fine, and it was the actual enclosure/RAID controller that failed. Still though, I couldn't access my files! So here is what I did, and if you need to do the same you will need a few things:
The first thing I did was going from left to right on the back of my LaCie NAS was pulled each drive out one at a time, hooked it to my SATA to USB adapter and using WinImage created virtual clones of each drive. This process takes about 5+ hours per drive depending on the size of your drive and the speed of your USB port. Drive number two was corrupt, so I created a blank 500GB drive in it's place.


This is where the big hard drive comes in. You need enough room to store the virtual disks as well as the files you want to recover!

Once you have your virtual drives, create an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine in VirtualBox. Power it up and install a couple of tools:
  • GParted (sudo apt-get install gparted)
  • mdadm (sudo apt-get install mdadm)
The first one is a nice to have to visually see the drive partitions. The second one is required because it is what will control your virtual RAID array.

Now, with those installed power down your Ubuntu VM and add the virtual disks in order.


Now power on your VM again, and when you login mdadm should automatically see your RAID 5 array! At least it did for me...

From here I was able to mount a folder to my VirtualBox on my physical computer and copy all of the files off the new virtual RAID 5 array to my computer. Thank the sweet baby Jesus too because I had about 11 years of family photos that I didn't want to lose!



After giving it some thought I don't really need a NAS unit at my house, so I think I'm going to replace this old LaCie with a USB/eSATA RAID controller instead. It's less expensive than a NAS, and should suit my needs. Besides, most of the NAS units I see come with drives, and after this fiasco I already have some!

One thing to note, if this doesn't work at first, you may have a bad disk image file. The first try at this I received errors when creating images in WinImage on disks 1, 2 and 3. I recreated 1 and 3 fine, but 2 gave me an error no matter what. If you can't automatically mount your RAID array, try recreating the virtual disk files.

Another thing, if you have more than one bad drives you won't be able to recover your RAID array, and you will need to use a forensic tool to try and recover files, but that is another article...


Aug 23, 2016

Two Apps That Will Help You Lose Weight

I could have sworn I wrote about this already, but I can't seem to find a post for it in my archives. Oh well, if you've already heard this from me you can skip this post. If not, and you are looking for the miracle in weight loss then keep reading!

A few years ago I discovered these two powerful apps that are available both for Android and iPhone called My Fitness Pal and Map My Fitness. They work hand in hand to help you keep track of what you are eating (Calories in) and your exercise (Calories out) and they are both 100% free!

My Fitness Pal is where you want to start. It lets you set your weight loss goal, and by using your current weight it figures out how many calories you can eat in a day and still lose weight. Every time you weigh yourself, you need to log it so it can make calorie adjustments as needed.

My Fitness Pal is very convenient and makes calorie counting as easy as it can possibly be because not only can you scan food items, but you can also look up calorie counts at your favorite restaurants using their extensive database. I love this method because I can pretty much still eat what I want as long as I have enough calories for it and still lose weight. Cheese burgers? Do I have enough calories left? Yes? GET IN MY BELLY!

Map My Fitness is very cool also, because it can keep track of your calories burned by doing just about any exercise imaginable. It also has GPS capabilities to keep track of things like your mileage and pace if you go for a jog or a bike ride. Even if you are doing something like mowing your lawn, you can keep track of the time it takes to do it with Map My Fitness and it will log your calories burned doing it!

Map My Fitness automatically syncs with My Fitness Pal as well to better keep track of calories burned and consumed so you know if you can eat more or not. The more you work out, the more you can eat! How is that for motivation?

I started actively trying to lose weight again this past January and already I've lost 40 lbs! I've lost 50 lbs since I moved back to Colorado in 2014! Check out these pictures:



If you want to keep up with my weight loss and fitness journey, and help keep me motivated (I need all the help I can get) I started a Facebook page called Fat Slob 2 Dad Bod where I post about my workouts, my progress and other stuff to try to keep me motivated. I have a Twitter account as well @FatSlob2DadBod if you want to follow me there!

Are you trying to lose weight? What are you doing that works? Let me know in the comments!



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