PC Sleep Problems [SOLVED]

I like to put my Windows PC to sleep at the end of the day, so I can start where I left of in the morning. We’ve had low-power states for that since sometime in the last century, either sleep (S3, save state to memory, use minimal power) or hibernate (S4, save state to disk, use no power). On a new PC, this generally works, and can be used from the Windows start menu’s power button (Hibernate may be hidden, but is easy to enable).

On my fairly new work PC, it did not work. When it went to sleep, it took a second before it woke up again. running powercfg /lastwake said that it had been woken up by the Power Button, which was obviously wrong. Hibernate didn’t work, either, the PC didn’t even reach the point where it turned off the fans. Cue a few days of debugging this issue, with the same advice being given over and over by Google results that are obviously just AI bots rewriting the same old advice that doesn’t work for clicks.

The major clue to the eventual solution was that if I disabled the ethernet adapter or unplugged it from the network, everything was fine. So it’s got to be wake-on-lan (WOL) or something, right? WOL was disabled in the BIOS, but as Jon pointed out, those can get overridden by the OS and drivers. Windows device manager’s Power Management features were greyed out, so I thought there was nothing I could do here:

However, despite the name, this tab is a red herring, because that’s not where the Wake-On-LAN settings are!

The ultimate solution was found on the Advanced tab of this same dialog.

Setting all these “Wake on …” properties to Disabled made my problems go away. My PC can now once again both Sleep and Hibernate through the night.

It seems wrong to me that a PC that’s set up to “Wake on LAN” wakes up on the slightest traffic on the network, how is it supposed to wake if it never goes to sleep at all?

Huge thanks to Jon Watte for helping me figure this out, and no thanks to Google Bard Gemini for the long conversation during which it kept suggesting all the things that I’d already tried, and never mentioning Device Manager settings even once.

Private Event Planning

For my recent birthday, I wanted to invite my Norwegian friends, old and new, to a restaurant in Oslo. For many years, Facebook events were my go-to solution for this, especially in these times where nobody does email anymore. And let’s face it, I don’t even have the personal email for some of these people, only work emails from three jobs ago.

The problem with Facebook events is Facebook. Being invited to an event apparently doesn’t qualify as noteworthy enough for the algorithm that it would send you a notification. Many of the people I invited told me later that they didn’t see the invitation until after the event was over, and they were sorry they didn’t make it. Many of the invitees have given up on Facebook, and never check it. And another group isn’t on Facebook at all, and can’t be invited. I contacted some of them using other methods, but none of those people remembered to put the event in their calendar – we apparently need electronic reminders for everything now.

In the end, we were still a dozen attendees, and a good time was had, but I need a better solution for next year, and I honestly have no idea what it is.

I rate Facebook events 1 out of 5 stars.

Omni-1

Back in the days when I was working on Anarchy Online, I found this during an office move and kept it. It’s an early sketch of the Omni-Tech capital, and looks nothing like the version in the final game.

An early pencil sketch of OMNI 1, a city in the game Anarchy Online.

This was probably drawn by Gaute Godager as a guide for the level designers.

Solved: Ctrl+F3 hotkey not working

I had a problem where the key combination Ctrl+F3 stopped working everywhere. In most editors, this moves a selection to the next instance of the currently select string of characters, so it’s a quick way to skip through all the uses of a function inside a file, for example. It’s a deeply-seated part of my msucle memory, and having it not work is frustrating.

The reason for this tuned out to be Parsec, which I had recently installed, and which registered for several global hotkeys that are very commonly used in IDEs. And since Windows prioritizes global hotkeys over application hotkeys, it was eating all my Ctrl+F3 commands. Changing the Parsec hotkeys made my problem go away.

Developers: Don’t do this. Ctrl as the sole modifier for a hotkey should be reserved for applications, where it isn’t already used by the OS (like Ctrl+F, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+V and Ctrl+C). Same goes for unmodified function keys. F1, F3 and F10 have a canonical purpose in every application. Any combination of modifiers with F1 is probably used by an IDE. Microsoft used to publish interface guidelines that spell this out, but I cannot find a recent version of them, only this page that says it’s discontinued.

D-Link 320L NAS repair

I have had a cheap-ish D-Link NAS running at my home for years. Last week, it broke. The drives were audibly still spinning up, and the activity light was blinking, indicating that it booted, but then went dark. Nothing on the network, no way to tell what was up.

There are two 4 TB drives in the enclosure, configured as RAID1. My immediate suspicion was that the mirroring might be out of sync. A bit of Google research told me that the box is a tiny Linux machine using Linux RAID partitions.

The first thing I did was to remove one of the drives. That made the other one the only drive in the array, and with no discrepancies, the NAS showed up on the network again, and allowed me to take a backup of my data. Which only confirmed my earlier suspicions.

Next, I put both drives in an old Linux desktop that had the required SATA slots, and Linux’s mdadm recognized them as being formatted for a RAID, but out of sync. dmesg said something about kicking sdb2 out of the array, so I used mdadm -a to put the array back together, and the array began rebuilding, which took a few hours, but eventually gave ma a working RAID1 array again. I was able to insert the drives back into the D-Link enclosure, and now it boots up and works just as before.

Lessons learned:

  1. My D-Link NAS cannot recover on its own.
  2. Linux skills pay unexpected dividends.
  3. I should have configured remote syslog logging before this happened. Fixed that first thing.
  4. It is probably time to buy a new device. This one is out of service, has never been 100% reliable, is pretty loud, and has no fancy extras.

Now that I know the disks are still in good shape, I’ve ordered a 2-bay Synology. I’m looking forward to the built-in Plex server, support for more than SMB 1.0, and hopefully a better management interface, too.

TV Shows of the Pandemic

I decided to make lists of my favorite media that I consumed the past five years. That’s TV shows and books, mostly, because there hasn’t been much opportunity to watch movies in the cinema or go to concerts.

Starting with TV shows: The past two years have seen me spend a lot of evenings at home, watching more TV than ever. It’s a good thing we live in a time of great TV show content!

I’m not including any of the new Star Trek or Star Wars show, even though I watched them all. If they’re the kind of thing you like, then you’ve already watched them, and you know what you thought of them. Personally, I think they were a very mixed bag.

1. Counterpart

J.K. Simons gives a magnificent performance in this sci-fi thriller about an alternate universe. The show is filmed in Berlin and benefits from the cold war esthetic of that city. The cast includes Olivia Coleman, another personal favorite.

Introduction of the first season, with very mild spoilers.

I’m afraid that saying much about the show would be spoiling it. There is a second season that ends the show nicely, and no future seasons planned.

2. Money Heist (Casa de Papel)

This show was a phenomenon, and approximately everyone has seen it already.

3. The Bridge (Broen/Bron)

The Swedish/Danish original, not the US remake. Saga Norén is perhaps my favorite character in a TV show or movie. She’s a detective with the Malmö criminal police, solving a series of serial murders, and she has high functioning Aspergers. Some of her coworkers know how to handle that, others emphatically do not.
The enormous Öresund bridge between Sweden and Denmark connects the cases that she and her Danish counterpart must solve, and they are twisty and complex, always delivering that last-minute surprise resolution.

Kim Bodnia plays her colleague Martin in the first two seasons, he’s another of my favorites, and I was sad when he got replaced, but his replacement is an interesting character in his own right.

I watched this on Netflix in the original Swedish/Danish language with Norwegian subtitles (English is available in other countries) which taught me a couple of useful new Danish phrases, and improved my listening comprehension. Season four ends the show, and it seems unlikely there will be more. God, I miss Saga so much.

4. Home for Christmas

Not all Scandinavian shows have to be crime dramas. Netflix’s first Norwegian production is a comedy about the difficulties of dating life, something I’ve experienced myself to some degree, and delivered some great, true-to-life characters and many, many laughs. I don’t think this is just a show for girls, it’s for any observer of Norwegian life.

It’s definitely not her fault that she can’t find a guy. It’s the guys who are terrible.

I watched it on Netflix in the original language. Subtitles are available in other locations. As someone who has been studying Norwegian culture from the outside for many years, especially the obsession with Christmas dinners and dating, there was a lot to recognize and smile about.

5. The Killing

I am late to the party, and have only just started watching this show, but it looks very promising. The main character is not going to replace Saga Norén in my heart, but the show is absolutely fixing that Scandinavian crime shaped hole in my viewing schedule.

If your detective had dark hair and wears a knitted sweater, you are watching the correct show.

I don’t have much to say about this, as I’m still in Season 1, except that it feels like the titular crime seems to be getting more detailed and gruesome with each episode, and I still haven’t a clue who the killer could be.

Music of 2021

My Spotify Wrapped playlist for 2021

Spotify tells me what I already know: I didn’t listen to a lot of new music in 2021, but to old and comfortable favorites like Take Five at #1 and Because The Night at #8. Ghostbusters scores very high at #6 because of Halloween, and the remaining songs in the Top 10 are from my “Work Hard” playlist that I put on when I need to just get s*** done. The first actual new (to me) entry is Red Eyes at #12, prompted by this video which has the old-school asthetic of PC games before 3D acceleration that I adore.

I read 103 books in 2021

I know, it sounds crazy. That’s two books per week! But I have my Goodreads Challenge page to prove it.

How was this possible? Library loans and audio books, mostly. I have a powerbank / speaker in the kitchen that can play from an SD card, and there’s always a book in there that plays while I’m making food. Additionally, there’s a book on my phone, and while I no longer have a commute, I go for a 45 minutes walk every day, and ride the bus to go grocery shopping, which is time that I used to fill with podcasts, but last year I have mostly been listening to books during these times.

Additionally, I have a book that I’m reading next to my bed and I read at least one page before going to bed, but usually try to find a good stopping-off point that I’ll be able to remember the next day. Add a few Kindle books read during long flights, and some graphic novels and comic book collections, and the number goes up fast.

They were almost all good books, too. I can’t honestly think of one that I had to put aside because it was boring. My favorite book of 2021 was Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, who previously wrote Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell years ago, a massive book that I could never finish. Piranesi is much shorter, and it’s delightful.

I still have lots of books in my to-read list for 2022, but I think I’m going to cut down a bit in favor of getting back into podcasts and watching more movies.

Und Tschüss!

Heute kam die lange befürchtete Email:

Sehr geehrte(r) Kundin/Kunde,

wir konnten Ihren verlorenen Gegenstand bis heute nicht finden. Die Erfahrung zeigt uns, dass verlorengegangene Gegenstände, welche nicht innerhalb von 10 Tagen gefunden werden, oftmals definitiv verloren sind.

Sollten wir dennoch Ihren Gegenstand finden, welcher der von Ihnen abgegebenen Beschreibung entspricht, informieren wir Sie umgehend.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

DB Station&Service AG

Ich hatte ja ehrlich gesagt nicht damit gerechnet, dass mein Koffer wieder auftaucht, den ich Trottel da im Zug liegen gelassen habe, als ich neulich aus Deutschland zurück geflogen bin. Der Tag war eine Katastrophe, wo so gut wie nichts geklappt hat, warum sollte ich da ausgerechnet mit der Bahn Glück haben?

Ich habe schon am Wochenende einen neuen Anzug und neue Schuhe gekauft. So ein verlorener Koffer kann ganz schön teuer werden, au weia. Von den schönen Vintage Manschettenknöpfen mal abgesehen, die total unersetzlich sein sollten.

Wider die Wegwerfgesellschaft

Letzte Woche haben wir unser Büro in Drammen aufgelöst. Ich war seit Beginn der Pandemie nicht mehr dort, und werde ja auch in Zukunft nicht mehr dort arbeiten, und für einen Mitarbeiter, der zwei Tage die Woche dort sitzt, ist es zu groß.

Neben der Frage, wohin wir die Server dort umziehen, und in welchen Schritten, mussten auch die Büros selbst geleert werden. Außer Möbeln bedeutete das eine Menge Elektronik, die sich über die Jahre angesammelt hat. Da habe ich gemerkt, dass ich doch einer anderen Generation angehöre. Ich habe mir meinen ersten Computer noch vom Mund abgespart, und bin nicht mit einem iPhone aufgewachsen, das jedes Jahr für da neuste Modell eingetauscht wird. Es tut mir weh, funktionierende Geräte in den Elektroschrott wandern zu sehen, und ich habe eine Menge Kram gerettet, den niemand anders noch haben wollte. Nachhaltigkeit fängt im eigenen Haus an.

So besitze ich jetzt u.a. ein Apple TV, wenn auch ein älteres Modell, was prima ist für meinen Bedarf: Ich gucke entweder Netflix oder Filme und Serien vom Plex-Server in meiner Wohnung, und für beides habe ich bisher meinen Spiele-PC anschalten müssen, was ziemlich lange dauert, laut ist, und auch mehr Strom schluckt, als nötig.

Eben jener Plex Server lief bisher auf einem Raspberry Pi 2, der leider ziemlich schwachbrüstig ist. Neuerdings läuft er jetzt auf einer ASUS Chromebox, die auch noch im Büro stand, und auf der ich jetzt ein Linux installiert habe. Das Gerät ist keine Wunderkiste, aber trotzdem ca. 50 mal so schnell wie die olle Himbeere.

Jetzt muss ich nur noch die Kamera zum laufen kriegen, die ich im Regal gefunden habe. Eine Canon EOS 400D, für die die Batterien fehlen. Kein ganz frisches Modell, aber bessere Bilder als mein Telefon sollte sie wohl machen. Ali Express to the rescue!