Technical Difficulties II

Finally have a mostly functioning laptop again after getting the new hard drive in and getting everything transferred over from the temporary one. I still need to see if it will function on battery or not, it might be time to get it replaced again.

I also installed a new NIC in my FreeNAS box and switched the iSCSI traffic over to it from the onboard, so far most of my VMs have over a week uptime barring restarts to deal with unrelated items such as patches. I have several VMs that started eating large amounts of CPU cycles which I have yet to fully diagnose so that is likely my next project.


So the weather around here looks to remain rather dull for awhile..

I’ve been having issues with my laptop (Dell Latitude D630) since vacation. Originally I thought it was just the SSD failing, so I ordered a new drive from NewEgg along with parts for other projects. But earlier this week it started refusing to work at all, acting like the battery was dead even when plugged in. I was beginning to think the thing had finally bit the dust but just for fun I decided tonight to see what happens if I took the DVD & hard drives out, along with the battery. I hit the switch and instead of immediately switching back off, it started to try and boot before shutting down. Hmm, further than before.. so I hit the power button again, and it gets a little further before shutting down. A couple more attempts and eventually the thing fully powers up and completes it’s POST, announcing about the missing drive. I try the on-board diagnostic, which chugs along aside from prompting about missing drives. I shove the battery in at some point, which it doesn’t seem to notice. I give it a quick bit of a reboot, which seems to go normally before shutting it down & sliding in the hard drive. I hit the power button and eventually everything sputters to life. Aside from some un-requested restarts (thank you Windows Update?) it seems to be working, I was able to start on reinstalling software again. However for some reason it does not appear to be charging the battery.. hmm….


(I know the obvious answer is buy a new laptop…but that’s just not in the budget right now…)

Technical Difficulties

This is a long one..

Windows 10
Awhile back, since I was able to get my hands on a copy of Windows 10 cheap I thought I’d load it in to a VM on VirtualBox to play with, without disturbing my main environment (7). I got everything configured and installed, with some basic applications but the thing would eventually grind to a halt w/ 100% CPU usage even though everything appeared to be idle. I have a second, similar desktop, but with slightly different CPUs so I thought maybe if I transferred the VM over there. No dice, same result. Just as a last resort I thought maybe if I threw it in my lab (see below) it would work. Sure enough it became usable. Fast forward to the last week or three.. I’ve been trying to prune down what I have in my WSUS server as it was running low on disk space. The Windows 10 version I had was the 1511 release, so I thought maybe I could get it up to something newer, I could drop out the older patches. I ended up being able to upgrade by grabbing a new ISO from Microsoft which brought it up to the 1703 version aka “Creators Update”.. and now it appears to have started doing the same thing it did before. At this point I may either just shut it off or delete it entirely and wait until I have some newer hardware to play with 10.

FreeNAS/iSCSI issues
So I have a small lab at home for experimenting with various software applications, mostly in VMs. Right now I have two Dell servers (one PowerEdge 2950, one PowerEdge R900) running XenServer 7. I have a handful of other server machines as well. At one point I decided to build my own storage box to try to consolidate my storage capacity for files & VMs. This box runs FreeNAS and is configured for Windows (Samba) File shares and iSCSI (for XenServer VMs), with a NIC on a separate network for the iSCSI traffic. Everything was running along fine until I upgraded FreeNAS, now periodically the XenServer VMs will lose their storage as the NIC in the FreeNAS box seems to stop responding. The system itself seems to keep right on going as I can log into the admin interface from my PC. I’m guessing the OS just has an issue with whatever NIC is on the motherboard (my admin/Samba traffic is carried on a PCI NIC…i think from Intel). So at this point I’m trying to figure out how to fix it.

I thought maybe if I switched to Hyper-V , I could store everything on a Samba share which would allow me to deprecate the iSCSI part completely. Unfortunately, it seems the SMB implementation in the Samba version included in FreeNAS does not support something that Hyper-V requires, so I switched the host back to XenServer. I’m still trying to decide how to proceed but wondering what will. I put the options I’m considering under the read more.

Read More


Found a way to get a newer version of PHP (short of building from source at least…) on my server.. hopefully it didnt break anything..


The title pretty much says it all. But here’s the current warnings and advisories at the time of post along with the heat index.


Heat Index map from Iowa Environmental Mesonet / Iowa State University

Hot one this week

Temperatures look to remain high this week with some areas expected to hit triple digits during the later part of the week. Dew points will remain in the low to mid 70s in most locations. The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for Wednesday afternoon through Friday evening for areas roughly along and south of US Highway 30 in Iowa. Similar watches have been posted across southeast Nebraska, and much of Missouri and Illinois. Would definitely be a good plan to stay inside later this week.

Loops from the 18Z NAM starting 7 PM on Wednesday thru 1 AM Friday.

7/17/17 18Z NAM Temperature

7/17/17 18Z NAM Dew Point

Top500 June 2017 Edition

So the June 2017 revision of the Top500 supercomputer list is out. I thought I would look at where machines stack up in the meteorological realm from that list. I’m only including those that appear to be used for weather based on the listed owner so some could get excluded, the full list is available at

#11 UK Meteorological Office
#22 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – USA (Cheyenne)
#25 ECMWF – UK
#26 ECMWF – UK
#42 UK Meteorological Office
#43 UK Meteorological Office
#53 Korea Meteorological Administration – South Korea (Miri)
#54 Korea Meteorological Administration – South Korea (Nuri)
#57 Meteo France
#58 Meteo France
#74 NOAA – USA (Surge)
#75 NOAA – USA (Luna)
#92 National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – USA (Yellowstone)
#273 National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) – USA (Tide)
#274 National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) – USA (Gyre)
#363 ‘Meteorological Service’ – China
#494 China Meteorological Administration
#495 China Meteorological Administration

As a point of reference Facebook has a machine at #31 on the list, and NVIDIA has one at #32. The fastest US machine overall on the list is Oak Ridge National Lab’s “Titan” at #4. WETA Digital (visual effects company – Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2, Deadpool, Batman v Superman, The Hobbit trilogy, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Iron Man 3, etc) has a system that clocks in at #367.


June 16 Evening Update

I’m currently sitting in my office monitoring tonight’s severe weather potential over the state and as of the moment I’m writing this there are no warnings in effect in Iowa, however severe thunderstorm watches remain in effect for northern and western Iowa until 10 PM tonight. (details below) The storms that prompted warnings across north central Iowa have all moved into Minnesota and the next round is still in Nebraska yet, prompting Tornado warnings for the area around Norfolk. These storms are currently moving southeast at around 30-35 MPH.

Omaha, NE  Radar – 5:32 PM CDT

Severe Thunderstorm Watches (yellow shaded counties)

Severe Thunderstorm Watch 339 until 10 PM CDT
Iowa Counties: Pottawattamie, Harrison, Shelby, Monona
Threats: Widespread large & isolated very large (3″) hail, widespread damaging winds & isolated gusts to 75 MPH, tornado or two possible

Severe Thunderstorm Watch 340 until 10 PM CDT
Iowa Counties: Crawford, Carroll, Woodbury, Ida, Sac, Calhoun,  Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Sioux, O’Brien, Clay, Palo Alto, Dickinson, Emmett, Kossuth, Humboldt, Winnebago, Hancock, Wright, Worth, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Mitchell, Floyd, Butler, Howard, Chickasaw, Bremer, Winneshiek, Fayette, Allamakee, Clayton
Threats: Scattered large hail, isolated very large (2″) hail, scattered damaging wind gusts to 70 MPH, tornado or two possible


Sitting here watching some videos on the Microsoft Virtual Academy and wondering what I would like to have for my PCs. A start of the list is below but I doubt I’ll be crossing anything off anytime soon.

Weather Software
GR2Analyst 2.0
WeatherStudio v3

PC Hardware
New/2nd video card for my primary desktop –

I currently have 3 Acer 18″ LCD monitors on my desktop machine, with one of those being driven by a USB-to-DVI type adapter. Unfortunately, it has a habit of freezing up from time to time, and while trivial to reset is rather annoying. However due to the age/configuration of my machine, finding a compatible card may be easier said than done. At one point I thought I was going to need a different video card to support one of my games and another app I had downloaded but the game apparently runs on my other desktop and the other app seemed to have some issues as a result of bad cached data rather than the video card. I have noticed though I’m unable to capture video from one of my weather apps that I currently use on this machine, yet the capture works fine on my laptop. I’m assuming its a weakness of the chipset on the current card (Quadro FX1500)

New monitors w/ multi-monitor stand

I currently have 3 ~18″ LCD monitors on my desk, I’m thinking of replacing them with something slightly larger and maybe adding a 4th if supported with a video card addition (see above). My work machine has 2 19″ and my machine at  the previous job had 3 20″ (which were nice) if I recall.

New(er?) Laptop

My current laptop is a bit dated as it’s the same one I’ve been using since college.. Dell Latitude D630. Still works pretty decently after minor upgrades (memory swap with the other college laptop – Gateway E265, and replacing the internal hard drive with a SSD.

UPS Units

I think that about does it for the moment..


Quiet few days

Not a lot going on in terms of weather around here, pretty much just your typical Iowa summer. The next few days look to be sunny and in the mid 90s so if you are spending time outdoors then it would be wise to take precautions as the heat index is likely to be in the low triple digits. There looks like there may be a chance for rain midweek but its too early to tell.