Jacob Mulquin

December, 2021


Another new month! I can't believe I managed to do at least one entry every single day in November. Feeling a bit proud for that accomplishment.

Woke up this morning to more rain groan.

Also noticed that the My Waste My Future Raspberry Pi was not showing any LEDs. I wonder what broke. I tried navigating to wollongongwaste.net.au but it was down. And not just for me. The optimist in me is hoping that they are doing an upgrade to the Apache server. The pessimist in me is expecting that they are retiring that service altogether in favour of the "booking form" on wollongongwaste.com.au. I rang up their feedback line and notified them of the issue. They said they are updating their system and have been having issues.

I loaded the page later in the day, and it appears that the .net.au page is now redirecting to a booking page on the .com.au. I will be updating the script so that it makes use of the new system over the next few days.

It was a really productive day at home today. With our new baby due in mid January, we're trying to do get as much done in the next couple of weeks while my wife still feels OK to be up and about for any length of time.

My aunt was down and needed help with her Macbook. I hate Apple computers so much. They look like fine devices, but the way iCloud digs it's tendrils in everywhere and the whole computer becomes gimped because the iCloud account is not connected is just absolutely ridiculous.


No walk again this morning, just as my usual 5:30 am alarm went off, my son opened the door bawling his eyes out. So I had to spend the next hour consoling him and getting him back to sleep.

Work was quite good today, got some things done that I had been procrastinating on.

Also continued to help my aunt. Apple products... eugh

Had an interesting drive home, traffic was quite congested and I employed my usual tactic of holding back and making sure the distance between me and the car ahead was far enough so that I don't really have to apply the brakes, certainly not stop and start. I could see idiots in the rear view mirror shaking their heads and getting, one even beeped. The fools should be thanking me for helping them keep a constant speed, saving fuel and brakepads.

This particular traffic jam is caused by a notorious offramp on the way home. Usually it's not that bad but somethese these drivers that want to be as close to the car in front of them exacerbate the issue, leading to Phantom Traffic Jams or traffic waves (Here is an excellent video example). Next time you see heavy traffic in front of you, have a go at breaking the cycle. It's really fun and you feel like a good citizen for helping the motorists behind you.


Against my body's best wishes, I forced it to get out of bed this morning and go for a walk. About 2 minutes in the feeling of malaise was replaced with one of determination. Walking rules!

Tackled Microsoft Forms for most of the day. The limitation of not allowing an external user to upload a file makes the service significantly less attractive, but sill the best option.

Aunt's iPhone and Macbook are finally set up. The iCloud parasite has been eradicated once and for all!


No walk this morning, but went for one later in the day as it's a surprisingly cool December day.

Had great success with Power Automate this morning. I wish I would have learned this platform sooner because I'm quite excited about the possibilities it can unlock for RLA.


It's been a very wet December this year. La Niña seems to be out to get us this season.

Worked on a very simple PHP redirect script today so we can have short URLs for RLA.

I also purchased a second hand SSD this morning. $20 for a 120GB Samsung. Not too bad. It will become the boot drive on a TrueNAS build I'm working on.

I'm getting very excited because it is my last week before a 3 week break over Christmas. Many projects stirring through my mind!

I know I said I should be careful with not binging Oz... Well, completely failed on in that regard. I'm on the final season. It has been on the background while I've been working and it's such a fantastic show.

I also saw this page on a dark mode screen for the first time and can say it looks pretty crap. I made some quick n' dirty changes but it's nowhere near good enough.


Walked this morning, felt really good!

Work went well, still very excited about the possibilites for Power Automate.


I had a rare bout of acute insomnia last night and could not get to sleep until 3am, so my 5:30am walk went out the window.

In the mid afternoon I was putting my shoes on when a sudden crack of thunder shouted, and the pitter-patter of rain dancing on the roof starting to fill the room. Oh well, tomorrow again.

Continued work on the My Waste, My Future project, transforming the incoming JSON into a form that can be read so that it can be displayed on the Raspberry Pi.

Also it's tuesday, which means tacos! My favourite.

Attempted to look into the garage for the box of Christmas stuff today. Promptly closed the garage on first glance.


More rain again this morning, bloody hell weather, what's going on??

The office had some water coming through the ceiling yesterday afternoon so I spent the morning setting up all the workstations again.

Installed Xubuntu on a small netbook this afternoon, every single time I need to put an ISO onto a USB stick I inevitably end up searching up how to use the dd command. Decided to make a small bash function to make this process easier in the future:


    echo ""
    echo "Command: sudo umount $2"
    read -r -p "OK? " input
    sudo umount $2

    echo ""
    echo "Command: sudo dd if=$1 of=$2 conv=fsync status=progress bs=4M"
    read -r -p "OK? " input
    sudo dd if=$1 of=$2 conv=fsync status=progress bs=4M

The Raspberry Pi is now showing the correct colours of LEDs again! There are still a few kinks I need to work out but happy with the progress.


Almost missed writing today. No walk. Fixed up the mess in the office and set up all the workstations again. Did some power automate stuff. Set up the Christmas tree at home. Dinner at in-laws. All-in-all a pretty good day!

I am dedicated to going for a walk tomorrow morning, no matter the circumstance. It's scary how quick 4 days of no walking occurs. My back was feeling a bit sore today and I put it down to not getting that daily exercise each day. Feeeling quite slack about it actually.


Forced myself to walk this morning, felt really good!

Last "day" of work today for the year. However I'll still be online for when I'm needed so that we can ensure everyone gets paid smoothly.

Did a good bit of Christmas shopping as well.

A SATA expansion card arrived today that I will be putting in an old machine to try and resurrect an old zfs pool. I'm glad work has finished so I can sink my teeth into a few personal projects amidst all the Christmas and pregancy preperations.


Another great walk this morning, weather was beautiful!

Father-in-law's birthday dinner, had a few beers.

Was a good day all-in-all, mostly uneventful.


Getting back into the groove of walking. Enjoying it very much.

Son went to gym and then with mum went to the in-laws for the day.

I attempted to change some broken globes in my car but the store had given me the wrong type. Unfortunatley they are closed on Sundays. The car industry seems very rigid on not trading Sundays, strange.

Went down to Kiama today with a friend to go for a walk around the blowhole. Good to see lots of tourists out and about. The blowhole was blasting big waves and seafoam was vortexing like a huge bubble machine.

Got some errands and programming done today, felt very productive. The My Waste, My Future project is almost there, still some kinks to work out with the next-day animation.

Watching the casenotes come in tonight and feeling excited that tomorrow is the start of my 3 week annual leave period!


4th day in a row walking in the morning. Getting back into it. Only did a short one as nature called in the morning.

Officially my first day of annual leave. What to do... What to do...

Had a really nice guilt-free nap, it was glorious :)


No walk this morning, was having vivid dreams and I guess my semi-conscious mind wanted to keep them going. I was coerced into selling cocaine at a supermarket by a talking cat; One of the stranger dreams I've had.

Went up to my pop's for his birthday and helped my wife's nan set up a new phone. Even on holiday, tech support prevails. Helped a friend with installing Office and Trend Micro on his laptop as well. Had a strange error installing Office because their stupid Office App thing was already installed.

Answered a few questions on Stack Overflow today, that was fun.

Knocking items off the trusty todo list as well, overall good day.


Did not do my walk this morning, went to bed way too late.

Heavily consumerist day today. We went baby shopping for upcoming bub in mid-January, we now have 2 car-seats. Boy child stuff has a hefty markup. These companies know that parents will pay a premium for the safety of their children.

Being the sole IT person at RLA means that being on leave can be tricky if things arise that my co-workers cannot solve. Had a few support calls today. However I'm happy to do it, they were quite easy to solve.

Found an iPod shuffle 4th gen on Facebook marketplace tonight for $25. I used to have a 2nd gen years ago and I loved how I could use it as a mass storage device and just copy songs over like any USB drive. Did a quick research on if it is possible for 4th gen so I'm "bookmarking" it here if the seller gets back to me: https://github.com/nims11/IPod-Shuffle-4g

Christmas is getting ever closer, having a little one makes this time of year magical once again!


It's mornings like these that I have an alarm at 5:45 as well as 5:30. While 5:30 Jacob said "no go back to sleep", 5:45 Jacob said "no, let's get up and walk".

Grandmother-in-law came over this mornign and we finished setting up her new phone. I think I've setup 6 people's COVID-19 vaccination statuses in the ServiceNSW app. Basically an expert in the process by now.

Ran the APH Streams script today and noticed a case I did not program for: No events scheduled on a particular day. Promptly fixed that and moved the code onto the My Waste, My Future Raspberry Pi just in case my desktop PC isn't online in the morning.

I was going to pick up that iPod shuffle gen 4 today but unfortunately the bloke was a casual contact so he will notify me when his results come back.

Finally got around to putting an old machine together and installing TrueNAS. There were some old hard drives I found at my parent's house when we ran FreeNAS there more than 6 years ago. Surprisingly, things have gone relatively smoothly. Had some issues finding a good FXP client for Linux so I ended up using FlashFXP within WINE.

Here's a photo of it setup alongside my Synology NAS. I also found an old HP Microserver in the garage and will transplant these drives into that after I recover all the data.

Temporary TrueNAS system for exporting data


My brain thought it was raining this morning so I didn't go for a walk.

Spent the morning answering some questions on Stack Overflow and went to mum and dads to see the progress over there.

Procrastinated on cleaning the garage for long enough so made a concerted effort to tidy it this afternoon. There's just so much stuff, much of which needs to be donated.

Had the RLA christmas party today, it was great to see everyone and watch my son confidently go up to people he doesn't know and lead them places. He's such an outgoing little kid, it's amazing.


Walked this morning, hoorah!

Taking son to his final swimming lesson for the year, then going down the coast for a day trip.

It was good to get some sun and get in the water. We went to the pool instead of the beach because it had become quite windy.

Went out for dinner at the Gerroa Fisherman's Club, the views from there are incredible!

View from Gerroa Fisherman's Club


Rained this morning, actual rain this time, not phantom.

Christmas is looming closer and there's still so much to do. We are getting our santa photo done today and I bumped into a friend I had in high school that I haven't seen in many years. They had a cute little baby girl.

Having a lazy day this Sunday as next week will be full-on preparing for Christmas next Saturday.


Good walk this morning. Only 4 sleeps until Christmas and there's a lot of things to do!

Despite the Aussie summer heat, we've accomplished quite a bit today; Today we tidied up around our dining room, kitchen and started to cull some of our son's toys. We have some cleaners coming in on Wednesday morning to do a deep-clean (think end-of-lease) as we are having Christmas at our house this year.

I bought that iPod shuffle 4th generation today. It's not perfect as the buttons don't all click as they are designed, but it still plays music so it fulfills it's primary purpose. I will be using this to help motivate me to go on longer walks in the morning. nims/iPod-Shuffle-4g worked an absolute treat: Just delete everything on the drive, copy songs over to the root directory, run the script and boom, how all iPods should function.

Speaking of longer walks, I need to start going earlier in the morning now that we are in the middle of summer; It's getting brighter and hotter earlier. I will try 5am tomorrow.


Woke at 5am and had music going. The earphone I found didn't want to sit in my right ear properly so that was annoying. It was nice to get up a bit earlier as the sun hadn't risen much so it was quite a bit cooler. I think I'll continue this earlier start throughout summer.

Spent most of the day tidying up in preperation for cleaning tomorrow morning.

Also spent some time learning some Perl. Perl is a language I have always wanted to learn but "never had the time". Well, today I started making some time.

Santa coming in 4 sleeps!


Today has been very productive! Did not go for a walk this morning as I had a late night.

Had some cleaners from RLA in today to help us clean, wiping, mopping, vacuuming, etc. They did a great job.

I trimmed the hedges outside and spent a good amount of time removing a noxious vine that had taken hold. Many more cars will be able to park in our driveway for Christmas.

Did a couple more Perl tutorials as well.


Woke up feeling quite disoriented this morning. Did not end up going for a walk because the weather was ambiguous.

Drove up to Illawarra Smallgoods to purchase a rump steak and pork belly for Christmas lunch.

Did a whole load of shopping today, feeling exhausted.

Had my wife's aunty's birthday dinner tonight. We went to Kitchen 42 and had a quite excellent experience. Delicious Italian food!


It's Christmas Eve!

Running around getting last-minute things prepared.

My wife asked if she had got any surprise gifts this year, I said no. She sounded disappointed. So to mitigate this from happening in the future and to learn Perl, I'm going to build a little birthday/Christmas gift planner for next year.

I find myself getting sad around dates that are meant to be celebrations. Everything has been prepared and tomorrow will be a busy day hosting for everyone. However, part of me knows that I'll still feel empty even though I'll be surrounded by the love of family and friends.


What a massive day!

Got the roast on at 7am and everyone arrived in the morning. We had a big lunch and opened our presents. A good time by all.

Very tired, going to bed early today.


Today was much more chilled than yesterday. Spent most of the day at my grandparents and it was great to see my son with my cousin's son, they are one month apart.

Had a nice nap.

Did a bit more on my Perl gifts program.


Wasn't feeling very good today. The morning walk habit has been going pretty bad. It's been almost a week since I went and that makes me feel sad. I will endeavour to at least go for a small walk tomorrow morning to restart the habit.

A lounging-around-home day today. Did some chores but nothing too substantial. Worked in the morning to get the casenotes processed correctly so everyone can get paid over the holiday period.

Investigated some more Perl and did some digital folder organisation.

Had dinner with my parents and brother who is going back to Queensland tomorrow morning. It has been good to see him.


Another procrastinating day today. My brother-in-law bought me a Steam gift card so I spent a good chunk of the day playing Stellaris. It's one of those games that pulls you in for hours at a time, similar to the Civilisation series.

Feeling a bit guilty for not doing anything productive or substantial. I know there's more to life than productivity but it's hard to get out of that mindset.

The My Waste, My Future update has being running along extremely smoothly. I will endeavour to write an article about it tomorrow.

It's starting to become very real that 2021 is almost over.


I broke the cycle this week and forced myself out bed to go for a walk. I injured my heel on Christmas Day so the friction from walking did hurt but I pushed through the pain. No pain no gain, yeah?

Ended up playing way too much Stellaris, I need to uninstall it. It was a fun day.


Walked again this morning. Felt surprisingly good considering I got out of routine. It's hard to pick the mornings where I struggle with my breathing or the muscle pain.

Worked on the garage in the morning. Getting things together to put on Facebook marketplace. After putting everything back in it still looks the same as it did before I started, albeit with a small "to throw out" pile.

Also working more on my Perl project for organising gifts. I find myself thinking "I could do this in PHP", "I could do that in PHP" and I have to take moments to think "no, the whole point is that I'm pushing myself past my comfort zone". So far I've got a script that slurps in a .sql file and runs all the statements.


sudo shutdown -r +1440