I started playing Minecraft back in 2009 just after the beta version was released. I have fond memories exploring the worlds and setting up home servers so that my brother and I could play together. Now its 2020 and we are in a global pandemic. Everyone is isolating and we have to deal with that. So my friends and I have started to play Minecraft again. I setup a simple server on Google Cloud Platform that only costs around a dollar a month for our usage. In this post I will go over the pieces that I used to build that server and how you can setup your own.
I don’t like WiFi. I find that there are too many variables that make it difficult to maintain a reliable signal throughout a home. WiFi extenders also don’t seem to solve the problem. They connect to a slower signal to re-send it further which only slows the connection down more. The best solution is obviously running an ethernet cable between every device, but that is rarely feasible if your home is not already wired for it. Recently I started using powerline adapters as a middle ground. They may be a good substitute for ethernet cables, but only if they are setup correctly.
Powerline adapters work by plugging the devices into two locations on the same electrical system. They send high frequency signals across the system that can be read back out on the other side. Just like an ethernet cable, these adapters are physically connected using the wiring that is already in your home. However there is a catch, the line is shared. This makes the adapters sensitive to interference caused by other equipment. In this article I will cover how to diagnose connection issues and how to optimize your powerline network. I am using the D-Link DHP-701AV for my power adapters. Some of what I have learned will work on most adapters but there is some information that is specific to these devices.
As is usual for me, this year I went back home for the Christmas holidays. It’s always a nice time, however I find that it always ends up being busier than expected. This year was no exception. I had the usual family gatherings, drinks with friends and other get-togethers. Plus, there was one additional sporty social event. My girlfriend and I, who are both runners, were invited to join the Tri-Annual Harry and Henny Fun Run. It was a simple event, start the day with a 5k, a 10k or a half-marathon and then enjoy a nice breakfast. Seemed simple enough and I didn’t put much thought into it. Christmas is busy, it’s always like that, so what’s the worst that could happen? All I was worried about was a bit of burn out at the end. Little did I know, I would be learning a lot of important lessons in the coming weeks.
As a software architect, how do you make a problem easy to solve? In the software engineering world this comes up a lot. There are always hard problems that will bring things to a screeching halt. Picture this: you are in charge of a brand new project. Your goal is to choose the right technology, the right practices and, the right workflow to make that project a success. You know this project will be encountering problems over time. The correct perspective can make all the difference. As architects we have a very powerful tool to help us: abstraction. Lets take a look at abstraction and how important it is for software development.
While visiting in Germany, my father and I went out for a bike ride around the towns near Essen. One of the towns that we checked out was Neviges. Within it you can find the Wallfahrtsdom (Pilgrimage Cathedral). This is one of the most interesting churches that I have seen. It has a very imposing presence, it is dark, very geometric and made entirely of concrete. It was built 50 years ago and holds 6,000 visitors.
Near this was a little model that showed what the building looked like in full. I examined this model and had the idea to take a video of it. I figured that it would be fun to build a 3D model of the church model.