Showing dd progress

By default, dd doesn’t show progress during block copying.

# dd if=/dev/<source> of=diskimg.img
==> *crickets*

I’ve got around this with many approaches over the years, but today I even learned of a new way. Below is a list.

Using PIDs, or killing dd midway and resuming

Technically possible, but ew. I leave as an exercise for the reader.

Using dcfldd

dcfldd is a modified version of GNU dd developeed for the US DoD Computer Forensics Laboratory (DCFL). Its the easiest drop-in solution because it uses the same flags, but adds inline progress reporting.

# dcfldd if=/dev/<source> of=disk.img
==> 

I’ve been using this since the mid 2000s. Unfortunately, I’ve since read warnings that it should be avoided as a general-purpose dd replacement, given it was forked from an old dd version that’s since had bugs discovered.

Using pv

pv reports stream data. Give pv a data source, and pipe it to dd to get a wonderful progress tracker:

# pv -pterb /dev/<source> | dd of=disk.img

The flags show a progress bar (-p), timer (-t), ETA (-e), rate counter (-r) and byte counter (-b) respectfully. Or not respectfully; I don’t care if you shout at your computer.

It’s a less elegant solution to a drop-in dd replacement, but does keep to the UNIX philosophy.

Using ddrescue

ddrescue is useful for copying block data off damaged disks. It operates by copying block-level data multiple times, trimming errors, and merging disparate sources into a more complete disk image.

It also shows a progress bar, and is happy to work on a clean disk:

# ddrescue -d /dev/<source> disk.img disk.log

The -d flag is for direct disk access. Further use is beyond the scope of this post, but as an aside you can specify -r2 to attempt reads twice on a problematic disk, very cool.

Using GNU dd

Today I learned of an alternative in GNU dd: the progress bar. From dd(1):

status=LEVEL
The LEVEL of information to print to stderr; ‘none’ suppresses everything but error messages, ‘noxfer’ suppresses the final transfer statistics, ‘progress’ shows periodic transfer statistics

Mac and other BSD users can get this from the gnutil package, then use it as gdd:

# gdd if=/dev/<something> of=disk.img progress=status

Normally I’m not a fan of the GNU extensions to standard POSIX tools, because we end up with incompatible options that break scripts. To that end, I’ll likely keep using pv. But I’ll secretly use gdd.


Check your election enrolment

Australians, you have till 20:00 AEST to confirm your enrolment. You won’t get another chance before the election in July.

I checked mine a few weeks ago thinking it’d be routine, and they were completely wrong. At least I didn’t have to run to the Australian High Commission in Singapore and queue this time.

From their press release:

Australians only have until 8pm tonight to make sure their name is on the electoral roll or they will miss out on their vote in the 2016 federal election.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said that if you are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or over, you are required by law to enrol and vote in the 2016 federal election.

“Anyone not enrolled must urgently complete an enrolment form and make sure the AEC receives it before today’s 8pm deadline.

“The quickest and easiest way to enrol and join over 15.5 million Australians already on the electoral roll is by going online.”

Mr Rogers also urged people already on the electoral roll, but who had moved since the 2013 federal election to update their address details online by 8pm tonight.

“Anyone who is not sure about their address details on the electoral roll should check immediately onlineM [sic] or call 13 23 26,” Mr Rogers said.

If you can’t enrol or update your details online, enrolment forms are available from any AEC office or Australia Post outlet.


Facebook privacy

I logged into my profile for the first time in a few weeks.

Ruben, want to do a Privacy Check-up?

We care about your privacy and want to make sure that you’re sharing with the right people. Here’s a quick way to review the privacy of your posts, apps and some profile info.

The Facebook Privacy Team

Thanks, I needed a laugh this morning :).


#Spam Traffic Monsoon!

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “monsoon”? Is it violent weather? The chance of structural or electrical damage to your property? Catastrophic floods? Or even just a regular inundation of storms that comes to the tropics?

What about a monsoon of traffic to your site? No, it’s not a denial of service attack, its the good kind of monsoon:

If you are looking for a solid revenue sharing site which will be here many years to come,look no further as Traffic Monsoon is here to stay and has been acclaimed the #1 online income resource center on the world wide web right now. Figures from early November 2015 shows that 28k people are joining this awesome opportunity platform daily.TM has transformed the advertising/PTC industry and has become a model site and a beacon of hope for many online enterpreneurs.If you have not made money online,this site will make you money. To start with just sign up with the link below:-

At least they didn’t go with “crippling traffic” or “traffic jam”.

The last post mentioning monsoons was this lift outage in 2007.


Rubénerd Show 341: The shoes episode

Rubénerd Show 341

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

01:00:00 – Procuring and philosophising the nature of footwear, leaves, sirens, what the frick is “smart casual”, the Australian International School Singapore’s bowling team, evil insomnia and sleep debt, late night data centre trips, Mercury transiting the sun, pronouncing “vehicle” in true crime shows, resurrecting old theme songs, Van Morrison, and follow-up about decluttering. Thanks to PQ Ribber and Jimbo for their audio contributions!

Recorded in Sydney, Australia. Licence for this track: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Attribution: Ruben Schade.

Released May 2016 on The Overnightscape Underground, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

Subscribe with iTunes, Pocket Casts, Overcast or add this feed to your podcast client.


Aizu Project’s Ayanami Rei

As discussed on the show, I’m trying minimalism. New objects have to justify their existence, and with as little space as possible. It’s been hard getting rid of stuff, but I feel a veritable weight has been lifted off my shoulders (and the apartment foundations).

Life is good. And getting better.

And then Aizu Project does a re-release of an old temptation I’d been able to successfully avoid due to unavailability. Worse still, her price is shockingly reasonable by today’s standards, at ¥5,860 on AmiAmi.

Of all her plastic renditions, this came closest to matching her 2D appearance. Everything from her facial expression and construction, to her hair and somewhat reserved pose are all spot on. This is best girl from Evangelion, no question about it (sorry Asuka fans).

By comparison, take this one from Kotobukiya below. While she’s compelling in her own way, she doesn’t look like Rei. My back hurts just looking at her pose, and frankly I don’t know how she breathes with a plugsuit that tight around her chest.

Either way, I suppose it’s a moot point given I can’t, won’t and/or shouldn’t be buying her. Right?


And you're gonna hear me roar

Katy Perry:

And you’re gonna hear me roar!
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
You’re gonna hear me roar!

That’s not what a roar sounds like.



Dumb interview questions

There are threads going around about how you would respond to dumb, hypothetical interview questions that have no bearing on the job you’re applying for. Something like this:

You’re stranded on a desert island with a dead mobile phone charger, a toothbrush, and a copy of Paul Simon’s One Trick Pony. How would you repair the lift that goes sideways on the moon?

We’re told anyone with self respect would baulk at the idea of answering that. ♫ Baulk baulk ♫. You may even go as far as to say the question shows a lack of sincerity, or that the company has a culture you’d best not be a part of.

But then you remember the current job climate, the family you need to feed, the mortgage or rent you have to pay. So you answer.

By fixing it.

I’ve been lucky to avoid stupid interview questions. But let’s not pretend that in that situation where you badly need the job, you’d walk out either.


Choosing a minimalistic Mini-ITX case

I’m building a gaming machine for the first time since I was 17. It’s bringing back all the wonderful memories pouring over price lists.

This time around, I’ve decided to build the smallest, lightest machine I can. To this end, I’ve been checking out which are the best minimalistic Mini-ITX cases on the market.

Aerocool DS-Cube

When I first started researching PC cases again, I was relieved and happy to find the Aerocool DS-Cube. Here was a case that wasn’t just black, but still managed to be minimal with clean lines and a lack of giant ugly grills with spiders called “PREDATOR”. You know what I’m talking about.

Airflow is achieved through a front mounted fan and clever intake slits running between the textured coloured panels and the rest of the case. A CPU water-cooled radiator can be mounted on the top, and there’s extra space in the back for another fan.

Interestingly, the motherboard is mounted horizontally, with the power supply and drives positioned underneath. It would make installation of new parts easier, but it does increase the width of the case.

It’s technically a micro-atx case, but I thought it deserved an honourable mention.

BitFenix Prodigy

The Prodigy is arguably one of the more famous Mini-ITX case designs. It harkens back to the classic Power Mac G5 and Mac Pro, if they came in a range of colours other than silver.

The internal design is pretty flexible, with an extra drive cage that can be removed to allow longer GPU card installs. Its among the largest Mini-ITX case designs though, which somewhat negates the benefits of going with a smaller motherboard. I’m also not a fan of the border accents.

BitFenix Phenom

The Phenom seems to be a further refinement to BitFenix’s Mini-ITX cases. Gone are the superfluous handles and border accents. It also only comes in black and white, but is billed as having “soft touch” panels ala the AeroCool DS-Cube.

Like the Cube, the case also features air intakes running along the edges, though not quite as clever. It has the same drive cages and 5.25 inch drive bay as the Prodigy, even though there’s no opening for an optical drive. This suggests they’re sharing common parts.

I love the design. It’s understated and clean, a rarity among case manufacturers. A white Phenom would go great with my beautiful ASUS Turbo-OC GTX 970. It’s also on the larger size though, with space for hard drives and other components I don’t need.

Dan A4-SFX

This crowd-funded case is very impressive. Billed as the “smallest ITX gaming case in the world with the ability to mount full-size graphics cards”, I can’t think how the intrepid designer could have shrunk it any further.

The space saving is achieved by mounting the graphics card against the back of the motherboard with 3M riser cables. I theorised such a setup back when I was thinking of building a Lego case, but wasn’t sure about cooling. To that end, the site suggests the case uses only the cooling on the CPU and GPU, which are able to uniqely draw air in from the side grills.

Rather than plastic or painted metal, the case uses Lian Li’s beautiful aluminium with machined ventilation holes for the fans in lieu of a mesh grill or slats. This pleases this Apple fan immensely, who once again has fallen into the trap of speaking of himself in the third person.

The rounded styling and fairing on the back don’t look exactly right to my eyes, and the screws on the top of the case break the clean lines somewhat, but those are all personal nitpicks I could probably overlook given all the space I’d be saving having one!

The site hasn’t been updated for six months, but forum posts by the designer suggest its release is imminent (as of May 2016).

NCASE M1

Which brings us to the NCASE M1, the “original crowd-funded case”. It appears to have a cult-like following; some fans even make carrying cases and bags for them which would go great given I’m sadly moving house constantly.

It’s definitely larger than the Dan, but smaller than most Mini-ITX cases. It still has plenty of internal expansion though, with tool-less mounting holes for a spinning drive or several SSDs. You can even order one with a top slit for a slim-line optical drive.

For cooling, there’s space for a water-cooled radiator, or two larger fans in the side. Like the Dan, the grills are machined into the solid aluminium which is rather striking, and harkens back to my old Mac Pro. They’re attached to a rigid internal frame that’s strong and light, judging from YouTube reviewers.

I have a chronic issue with making electronic decisions of any kind, but this may be the case I go with. I like the extra cooling options the larger size affords, even if potentially I won’t use any of the extra internal space. So maybe I’d go with the Dan.

Darn, this decision is harder than I thought.