Shutdown Windows computer and Synology NAS using WinNut

Previously, my Windows PC happily send a command to my Synology NAS to shutdown when the UPS (connected to my PC) was running low on battery power. (See my post, “Shutdown Windows computer and Synology NAS using CyberPower UPS“) Things came to a grinding halt when DSM 6 was released and eliminated remote access by the root user…probably a good thing security-wise, of course.

After much research, I discovered the Network UPS Tools (NUT) project. Included in its goals is uniform control and management of UPSs and it seems manufacturers, including Synology, have embraced the “standard”. It’s a server-client model where you connect the UPS to the Synology NAS, the server (aka master), and run a monitoring program on your PC, the client (aka slave), to shut it down when the UPS battery power gets low.

Setup on the NAS side, is as easy as checking a couple option boxes. It’s not so straight forward on the client side of things. I found at least three different Windows client applications, all with less than clear configuration instructions. I settled on WinNUT, but lost patience trying to figure out how to configure the new version and opted for the older one which still seems to work under Windows 10. Read more

Winter Park and North Catamount Reservoir – Aug-Sep 2018

We took a trip to Georgetown and Idaho Springs this weekend and stayed in Winter Park. Only a couple hours away, but traffic was heavy heading out. As luck would have it, the Aspen trees were just starting to turn colors and it was magnificent. I forgot to post photos from our trip to North Catamount Reservoir and I added those at the end.

LED Lights tripping my circuit breaker!

I recently moved into a brand new home. After a few weeks, the circuit breaker in my office would trip every week or so, but recently it began to happen every night. I figured all my office equipment was using too much power and I need to have an additional circuit installed. It seemed odd, however, that it only happened at night when power usage was at its lowest. Another thought was that maybe a device was shorting, so I tried to narrow it down by unplugging every nonessential device. Still, the breaker would trip.

My office is on the same circuit as the outside lights, but it never dawned on me they could be the culprits. I had replaced the two porch lights with some motion sensor LED flood lights, and bulbs in the two sconces with night sensor LEDs. I also installed a Ring doorbell which has IR LEDs. Surely, these low-power LEDs couldn’t be causing the problem, right? Well, apparently, the answer is yes they can.

I didn’t know this, but I’ve learned that when LED lights are turned on, there is a short but large electrical surge (called the inrush current) and, according to this article, can be 253 times the LED’s rated current! My theory is that when some combination of the motion floodlights and Ring doorbell simultaneously sensed motion, it would trip my breaker. It sort of makes sense. As more and more people moved into the neighborhood, night activity like car headlights, roaming cats, etc. would increase. To test this, I replaced the floodlights with regular LED bulbs and the breaker has not tripped once in the last several days.

I suppose I could try a different brand of motion floodlights, but I think I’m going to just install a solar powered one and avoid the problem all together.

The new Nikon Z7/Z6 stops the ship from sinking and that’s what is really important

Did the new Nikon mirrorless Z7/Z6 cameras leapfrog the competition? Do they crush the competition feature for feature? Did they hit it out of the ballpark?

Nope. And they didn’t have to. The thing that all the major reviewers miss is that this stops the ship from sinking. Many former Nikon shooters have already jumped ship onto the USS Sony or USS Fuji and many, like me, were strongly considering the move. I am no longer scared of investing in something new or, perhaps more importantly, how I’m going to sell all of my Nikon gear to switch to a new system, how I’m going to tolerate an unfamiliar menu system, subpar egonomics, etc. Nikon did it right and made it a priority to have solid backwards compatibility with F mount lens. Well done.

What is interesting is, if you asked me a week ago, if I was ready to jump if Nikon released a solid mirrorless camera, I would have said, “HELL YEAH.” However, today I sit without a confirmation for a pre-order in my inbox.

I feel good about my D500 and D750. They still take awesome pictures. Would it be cool to have an EVF, silent shooting, more resolution? Of course. However, I feel like I have time now. There is no longer a feeling of urgency to get started with a new system. Let others be the guinea pigs. Let the firmware mature. Perhaps, I even need to wait for the Z7 II.

Thank you Nikon for restoring my trust in your brand and vision.

PS I’m SO glad I didn’t buy a D850 :-)

Salida , CO – Aug 2018

We took at late-starting day trip to Salida, CO. I was pretty sure we would not make the full 2-1/2 hour drive, but figured we’d see some pretty scenery before turning back. Well, an hour out from the city, there was no way I was going to turn back! Happy we toughed it out. Cute city. Good food (OMG the sweet corn brown-butter sea salt ice cream with toasted marshmallow topping was to DIE FOR!) There were a couple weddings going on and one of the couples rode a raft down the river! Anyways, here are some shots from my Nikon.

Ring Doorbell Windows 10 Volume Problem Solved!

Whenever I ran the Ring Doorbell Windows app, it would always lower the volume on any other application (music, video, etc.) that was running. As soon as I closed the Live View, the volume on the other apps would return to normal. I contacted their support and was told that it could be a driver issue. Obviously, they didn’t really know why it was happening.

Well, I did some more digging and discovered that in the Sounds dialog, there is a Communications tab. By default, the “When Windows detects communications activity” option was set to “Reduce the volume of other sounds by 80%”. That sure sounded like what was happening, so I changed it to “Do nothing”. BINGO! That fixed it!

I never even knew that setting existed. To get to the Sounds dialog, click the Windows icon on your desktop to bring up the menu. Type Sound and it will appear. It will say Control Panel underneath.

I’m not sure if other versions of Windows do the same thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Good luck!

Perfect guitar hanging system by String Swing

Floor and wall space is at a premium in my office and I was looking for a way to hang my guitars so I could free up the space the cases took up. I was just about to order the typical hangers–where the guitar hangs parallel to the wall–until I stumbled onto String Swing’s Slatwall Rail System.

They have these special hangers that hang the guitar perpendicular to the wall using up much less wall space. Unfortunately, the wall space I was targeting was 28 inches wide and their rail was 48 inches. So, I contacted the company and was told they would be happy to custom cut it for me for a nominal charge of just $2.

Anne, the salesperson, walked me through everything I needed, including mounting hardware. Turns out they have all kinds of different types of hangers you can choose from. You can get the 5 Guitar Rail and Hangers Bundle on Amazon for $100, but unless it fits your needs perfectly, I suggest you call String Swing up and let them put together something tailored to your specific needs. Mine ended up costing much less than the bundle ($65). I went with the fixed 90-degree hangers to maximize the number of guitars I could fit into my narrow space. I was hoping my three guitars would fit and they easily did. In fact, I could probably fit a fourth, if need be.

The materials are very sturdy and I am 100% confident the guitars will stay up. You really need to get the screws into studs and only my right and middle pairs of screws are. The left pair are using drywall anchors, which in my case is fine for such a short length. All of the necessary mounting hardware came with my order. Since the location of studs will vary from wall to wall, you need to pre-drill your own holes through the rail. Since it’s made of aluminum, the drilling is pretty easy. It probably took me less than 30 minutes to install everything.

String Swing specializes in displays for everything musical. All of their products are manufactured in Wisconsin and guaranteed for life! It’s a family-run business and I highly recommend you check them out if you need a musical instrument stand or display.