btrfs scrub complete

This was the status at the end of the scrub:

[root@supermario ~]# /usr/sbin/btrfs scrub start -Bd /media/Photos/
scrub device /dev/sdd1 (id 1) done
 scrub started at Tue Mar 21 17:18:13 2017 and finished after 05:49:29
 total bytes scrubbed: 2.31TiB with 0 errors
scrub device /dev/sda1 (id 2) done
 scrub started at Tue Mar 21 17:18:13 2017 and finished after 05:20:56
 total bytes scrubbed: 2.31TiB with 0 errors

I’m a bit perplexed at this information. Since this is a RAID1, I would expect it to be comparing info between disks – is this not so? If not, why? Because I would have expected both disks to end at the same time. Also, interesting to note that the 1TB/hr stopped being the case at some point.

Finally have btrfs setup in RAID1

A little under 3 years ago, I started exploring btrfs for its ability to help me limit data loss. Since then I’ve implemented a snapshot script to take advantage of the Copy-on-Write features of btrfs. But I hadn’t yet had the funds and the PC case space to do RAID1. I finally was able to implement it for my photography hard drive. This means that, together with regular scrubs, I should have a near miniscule chance of bit rot ruining any photos it hasn’t already corrupted.

Here’s a documentation of some commands and how I got the drives into RAID1:

 

Before RAID:

# btrfs fi df -h /media/Photos
Data, single: total=2.31TiB, used=2.31TiB
System, DUP: total=8.00MiB, used=272.00KiB
System, single: total=4.00MiB, used=0.00B
Metadata, DUP: total=3.50GiB, used=2.68GiB
Metadata, single: total=8.00MiB, used=0.00B
GlobalReserve, single: total=512.00MiB, used=0.00B

# btrfs fi usage /media/Photos
Overall:
    Device size:                   2.73TiB
    Device allocated:              2.32TiB
    Device unallocated:          423.48GiB
    Device missing:                  0.00B
    Used:                          2.31TiB
    Free (estimated):            425.29GiB      (min: 213.55GiB)
    Data ratio:                       1.00
    Metadata ratio:                   2.00
    Global reserve:              512.00MiB      (used: 5.64MiB)

Data,single: Size:2.31TiB, Used:2.31TiB
   /dev/sdd1       2.31TiB

Metadata,single: Size:8.00MiB, Used:0.00B
   /dev/sdd1       8.00MiB

Metadata,DUP: Size:3.50GiB, Used:2.68GiB
   /dev/sdd1       7.00GiB

System,single: Size:4.00MiB, Used:0.00B
   /dev/sdd1       4.00MiB

System,DUP: Size:8.00MiB, Used:272.00KiB
   /dev/sdd1      16.00MiB

Unallocated:
   /dev/sdd1     423.48GiB

   
[root@supermario ~]# btrfs device add /dev/sda1 /media/Photos/
/dev/sda1 appears to contain an existing filesystem (btrfs).
ERROR: use the -f option to force overwrite of /dev/sda1
[root@supermario ~]# btrfs device add /dev/sda1 /media/Photos/ -f

[root@supermario ~]# btrfs fi usage /media/Photos
Overall:
    Device size:                   6.37TiB
    Device allocated:              2.32TiB
    Device unallocated:            4.05TiB
    Device missing:                  0.00B
    Used:                          2.31TiB
    Free (estimated):              4.05TiB      (min: 2.03TiB)
    Data ratio:                       1.00
    Metadata ratio:                   2.00
    Global reserve:              512.00MiB      (used: 0.00B)

Data,single: Size:2.31TiB, Used:2.31TiB
   /dev/sdd1       2.31TiB

Metadata,single: Size:8.00MiB, Used:0.00B
   /dev/sdd1       8.00MiB

Metadata,DUP: Size:3.50GiB, Used:2.68GiB
   /dev/sdd1       7.00GiB

System,single: Size:4.00MiB, Used:0.00B
   /dev/sdd1       4.00MiB

System,DUP: Size:8.00MiB, Used:272.00KiB
   /dev/sdd1      16.00MiB

Unallocated:
   /dev/sda1       3.64TiB
   /dev/sdd1     423.48GiB


[root@supermario ~]# btrfs balance start -dconvert=raid1 -mconvert=raid1 /media/Photos/

Done, had to relocate 2374 out of 2374 chunks

Post-RAID:

[root@supermario ~]# btrfs fi usage /media/Photos
Overall:
    Device size:                   6.37TiB
    Device allocated:              4.63TiB
    Device unallocated:            1.73TiB
    Device missing:                  0.00B
    Used:                          4.62TiB
    Free (estimated):            891.01GiB      (min: 891.01GiB)
    Data ratio:                       2.00
    Metadata ratio:                   2.00
    Global reserve:              512.00MiB      (used: 0.00B)

Data,RAID1: Size:2.31TiB, Used:2.31TiB
   /dev/sda1       2.31TiB
   /dev/sdd1       2.31TiB

Metadata,RAID1: Size:7.00GiB, Used:2.56GiB
   /dev/sda1       7.00GiB
   /dev/sdd1       7.00GiB

System,RAID1: Size:64.00MiB, Used:368.00KiB
   /dev/sda1      64.00MiB
   /dev/sdd1      64.00MiB

Unallocated:
   /dev/sda1       1.32TiB
   /dev/sdd1     422.46GiB
   
   
[root@supermario ~]# btrfs fi df -h /media/Photos
Data, RAID1: total=2.31TiB, used=2.31TiB
System, RAID1: total=64.00MiB, used=368.00KiB
Metadata, RAID1: total=7.00GiB, used=2.56GiB
GlobalReserve, single: total=512.00MiB, used=0.00B

And here’s the status of my first scub to test out the commands:

[root@supermario ~]# btrfs scrub status /media/Photos/
scrub status for 27cc1330-c4e3-404f-98f6-f23becec76b5
 scrub started at Tue Mar 21 17:18:13 2017, running for 00:09:10
 total bytes scrubbed: 145.57GiB with 0 errors

Podcasts I’m Listening to in 2017

I’ve both added and dropped some podcasts since last time around. Where I’m listing the same podcast as last year I may use the same description as in the past with slight (or no) variation.

Video Games

Giant Beastcast – The East Coast Giant Bomb crew. This podcast is more about video game culture and news stories. It spends a lot less time on the “what you’ve been playing” section. I’ve actually grown to enjoy this one way more than the Bombcast because of the focus on the cultural and news aspects.

Public Radio

Radiolab – Heard about them because sometimes their stories are used on This American Life. Radiolab is a lot like TAL except with a much bigger focus on sound effects. It is, in a way, the descendent of the old radio shows of the 30s and 40s. (Approx 30-45 min)

Marketplace – This is a really good economics show.  They talk about news that happened that day as well as stories that have been pre-prepared.  This podcast has really helped me to understand the recession and why it happened as well as whether it is getting any better.  (Approx 30 min long)

Codebreaker: A tech podcast. Season 1 asked the question “Is it Evil?” of various technologies.

On the Media –  Although not always perfect and although it leans a little more left than moderate, On the Media is a good podcast about media issues.  Examples include: truth in advertising, misleading news stories on the cable networks, debunking PR-speak from the White House, and other media literacy items.  I tend to enjoy it nearly all the time and it’s a good balance to news on both sides of the spectrum, calling out CNN as often as Fox News. (Approx 1 hour long)

Fresh Air – Fresh Air is one of NPR’s most famous shows.  It is similar in topic scope as Talk of the Nation, but without any listener call-in.  Also, it tends to have a heavier focus on cultural topics (books, movies, etc).  Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air for decades and is a master at interviewing her guests.  Every once in a while there is a guest host or the interview is conducted by a specialist in that industry.  (Approx 1 hour)

Freakonomics – Essentially an audio, episodic version of the eponymous book. If you enjoyed the insights of the book, you’ll really enjoy this podcast. (Approx 30 min)

The Infinite Monkey Cage – a BBC radio show about science. A panel of scientists (and one media star who is interested in science) talk about a topic. The only bummer is that the shows are quite infrequent. Something like 4 weekly episodes per quarter (Approx 30 min)

History

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – if you’re a history buff you really need to be listening to this podcast. Dan’s well-researched podcast presents bits of history you never heard of in ways you never thought of it. He does a great job of making ancient societies relate-able. The only bad thing is that there is a long gap between episodes due to the research involved. (Varies. Approx 1.5 – 4 hrs)

The Dollop – A very funny and very profane look at American history. The premise: The host tells a story of American history to the other guy, who doesn’t know ahead of time what the story’s about. It’s a premise that leads to some great reactions from the person not in the know (usually Gareth, but sometimes they do a Reverse Dollop). Also, listening to this podcast is a great reminder that the past is full of some really messed up people and situations.

Comedy

WTF with Marc Maron – This is a pretty solid podcast which mostly consists of Marc Maron interviewing comedians.  As with any interview-based show, the episodes are hit or miss, although more often than not they are really good.  Occasionally he does a live show in which he’s still interviewing people, but with 4-6 per episode it’s much less in-depth.  And, since it has an audience, the guest is performing more than being open.  The only irritating thing is that Marc starts off each episode with a rant/listener email reading.  Most of the time this is neither interesting nor funny.  Clearly the reason people are tuning is is to hear the interviews or they’d take up a minority of the show instead of the bulk of the show.  So I wish he’d do his rant at the end of the episode so that those of us who just want to hear a great interview with a comedian we like can easily skip the monologue.  (Approx 1.5 hours long)

Science Fiction Short Stories

Clarkesworld Magazine

Escape Pod

There isn’t much to differentiate these two podcasts.  They both feature great selections of short stories.  I added them to my podcatcher to get a dose of fiction among the more non-fiction podcasts I usually listen to.  Also, there’s something great about short-form fiction where you have to build the world AND tell the story in a very concise way.  The main difference between the two podcasts is that Clarkesworld has pretty much just one narrator who’s quite incredible.  Escape Pod tends to have a group of narrators.  Most of them are great – every once in a while there’s a less than stellar one.  Clarkesworld tends to end the story with the narrator’s interpretation and Escape Pod tends to end with reader comments from a few episodes ago. (varies. 15 min to 45 min)

Movies

How Did This Get Made – Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (plus the occasional guest) watch movies from the last few decades that will probably be in the future’s version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The movies are often incredibly baffling and full of strange plot points. One of the best parts of the show is “Second Opinions” where Paul goes to Amazon.com to get 5 Star ratings for the movie they just spent about an hour lambasting. Every other episode is a mini episode that previews the next show, has a section called “Corrections and Omissions”, and Qs and As. The first two sections are great. The last one varies depending on the quality of the questions and answers. It can be pretty funny, but sometimes I just skip it. (Approx 1 hr)

News

The Bugle – Jon Oliver (from The Daily Show) and some other guy talk about the news. In a way, it’s like a How Did This Get Made for news. Also similar to The Daily Show in the incredulity of what people in the news are doing. (Approx 30 min)

Uh, Yeah Dude – tagline: “America through the eyes of two American Americans” If you like My Brother, My Brother, and Me, you’ll probably like this podcast’s style. They talk about both important news and cultural news and generally make fun of it. I call the commentary smart dumb commentary, it’s like Seth Rogan movies – the characters are providing smart insight through dumb commentary. (Approx 1 hour)

Political Gabfest (from Slate) – This has taken the role that Talk of the Nation’s Wednesday slot left vacant when the show went off the air. They talk about politics (usually swinging heavily left or sometimes libertarian while ToTN was more neutral) and I get a dose of what everyone’s talking about in politics. (Approximatly 1 hour)

Common Sense with Dan Carlin – If you like the attention Dan puts towards Hardcore History, then you’ll probably love this take on the news. Usually Dan takes one (max 2) topics from the news and by the time he’s done with it, I’ve seen 2-3 different points of view. Sometimes there’s a clearly right point of view (the sky is blue), but other times each side has valid points and neither one has the complete high ground. Dan is a complex creature, like many of us. On some topics he’s more likely to agree with Dems, other time Republicans, and sometimes neither. Other times he agrees with their Platonic Ideal Version, but not their RealPolitik version. Either way, I’m always overjoyed when it shows up – which is somewhere between biweekly and monthly. (Approximately 45 minutes)

FiveThirtyEight Elections – a great, wonky podcast from the guys that brought you the most accurate election predictions. Has continued beyond the elections due to the odd circumstances of the new administration.

Culture

Sword and Laser – A fantasy and sci-fi book club. They interview up-and-coming authors and discuss the book club’s monthly book. Also cover news and upcoming new releases. (Varies. Approx 30 min)

Rocket Talk (Tor.com) – The host speaks with one or two Science Fiction and Fantasy authors about various things: their latest book, trends in the genres, publishing trends, etc. Sometimes a great show and sometimes I skip it halfway through. (Approximately 45 min)

Give Me Fiction – A pretty hilarious (to my sense of humor) super short story podcast. It’s recorded live (which often spices up comedy) and seems to skew Gen X/Millenial in its humor.  (Varies, but usually under 15 minutes)

Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen – The great voice actor behind two Ninja Turtles, Pinky, Yakko, and many, many other cartoon characters interviews other voice actors. It’s like WTF,  but without the annoying self-reflection 10-15 minutes that I always skip on Maron’s podcast. If you enjoy voice acting nerdom or want a place to start, check this out. It’s recorded in front of an audience which is often great, but once in a while leads them on tangents that take away from their great anecdotes. (Approximately 1 hour)

Boars, Gore, and Swords: A Game of Throne Podcast – two comedians (and sometimes some friends) discuss each episode of A Game of Thrones and each chapter of the books. While it’s primarily funny, it does sometimes lead me to some deeper insights into each episode.

The i Word: An Image Comics Podcast – different writers and artists working on a comic for Image Comics are interviewed about their comic as well as something unrelated to comics that they’re really into.

The Allusionist – a podcast about words, where they come from, and how we use them

Science

You Are Not So Smart – the host, who wrote an eponymous book, tackles topics of self-delusion. Examples include placebos, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theories. (Approximately 45 min)

Probably Science – some comedians who used to work in the science and tech fields bring on other comedians (of various levels of scientific knowledge) to discuss pop science and where the articles might be misleading.

Misc

99% Invisible – Similar in scope to the NPR podcast Invisibilia, this one was there first. It explores the things that are in the background of life. Examples include architectural details we often miss or stories that tell how regions came to be. Production is similar in sonic greatness to RadioLab.  (Approx 15 min)

Tell Me Something I don’t Know – a gameshow from the guys behind Freakonomics. Learn some new facts in a fun and often funny way.

GoodMuslimBadMuslim – a window into what it’s like to be a Muslim in modern America.

Politically Reactive – W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu discuss politics with some jokes and some interviews with people mostly on the left, but sometimes on the right. They are respectful and always provide context to what’s being said.

More Perfect – Explores Supreme Court rulings and how they affect America.

Song Exploder – they pick a song and a member from that band explains how they put it together. They usually look at each layer of the track – vocals, drums, guitar, etc and talk about why each decision was made. Can range from interesting to revealing.

 

Podcasts I’m Listening to in 2016

I’ve both added and dropped some podcasts since last time around. Ever since I started using Doggcatcher on my cellphone I’ve been able to listen to more podcasts because, even without the pitch distortion my sandisk had, it plays the content a lot faster. Where I’m listing the same podcast as last year I may use the same description as in the past with slight (or no) variation.

Video Games

Giant Bombcast – This is a HILARIOUS podcast that is mostly about video games.  I say it’s mostly about video games because these guys often will go off on random tangents about what energy drinks they have, what they ate, what they did between video gaming, and other topics.  However, they always get back to video games and provide a really fun podcast.  Segments include What You’ve Been Playing, News of the World, and EMAILS!  My favorite parts are “What You’ve Been Playing” and “Emails”.  It can be a bit geeky in the same way that some of the tech podcasts I listen to are geeky. First Ryan passed away and then Vinnie went to New York. With the podcast being so personality driven, the changes almost drove me away, but I’ve stayed and the new talent is pretty good. (Approx 2.5 hours long)

Giant Beastcast – The East Coast Giant Bomb crew. This podcast is more about video game culture and news stories. It spends a lot less time on the “what you’ve been playing” section. I’ve actually grown to enjoy this one way more than the Bombcast because of the focus on the cultural and news aspects.

Public Radio

Radiolab – Heard about them because sometimes their stories are used on This American Life. Radiolab is a lot like TAL except with a much bigger focus on sound effects. It is, in a way, the descendent of the old radio shows of the 30s and 40s. (Approx 30-45 min)

Marketplace – This is a really good economics show.  They talk about news that happened that day as well as stories that have been pre-prepared.  This podcast has really helped me to understand the recession and why it happened as well as whether it is getting any better.  (Approx 30 min long)

Codebreaker: A tech podcast. Season 1 asked the question “Is it Evil?” of various technologies.

On the Media –  Although not always perfect and although it leans a little more left than moderate, On the Media is a good podcast about media issues.  Examples include: truth in advertising, misleading news stories on the cable networks, debunking PR-speak from the White House, and other media literacy items.  I tend to enjoy it nearly all the time and it’s a good balance to news on both sides of the spectrum, calling out CNN as often as Fox News. (Approx 1 hour long)

Fresh Air – Fresh Air is one of NPR’s most famous shows.  It is similar in topic scope as Talk of the Nation, but without any listener call-in.  Also, it tends to have a heavier focus on cultural topics (books, movies, etc).  Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air for decades and is a master at interviewing her guests.  Every once in a while there is a guest host or the interview is conducted by a specialist in that industry.  (Approx 1 hour)

Freakonomics – Essentially an audio, episodic version of the eponymous book. If you enjoyed the insights of the book, you’ll really enjoy this podcast. (Approx 30 min)

The Infinite Monkey Cage – a BBC radio show about science. A panel of scientists (and one media star who is interested in science) talk about a topic. The only bummer is that the shows are quite infrequent. Something like 4 weekly episodes per quarter (Approx 30 min)

History

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – if you’re a history buff you really need to be listening to this podcast. Dan’s well-researched podcast presents bits of history you never heard of in ways you never thought of it. He does a great job of making ancient societies relate-able. The only bad thing is that there is a long gap between episodes due to the research involved. (Varies. Approx 1.5 – 4 hrs)

The Dollop – A very funny and very profane look at American history. The premise: The host tells a story of American history to the other guy, who doesn’t know ahead of time what the story’s about. It’s a premise that leads to some great reactions from the person not in the know (usually Gareth, but sometimes they do a Reverse Dollop). Also, listening to this podcast is a great reminder that the past is full of some really messed up people and situations.

Computers and Technology

The Commandline Podcast –  This is a pretty technical podcast.  If you aren’t a computer geek, you probably won’t enjoy it.  But if you ARE a computer geek, this show, by Thomas “Cmdline” Gideon, is a really well produced show.  Cmdline goes back and forth between a news-related podcast and a meditative-based podcast.  The meditative ones contain wisdom from Cmdline’s many years in the tech world. (Approx 30 min long)

Comedy

WTF with Marc Maron – This is a pretty solid podcast which mostly consists of Marc Maron interviewing comedians.  As with any interview-based show, the episodes are hit or miss, although more often than not they are really good.  Occasionally he does a live show in which he’s still interviewing people, but with 4-6 per episode it’s much less in-depth.  And, since it has an audience, the guest is performing more than being open.  The only irritating thing is that Marc starts off each episode with a rant/listener email reading.  Most of the time this is neither interesting nor funny.  Clearly the reason people are tuning is is to hear the interviews or they’d take up a minority of the show instead of the bulk of the show.  So I wish he’d do his rant at the end of the episode so that those of us who just want to hear a great interview with a comedian we like can easily skip the monologue.  (Approx 1.5 hours long)

Science Fiction Short Stories

Clarkesworld Magazine

Escape Pod

There isn’t much to differentiate these two podcasts.  They both feature great selections of short stories.  I added them to my podcatcher to get a dose of fiction among the more non-fiction podcasts I usually listen to.  Also, there’s something great about short-form fiction where you have to build the world AND tell the story in a very concise way.  The main difference between the two podcasts is that Clarkesworld has pretty much just one narrator who’s quite incredible.  Escape Pod tends to have a group of narrators.  Most of them are great – every once in a while there’s a less than stellar one.  Clarkesworld tends to end the story with the narrator’s interpretation and Escape Pod tends to end with reader comments from a few episodes ago. (varies. 15 min to 45 min)

Movies

How Did This Get Made – Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (plus the occasional guest) watch movies from the last few decades that will probably be in the future’s version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The movies are often incredibly baffling and full of strange plot points. One of the best parts of the show is “Second Opinions” where Paul goes to Amazon.com to get 5 Star ratings for the movie they just spent about an hour lambasting. Every other episode is a mini episode that previews the next show, has a section called “Corrections and Omissions”, and Qs and As. The first two sections are great. The last one varies depending on the quality of the questions and answers. It can be pretty funny, but sometimes I just skip it. (Approx 1 hr)

News

The Bugle – Jon Oliver (from The Daily Show) and some other guy talk about the news. In a way, it’s like a How Did This Get Made for news. Also similar to The Daily Show in the incredulity of what people in the news are doing. (Approx 30 min)

Uh, Yeah Dude – tagline: “America through the eyes of two American Americans” If you like My Brother, My Brother, and Me, you’ll probably like this podcast’s style. They talk about both important news and cultural news and generally make fun of it. I call the commentary smart dumb commentary, it’s like Seth Rogan movies – the characters are providing smart insight through dumb commentary. (Approx 1 hour)

Political Gabfest (from Slate) – This has taken the role that Talk of the Nation’s Wednesday slot left vacant when the show went off the air. They talk about politics (usually swinging heavily left or sometimes libertarian while ToTN was more neutral) and I get a dose of what everyone’s talking about in politics. (Approximatly 1 hour)

Common Sense with Dan Carlin – If you like the attention Dan puts towards Hardcore History, then you’ll probably love this take on the news. Usually Dan takes one (max 2) topics from the news and by the time he’s done with it, I’ve seen 2-3 different points of view. Sometimes there’s a clearly right point of view (the sky is blue), but other times each side has valid points and neither one has the complete high ground. Dan is a complex creature, like many of us. On some topics he’s more likely to agree with Dems, other time Republicans, and sometimes neither. Other times he agrees with their Platonic Ideal Version, but not their RealPolitik version. Either way, I’m always overjoyed when it shows up – which is somewhere between biweekly and monthly. (Approximately 45 minutes)

FiveThirtyEight Elections – a great, wonky podcast from the guys that brought you the most accurate election predictions

Culture

Sword and Laser – A fantasy and sci-fi book club. They interview up-and-coming authors and discuss the book club’s monthly book. Also cover news and upcoming new releases. (Varies. Approx 30 min)

Rocket Talk (Tor.com) – The host speaks with one or two Science Fiction and Fantasy authors about various things: their latest book, trends in the genres, publishing trends, etc. Sometimes a great show and sometimes I skip it halfway through. (Approximately 45 min)

Give Me Fiction – A pretty hilarious (to my sense of humor) super short story podcast. It’s recorded live (which often spices up comedy) and seems to skew Gen X/Millenial in its humor.  (Varies, but usually under 15 minutes)

Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen – The great voice actor behind two Ninja Turtles, Pinky, Yakko, and many, many other cartoon characters interviews other voice actors. It’s like WTF,  but without the annoying self-reflection 10-15 minutes that I always skip on Maron’s podcast. If you enjoy voice acting nerdom or want a place to start, check this out. It’s recorded in front of an audience which is often great, but once in a while leads them on tangents that take away from their great anecdotes. (Approximately 1 hour)

Sex Nerd Sandra – Sandra is a sex educator (at least she teaches classes in sexual techniques), but what draws me to this show are the guests she has one. I especially love it when she has doctors and scientists talking about the mechanisms of what happens during sex and sexual activity. The opinionated guests are good for learning how others see sexuality, but obviously caveat emptor with their advice.  (Varies, but usually under 1 hour)

Guys We F****d – Tag: “The Anti-Slut-Shaming Podcast”. An interesting podcast I just started listening to that has people talk about their sexual experiences. So far they’ve spoken to a high school kid about the sexuality she deals with in and out of school, a pair of gay brothers and their experiences, and a comedian friend of theirs.

Boars, Gore, and Swords: A Game of Throne Podcast – two comedians (and sometimes some friends) discuss each episode of A Game of Thrones and each chapter of the books. While it’s primarily funny, it does sometimes lead me to some deeper insights into each episode.

The i Word: An Image Comics Podcast – different writers and artists working on a comic for Image Comics are interviewed about their comic as well as something unrelated to comics that they’re really into.

The Allusionist – a podcast about words, where they come from, and how we use them

Science

You Are Not So Smart – the host, who wrote an eponymous book, tackles topics of self-delusion. Examples include placebos, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theories. (Approximately 45 min)

Probably Science – some comedians who used to work in the science and tech fields bring on other comedians (of various levels of scientific knowledge) to discuss pop science and where the articles might be misleading.

Misc

99% Invisible – Similar in scope to the NPR podcast Invisibilia, this one was there first. It explores the things that are in the background of life. Examples include architectural details we often miss or stories that tell how regions came to be. Production is similar in sonic greatness to RadioLab.  (Approx 15 min)

Podcasts I’m Listening to in 2015

I’ve both added and dropped some podcasts since last time around. Ever since I started using Doggcatcher on my cellphone I’ve been able to listen to more podcasts because, even without the pitch distortion my sandisk had, it plays the content a lot faster. Where I’m listing the same podcast as last year I may use the same description as in the past with slight (or no) variation.

Video Games

Giant Bombcast – This is a HILARIOUS podcast that is mostly about video games.  I say it’s mostly about video games because these guys often will go off on random tangents about what energy drinks they have, what they ate, what they did between video gaming, and other topics.  However, they always get back to video games and provide a really fun podcast.  Segments include What You’ve Been Playing, News of the World, and EMAILS!  My favorite parts are “What You’ve Been Playing” and “Emails”.  It can be a bit geeky in the same way that some of the tech podcasts I listen to are geeky. First Ryan passed away and then Vinnie went to New York. With the podcast being so personality driven, the changes almost drove me away, but I’ve stayed and the new talent is pretty good. (Approx 2.5 hours long)

Public Radio

This American Life –  Ira Glass introduces a series of stories that all revolve around a particular theme.  The production rocks and the stories are nearly always very interesting.  It’s hard to properly describe it – you just need to listen to a few episodes and you’ll probably be hooked.  (Approx 1 hour long)

Raidolab – Heard about them because sometimes their stories are used on This American Life. Radiolab is a lot like TAL except with a much bigger focus on sound effects. It is, in a way, the descendent of the old radio shows of the 30s and 40s. (Approx 30-45 min)

The Moth – Also heard about them because sometimes their stories are used on This American Life. Participants go before an audience and tell a personal story. It can, therefore, cover essentially every human emotion. They all frequently have at least some element of humor, but are usually either really funny or really sad. (Approx 1 hr)

Marketplace – This is a really good economics show.  They talk about news that happened that day as well as stories that have been pre-prepared.  This podcast has really helped me to understand the recession and why it happened as well as whether it is getting any better.  (Approx 30 min long)

On the Media –  Although not always perfect and although it leans a little more left than moderate, On the Media is a good podcast about media issues.  Examples include: truth in advertising, misleading news stories on the cable networks, debunking PR-speak from the White House, and other media literacy items.  I tend to enjoy it nearly all the time and it’s a good balance to news on both sides of the spectrum, calling out CNN as often as Fox News. (Approx 1 hour long)

Fresh Air – Fresh Air is one of NPR’s most famous shows.  It is similar in topic scope as Talk of the Nation, but without any listener call-in.  Also, it tends to have a heavier focus on cultural topics (books, movies, etc).  Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air for decades and is a master at interviewing her guests.  Every once in a while there is a guest host or the interview is conducted by a specialist in that industry.  (Approx 1 hour)

Freakonomics – Essentially an audio, episodic version of the eponymous book. If you enjoyed the insights of the book, you’ll really enjoy this podcast. (Approx 30 min)

The Infinite Monkey Cage – a BBC radio show about science. A panel of scientists (and one media star who is interested in science) talk about a topic. The only bummer is that the shows are quite infrequent. Something like 4 weekly episodes per quarter (Approx 30 min)

History

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – if you’re a history buff you really need to be listening to this podcast. Dan’s well-researched podcast presents bits of history you never heard of in ways you never thought of it. He does a great job of making ancient societies relate-able. The only bad thing is that there is a long gap between episodes due to the research involved. (Varies. Approx 1.5 – 4 hrs)

Computers and Technology

The Commandline Podcast –  This is a pretty technical podcast.  If you aren’t a computer geek, you probably won’t enjoy it.  But if you ARE a computer geek, this show, by Thomas “Cmdline” Gideon, is a really well produced show.  Cmdline goes back and forth between a news-related podcast and a meditative-based podcast.  The meditative ones contain wisdom from Cmdline’s many years in the tech world. (Approx 30 min long)

Comedy

WTF with Marc Maron – This is a pretty solid podcast which mostly consists of Marc Maron interviewing comedians.  As with any interview-based show, the episodes are hit or miss, although more often than not they are really good.  Occasionally he does a live show in which he’s still interviewing people, but with 4-6 per episode it’s much less in-depth.  And, since it has an audience, the guest is performing more than being open.  The only irritating thing is that Marc starts off each episode with a rant/listener email reading.  Most of the time this is neither interesting nor funny.  Clearly the reason people are tuning is is to hear the interviews or they’d take up a minority of the show instead of the bulk of the show.  So I wish he’d do his rant at the end of the episode so that those of us who just want to hear a great interview with a comedian we like can easily skip the monologue.  (Approx 1.5 hours long)

Science Fiction Short Stories

Clarkesworld Magazine

Escape Pod

There isn’t much to differentiate these two podcasts.  They both feature great selections of short stories.  I added them to my podcatcher to get a dose of fiction among the more non-fiction podcasts I usually listen to.  Also, there’s something great about short-form fiction where you have to build the world AND tell the story in a very concise way.  The main difference between the two podcasts is that Clarkesworld has pretty much just one narrator who’s quite incredible.  Escape Pod tends to have a group of narrators.  Most of them are great – every once in a while there’s a less than stellar one.  Clarkesworld tends to end the story with the narrator’s interpretation and Escape Pod tends to end with reader comments from a few episodes ago. (varies. 15 min to 45 min)

Movies

How Did This Get Made – Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (plus the occasional guest) watch movies from the last few decades that will probably be in the future’s version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The movies are often incredibly baffling and full of strange plot points. One of the best parts of the show is “Second Opinions” where Paul goes to Amazon.com to get 5 Star ratings for the movie they just spent about an hour lambasting. Every other episode is a mini episode that previews the next show, has a section called “Corrections and Omissions”, and Qs and As. The first two sections are great. The last one varies depending on the quality of the questions and answers. It can be pretty funny, but sometimes I just skip it. (Approx 1 hr)

News

The Bugle – Jon Oliver (from The Daily Show) and some other guy talk about the news. In a way, it’s like a How Did This Get Made for news. Also similar to The Daily Show in the incredulity of what people in the news are doing. (Approx 30 min)

Uh, Yeah Dude – tagline: “America through the eyes of two American Americans” If you like My Brother, My Brother, and Me, you’ll probably like this podcast’s style. They talk about both important news and cultural news and generally make fun of it. I call the commentary smart dumb commentary, it’s like Seth Rogan movies – the characters are providing smart insight through dumb commentary. (Approx 1 hour)

Political Gabfest (from Slate) – This has taken the role that Talk of the Nation’s Wednesday slot left vacant when the show went off the air. They talk about politics (usually swinging heavily left or sometimes libertarian while ToTN was more neutral) and I get a dose of what everyone’s talking about in politics. (Approximatly 1 hour)

Common Sense with Dan Carlin – If you like the attention Dan puts towards Hardcore History, then you’ll probably love this take on the news. Usually Dan takes one (max 2) topics from the news and by the time he’s done with it, I’ve seen 2-3 different points of view. Sometimes there’s a clearly right point of view (the sky is blue), but other times each side has valid points and neither one has the complete high ground. Dan is a complex creature, like many of us. On some topics he’s more likely to agree with Dems, other time Republicans, and sometimes neither. Other times he agrees with their Platonic Ideal Version, but not their RealPolitik version. Either way, I’m always overjoyed when it shows up – which is somewhere between biweekly and monthly. (Approximately 45 minutes)

Culture

Fatman on Batman – Kevin Smith chats with someone involved with Batman creatively. Examples include Paul Dini, Neal Adams, and Scott Snyder. Can be pretty insightful and pretty entertaining. Also love the intro song. (Approx 1 hr)

Sword and Laser – A fantasy and sci-fi book club. They interview up-and-coming authors and discuss the book club’s monthly book. Also cover news and upcoming new releases. (Varies. Approx 30 min)

Rocket Talk (Tor.com) – The host speaks with one or two Science Fiction and Fantasy authors about various things: their latest book, trends in the genres, publishing trends, etc. Sometimes a great show and sometimes I skip it halfway through. (Approximately 45 min)

Give Me Fiction – A pretty hilarious (to my sense of humor) super short story podcast. It’s recorded live (which often spices up comedy) and seems to skew Gen X/Millenial in its humor.  (Varies, but usually under 15 minutes)

Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen – The great voice actor behind two Ninja Turtles, Pinky, Yakko, and many, many other cartoon characters interviews other voice actors. It’s like WTF,  but without the annoying self-reflection 10-15 minutes that I always skip on Maron’s podcast. If you enjoy voice acting nerdom or want a place to start, check this out. It’s recorded in front of an audience which is often great, but once in a while leads them on tangents that take away from their great anecdotes. (Approximately 1 hour)

Sex Nerd Sandra – Sandra is a sex educator (at least she teaches classes in sexual techniques), but what draws me to this show are the guests she has one. I especially love it when she has doctors and scientists talking about the mechanisms of what happens during sex and sexual activity. The opinionated guests are good for learning how others see sexuality, but obviously caveat emptor with their advice.  (Varies, but usually under 1 hour)

Science

You Are Not So Smart – the host, who wrote an eponymous book, tackles topics of self-delusion. Examples include placebos, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theories. (Approximately 45 min)

Misc

99% Invisible – Similar in scope to the NPR podcast Invisibilia, this one was there first. It explores the things that are in the background of life. Examples include architectural details we often miss or stories that tell how regions came to be. Production is similar in sonic greatness to RadioLab.  (Approx 15 min)

 

 

Exploring btrfs for backups Part 6: Backup Drives and changing RAID levels VM

Hard drives are relatively cheap, especially nowadays. But I still want to stay within my budget as I setup my backups and system redundancies. So, ideally, for my backup RAID I’d take advantage of btrs’ ability to change RAID types on the fly and start off with one drive. Then I’d add another and go to RAID1. Then another and RAID5. Finally, the fourth drive and RAID6. At that point I’d have to be under some sort of Job-like God/Devil curse if all my drives failed at once, negating the point of the RAID. The best thinking right now is that you want to have backups, but want to try not to have to use them because of both offline time and the fact that a restore is never as clean as you hope it’ll be.

Let’s get started! I’ve added a third drive to my VM. Time to format and partition the drive. I do this with gParted. Interestingly, after the last post – gParted is a bit confused about what’s going on – again, btrfs isn’t exactly transparent with what it’s doing, especially when you have RAID setup. It shows the data as being stored on the second hard drive and nothing on the first one. The fact that sdb1 and sdb2 are unknown file systems and empty seems to go along with what I said yesterday about the fact that I don’t think it was properly set up to be able to boot from that system should the main hard drive die. So if you followed along with part 5 – make sure you take care of that if you’re doing RAID on your boot hard drive.

OK, now that the partition is created, I create a backup directory under /media/backup. Then I create a btrfs subvolume there.

$ sudo mount -t btrfs /dev/sdc1 /media/backup/
$ sudo btrfs subvolume create /media/backup/backups
Create subvolume '/media/backup/backups'
$ sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.83GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3
Label: 'Backup' uuid: 7042f4b7-9815-44f4-aef9-81103fc5855b
 Total devices 1 FS bytes used 208.00KiB
 devid 1 size 8.00GiB used 855.00MiB path /dev/sdc1

Looks like I’m in a good place. Just need to add this to fstab. Alright, everything should now be set to grow this into a RAID1. Time to shut off the VM to add another hard drive.

Alright, so far everything is working correctly. I created a couple folders and a file to make sure the data survives in tact. So, in yesterday’s post I said I wouldn’t be using the sfdisk thing, but I think it’s probably a great shortcut to make sure everything is right in case I do something weird in gParted.

$ sudo sfdisk -d /dev/sdc | sudo sfdisk /dev/sdd
sfdisk: Checking that no-one is using this disk right now ...
sfdisk: OK
Disk /dev/sdd: 1044 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors/track
sfdisk: /dev/sdd: unrecognized partition table type
Old situation:
sfdisk: No partitions found
New situation:
Units: sectors of 512 bytes, counting from 0
Device Boot Start End #sectors Id System
/dev/sdd1 1 16777215 16777215 ee GPT
/dev/sdd2 0 - 0 0 Empty
/dev/sdd3 0 - 0 0 Empty
/dev/sdd4 0 - 0 0 Empty
sfdisk: Warning: partition 1 does not end at a cylinder boundary
sfdisk: Warning: no primary partition is marked bootable (active)
This does not matter for LILO, but the DOS MBR will not boot this disk.
Successfully wrote the new partition table
Re-reading the partition table ...
sfdisk: If you created or changed a DOS partition, /dev/foo7, say, then use dd(1)
to zero the first 512 bytes: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/foo7 bs=512 count=1
(See fdisk(8).)
Looks good. Time to add it to btrfs. Strangely, it doesn't appear to work. (Complains there isn't an sdd1)  Ok, let's try gParted, then.
$ sudo btrfs device add -f /dev/sdd1 /media/backup/

I had to use -f because I’d put a btrfs partition on there – I probably should have selected unallocated or something. Let’s make sure this makes sense:

$ sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.84GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3
Label: 'Backup' uuid: 7042f4b7-9815-44f4-aef9-81103fc5855b
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 208.00KiB
 devid 1 size 8.00GiB used 855.00MiB path /dev/sdc1
 devid 2 size 8.00GiB used 0.00 path /dev/sdd1

Looks good to me. Time to RAID1 it.

$ sudo btrfs balance start -dconvert=raid1 -mconvert=raid1 /media/backup/
Done, had to relocate 5 out of 5 chunks

It took 30 seconds because there wasn’t really anything to move.

$ sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.84GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3
Label: 'Backup' uuid: 7042f4b7-9815-44f4-aef9-81103fc5855b
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 464.00KiB
 devid 1 size 8.00GiB used 1.28GiB path /dev/sdc1
 devid 2 size 8.00GiB used 1.28GiB path /dev/sdd1

And, checking the RAID levels:

$ sudo btrfs fi df /media/backup/
Data, RAID1: total=1.00GiB, used=320.00KiB
System, RAID1: total=32.00MiB, used=16.00KiB
Metadata, RAID1: total=256.00MiB, used=128.00KiB
unknown, single: total=16.00MiB, used=0.00

Excellent! But this isn’t anything special over yesterday’s post. Now let’s add a third backup harddrive. This time I go straight for gParted and use a partition type of unformatted.

Now a quick check that my files are there:

$ tree /media/backup/
/media/backup/
├── test1
└── test2
 └── Iamintest2

Yup! Let’s keep going.

$ sudo btrfs device add /dev/sde1 /media/backup/

No errors this time. As always, a double-check.

$ sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.85GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3
Label: 'Backup' uuid: 7042f4b7-9815-44f4-aef9-81103fc5855b
 Total devices 3 FS bytes used 464.00KiB
 devid 1 size 8.00GiB used 1.28GiB path /dev/sdc1
 devid 2 size 8.00GiB used 1.28GiB path /dev/sdd1
 devid 3 size 8.00GiB used 0.00 path /dev/sde1

Perfect. Time for RAID5!

$ sudo btrfs balance start -dconvert=raid5 -mconvert=raid5 /media/backup/
Done, had to relocate 3 out of 3 chunks

Again, a quick finish because not many files there; 10-20 seconds. So, the checks:

$ sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.85GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3
Label: 'Backup' uuid: 7042f4b7-9815-44f4-aef9-81103fc5855b
 Total devices 3 FS bytes used 720.00KiB
 devid 1 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sdc1
 devid 2 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sdd1
 devid 3 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sde1

And RAID check:

$ sudo btrfs fi df /media/backup/
Data, RAID5: total=2.00GiB, used=576.00KiB
System, RAID5: total=64.00MiB, used=16.00KiB
Metadata, RAID5: total=256.00MiB, used=128.00KiB
unknown, single: total=16.00MiB, used=0.00

Alright. No issues expected with that. So let’s see if RAID6 is just as easy. Created another file so see if RAID5 overhead caused any issues. None that I could see, but I’m not exactly running this on a critical database or something.

$ tree /media/backup/
/media/backup/
├── test1
│   └── hahaha
└── test2
 └── Iamintest2

OK. let’s get to it! gParted again. Add the device:

$ sudo btrfs device add /dev/sdf1 /media/backup/

And the usual checks:

$ sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.85GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3
Label: 'Backup' uuid: 7042f4b7-9815-44f4-aef9-81103fc5855b
 Total devices 4 FS bytes used 720.00KiB
 devid 1 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sdc1
 devid 2 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sdd1
 devid 3 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sde1
 devid 4 size 8.00GiB used 0.00 path /dev/sdf1

Looks fine. Also, just realized they don’t do the CS thing of counting from 0. OK, moment of truth:

sudo btrfs balance start -dconvert=raid6 -mconvert=raid6 /media/backup/
Done, had to relocate 3 out of 3 chunks

Alright! Balance check:

$ sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.85GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3
Label: 'Backup' uuid: 7042f4b7-9815-44f4-aef9-81103fc5855b
 Total devices 4 FS bytes used 720.00KiB
 devid 1 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sdc1
 devid 2 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sdd1
 devid 3 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sde1
 devid 4 size 8.00GiB used 1.16GiB path /dev/sdf1

And RAID check:

$ sudo btrfs fi df /media/backup/
Data, RAID6: total=2.00GiB, used=576.00KiB
System, RAID6: total=64.00MiB, used=16.00KiB
Metadata, RAID6: total=256.00MiB, used=128.00KiB
unknown, single: total=16.00MiB, used=0.00

Perfect. So, it’s just that easy. This has been a great demonstration for me because it means I can buy my harddrives little by little instead of all at once. Sure, all at once is nicer in that you don’t have to take hours doing your balancing, but sometimes that’s just not an option and it’s nice to know that btrfs can handle it on a live system. No offline time necessary.

With my current grad school load, the next post will most likely be me converting my home subvolume on SuperMario to RAID1. Then, probably this winter, setting up my backup drive on SuperMario and setting up my Snap-in-Time scripts to send snapshots from the main system to the backup drive.  See ya then!

Exploring btrfs for backups Part 5: RAID1 on the Main Disks in the VM

So, back when I started this project, I laid out that one of the reasons I wanted to use btrfs on my home directory (don’t think it’s ready for / just yet) is that with RAID1, btrfs is self-healing. Obviously, magic can’t be done, but a checksum is stored as part of the data’s metadata and if the file doesn’t match the checksum on one disk, but does on the other, the file can be fixed. This can help protect against bitrot, which is the biggest thing that’s going to keep our children’s digital photos from lasting as long as the ones printed on archival paper. So, like I did the first time, I’ll first be trying it out in a Fedora VM that mostly matches my version, kernel, and btrfs-progs version. So, I went and added another virtual hard drive of the same size to my VM.

btrfs-RAID1-two hard drives in VirtualBox Next comes a part that I won’t be doing on my real machine because I don’t have root on the non-VM system I want to RAID1:

#>sudo sfdisk -d /dev/sda | sudo sfdisk /dev/sdb
[sudo] password for ermesa: [sudo] password for ermesa: 
sfdisk: Checking that no-one is using this disk right now ...
sfdisk: OK
Disk /dev/sdb: 1044 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors/track
sfdisk: /dev/sdb: unrecognized partition table type
Old situation:
sfdisk: No partitions found
Sorry, try again.
New situation:
Units: sectors of 512 bytes, counting from 0
Device Boot Start End #sectors Id System
/dev/sdb1 * 2048 1026047 1024000 83 Linux
/dev/sdb2 1026048 2703359 1677312 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb3 2703360 16777215 14073856 83 Linux
/dev/sdb4 0 - 0 0 Empty
sfdisk: Warning: partition 1 does not end at a cylinder boundary
sfdisk: Warning: partition 2 does not start at a cylinder boundary
sfdisk: Warning: partition 2 does not end at a cylinder boundary
sfdisk: Warning: partition 3 does not start at a cylinder boundary
sfdisk: Warning: partition 3 does not end at a cylinder boundary
Successfully wrote the new partition table
Re-reading the partition table ...
sfdisk: If you created or changed a DOS partition, /dev/foo7, say, then use dd(1)
to zero the first 512 bytes: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/foo7 bs=512 count=1
(See fdisk(8).)

OK, so now I have to install grub. Again, I wouldn’t do this on SuperMario, but since the VM has btrfs on the whole system, I’m going to do it here.

#>sudo grub2-install /dev/sdb
Installation finished. No error reported.

Excellent. Now the btrfs-specific parts.

#> sudo btrfs device add /dev/sdb1 /

Before the (hopefully) last step, let’s see what this gives us in the current btrfs filesystem:

 #>sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.82GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 4.07GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 500.00MiB used 0.00 path /dev/sdb1

Oh, this allowed me to catch something. It should have been sdb3 before not 1. Let me see if this fixes things.

#>sudo btrfs device delete /dev/sdb1 /
#> sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 1 FS bytes used 2.82GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 4.07GiB path /dev/sda3

OK, good. That appears to have put us back where we started. Let me try the correct parameters this time.

#>sudo btrfs device add /dev/sdb3 /
#> sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.82GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 4.07GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 0.00 path /dev/sdb3

Much better. See that both devices are the same size? Good. A df shows me that /boot is on sda1. So I’m not 100% convinced we’ll end up with a system that can boot no matter which hard drive fails. I’m not going to worry about that since in SuperMario I’ll just be doing a home drive, but you may want to check documenation if you’re doing this for your boot hard drive as well. Time for the final command to turn it into a RAID 1:

#>sudo btrfs balance start -dconvert=raid1 -mconvert=raid1 /

That hammers the system for a while. I got the following error:

ERROR: error during balancing '/' - Read-only file system

I wonder what happened. And we can see that it truly was not balanced.

#>sudo btrfs fi show
Label: 'fedora' uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
 Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.88GiB
 devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 5.39GiB path /dev/sda3
 devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.34GiB path /dev/sdb3

Hmm. Checking dmesg shows that it’s a systemd issue. I’ll reboot the VM in case the filesystem ended up in a weird state. It has definitely been acting a bit strange. The fact that it doesn’t want to reboot isn’t encouraging. Since it’s just a VM, I decide to go for a hard reset. When I tried to run it again, it said operation now in progress. I guess it saw that it wasn’t able to complete it last time? I’m not sure. If so, that’d be awesome. And maybe that’s why the reboot wouldn’t happen? But it gave me errors, so that’s a bit unintuitive if that’s what was going on.

Here’s what dmesg showed:

[ 224.975078] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 12404 extents
[ 243.538313] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 12404 extents
[ 244.061442] BTRFS info (device sda3): relocating block group 389611520 flags 1
[ 354.881373] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 14154 extents
[ 387.088152] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 14154 extents
[ 387.450010] BTRFS info (device sda3): relocating block group 29360128 flags 36
[ 404.492103] hrtimer: interrupt took 3106176 ns
[ 417.499860] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 8428 extents
[ 417.788591] BTRFS info (device sda3): relocating block group 20971520 flags 34
[ 418.079598] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 1 extents
[ 418.832913] BTRFS info (device sda3): relocating block group 12582912 flags 1
[ 421.570949] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 271 extents
[ 425.489926] BTRFS info (device sda3): found 271 extents
[ 426.188314] BTRFS info (device sda3): relocating block group 4194304 flags 4
[ 426.720475] BTRFS info (device sda3): relocating block group 0 flags 2

So it does look like it’s working on that. When it was done, I had:

#>sudo btrfs fi show
Label: ‘fedora’ uuid: e5d5f485-4ca8-4846-b8ad-c00ca8eacdd9
Total devices 2 FS bytes used 2.83GiB
devid 1 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sda3
devid 2 size 6.71GiB used 3.62GiB path /dev/sdb3

It’s encouraging that the same space is taken up on each drive. But how to confirm it’s RAID1? The answer is found in btrfs’ version of df. btrfs needs its own version because, as of right now, a lot of what makes it an awesome COW filesystem means that the usual GNU programs don’t truly know how much free space you have. So, let’s try it:

#>sudo btrfs fi df /
Data, RAID1: total=3.34GiB, used=2.70GiB
System, RAID1: total=32.00MiB, used=16.00KiB
Metadata, RAID1: total=256.00MiB, used=133.31MiB
unknown, single: total=48.00MiB, used=0.00

I’m slightly nervous about the “unknown” entry – but a quick Google shows that it’s no big deal.

3.15 has this commit, it's the cause of the unknown.  We'll roll the progs patch 
into the next progs release, but it's nothing at all to worry about.

-chris

Author: David Sterba <dsterba <at> suse.cz>
Date:   Fri Feb 7 14:34:12 2014 +0100

    btrfs: export global block reserve size as space_info

    Introduce a block group type bit for a global reserve and fill the space
    info for SPACE_INFO ioctl. This should replace the newly added ioctl
    (01e219e8069516cdb98594d417b8bb8d906ed30d) to get just the 'size' part
    of the global reserve, while the actual usage can be now visible in the
    'btrfs fi df' output during ENOSPC stress.

    The unpatched userspace tools will show the blockgroup as 'unknown'.

    CC: Jeff Mahoney <jeffm <at> suse.com>
    CC: Josef Bacik <jbacik <at> fb.com>
    Signed-off-by: David Sterba <dsterba <at> suse.cz>
    Signed-off-by: Chris Mason <clm <at> fb.com>

So, there you go, relatively simple to setup a RAID1 on a btrfs system. Took just under an hour – but it was only 3 GB to balance. Larger  drive takes longer (which is why RAID6 is better as you can have another drive fail while you are balancing in your replacement drive) The best thing is that it all runs on a live system so you don’t need to suffer being unable to use the computer while the balance runs. Again, if you’re doing this on your boot drive, use Google to confirm that the /boot and all that is setup correctly or you won’t quite have the redudancy protection you think you do. Next time’s going to get a bit interesting as I simulate what I want to do with my backup btrfs hard drives. After that it’ll either be more Snap-In-Time code or my live migration to RAID1 on my home btrfs subvolume.

Reviews: Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker

Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial HackerWizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker by Ed Piskor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a commentary on the sad state our country has been in since the 70s and 80s when it comes to computer crime. Although there should always be consequences for skirting the law we have often taken it a bit too far. This graphic novel was sad to read in the wake of Aaron Schwartz’ suicide when threatened by law enforcement.

Main character Kevin Phenicle is a combination of a bunch of historical hackers and ends up “being there” at a lot of key events. (Phone phreaking, etc) I missed out on most of this when it happened – partly from being too young and partly from my family’s socioeconomic situation at the time. My family couldn’t afford a computer until I was much older (at least a modern computer – my father did give me a Tandy when I was 8) and we didn’t get a modem until years later. Even then I didn’t associate with the computer nerds. I would have loved to, but didn’t even know that was a sub-culture. I thought I was alone – what a different world from today.

As for the particulars of this story, Kevin Phenicle’s amalgamation means that while there is a story arc and progression, it’s not quite as cohesive as some other stories. The art was fine, if a bit uneven – in some scenes Keven goes from skinny to “fat” or super broad-shouldered. As someone who’s drawn his entire life without getting that good at it, I am not claiming I could do better. Just mentioning that it was a bit uneven.

I’ve mentioned my stance on profanity, smutt, etc in previous reviews. It doesn’t bother me on its own. As I’ve mentioned before, the over-the-top profanity and violence in Pulp Fiction is one of the things I enjoy most about the movie. But, like the famous Supreme Court decision says, obscenity is something you know when you see. In my case, sometimes it seems necessary to the plot and sometimes it seens arbitrary. I don’t know why, but it bothered me a bit in Wizzywig. The profanity and random depictions of sexual acts – it bothered me a bit. I can’t quite put my finger on it other than to say there’s a random scene late in the book in which someone mentions marrying someone and that it was nice and the accompanying image is of the man having sex from behind his wife. Nothing necessarily deviant about that on its own. But it just seemed unecessary to the story, and again, given that this was not an over-the-top crazy porno book, it was irksome.

If my review seems a bit lukewarm, that’s pretty accurate. I appreciated and enjoyed the story Ed Piskor is communicating through the graphic novel because I have a respect and fondness for the hackers who came of age a decade or so before me. But the execution wasn’t something I was a huge fan of.

View all my reviews

Exploring btrfs for backups Part 4: Weekly Culls and Unit Testing

Back in August I finally had some time to do some things I’d been wanting to do with my Snap-in-Time btrfs program for a while now. First of all, I finally added the weekly code. So now my snapshots are cleaned up every three days and then every other week. Next on the docket is quarterly cleanups followed up yearly cleanups. Second, the big thing I’d wanted to do for a while now: come up with unit tests! Much more robust than my debug code and testing scripts, it helped me find corner cases. If you look at my git logs you can see that it helped me little-by-little figure out just what I needed to do as well as when my “fixes” broke other things. Yay! My first personal project with regression testing!

A small note: to accommodate the unit testing, I had to change the file name – so the one you want to use is the one without dashes. I am not 100% sure how to get rid of the old file without losing commit history, but I think it’s not too big of a deal for now.

If I can get my way, the next update will be when I setup the self-healing RAID 1 followed by setting up the backup harddive and btrfs send/receive.

On Upgrading the CPU, Motherboard, and RAM in SuperMario

SuperMario is my main Linux computer and its motherboard was dying. The first signs were the DVD burner no longer being read (knew it wasn’t just that one because I swapped out DVD burners) followed by the front panel USB not working. Then, last week, it stopped booting reliably. It was time to finally replace the motherboard. This was the Linux computer I’d built the first time I was trying to convince Danielle to use Linux (seven years ago) so it had a Core 2 Duo in it. So I’d need a new motherboard, CPU, and RAM. Here’s what KinfoCenter looked like before the swap:

Original Super Mario System Components
Original Super Mario System Components
Original Super Mario System Components 2
Original Super Mario System Components 2

And here’s how it looked afterward:

New Super Mario System Components
New Super Mario System Components
New Super Mario System Components 2
New Super Mario System Components 2

I timed a few things to see what this epic leap in CPU power would gain me:

Login to desktop with the old CPU took 4 minutes before it was ready for me to do something productive. Login to desktop with the new CPU took 2m 46 seconds. An improvement, but not quite what I was expecting. However, whatever is causing it to take so long to load up is disk intensive so perhaps I just need to get to a faster hard drive or SSD to get the login times I want. Amarok took 47s with each CPU.

Tasks that are not as disk intensive work nearly instantaneously now. Activity switching in KDE is nearly instantaneous. Before it was only usable because I’m a pretty patient person and get enough use of activities to be worth waiting for. Choqok also loads my twitter feed instantaneously instead of taking a half minute or so. Finally, the Dolphin Emulator (Gamecube and Wii) is actually usable now. Before some Gamecube games were playable, but Wii games were a non-starter.

Overall, I’m very happy with it, even if the hard drive is still the bottleneck.

 

Exploring btrfs for backups Part 3: The Script in Practice

Night of the second day:

# btrfs sub list /home
ID 275 gen 3201 top level 5 path home
ID 1021 gen 3193 top level 275 path .snapshots
ID 1023 gen 1653 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-13-2146
ID 1024 gen 1697 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-13-2210
ID 1025 gen 1775 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-13-2300
ID 1027 gen 1876 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0000
ID 1028 gen 1961 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0100
ID 1029 gen 2032 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0200
ID 1030 gen 2105 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0300
ID 1031 gen 2211 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0400
ID 1032 gen 2284 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0500
ID 1033 gen 2357 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0600
ID 1035 gen 2430 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0700
ID 1036 gen 2506 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0800
ID 1037 gen 2587 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0900
ID 1038 gen 2667 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-1700
ID 1039 gen 2774 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-1800
ID 1040 gen 2879 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-1900
ID 1041 gen 2982 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-2000
ID 1042 gen 3088 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-2100
ID 1043 gen 3193 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-2200

Morning of the third day:

# btrfs sub list /home
ID 275 gen 4602 top level 5 path home
ID 1021 gen 4558 top level 275 path .snapshots
ID 1025 gen 1775 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-13-2300
ID 1027 gen 1876 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0000
ID 1028 gen 1961 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0100
ID 1029 gen 2032 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0200
ID 1030 gen 2105 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0300
ID 1031 gen 2211 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0400
ID 1032 gen 2284 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0500
ID 1033 gen 2357 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0600
ID 1035 gen 2430 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0700
ID 1036 gen 2506 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0800
ID 1037 gen 2587 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-0900
ID 1038 gen 2667 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-1700
ID 1039 gen 2774 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-1800
ID 1040 gen 2879 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-1900
ID 1041 gen 2982 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-2000
ID 1042 gen 3088 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-2100
ID 1043 gen 3193 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-2200
ID 1044 gen 3305 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-14-2300
ID 1045 gen 3418 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0000
ID 1046 gen 3529 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0100
ID 1047 gen 3640 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0200
ID 1048 gen 3754 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0300
ID 1049 gen 3872 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0400
ID 1050 gen 3986 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0500
ID 1052 gen 4102 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0600
ID 1053 gen 4216 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0700
ID 1054 gen 4331 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0800
ID 1055 gen 4445 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-0900
ID 1056 gen 4558 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-15-1000

As you can see, it has removed the first two snapshots. Since all three snapshots for the first day were in the last quarter of the day, that is the correct behaviour. Tomorrow we will have a much better demonstration that it is 100% working as it should. To see the cron job go to part 2 of this series. To get the Python script, go to Github.

Exploring btrfs for backups Part 2: Installing on My /Home Directory and using my new Python Script

I got my new hard drive that would replace my old, aging /home hard drive. As you read in part 1, I wanted to put btrfs on it. This is my journey to get it up and running. Plugged it into my hard drive toaster and ran gparted.

Gparted for new drive
Gparted for new drive
Gparted for new drive1
Gparted for new drive1
Gparted for new drive2
Gparted for new drive2
Gparted for new drive3
Gparted for new drive3

Because of the peculiarities of btrfs and what I wanted to do with subvolumes, that wasn’t enough. I’d run an rsync, but forgot to create a home subvolume first. The rysnc still had a long way to go so it wasn’t so bad when I  deleted the rsync’d folder. Created the subvolume.

# btrfs subvolume create /run/media/username/Home1/home
Create subvolume '/run/media/username/Home1/home'

# btrfs sub list /run/media/username/Home1/
ID 275 gen 199 top level 5 path home

ran the rsync again

# nice rsync --human-readable --verbose --progress --perms  --times --links --acls --xattrs -recursive  --one-file-system --exclude=/.Trash-0 /home/ /run/media/username/Home1/home/

Even though I’d lost about an hour’s worth of transfers I took advantage to rid myself of a few pointless files. (So many images in gwibber’s cache (which I don’t even use anymore) that it was too many files for a rm * command. Sure they’re small files but I’m sure the overhead of each file was why it was in the folder for over half an hour. Then again, maybe each file was tiny but the folder wasn’t. I didn’t do a close enough comparison, but based on what I remember from my last df, I think I gained 20-30 GB by deleting that cache. WOW! And I still have other things to consider deleting in the folder like Beagle – I don’t use that for search anymore. Not sure anyone does.  It was at USB 2.0 speeds – don’t have e-sata on that computer – which meant 50MB/s max (that I saw while I was watching the commandline) and closer to mid-20s on most files. Not 100% sure why, but the rsync would only run as root. As it’s currently running, even though I passed it the –perms it appears that everything is owned by root. Not sure if rsync will fix that at the end. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to do that manually after the rsync is done. I’m live-blogging this part of the process as it happens. I’m up to 42595 forthe ir-check denominator. (Which I’d assumed was how many files it needed to copy) It’s now iterating through a fairly large Firefox cache. Lesson to others migrating their home drives with rsync – clear those caches! While waiting I looked up what the numbers mean – yes, that’s the number of files, but right now it’s ir- instead of to- which means rysync hasn’t finished counting yet. Well, enough live-blogging for now – I’m going to go shower and other things. I’ll be back when it’s done. Given that it has done 18 GB in about an hour and it has to do 760…. it’ll probably be an overnight job. It did take quite a few hours. When I looked in dmesg there were a lot of read errors on the old drive. It’d failed SMART a year ago. Looks like I replaced it in the nick of time.

Ran a df and it matched up. Unfortunately, everything was now owned by root so I had to chown and chmod the home directory.

Time to edit fstab. First it was time to figure out the block id.

# blkid
/dev/sda1: LABEL="/boot" UUID="6f51a1f6-4267-45eb-84eb-45ade094b037" TYPE="ext3" PARTUUID="000a338b-01" 
/dev/sda2: LABEL="SWAP-sda2" UUID="45897b4e-f7d6-4ae5-bdf5-6f2a23c9a769" TYPE="swap" PARTUUID="000a338b-02" 
/dev/sda3: LABEL="/" UUID="c4710ace-faf2-4f0f-8609-cb0be82dce34" TYPE="ext3" PARTUUID="000a338b-03" 
/dev/sdb1: LABEL="/home" UUID="ea558d02-2dc2-4c8e-ad82-12432050746b" TYPE="ext3" PARTUUID="000475af-01" 
/dev/sdc1: LABEL="backup" UUID="8b1f32ff-edc5-48b8-8ec5-c711fb2083b3" TYPE="ext3" PARTUUID="0008b01a-01" 
/dev/sdd1: LABEL="Home1" UUID="89cfd56a-06c7-4805-9526-7be4d24a2872" UUID_SUB="590a694e-f873-45ae-997b-0bdc4a8bc5eb" TYPE="btrfs" PARTUUID="c8a5d7c4-002f-467d-8414-722d3a65a6a5"

The fact that there’s a UUID_SUB makes me believe that will be the UUID for my /home subvolume, which would solve the problem what if I mounted the /dev/sdd1 at /home, it’d have a home directory inside the home directory. Perhaps that’s not an issue as I mounted it into a test directory and it didn’t double up on the homes. My google-fu says I should just use the regular UUID. My fstab looked like this at first:

#
# /etc/fstab
# Created by anaconda on Sat May 16 03:24:18 2009
#
# Accessible filesystems, by reference, are maintained under '/dev/disk'
# See man pages fstab(5), findfs(8), mount(8) and/or vol_id(8) for more info
#
UUID=c4710ace-faf2-4f0f-8609-cb0be82dce34 /                       ext3    defaults        1 1
UUID=ea558d02-2dc2-4c8e-ad82-12432050746b /home                   ext3    defaults,user_xattr        1 2
UUID=6f51a1f6-4267-45eb-84eb-45ade094b037 /boot                   ext3    defaults        1 2
tmpfs                   /dev/shm                tmpfs   defaults        0 0
devpts                  /dev/pts                devpts  gid=5,mode=620  0 0
sysfs                   /sys                    sysfs   defaults        0 0
proc                    /proc                   proc    defaults        0 0
UUID=45897b4e-f7d6-4ae5-bdf5-6f2a23c9a769 swap                    swap    defaults        0 0

#added by Eric for share drive
babyluigi.mushroomkingdom:/fileshares	/media/nfs/babyluigi	nfs	rsize=1024,wsize=1024,auto,users,soft,intr	0 0
babyluigi.mushroomkingdom:/media/xbmc   /media/nfs/xbmc-mount	nfs	rsize=1024,wsize=1024,auto,users,soft,intr	0 0
#added by Eric for backup drive
UUID=8b1f32ff-edc5-48b8-8ec5-c711fb2083b3 /media/backup ext3 defaults 0 0

Afterwards it looked like this:

#
# /etc/fstab
# Created by anaconda on Sat May 16 03:24:18 2009
#
# Accessible filesystems, by reference, are maintained under '/dev/disk'
# See man pages fstab(5), findfs(8), mount(8) and/or vol_id(8) for more info
#
UUID=c4710ace-faf2-4f0f-8609-cb0be82dce34 /                       ext3    defaults        1 1

#old home on 1TB drive
#UUID=ea558d02-2dc2-4c8e-ad82-12432050746b /home                   ext3    defaults,user_xattr        1 2

#new home on btrfs
UUID=89cfd56a-06c7-4805-9526-7be4d24a2872 /home			  btrfs	defaults,subvol=home 0 2

UUID=6f51a1f6-4267-45eb-84eb-45ade094b037 /boot                   ext3    defaults        1 2
tmpfs                   /dev/shm                tmpfs   defaults        0 0
devpts                  /dev/pts                devpts  gid=5,mode=620  0 0
sysfs                   /sys                    sysfs   defaults        0 0
proc                    /proc                   proc    defaults        0 0
UUID=45897b4e-f7d6-4ae5-bdf5-6f2a23c9a769 swap                    swap    defaults        0 0

#added by Eric for share drive
babyluigi.mushroomkingdom:/fileshares	/media/nfs/babyluigi	nfs	rsize=1024,wsize=1024,auto,users,soft,intr	0 0
babyluigi.mushroomkingdom:/media/xbmc   /media/nfs/xbmc-mount	nfs	rsize=1024,wsize=1024,auto,users,soft,intr	0 0
#added by Eric for backup drive
UUID=8b1f32ff-edc5-48b8-8ec5-c711fb2083b3 /media/backup ext3 defaults 0 0

Time to reboot and see what happens before I put the hard drive into the system. SUCCESS! Now I just need to figure out which hard drive was the old home. I’ll disconnect one at a time and check to see which block ids are missing. I’ll be rebooting each time because even though SATA is plug and play, I’d rather not risk ruining things. Wrong on the first try. Luckily it’s only a 50% chance of being wrong as I knew which one had root. Time to try again. Success. Not sure why, but my Amarok music collection was lost although all the files are there; bummer. (It’s ok, after import this time it hadn’t lost the first/last played dates! yay!) My other KDE programs seemed to be OK. Interestingly, the computer’s running a bit faster. Maybe because of all the read errors on the old drive making things slower?

Now it’s time to create the snapshot directory to get things ready for the snapshots/backups.

# btrfs sub create /home/.snapshots
Create subvolume '/home/.snapshots'

OK, it’s time to use the snapshot/backup script I’ve created. You can get it at Github. It’s good for the daily level culling at this stage.

# ./snap-in-time.py 
Create a readonly snapshot of '/home' in '/home/.snapshots/2014-03-13-2146'

# btrfs sub list /home
ID 275 gen 1653 top level 5 path home
ID 1021 gen 1653 top level 275 path .snapshots
ID 1023 gen 1653 top level 275 path .snapshots/2014-03-13-2146

OK, final step for now is to add it to cron to run every hour.

#btrfs snapshots of /home 
0 * * * * /root/bin/snap-in-time.py

I had to change the script to give the full path of btrfs for it to work in cron.

Next time we go back to the VM to learn how to setup the btrfs RAID. See you then!

Podcasts I’m Listening to in 2014

I’ve both added and dropped some podcasts since last time around. Ever since I started using Doggcatcher on my cellphone I’ve been able to listen to more podcasts because, even without the pitch distortion my sandisk had, it plays the content a lot faster. Where I’m listing the same podcast as last year I may use the same description as in the past with slight (or no) variation.

Video Games

Giant Bombcast – This is a HILARIOUS podcast that is mostly about video games.  I say it’s mostly about video games because these guys often will go off on random tangents about what energy drinks they have, what they ate, what they did between video gaming, and other topics.  However, they always get back to video games and provide a really fun podcast.  Segments include What You’ve Been Playing, News of the World, and EMAILS!  My favorite parts are “What You’ve Been Playing” and “Emails”.  It can be a bit geeky in the same way that some of the tech podcasts I listen to are geeky. I miss Ryan since his untimely death last year – the guys do well enough without him, but he brought something very special to the podcast that isn’t there anymore. I felt like I actually knew him after about 200 weekly episodes where I spent almost 3 hours with him each time. (Approx 2.5 hours long)

Public Radio

This American Life –  This is an AWESOME podcast and is often my favorite one to listen to each week.  Ira Glass introduces a series of stories that all revolve around a particular theme.  The production rocks and the stories are nearly always very interesting.  It’s hard to properly describe it – you just need to listen to a few episodes and you’ll probably be hooked.  (Approx 1 hour long)

Raidolab – Heard about them because sometimes their stories are used on This American Life. Radiolab is a lot like TAL except with a much bigger focus on sound effects. It is, in a way, the descendent of the old radio shows of the 30s and 40s. (Approx 30-45 min)

The Moth – Also heard about them because sometimes their stories are used on This American Life. Participants go before an audience and tell a personal story. It can, therefore, cover essentially every human emotion. They all frequently have at least some element of humor, but are usually either really funny or really sad. (Approx 1 hr)

Marketplace – This is a really good economics show.  They talk about news that happened that day as well as stories that have been pre-prepared.  This podcast has really helped me to understand the recession and why it happened as well as whether it is getting any better.  (Approx 30 min long)

On the Media –  Although not always perfect and although it leans a little more left than moderate, On the Media is a good podcast about media issues.  Examples include: truth in advertising, misleading news stories on the cable networks, debunking PR-speak from the White House, and other media literacy items.  I tend to enjoy it nearly all the time and it’s a good balance to news on both sides of the spectrum, calling out CNN as often as Fox News. (Approx 1 hour long)

Fresh Air – Fresh Air is one of NPR’s most famous shows.  It is similar in topic scope as Talk of the Nation, but without any listener call-in.  Also, it tends to have a heavier focus on cultural topics (books, movies, etc).  Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air for decades and is a master at interviewing her guests.  Every once in a while there is a guest host or the interview is conducted by a specialist in that industry.  (Approx 1 hour)

Freakonomics – Essentially an audio, episodic version of the eponymous book. If you enjoyed the insights of the book, you’ll really enjoy this podcast. (Approx 30 min)

The Infinite Monkey Cage – a BBC radio show about science. A panel of scientists (and one media star who is interested in science) talk about a topic. The only bummer is that the shows are quite infrequent. Something like 4 weekly episodes per quarter (Approx 30 min)

History

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – if you’re a history buff you really need to be listening to this podcast. Dan’s well-researched podcast presents bits of history you never heard of in ways you never thought of it. He does a great job of making ancient societies relate-able. The only bad thing is that there is a long gap between episodes due to the research involved. (Varies. Approx 1.5 – 4 hrs)

Computers and Technology

The Commandline Podcast –  This is a pretty technical podcast.  If you aren’t a computer geek, you probably won’t enjoy it.  But if you ARE a computer geek, this show, by Thomas “Cmdline” Gideon, is a really well produced show.  Cmdline goes back and forth between a news-related podcast and a meditative-based podcast.  The meditative ones contain wisdom from Cmdline’s many years in the tech world. (Approx 30 min long)

Comedy

WTF with Marc Maron – This is a pretty solid podcast which mostly consists of Marc Maron interviewing comedians.  As with any interview-based show, the episodes are hit or miss, although more often than not they are really good.  Occasionally he does a live show in which he’s still interviewing people, but with 4-6 per episode it’s much less in-depth.  And, since it has an audience, the guest is performing more than being open.  The only irritating thing is that Marc starts off each episode with a rant/listener email reading.  Most of the time this is neither interesting nor funny.  Clearly the reason people are tuning is is to hear the interviews or they’d take up a minority of the show instead of the bulk of the show.  So I wish he’d do his rant at the end of the episode so that those of us who just want to hear a great interview with a comedian we like can easily skip the monologue.  (Approx 1.5 hours long)

Science Fiction Short Stories

Clarkesworld Magazine

Escape Pod

There isn’t much to differentiate these two podcasts.  They both feature great selections of short stories.  I added them to my podcatcher to get a dose of fiction among the more non-fiction podcasts I usually listen to.  Also, there’s something great about short-form fiction where you have to build the world AND tell the story in a very concise way.  The main difference between the two podcasts is that Clarkesworld has pretty much just one narrator who’s quite incredible.  Escape Pod tends to have a group of narrators.  Most of them are great – every once in a while there’s a less than stellar one.  Clarkesworld tends to end the story with the narrator’s interpretation and Escape Pod tends to end with reader comments from a few episodes ago. (varies. 15 min to 45 min)

Movies

How Did This Get Made – Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (plus the occasional guest) watch movies from the last few decades that will probably be in the future’s version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The movies are often incredibly baffling and full of strange plot points. One of the best parts of the show is “Second Opinions” where Paul goes to Amazon.com to get 5 Star ratings for the movie they just spent about an hour lambasting. Every other episode is a mini episode that previews the next show, has a section called “Corrections and Omissions”, and Qs and As. The first two sections are great. The last one varies depending on the quality of the questions and answers. It can be pretty funny, but sometimes I just skip it. (Approx 1 hr)

Not Playing with Lex and Dan – Lex and Dan watch a movie that is a pop culture classic (Back to the Future, Karate Kid, Beverly Hills Cop) that at least one of them has never seen before. How you experience this show depends on which episode you listen to. One episode is like a commentary track where you’re supposed to watch the movie along with them. The other is just their thoughts about the movie. I listen to the latter because I don’t have time to watch these movies along with them. (Varies: either Approx 1.5 hrs or Approx 30 min)

Misc

You Are Not So Smart – the host, who wrote an eponymous book, tackles topics of self-delusion. Examples include placebos, alternative medicine, and conspiracy theories. (Approximately 45 min)

The Bugle – Jon Oliver (from The Daily Show) and some other guy talk about the news. In a way, it’s like a How Did This Get Made for news. Also similar to The Daily Show in the incredulity of what people in the news are doing. (Approx 30 min)

Fatman on Batman – Kevin Smith chats with someone involved with Batman creatively. Examples include Paul Dini, Neal Adams, and Scott Snyder. Can be pretty insightful and pretty entertaining. Also love the intro song. (Approx 1 hr)

Sword and Laser – A fantasy and sci-fi book club. They interview up-and-coming authors and discuss the book club’s monthly book. Also cover news and upcoming new releases. (Varies. Approx 30 min)