a personal blog about nothing

10th Edition

10th Edition
My fearless Imperial Fists on their way to a narrow defeat

I've actually managed to play a couple of games of 10th edition. It's been out less than a month and I've nearly played as many games of 10th edition as I did of 9th. There's a few reasons for that but honestly one of the main ones is that 10th edition is simpler to play.

Cutting down from the rule book, the codex and extraneous paraphenalia like strategems really helps. I played a game with my Imperial Fists using five sheets of A4. A game with Imperial Guard using four sheets. Not only does that make it easier to pack it has a much more important role.

Before the fight I give my sheets of A4 to my opponent, they give me theirs and in moments we have a full understanding of each others' armies and their abilities. That is game changing. No more slogging through an opponent's codex (if you have access to it) to get a sense of what they might be able to do to you.

There are some downsides. A lot of people have issue with the lack of granularity in the points. There's some truth to this. My Basilisks got revalued just before my match last night and having to tweak things around to find 40 or so points in my list when I couldn't just drop a couple of dozer blades and plasma pistols but had to swap whole units around was a problem.

Counterpoint: Everything in both matches I've had has been its' most elite, lethal version of itself. Sergeants with plasma pistols and power weapons because the chainswords aren't a cheaper option any more. Plasma cannons and lascanons on tanks, kitted out special weapons. It makes the game feel grand and powerful. I like that.

The cover and line of sight rules on the other hand are... strange. Two squads, each on the upper deck of a ruin, firing across what's technically a 'ruin' but much lower in the middle of the board can no longer see each other as that short ruin represents an obscuring pillar reaching into the sky. The opposite is true of a squad hiding behind a tank or their transport. Models don't block line of sight any more so they're out in the open, counter intuitively. It's weird, yes, but it goes both ways so it's not unfair.

Oh and also, my dice are cursed. Let me tell you, people are complaining about indirect fire in 10th edition but that doesn't matter when every attack from your Basilisk is a 1 or a 2.

But here's the most important conclusion I have reached after two games.

10th edition is faster to play. It's better balanced (both matches I've played were incredibly close to being draws even though they were wildly mismatched in many ways). That makes it fun.

The Extreme Excitement of Looking at Fridge Freezers

The Extreme Excitement of Looking at Fridge Freezers
Image stolen from The Telegraph. But they're the Telegraph so I don't care.

Aren't they scintilating? Don't they set your nerves ablaze?

OK, no. Fridge Freezers aren't exciting, I'll concede that. But, see, the sellers of the flat we're trying to buy are taking theirs with them when they move. That means I need to look at Fridge Freezers for pretty much the first time in my life. And with 10 days on the clock before I'm supposed to pick up the keys I need to look at them now. And that is kind of exciting.

I say 'supposed to' because yet again things are uncertain. You know those lists that say moving house is right up there on the list of most stress-inducing things you can do in your life? They're NOT WRONG. Technical problems with my mortgage provider have cropped up at the last minute and it's literally the last thing on the checklist before the sale's concluded. I mean technically if my sellers had something dire happen to them that could affect it too but barring natural disasters and such this is the singular holdup.

I'm told everything should be relatively easy to sort out by the lender so I'm trying not to actually have a coronary but I'd be lying if I said I won't sleep easier when I've heard the sorting out has happened.

Stay tuned, dear reader (heh) for more as I learn it. And maybe in just over a week some more optimistic posts about our plans for our new home.

Hurry Up And Wait

An AI generated image of a black cat sitting on moving boxes with a clock.
An AI generated image of a black cat sitting on moving boxes with a clock.(Hey look, I got access to the Adobe Firefly beta)

It's a saying that as far as I know originated in the military but it's applicable all over the place and not least in my life recently.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm getting ready to move house and if things had gone to plan that would be happening tomorrow. But you're a savvy reader and probably already picked up on the past tense usage. Turns out that the people whose flat we're buying have run in to a problem with the property they, in turn, are buying. Specifically the title deed is ambiguous as to exactly what property it describes. This is deeply ironic considering that we've had similar concerns about the deed to their property ourselves. The irony doesn't change the outcome though and that outcome is that our move has been delayed.

The knock-on effect of that is that any plans I have to buy new hardware, furniture, etc, etc are all delayed. Which is frustrating. The more frustrating part is that I have literally nothing to do. See, I was made redundant a couple of months ago and while I found a new job pretty quickly and relatively easily1 I delayed the start date to accomodate the move. Now that the move has been delayed I'll be having to take time off right at the start of the new job which helps neither side and I've been sitting on my ass in the meantime.

The silver lining here is that I've got a new home and a new job to look forward to in the near future and I've had a lot of time to play Timberborn.

A screenshot of a beaver village from the game Timberborn.
For real, though, why did I wait so long to start playing this game?

1: I actually walked out of one of my interviews utterly convinced I'd blown it. It's not the first time I've convinced myself I've failed a technical interview only to subsequantly get the job. I should probably take the hint not to be so hard on myself, huh?  

The Lab

An image of my current homelab.
An image of my current homelab. An R710 Poweredge server with a Mac Mini, Protectli box, switch, monitor and keyboard balancing on it.

One of the things I'm looking forward to after the move is being able to expand my homelab. Right now my lab is, like everything else in my life, deliberately temporary. Balancing a server on a lack coffee table is not ideal installation by the documentation. But anyway, here's the lab as it is now:

Dell Poweredge R710 (named Wildemount). The main workhorse of the lab, 24 cores of CPU and 192GB of RAM. This website you're looking is, at time of writing, hosted right on this machine. It runs Proxmox, meaning it's serving multiple virtual machines.

Above that is a really old mac mini (named Issylra). This is also a proxmox server. The R710 runs the majority of services in the lab, but the mac mini runs my reverse proxy and unifi console so they can stay up when the Dell goes down.

I use Docker for most things with multiple docker hosts serving different purposes. Each of my docker hosts is named after a port in the Critical Role universe to keep with the theme. Nicodranis, Zoon, Damali and Darktow. Darktow is on vlan 60. If you know Critical Role well and look at what vlan 60 is in the list below this might make sense to you.

The last box in this little mini lab is a protectli box running pfSense, my firewall. The downstream network runs through netgear managed switches allowing me to use vlans to organise the network. Broadly speaking my vlan config is:

10 Infastructure. The router and the switches.

20 Servers. The vlan that the dell, mac mini and most of their VMs run on. The vlan is heavily firewalled. More or less anyone can access the servers on port 443 (for web uis), vlans 30, 40 and 60 all have access to SMB but nothing from WAN. Everything else is blocked, except for SSH access, which is available only to machines on vlan 30, the trusted management network.

30 Trusted. Nothing actually sits on this network by default, it's a second wifi network that I only connect to when I want unrestricted access to the servers vlan from another machine. It's kind of like the same principle as using sudo to protect elevated priviledges on a linux system. Even if someone compromises my PC (or any other device in the untrusted network) they can't actually do much to my servers except consume their web uis. To actually shell into a server they'd need access to the trusted wifi network which has a hidden ssid and seperate password, which isn't stored in any keychains. The other route is teleport which has two factor authentication on it.

40 Untrusted. This is where almost all of our devices live, PCs, laptops, phones, etc. They have access to the servers via port 443 (and a few exceptions needed for things like Plex) but otherwise are partitioned.

50 Silo. This is for IoT devices. It has no internet access and very limited access to other networks, only what's necessary for things to function.

60 VPN. Anything on vlan 60 is routed to a VPN set up in pfSense. They have very, very limited access to other networks. Specifically, they can mount drives from my NAS via SMB. That's it. This way I can remote into an ubuntu VM from any machine that goes through the VPN to privately browse and manage downloading my linux ISO collection.

It's been serving me well so far but after the move I should have space to get a rack and expand this just a little bit. I'll post more as it happens.

A Moving Experience

An AI generated image depicting a black cat sitting on moving boxes in a suburban living room.
This is not my cat. This is what an AI thinks a black cat sitting on a moving box in a suburban living room looks like.

I guess this is the first post of this blog and it seems a reasonable place to start. I moved to Scotland with my partner right at the end of 2019. We were selling a flat in London and moved into a rented flat, thinking we'd be here a few months while we settled in to Glasgow and found a place to buy. Then a few things happened.

I mean they happened.

First, legislation came in after the Grenfell Tower fire about cladding on high rise buildings. Eminently sensible legislation, let's be clear, but the problem was without a certificate saying your high rise flat was safe it wasn't mortgageable. My buyer pulled out. So now I was stuck renting a place in Glasgow and paying for a place in London which I couldn't sell.

Well, it's not the worst thing that could happen. We'll get the survey done, get the certificate and sell it again.

Of course it turns out there's only a limited number of people in the country qualified to do that survey and issue that certificate and there's a lot of high rise buildings to cover. It also turns out that when a global pandemic hits and everyone is put on furlough those certificates are not getting issued in a hurry.

I think you can probably see where this is going. We've been in that same rented flat in Glasgow for a lot more than a few months. We did, eventually, sell the flat in London. We then found a nice place we wanted to buy in Glasgow and after some legal tooing and froing were just about ready to buy when... it turns out it's at risk of flooding. We consider the risk and the fact that we both believe climate related events are just going to get more common and... pass. We go back to house hunting.

Then we found another place, looks great for us. Even has a great basement. We could finish that and have even more room down the line... except the basement isn't on the title deed. Huh. Commence more delays and more legal tooing and froing. Well, here we are end of March 2023 and it looks like we're really, really close to moving. Finally. Three years late.

Now what that means is my life is about to get interesting as for various reasons I have a fairly decent bit of money stashed ready for this move so we're going to be doing some renovations, installing some new tech and generally making the place our own. Which will give me a lot to document that I'll probably want to look back on in the future.

Hence, a blog.

It's going to be about, well, stuff that happens to me. It's a personal diary more than anything but if you get something out of reading it then welcome!