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December 2019
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Use an HFS+ drive with Synology HyperBackup

I use HyperBackup to mirror my Synology NAS to an external hard drive. However, as a mostly-Mac user, I prefer that the external drive be readable by macOS too. (Sadly, ext4 support on a Mac requires third-party software or hacks.)

This is only a minor problem, as the latest Synology DSM does support read/write to HFS Plus drives. However, HFS Plus Journaled disks are not supported.

If you try to use a journaled disk with a Synology, you don't receive an error message. It simply won't mount the drive. (And, in my experience, might require you to reboot the entire NAS to recover.)

As of macOS High Sierra, Disk Utility no longer allows you to turn off journaling. You can do so using the comment line, though. Here's the incantation:

$ sudo diskutil disablejournal /Volumes/[diskname]

Interestingly, DSM will create a tiny ext4 partition on the HFS disk when mounting the drive. This partition remains invisible on macOS and can simply be ignored, except for making sure you choose the larger, HFS partition for the HyperDrive destination.

Book Review: Thoughts of a Dog Walker

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but truth be told, it was the cover that drew me in when I spotted this book on the shelf at Daunt Books Marylebone.

Check it out — a book called ‘Thoughts of a Dog Walker” that looks like it has been chewed by a dog. And each copy’s damage was slightly different, too. A gimmick? Maybe, but damn clever. (The rest of the books' design is smartly done, too.)

Thoughts of a Dog Walker cover

But enough about how it looks, what’s the content? Well, it’s a book of poetry, which isn’t normally my jam. (Although “Dickinson” on Apple TV+ has gotten me reading Emily’s wonderful work.) But in spite of my misgivings about the genre, I loved this book.

The writing is sharp, funny, and even though the author, Mark Cooper, is a brit you won’t suffer too much as an American. I throughly enjoyed it, and I bet you will too. In the U.S., you can order a copy from Amazon.

I’ve put a couple of my favorite poems below, to whet your appetite, but there are several more I could have picked.

Poem from Thoughts of a Dog Walker

poem from Thoughts of a Dog Walker

Bonus tip: Don’t miss the copyright/declarations page. It’s the only one I’ve ever found to be worth reading.

Change WiFi settings for Koogeek Power Strip 01US

The Koogeek "smart" power strip is a nice HomeKit accessory, but it appears to be discontinued. If you need to change its wi-fi setting, good luck. The user manual is 404 on the company's website.

After much gnashing of teeth, here's the secret:

1. Before we begin, remove the accessory from your home using the Home app, Holmes.
2. Hold down the on/off switch for Outlet #1 for 10ish seconds, until all the other lights go off and the light for Outlet #1 flashes slowly (mine is green)

Then you can use the Home app to add it to your HomeKit network.

Hint: Outlet #1 is closest to the power cord.

Hunting the Little Woodcutter of Amsterdam

Public jpeg

"The Little Woodcutter" is a beloved hidden art treasure in Amsterdam. Or, at least it had been, until recently.

After 45 minutes of searching (spread over two separate visits) we decided that the vague and apparently incorrect hints about its location weren’t working for us, so we reluctantly turned to the Internet for more specific details.

Of all the photos we found online, this one from Road Unraveled provided enough context to figure out exactly where The Little Woodcutter could be found:

LittleWoodcutter jpeg

And that’s all we needed to discover the sad truth. The Little Woodcutter, having stood since 1989, is no more. Here’s a photo I took from that same spot in October 2019. The fresh cut wound in the tree is all that remains of where he once was.

Little Woodcutter of Amsterdam

Goodbye little fella. We hope that someone had the presence of mind to save you and find you a new home.

The Little Woodcutter of Amsterdam (1989 - 2019)