Home Cloud Server

GMKtec Mini PC Windows 11 Pro Intel N100 (Up to 3.4GHz) 4C/4T, Mini Desktop Computer Dual LAN 1000Mbps 12GB DDR5 1TB Hard Drive, Micro PC 4K, Triple Display, WiFi6, BT5.2, Energy Efficient Nucbox G2

I built a cloud server based on this box. First I tested the windows 11 and it works fine. Then came the home cloud server. Also known as NAS (or network area storage).


The G2 has USB 3.2 ports. So, I added a 1 terabyte USB NVME-SSD from Lexar. Also temporarily plugged a portable DVD reader. The latter is pretty slow but it is just for installation. So I changed the bios of the G2 and booting from the DVD reader I installed openmediavault 6.5 onto the SSD. Then set the bios to boot openmediavault (aka OMV).

OMV comes with a debian version of linux as it’s based OS. And the OMV software is layered on top.

Then I added an 8 TB seagate disk on another USB port. This needed to be re-formatted for use with OMV and I chose EXT4 format because it is the most flexible. The disk ended up giving 7.28 TB of usable storage after formatting.

Next I installed CasaOS because it has really cool home applications and runs a Docker management system. More on that later.

Next, using the OMV panel I created an NFS server to make the G2 cloud appear to my linux desktop. And then an SMB server to make it appear to the W11 machine.

On W11 I copied all my audible books in AAX and MP3 format to the G2. This was 329 GB of data and it took an hour. The average data transfer rate was 50 MBytes per second. Thats 500 megabits. It gave my wifi a pretty good workout.


I can now share files between windows and linux via this shared cloud device.

Videos on Amazon page here: https://a.co/d/1QKNlmp

Here is my dashboard:

I am running CasaOS and here is a panel from it:

The CasaOS OpenSpeedTest app measures my upload speed of 484.8 Mbps exceeds the 405.6 Mbps download speed to the G2.

My plex account on CasaOS:

And of course when I went to make the screen snap I totally got lost in a episode of Doc Martin on live Plex TV. Cannot resist that Cornish countryside.


OMV on raspberry PI: https://www.naturalborncoder.com/hardware/raspberry-pi/2022/11/21/adding-an-storage-drive-and-smb-share-to-openmediavault-on-raspberry-pi/

More on this later.

Mining Industry: Where The Fat Lies.

Think about the activists who want to save the earth by reducing carbon based fuels versus the activists who will spend years litigating to stop ecological damage due to mineral harvesting. Then there are other factors at work such as waste processing capacity. Some of the green social activist forces are diametrically opposed to each other. Is Green vs Green perhaps similar to Jarndyce v Jarndyce? Will the turmoil last decades or perhaps centuries? How does this affect the economics of transportation and energy, and the distribution of wealth between the haves and the have-nots? To me it really is not obvious.

What I think is this can only be modeled by a system of differential equations. In university in my senior year I took a graduate level course involving systems simulation. I have also done simulations of material transport in cell biology. Consequently I believe a simulation model of economic factors in battery production may be the only way to accurately predict the future of the EV in society.

But, I don’t know anybody who does system simulation or system engineering. My colleagues in school, and one or two professors are the only ones I ever met who think this way.

Everyone else just has an opinion based on a tiny silo of data. So, if I dismiss your opinion on the EV industry please don’t take it personally. I merely fail to see you as credible until you can show me your models. Write the software, obtain the results, publish a paper for review, and then you have a starting place for discussion.

Why ICE is not dead.

Synthetic fuels’ biggest draw is that unlike fossil fuels, the C02 they release into the atmosphere when burned in an engine is virtually equal to the amount taken out of the atmosphere to produce the fuel thus making them CO2-neutral overall. To sweeten the deal, ICE vehicles do not require any modifications to run on e-fuels, which can also be transported via existing fossil fuel logistics networks. Further, synthetic fuels can be blended in fossil fuels or can completely replace them in existing ships, airplanes or industrial technologies.

Space for Solar Energy

by Meredith Poor

“Solar farms need huge tracts of land to operate at scale, and there is often fierce competition for those parcels, driving up prices for solar developers”….

Dividing the population of the US by 2.5 persons per household yields 133 million households in the US. Multiplying 133 million by 6000 square feet (the size of an average suburban plot of land) yields essentially 800 billion square feet occupied by a single family home ‘primary residence’. This does not account for high-rise multifamily living or space used for streets, schools, businesses, etc. but it helps bring land use into perspective.

A square mile is 5280 x 5280 feet, or roughly 28 million square feet. Dividing 800,000,000,000 by 28,000,000 yields around 28,600 square miles. A ‘standard’ county is about 40 miles by 40 miles, or 1600 square miles, however most counties don’t quite get that large. Dividing 28,600 by 1600 square miles yields slightly less than 18 counties. Taking the square root of 28,600 yields a distance of roughly 170 miles. Therefore a square 170 miles by 170 miles within the US would be enough to house everyone living in the country. The ‘lower 48 states’ is roughly 3000 miles east to west times 1500 miles north to south, or about 4,500,000 square miles. Texas alone is roughly 800 miles x 800 miles.

More than one million square miles of land in the United States is used for either cattle pasture or growing forage for livestock (soybeans, alfalfa, hay, etc.). The combination of ‘lab grown meat’ (meaning meat equivalent cultured in vats), ‘milk’ produced by microorganisms, and leather substitute cultured from bacteria puts livestock on the list of industries targeted for downsizing. All of this already exists – none of it is speculative.

If the typical home allocates 500 square feet per resident, then the ‘average’ home is 1250 square feet. Each resident needs about 30Kwh of electricity per day, which translates into 6000 watts of solar panels, or roughly 300 square feet (6000 watts x 5 hours = 30Kwh). Therefore, the home should have 750 square feet of panels. In the bigger picture, this means that the area used by panels is less than the area occupied by the resident within the home, not to mention the area of the housing lot.

The biggest ‘waste of space’ in urban areas is parking lots. Other bits of urban real estate that might be attractive for covering with solar panels are drainage ditches and/or power line right of ways. In rainier areas land is set aside for retention ponds, which could also be covered. This is before any discussion of abandoned houses or ‘second homes’ used by snow birds, etc.

The US has plenty of room for panels. These panels could be situated entirely within urban areas and still be adequate to power the entire country. However, the ‘best use’ is, most likely, in conjunction with agriculture, since it has been demonstrated repeatedly that solar panels actually enhance agricultural productivity.

Building 8852be Driver

I bought an AMD Ryzen 7 5825U 8 core laptop. The wifi chip is an RTL8852 chip. Linux does not yet have a driver for it in any distributions. So, here is how to build it from source code.

First you add the repository.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kelebek333/kablosuzsudo add-apt-repository ppa:kelebek333/kablosuz
sudo apt update
git clone https://github.com/HRex39/rtl8852be.git
clone https://github.com/HRex39/rtl8852be.git
cd rtl8852be
sudo make install
sudo modprobe 8852be

Now when you reboot and go into control panel and look at adding a wifi device you will see the new device present. Mine shows up as a device named wl0.

Wind Draughts

Primary Category: …Energy…

An investor writes:

“I wrote this article  for the Australian edition of the British magazine Spectator a couple of weeks back. In essence, academics are FINALLY starting to realise that wind droughts are an issue with intermittent systems and studying them. As the article notes some work has been done in the UK, where it is known, for example, that some years back the wind made no contribution to the UK grid for nine days, and there were serious deficits during another drought at the end of last year. These wind droughts are an extreme event like cyclones or rain droughts. I saw some material recently on wind droughts in the US but I seem to have mislaid it. Perhaps someone has access? As for Australia there has been limited work to suggest that wind droughts in a given year might last for up to 36 hours. But that’s just from one year of data. As noted in the article there is no way to store enough power to tide the grids over such long periods. Australia is building one water dam project called Snowy 2.0 (after the region) but a fully renewables network would need at least six of seven. In any case the blindness of policy makers to this issue to date is just extraordinary. “

This got me to thinking.

My take: Storage of transient energy remains an issue. Tesla’s power wall is based on lithium battery technology and what counts here is Mega-Joules/Kg. ie, energy density of the storage mechanism. Also the economics of the life cycle of mining all the way through waste disposal and the the cost of each step.

I recently mentioned a physicist who remarked on TV about the subject of chemical based “replaceable energy storage cells”, ie, battery units, for personal road vehicles. There is a physical limit to that energy density. This was in a conversation about Tesla, which uses lithium battery technology. I simply pointed out the existence of the physicist’s remarks. And was instantly set upon by a protagonist of the original poster who was “triggered” by the point. We never did get around to addressing the actual issue, mainly because I do not respond to off the wall aspersions and argumentum ad-hominum attacks directed at third party people. And there were plenty of those from this particular protagonist.

The physicist had a real point. There are physical limits to chemical energy density and there is no “magic technology” that will save chemical batteries. There are alternative replaceable storage cell designs based on non-chemical energy storage and these are in research phases. And one could discuss those. But for the time being Tesla as a current product is not based on any of these.

And we have to beware red-herring arguments and be careful to compare apple to apples (not apples to oranges).

There are possibilities for building personal electric vehicles if the energy density problem could be solved. It is not going to be Iron Man’s fusion battery strapped to your chest, however. Wouldn’t that be nice if it were?

Major issues in personal vehicles are:

  • How far can you drive before recharging?
  • How much time is required to recharge?
  • Availability of recharging equipment?
  • Ultimate energy source of the recharge. Where did it come from? Where was it stored?

The Beat Goes On

The public is being told that in the near future everyone will be driving a vehicle powered by electric motors which run off chemical based batteries and these in turn will be powered by wind power and solar panels which store the energy in an energy infrastructure that easily distributes to resupply the personal vehicles. That is the main drumbeat. And humanity will be saved from climate change. Problem is, this is not credible. The drumbeat also includes elements of “if you don’t believe the drumbeat you must be a trog who is against science.” That is a non-sequitor.

Of course there are other sources of energy. among these are:

  • Hydro
  • Geothermal
  • Nuclear
  • Fossil Fuels

Systems Analysis

As a physics major turned engineer I believe these issues require an approach of systems analysis. In other words they are problem sets in systems analysis. All aspects must be solved simultaneously for society to be able to utilize any given solution set. Systems engineering is one of the types of jobs that I do. This type of thinking is particularly important for policy makers. Unfortunately most public debate ignores systems analysis and focuses on just one aspect of the problem set. This is naive thinking. When someone demonstrates such thinking I usually refuse to speak with them because it becomes a waste of time.

Areas I am interested in:

Capacitive power cells powered by fuel cells. Why? Higher energy density. Higher energy discharge capability. Fueling is rapid and fueling stations can be made readily available.

Hydrogen power.

Something more exotic.

These are completely separate discussions than vehicles powered by lithium power cells.

The above might answer how to build personal vehicles. But neither of the above answer the question of where the initial power comes from or how is the energy stored and transferred for availability to vehicles.

My experience is that folks who are in love with electric cars tend to focus only on the one aspect they care about and ignore the other issues entirely. And they seem to resent any questions about those aspects.

Now, wind draughts are one tiny aspect of energy gathering systems. Wind power freezing over in Texas or Minnesota is another such topic. These systems tend to be under-engineered and fail. The overall energy grid needs to be able to deal with such transient effects.

I plan to say something about large stationary power storage systems … soon.


This is interesting commentary.

Thinking about podcasts

Looking at substack today for writing. They also integrate with podcasts. Here is what they play with:

I sometimes ask people about what they watch podcasts with. It seems like everybody *knows* but few will answer. The only media listener I ever tried was AUDIBLE. Well, peeps I know are probably not going to publish on audible, are they?

I ignored that apple itunes world FOREVER ever since they started because they are of the devil. I never wanted “tunes” or non vinyl music. Ever. And I did not want an account with apple. Its like 666 to me.

But all my Christian friends bow and scrape and worship at the feet of the Baal idol known as apple. Good grief! says Lucy. iPod shall never be in a Peanuts Christmas Special if Lucy has anything to say about it.

I’m going to try some of these podcast applications to see what works spiffy.

Undergraduate basics.

Lorraine and Corson is the standard E&M textbook in upper division physics at California State University, or at least it was for many years. It is the one I used for my undergraduate work. It is a core prerequisite for senior level physics courses. Generally you take 16 credits of physics per semester and add in one general ed easy course as the 5th to make 18, but this varies.

Lorraine and Corson was WONDERFUL as a course.

I was in my senior year of physics when I got married and moved across the country and well, life took a different turn.

Let me just say right now: I have never met a BIOLOGIST who took this E&M course. Doesn’t mean there aren’t some. I myself eventually became an engineer who shipped 30+ engineering products. But I also went on to study biology, microbiology, and biochemistry.

Let me quote a review from Amazon.com about Lorraine and Corson:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference work.Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2001

This book is intended primarily for students of Physics or Electrical Engineering at the junior or senior levels, although some schools will prefer to use it with first-year
graduate students. The book should also be useful for scientists and engineers who wish to review the subject.
The aim of this book is to give the reader a working knowledge of the basic concepts of electromagnetism. Indeed, as Alfred North Whitehead stated, half a century
ago, “Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge.” This explains the relatively large number of examples and problems. It also explains why
we have covered fewer subjects more thoroughly. For instance, Laplace’s equation is solved in rectangular and in spherical coordinates, but not in cylindrical
A chapter on vectors (Chapter 1), a discussion of Legendre’s differential equation (Section 4.5), an appendix on the technique that involves replacing cos wt by exp jwt,
and an appendix on wave propagation.
After the introductory chapter on vectors, Chapters 2, 3, and 4 describe electrostatic fields, both in a vacuum and in dielectrics. All of Chapter 4 is devoted to the
solution of Laplace’s and of Poisson’s equations.
Chapter 5 is a short exposition of the basic concepts of special relativity, with little reference to electric charges. It requires nothing more, in the way of mathematics,
than elementary differential calculus and the vector analysis of Chapter 1. Chapter 6 contains a demonstration of Maxwell’s equations that is based on Coulomb’s law
and on the Lorentz transformation and which is valid only for the case where the charges move at constant velocities.
Chapters 7 and 8 deal with the conventional approach to the magnetic fields associated with constant and with variable currents. Here, as elsewhere, references to
Chapter 6 may be disregarded.
Chapter 9 contains a discussion of magnetic materials that parallels, to a certain extent, that of Chapter 3 on dielectrics.
In Chapter 10, the Maxwell equation for the curl of B is rediscovered, without using relativity. This is followed by a discussion of the four Maxwell equations, as well
as of some of their more general implications. The point of view is different from that of Chapter 6, and there is essentially no repetition.
The last four chapters, 11 to 14, concern various applications of Maxwell’s equations: plane waves in infinite media in Chapter 11, reflection and refraction in Chapter
12, guided waves in Chapter 13, and radiation in Chapter 14. The only three media considered in Chapters 11 and 12 are perfect dielectrics, good conductors, and
low-pressure ionized gases. Similarly, Chapter 13 is limited to the two simplest types of guided wave, namely the TEM mode in coaxial lines and the TE1,0 mode in
rectangular guides. Chapter 14 discusses electric and magnetic dipoles and quadrupoles, as well as the essential ideas concerning the half-wave antenna, antenna arrays,
and the reciprocity theorem.
For a basic and relatively simple course on electromagnetism, one could study only Chapters 2, 3 (less Sections 3.3, 3.4, 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10), 4 (less Sections 4.4 and
4.5), 7, 8, 9 (less Section 9.3 but conserving the equation v – B = 0), and 10. For a rather advanced course, on the other hand, Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 could be
reviewed briefly using the summaries at the end of each chapter. One would then start with Chapter 6, and then go on to Chapter 10 and the following chapters. There
are, of course, many other possibilities.
In Chapter 12, Sections 12.3 and 12.7 could be dispensed with. They involve the application of Fresnel’s equations to particular cases and are not essential for the
remaining chapters. Chapter 13 is instructive, both because of the insight it provides into the propagation of electromagnetic waves and because of its engineering
applications, but it is not required for understanding Chapter 14. Finally, Chapter 14 is based on Chapter 10 and on the first two sections of Chapter 11.