Alvadi 1.6 is coming!

After a few months in the making, Alvadi 1.6 is finally ready for prime time!

If you want to know more about Alvadi, click here!

Here’s the full changelog:

•Compiled against the iOS 13.2 SDK, iPadOS 13.2 SDK and watchOS 6.1 SDK

•iOS 13.2, iPadOS 13.2 or watchOS 6.1 (or up) required

•iOS 13, iPadOS 13 and watchOS 6 compatibility

•New 2019 Apple hardware compatibility

•The user interface has been globally revamped for iOS

•The user interface has been globally enhanced for iPadOS

•The Dashboard has a new wonderful layout for iPadOS

•New One-Time Operation UI

•New Operation Details UI

•Stunning new Dark Mode (enabled in the system’s Settings app)

•3rd party dependencies (zip, graphs) have been updated to their latest available versions

•Fixes an issue where the fireworks won’t be fired

•Shared foundations have been updated

•Other minor UI modifications

•Other minor translation modifications

•Other bug fixes

Bye VMware ESXi, Hello Proxmox VE!

As you may -or may not- know, I manage my own server farm. This farm is composed of several virtual machines hosted on a physical server (an HPE ProLiant one). I’ve used ESXi for the past several years, but I’ve decided to move away from it for several reasons.

I – The context

The physical server is located at home (I’m self hosted). It’s mounted into a medium-sized rack cabinet in a room, with a UPS. This physical server runs multiple virtual machines, and I’ve listed some of them below:

  • The backbone infrastructure (LAN): a DNS server for resolving my internal machines’ names and a SMTP relay so that I can be notified when an event occurs somewhere in the system, like automatic security updates ;
  • The website infrastructure (DMZ): a SQL server, a file server with the webroot, two web servers for HA and load balancing, and a reverse proxy reachable from the Internet.

II – The reasons

VMware ESXi is an enterprise-grade type-1 hypervisor and it gets the job done, not gonna lie. But there are some downsides that prevent a lot of people from using it in a lab or semi-professional environment like I used to do until now:

  • The licenses’ prices are crazy high (there’s a free license but it comes with limits);
  • There’s no integrated backup solution (*wink* Veeam *wink*);
  • ESXi can run on unsupported, retail hardware, but the requirements leave some older machines aside;
  • HPE ProLiant servers (Gen8 and up) can’t run a vanilla ESXi, an ISO issued from HPE that integrates the required drivers has to be used;
  • HPE only certifies the latest servers for VMware and releases ISOs for these servers accordingly.

Do you see the problem? Even tho your older HPE server behaves just fine and can still handle modern operating systems, like Windows Server 2019 for instance, HPE won’t build ISOs of the latest ESXi for them.

According to HPE and VMware, my server can run ESXi up to 6.0. I’ve been able to use ESXi 6.5 because the HPE-issued ISO contained the required drivers for my server but it hasn’t been certified for this specific model. ESXi 6.7 has been released a few months ago but I can’t use it without doing some wizardry I’ve seen on the internets because the latest HPE ISOs don’t have the needed drivers. ESXi 6.5 won’t receive security updates after November 15, 2021. So my only choice would have been to purchase a new server and install a newer ESXi by then.

But here comes Proxmox VE:

  • It’s based on Debian with a customized, fine-tuned Linux kernel from Ubuntu;
  • It’s Open Source;
  • It supports a large variety of hardware;
  • It supports virtual machines (with KVM) and containers (with LXC);
  • It supports ZFS;
  • The requirements are quite low;
  • It has an integrated backup solution;
  • It has an integrated firewall;
  • You can create clusters of hosts running Proxmox VE;
  • It’s free, and you can subscribe to an enterprise support service so the Proxmox team can come to the rescue if something goes horribly wrong and the community alone can’t help.

III – Moving away

Since Debian 10 “Buster” was released this year, Proxmox VE has been updated as well to use this new version as its base system. Moreover my VMs were running Debian 9, so it was the perfect time to start using Debian 10 as well.

I didn’t migrate the VMs from ESXi to Proxmox VE (although you can import VMs from VMware’s virtualization suites, not only ESXi). Instead, I exported the most important configuration files and the website’s data (SQL + webroot) and recreated the entire virtualized infrastructure from scratch after erasing the disks and installing Proxmox VE.

Proxmox VE’s Web GUI can be somewhat confusing or overwhelming at times, but it’s fast, lightweight and you’ll get used to it. Sure, you’ll maybe have to use the CLI for advanced tasks more often than before than with ESXi, but the integration of xterm.js and other console viewers like noVNC makes it incredibly easy to do so, with the comfort of you web browser and without the need of a SSH access. And when using the CLI, you get the power of the Debian 10 beneath Proxmox VE.

IV – Final note

In my use case, Proxmox VE has the following advantages:

  • Integrated backup solution means no more 3rd party software to pay for;
  • Completely Open Source and no additional fees for additional features;
  • With ZFS I can put my hard disk drives in a RAIDZ-2 configuration, meaning that the pool can handle up to two disk failures before being unrecoverable (drives where on a RAID10 configuration when ESXi was installed, with a limit of one faulty disk at a time);
  • Once Proxmox VE is fully loaded and the VMs are on, everything becomes really fast: ZFS uses RAM as a cache, and it stores the data you use most frequently inside for faster access times. And when you want to write something to the disk, it gets stored in RAM, and ZFS writes it physically in the background at the most appropriate time. And since the VMs and Proxmox VE itself are stored on a ZFS pool, everything benefits from this technology.

Bloomberg: “Apple to Reveal New Home-Grown Apps, Software Features at WWDC”

On Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is planning to unleash a slew of new apps, features and development tools at its annual software conference next month. To improve its devices and strengthen its connection to customers, the consumer technology giant will continue to walk a fine line between wooing outside app makers while also competing against them. 

– Mark Gurman

On iOS: It seems like the iOS 11 debacle paid off – Apple focusing one more time on performance improvements for a major iOS update is great news. I’m also thrilled by the revamped Health app and the improved Home app. To me, health and automation is the future, and Apple continues to improve their vision of it. Next year’s AR improvements seems to indicate that the “Apple AR Glasses” might be released in the near future. Also: multi-user support for HomePod! 🙂

On watchOS: Finally! The App Store is coming to the Watch itself! No more shrinked down App Store as a tab on the Watch app. And new Watch faces! I hope that by next year we will get 3rd-party Watch faces on the now-on-device App Store…

On macOS: Marzipan coming (officially) to developers is the salvation of the platform. macOS has suffered bugs for the past years (like allowing root login with no password? Seriously?) and the Mac App Store is a disaster. This year, Apple focused on the roots of macOS (apparently as a two-year effort, Mojave being a transition version) and Marzipan will allow the Mac platform to tap into the iPad’s vibrant app ecosystem. I just hope that Apple really improved UIKit to support macOS’ UI/UX (basically multi-window support and mouse input).

This year’s WWDC sounds really exciting: all of this is just reports from various sources and we still have to see all of this working in front of us, on our own devices. We, developers, will sure have a lot of work to do.

Link to the article:

Recode: “Anki is shutting down”

On Recode:

In a teary all-hands meeting on Monday morning, CEO Boris Sofman told his staff they would be terminated on Wednesday and that close to 200 employees would be paid a week of severance, according to people familiar with the matter.

– Theodore Schleifer

Farewell, Anki. It’s disappointing to see that company close. IMHO, Cozmo was a great product and it was almost mainstream, it wasn’t that hard to find one at a tech shop or even in some malls as a christmas gift.

Link to the article:

Digitimes: “AirPods 3 said to be launched by year-end 2019”

On Digitimes:

Apple is reportedly set to release its third-generation AirPods for sales by the end of 2019, with the new wireless earphones to incorporate a noise cancellation function.

Aaron Lee, Taipei; Willis Ke

Sounds way more useful than the “Hey Siri” feature from the AirPods “2” (more like AirPods 1.2 to me IHMO). The double-tap gesture was enough for today’s Siri. If Apple really improves Siri to the way that it finally becomes useful, except for setting timers and text dictation, then I’ll be more than happy to put those weird-shaped wireless headphones into my ears and talk to Siri all day hands-free.

Sadly, this report does not indicate when, or if, the AirPods will gain the rumored heart rate reading capability and a new black finish.

Link to the article:

9to5Mac: “BlackBerry Messenger shutting down next month”

On 9to5Mac:

In a blog post, Emtek announced that it will shut down the consumer version of BlackBerry Messenger on May 31st. The company says that while it tried make BBM a reality in 2019, users have simply moved on to other platforms

– Chance Miller

Woooooaaaaaa! This is mind-blowing! BlackBerry Messenger was still a thing in 2019!

Link to the article:

TechCrunch: “Facebook now says its password leak affected ‘millions’ of Instagram users”

On TechCrunch:

Facebook  has confirmed its password-related security incident last month now affects “millions” of Instagram users, not “tens of thousands” as first thought.

– Zack Whittacker

I wonder how anyone can still trust Facebook. They track you around the web. They store data that they are not supposed to. They sell your data. They target you with ads. They can’t even securely store passwords. It’s astonishing. I can’t even.

They released a device called “Portal” with video calling capabilities on November 8th, 2018. And now rumor has it that they are developing a Siri or Alexa-like competitor. Welcome to 1984.

Link to the article:

9to5Google: “Samsung Galaxy Fold display issues emerge just 48 hours after first outing”

On 9to5Google:

Over the past hour, journalists from The Verge, Bloomberg, and CNBC all shared issues they encountered with the Galaxy Fold review units they received on Monday.
According to Dieter Bohn, a small “bulge” appeared on the crease of the Galaxy Fold that’s “enough to slightly distort the screen.” Besides being able to feel the lump, there are “telltale lines of a broken OLED” after just normal usage by The Verge.

– Abner Li

Once again, this is why Apple is not launching a foldable iPhone: the technology behind Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is neat but it’s not ready for prime time yet. It’s not being the first that really matters, it’s being the best.

Link to the article:

Hi all!

This is my first post… Nothing important. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think of this website!