Everything, Everything - March 2019

2019: January February March April
2018: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2017: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2016: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2015: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2014: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2013: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2012: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2011: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2010: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2009: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2008: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2007: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2006: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2005: J F M A M J J A S O N D
2004: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Android Q Beta
Thursday 14th March, 2019 10:50
I didn't start using Android until Ice Cream Sandwich. Since then I've been quick to jump on the previews and betas, even when they involved flashing and fixing after an OTA update while rooted. I've long since abandoned rooting my main phone and with the beta being available OTA on certain devices, I've had a relatively painless experience using it on my main phone (typically it's been Bluetooth issues). This time around I decided to try the Android Q Beta on my old Pixel XL (the battery is f**ked, but it still works). After almost a gigabyte download and a reboot, I struggled to see any difference.

Initially I only spotted the rounder corners when switching application. I then noticed the top right bit of the notifications bar is slightly tweaked. There's a few small tweaks to the lock screen too.

That's basically it though. Very marginal changes. It also has better support for split screen, which I basically never used or needed, and had forgotten how to make it happen.

Sure, there are other improvements, and I'm looking forward to the improved privacy options (e.g. only allow access to location when the app is running) and improved access to system settings from within apps. But there's nothing radical in this beta for a standard phone. There's also warnings that the performance may be "janky".

I'm going to skip Android Q Beta on my main phone for now. And unless later betas show any real improvement, I may wait until it's ready for mainstream use. For now I'll enjoy Pie and a decent battery life.

PS I'm pleasantly surprised the original Pixel devices are supported by the beta. Maybe they'll get Android Q and security updates for longer than the usual 3 years?
Unattached Disks in Azure
Wednesday 13th March, 2019 16:39
I recently tried to delete all traces of a classic VM within Azure that I no longer require. Two out of three classic things were successful, but the storage account (and later on the resource group to which it belongs) couldn't be deleted because the storage account had some "active image(s) and/or disk(s)". The error code was the generic message "StorageAccountOperationFailed". Trying to find this unattached disk within the Azure portal seemed to be impossible. Thankfully after going into the storage account and selecting delete it then presented a checkbox to say it's okay to delete unattached disks (which it lists) when I delete the storage account. It appears that if I hadn't done this, I would continue to be charged for the unattached disk. This makes sense, but at the same time it shouldn't be so hard to find unattached disks!

What would be lovely is if the portal could show you all unattached disks. It can't. But a bunch of people have written various PowerShell scripts that can report or delete these for you.

But before I could do that, I needed to install Az. I previously had Azure installed (to set a reverse DNS entry on a host, because you can't do that through the portal either), and they can sort of co-exist. At some point I may run "Uninstall-AzureRm" to help keep things tidy. Anyway, this is how you install "Az" and check for unattached disks:

I launched an elevated Command Prompt then ran "powershell -ep bypass" so I can load scripts later on. Within PowerShell run:

Install-Module -Name Az -AllowClobber

This presents the warning:

Untrusted repository
You are installing the modules from an untrusted repository. If you trust this repository, change its
InstallationPolicy value by running the Set-PSRepository cmdlet. Are you sure you want to install the modules from
'PSGallery'?


When prompted, select "[A] Yes to All" to trust the repository. Once complete, you need to authenticate:

Connect-AzAccount

Enter your credentials when prompted.

I saved the two scripts located on the Microsoft site as attached-unmanaged.ps1 and attached-managed.ps1 respectively and then ran them. Other similar scripts exist, but I'm going to trust a Microsoft page and not a random person's blog post.

.\unattached-managed.ps1
.\unattached-unmanaged.ps1

I'm assuming that they both worked okay as I didn't get any output. I assume and hope that's because I don't have any unattached disks anymore.
Hyper-V RAM Limitations
Wednesday 13th March, 2019 11:31
I try to like Microsoft's products, but in recent years I keep stumbling upon bugs and limitations that I wouldn't have expected from them in the past.

I first stumbled upon the standby memory issue when gaming, as it caused the occasional stutter. After some searching I stumbled onto some NVIDIA forum posts that essentially blame Windows 10's memory management and it recommended using EmptyStandbyList.exe to empty the list to prevent stutters. I still have this configured to run every 5 minutes as a Scheduled Task and I've not noticed any stutters since then.

I'd previously been running some VMs on Hyper-V under Server 2012 without any trouble, even when I temporarily spun up some additional VMs. I recently migrated those VMs to a new Server 2019 installation to play around with. All was well until I tried to spin up a new Server 2016 VM and received the error "Not enough memory in the system to start the virtual machine". The odd thing was I had about 2GB free and was trying to started a 1GB VM. I knocked it down to 768MB and the VM started. Unfortunately I forgot to add a second CPU (running Server 2016 with a single CPU seems to result in terrible performance) so I shut down the VM and added an extra virtual CPU and then tried to start the VM. I got the error again. I nudged the RAM down even further to 512MB, and it launched, but apparently that's not enough RAM, especially when I was trying to install the Desktop Experience version so I could more easily install SQL Server 2016 SP1 afterwards. Server 2019 has the same limitations, which isn't a surprise as 2019 is essentially a rebadged 2016 (even the Domain Functional Level remains 2016).

In the end I used ProcessHacker to free up some "standby" RAM so I could bump up the RAM on the VM, but I suspect EmptyStandbyList.exe would have done the trick too. I shouldn't have to use third party tools as workarounds to free up unused RAM in order to start Hyper-V VMs though. Standby memory also shouldn't be causing issues with gaming on Windows 10, but let's not digress (I just noticed that I'd moved the binary and it'd been failing to run the task for a few months now so maybe NVIDIA have worked around it?).

In the end I used a more expensive workaround and filled the remaining two slots in the motherboard with a brand new pair of RAM modules, doubling the amount of RAM in the 2019 host.
Netflix Cancellations
Saturday 9th March, 2019 16:30
It wasn't a huge surprise when Netflix recently cancelled even more Marvel shows, but somehow in the last month (which has been so busy that I've not tweeted or blogged anything) I missed that Travelers wasn't renewed. On the plus side it got a pretty decent series finale, but I was really looking forward to Version 2.

And now I've discovered that shows I'd previously assumed were cancelled have been renewed! The End of The F**king World and Designated Survivor will get another season, but Flaked is still in limbo.
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