malak.ca — Server Hard Drive Upgrade

This is just a little note to mention that malak.ca has been down for the past 28 hours or so for an upgrade only planned as of a few days ago, when the site had been hanging for anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and diagnostics suggested that the hard drive may have been on its last legs.

A new 256-gig SSD was ordered and installed in the IBM ThinkCentre I claimed from a pile of computers to be shipped off for disposal in 2017 but only actually started using in 2020, with the intention of essentially setting up things as they were beforehand, with only an under-the-hood change of technology.

Here are a few highlights:

  • A backup of the blog database was created, and saved on an external drive;
  • The external drive, used as a backup for my other computers and the location of the static parts of my website, was separated from the machine, which was then powered down;
  • The old hard drive was physically removed;
  • The SSD was connected;
  • Fedora 34 workstation, which had been previously downloaded and installed on a USB key, was installed on the SSD yesterday evening (I’m currently still running on F33 for my desktop, laptop, and one of my worldcommunitygrid.org nodes)
    • The desktop for F34, on the core 2 duo, is faster, although some of that is due to the SSD, of course;
    • Interesting to see the dock moved from a vertical position on the left to a horizontal position at the bottom;
    • I find it interesting that at bootup, the activities screen appears to be the default;
  • This evening, the web server was installed;
    • Although we had planned to use php-fpm to separate permissions, but since this is a single domain box, we used a simple virtualhost;
  • MariaDB was installed;
  • The re-registration of my redirections for things like www.malak.ca with noip.com to account for the dynamic nature of my IP address was done;
  • The re-registration for my Let’sEncrypt was performed;
  • Various linux kung-fu tricks were performed, and magical linux incantations were uttered, and the setup was complete;
  • The external drive was reconnected;
  • The blog was restored from a backup.

The system is peppy, and this blog, which is hosted on the SSD instead of the external drive (as is the rest of malak.ca), loads somewhat more quickly.

As usual, great thanks go to my brother whose herculean efforts were at the core of the setup. Thank you!

Making My Mom’s Corned Beef Hash — Photos

This week’s cooking projects from my collection of recipes included bran muffins for mom using her recipe, some more bread in my bread machine, chocolate buttercrunch, cooked ground beef and onions frozen in ice cube trays, my breakfast sandwiches, and the subject of this post, my version of a favourite dish my mom has made for me almost all my life, a corned beef hash using a commercial, canned, corned beef luncheon meat.

The principal differences between this version and mom’s version is that she has always used, and continues to use, commercial frozen hash brown potatoes purchased at the supermarket frozen goods section, instead of making and cooking them from fresh potatoes, and, she uses margarine instead of olive oil. She also noted the importance of not using cheap quality onion salt; my personal experiences so far in making the dish have indicated the value that onion salt itself brings to the dish. All this being said, though, my efforts have largely replicated mom’s dish to the point that my version is rather close to mom’s.

It should be noted that in this post, there is a very small number of photos which were taken either later in the evening after cooking, or the following morning, either as retakes, or to outright take some photos which I forgot to take the evening before during the cooking of the dish. Also, I made the dish at the cottage.

Making the corned beef hash:

First, a nice beer was taken out — Mons Dubbel, a Belgian-style Dubbel 8% alc/vol in a 750mL bottle, from the Belgh Brasse Brewery, in Amos, Qu├ębec:

Beer taken out

Next, the beer was poured into a glass:

Beer poured out

… and of course, right away I had to do a bit of quality control on the beer:

aaaaahhhhh ….

Now to the cooking of the corned beef hash, really, this time:

A bowl was placed on a kitchen scale, and the scale was set to zero:

Bowl placed on kitchen scale, and scale set to zero

About 900 grams, or about two pounds, of potatoes were measured out in the bowl:

About 900g of potatoes measured out

Water was placed in a pot:

Fresh water added to pot

The potatoes were peeled:

Potatoes peeled

The peeled potatoes were placed in the pot of water:

Peeled potatoes placed in pot of water
Peeled potatoes placed in pot of water

A French-fry cutter was taken out:

French-fry cutter taken out

Potatoes were placed in the French-fry cutter:

Potato placed in the French-fry cutter

The potatoes were sliced with the French-fry cutter:

Potatoes sliced with the French-fry cutter

If you don’t have a French-fry cutter, you can slice the potatoes lengthwise with a kitchen knife:

Potatoes sliced lengthwise with a kitchen knife

… and then slice the potatoes again lengthwise to make French fries:

Potatoes sliced lengthwise again to make French fries

The French fries were cut into cubes, about half an inch in all dimensions:

French fries cut into half inch cubes

The potato cubes were placed back in the pot of water:

Potato cubes placed back in pot of water
Potato cubes placed back in pot of water

The water was drained from the potato cubes:

Potato cubes drained

The potato cubes were again covered with fresh water, for rinsing the potatoes:

Potato cubes covered with fresh water
Potato cubes covered with fresh water

The water was again drained from the potato cubes, and the potato cubes were put aside:

Potato cubes drained again

Onions were taken out:

Onions taken out

The onions were cleaned and trimmed:

Onions cleaned and trimmed

The onions were sliced into halves:

Onions sliced into halves

The onion halves were sliced into half-coins …

Onions sliced

… and then the onions were coarsely chopped:

Onions coarsely chopped

The onions were added to the potatoes:

Onions added to potatoes

The onions and potatoes were transferred to an electric skillet:

Onions and potatoes transferred to electric skillet

Water was measured out:

Water measured out

The water was transferred to the skillet with the onions and potatoes:

Water transferred to skillet with onions and potatoes

Onion salt was added to the ingredients:

Onion salt added to ingredients
Onion salt added to ingredients

Olive oil was added to the ingredients:

Olive oil added to ingredients
Olive oil added to ingredients

The electric griddle had been turned on by this point:

Electric skillet turned on

The water was brought to boiling:

Water brought to a boil

The electric skillet was covered:

Electric skillet covered

A timer was set to five minutes:

Timer set to five minutes

The potato and onion mix was boiled for five minutes:

Potatoes and onions boiled for five minutes

After five minutes, the cover was removed:

Cover removed

At this point, my beer glass was empty, so I refilled it with the rest of the yummy beer from the double bottle:

Beer glass refilled

While the water fraction was boiling off in the electric skillet, a can of corned beef luncheon meat was taken out:

Corned beef taken out

The can of corned beef was opened:

Can of corned beef opened
Can of corned beef opened

After a few minutes, the water fraction had begun to boil off, and the potatoes and onions began to fry:

Water fraction boiled off

The corned beef was added to the frying potatoes and onions:

Corned beef added to frying potatoes and onions
Corned beef added to frying potatoes and onions

The corned beef was broken up with a spatula / egg flipper:

Corned beef broken up with a spatula / egg flipper

The corned beef, potatoes, and onions were mixed together:

Corned beef broken up and mixed with the potatoes and onions

The corned beef hash continued to be fried and mixed:

Corned beef hash continuing to be fried and mixed

The corned beef hash was just about ready:

The corned beef hash just about ready

Once the potatoes began browning, a yummy supper was served on a plate, while the rest was placed in a container to freeze and have a lunch:

Dinner is served!

Yummy!