Root7 Geo Glass Review: Swanky Drinkware!

I recently had the opportunity to review the Geo Glass Gold drinkware kit from Root 7. If you are going to enjoy a nice drink; proper drinkware should be part of the plan.

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The glassware comes in a pack of two glasses and has an interesting box, being a long hexagon shape. The shipping and gifting of a box like this should be fine as there is crushed cardboard inside to support the glasses from any movement.

drink1

This is the newest product (and they are launching it in the US) from many nice offerings from this UK brand. Root7 has an interesting variety of other products such as a really sleek whiskey wedge, water infusers, tumblers, canteens, salt shot glasses (interesting!) mugs and other drinkware. The whiskey wedge has a boot that allows you to freeze water in half of the glass to make an ice cube fixed in to then top with a fine drink; bartender’s trick!

drink2

I was provided a complimentary sample of the Geo Glasses (set of 2, £18 value) and gave them a run. The hexagonal shape “fidgets” nicely in a hand, which is a good characteristic of a drink that presumably you will slip slowly to enjoy. One thing that was not clear to me at first was how to drink it. Do you drink in the angular corner or on the flat of the hexagon? The good thing is that both work fine however it is marginally easier to use the flat part of one of the sides to sip from.

A gave a drink with a nice aged rum that I got in Venezuela about 12 years ago, and I very much enjoyed the drink in the Geo. A completely full fill with no ice is around 310 milliliters for this cup, so my guess during the video (below) was pretty accurate.

Pros

  • Stylish look, and a proper glass for a proper liquor
  • Works well in hand and has good orientation of what is where

Cons

  • The metal coloring of the geo lines would make the unit unfit for use in the microwave
  • The glass is relatively thin, so a beverage may warm quickly

Bottom Line

  • This a good glass to serve a special beverage in

You can find more about the Geo Glasses on the Root7 website.

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Product Review: Black & Blum EAU GOOD DUO water filter & infuser

I recently had a chance to review the Box Appetit water filter & infuser from Black & Blum.  This is a new product among a great list of modern food and drink offerings. While I’ll be talking about the water filter and infuser, but they have stainless steel sandwich boxes, bento boxes, meal prep packs and many other swanky products.

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This new water filter and infuser is really unique and will be clutch for active persons as well as those who want quality filtered water and a nice infusion option as well. There is a Kickstarter page where you can back this product as well. Here is a quick promo video on the EAU GOOD DUO:

Lacking the Hollywood effect, I did my own video just to show the handling of the unit. Here’s my look, touch and feel of the unit right out of the box:

 

Unpacking

Right off the bat, I noticed that almost all of the materials in the EAU GOOD DUO is A) easy to open and B) recyclable. This is actually a very good impression to me.

Handling

I really like the hand strap on the unit. This has many use cases. On my bike, I’d easily be able to sip while keeping one hand on the wheel and being able to drink while riding. The smooth lines on the bottle are also pleasant and natural to the touch. There is a nice loop on the top for easy grabbing and possibly clicking onto a backpack or maybe on a surface on a boat.

Also a nice engineering metric on the bottle is a nudge that will “prop” the binchotan charcoal filter into place. It’s latched into place so that the filter has a good amount of surface area within the water bottle. The instructions recommend that you can use the filter for as little as 1 hour to have “good” water, 4 hours to have “better” water and 8 hours to have “great” water with the filter. The filter lasts 6 months and at the end of its use; it can be burned or broken down into fertilizer.

WHAT IS BINCHOTAN CHARCOAL???

I had to took this up! Apparently it is an activated charcoal; this means it pressed at a high temperature that changes its structure a bit by reducing the size of pores and increasing surface area. Binchotan and other activated charcoals are noted for their historical anecdote characteristics and modern trends.

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Drinkability

The sipper (is that what they are called?LOL) is nice and smooth. It works in any direction as it is perfectly circular symmetrical. Unlike some “spout” type that only work in one orientation, this would work well for left-handed, right-handed, use upside down, over the head and any other position. Also on the inside of the sipper is nice, small, filter in case you go the infusion route to your water tastes to keep the fruit/herbs in the bottle. The bottle is 700 ml or 24 fluid ounces; which is a very versatile liquid quantity. Not too much that it won’t fit inside a bike carrier or be too heavy; yet plenty to hydrate for about any athletic situation.

Final verdict

I have gone a few days using this bottle, both for filtered water and infused water. Shown below is my mint infusion, easy to do with mint, it grows very well here!

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The bottle has been a conversation starter and well received around the office. In regards to the usability, I rank it very high. The bottle fits well in many places with the only issue I have found is that the “sipper” is best pulled out with your fingers versus your teeth (it’s pretty firm). Overall I really like the unit.

It may be a bit hard to get excited about a water bottle; but I like the look and feel of this unit. I will be giving this one a run in my travel rig. It’s light when empty, “clickable” to my backback and is pliable versus the rigid aluminum one I have traveled with before.

Disclosure: I was provided a sample unit at no cost.

Things to think of before restoring a whole VM with Veeam

I recently went through something that taught me a bit about doing a full VM restore. I will admit this use case is unique, as I use Veeam in the lab to really support Veeam. Most people don’t have a “Veeam lab” – they may protect a lab with Veeam, or of course production workloads with Veeam, but rarely Veeam protecting Veeam.

What happened here for me is that I restored, and it didn’t just work. The reason is for a number of things which I will explain in this blog post (which I’ll chalk up as sloppy administration: Fault me); but at least one of these things someone may learn from. In the end, I (of course!) did not lose and data. But I did have an unnaturally long restore time as I had to do many of these steps over and over.

Scenario:             I have a few upcoming Veeam features that are best demoed using nested ESXi. I have them running as a shown in the figure below at the time I backed them up:

b1

Now there are few things to note with this diagram, so I’ve made a legend here to help explain it:

b2

You may wonder why I have 2 instances of Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 (the generally available latest edition with updates). This is for the one on the left to show features, the current available features. And the instance on the right is there to back EVERYTHING up. The nature of a lab is subject to changes and it is nice to have a completely out-of-band way to backup the lab. Note it is also in a different cluster. When POD2 was built, it was very temporary and hastily built (re: point above of sloppy administrator – that’s me). Additionally, I was using a standard vSwitch (vs. Distributed) and was only using local storage of VMFS datastores. I have had the same vCenter thru it all for POD2 – so key things like the VM object ID have been retained. I also on the Veeam server on the right run a few jobs called “Safehouse”. I call them Safehouse as I have built a few jobs for key parts of labs to be backed up and restored. One Safehouse backup job was to back up and protect a complete infrastructure to support our upcoming Veeam CDP feature that is built on vSphere APIs for I/O Filtering or VAIO. To show this for now, it’s much easier to use a nested ESXi host; and I have a Safehouse job to back it and it’s Veeam Backup & Replicaiton Server up (one of the “vNext Betas and Test Stuff” VMs).

I run the Safehouse jobs based on milestones and I have a separate job on the Veeam server on the right to back up the entire vCenter on a schedule (maybe once a week, it’s a lab). The milestones are known working good configuration for whatever it is, in this case Veeam CDP. This was marked in a Safehouse job from May, right before VeeamON.

Since then, the lab is indeed a lab, and POD2 took on some really good changes. The evangelists and I have gone all-in on VMware vSAN, Anthony has set up a nice vNetwork Distributed Switch and we have a really good platform to work with. The new cluster looks something like this:

b3

But I needed to restore one of the Safehouse jobs, and I figured – I have a backup; should be fine to restore! Well, check the logs and see what I had to go through:

b4

I had a number of failures on the restores; then a number of successful restores that I had to re-do. What happened? Well this is the point of the blogpost on things to think about before a restore! I lost no data in the end, but it was frustrating – in a fun way – because A) I learned a few things and B) I get to write this blogpost and let you all know so you don’t have this problem. Here is the short list of what went wrong:

  • Since the Safehouse backup job, we accidentally (separate discussion) pushed out Veeam Agent for Windows to every computer in the Domain (it’s a lab remember). This put different Veeam components in play with the Generally Available 9.5 Update 2. Takeaway is don’t push the agent out to systems with other Veeam components and keep the revisions in mind.
  • Since the Safehouse backup job, the networking and storage has all changed. I found a bizarre issue that prohibited a nested ESXi running on a VMFS datastore being moved to a vSAN datastore via a Veeam restore. Now I need to go thru this a bit more and share with R&D, but the short answer is that this nested ESXi has had its local setup modified for the Veeam IO filter (the GA version of Veeam CDP will have this done in a proper installer, I installed the components by hand). But I found out that it somehow redetected the local storage on vSAN and wouldn’t recognize its local datastore there. I put it on an iSCSI VMFS volume, boots up fine.
  • I use a lot of DHCP and vCenter doesn’t like new IPs. I should for this lab have very long lease times, but we didn’t. When the vCenter came up with a new IP, it had to be either reconfigured with local host files and such; or you can just cheat and add a reservation for the old IP and its MAC address if it has been off for a while and gets a new address (but tricky if the IP is claimed). But again this proves that DNS is still very important to vCenter.

Each one of these issues caused me to re-start the restore a few times. The components error was pretty clear since it failed right away and told me that; but the other two issues took a bit of digging. I got lazy and tried going back to an older restore point; but the same behavior happened. At that point, I was committed to getting the root cause of what is going on.

An additional thing to consider is that if a VMware cluster takes on some serious changes (like POD2 became the MEGAPOD); you should test a few restores to make sure you don’t have any surprises; and also for fiddlesome applications like vCenter – still never use DHCP. While it is a lab function here, I did learn a bunch and hopefully you can as well.

Penclic device review: Sleek and functional for the mobile Rickatron!

Penclic Mini Keyboard with BEPO layout

I had an opportunity to review some new devices recently and was really excited to do such. I’m going to shift my personal blogging from the Enterprise IT space (You’ll still see plenty of Veeam and releated data center technologies from me) but I also am on a new quest to have some different content that can be something I work out personally here.

The first opporutnity came up to review two Penclic products. Before I had this opportunity, I took a look at their website to see what this is all about. Right from the first page: Design, Ergonomics, Functionality and Comfort are key takeaways. This has my attention because I’ve changed a lot how I stay productive; and input devices are critical to that.

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A little history on why this is important to me.. For years when I travel I’ve boasted how I usually travel very light in regards to technology. I usually leave my new (and nice) Lenovo laptop cable locked & docked at the office, and usually travel with just a Surface tablet. Those of you who know me also know that from 2014-2016 I used a Surface RT when I was on the road. Yes a Surface RT. Why? It’s light, I have 3 of them (in case I lost one), it is a real computer when I needed it and anything I did is usually in a cloud or data center. In 2016 I got a Surface 3 (still cheap, not even the Pro) and I am enternally happy now for when I travel. Couple that with VPN and Remote Desktop (to the Lenovo), I was good. But one tacky thing is that I always brought along a full size keyboard for when I needed to be productive. I take the productivity on the road as a must. The one piece of technology that makes or breaks my productivity believe it or not is the keyboard. I usually only kept the keyboard hooked up in the hotel to not incite public IT embarassment.

For a frequent traveller, it’s all about the ability to adjust. I keep a completely separate inventory of many things at home and in my bag so that I’m ready to go just in case (health and beauty products, Surface tablet and associated peripherals, cables and charging) and with that, this Penclic offer caught my eye immediately.

Got a Mini Keyboard C2 and B2 Bluetooth Pen.. This was a great opportunity to use these new products on the road, and I set them up at home but didn’t quite replace my fixed input devices as I wanted to give this a go on a trip. Last week I had a one day trip to Cleveland, and this was the perfect opportunity to give these new devices a try.

Mini Keyboard C2.. This keyboard is slick. It has really nice spacing between keys on the device, good texture for the home row letters and a num lock capability to go to 10-key if you want. If you are a financial professional, they have separate 10-key units as well. I had the USB unit, they also have wireless units. For this keyboard here is a list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Really smooth textures on the keys themselves and good touch feedback/spring effect on keys
  • 2 USB ports (more on that in a second)
  • The same size as my previous keyboard but completely more comfortable and usable (will not use the previous one any more)

Cons:

  • I didn’t test on a MacOS device, but on my Surface RT it wouldn’t recognize. Surface RT is a dead operating system, so I’m literally the only person in the world using it.
  • The NUM LOCK seems to start “on” when connected, easy enough to turn off but it is a function button for NUM LOCK on and off

Game changer: The 2 USB ports built-in are clutch. I also carry a small USB hub, which is now unnecessary. I do indeed love my Surface 3 tablet (Can’t wait for a Surface 5 Pro), but know that it will likley continue to have only 1 USB port. This no issue with the Penclic. The 2 USB ports are on the back of the unit:

penclic usb

B2 Bluetooth Pen.. The Bluetooth pen replaces a mouse. This one is quite a bit different and not what you may think.First of all, it isn’t a pen like you may think of like a Surface Pen. It’s a pen that takes the scroll of the mouse to the form factor of a pen on a horizontal surface such as a table. I like this also as it is Bluetooth so a mouse won’t consume a precious USB port. I’ll admit it took about 20 minutes or so to get comfortable with the input functions with this mouse, additionally the right-click I had to keep looking for another hour or so. The pen however did make the cut and I used it just fine (it’s actually really hard to change your input format/style I found out!). Here are some pros and cons of the Bluetooth Pen:

Pros: 

  • Is Bluetooth to not take a USB port
  • Includes a USB cable that will charge the battery on the B2 Bluetooth Pen – very handy to not have to carry another battery that may fail on the road
  • Uses less space than a traditional mouse (see point below about scroll speed)

Cons:

  • Takes a while to get used to that new format of computer interface
  • May need to slow down it’s scroll speed (I did)

Penclic in use!

I went the day very productive (the picture below shows my “station”) on the road. I was able to charge my phone (no issue on weak charging by the way – this phone likes the higher amp USB ports and complains if it doesn’t get it). I don’t mind the cables, though I could have tucked them in a bit, it works find for what I was doing and had full productivity in a very small space.

penclic station

Final Verdict: The keyboard is a winner and will make it into the travel kit (note it’s about the same size of my Surface 3). The pen I will travel with as well, namely as the rechargable characteristic of the battery is a big benefit.

You can find more information about Penclic and other products (they have some cool looking bags as well) at Penclic.Se.

Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary Mini Keyboard C2 and a B2 Bluetooth pen mouse.

vSphere 6.5 datastore inaccessible – host is gone too. But why?

Hey everyone, I have been a bad blogger! Tisk, tisk.. Anyways, trying to have more content here in the form of some quick hits. My old rule is that some of the best blogs are a screenshot and 400 words on how you learned something. Here goes.

Problem: I logged into the vSphere Web Client and both the Web Client and Veeam ONE and it shows a datastore is inaccessible. This is odd as I removed the host and the datastore was a local datastore on the host (which those usually go with). It looked like this:

ghostdatastore

Solution: I did something sloppy! I moved a few VMs, and you ever get that warning that the .ISO image is attached to a VM and not available on the target host? That’s keeping this datastore inventoried in vCenter Server. I have removed that host from this vCenter, as I gave it back to CDub for his lab work.

Simply reconfigure those VMs to NOT be backed by the now gone datastore, and you are good. Note that the media isn’t even actually connected (not possible as I removed the host), but just that it is an entry in the VM config it keeps the definition of that datastore there:

ghostdatastore2

I’ll probably forget this again, but at least I’ve blogged it once to remember. Ciao for now!

Rickatron’s Veeam Stuff at VMworld Infographic

Hello everyone, I thought this would be fun so I’ve made a really ugly infographic of my schedule at VMworld. A few notes to this:

rickatron vmworld infog

Put these in your dictionaries: 5 Travel Terms from Rickatron

Many of you know I travel a good deal for my work at Veeam. While I love meeting new people, taking on a new challenge and seeing new places; I need to be smart about how I book and manage travel. I need to minimize the amount of time gone for family and home responsibilities!

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To that end, I’ve got 5 travel terms that you can use to both have tips for your own travel and to understand me when I use these terms on Twitter or other social media!

  1. Turn and Burn: This is a situation where a scheduled matter is rather fixed, and arrival and departure times are specifically aligned to the travel times. For example, let’s say I’ve got a day full of meetings in an office that start at say 10 AM and are complete at 4 PM. If it’s Atlanta, I’d take a 6 AM flight, land at 7:30, get in a car around 8 AM, get to a car and deal with traffic and make it to the office by 9:45 for the meeting and then book a 6:45 PM flight for the departure. Keep it close!
  2. Dirty Day Trip: This is a situation that is a bit far for a normal day trip. The turn and burn example above is a good example of a “clean” day trip; but what happens when that just won’t work? For example, if I need to go to Las Vegas for a day trip but I live in Columbus, a regular day trip is a bit harder to make happen. A dirty day trip is where I’d leave first thing in the morning (I can leave early and get to a meeting in Las Vegas as early as 9:30 or 10 AM), complete my matters through the day and then take a red-eye flight back. That way I have a full day of availability in Las Vegas but get home swiftly.
  3. Soft Red Eye: This has happened both domestically and internationally with me. A soft red eye is where you work somewhere and then head back late in the day, overnight in a hotel where you would connect, and the next day carry on to get home early after spending the night in a hotel (bed and shower) versus a real red eye flight. I’ve done this from the Western US to get home easier before, one time I flew SFO-LAX (overnighted) then flew LAX-CMH. I got home early afternoon on the next day yet could work the whole day in San Francisco. This was something I frequently considered when the Delta red eye from LAX-CMH was not operating (it was a day flight). I don’t like doing redeyes UNLESS I can land in my home town or destination at say 5 or 6 AM. I dislike landing in Detroit, Atlanta, etc. after a redeye, waiting 2 hours to then fly onward my destination or home.
  4. Milk Run: When you go somewhere, the Milk Run is when you line up other matters while you there. I’ve done this to line up meetings with bloggers, press, analysts while I’m at an event. Sometimes I will meet with profile customers or partners as well as a good additional use of my time.
  5. Triangulation Situation: This a term I use for a multi-point city trip. Usually when you book it, it’s a multi-city itinerary but it is a good way to combine matters so that you don’t have to make additional trips. Last year I did a trip from Columbus to Denmark then Denmark to Russia then to CMH to combine and event and meetings with my team. Next month, I’m going Columbus to Philadelphia to London to Copenhagen to Columbus. This is a 4 point itinerary, so I guess it’s a quadrangulation situation. LOL!
  6. BONUS!  The Trip Clip: Especially with industry events, nobody ever notices if you leave a day early (in most situations). Especially for multi-day events, honestly I’m mentally exhausted by the end. So leaving a day earlier really doesn’t harm any kittens.
  7. DOUBLE BONUS (credit Vic!) The Tack-ON: The tack-on is a situation where you are completing a matter and then immediately transitioning to a holiday/vacation. This one is reversible in that you could start with a vacation and then transition to the work matter. I’ve done this in Northern California and Spain before.

Hopefully this list of terms is both entertaining and helpful to you if you are planning travel! Do you have any unique terms? Share your creativeness below.