Saturday, March 31, 2018

Bluehendes Barock Ludwigsburg

Bei wunderbarem Wetter gehen wir ins Bluehende Barock. In den Gaerten sind die Strohwelten aufgebaut.

Eine Runde durch den Maerchengarten im Boot muss natuerlich sein.

"Hilfe! Ein Wal!"

Wieder in Sicherheit finden wir wieder viele schoene Perspektiven.

Wasserspiele vor der Kulisse der Stadtkirche.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Neue Signale fuer Steinach b. Rothenburg o.d.T.

In Steinach an der Strecke Wuerzburg - Treuchtlingen werden neue Ks-Signale installiert. Die neuen Signale stehen bereits zum grossen Teil. Die Verkabelung scheint aber noch zu fehlen. Die Baumassnahmen finden unter laufenden Betrieb statt, daher sind die neuen Signale mit einem weissen Kreuz als ungueltig markiert.

Oha, da liegt noch ein Mast ...

... das koennte ein interessantes Ladegut sein.

Ein schoener Ruecken ...

Die Strecke ist selbst an einem Feiertag dicht mit Gueterverkehr belegt. In der Viertelstunde, die ich hier sehr zur Irritation des oertlichen Fahrdienstleiters rumgelaufen bin, kamen drei Gueterzuege Richtung Ansbach durch.


Ist noch gar nicht so lange her, dass ich ein Wochenende in Waldenburg verbrachte. Heute haben wir einen kleinen Abstecher gemacht und den Ort bei Sonnenschein besichtigt.

Die Anfaenge einer Befestigung auf dem Bergsporn reichen bis in das 12. Jahrhundert zurueck. Heute dominiert das Schloss der Grafen von Hohenlohe die Anfahrt von Norden her.

Ein Grossteil des Ortes wurde am Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs durch Artillerie und Feuer zerstoert. Der Ort wurde innerhalb der historischen Stadtmauer zum grossen Teil neu gebaut, man sieht aber auch einige alte Haeuser, die restauriert wurden.

Die Aussicht ueber die Hohenlohe Ebene ist beeindruckend. Nur leider stoeren die Industriebetriebe unten im Tal, und ich habe kein Foto gemacht.

Es ist kurz vor Ostern. Immer wieder findet man kleine und grosse oesterlich geschmueckte Brunnen. Schoen hier.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


In Amsterdam geht es mit dem Bus zu einer Vorfeldposition. Im Terminal habe ich mir die Zeit mit passendem Lesematerial vertrieben.

Den Flug habe ich ueberwiegend verschlafen, mein Ruecken "dankt" es mir. Ankunft in Stuttgart.

Zuhause gab es Maultauschen und zum Nachtisch frisch gebackenen Kuchen mit Schlagsahne, ... und viel Kaffee. Ich muss noch 5 Stunden wach bleiben.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Taking the Blue Bird over the ocean. The bird landed and proudly docked at E gates ten hours later.

Hanging out in the transfer hall for a couple hours to wait for my connecting flight to Stuttgart.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Emptier and bigger

Since the last time I built a PC from parts, cooling fans have been getting bigger and motherboards emptier.


First time ever we made ribs. Beans and homemade slaw on the sides.
It all came out great, and there will be more of this in the future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Adopting Unifi Security Gateway (USG) into existing network

Ubiquiti Networks makes the Unifi Security Gateway (USG) as part of their Unifi series of enterprise networking products. A core feature of these units is that a software controller holds all the relevant information about a site, and centrally configures the respective devices at that site. So far, so good.

Unless you are building a completely new network, you might already have Unifi devices installed in your network. I have a couple Unifi accesspoints, and a bunch of Linux infrastructure including an existing controller. Adding a USG to the mix turned out to be surprisingly non-intuitive.

At first I took the common route of connecting the WAN interface of the USG to my internal network, and a laptop to the internal network behind the USG. Of course, in order to now configure the USG, I need a controller on that laptop. The process of adopting the USG to that controller worked just fine. I played around with the settings until I was confident in what and how I want to set this up.

After factory reset I connected the LAN port of the USG to my internal network, and in a browser went to the existing controller on that network. The USG shows up in the Devices list ready for adoption, I click [Adopt] and almost immediately get "Adoption Failed". Huh!

After a bit of futzing around and digging through the Unifi help forum it dawned on me what the problem is:
The internal network of the USG by default uses network with the USG using IP For smaller networks the USG is intended to act as the DHCP server, so devices behind the USG will end up with an address in The process of adopting a device requires that the device is able to talk to the controller. If the controller is not on, the adoption process won't proceed beyond the initial detection that the device is present (which I assume works by local broadcast), since the controller can't open a HTTP connection with the USG.
The solution is to configure the LAN port of the USG for the right network before attempting adoption. Different people describe various ways of doing this on the Ubiquity help site. I found the CLI approach to be the easiest:
  1. Connect the LAN port of the USG to the internal network. Don't connect the WAN port yet.
  2. Manually change the IP on my laptop to
    The actual IP doesn't matter as long as it is not
  3. ssh to as user ubnt with password ubnt
    ubnt/ubnt is the default user and password before the USG is adopted by a controller
  4. Enter configuration mode and replace the IP address on the LAN interface with an unused IP address of my internal network:
    set interfaces ethernet eth1 address
    delete interfaces ethernet eth1 address
  5. As soon as I hit commit, the ssh connection died since the USG has changed its IP address. Change the laptop's networking configuration back to the internal network.
  6. Disconnect the existing firewall and connect the ISP uplink to the USG WAN port. Site network outage begins.
  7. Click [Adopt] in the Controller UI, and the USG should now be adopted without issue. 
  8. If you have a static IP from your ISP, enter the respective routing information in the WAN settings of the controller UI and save it. The controller will provision the changes to the USG. Site network outage ends.
  9. Now continue with any other firewall configuration you might want
  10. ... and we're done.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Back in the Saddle

After the rains from last week finally stopped, I took the bike to the bus stop this morning in the dark. Right. I forgot how dark it is at 6:15am.

However, the way home tonight was very nice, and I even saw some turkeys.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spring Rain

Are you tired of the rain photos yet?
No worries. Here's another one.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Soundrail: The Return

From OMRS I headed straight to SeaTac airport, ran into a group of other Bay Area Soundrail returnees, went through security and headed to my gate. Well, at least I tried to.

I checked in at an automated kiosk and printed my boarding pass only when I got to the airport, so I didn't look at any monitors and went straight to gate N16 for my 7:55 departure as printed on my boarding pass. When I finally made it to N gates, I saw the announcement on the terminal monitors that my flight is leaving from gate C15. Huh!

At SeaTac, N gates is a satellite terminal, so I'd have to hop back on the airport train to get to C gates. I walked over to gate N16, and asked the staff what the deal is. 

"Oh, the terminal displays are run by the Port Authority, they are often not updated quickly when there are changes. I'm supposed to work your flight tonight, so I sure hope it's going to show up soon. Let me call and find out."

When she finally got off the phone, she told me 

"Well, it's neither. Your flight is leaving from gate N11 right over there. At least you and I don't have to walk to C gates..."

There was indeed a plane at that gate and the staff came over, too. So I sat down at gate N11 and waited with my boarding pass for N16 for a flight that was still shown to leave from C15 on the terminal monitors ...

The gate area was suspiciously empty when we started boarding, and they announced that we are not allowed to change seats even if there are other empty seats in order to keep the plane balanced. The plane was indeed half-empty.

2 hours later we're passing SFO. Almost home.

Instead of the usual arrival photo, here's the welcome committee that picked me up! What a nice surprise!

Soundrail 2018 posts: [Warmup] -- [Day One] -- [Day Two] -- [Day Three] -- [The Return]

Soundrail: Day Three

High Bridge on the upper level
 My layout assignment on the last day of Soundrail was the Olympic Model Railroad Society (OMRS). This club layout is located in the basement of a building on the Thurston Country fair grounds and open to the public on occasion.

There are many really neat scenes on this layout. The scenery is very well done and looks great. I'm showing a selection below.

Canoes on the river near Marvin's Bluff
Effective use of forced perspective in Marvin's Bluff.
From the upper level trains take a helix down to the main level.

The double-track main line has remote controlled turnouts and is fully signaled. Unfortunately, there were some gremlins in the detection logic which messed up signal indication at times. Seems like every layout that deploys signals has this kind of problem sooner or later. Seeing the signals in operation at OMRS reminded me of the pending signals project at Silicon Valley Lines.

Signal bridge at South Shops near Seaport
South Shops roundhouse
Diesel servicing facility
Seaport Union Station and the associated freight and industry tracks occupy a good amount of space on the lower level.

The rear end of my train is waiting in the foreground for clearance to get into Halfmoon Yard.
The saw mall in Hill City is under construction, but already looks very nice
Diner in Post Falls near the steel mill
After lunch I took over the dispatcher seat and spent the next couple hours guiding trains on the main line to and from their respective destinations. Verbal track warrants and signal indications were the tools of the trade.

A big Thank you to the OMRS members that hosted us and made for an enjoyable day.

Soundrail 2018 posts: [Warmup] -- [Day One] -- [Day Two] -- [Day Three] -- [The Return]