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Elite: Dangerous Newsletters

Screen capture from Elite: Dangerous of an Imperial Clipper ship close to the I Bootis star.

I’ve never posted anything in here about games, though I do rather enjoy them from time to time. The darker evenings of autumn and winter lend themselves more to this kind of activity than any other time, and there’s one upcoming release I’m very much looking forward to. Elite: Dangerous.

People have a lot of history with this game; I for one remember being terrible at it when I was little, trying to dock into a spinning rectangle on my Dad’s BBC Micro. The sound effects from that computer still have the ability to make me jump out of my skin even today.

So what is the purpose of this post, you may ask? Well, the release date for Elite is 16th December and there’s a bit of kerfuffle about what’s going to gave made it into the game by that date. Will all the ships be there? Will there be aliens? Will that stuttering bug be sorted?

I can’t answer any of those questions, but what I can do is point people to the fantastic Newsletters, which have been released throughout the development process. They’re an insight into the game that people seem to forget about, so I thought I would provide a handy list, as the official archive list doesn’t contain them all.

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Mac Pro Storage Upgrade

An SD-PEX40079 with three 256GB Crucial m550 mSATA drives attached.

I’ve been slowly changing my storage habits lately, because I’ve been seduced by the speed of Solid State Drives. When I bought my Mac Pro, I got it with the extortionately expensive Apple SSD. It’s as solid as a rock, and the only thing out there with official TRIM support, but it’s not the speediest option and that’s largely down to the measly 3Gb/s SATA II bus that Apple forgot to upgrade with the 2012 edition. Seriously, guys, you couldn’t have swapped out that controller?

However, because these Mac Pro machines are proper tower systems with PCI-E 2.0, there are options out there. For a long time I was going to go with the Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro (or the Pro Plus as it’s now become) but blimey, at over £200 it’s an expensive way of putting SATA III in your machine. And eSATA is a lovely feature, but not already owning any eSATA caddies, I just didn’t think I’d use it that much.

A little Googling turned up this thread on the TonyMac forum, where ‘gsloan’ had found success with the Syba SD-PEX40068. But would you believe it; discontinued. Nuts.

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Caching Server Cache Size

The Caching Service in OS X Sever is great – turn it on, and it largely works just fine. However, I host the cache itself on a Drobo. The Drobo appears as a 16TB volume on the system, so Server.app thinks it’s just a wonderful idea to give me Cache Size slider graduations of 30GB, 1TB, 2TB, etc. That’s not helpful.

Luckily, Apple haven’t obfuscated the configuration for this at all, and I’m not being sarcastic for once. Just go to:

/Library/Sever/Caching/Config/Config.plist

You’ll find the CacheLimit key right there at the top, with an integer value in bytes. Turn off Caching Server, edit, turn Caching Server back on again. Lovely.

Screenshot of Server.app showing the Caching Server config panel.

Okay, so the slider shows the wrong value, but the Usage area gets it right. Now why couldn’t they have just put a box in the UI? Ah, because this is Server.app, not Server Admin.app.

My sarcasm is creeping back!

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