I’ve had a desire to turn this Pacman Ghost Light into a status indicator for my monitoring since like 2016. Somewhere around 2017-1028 I started accumulating hobbyist electronics parts — soldering gear, various Micro:Bit, Espressif, and RP2040 boards, breadboards, wiring, misc. sensors, etc. — with all sorts of intended projects… that never came to fruition because, frankly, I don’t like soldering stuff because I was very bad at it. And for many project ideas I’ve had, if I procrastinate long enough, the market eventually produces something I can just buy and convert to Tasmota or ESPHome.

Recently I’ve had an idea for something that I need strongly enough to overcome my foot-dragging. But it’s complicated, with several types of components involved and safety implications for some of our pets. I need to build up some experience before taking it on.

Over the past month or so I’ve worked on a few “easy” things where the end result was pointless but the experience of doing it was beneficial. My soldering is now ok-ish. I’ve done stuff with the Arduino IDE and ESPHome, on ESP32 and Pico W boards, using breadboards and buttons and tiny OLED screens and RGB LEDs. Two weeks ago I noticed my Pacman Ghost Light being boring and knew I’d be taking it on as my first actually useful project.

Pictured above is my first go at it, using a Pico W, several RGB LEDs for the body, and the original white LEDs in the eyes. I initially got it going a week or so ago using ESPHome and the Uptime Kuma HACS Integration. Over the past few days I’ve completed a 2nd one with CircuitPython that polls Uptime Kuma directly and adds RGB LEDs to the eyes, running on an ESP32-C3 board. And circled back to put that CircuitPython code on the original.

And last night I published the code on GitHub so now anyone can build one. Well, if they can figure out how to put all the hardware bits together — as a rank beginner, I don’t really want to write up a full tutorial.

When I have more roundtuits I’d like to add some Pacman sounds and the ability to connect to multiple Uptime Kuma instances, but for now I’m going to move on to the next project.

The problem with things that work by “Magic” is that they must always “Just Work”

Roughly 24 hours ago, the primary Internet at our mountain cabin went down for 90 minutes. No big deal, we’re not there, and there’s an LTE backup on WAN2. However, the “Site Magic” VPN tunnel never re-established itself.

In the past I’ve run EdgeRouters and USGs w/ IPSec tunnels so I’m familiar with Ubiquiti’s self-imposed challenges with multi-WAN, and that even with single-WAN the IPSec tunnels are not as resilient as they ought to be.

But Site Magic is supposed to be “magic.” It’s supposed to make it all better. It’s supposed to be so good that they don’t need bother giving me any tools to troubleshoot or give it a kick in the ass when it doesn’t work. A cursory Google search didn’t lead me to any “secret” CLI commands to provide more than the interface.

I’d say I’m disappointed… but, honestly, this kind of thing is typical of them and is why I want to quit their gateways.

Zero downtime VM migrations are still magical to me

It has to be about 20 years since I first experienced vMotion and the technology still feels like magic. A few clicks of the mouse and the things I had running on this computer over here are running on that computer over there and nobody is the wiser.

A few years back I switched my virtualization hosts at home from VMware to Hyper-V and the tech geeks in my social circles always question why. It’s because Hyper-V frees me from having to run vCenter to get the magic — live migration is built-in and (mostly) Just Works™

Yesterday I needed to replace storage on the host that runs a couple bits of critical home infra that is still virtualized — Pi-hole, nginx, and Home Assistant — and was grateful that I could temporarily migrate it all to my other Hyper-V host instead of causing a prolonged outage.


This site has been running from my home Internet connection from Day 1 but my determination to get control over my Docker disasters finally overcame my inherent don’t fix shit that ain’t broke laziness. Now coming at you live from colo in 55 Marietta Street.

Now to work on finding some motivation to create some fresh content…

Left the Discord, Permanently

I checked out of the Ubiquiti Discord for months around the time of my move, and when I came back everything had changed. More Channels. More Rules. More Mods holding everyone else to higher standards than themselves. And… the same old cliquish behind-the-scenes behaviors.

Basically a shitty sub-Reddit in chat form.

I tried to focus on the good and ignore the parts I didn’t like, but… ultimately I realized that I wasn’t getting anything out of my participation in the community beyond frustration.

So I said Adios.

My Favorite Black Friday Deal

I always get myself the best “Christmas” presents. I know me so well. This year, it’s a couple of Arcade1up cabinets from Walmart for $249/ea.


In my early 20s I got into collecting arcade cabinets for a minute. A 29″ Neo-Geo MVS 4-slot and mint 4-player Gauntlet were the highlights of my collection, but of course, what I really wanted was a Pac-Man cabinet. I was just never willing to pay the price for one that was in presentable condition.

Eventually I had to give up the collection. I’ve always wanted to get back into it, but… they’re just so big, and heavy, and difficult to move up and down stairs without several helpers.

Spotting the Pac-Man cabinet at Walmart literally made my Christmas. Even tho it was only Black Friday.

These Arcade1up cabinets are just 4′ tall and a mere 65lbs. Easy to shuffle around and I can man-handle them up and down the stairs all by myself. Assembly takes about 40 minutes with just a screwdriver. All the bags of parts are labelled so there’s no guesswork as to which type of screw gets used where and it comes with a bag of spares.

Obviously it’s not as solid as a 300lb cabinet made of 3/4-inch birch or MDF, but the construction is good enough for home use. I’ve no concerns that they’re going to fall apart.

I’ll be keeping the Pac-Man cabinet as-is for now, but I’ve already ordered the parts to convert the Street Fighter cab to a RetroPie MAME setup — basically it just needs an LCD controller board and a USB encoder for the controls.

And I suspect I might pick up another one or two…