Raspberry Pi4 4GB and Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS ARM64

I was trying to see if there was better OS for Pi4. I’ve been using RaspberryOS, they have a beta 64 bit version with a pretty long bug list. So I thought I’d give Ubuntu a try and see if it would be good for day to day use.

My initial impression is it’s soooo sloooowwww. The apt update and apt upgrade process took much longer than I’ve seen before on a Pi, including the Pi2b I started with in 2014. Installing cups and hplip to run a print server was a test of patience. Docker was much slower than on RaspberryOS.

I was rather hoping this would work out because there looked to be lower learning curve coming from RaspberryOS. I’m going to look at Apline next. They also support ARM64. And it has smaller footprint.

FrankenPi Lives!

I was using a couple of Raspberry Pi4 4GBs and one Pi3+ single board computers for various tasks within our home network:

It occured to me that I wasn’t fully utilizing the hardware. So I’ve decided to build a Pi4 cluster. I wanted learn more about docker and cluster computing.

Hardware

The Pi4 4GB has a later generation, faster 64 bit, 4 core CPU, and 4 times the memory of the Pi3b+ that’s currently running my Pihole DNS. It also moved Ethernet off of the USB bus removing a major network performance bottleneck compared to the Pi3b+.These improvements make the Pi4B a much better fit for this use case. Plus, I had two on hand already. Frugality is always a plus.

I haven’t decided if I want to make use of the Pi3b+ in this project because of it’s performance constraints. I will eventually add it to the case and use it to run foldforcovid.io, but probably will not add it to the docker swarm. That’s a great project if you have a spare computer and want to use it to help find a cure for COVID-19.

The GeeekPi case was inexpensive when compared to more advanced cases like the Cloudlet case which sells for $69. You do need to disassemble the case to add/remove boards with the cheaper case, but I didn’t foresee a need to do that very often. The GeeekPi case did come with a full complement of Pi3 and Pi4 heatsinks for 4 boards.

The D-Link Switch was supports gigabit and uses a 5V DC power supply. It can also run off the USB charging station with a bit of creative cable modification. Most USB cables use red for +5V. Check the power adapter specs to verify the where the +5V is. Mine had a stripe on the +5V wire from the AC adapter to make it simple.

Edit: I decided to go with the $7 USB A to barrel connector cable after the switch lost power a couple of times. I didn’t have the right size butt connectors to join the power supply wires to the much smaller USB wire, they kept slipping out. The pre-made cable makes it look better as well.

Another valid choice would be using a PoE switch instead. That would require obtaining 3 PoE hats, as well as a compatible PoE Ethernet switch. The PoE switches sell for $50 – $60 on Amazon. The Pi PoE hats are ~$20 each. That would eliminate the USB cables and the charging station and leave just the ethernet cables.

As a point of comparison, the Picocluster 3H with three Pi4s and 3 x 32gb SD cards is $444 if you want to assemble it yourself. It’s $499 if you want it already assembled. Add $20 for US shipping.

The storage for my FrakenPi is a Mediasonic ProBox HF2-SU3S2 4 Bay 3.5” SATA HDD USB 3.0 Enclosure with a pair of 2TB drives, plus a 3TB drive. The pair of 2TB drives are setup has a RAID-1 array and the 3TB is used as an Apple formatted Time Machine backup. This is used to host video files, photos, backup and, a Bittorrent service using Transmission. It takes advantage of the Pi4 USB 3.0. It also supports connection via external SATA. I may pull the old 2TB drives and replace them with 4TB Seagate Ironwolf HDDs. I did pull the existing drives out of an old NAS and an old Western Digital external HDD I had. Frugality is my friend.

Software

There are dozens of tutorials on how to do this. I rather like the approach taken by HackViking using Docker Swarm and Swarmpit. I’m going to start there. That will be my first pass learning experience. I may decide redo the whole thing with k3s lightweight Kubernetes instead. My goal is to learn about cluster computing. There will be no mistakes. Because every mistake is a learning experience.

This is what it looks like after the build:

FrankenPi

YouTube TV

YouTube tv logo

I finally decided on a replacement for Frontier Cable TV. I’ve been using YouTube TV for about 2 1/2 months. It’s pretty responsive compared to Hulu TV. It’s fairly flexible in recording content. It supports multiple profiles with separate recording of programs. It’s still slow compared to cable TV in starting up, changing channels, or starting a recorded program.

You lose all the cable boxes in favor of an Apple TV, Android TV, Roku or Samsung Smart TV. I already had a 4th generation Apple TV, a Roku Tv and a Sony Bravia Android TV. I needed no new devices.

It lack access to Scripps Networks and Discovery Communications programming like HGTV, Travel Channel, Discovery, TLC and Food Network. Hopefully this can be corrected by YouTube coming to and agreement with the content owners. Right now it leaves something of a hole in their programming. We work around it by using the HGTV and Food Network apps to catch at least some of their shows.

Sports and News offerings are more rounded than the lifestyle offerings. Plenty of ESPN and cable news networks are available.

All in all it wasn’t as clean of a transition as I wanted, but we do get most of what we want and have saved money compared to the the TV service from Frontier or Comcast. We do still use Frontier FIOS to support it.

Let’s hope the FCC’s recent decision to gut network neutrality rules doesn’t mean my internet carrier will slow my YouTube TV service just because they can’t extort additional payments from consumers to make up for their horrible business model collapsing under its own weight. It does mean they can and the question becomes when will they?

Grilled Tuna Salad

A bed of arugula, garden fresh peppers and tomatoes. The tuna was about a 6 once portion and an inch thick. It’s seasoned with a bit of sesame oil, soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic powder and onion powder. I cooked in a hot non-stick pan for just 2-3 minutes per side. I use a little balsamic glaze to dress it. From “what can I have for lunch” to completion only took about 10 minutes. Simple, fresh, delicious…

Pinakbet

This is great, I’ve had twice this week. The calabasa is rather like a small green pumpkin and resembles an acorn squash, but with somewhat softer flesh that cooks more quickly. Magic Sarap is a flavor enhancer that contains MSG, feel free to omit is you’re sensitive to it. Long beans resemble 18″ long green beans. We sometimes substitute regular green beans, if they can’t be found at our usual exotic grocery, MD Oriental in Tampa.

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cup cubed calabasa (Asian squash)
  • 6 – 8 long beans cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 1 teaspoon or less of sugar, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Magic Sarap seasoning
  • Shrimp paste (bagoong)
  • Chicharrones
  1. Sauté the onion and garlic for 4 or 5 minutes.
  2. Add the beans, tomato and 1/2 cup of water to help them steam. Cook for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the calabasa and Magic Sarap. Simmer until the calabasa is tender. It cooks faster than pumpkin or acorn squash, give it 10-15 minutes.
  4. Top with some crushed chicharron pieces and serve.

Served with smoked bangus and rice

Today’s Lunch: Ensalada Ng Talong (Eggplant Salad)

We did this Filipino style vegetable dish. It’s simple, low calorie and tasty! I ate it before I thought of taking a picture. Maybe next time. I swear I know how to cook other things, I’m just on this Filipino kick lately. It’s under appreciated.

Serves 2

  • 2 Chinese eggplants
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • Onion, 1/4 cup chopped
  • 1 tablespoon or to taste of Filipino shrimp paste (bagoong), I use spicy from Barrio Fiesta. That’s the best we can find near by.
  1. Pierce the eggplants a few times on each side with a fork and grill or cook under a broiler until the skin just begins to split, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. While that’s cooking seed and chop the tomato and onion and mix with the bagoong. Salt to taste if needed, the bagoong is pretty salty by itself.
  3. Slice the eggplant lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape the meat from the skin. Chop it up and top with the tomato mixture.

The Expanse is back on Syfy Channel!

This is the best science fiction show on TV right now. I just saw it popped back up on my DVR. It’s got great production values, political intrigue and a multilayered story line. I’m catching up with the first two episodes right now. It’s available on their on demand service thru your cable provider, the Syfy app on iOS, TVOS, Roku and AndroidTV.

8

This is unfathomable

The Waffle House shooter was known to be mentally ill and had his guns confiscated by police. His dad gave them back to him. Seriously WFT???

Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, said deputies allowed Reinking’s father to take possession of the guns on the promise that he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.” Huston added that, based on past deputies’ encounters with Reinking, “there’s certainly evidence that there’s some sort of mental health issues involved.”

While Huston said it was unclear how Reinking reclaimed the guns, Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said that his father “has now acknowledged giving them back.”

4 dead in Waffle House shooting in Tennessee; suspect sought