A script to track large file uploads in backblaze

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Unrelated Preamble

It is a bit of a mystery to me how kaizengarden got this site up and running after the textdrive meltdown, but I’m not complaining, I just need to figure out how to get a backup of my database and site very soon in case it goes down again.  That has nothing to do with the purpose of this post though.

Related Preamble

For those of you who don’t know, backblaze is an online backup service.  I use it, in addition to my local backups, as one further level of security against data loss in the event of catastrophe.  I’ve always found backblaze to be a very reasonably priced service, that performs well, and with helpful support staff when you need them.  backblaze has sensible defaults, which you can change, as to what they will and will not backup, and You get unlimited backup per machine, including external hard disks, with optional key-based encryption.  Between the 2 computers I backup, I have roughly 4 Tb up on backblaze.  A fair number of those files are video files that I’m working with in one form or another, and as you might guess, those can take a while to upload to backblaze.  The tools backblaze provides don’t give you any insight as to how far into the transfer of a large file you might be, and that was information I wanted to know.

backblaze Script

I’ve been working in tiny spurts on a script that will let me track the progress of big file uploads to backblaze.  It has been working for months, but I’ve finally added some new niceness to it, and done some cleanup to make it presentable, so I’d like to release it now.

You can get backblazeTracker from github.  Run it from the command line on Mac OS X with an optional argument specifying the number of minutes to wait between updates.  If you don’t specify and argument, it will update you every minute until you hit Ctrl-C to interrupt it.

So if I had installed the file in backblazeTracker in my home directory, I woud run a command like this:



~/backblazeTracker/backblazemonitor.sh 5

and get output something like:

You will receive an update every 5 minutes
18:09 1002M / 4367M remaining of /Volumes/External Drive/Video File.mov
18:14 902M / 4367M remaining of /Volumes/External Drive/Video File.mov

What does backblaze think?

I reached out to backblaze to ask about releasing this script, and whether it might be a violation fo their terms of service.  Their response was that it is not a violation of their terms, but that it is also unsupported.  If it breaks something and they find it running, they will not help debug the issue.

It shouldn’t break anything, it only reads and doesn’t write anything to the filesystem, but that is the official word from backblaze, just so you know.


I doubt very much that this would run without serious modification on Windows, even in cygwin, I think the directory structure at minimum is going to be different.

So let me know what you think.  I hope you find it useful, and if you’ve got an idea for making it better, let me know or send me a pull request.

I really hate reading this website now, I sure hope I can find the time and ambition to give it a makeover.  The text is awful!

By UltraBob at 10:55 PM Link to this post here!
1 comment

  • on August 26th, 2014 10:25 AM UltraBob said:


Tribute to a Cat

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Tribute to a Cat
Today marks the end of an era of house cats with the passing of Polly, a pretty remarkable Calico, who as nearly as Heather and I could figure, was at least 16 years old. Polly came to us in a roundabout way. We were living on the farm in Idaho and had some orphan kittens I was caring for, when we got word that Sunny, the local animal lover, would love to add them to her menagerie. All went well for about a month, when she suddenly decided she had way too many cats (I can’t remember the details, but seems like they weren’t getting along with some of her other animals) and I was tasked with finding homes for my original 3 plus about 3 more. This I did….mostly.  I have to admit I kept the 2 cutest kittens who adored each other and had tons of personality because I was just SURE that my good friend Debbie needed to have them for her girls. Unfortunately, she did not agree, and by the time it sunk in, it was too late. I was attached. And so Sparky (a yellow tom, nicknamed Puddle of Butter because he ‘melted’ when ever picked up and) and Polly joined our family. (Including 3-4 dogs, and 2 other cats). 
I do think Polly was my favorite of all my cats. Her personality was sweet, but also a little saucy. She was a good hunter, but had a very soft mouth. On more than one occasion, she caught a bird, and when she let it go so she could catch it again, it flew away. I think a mouse or two made it into the house in the same way. 
There was a period of time when UltraDad decided he no longer wanted housecats, though we had 4 who had been used to coming in the house from kittenhood. It was a very stressful time for them (and for me), but he was adamant until one day when Polly went missing and I broke down. She turned up a day later, and slowly and gradually the cats were allowed back into the house again, where they remained (except for Sparky who made the mistake of trying to mark UltraDad’s leg). Before that, Polly has been sleek and svelte, but after she seemed to develop an ‘eating disorder’ and became rather fat.
She would brook no nonsense from the canines in the family, and until the last year or so, was bigger than the poodles. The first time Jim’s large puppy Zeke met her, she scratched his nose and seemed to actively stalk him to revel in his fear!
I remember a large stuffed pig we had; it had a motion sensor in it and would yell “I love you. EEEEEEEE! “ when you got close. This drove Polly nuts and she would grab that pig by the scruff of his neck (not an easy task, as it was nearly as big as she was), drag it under the bed or into a corner. We thought this was hilarious, so got it back out to watch her repeat the process, which she did 4-5 times.
For the past year or so, Polly has not been well.  After a trip to the Vet, we treated her for periodic urinary tract infections, and our once pleasantly plump, (ie obese) feline became thin and gaunt. She begged for food, but would eat only a few bites of any offering, leaving the rest for the willing poodles. She started missing the litter box and we would find a puddle on the floor nearby. And so, we finally made the difficult decision not to let her suffering continue any longer. And though I think it was the right one, I am sad tonight. And I think she deserves a tribute.

By UltraMom at 12:54 PM Link to this post here!

How to recover a deleted central git repository

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

This is a note primarily for future me, in case this ever happens again.

I have a central bare git repository that I push to and pull from occasionally when I make changes to a project I work on.  This central repository was cloned to a couple of non-bare repositories, and at some point the central repository got deleted.  It was quite a while before I next tried to check in, and so I didn’t notice it until the deleted files had actually rotated out of my backups.  I did know which working copy I had most recently worked on, meaning I had a fully updated clone (with some uncommitted changes).  Here was the solution that so far seems to have worked for me.


  • /path/to/wc — path to the working copy with the most recent changes
  • /path/to/central — path to the directory that help the repository directory
  • /path/to/central/repo — path to the actual repository directory


  1. cd /path/to/wc
  2. show remote -v

    this returned the info I needed to work out /path/to/central/repo
  3. mkdir -p /path/to/central
  4. cd /path/to/central
  5. git clone --bare /path/to/wc repo

    note repo here is the name of the central repository I’m recreating.  This step creates the bare repository, but seems not to get the branches
  6. cd /path/to/wc
  7. git push --mirror /path/to/central/repo

    This pushes the branches

I don’t fully understand all the details of this, so I’ve decided to read the git pro book, to solidify my understanding.  I think there is probably a more proper way to do this or steps I should take to clean up, or maybe I could have just run got clone --mirror instead of git clone --bare and skipped a step.  Please enlighten me.

By UltraBob at 11:43 AM Link to this post here!

Macbook Pro black screen on wake from sleep

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I am putting this here in case someone else runs into the issue that plagued me for probably more than a year until I found a fix(?) for it, and their google search terms line up better with what I write than with other stuff on google.  My google fu widely failed me on this one.

When I close my screen and cause my macbook pro to fall asleep, frequently when I open it back up the screen is black.  If I look really really closely I can see that there is a login window there, the screen justas the brightness all the way turned off.  To make it all more endearing, the brightness keys have no effect.  No effect that is unless you hold down the command key.  Holding the command key and hitting the brightness up button will light your screen back up and you’ll continue on your merry way, wishing that the aluminum didn’t warm up quite so much, and that you didn’t suddenly have a new issue where sometimes the machine seems to get bogged down and ignore some of your keystrokes, making writing a blog post such as this a little bit frustrating.

When you feel up to trying to debug this latest issue, may your google fu prove up to the task!

You’re welcome Internet.

By UltraBob at 05:26 PM Link to this post here!
1 comment

  • on July 27th, 2012 11:46 AM UltraBob said:


A decade of consistent in-depth, hard-hitting, god-fearing apostrophizing

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Just noticed that this website turned 10 years old back in February.  Where’s my f’ing parade?

By UltraBob at 04:59 PM Link to this post here!
2 comment s

  • on July 12th, 2012 11:00 PM Kathy McDonald said:

    That is amazing! Oh, the changes it has seen....would be even better if the writers would post once in a while, huh?

  • on July 13th, 2012 12:12 PM UltraBob said:

    Debatably I guess.

How do I do this again?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

So, how are you?  It’s been a while.  It’s been long enough in fact that we are back in that stage of the relationship where every new conversation we have starts haltingly, cautiously.  I’m shy I can’t help it.  I would like to declare that I’m going to start writing regularly now and we’ll be back to the unconsciously comfortable back and forth enjoyed by friends that meet often.  I’m not going to.  That would be astoundingly over-optimistic.  The truth is I almost never think of this site anymore when I am looking for a creative outlet, and since I moved the site out of a server in my house, I’m less in touch with the technical aspects of it.  I’ve been aware for a long while that some of the images here are not working properly, but I’ve been too busy with too many more important priorities to do anything about it.  The truth is this site has probably largely been killed by parenthood, facebook, twitter, and changing interests; but I’m not giving up.  I will write when I feel like it, and it turns that today I feel like it.  I want to tell you a few things about my kids.

Linc will be 4 years old in two days.  I really should draft a letter to him as I did on a birthday in the past.  It is tough to find the time to do things like that these days.  I’m really enjoying the boy that Linc is becoming, although I wish he had a little bit more understanding that other people (his sisters in particular) feel pain.  He now has a constant storyline going when he is playing, and it is fun to watch.

As you might expect, the girls are changing much more rapidly than Linc is currently.  LaeAnn and Keena both walk on their own when they feel like it, and it turns out LaeAnn feels like it a lot more often than Keena, who prefers knee walking as a mode of transport.  As mentioned in another venue, Keena took her first steps first, but when LaeAnn started she went full throttle with it.  LaeAnn has been saying Daddy for well over a month, but she would only say it to me and would never say it when UltraGirl admitted she was listening.  On Sunday that changed, my picture was showing on our computer screen and LaeAnn pointed and said in a voice so clear it could not be denied, “Daddy!” That girl really has a way with words!

Speaking of speaking, Keena also got to that first, but in a similar sense LaeAnn seems to be quickly overtaking her.  Keena’s spoken vocabulary includes dog, Anpanman (bean paste donut-head man), and food.  She also has a pretty servicable collection of baby signs that serve her well and outpace both LaeAnn’s and Linc’s collections at that age.  LaeAnn seems to be really really good at mimicking sounds she hears.  Her vocabulary now includes Daddy (expect that to be mentioned a few more times before the end of this), Stand up, dog, food, possibly anpanman and I think one or two more that are escaping me now.  She also sings silent night.  Yes really!  Well, yes kind of.  I sing the first line, and then she sings “ah ah ah night” but she gets the tone right!  That’s still better than what we can coax out of UltraDad, both in amount and tonefulness. wink

Finally the girls fight like late career Mike Tyson, which is to say primarily through biting, headbutts, and making a ruckus.  If anybody has tips on how to get 1 year olds not to bite each other, I’m interested.  Competition over prime toys is fierce and they primarily see each other as competition right now.  When UltraGirl instructed them to pet each other (a concept familiar to them with their stuffed animals), the concept seemed completely foreign at first.

So that was my first attempt at writing at any length in quite some time, and I’m well aware that it is rambling, and takes a long time to say everything.  Thank you for getting through it.  Oh yeah, and LaeAnn says Daddy now!

By UltraBob at 02:42 PM Link to this post here!
2 comment s

  • on April 24th, 2012 11:04 PM Chenoa Allen said:

    It’s good to see a post again and even gooder to hear about the kids. Nice that Anpanman is once again being mentioned on this blog. I’ve long felt that he has been too long neglected.

  • on April 25th, 2012 01:33 PM Kathy McDonald said:

    Loved this SO much! So glad to have you back, UltraBob:) I love hearing about the day to day things with the kids and the little people they are becoming, which is something I feel I really miss out on, being the grandparent across the ocean.
    You have a very clever writing style that I greatly enjoy; I hope the posts continue.
    And who knows? Once this madness known as nursing school is over, I might just be inspired to throw in a post of my own now and then!

A Walk in the Woods aka a Harrowing Hike in Lamoille Canyon

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Most weekends UltraDad and I do pretty much the same thing: watch TV, have a big breakfast, grocery shop, an occasional movie or card game and more TV. The weekend goes by and we have done, well, nothing. We decided this weekend would be a little different. So, we got up early (usual for him, an effort for me!) and headed for Lamoille Canyon, a beautiful and popular area we had not visited for a number of years. I drove as we made our way up the winding road. UltraDad pointed out picnic areas, waterfalls and other objects of interest; usually I had to make the choice between viewing the wonder or staying on the road, so he saw a lot more than I did. We arrived at the circular parking lot at the end of the road, which was already nearly full of vehicles, a little after 9 am. By 9:30, we were at the trailhead ready for an adventurous hike. UDad had his fancy Cabellas walking stick, and I had 2 leashed poodles and a small backpack containing water, apples, string cheese and 2 small candy bars. I almost brought Bug-Sun lotion, but decided it made my little pack too heavy. That decision I would later regret.
The signs at the Trail Head showed a couple of 2 mile hikes. We set off on the trail towards Lake Lamoille. The last time we had been on this trail, probably 4 years ago, it had been much earlier in the year. Water, mud and snow had made the trail treacherous and detrimental to nice tennis shoes, so that time we had not gone far. Now it was nearly August and a very warm day. How bad could it be?
To be fair, most of the trail was wide and well marked, complete with sturdy log bridges over wide streams. But as we climbed higher, it soon became clear that not all the snow was gone. I especially hated the transverse snowy patches on the hillsides. The snow was just melted enough from the weather plus the foot traffic to make it hard to gain a firm footing, at least for a clutz like me. UltraDad had no trouble at all and soon made it a policy to leave his walking stick for me at the start of each expanse of snowy trail. That helped a lot, though I still slipped and slid and had to catch myself as I got off balance.
There were a lot of people on the trail that day in every possible combination: singles, pairs, families, groups, and lots and lots of dogs. Many people stopped and gave Murphy and Rowdy a pat on the head, wondering if these two small pampered-looking pets could make the hike. I believe that people tend to underestimate poodles, especially such finely conditioned ones as my handsome pair☺ They showed their ‘toughness’ by barking at each dog we encountered along the trail, seeming to say ‘do you want a piece of me?’ No one did.
We finally came upon a series of several small lakes. These were the ‘Dollar Lakes’, I learned later, reviewing the sign upon our return. They were beautiful; I especially liked the small island with picturesque fir tree on one of them, and we took a series of pictures of it from many angles. It was about then that I realized my left ankle was really starting to hurt.
It had been twinging for a while, probably since crossing the snow fields, but I tried to ignore it, hoping it would just go away. There had been no single memorable incidence of twisting or rolling it.
Several return trip hikers assured us that Lake Lamoille was just around the corner, and soon we were gazing on a spectacular panorama of a glacial lake surrounded by snow-clad mountains. I was happy when we arrived at a spot where we could sit and rest for awhile. I removed my left shoe and packed snow around only slightly puffy ankle as we ate our cheese and apples. I don’t know how all this snow remained because it was really hot up there! This was when I regretted leaving the sunscreen behind.
When it was time to leave, I put my shoe back on with great difficulty and needed help to stand. When I put weight on my left foot, the pain was intense. Somehow I had managed to sprain my ankle. UltraDad took the nearly empty pack, took charge of the poodles and handed me his walking stick. Further down the trail, he found me another one. At first I could only go a few steps before I felt like I was going to pass out. I did this several times, but was finally able to keep going for longer stretches. Poor UltraDad would walk ahead with the dogs and wait for me to catch up. This would be our pattern for the 2 miles back. On the way up, I was careful of my shoes, trying to avoid the mud and water. Now I didn’t want to take any extra steps; at one point I slid down a hill of snow rather than try to walk a snowy trail. After awhile it got easier, though the progress was still slow. UDad and the ‘boys’ were infinitely patient.  It was 3:30 when we got back to the car, and now my ankle was really swollen. I immediately zonked out as UltraDad steered the car towards home.
At one point on the trail UltraDad remarked on how pale I looked and remarked curiously, “I think you have a low tolerance for pain.” I couldn’t argue with him. “But,” he continued kindly “that doesn’t make you a bad person.” Thanks for that.
Now after a day of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) it is feeling much better, though still very puffy. I have a cane, crutches and a walking boot (the later two borrowed from a friend). I am feeling sorry that I will miss my early morning walks with my friends. But it was definitely not our typical run of the mill weekend. In fact I think we wil remember this one for a long, long time.

UltraMom the cripple

By UltraMom at 02:53 PM Link to this post here!
2 comment s

  • on August 2nd, 2011 10:46 AM chenoa said:

    Ouch! That sounds very painful to hike 2 miles back on a sprained ankle. Hope it heals quickly!

  • on August 2nd, 2011 03:33 PM UltraBob said:

    Wow, I’m very sorry to hear about your ankle and your low pain threshold, but am glad to have it reconfirmed that you are not a bad person.  I will try to find time sometime soon to fix the image uploading for this site.  I think I broke it when I moved to a server outside of Japan to avoid contributing to the power shortage.  It is nice not having to worry about keeping the server going, but the hosting account I have has some really quirky configuration that I don’t seem to have fully gotten my head around. 

    nerdnote: Not a big fan of Joyent having acquired Textdrive.