Monitoring pfSense WAN Uptime with Uptime Robot

I have had a few problems with my pfSense firewalls losing their internet connection and not finding out about it until I get a panicked call or text from someone.  Nine times out of ten this is caused by the ISP going down or their modem crashing.  I have successfully turned on email notifications from within pfSense and this is helpful to let me know that a connection has gone down and to send me daily reports.  The problem with this is that only a few locations have more than one WAN, and I won’t get an alert if the only internet connection goes down.

Easy Solutions

I happened upon a post on Nothing to IT detailing how to use Uptime Robot.  Uptime Robot is a free service that will ping your firewall every five minutes and send an email or app alert to inform you when it goes down.  The paid service can check every minute for only $5.50 a month or $54.00 a year.  If for some reason, you want a longer interval, the service can check at longer intervals, up to 24 hours between pings.


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Posted in pfSense, Random Technology

Turning on Email Notifications in pfSense

Over the last few days I was trying to VPN into the pfSense firewall that I had setup a dual WAN on.  For some reason I wasn’t able to, but the school never sent a complaint that something was wrong with the internet.  It turns out the modem had crashed and needed a reboot (Ahh Comcast…), but the second internet connection prevented anyone from knowing that.


Packet loss showing how long the connection had been down for

To prevent this from happening again, I finally turned on email notifications to get an alert the next time the gateway went down.

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Posted in pfSense

Replacing 1991 Isuzu Trooper Shocks Without Removing the Tires

I have needed to replace my shocks on my 1991 Isuzu Trooper for several weeks now and didn’t get around to it.  They have been making a hissing sound when I go over bumps and the ride has gotten noticeably worse.  If you aren’t quite sure how shock absorbers affect your car’s ride, this video from the 1930’s does a really good job of breaking it down:

Then I helped a friend replace most of his suspension on his VW GTI and that gave me the boost to finally make it happen!  Since I had just put my jack away, I decided to see if I could do the work with the tires still on.


The installed shock

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Posted in Isuzu

Proxmox Virtualization Server Part 1: AMD Athlon 5370 Mini-ITX

Setting up a cheap and low-cost home virtualization server for Proxmox.


I have used Proxmox at work for setting up small servers and liked the fact that it was free and seemed to “just work” without much hassle.  Currently there are three Raspberry Pi’s for file serving, downloading, and streaming content over my local network and I wanted to add a Plex server, Zoneminder, and Nextcloud.  I also like to try out new ideas and virtualizing makes this very easy to quickly try something out and delete it if I realize it’s not what I’m looking for.

Purchase List

I was shooting for a budget of under $300 and almost made it.  At work I’ve installed several used HP Proliant DL360 G6 Servers with 24 cores and they are plenty fast, but use more power than most of my house, and sound like a Harrier taking off.  I looked into Intel processors, but didn’t think the cost justified the horsepower and wanted something fairly low-power too.  I found out that AMD had just released a new Athlon 5370 APU that had a maximum TDP of 25 Watts and had enough power to run Plex transcoding @ 1080p with some room to spare.

Not a bad score for $53

Not a bad score for $53

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Posted in Random Technology

Magpul SGA Stock on Mossberg 500

I wanted a relatively cheap shotgun to use for shooting slugs and also doing some skeet, so I purchased a Big 5 model Mossberg 500 on sale for around $300.  This one came with an 18.5″ barrel and a 28″ barrel, but is one of the cheaper options that has a hollow plastic buttstock and one-piece fore end.  This makes shooting it a little uncomfortable and it has a very hollow, cheap feel to it.  I upgraded to a Magpul SGA and made some small modifications for comfort.

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Posted in Shooting

DIY Brass Wet Tumbler

To save around $100, I tried to make a wet brass tumbler myself.  I might take another stab at a direct drive model in the future, but the belt drive works well enough for now.20161105_171435 Read more ›

Posted in Shooting

FTP Server Behind pfSense

Setting up a FTP server behind a pfSense firewall to allow remote backups and uploads.

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Posted in pfSense, Random Technology

Kreg Mini DIY Jig

A much cheaper way to cut pocket holes with a Kreg Mini jig.
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Posted in Home Projects