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SLES 12 SP3 to SP4: In-place upgrades on Azure

Again the SLES team made this really easy – using zypper and the online update repositories. Less than 15 minutes per server – and a single reboot.

Documentation is at

Accept the recommended upgrade – and read and accept the EULA – and you’re away. For me 240MB download, 156 packages, 10 minutes of install, one reboot.

zypper migration

Available migrations:

    1 | SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP4 x86_64

Genealogy and Family Tree notes–Transportation, marriage, name changes

Another placeholder to keep notes and hints on Family Tree research.

There was a hint that a distant relative had been transported – good contemporary documentation for that fact; but nothing conclusive linking the father to children.

Eventually the route to solve this seems to have been through the wife/mother of children. Unfortunately the data isn’t very clean nor consistent.

  • Transcription errors (and inconsistencies between FindMyPast and Ancestry) on names and birth locations
  • Were they really married? No records of banns, church marriage or any civil records.
  • Name changes as the enumerator takes names; and as general literacy improves during the 19th Century
  • Inconsistent dates of birth – as folk want to seem older/younger/closer in age to their spouse

Backpacking breakfasts–review time

In preparation for hitting the trail – we decided to taste test several dehydrated and freeze dried offerings.

The boy isn’t too keen on oatmeal – and all of the lightweight hiking blogs talk about making your own oatmeal/granola mixes. Time for some other ideas.

I went off to REI and picked up a few ideas. We’ve been fans of the Mountain House camping meals for a while – they are quite salty though. More recently we tried a few of the Good-To-Go meals – which were pretty good.

This was also a great time to check out the camping stoves, teach the boy how to light them – and get the water boiling.


Here are the details. All prices are correct at the time of purchase.

Good-to-Go Oatmeal


This was always going to be hit or miss. The reviews on REI are like Marmite – love it or hate it. Let’s see.


We followed the instructions to the letter. What resulted was a really strange gloop. The smell was kind-of-spicy, kind-of-porridge. The consistency was nutty. The taste was, in our opinion, quite vile. The vegetarian of the house however demolished a bowl after returning from a trail run.



3/10 for taste

2/10 for cost

We won’t be taking this on the trail. A real disappointment.

Backpacker’s Pantry Huevos Rancheros


Ok – I did what quite a few others have done – and picked this up without reading the details. This is dried eggs; not freeze dried and dehydrated cooked eggs. It makes up about 300ml of egg/beans/cheese mix – that then needs cooking up in a pan. Not really backpacking food at all. That being said – it was good.


Following the instructions – this turned out really well. Could have done with a few minutes more to rehydrate the black beans – some were still a little crunchy. With some hot sauce this could be a real hit for car camping.



8/10 for taste

6/10 for cost

Not for the trail – but great for car camping.

Mountain House Scrambled Eggs with Bacon


Reading the reviews and the instructions – there’s a “remove excess water” comment. Urg. Not what we want to be doing in bear country. Again – we followed instructions to the letter.


Very wet. Lots of excess water. Salty bacon too. Strange egg texture. As noted in the REI reviews – it’s unlike scrambled eggs and bacon. We would certainly try this with a tortilla and hot sauce. Concerned about the extra water though.



7/10 for taste

6/10 for cost

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet


Pricier than the rest – but two huge servings. Hash browns, egg, sausage, pepper and onions.


This took a good while to rehydrate – but in the end was worth the wait. It looks a lot like beige gloop – but certainly textures and tastes were good. We think this would be great in a tortilla – and adding some hot sauce really lifted this one.



8/10 for taste

7/10 for cost

This was the best of the four.

Home wifi–upgrade needed?

I’ve been running a set of ASUS wifi routers for a few years – RT-AC66U and RT-AC68U – and using the custom firmware via AsusWRTMerlin

The RT-AC66U has moved out of support – so no new firmware or security updates. The dilemma is what to do next?

Run old RT-AC66U units until they fail – i.e. do nothing.

Update old RT-AC66U units to RT-AC68Us and have a consistent set of routers – i.e. standardise on an older hardware platform.

Update all ASUS routers to something newer and current.

I’m tending toward the former right now – running IPsec, firewall and all of the other pieces seems to be pretty ok for now. In terms of attack surface and ease of access there are softer networks just next door. Not the best answer in my security head – but I’ll keep reviewing prices and hardware.

Genealogy and Family Tree notes

During early 2019 I started researching my family tree.

This post is a series of ongoing notes and updates on various tools, websites and resources I have found useful.

Subscription sites

(UK subscriptions) Useful to cross reference the two different transcriptions for the same events. Typos and interpretations are different. Also Ancestry has a different range of records to Find My Past.

1939 Register is incredibly useful for tracking the locations of 20th Century people – and has mostly accurate dates of birth. Also great for tracking forward looking marriages (changes in unmarried name) and even ending location post marriage in some cases based on NHS location codes.

England Registration Districts mapping (1850 is not 2019!)

Notes: To understand the historical boundaries between e.g. Essex, Middlesex and the overlay of Registration Districts.

Azure, Ubuntu, Minecraft

A quick morning updating the Minecraft server that’s there for private play for the boy.

Ubuntu updates on Azure are actually painless. Minecraft jar update took a few moments.

Happy, patched and back to letting the boy play with his friends.

There are some cool Minecraft 1.13 world seeds here btw

Let’s Encrypt, ACME and SLES – with some Azure and CloudFlare in the mix.

A work in progress. Some notes.

  • Certbot does not run on SLES 12 (GA, SPx)
  • Dehydrated script works well
  • Documentation is patchy

So far:

Dehydrated, install RPM from

To document:

  • How, what, when
  • Setting up cron for renewal
  • Email for renewals
  • Logging


Dehydrated: a bash client for Let’s Encrypt