Notes by Akhil Saji

Fast way to merge MP3 files together

This is a quick tutorial on merging mp3 files together. Like many seemingly trivial computing tasks that one would imagine are easy to perform in the year 2021 this is remarkably not easy to do. This is the fastest route I discovered and I hope it's helpful.

1. Brew
2. MacOS

Open terminal or iTerm and run brew install -v mp3wrap id3lib ffmpeg to install all the required packages

Run mp3wrap temp.mp3 combinedme1.mp3 combineme2.mp3 ... (... can include as many mp3 files as you need to combine)

Next run ffmpeg to copy the mp3s together into a single file ffmpeg -i temp.mp3 -acodec copy combined.mp3

Now copy your tags over from the first mp3 file id3cp combineme1.mp3 combined.mp3

Delete the temporary files rm temp.mp3

Now you have a neatly combined combined.mp3. If you wish to edit the metadata of the mp3 I recommend using Squeed.

The importance of VPN

The importance of having access to a VPN recently dawned on me as I noticed several of the WiFi networks I rely on (primarily at work) block access to several critical tools including e-mail, Google Drive and even certain academic websites that are likely deemed traffic hungry. One way to easily bypass this conundrum is to create your own VPN on a virtual private server of your choosing. I purchased a cheap KVM VPS at starting at $2.00/month. Next, load up your favorite Linux OS (I usually opt for Debian or Ubuntu) and use the PiVPN script to install OpenVPN or WireGuard.

The PiVPN script was designed for Raspiberry Pi's however; easily works on any x86 Linux box. Make sure you have curl installed and run curl -L | bash to run the script. If you opt for OpenVPN like I did, you can add VPN profiles using pivpn add. The location of the configuration file will be shown and you can download the VPN configuration file using SCP. For MacOS I recommend using Tunnelblick as a VPN client.

Intake Fan Mod for Dell PowerEdge T20

I purchased the Dell PowerEdge T20 several years ago for an Unraid server build that I use to back up my data. One of the unfortunate design flaws of this system is the lack of an intake fan for system and specifically hard drive cooling. I had completed this mod around 2016; however, recently I had noticed that my unraid hard drive temperatures were consistently in the 102-110 Farenheight range when they had previously been much lower. I suspected that the intake fan I had installed several years ago had failed and decided to replace it. I also remembered that when I had originally purchased this unit I recall several people online looking for ways to do this exact mod so I decided to take a picture and post instructions on how to do this.

The fan I am using is the Cooler Master Sleeve Bearing 80mm Slim Fan. Installation is fairly straight forward, after removing the front panel, use either adhesive such as 3M double-sided tape or high strength string to tie the fan in place (see below). Either option works- I had originally used double-sided tape but this time opted to use suture material I had handy. After installation my temperatures returned to 92-95 Farenheight.