Project Blog 2018

Yoast SEO Breadcrumbs

I was looking through the Yoast SEO settings and came across ‘breadcrumbs’.  It seems like something I must have, and does not appear difficult to implement. Yoast SEO Breadcrumbs are a navigation aid for the WordPress website, and can be added to the “Theme” of the site.

From the Yoast website:

When Hansel and Gretel went into the woods, Hansel dropped pieces of bread on the ground so they could find their way home if the two of them ever got lost. These breadcrumbs eventually became the model for the breadcrumbs we see on websites nowadays. A breadcrumb is a small text path, often located at the top of a page. On yoast.com, for instance, the path to our Yoast SEO plugin page is Home > Software > WordPress Plugins > Yoast SEO for WordPress. This breadcrumb immediately shows you where you are. Every part of that path is clickable, all the way to the homepage.

Breadcrumbs also appear in Google. If you use Yoast SEO or add the correct form of structured data to your site, search engines can pick up this data and could show your breadcrumbs in the search results. These provide users an easy to understand overview of where the page sits on your site.

I’m in. I carefully typed in the code snippet adding it to the bottom of my theme’s header.php file. This should help improve traffic and site navigation, and help prevent the dreaded “Bounce Rate”

Advantages to using breadcrumbs

There are a couple of advantages to using breadcrumbs on your site. Let’s go over them quickly:

1. Google loves them

Your visitors like breadcrumbs, but Google likes them as well. Breadcrumbs give Google another way of figuring out how your website is structured. In addition to that, Google might use your breadcrumbs to show these in the search results. This way, your search result will at one become much more enticing to users. To increase the chance to get these breadcrumbs in Google, you need to add structured data or use Yoast SEO.

2. They enhance the user experience

People hate to get lost. When confronted with a new location, people often look around in search of recognizable objects or landmarks. The same goes for websites. You need to keep visitors happy and reduce as much friction as possible. Breadcrumbs can help your user experience since it is a well-known interface element that instantly shows people a way out. No need to click the back button!

3. They lower bounce rates

Hardly anyone comes in via the homepage anymore. It’s all organic search nowadays. That means every part of your site could be an entry point. You must come up with a way to guide these visitors to other parts of your site if the selected page does not meet their expectations. Breadcrumbs can lower bounce rates because you’re offering visitors an alternative means of browsing your site. Don’t you think it’s better to send a visitor to your homepage than back to Google?

SSD Storage Options

When I assembled my current lot of PC hardware I decided to install all Solid State Drives. At the time SSD’s were still relatively new, and once I saw how much faster they were than the mechanical drives, I went all in. The time has come to consider more current SSD storage options, as my SATA II 3Gb/s SSD’s are now several years old, and have fallen behind the ‘speed curve’ of  current day SSD technology. I also noticed that the lowest score in my Windows 7 “Experience Index” is the disk data transfer rate @ a 7.0 score. That being said, I’ve started looking into SSD upgrades.

I purchased these Kingston SSDNOW V100 drives circa 2010. At the time I had met a hardware reviewer who would sell the samples he was given once he had finished his reviews. The prices were good enough that I bought a few from him, a couple of 128GB drives and a 64GB drive and converted my two machines to SSD. Whatever mechanical drives I had leftover would be used as backup data drives, where their slow speed wouldn’t matter as much. I run the two 128GB drives in RAID 0 and installed Windows 7 64bit.

SSD Storage Options
My current SSD’s are slow by today’s standards

SSD Storage Options – 2018

A lot has happened in the world of SSD technology since 2010!

I’m researching an SSD storage upgrade compatible with my existing hardware.

At first I was focused on SATA III 2.5″ format, but quickly learned the real speed in SSD technology now lies in NVMe PCIe M.2 drives. I don’t want to replace motherboards (running in rock solid configurations) to accommodate this upgrade, and, lucky for me, it now looks like I won’t have to.

NVMe PCIe M.2

A suitable technology choice has emerged, and much to my surprise, it will not involve much compromise. I’ll explain…

My existing motherboard (of which I have a brand new spare) does not have SATA III, so that immediately eliminated the 2.5″ drives for me. Nor does it have an M.2 connector. (my motherboard is also from 2010) But what it does have is an available PCIe 2.0 x4 slot.

Just as I was wondering how this new drive would fit in the PCIe slot, I found the adapter.

SSD Storage Options
SYBA M.2 PCI-e To PCI-e 3.0 x4 Card Model SI-PEX40110

So the compromise, to call it that, is the PCIe 2.0 x4 slot on my existing motherboard. The SYBA adapter is a PCIe 3.0 device that is compatible with PCIe 2.0 (the reason I’m lucky) I’m also happy to be letting go of the RAID 0 array. It has performed well for me all these 8+ years.

The adapter

Convert M.2 NGFF PCI-e based SSD to work in main board PCI-e x4/8/16 bus slot
PCI Express 3.0 x 4 Lane Host adapter
Movable M.2 NGFF stand-ff and multiple plated-holes supports type 22110, 2280, 2260, 2242, and 2230 SSD
Supports PCI-e 1.0, PCI-e 2.0, and PCI-e 3.0 motherboard
Low Profile Bracket included
Transparent to the OS and no driver required (Plug n Play)

I also have the option of removing a video card from a PCIe x8 slot and putting the drive there if there is any benefit. I’m guessing whatever difference may exist, it would likely be imperceptible to me in day to day use.

wd bLACK VS. SAMSUNG evo 860

The technology pundits have spoken.

Overall, the WD Black is probably the best PCIe SSD Western Digital could have built using their SanDisk planar TLC NAND. It’s clearly a much faster low-end PCIe offering than the Intel SSD 600p despite the latter’s potential advantage from using 3D TLC NAND. The pricing will determine which one is a more sensible purchase.

I’m assuming that the current third-party Amazon sellers charging above MSRP will soon be undercut by retailers selling their stock close to MSRP. The price Western Digital is asking is about 10% higher than what the Intel SSD 600p is currently going for. For users with light to moderate workloads the cheaper 600p will still be plenty fast, but if you have a particularly heavy workload or expect to operate the drive nearly full, the WD Black is probably a worthwhile step up. There are also quite a few options just above the WD Black in price that have a clear performance advantage. Among them the Plextor M8Pe seems to have better pricing and performance than the Patriot Hellfire, but there may be other Phison E7 drives besides the Hellfire that are cheap enough to undercut the M8Pe and be a nicee step up from the WD Black.

WD Black

All things being more or less equal, why pay more? I feel at this point I’ve read enough about both units, and certainly will not perceive the differences in use. So I will save a few dollars and purchase the  Western Digital WDS512G10XOC

Exploring all available SSD storage options was the right approach.

SSD Storage Options
WD Black PCIe SSD 512GB

More later after the drive is installed.

Back To The Front

UPS Back Up Power Supply

UPS Backup Power Supply

It’s hard to believe how many power outages occur in my neighborhood. If it weren’t for the UPS Back Up Power Supply I’d be offline constantly.

From /var/log/apcupsd.events:

  1. 2018-02-04 09:57:52 – Shutdown
  2. 2018-02-14 13:17:10
  3. 2018-02-14 13:20:37
  4. 2018-02-16 10:18:36
  5. 2018-02-16 14:57:37
  6. 2018-02-24 07:41:01
  7. 2018-02-24 07:40:56
  8. 2018-02-27 10:40:40
  9. 2018-03-02 17:41:14
  10. 2018-03-02 17:41:17
  11. 2018-03-02 10:27:48
  12. 2018-03-02 10:27:50
  13. 2018-03-03 07:40:16
  14. 2018-04-05 12:42:52
  15. 2018-04-05 19:07:48 – Shutdown
  16. 2018-04-20 17:11:04 – Shutdown
  17. 2018-05-02 17:40:41
  18. 2018-05-02 17:48:44
  19. 2018-05-11 05:04:17

Finding replacements

Every time the power goes out we’re told that they are “replacing some old equipment in the area”. Needless to say, that excuse is getting pretty old itself. Luckily, these events usually don’t last long, and the UPS successfully keeps everything alive. Of the 19 events since February 2018, three resulted in shutdowns when the UPS battery ran out. Of course, we’re never notified in advance of any of these ‘repairs’ so a UPS Backup Power Supply (or two) are required.

That being said, amateur radio station K6HR currently employs two Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS). The most recent outage revealed that my older UPS, an APC LS 700 is in need of replacement. A quick look at ‘apcaccess’ quickly confirmed it:

APC      : 001,036,0870
DATE     : 2018-05-13 21:23:30 -0700
HOSTNAME : gw.k6hr.ampr.org
VERSION  : 3.14.14 (31 May 2016) debian
UPSNAME  : apc700
CABLE    : USB Cable
DRIVER   : USB UPS Driver
UPSMODE  : Stand Alone
STARTTIME: 2018-05-12 11:10:33 -0700
MODEL    : Back-UPS LS 700
STATUS   : LOWBATT
LINEV    : 114.0 Volts
LOADPCT  : 0.0 Percent
BCHARGE  : 0.0 Percent
TIMELEFT : 0.0 Minutes
MBATTCHG : 5 Percent
MINTIMEL : 3 Minutes
MAXTIME  : 0 Seconds
SENSE    : Medium
LOTRANS  : 106.0 Volts
HITRANS  : 133.0 Volts
ALARMDEL : 30 Seconds
BATTV    : 11.7 Volts
LASTXFER : No transfers since turnon
NUMXFERS : 0
TONBATT  : 0 Seconds
CUMONBATT: 0 Seconds
XOFFBATT : N/A
SELFTEST : NO
STATFLAG : 0x05000040
SERIALNO : 3B0726X84715
BATTDATE : 2007-06-30
NOMINV   : 120 Volts
NOMBATTV : 12.0 Volts
NOMPOWER : 410 Watts
FIRMWARE : 19.b5 .D USB FW:b5
END APC  : 2018-05-13 21:23:56 -0700

I could replace the battery in the LS 700, but after 11 years in service, it’s time to upgrade to a more up to date piece of hardware. I will likely relegate the LS 700 to a lower priority application. (i.e. the home entertainment center) since it is still in working condition other than the depleted battery.

CyberPower LX1500GU

I purchased the CyberPower LX1500GU to replace an old APC BackUPS RS 1000 that was also retired due to old age. This CyberPower model met or exceeded the spec, and was within budget. The LX1500GU is rated for 900 Watts, and is currently supporting a 225 Watt load with an estimated runtime of 50 minutes. This UPS supports the main Windows PC and the Astron RS70A that powers all the  12 volt radio equipment.

CyberPower LX1500GU
CyberPower LX1500GU

APC BX1500M

Why not another CyberPower LX1500GU? Logical question. The simple answer is ‘apcupsd’ is currently running on my Ubuntu server, and I prefer to install another APC unit rather than have to research and reconfigure for something else. This new APC BX1500M will be plug and play with my current configuration once I change the ‘UPSNAME parameter.

APC BX1500M
APC BX1500M

This UPS device will support the Ubuntu Server, Router, switch, and one monitor.

There are some fine tutorials available for apcupsd, so I won’t go into it here. This is a quick and dirty version of my current apcupsd config:

apcupsd.conf v1.1

# for apcupsd release 3.14.14 (31 May 2016) – debian

UPSNAME apc700

UPSCABLE usb

UPSTYPE usb DEVICE /dev/usb/hiddev[0-15]
POLLTIME 60
LOCKFILE /var/lock
SCRIPTDIR /etc/apcupsd
PWRFAILDIR /etc/apcupsd
NOLOGINDIR /etc
#
# ======== Configuration parameters used during power failures ==========
#
ONBATTERYDELAY 6
BATTERYLEVEL 5
MINUTES 3
TIMEOUT 0
ANNOY 300
ANNOYDELAY 60
NOLOGON disable
KILLDELAY 0
#
# ==== Configuration statements for Network Information Server ====
#
NETSERVER on
NISIP 0.0.0.0
NISPORT 3551
EVENTSFILE /var/log/apcupsd.events
EVENTSFILEMAX 10
#
# ========== Configuration statements used if sharing =============
#                               a UPS with more than one machine
#
UPSCLASS standalone
UPSMODE disable
#
# ===== Configuration statements to control apcupsd system logging ========
#
STATTIME 0
STATFILE /var/log/apcupsd.status
LOGSTATS off
DATATIME 0

Back to the Front