Thu 18 Mar 2021

Cleaning a late 2014 Mac mini

Just before six p.m. I decided to pop open my late 2014 Mac mini to see if I could clean it inside with compressed air. Its fan had been spinning for quite some time non-stop. And even though I had use compressed air on the outside I had the feeling there was still a lot of dust inside and the reason for the fan still spinning noisily.

Dusty inside of a Mac mini late 2014
Dusty inside of a Mac mini late 2014.

I used a plastic gift card to pry open the bottom. A task that was much easier than I had thought; the plastic lid popped off very easy. And then I noticed how much dust bunnies had gathered inside the Mac mini... I could pick up most of it with my hand and used compressed air to blow away the rest.

When I reconnected the Mac mini and turned it on... silence. The dust was really causing the Mac to overheat, and maybe unstable as well, and kept the fan spinning.

Exploiting machine learning pickle files

Many machine learning (ML) models are Python pickle files under the hood, and it makes sense. The use of pickling conserves memory, enables start-and-stop model training, and makes trained models portable (and, thereby, shareable). Pickling is easy to implement, is built into Python without requiring additional dependencies, and supports serialization of custom objects. There’s little doubt about why choosing pickling for persistence is a popular practice among Python programmers and ML practitioners.

Source: Never a dill moment: Exploiting machine learning pickle files, an article by Evan Sultanik.

Reverse Engineering a Docker Image

This started with a consulting snafu: Government organisation A got government organisation B to develop a web application. Government organisation B subcontracted part of the work to somebody. Hosting and maintenance of the project was later contracted out to a private-sector company C. Company C discovered that the subcontracted somebody (who was long gone) had built a custom Docker image and made it a dependency of the build system, but without committing the original Dockerfile. That left company C with a contractual obligation to manage a Docker image they had no source code for. Company C calls me in once in a while to do various things, so doing something about this mystery meat Docker image became my job.

Source: Reverse Engineering a Docker Image, an article by Simon Arneaud.