F1, Networking, Coding, Photography & Minitatures

Networking! Whats that??!! GNS3 Web UI Sit down and chat… December 17, 2019

Ok so got the fire back in my belly. Just completed my CISCO CCENT ICND1 successfully (if a bit rough but more so due to silly little mistakes on simple questions…but I lived and learned).

I’ve been using mainly GNS3 but I’ve heard about a new contender (thats really an older contender just jazzed up and has a paid option – booo!) EVE-NG – formally known as Unetlab.

Now the good thing about EVE-NG is the fact it is web interface. This is very robust, it uses a HTML5 console which is nice (but does make it a little trickier to switch between tabs) also it is bare metal installable, so technically* no OS overhead. (Yes I know It runs on Ubuntu 16.x or something but it has no real overhead like GNS3 does).

Now I’ve also been playing with the GNS3 Web UI. This is a little more rough than EVE-NG, but its clean and straight forward as well. Who ever is designing the UI for both give yourselves a pat on the back.

This brings me to the caveats…GNS3 is still pretty alpha – I think it was only announced as beta recently, and it has one significant draw back which EVE-NG does not. The console. Currently to get a console open for GNS3 Web UI, you can only do it in Ubuntu. You need to go here: and follow the install instructions, this allows you to load a console connection through gnome-terminal from the right click dialog menu when you click a device in the topology.

Now I had to do a lot of digging and even asked the question on the forums, where I got told about that – I still had to try and find it. Luckily google is around!! Obviously this isnt a final software at any stretch, but considering the lack of documentation surrounding GNS3 Web Ui it makes it more difficult than it needs to be.

EVE-NG isnt with out its faults, having to scp/ftp files to the VM or machine its running on is a bit of a pain and very much old school, but once you get it up and running its pretty darn bullet proof. Though you still need to mess around with the command line a little more (which for most of us isnt a problem, but still a pain.

Im eager for the next update to the GNS3 web ui, hopefully it will have a console option that can work in ANY OS/device soon. From a technology stand point both are great, and both have pros and cons (EVE-NG is 2 flavours – paid and community – community seems crippled in some regards, max 68 devices, and only one login at a time. Honestly in most cases it should be enough for most labs, but I’d like to see some more development on the community version as it is DEFINITELY looking good!

Also something I forgot, GNS3 seems only to support chrome at present…

Ok some edits:
First webclient is available for Ubuntu, OS X and Wndows, see here: here, also it is supported in Chrome, Chromium and Firefox.

Been testing in WIndows 10, and it works well. Though a handy hint, if you want to remote into the GNS3 server – ensure the webclient tool is configured with the ip address of the GNS3 server (the external one).

So far so good.

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Categories: networking

Lets talk about THAT match and some fixes… November 4, 2019

Firstly, I want to make this clear, this is not a name and shame of Mitch who flew the quad star vipers to top 4 at worlds. This is more so a discussion on events that transpired and what strategies can be used to defend against it and more so, proposals to combat it.

After reviewing the game that seemed to gain the most ire the top 16 match where Mitch vs’d Duncan Howard, if you listen to the interview from Fly better Podcast, he’s pretty bitter about it. He obviously had to fight his opponent on his opponents terms rather than making the terms more favourable for himself.

It has also been noted that in several instances this should have been raised at the beginning where players were jockying around for position. This, is far as I understand, is normal x-wing.

Eventually Duncan had to push through the rocks to deal with the vipers which suited Mitch obviously much more than Duncan.

This is part of the game, we try to get our opponent to engage on our terms, not theirs. This is X-wing 101. As we have a better chance of doing damage and/or killing opposing ships if we engage on our terms.

Anyways, how can we enforce engagement with out breaking the fundamental elements of the game?

I feel there is several aspects we need to investigate to balance the game out.

Firstly obstacles. I feel being able to place them outside of r1 of the non deploying sides is a good start, allowing a bigger area to field them, and thus more tactical space for some lists.

Secondly making final salvo less of an issue. At the moment this seems to be the most problematic issue thats causing grief amongst players, especially builds with large amount of final salvo dice. It shouldnt be a win condition. The way around that? Simple, if points are tied at the end of the match, you roll attack dice to the value of the destroyed ships (ie if player a destroyed 3 2 attack ships and the opponent killed 1 3 dice ship and points were tied, the opponent would get 3 dice, and player a would get 6).

Now this obviously favours smaller ship builds, but I feel it would be a push in the right direction.

Thirdly, bids. This will probably be the other contentious point I will make – bids need to be eliminated, they are effectively safe points for the player running the bid, and as we have seen, running a bid can be a strong thing to do.

What I suggest is with bids, at the end of the game, each players bid gets added to their opponents final score, if they scored points. If a player didnt score points then they dont score any of the bid points. This will prevent issues with players who got 200-0’d getting points they dindt earn.

Finally, I feel X-wing needs to take a good look and possibly include objective based games into the tournament format. This will encourage alternate builds not just the pure efficiency lists we have come to expect at the top tables.

I feel these things could encourage more engagements, and open the field up of played ships. While the meta is in a pretty good spot, I feel it could be improved to eliminate the current gripes still being fielded at present.

So far though I do think FFG are doing a good job, but with the addition of the above we could push the game even further.

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Categories: tournament xwing

Grand Moff Tarkin…our new overlord? October 28, 2019

Today a post in the x-wing minis rule group prompted something in my head. It wasnt until I got home had the seeds it planted bloomed. And hence this post.

Extended has the lot, but there is one card Im some what surprised no one has really thought about fully.

Im talking about Grand Moff Tarkin.

By himself he doesnt seem like much, but when you put some other pieces of the puzzle together all of a sudden he becomes very meta worthy. Why and how you ask? Let me elaborate.

X-wing is as much about manouvring as it is about list building and action economy (also called comboing).

At the moment Extended imperials make very strong use of Jendon for various ships (usually inquisitors of late) to gain early locks so they can be fully moded when the dice start get thrown.

However, lately krennic has been thrown into the mix as his ability grants a lock on the action bar of the ship he is travelling on and also assigning optimized prototype to a ship (which is really good at stripping shields or flipping damage cards).

Now the key part here is Krennic adds a lock to the action bar, which then allows you to take tarkin. As a combo it is very very strong.

Why is it strong you ask? The answer is simple, action economy. THe one drawback inquisitors have is some times they need to do a lock action at an in-oppertune time, and this can cost them the evade they may normally of taken.

Using tarkin, with a bit of forethought can yield excellent results allowing you to get locks on a new ship every couple of turns, with out expending the action for it.

Acquire is a wonderful word in x-wing vocabularly.

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Why I suck at X-wing! September 4, 2019

So, had the biggest X-Wing in australia last weekend. Been decompressing for the last few days, and finally Im going to write about it.

Im not going to bother writing about my wins, I will say I went 5-1 on the first day, I had arguably the worst MOV out of the top cut, and possibly even the top 100. All my games went to time, with me ahead by a MOV of between 10 and 50.

(I also dont remember much of what I played against except for the first game which was a bit of rebel beef – Norra [Arc], Dutch, Blount and something else. The loss vs a kiwi playing 2x Sigma Phantoms w/ Juke, and rex with Juke [and I think tractor too], and Rick playing his usual Resistance Beef [Pava, Wexley, bastian and Finn].)

The game Im going to look at is my loss in the top 16 vs Morgan Reid.

Now playing Morgan for my first time was slightly intimidating, but it left me a bit if a taste in my mouth I didnt like. (It was the only time the whole weekend I got angry – and thats a story for another time).

I lost the game probably from the start, and there was 2 mistakes:

1) My deployment sucked, I stuck with the corner, where I should have deployed in the middle.
2) I swapped locks from one of his inquisitors to soontir.

This is where you go: “god you’re an idiot heath”, and yes you’d be correct. The win condition here was Jendon w/ Krennic. Krennic’s condition card with soontir is plain dirty, and can mean even if soontir wiffs, he will still likely do a shield or flip a face down card.

Understanding the impact of a condition card like Krennic’s can make or break a game.

As Duke once said: “Knowing is half the battle”.

If I had played this game again, I think given my better understanding of it, I would easily go after jendon first. Dropping his jendon would give me an advantage. Secondly, I would shelter the ship he locked first allowing me some extra time to drop Jendon and break that all important lock.

The moral of the story is this folks, make sure you have a thorough understanding of what gear your opponent is running. Make informed decisions around it, as it can make or break you in the game.

As I said before, I arguably lost this game at the start, but, even with my shitty deployment I still could have pulled it out if I was more careful in regards to what Krennic was going to do.

Morgan played well, so full credit to him for sure and deserved the win due to my silliness.

Anyways. I got a huge haul of swag from the Aussie System Open, and Im looking forward to Aussie Nats later in the year. Over all I’m pretty impressed by how far I got. My girls (the inquisitors) were amazing!


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Categories: tournament xwing

The Rise of Finn (and Padme, Teroch, Palob, and Vader [crew]) August 23, 2019

Ahh Finn, “he’s a big deal”. My kinda fella. Also probably going to be seen on x-wing table tops world over (well, till his ability gets neutered by FFG.).

Lets look at him:

His ability states:

“While you defend or perform an attack, you may add 1 blank result, or you may gain 1 strain token to add 1 focus result instead.”

His cost is 29 points, his upgrade slots: Talent, Tech, Mod, and Crew.

Currently there is several builds floating around for him, but most of it centres around this:

Finn + Heroic + Perceptive co-pilot.

Perceptive co-pilot is so good with finn’s ability when it comes to defence it isnt funny. He can become one of the tankiest ships in X-wing, probably only second to Vennie (when fully decked out).

But Finn’s ability isnt just good for defence, its good for offence too. Being able to pretty much reliably push 3 damage out a turn makes him a true threat.

Heroic is probably the best talent to take. If you do go blanks on 2 defence or attack dice, you can add a blank at no cost to yourself and re roll them all (I know its saved my bacon a few times).

When it comes to going further their is 2 trains of thought: Advanced Optics or Pattern Analyzer.

Advanced optics allows you to add a blank to your attack and turn a focus to a hit, but the likely hood of having to spend 2 focus’s during an attack is greater. While Pattern allows you to perform red manoeuvres (even over Asteroids and Gas clouds!!) and still perform an action. This is hugely important as being able to get those focuses means you stay alive longer.

Last but not least, when it comes to choices of mods, you realistically have 3 choices: nothing, Stealth Device, Shield upgrade.

If you want cheap, don’t take any mod. If you want to become tankier, Stealth Device, it can really be useful particularly at the early engagements, where as shield upgrade gives you a little more beef for you’re opponent to chew through, combined with Finn’s ability and 2 evade dice still makes him plenty tanky.

Now for the elephant in the room. His ability. I’ve gone through it a fair bit now, but there is a bit of growing concern about it. Let me explain.

This relates only to defence. When Finn defends, he can gain a strain to add an focus result. However as per the rules reference, once you have defended you lose a strain token. So in actual effect the strain doesnt actually impact you negatively at all. At the moment this is currently how it is being ruled. However, in saying this I fully believe they will update the rules reference after the Australian SoS (system open), to read “after you have defended you may remove a strain token that has not been added during this attack”. Its a clean way of handling it, and I’m some what surprised it hasnt already been implemented.

Ok let’s look into the people who can easily deal with finn, Im not going to go into too much detail as most of them have been around a while now.

Ol’ Teroch. The original token stripper, as long as he is in r1 and his front arc, no tokens for you!

Palob, steal’s tokens while in r0-2 of his arc(s). Only 1 tho!

Vader Crew, its not really a steal but it can force you to spend a focus or take a damage. Not ideal, but definitely annoying.

Lastly Padme. Ahh the lovely Padme. In game terms she’s actually a right royal pain in the backside (hehehehe sorry bad pun!). Her ability limits you to modifying 1 focus result, attacking or defending. So if you come up all eyeballs, you’re outta luck (lock’s cant do it either!!). Padme is actually a big counter to a lot of lists in many ways, however, she is flying an airframe that while pretty good, if cought out can fall over quicker than you can poke a stick at it. Padme deserves her own article and I’ll get one up soon about her. But I predict, Finn and Padme will be in a lot of lists in coming months (and probably a points bump for both too).


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Categories: tournament xwing

Predictions for the X-wing 2.0 June points update June 24, 2019

We’re nearing the bi-annual points update for X-wing 2.0.

Im gonna talk about some points updates I think you might see along with some other changes that might occur (mostly balance updates and slot changes).

Lets talk slot changes first, as this will be minor, but there may be a couple of notable entrants.

The first is Phantoms, particularly the Sigma Squadron ace, money is on they will lose the talent slot. Currently Quad phantoms with juke is a very strong combination still, even after the points adjustment in jan. This should limit the effectiveness of the quad phatoms, 3 with juke build. Likely hood: 70%

Rebel A-wings, Possibly a tech slot. A-wings for rebels are seeing little play, the addition of a tech slot, to make up for the lack of an astromech should go a long way, and make them worth their points cost.

Points changes. Some of these may seem controversial, but take them with a grain of salt.

Generic T65 X-wings -1 point. This will be combo’d with S-foils going up to 1 point. This has an added impact of giving the named pilots a slight point increase if you want to take the ability to boost in an x-wing. (maybe a few of the named pilots that dont have the Name Wedge or Luke) will probably go down a point too).

Every large ship that isnt Han or rey (or the imperial shuttle) down 1-2 points across the board.

pretty much all scum ships aside from the firespray, quadrajet and fang fighter down 1-2 points.

I feel inertial upgrades will go up a point to 2, may be 3 (or be variable based on ship size (1/2/3 – small/medium/large).

Swarm tactics will be initiative scaled (ala squad leader), probably most expensive PS6 at 6-8 points.

Leia up to 4-5 points (6 is max).

R2D2 crew up to 9.

Redline Down 1-2 points

E-wings 2-3 points across the board.

CLT for Delta-7s down by half.

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The good, bad and ugly of the Republic Jedi April 8, 2019

Ok, so the Republic has been around now for a couple weeks pretty much, the Jedi are starting to become regular occurrences on the battlefield.

Heres my guide to the good, bad and ugly of the jedi.

Lets start with the ugly…

Bariss Offee, has an aggressive based ability, with the ability to turn a focus to a hit or a hit to a crit, but only has 1 force point. Making his ability not really worth it at all. 4 more points than a generic jedi, is hardly worth it.

To be honest Bariss is the only jedi that really stands out as being ugly to be fair, the others may be bad, but not so bad as they become ugly.

Lets look at the list of “bad” jedi (this will be in order from bad to ok):

Luminara Unduli, her ability will trigger more than her opposite in Bariss, however, it is still relatively situational and only 2 force charges makes it fairly impotent. It can work in some lists, but even then if you are lucky.

Plo Koon, his ability in taking one of your friendly ships orange tokens or giving a friendly ship a green token that he has, is alright, but not that great. Like Bariss and Luminara, the ability is situational at best. Also his price point given his ability is probably a tad too high also works against him. His only saving grace is the fact he is PS5.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Obi-wan’s ability is as far as im concerned one of the best in the game hands down. He effectively has infinite focus’s for himself, or allow a high ps ace to spend a focus and regain it for defensive purposes would make a big difference. However, it just doesnt seem as efficient as some of the others who arguably have slightly better abilities for aggressive play. A support jedi while hectically good, just isnt in the play style thats workable at the moment.

Saesee Tiin, this one has a very divided opinion. Saesee depending on your play style can be very good or utterly garbage. I can see it from both sides, but I still dont rate him that well. And the reasoning is simple, If you want to make use of Saesee with higher PS ships, it leads you to be relatively predictable for your placement of Saesee, as he will need to be within 0-2 of the other ship. And a relatively predictable ship is a dead ship, especially vs any good ace player. When Saesee is using the ability for himself it makes him a lot more maneuverable, but to make best use of him, you really need R4.

On to the good.

Generi(c) Jedi Knights, this one is some what borderline good/bad, it really depends on your play style, with 7B, they are solid hitters, that can dart around, naked they arent too bad either, but with CLT, they are a bit sketchy as it is pretty hard to get the right angle on your opponents (particularly higher PS) shi[s with the bullseye to make use of CLT.

Mace Windu, another pilot in the borderline pile. His ability is ok, but his real strength is the fact he is a 3 force point ship, which means he can lock, and not need a focus generally. Or if he evades, he has force points to convert eye ball results reliably in defence. 7B is a good option, as CLT on a PS4 ship would be hard to get off. Plus he is reasonably cheap.

Anakin, well, what to say about anakin, he will drive a new bidding war for sure, but is he really the bees knees of the Jedi, probably not. His ability while good, is actually, not as good as say Nien’s, and its simply because of how it triggers. When you combine anakin with 7B, Afterburners and R4-P17, he becomes a out of this world maneuvering monster (even more so if you whack on supernatural reflexes), but again, he is limited somewhat by his ability.

If you have the bid, CLT is a good option for him, but given that he is PS6, you can get around and avoid being hit more often than not.

Finally Ahsoka, she has proven to be one of the gold standard ships of the republic. up to 3 actions per turn, or giving a friendly ship a bonus action even if stressed. She’s AP5 with some conditions basically. She can lock/focus every turn pretty much, or double reposition and focus/lock as required.

Ahsoka, is arguably the best of the best in all the Jedi, Anakin, could swap places with her depending on who is playing him, but Ahsoka has a far lower entry point to play then any of the other Jedi, maybe aside from Mace.

Anyways, thats enough from me. Hopefully you agree, if you dont, let me know why!


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Categories: tournament xwing

Network Musings March 13, 2019

I’ve been building a robust small network to do my CCNA ICND1 & 2 studies, using my ESXI server to run 4 IOS XRV’s connected to my servers PFsense firewall and virtual tacacs server.

I’ve come up against a bunch of things which have made this not necessarily as straight forward as it should be.

Getting the IOS XRV’s to run took a bit of manhandling, but we got there in the end (hint you need a console connection to them which you need to either have the full Licence for ESXI or configure them somewhere else and import them into ESXI (which I did).

Using IOS XRV for CCNA studies means you need to do things a little differently, as the default doesnt really exist, you need to either use IPV4 or IPV6 when using the appropriate commands.
Good example: assigning an IP address to an interface, in normal IOS you’d use the following:
conf t
int gi0/0
ip add
no shut

In IOS XRv you’d do the following:

conf t
int gi0/0/0/0
ipv4 add
no shut

Also with IOS XRv is follows the trail of JUNOS in that you need to commit your config changes, to prevent issues occurring cause of a bad config change (which we all know is super easy in normal IOS).

In my current network, I have 4 IOS XRvs, each with an interface going to another IOS XRv, a loop back on 1, 2 , and 3, in the netwroks, RIP provides connectivity, this is mostly because ICND1 only really looks at RIP v2. When I progress to ICND2 I’ll activate OSPF.

I installed Open NMS, and a Tacacs server to allow single point of authorisation and authentication, meaning I dont need to set up multiple users on each network element.

I also found because the internal networks live in a different space (network) than the net, we had some issues with TACACs workig correctly. in the end this was found to be the TACACs server not being able to send information back to the routers that sent the request initially even though you could ping and trace route the tacacs server. I added a static route to the nets to the tacacs server and low and behold all the IOS XRv’s can now be authenticated via TACACs.

I’ll have more info coming soon!

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Categories: networking

Back on the CCNA bandwagon…with esxi March 6, 2019

Ok so its been a while since i talked about networking (the computer kind not the people kind), and im a little bit excited to say the least.

Im current going through the icnd1 book and have almost completed it, but rather than use gns3 via a virtualised linux guest on my esxi server i managed to get Cisco’s ios xrv 1000 working properly.

Basically my current topology is pretty limited (just 2 ios xrvs and 2 junos vmxs) but it works.

Theres a couple things i eventually found out particularly with the ios xrv.

First to make it work in esxi you need serial dupport which is only available in the top tier esxi licence.

Secondly ensure you have sufficient memory and resources.

I would suggest once the virtual boxes are configured id set up ssh and tunnel your way into the virtual boxes via that instead. Less headaches that way.

Also another thing to remember the network cards listed in the virtual machine stats wont reflect whats actually there.

For ios xrv the first network card is the management port (but we dont use that one) so the ports start from nic2 on in esxi.

Vmx needs to use the first two interfaces the rest are counted 0 to what ever.

Ill write up another blog detailing the configuration and some tips about both the ciscos and the juniper boxes.

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The Y-wing is coming for you March 4, 2019

The unassuming Y-wing, hardly the pinnacle of firepower or manoeuvrability, has started to become pretty prevalent.

There’s a few reasons why, and we shall discuss them in turn.

The first is due to the recent points drop, makes them a better value proposition compared to other ships. This means you can fit more of them in, thus having more redundancy and firepower.

The next is the fact for a min of 31 points you can have an 8 health ship. Points to health wise, its probably one of the best, points to resiliency probably a ship or two behind the dreaded Defender.

Also the ship can take a variety of upgrades to make it very efficient for the points cost. The most common is taking Ion Cannon Turret (4 points) and Veteran Turret Gunner (6 points), making for a double shotting base y-wing (gray squadron bomber or cryomorah goons) 41 points. Thats a pretty offensive punch for a small point cost (comparatively).

Another feature is also the fact they can take bombs (sorry devices), combined with the prior reason, you have a strong combination to do some damage and then roll the enemy ship into a proton bomb.

With the push towards more resilience based lists over ace type, means that ships like the y-wing are much more in demand.

The Y-wing is a very jousty ship. It wants to joust you. It can take damage, it can put it out. Combined with the Veteran Turret Gunner and Ion Cannon Turret, makes it a very formidable opponent indeed.

How to handle it?

Try to avoid the initial joust!. Sometimes this can be easier said than done, but careful planning of the asteroids, and placing of your ships will help you avoid the initial joust, and get around the sides of the Y-wings. You want to avoid the double tap, and sometimes it may not be possible, but with careful movement planning its possible to mitigate the joust.

Be thankful they dont have FCS.

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Categories: xwing