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Aaron Fisher - Profile picture

Aaron Fisher

Developer from the UK, currently making cool stuff at The Outlook Creative Group.
Podcasting weekly at

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Pi-hole port 53 “address already in use” (Portainer/Docker)

I’ve been setting up Portainer (Docker) on an Intel NUC running Ubuntu but came across an issue when trying to get Pi-hole installed with a port 53 error.

This post is mostly for my own future reference but I thought I’d put it here in case it helps anyone else.

When deploying Pi-hole in docker (in my case through Portainer), if you get an error along the lines of “pihole 53 portainer bind: address already in use” then this may help.

First off, you can check if anything is running on port 53 with the following:

sudo lsof -i tcp:53

in my case I could see “systemd-resolved” was listening on this port (I’m assuming this is the systems internal DNS resolver?) and after some digging I found you can disable it with the following:

sudo systemctl disable systemd-resolved.service
sudo systemctl stop systemd-resolved

This solved my issue with deploying Pi-hole….but created another one, I could no longer resolve any Docker tags as I’d get a DNS error (“Temporary failure in name resolution”).

Turns out, disabling the internal DNS resolver will break DNS resolution, who would have guessed?! My solution was to set the nameserver to be my local DNS server (my Pi-hole in this case), I’d imagine you could set this to be Cloudflare ( or Google ( etc. too.

sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf

Mine was set to by default, you can then change “nameserver” to the address of your choice.

My Ford Focus, complete with an indoor swimming pool!

I know everyone raves about inbuilt swimming pools but having one in my car is just not for me.

A number of years back I started to notice that it was taking longer and longer to clear my windows (on the inside) during the winter months and that it wasn’t just the “normal fog” you get but full blown condensation that had to be wiped away. Well, it turns out that Ford decided to give everyone who owns a MK3 Ford Focus the non-optional extra of having a swimming pool build up in the spare wheel well whenever it rains, I know right?! How nice of them! After some digging online it seems that the rear vents behind the bumper that allow air to escape the cabin also allow water in. Water would build up in the cavity behind them and then overflow into the rear of the car and if you were really unlucky it would overflow from the boot and down under the rear seats and under the floor. Luckily for me mine never got quite that far!

If you crawl up under the rear of the car, there are two bungs (one on each side), pull those out and they basically act like drain plugs. The first couple of times I did mine water poured everywhere, I eventually found that until I could permanently solve the issue I was best just leaving them undone (or I would duck tape over them if I was expecting to drive a lot in the rain) allowing the water that flowed in to flow right back out again.

After the latest round of winter I decided it was finally time to whip the rear bumper off and seal these vents once and for all (or at least I hope so). Getting the bumper off was rather easy, the biggest issue was the wiring harness for the rear parking sensors as it was brittle/stuck solid! Once the bumper was off it was just a case of removing the 4 vents (not the easiest of tasks but taking the smaller rear ones off first will allow you to get your hand in and release the larger ones from the inside). Cleaned up any left over water inside, filled it with some cavity wax and then applied some water proof silicone all around the vents essentially glueing them back on. Let’s hope it holds!

The problem seemed to be the poor seal these vents have with the bodywork of the car, they move/rattle around. It looks like the plastic/rubber seal may have once held tight against the car but overtime, as it dries out, less so. With this poor seal, the water that runs around the boot, behind the rear lights and down over these vents ends up just running inside.

My inbuilt swimming pool and yes, that’s mould, lovely right? ????
…all cleaned up and left to dry/air
The offending vents removed ready for some silicone
The vents re-applied with a generous helping of silicone

Moral of the story? If you own a MK3 Ford Focus and you find the inside of the car is oddly damp during the rainy season, take a look in your spare wheel well and see if you have any water build up.

App: Balance Lock

I’m not sure when the problem started but 9 times out of 10 when I re-connect my Caldigit Thunderbolt to my M1 MacBook Air, the audio balance will move to a random position between the left and right and yes, before you ask, I don’t get it either. Every time I have to jump into System Preferences and re-adjust, until today! Came across this simple little app called “Balance Lock” and it does exactly what it says on the tin, it keeps your audio balanced to a custom setting (in my case, the middle). I’ve been using it for a few days and every time I’ve re-connected my MacBook to the dock in the morning, I’ve gotten a little notification to say it’s re-balanced my audio, perfect!

This Blog Is Now Powered by Nuxt/Tailwind!

I’m a huge fan of WordPress but it was time to make a change for when it comes to my personal blog, so I decided to make the jump to Nuxt / Tailwind. My first time using either in anger and it’s safe to say I’m a fan! Both were super easy to get started with and I finally understand what people have been telling me for years ????

For those interested I’m using nuxt-content outputted as a static site, meaning it converts all my markdown files (blog posts) to HTML whenever I update the site. The site is deployed via GitHub Actions, during which the nuxt generate command is run to create the static version of the site which is then copied to the server.

App: MonitorControl

This may seem really trivial, but one of the things I’ve missed from the all-in-one iMac is the ability to control the display brightness from within the OS and more specifically, the keyboard. Didn’t even think to see if it was possible to do with non-Apple external displays as I thought it was some hardware/software magic until I saw a comment on Reddit mentioning the app “MonitorControl”.

This is another app that “does what it says on the tin”, it allows you to control the brightness (and volume if you’re using the built-in sound) of your external monitor right from within macOS using the same native controls that the MacBook and built-in displays have access to.

Download it, open it up, grant it permissions in System Preferences and away you go. If you have an Apple keyboard the brightness keys (F1/F2) should start working immediately and if you have a third party keyboard, or you just want to change the binding, it gives you custom options as well.

Obviously your mileage may vary when it comes to display support.

Download here (Github)

MonitorControl app screenshot showing the preferences pane.

Disable the power LED on a Raspberry Pi 4

For so long it didn’t even occur to me that you could possibly turn off the power LED on the Pi at all, so it just sat there like an ominous dark glow lighting up the room every night.

Did some digging (my early Google searches revealed everyone has a different way of solving this issue, most of which don’t seem to work any more on a newer Pi) and came across this StackOverflow answer.

To summarise, if you want to turn off the LED:

sudo su
echo none > /sys/class/leds/led1/trigger

If you want to turn it back on:

sudo su
echo default-on > /sys/class/leds/led1/trigger

The only issue I’ve had so far is that it’s not persistent when rebooting, so if anyone has a solution for this, please let me know!

For an older Pi

I haven’t checked this myself, but I believe on older Pis you can re-enter the raspi-config and disable the LED’s in there. This option is still present on the Pi 4 but once you enter it, you’ll get a notice saying it’s unavailable.

Best of 2021


The Backyard Adventurer by Beau Miles

Beau Miles quickly became one of my favourite content creators over the past couple of years, one of those “drop everything, there’s a new video” type.

This book goes hand in hand with his YouTube channel and gives further insights into some of the things he’s done in videos. I highly recommend going through his channel and watching…well everything because it’s great…before reading it.

I read the book as there was no audio book at the time, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t read it in his voice in my head. I’ve now purchased the audio book and plan on re-visiting it very soon!

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

I think by now everyone knows the story of Theranos but prior to reading this I had no idea who they were or what they did, boy was I in for a story!

I think I found this on Bill Gate’s reading list and from what I remember he called it a “page turner” and he absolutely was not wrong.

The audio book “Thicker Than Water” gets an honourable mention here too, it’s a great subsequent read from someone on the inside.

Honourable mentions


WorkOutdoors for the Apple Watch

If you have an Apple Watch and you’re looking for something more than just the built in Workouts app then this is a game changer.

For me it gets the most use with walking and running, but it can handle pretty much any activity under the sun. I especially love it for running as I can put my interval schedules in and I’ll just get a tap on the wrist or a ping in my AirPods (connected to the watch) when it’s time to move on to the next interval.

It’s about £5 so not cheap (funny how we’ve become contempt with dropping £400 on a watch or £1000 on a phone and then deem £5 for an app “expensive” ????) but it is absolutely worth every penny.


I’ve spent the past few years re-building up my CD collection for various reasons, partly because there is something to owning your music in at least CD quality, partly because I built a 256GB iPod Video and a big factor has been some things randomly disappearing from streaming services.

In that same time I’ve also been looking for a way of playing everything, pointless having a collection if you can’t actually play it. This journey had reminded me just how bad iTunes had become over the last few years of it’s life, so that was out of the question. A few basic requirements of mine were; it needed to work cross-device and ideally I would like to manage the file structure of the music (i.e. not have the app doing it for me).

PlexAmp was the best solution by far, it meets both of the requirements and then some. A small catch is it requires a “Plex Pass” at £3/month but that’s absolutely worth it to support the development of Plex/PlexAmp. I’ve got a Plex server running on my old Mac Mini and all my Music is then stored on my Synology. I’ve got a funky (but working) way of getting music to my iPod and still having it work wit Last FM, which I’ll cover in another post at some point.


Lifeforms by Angels and Airwaves

This is an easy one and it’s not even close. The last Angels and Airwaves album came out in 2014 so it’s safe to say this one was log awaited, but it absolutely did not disappoint.

A great mix of the classic AVA sound and with some modern twists. It’s tough, but I think “Losing my Mind” is my favourite….this week.

All being well, off to see them in March on tour, hyped!

Cry Forever by Amy Shark

Amy Shark nailed “the tricky second album” as this one is arguably even better than the first (which is fantastic).

C’MON features what might be Travis Barker’s most subdued drum track, but somehow it just works perfectly.

UK tour when?!

Honourable mentions

TV & Film

Honestly there’s not a whole lot this year that really stood out to me in the TV & Film category, obviously a lot of things have been on hold/delayed so it hardly comes as a surprise. I’ve recently enjoyed Hawkeye on Disney+, the Black Widow film was pretty good too but other than that, I can’t think of anything that really stood out to me.

General Magic (Documentary)

I actually think this came out before this year but anyway, I watched it this year and really enjoyed it. Offers a great insight into General Magic ad a really interesting look back at technology development at the time, so much of the stuff we take for granted today and where it came from/started.

Happy new year everyone and here’s to a better 2022 ????

Happy 20th birthday iPod!

20 years ago today Apple announced the iPod to the world. I still remember getting my first iPod (the original Shuffle), such a game changing device at the time. After that I moved to the 3rd Generation Nano (The red one pictured above) and then on to the iPod touch (2nd and 4th Generations, bottom right). Since then I’ve gone on to collect a bunch more and even dabbled in bringing my 5th Gen into the modern world by swapping out the ailing 80GB Hard Drive for a 256GB SD Card, that’s a lot more than a 1000 songs in your pocket.

Part of me was really hoping Apple would give some kind of nod to the iPod today, considering what a game changer it was for both them and the world but alas. Here’s to the next 20 years!

2004 iMac G5 – Round 2

In my last post I talked about the “new” iMac G5 I’d acquired (knowing something was wrong) that had one of the well known/documented graphics card failures. After making that post I ordered a refurbished motherboard from The Bookyard (vintage Apple heaven) but before fitting it, we thought we’d try heating the chip up to see if re-flowing it would achieve anything, I mean hey, we can’t make it any worse…right?

Well, after a couple of attempts we achieved……nothing. Actually, I think we made it worse? Oh well, on to fitting the new board!

The G5 is an extremely simple machine to work on which is good thing considering how many common faults they have!

From this…
…to this
Out with the old and in with the new

Tadaa! It all works! It booted right into the last users system which was jarring, they’d left everything on there. It was very clearly a family computer that at one point just got parked (when the chip went bad I assume).

Around this time was when I remembered it’s not (easily) possible to boot PowerPC Macs from USB and considering the SuperDrive in this just seem to keep spitting the disks back out, I had to employ the use of one of our iMac G4s and head into Target Disk Mode. See! Hoarding all these old Macs does have its uses!