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03/24/2002    -{ Big Screen Lust }-

Well, it looks like we're back up, at least to some degree. I managed to convince Tom to head in to the colo and open it up for me, so I could look at the box. It looked like a random crash, and booted up just fine after hitting the big red button. I replaced the RAM with some from my workstation (only 384 meg left!) just in case this random lock up (and others in the past) have been cause by bad RAM.

So things are mostly back to quasi-normal, or at least usable. Lets just hope it stays up for more than 24 hours this time!

03/23/2002    -{ "Like a crack monkey with a scalple..." }-

Ok, so friday I finally got the box up, going, with RAID5 all nicely going, various things restored and ready to go. Even put it through a burn in of sorts by copying various people's home directories to my workstation here for burning. I took the box into new west after work and put it in. That night I did some restoring and getting some niggly bits fixed up, figuring that this weekend would be spent slowly restoring things.

This afternoon/evening I log in to do some playing with movable type, and my session freezes solid. No ping, nothing.... a real piss off, as among other things, there's no one at the colo who can get me in, and I have to put the two sysadmins, Tom and Ken, out of there way. I'm sure that this is only marginally less annoying for them than it is for me. I got a hold of Ken this evening, and hopefully he can get me in tomorrow. What completely pisses me off is that I have no idea what is wrong. It could be something like a bad port on the hub, (<fingers crossed>) but I really doubt it. I hope that there's some way to tell what the hell is going on too. I managed to steal a motherboard from Jason, and will throw some ram my my home system in to replace those parts. If it's a random lock up it could be ram, but who knows. It's hard to elminate reasons why without seeing the box of course. I just hope this didn't take any of the hard drives with it, or destroyed any data. There's really no reason for any of it, so something random like a bad motherboard or ram might explain that. Hard to diagnose though :(

So much for having a good weekend.

03/21/2002    -{ Another update }-

Almost done the restore/rebuild, with a few glitches left to work out before I pack it up for transport to the colo tomorrow night.

03/20/2002    -{ update }-

Ok, here's a quickie update: New hardware (case + HDs) have been got, and the hardware is all installed. I have to do some set up still, but the OS has been installed onto another drive, and will be copied across to the new one(s) which will be using software IDE RAID5 on /usr/ and /var/. Root (/) will be a plain old ext2 system (with ext3 journalling extensions) that will be rsynced between the three partitions on the 3 drives daily, for a hot backup, and to prevent problems if the RAID decides to die. After that I just need to copy across my restore file(s) and the system can get back up.

I did loose a lot of db data, as the backups weren't working properly :( One database (mysql) is back to early march and postgres (p2p :( :( :( ) is back to january or something crazy like that. I'm hoping there's an sql dump somewhere, but there may not be. I'm probably going to take this opportunity to convert from phpnuke to movable type as well.

If all goes well for me, I'll have this or at least enough of this so that I can take it back to the co-lo, done by tomorrow. If not, it'll have to be the day after.

I hate hardware, computers, and the internet.

03/18/2002    -{ Merry Christmas! }-

Yet another night wasted on this damn POS machine.

Ok, UFies update for ya'll who care. Looks like the brand new drive I bought at London Drugs less than 3 months ago is pooched. Ever put a marble in a tin can and rattled it around? Well that's the sound the drive makes when it boots up.


Course, the problems may or may not have been compounded by the power supply, which seemed to boot up the drive depending on if other drives were plugged in or not. My trip to Paralynx consisted of swapping cables, watching the bios, swapping IDE controllers, watching the monitor, etc. Wierd stuff that was happening was things like when in the bios I could only go to the BOOT tab, no further... it would lock up on me so I couldn't move around any more (and it didn't even finish drawing the screen I saw later). I could hit CTRL-ALT-DEL to reboot, but not much more. Other things that were weird was the monitor would show up all fuzzy and wierd, as if there was a bad VGA pin or something. There was a bad pin by the way, but the monitor would switch between good and bad reboot to reboot, no touching the cable or the video card. At one point it booted up into this fuzzy video mode, got into the POST, then rebooted, as if it knew it wasn't in the right state.

Messed up.

Mucho thanks to Jay for helping me troubleshoot and steal a hard drive from him to replace the root one that is going to be going back to London Drugs for a refund ASAP. I did drool over the penguin boxes he had, which had real server hardware..... yummy.... good quality stuff. I'll have to see if I can get one off him or figure out how to get a system like that of my own.

Driving back in the snow really, totally sucked :( There were 4 distinct states of snow I encountered between New West and Abbotsford.

  1. No snow. Either cleared by traffic or cleared by trucks. No problem to drive on.
  2. Snow with grooves down to the concrete. Again, not a big deal to drive on, just follow the grooves.
  3. Flat snow. This was a bit worse, with just an even layer of slippery snow across the road, but again, not a huge deal. Just don't stear, brake or hit the gas too hard, and follow the general direction of the road.
  4. Snow with grooves down to snow. This sucked to drive on, as you had a slippery top, with grooves to butt up against the insides of your tires, and a slippery base underneath it. This meant you had to try to follow the grooves, while not steering too hard lest you slip on the under-snow. A few times my car seemed like it just wanted to go sideways towards a ditch (mom, don't read that last sentence k?). No fun at all. I did make it home all right though, as you can tell.

So now it's past 2am, I'm high on cola which I don't drink anymore but did on the way home so I could not fall asleep, and I'm working on rebuilding this damn box again. Lots of fun...

Especially when I factor in the fact that tomorrow morning I'm leaving to go to Comdex with some friends from highschool and college (in the snow, which was still going strong when I got in around 1:30am).... some winner decided that breakfast was in order, so we're meeting at 8am to head out to richmond, to pick up Derf_VW. Yay! Ooooh, only 58 megs to download to update the system. Not too bad... I'm really glad I've got good backups :)

Misc Ramblings While Waiting for Things to Download

  • I have successfully trained my goldfish! Everytime I turn on the desklamp near their bowl I give them food, so whenever it's turned on now, even in the middle of the night like now, when I turn on the light, they shoot to the top of the bowl, and give me little fishy accusing looks when I don't give them food.
  • Ask, or be asked. After a certain point it really doesn't matter which way you go.
  • Looking for good wallpapers that will work with a dual monitor setup of 2560 by 2048 or so. The closest I've found is here, but they are still relatively low res
  • Comdex is going to suck. Comdex has sucked for the last 10 years or so, but the only reason I am going this year is to hang with old friends. The last few years I've either been an exhibitor there, or gone with the minute hope that there'd be something interesting. Sounds like this year will be more of the "Microsoft-comdex," where MS takes over most of the floor space, and then creates "partner pavillions" where MS-ass-kissers get to set up their booth space.
  • Awk, 3am :(

More Misc

Yay! I'm not an idiot! I didn't back up the directory, but I did do what I knew I had to do to keep track of the packages insatlled on the system, and back them up. I didn't just back up /var/lib/dpkg (which would have made sense). I did think one step ahead however :) I would have backed up this data so I could put available and status into a directory, done a "dpkg --get-selections" from it to get a listing of the packages that are installed on it, then used that with "dpkg --set-selections". Well, smart me had the backup script do a --get-selections to start with, so I just have to copy the file to the box that I'm restoring, run --set-selections, and voila!

And I just did that, and it's downloading the new archives now :P~


03/17/2002    -{ Xinerama Heaven }-

This weekend has been slow, kinda. Saturday I got to do manly things like bash nails (and move wheelbarrows full of horseshit around, but lets not dwell on that part k?). Shopping happened as well, which was as sucky as usual, and then went to bed early. This turned out to be a mistake, as I didn't sleep well, and ended up waking up at 6:30 with a cat sitting on my head or whining for attention or something. Ended getting up by 8 or so and by mid-morning... well, hell it was unusual enough to see mid-morning period! I ended up falling asleep on the couch at noon though, not sure why. I hope it doesn't affect my sleep tonight, as it's monday tomorrow which means it's a gym-morning, which could potentially suck.

Hmm..... not much else to say. Oh yea... is down, I don't know why, I assume something wacky happened, hopefully a boot by the guys at paralynx will get it all back up and going. I'll keep ya'll posted.

03/13/2002    -{ There's nothing wrong with killer robots from venus }-

Ok, no bitching from me today! There's a shocker for you eh? Several awsome things happened today!

  • We finally got the project to the Quality Assurance and tech people. This has taken forever, but it's finally in their hands. I'm sure it'll be back in the developers soon enough, for bugs, but at least it's not just us who get to touch it anymore.
  • Found that the S/MIME patch has gone into the mutt CVS tree, which means that (with a bit of diddling) I'm about -><- that close to dumping fuckingnetscape4pointx once and for all.
  • Got a new monitor at work. I've been thinking my eyes were going, and that maybe my monitor at home was looking better than the one at work because it was bigger (mmmmmmm.... 19" flatscreen NEC crt..... mmmm.....), but when I convinced the boss to swap my fuzzy monitor with a better one, the difference was, well, apparent :) This is related to the next good thing that happened to me.
  • While fuzzy, the second monitor is still at my desk, curtesy of a spare video card that SilverStr found for me, meaning, yes baby, Xinerama.

    The "problem" with this is that now I have two monitors on my desk, and my desk is this shape:

    |       |
    |   ____+
    |   |:-)      :-) = me 
    |   |
    and before the monitor would slide nicely into the large area in front of me. Now with two, either they are side by side, both much closer to me than before, or one is slid back, and the other is off on the side of the desk, and I loose the "large desktop" feel. So far I've gone with the side by side method.

    Disadvantage number two is that the top shelf unit of the desk has been removed. I'm still nicely buffered and hidden by the other two units on either side of me, but man, I got a lot of crap! 3 shirts, about 7 stuffed penguins, many many books, manuals, and misc pieces of office equipment! Without a top shelf means I have to actually clean now!

    Minor bitch number three is about Xinerama and the nVidea cards... more specifically, the Geforce2 doesn't play with Xinerama and 3d games :-( It tries to set the video mode for the entire desktop I guess, and it can't, as it only controls half of it. End result is that I have to swap from a Xinerama to non-Xinerama setup when I play quake at work (which isn't as often as to be a pain in the buttocks of course, but if I can find a way to do it without restarting things, I'd be happier).

So that's it, my day, a happy day! And tomorrow I get to sleep in, as I played some good squash this morning :)

03/12/2002    -{ Littering aaaannnnd? Littering aaaannnnd? Littering aaaannnnd... smoking the reefer! }-

Finally figured out what was/is happening with my money. I thought I was just bad with money, and thats why my account doesn't move up as fast as it should have (or not at all).

What was supposed to be happening was 10% was supposed to come off each paycheck every 2 weeks and be moved into a "holding" (RRSP eligable) account at my bank. At the end of the month, that money was supposed to be moved into my RRSP mutual funds.

So after each paycheck, $X, end of the month, $X*2 ($2X) is moved out. That's what was supposed to be happening.

First thing bank dude tells me is that the money is not moving into the mutual funds, but is just sitting in the holding account gaining %0.03 interest or some shit like that.

Lots of piss off there, as I'm not getting my interest, but at least there's a nice chunk of RRSP eligable cash there for this years tax return.

Then he calls back today and says that he was partially wrong, the money was going into the holding account, and the money was going into the mutual funds. However, those two actions were an "and", not a "then". So I've been double billed $4X (not $2X like I was supposed to be) a month for the last year. My nice nest egg in the holding fund (@0.03%) is a mirror of the amount that was moved into my mutual funds.

ARGH! Course, I've yet to get an RRSP receipt for either of those large sums from anyone (though he's getting copies of the one for me, and we only found out about the double billing late this afternoon). Hopefully I have the full story now and enough to figure it all out and resolve things. Good to know that money has not gone missing, and my RRSP contributions will be nice and fat this year (double what I expected in fact), but still, basically I'm losing liquid cash of the equivelant of my rent, or a car payment every month!

On the upside it looks like the new version of the stuff we've been working on is finally ready to hit quality assurance, though there is one tiny feature not yet implemented that I have to fix up quickly.

03/11/2002    -{ Sometimes you have to rebel just for the sake of not being a sheep. }-

First of all a tiny belated birthday to Sonilla of, who hit another birthday sometime yesturday. Hope you had a good one!

Finally got a lazy weekend. Played a lot of Navy Seals - Covert Operations to "evaluate" it, and my initial impressions weren't all that good, but after a while it gained in appeal. Saturday I ended up running around town some, and finally got the duvet dry-cleaned. This removed the cat-pee smell, and also had the added bonus of evenly distributing the inside fluff. Also wandered through the malls to see if anything had changed, and discovered the same 'ol, same 'ol. Met up with solas in London Drugs and we hooked up to play with the OS/X machines they had there. No sign of the new iMacs yet though. I was shocked by the prices of the flat panel LCDs. Someone said they were way down in price, but no chance. Admittedly London Drugs is higher priced than one could get them for, but the cost of a 15" LCD was still in the $800+ range :(

My dream workstation would have two machines, each of the same specs. One would have a Matrox dual head card that would power two 17" (hell, lets make it 19"!) LCD monitors for me to do "real" work on. The other box would have a huge ass 21" CRT that would be used pretty much exclusively for gaming (as CRTs don't have the delays and "ghosting" that LCDs (still) have).

Sunday I pretty much sat on my ass. There was nothing on TV as usual, so I got through some more of Cryptonomicon and played more Navy SEALs. Had dinner with my parents and had an awsome Indian meal (which went nicely with the one I had at the GM restaurant in Maple Ridge Saturday night. They had just gotten back from Bali and Singapore last week, and had some neat stuff, including a very nice (but too cold to wear outside right now) shirt, and chopsticks in a beautifully carved chopstick box. Very snazzy.

This morning had me in a good workout.... 20 min of running at 6.0 left me sweating and out of breath, which, while painful, was good. Tomorrow is a sleep-in day! Whohoooo!

03/04/2002    -{ "The M&M guy is always loosing his lip lock" }-

Well, I won't say it was a bad weekend, but it had it's moments. I don't mind picking parents up from their holiday, it was early in the morning, but hey, I managed to get a lot done on saturday, I didn't sit on my ass all day, got the car washed and set to go in for a bit of maintenance, did some shopping, some cleaning, etc. Saturday night we went to the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" featuring Larry the Cable Guy (I hadn't hard of him either), some guy whose name I don't remember, Bill Engval and (headlining) Jeff Foxworthy. It was a great show, well worth the $50/ticket that I had to pay (bah, ticket master and their "service charges." The best part of the show was the end though (but not how that sounds). At the end of the show the 4 guys came out and told stories. They have been friends for 15 years or so so they basically just sat up there and shot the shit, and got each other to tell funny stories. It was absolutely fantastic, as there is something to say about seeing genuinely funny people doing their thing without going from a script or using their old material. Though I'm sure that it wasn't completely spontanious, it was still great. The two guys I've got albums from (Engval and Foxworthy) recycled some old material, but it was still great.

So that was saturday. A busy morning, evening and day. Sunday will be my saviour though, and let me sleep in.

No such luck.

Sunday started at 7:57am with a call saying "Firefly's horses have escaped, we need you to come and help find them." Arrrrgh. So I was up and out the door in about 3 minutes, and then spent the next couple of hours driving around the backwoods of maple ridge searching for two lost, rather large, horses. Turns out some guy found them late last night and put them in his paddock, with a sign by the road saying "2 Horses Found." After that well, FireflyMom needed us to fix the barn, empty out a trailer, fix some doors, put new hinges and latches on the stalls... you get the picture :) So 6 hours later I am allowed to go home, where I do nothing until laundry that evening (oh, and discovering at 8 that one of the washers is busted and there are 3 loads to go in sucks by the way).

I was thinking of taking monday off simply to get to sleep in :) (I didn't of course :)

A link for dad... do you remember this old beast?