Archive for October, 2007

Server Woes: Part Two

October 29th, 2007

So, the site has been down a lot lately. Pretty crappy. I’m a cheap guy and have been putting off replacing my UPS for a while now. Basically, even though it’s batteries are old it has always had enough juice in it to smooth over the quick power glitches that happen from time to time. Recently it has failed at that task. I should also add that it was never designed to be used for servers as I’m using it. It was designed for desktop use, a single tower maybe a monitor and a printer…Not three servers, a Raid array and a computer converted into a router. As I type this I’m wondering if it is even really capable of providing enough juice.

Fact of the matter is about every 12 hours it just stops working. I don’t think it’s related to power problems, I think I’ve just managed to fry it. Basically, it just stops sending power through itself and starts beeping. To fix it I have to travel deep into the basement and power cycle it and then power back on all of my servers. It’s a hassle to be sure and every time it happens I wonder if this will be the last time they come back on.

The Road to Mac OS X Leopard

October 22nd, 2007

AppleInsider has been posting a great series of articles about Apple’s upcoming operating system release. They posted one today talking about OS X Leopard Server that is really excellent. They go through the history of Apple’s servers and where they came from right up to present day and what to expect in this upcoming release. If you’d like to read more of their ‘Road to Leopard’ posts just scroll to the bottom of their article, they have links to their other posts there. I can’t find a good way to directly link to a full listing of all of the articles but a search on their site will bring them all up.

Topslakr

Back to My Mac

October 16th, 2007

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Back to My Mac is a feature offered by Apple through thier .Mac service. Up until today we had very few details but now that OS X Leopard has been officially announced the info I so much desired has come pouring in. Basically, everything I had hoped for made it into the final product.

The first part that I was looking for was the ability to easily get files from or send files to my other Macs from anywhere. With Back to my Mac you can do that easily. Once you’re online all of the Macs you have associated with the .Mac service simply show up in the finder window and you can connect to them and get complete access to their files.

OS X Leopard Release!

October 15th, 2007

Apple has announced officially that the new version of Apple’s operating system, OS X, will be available on October 26th. If you buy it in a store you can get it at or after 6pm of that day, if you pre-order online it will arrive, via Fedex, on the 26th.

Yes, I have pre-ordered and will be waiting with bated breath for it to arrive. Apple has of course updated their website with loads of new information about the upcoming OS, you can take a peek at the feature overview or the huge list of 300+ New Features.

I’m obviously pretty excited, but new OS versions will do that to a geek. The OS promises a number of pretty great features that will make my life a lot simpler and that always makes me happy.

One Laptop Per Child

October 10th, 2007

The One Laptop Per Child project is nothing new in the world of us geeks. What is new is that they will soon be available for purchase in North America during a narrow window in November.

If you are not familiar with the project then by all means check it out, it’s pretty amazing. Basically, a group of people got together and decided to put together a super durable machine for children in 3rd world nations. This thing has battery life from 6 hours to 24 depending on use. It had no internal moving parts to break like fans and hard drives. It has a camera, microphone, speakers and wireless built in. It’s able to create a mesh network of computers without the user having to do anything. Power it on and any OLPC machines near you will be connected, if one machine has the internet they will then all have the internet. They are water resistant, you can drop them and then recharge them with a $12 solar panel among other options. They are perfect for kids. The internal flash memory disk can be restored to factory defaults with the push of a button if for any reason your laptop stops working correctly. This could be an issue as every piece of software on the device can be edited right there in real time. It’s going to be an amazing learning tool and best of all dirt cheap.

The Recording Process

October 10th, 2007

When a band first approaches me to record an album the first thing they mention is how they want to record the band playing all at once. It takes everything I have to not roll my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to record the album like that, there are a lot of benefits. It will absolutely give you a better performance over all and a lot more energy, it really does add to the vibe of the record. The problems these days is that bands are much too unrehearsed to actually pull this off.

In order for you to be able to record the album like that the you need to know the songs, perfectly. You need to already know where the bridge is, how long the chorus is ect ect. It’s not easy to memorize a dozen songs and be able to play them perfectly on cue, it takes a lot of effort and work. Just getting the song mapped out and written down is quite a challenge. I’m not in any way trying to belittle the efforts of these bands, I’ve been there. Hell, I am there.

Website Down Time

October 8th, 2007

We are back online. Seems we had a power issue and the servers didn’t come back online when the power was restored. Biggest surprise is that the Thecus N5200 came back online just fine… Didn’t see that one coming!

Topslakr

Blog Enhancements: Header Image Rotation

October 5th, 2007

For a weekend project I’m going to try and get an image rotation for the header working. CodeC11b set this up once before and I’ve been meaning to set it back up. I tried a few months ago but was unsuccessful. We’ll see if I have better luck this time.

The static image with the grass and tractor is great but I have a few other images I’d like to use and it would be a nice thing to keep adding to. I’m always out shooting new pictures and every once in a while I see something that would work pretty well for that sort of short wide format.

This post is basically an apology for anyone who stumbles across the page while I’m still working. I’m way to lazy to do any testing on an offline version of the site so all of my work will show up in real time as I do it. I learned to code HTML when I was in seventh grade and while I did that for a while I never caught the wave of PHP. With any luck I’ll be able to hack my way through it enough to accomplish what I’m trying to do… Wish me Luck

Followup: Thecus N5200 – Perfect in Failure

October 5th, 2007

Right, so 56 days after the massive failure I have another degraded RAID on my hands. This time I didn’t get any emails to tell me about it. Not sure why, I’ll assume the email part is my fault to give Thecus the benefit of the doubt…

I happened to load up the admin website for the device as I’ve gotten into the habit of doing and noticed the Array was degraded. I took a look at the disks and drive 5 was missing. Strange… I took a look at the logs and it showed the array going into a degraded mode but no mention of the drive falling off of the face of the earth. I went down to the basement to take a look at it but the drive looked fine. When I pulled it out of the N5200 it wasn’t spinning but when I slid it back in it spun up just fine.

Update: Thecus N5200 – RAID Repair

October 2nd, 2007

Well, I have to admit: I am one lucky guy. I have been running a truly degraded RAID array since day one of my experience with the N5200. To get up to speed you may want to read my other post about the device: Thecus N5200 Review

So, today my replacement hard drive arrived for a failure I noticed recently. I took a look at the RAID and double checked the reason for the replacement. My #2 drive was showing some bad sectors and was listed as a ‘warning’. Not a failed drive but a drive on the way. Better safe then sorry I thought.

I traveled down the steps into the basement where I keep my servers and pulled out Drive 2. The N5200 freaked out with a bunch of beeps that were immediately followed by the device sending me emails screaming about how the array was dead, data was gone and that I should give up living. My first through was… ‘Wait.. What?’ I mean, isn’t the point of RAID 5 that you can loose a drive and still have all your data? I quickly popped Drive 2 back into the device and check to see if my data was still there. Thankfully it was.

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