As I mentioned in my previous post, we purchased a 2009 Mercury Sable that had been smoked in by the previous owner. The smell of smoke wasn’t horrible, but it was enough to give both Tiff and I sore throats while test driving the car (we’re both sensitive to smoke.) If you’re interested in what we did to eliminate the smoke smell, please read more!
Our beloved 2007 Passat just came up on lease end, which means that it was time to decide if we wanted to keep it, or if it was time to go car shopping.
Read more about our car decision
So I’ve been trying to have some wins in life.. and in the last weeks, I’ve managed to make a few, albeit small ones. I figured I’d post these publicly so all my friends, enemies, and random haters on the ‘net can mock me mercilessly if necessary. ;)
At my day job, we purchased 3 Sun (er, Oracle) 7210’s (part of their ‘Unified Storage’ platform; the machines are X4540’s with their specialized Unified Storage OS) on the recommendation of one of our vendors. The models we purchased contained 48 250gb disks and 32gb memory — no SSD’s. Our intent was to use these for our VM image storage (VM infrastructure is Xen, using LVM-over-iSCSI to the 7210’s.) We planned to install two units in production, one in our DR environment, and to use ZFS replication to have VM disaster recovery bliss.
It’s been a disaster.
Update [2010/02/26]: Sun has really stepped up to the plate and gotten the right people on this issue. I’m not sure if it’s what I posted here, the numerous ex-Sun contacts that I had who pinged people they knew, or the president of our VAR hammering at some of his contacts within Sun/Oracle. I will keep updating as we work towards RCA’s and a resolution.
Update [2010/08/27]: Thanks to some hard work from our reseller and people at Oracle, we were able to return these units a few months ago. I wish we had been able to work through the issues with Oracle, but needed to get something that we could trust online ASAP. For the record, I do think that we probably did receive a “batch” of bad units; I still have not heard from anyone else who has had multiple independent units fail simultaneously as we did. I will also keep comments open here, and encourage anyone who has had great deployments to post a followup – I do believe that there are people that have had great success with these units out there, or else they wouldn’t be selling so well! :) And again, thank you to the hard work from our reseller, and for all the people from Oracle (and those who used to work for Sun but did not move to Oracle) who did their best to help us!
Sarah Anthony of the band The Letter Black singing; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during Skillet’s ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
Sarah Anthony of the band The Letter Black; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during Skillet’s ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
As announced on Florian Haas’s blog, DRBD has been accepted into the mainline Linux kernel, and will be released with 2.6.33. Congratulations to the DRBD team on this major milestone! This will make the lives of all DRBD users much, much easier.
For those of you who are not aware, DRBD is a synchronous block-level replication solution for Linux that allows you to do nifty things like active/active fileservers, active/passive database configurations, and many other nifty solutions. With a commercial add-on called DRBD proxy, it’s possible to do long-distance replication for DR clusters or whatnot. DRBD is also completely filesystem independent.
In any case, if you’ve been hesitating to try DRBD because of the pain of out-of-tree modules, this will no longer be an issue.
Mediacom keeps getting worse and worse. As I’ve mentioned before. Mediacom is my ISP at home. Unfortunately, it’s the only service of reasonable speed at a decent price available for my address.
If you’d like to read a long rant about why Mediacom is EVIL, read more..
One of the things that is nice with the release of Xen Cloud Platform (which I mentioned previously) is Project XVP. As the site mentions, it has four major components – xvp (a VNC proxy to allow you to connect to the console of a VM hosted on XenServer or Xen Cloud Platform), xvpviewer (TightVNC’s Java client extended to support XenServer-specific functions), xvpweb (a simple web interface to manage your VM’s), and xvpdiscover (an app to build a config file suitable for xvpweb and xvp.)
Google recently launched a new Public DNS resolution service. I’m very excited to see this.. the most commonly-used public resolver up until now has been OpenDNS, which works fairly well, but has some features that I do not likely — namely, it will (by default) redirect any requests for non-existing domains to a host on their network, which will then reply to web pages with a pretty “This doesn’t exist” page. However, this can cause havoc for other services, such as SMTP. They will also attempt to auto-correct mistyped domains, which is handy, but just gives me the creeps. All of this can be disabled, but to do that, you have to sign up for an account with them, and register whatever IP you happen to be on. Pain in the rear. And it also gives them the ability to track your queries to a username, although you can ‘disable’ that feature too.
This is Lucky Ehrlich – a black and tan Cavalier King Charles spaniel who stayed with us for a few days while their son was being born.
On my previous post, I mentioned that we were debating making the switch from a PPO to an HSA. Thanks to all who commented! We’ve decided to go the HSA route, and what’s more, we’ve decided to use the option to roll over funds from an IRA to the HSA (we are contributing the maximum contribution for 2010 via the IRA transfer.)
John Cooper of the band Skillet; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during the ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
Non-silhouette shot of John Cooper of the band Skillet playing his bass in front of the pyro. Skillet’s use of pyro is great – not overly distracting, and very well timed to the music. You can also see some of his ‘Forgiven’ tattoo on his left forearm.. at some point I’d like to get a similar one. ;) If anyone knows what kind of guitar his bass is, I’d love to know – it’s gorgeous!
Silhouette of Ben Kasica of the band Skillet; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during the ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
Once again, Skillet loves pyro. Here’s a shot of their lead guitarist, Ben Kasica, with fire in the background.
Korey Cooper of the band Skillet; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during the ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
Korey is Skillet’s keyboardist, backup guitarist, and backing vocalist. In other words, she stays busy on the stage! She’s very hard to get pictures of, as she never stays still for more than about a second! I was able to get a few decent shots though.
Jen Ledger of the band Skillet; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during the ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
Ben Kasica of the band Skillet; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during the ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
As I’m sure my regular readers have noticed (and as I mentioned here), my site has undergone a redesign. Instead of having my articles sections managed via a custom (and ancient) php mini-framework that I wrote many years ago, I’ve imported everything into WordPress. This means that people can now leave comments on all pages, and that I can apply updates in a much easier way. Plus, it allows for easier site-wide changes, etc.
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I decided to try out a so-called “premium” theme for WordPress, as they are supposed to have more features than the free ones (although that is debatable), and more importantly to me, it should be possible to do more things without any customization (again – my goal here is to keep it as easy as possible to maintain this site.) They are also relatively inexpensive. At first, I switched to the Headway theme, as it’s new and glitzy. However, I ran into one major annoyance (for me) – there was no easy way to add categories to the navigation menu and still have the “tab” effect work properly. This probably wouldn’t be an issue for most people, but since that’s how I was designing my navigation, well, it caused issues for me. Plus, when I attempted to upgrade to 1.5 (released a few days after the transition), I completely broke, well, everything related to the theme. At that point, I decided to call Headway quits (the author offers a 30-day money-back-guarantee, and did not give me any hassles at all to get a refund), and migrate to the tried-and-true Thesis. Its setup interface is not near as nice as Headway’s, but I managed to get it set up the way I’d like. I’m still going to be doing a lot more tweaking over time, but at least it’s getting there. ;)
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Let me know what you think of the new layout.. I’m also going to try to do some photoblogging (starting with a couple more shots from the Skillet concert), so hope you enjoy!
Silhouette of John Cooper of the band Skillet; shot at the Minneapolis Convention Center on November 14, 2009 during the ‘Awake and Alive’ concert tour.
NOTE: Wallpaper-sized copies of this available here. Make this your background!
I recently came across Nexenta’s WORM plugin for their commercial storage system, which is based on the OpenSolaris kernel and ZFS. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, WORM means ‘write-once read-many’ — in other words, after it’s written it cannot be modified, but can be read any number of times. I’d love to see support for this in an open-source filesystem (specifically, I’d like to store my photo archive on WORM, where once I’ve copied the photos off the flash disk any updates/edits need to go to a parallel read/write folder), but am not finding anything – if anyone is aware of a project that implements this, I’d love to hear about it!
You may notice a few changes around here; I’m changing my entire site to be managed by WordPress. If you find any links that are broken, hate the new design, or just want to tell me I’m crazy, please leave a comment on this post. Thanks!