January 2006 Archives

More hardware trouble ...


This is unreal!

My old FreeBSD box at home is noisy (old scsi drives), has too little memory and a slow CPU but it's been Rock Solid for about 5 years. It's been more than a year since I last rebooted it.

Until today.

I got home from a meeting and it had crashed. Kabang. With a disk error no less (maybe provoked by the backup it had been running?) It's running and seems to be doing alright.

I had been planning to replace it with a VMware (or Xen) instance on the Linux fileserver, but that went bye bye last week of course.

h590LAMP021-f.jpegFast forward to late this evening. I turn the projector on to watch a DVD and nothing happens. The remote is odd sometimes so I am thinking it's just the remote. The lens has needed a cleaning for some weeks so I go get something to clean it with. Now with a clean lens I sit down and turn it on again. Fan noise but no picture.

Completely dark.

Ah, it needs a lamp replacement. No problem.

Off to Crutchfield to order a replacement. $350! Woah. The projector is only ~$1000. Oh well, I still need a new lamp. Except it's out of stock.

Off to $other_sites to find one and apparently it's out of stock everywhere. Even Infocus says temporarilly (sic) backordered. Grrrh. :-(

VMware on OS X?


I had my FreeBSD development environment on the failed RAID. I haven't turned that computer on again yet (waiting to have time to reconfigure and test it properly, more on that another day). My only running server-ish box at home is now an old FreeBSD 4 system, so I figured I could get FreeBSD 6 running under Virtual PC on the mac. It runs, but darn it's slow! "make buildworld buildkernel" is running for many many many hours. It's plenty fast for regular use, but rebuilding the system (which is what I do for $secret_project on my development FreeBSD box) is SLOW. I am not sure exactly how slow because the mac goes to sleep when I leave it, but it's been running since yesterday.

With a MacBook Pro on order I was wondering if VMware will come out for Intel-OS X. I wrote to them and asked and they replied

Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, we do not provide information in advance of an official press release. My only suggestion is to stay tuned to our website for further details.

If you squint right, then that's almost a confirmation, no? :-)

I realize Microsoft is likely to update Virtual PC to run on the Intel Macs (they already have Virtual PC for Windows on Intel). but a bit more competition wouldn't hurt.

The Yonah / Intel Core Duo chips have will in the future have Intels Vanderpool/VT technology, so if we are really lucky OS X will eventually get some support for virtualization too.

NTP Pool story on slashdot


The NTP Pool project that I am looking after had a story on Slashdot and another 50 users turned into members of the pool. Yay. We are getting close to doubling the number of servers in the pool since I started running the system.

We can still use more servers though. My best guess is that the number of client computers is somewhere between some hundred thousand and a few millions!

I had so much hardware failing me in and around December, it's absurd!

One of the reasons I haven't updated here was that I mostly wanted to rant about all the equipment that was breaking on me and it was (is!) much too irritating to write about.

The latest (and worst!) casualty was the big RAID5 in the fileserver at home. (Before that it was powerbook, another Linux box at home, another disk, the old PowerMac G4 giving me trouble, etc etc).

All the others were annoying and obscenely time consuming, but losing data is really the worst. In particular because I could have saved the important bits if I had thought about it a bit harder.

When I had the chance I was counting on not having more bad luck, big mistake. There was too much data on the raid to copy everything and it was only in retrospect it became completely clear to me that some bits were more important than others. Most of my work is in some combination of backed up 2-3 times, in Subversion, safely tucked away on other servers, but there were some bits that really sucked to lose.

My ~5 year amazing trailer and commercial collection. A bunch of work on a FreeBSD based system running on Soekris boxes, some photos (hopefully those were all backed up elsewhere too) and a bunch of CD images that I could have picked the important ones to save. ... and probably more that I can't think of. The last slocate database was built after the RAID messed itself up, so the list of files I lost isn't even complete.

Aaarrrrgh. :-(

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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