Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Server rack update

Added the SAN, which was decommissioned and was headed to the trash, so they let us take it after erasing all data and breaking the raids. I still need to decide how I want to use it. It would cost too much to run it all the time, but I might use one enclosure on it's own and rest for temp test environments or archiving, or something. Just need to figure out how to actually interface with it, as it is fiber channel and I've never played with that before. I also moved my patch panel from the wall to the rack.

SAN (before switch was installed)

Back, bottom (click for bigger image)

Back, top (click for bigger image)
Ever hear of "router on a stick"? Well how about "modem on a string"?

Front view

Also moved my equipment over. This is temporary until I can get a rackmount case for my server, and possibly a shelf. I also plan to run more electrical circuits and have better cable management. Instead of power bars or a PDU I will probably have a wall of receptacles on both sides, split across 4 15 amp circuits per side. Some outlets will be UPS protected, some won't, giving me better flexibility. I will get some 2 foot power cords to connect everything.

I think I'm pretty much done for now. I don't really want to play with the SAN until I get some kind of KVM solution for the server as I think I will need to go into the BIOS of the HBA card to configure stuff, while it's connected to the SAN.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally got my server rack

Was a long wait, but Santa (the Purolator guy) has delivered!

I need to go to home depot tomorrow to get some concrete anchor bolts to bolt it down, then I can decide on an exact location and bolt it down and start adding equipment to it!

Then my next step is to convert my main server to rackmountable, then get a rackmountable switch etc... baby steps. This stuff's expensive, but it will be worth it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Acronis > Filezilla

I really like to use open source / free software where I can, but disk imaging is an area I have trouble doing so. There are not too many solutions out there. I tried clonezilla as it seems to be the most popular. All I wanted to do is image a 19GB SCSI drive with a Linux install on it. There's not even any raid involved. After 2 tries of failing for no reason other then "something went wrong", I decided to pop my Acronis disc in to image this drive. 5 minutes later, I have a backup image of that server.

Think this copy of acronis was worth every penny. It's actually one of the only programs I actually paid for. :D It was reasonably priced at the time so figured why not.

Got a broken TV for free

Basically you hit the power button and nothing happens. I know nill when it comes to electronics, but my first suspicion here is that it's either the fuse, or a lose wire in the power supply area.

So I open the baby up, locate the fuse, take it out, test it, bingo, it's dead. Then I figure, it must have blown for a reason, but on the other hand, the power at the location it came from is VERY flaky, so maybe it was just a surge or brownout.

I get a pair of crocodile clips to jumper the terminals as a final test to see if everything else works ok. I make sure the power switch is off, plug in the power cord, stand back, plug it into my extension cord, nothing happens. Good, since there should not be anything that happens. I unplug it, turn the switch on, plug it in. ZZZZZZZZZAPOOF!! With a series of sparks and crazy palatine force effects all around a toroid, and then the magic smoke poofs away. At this point I unplugged it fast thinking "woah, that was pretty cool". It's the last show that will ever play on that TV. :giggle: At this point any damage done would probably not evne be worth fixing even if I knew what I was doing.

TV opened:


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quick Rant

So I go to burn an ISO, it just says "failed" with no explanation whatsoever. Thinking it's a fluke - scratched disc, dust or w/e, I try it again, same thing. I lower burn speed, and it works.

It's 2010, and yet burning programs have shitty error handling, and allow coasters to happen. What's with this? /rant.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apparantly I don't do any work

So we're two server techs, and it was my turn to go to the dreaded IT status meeting today and get soapboxed by the IT manager on how incompetent we all are.

Well today the IT manager comes by and says to my coworker "No I want you, you're the server guy".

If he only knew how shit would hit the fan if I stopped working.

In other news, I brought my home disk space from 1.8TB to 3.6TB recently. Total of 5 1TB drives in raid 5:

[root@borg ~]# df -hl
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3 215G 11G 194G 6% /
/dev/sda1 190M 25M 156M 14% /boot
tmpfs 3.8G 48K 3.8G 1% /dev/shm
/dev/md0 3.6T 1.5T 2.0T 44% /raid1
[root@borg ~]#

[root@borg ~]# mdadm --misc --detail /dev/md0
Version : 0.90
Creation Time : Sat Sep 20 02:15:28 2008
Raid Level : raid5
Array Size : 3907039744 (3726.04 GiB 4000.81 GB)
Used Dev Size : 976759936 (931.51 GiB 1000.20 GB)
Raid Devices : 5
Total Devices : 5
Preferred Minor : 0
Persistence : Superblock is persistent

Update Time : Mon Nov 15 20:01:23 2010
State : clean
Active Devices : 5
Working Devices : 5
Failed Devices : 0
Spare Devices : 0

Layout : left-symmetric
Chunk Size : 64K

UUID : 11f961e7:0e37ba39:2c8a1552:76dd72ee
Events : 0.766072

Number Major Minor RaidDevice State
0 8 16 0 active sync /dev/sdb
1 8 32 1 active sync /dev/sdc
2 8 48 2 active sync /dev/sdd
3 8 80 3 active sync /dev/sdf
4 8 96 4 active sync /dev/sdg
[root@borg ~]#

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It smells like cyanide

Turns out, it's just our crazy IT manager poisoning the work environment, more then ever before. He's INSANE lately, and I feel a large soap box explosion coming up.

Somebody shoot me, now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lots of leaves!

This is how the front of my house looks like right now!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fan project finished up

Well almost, just need to paint the patched area in the washroom, but other then that it's fully operational.

Pics here

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More then just a basic bathroom fan replacement

My bathroom fan was getting old and noisy like they tend to do, so I decided to look into replacing it. Another issue is where it is vented is not exactly the smartest. I have a split level home so it was venting in the soffit that meets the lower roof. No wonder I had 2 foot icicles and the gutters literally filled with ice! So I had to vent it somewhere else.

I looked into going through the roof, but was told by a roofer this is a bad idea, and it was actually something I was suspicious about. You have cold air sitting inside a pipe (no matter how well insulated it is, some will get in over time) then you turn the fan on, and hot and possibly moist (shower) air is rushed through this cold pipe. What happens? You got tons of condensation and eventually dripping water inside the pipe. So I decided to look at venting it through the soffit, but on the other wall (washroom is in a corner). Another problem: Due to the roof slope, it is impossible to actually reach that spot without cutting a hole in the roof. This would make maintenance of the fan unit very difficult.

Conveniently, the hot water tank chimney chase is very close to that area... So I decided to vent it through the basement wall by running a pipe through that chase. This is probably very uncommon, as I had trouble finding any info online on other people doing this.

The full setup for this involves a vent intake in the bathroom, some insulated flex pipe that goes from the vent to a ABS pipe (in the attic) that goes down the chase, then back to some flex, the fan unit, then flex then metal ducting to go outside like a dryer vent. The reason for the flex near the fan is to give it some play, and make it fairly easy to maintain. I'm sure these get full of dust as much as any other fan. I looked into the option of adding some kind of filter but it would have been way custom, and look bad. I like the look of the basic rounded vent.

I'm not quite done yet, need to run the metal pipe to vent outside then I need to fix a leak in the attic where it connects to the ABS. Can't wait to be done in the attic, hard to get in/out of there and overall painful to work. Very crouched space and only being able to crawl on the joists makes this quite the workout. Lastly, I have to patch the hole where the old fan was. Debating on putting some kind of access panel there, as there is a junction box. It's technically to code, but realistically, it's not really accessible from the attic unless you're a midget.

Anyway, enough yapping, and some pics:


Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I finally managed to feed the chipmunk today. Well there's actually 3 I think, but this is one of them.

Was kinda tricky trying to feed while holding the camera. He bit me a couple times because I was not dispensing peanuts fast enough. LOL

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My latest redneck kludge

I was thinking that because my portable AC unit sucks indoor air to cool the condenser/compressor then shoots that air back outside, it was very inefficient as this air needs to be replaced, most likely by attic air seeping through any possible cracks, or outdoor air which is hotter, if I'm using the AC.

So... I decided to crate an intake that goes outside, so that way the condenser cooling air comes from outside.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

RSA Support = a joke

So today I had a very simple question about the RSA log files. Something that any sane employee there should be able to answer me in about 5 minutes.

So I go on their site hoping they have an email or form I can fill to ask the question. Nope, everything that says support wants me to log in to something. I'm a server tech, I have nothing to do with licensing, sales or w/e, why would I evne have a username and password? As much as it would be nice... So I contact sales instead and they direct me to tech support.

So I call the tech support number. I tell them my company name and the serial number, so at that point you'd think she'd know I am a valid customer for that company I stated I was from, given I also gave the serial, which they should have in their records.

She refuses to answer my question, before I can tell her who's name it was purchased under. How the hell am I suppose to know, I'm not the one that bought it, I just support it!

After telling her about 20 names of people that work for my company that may possibly have been involved, none matched. So I put her on hold while my coworker checks some old emails thinking the name was in a CC.

I tell her a few names, no go. Then she says "I'm sorry but I can't waste time all day with this. Please call back when you have the right info." *click*

Yep, they hung up on me! So my coworker calls again, and a case number is opened this time. But remember this simple question? Nope, she could not answer it. (I think it was the same person, but not 100% sure)

In fact, this is where it gets really weird, she asks for what version I have. I ask her where I can find that info. She says that for security reasons she can't tell me. WTF, what do you mean for security reasons? I may know how to get into the Pentagon (unlock doors, walk through) but it does not mean that I can get in. If I don't have access, I don't have access. Telling me to go to the system manager and clicking on something is not going to reveal anything that could compromise security! If I did happen to be some random person calling, I would not have access to the appliance.

At the end of all this I end up having a case number opened and an engineer will call me.

Yeah, apparently at RSA, they need to send an engineer to answer a very simple question. Unreal.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big ass spider

I found this earlier today. It took quite a bit of effort to kill it. After spraying it for at least 10 seconds, it just kept climbing the wall. I finally ended up flicking it across the room then crushing it with a stick.

That mortar line is about 1/2 thick, just to put it into perspective.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Interesting Evening

So yesterday was quite the interesting evening. I get home with intention of polishing off my AC unit's window venting panel, which went fairly well. During this time I noticed the internet was out. I rebooted my equipment and all but figured there was issues going on. Called the help desk and they were having major issues. So I decided to go to Canadian Tire to buy some wire so I can run a dedicated outlet for my AC unit.

I get home, internet still out, but I decide mow the lawn real quick as it looked like it was going to rain. I did it just in time then went back in to see how well the AC cooled the office. I decided to change a setting on it for the oscillation and poof, power goes out. I think maybe the breaker tripped, but then heard my UPS which is on another circuit, go as well. I confirmed it was the whole house, and not the main breaker.

I wait an hour or two, by this time it's dark. I decide it might be smart to call the hydro company as it seems it's only my street. They tell me they have no reports of an outage so they'll send someone to check it out. About half an hour or so later, I see a truck pull in and two guys with flashlights come out, they go to one of the poles a few houses down and are flashing their lights into it and talking.

Then I hear some metalic clicking as they (I assume) reach to bring the power back on. POOF! some sparks followed by a bit of profanities. They leave, I assume to go get another pole fuse. They come back, similar situation, then I hear and see a momentary arc flash. I actually heard some noises in the house. Assuming it was appliances kicking back on for a split second and going back off. This is why I always set computers to stay off if they are powered off.. don't want a bunch of on/off's.

Then maybe 5 minutes later I hear a click, and the power was restored on the street. It was kinda neat to see what they were doing, and being able to anticipate the power coming back.

I'm nervous every time I touch my AC now!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Birdies again

Here's an update, they are growing up fast and they are starting to run out of room in that nest!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I have never, ever seen a moth THIS freaken big before!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

all AC units sold out!

We are getting record high temps here, and nobody has any AC units in stock.

This worked, for about a minute...

Monday, May 24, 2010


More videos of the baby robins.

This one taken a day later:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another successful DIY project

I don't have AC, but figured if I can at least get the blower to run it would help circulate the air. So I proceeded by buying some 5 conductor thermostat wire. Only need 3 for that, but if I do get AC later on, then at least I don't have to run wire again.

The wire had to be fished from the thermostat, down the wall, into the return, then in the crawlspace, and finally to the furnace. Getting the wire down the wall was tricky and I ended up having to drill a hole upwards from inside the intake (very awkward trying to operate a drill this way!) then had to make a small hole in the drywall so I could catch the wire with my fingers and direct it to the hole. The 2-conductor wire was actually passing between the drywall and the horizontal stud above the return. The bigger wire did not fit here. This is the part that took the longest.

The wire connections I had to do were:

(from thermostat to furnace)

G to G
RH to R
W to W

At the thermostat RC and RH are also jumpered together. I tried without, but then the fan would not work. The heat worked fine without that though.

Also, at first I thought it was not working, since when I set the heat on, and go push on the panel safety cut off switch, it would start up in a recovery mode and not start the heat but just the blower. After realizing this, and putting the panel back on, then setting heat or fan, they both worked.

Since it's hot (and does not help that I tested a heat cycle!) I have the fan running now and I have cool air coming out. Not AC, but better then nothing.

My next step is to look at adding a basement return that can be toggled on/off through some kind of "Y" damper setup.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The eggs have hatched!

The eggs in the nest I found have now fully hatched!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sick again!

I need drugs. More powerful DRUGS!!!

Hospital grade hand sanitizer is just not cutting it!


I found this quite amusing:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Found a birds nest

I was mowing the lawn for the first time this year, trimming actually, and I ran across this:

Almost looks like Easter eggs!

The mother:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The more I use windows 7, the more I hate it.

So I had a huge nightmare trying to find XP drivers for some laptop, so I put 7 on it hoping it detects everything. It did, which is great.

But the more I use that OS, the more I hate it.

- The UI is way too flashy, and "in your face". It's like trying to use a computer while being on an acid trip

- The Icons and other UI items are too big. The whole point of having a bigger screen resolution is to have more items on one screen, not make the items bigger! Thankfully you can somewhat shrink the icons, and they end up about the same size as XP. This is an issue I see in Linux too though, icons are too big, so you can fit less on one screen.

- Installed programs don't seem to be easy to access afterwards. This is more because of the crappy start menu and it's lack of actual shortcuts to programs, but they could at least put icons on the desktop when an app is installed.

- UAC. Need I say more? Thankfully that crap can be turned off

More stuff, but they more or less reflect on the points above. In general, everything is just much harder to find and do. They added more steps to everything. There is more things to fix upon a new install. I still need to figure out if there's a way to get the classic start menu and theme back, but I don't think there is.

MS really is heading in a bad direction. Windows 2000 is what they should have sticked with, and just made it better. XP is ok, just because lot of it's crap can be turned off which I do as soon as it's installed. 7 has lot more crap to turn off, and some that can't be turned off.

My next OS will most likely be a flavor of Linux...


So I got dragged into fixing someone's PC again. It has Vista on it, and it's FILLED with crap, and Vista mail or w/e it's called pretty much screwed up the user's profile and Outlook wont even start.

Given it's so full of crap, and it's Vista, I decided to do a clean install. There is like 20 exclamation marks of hardware that is so proprietary windows does not even know what type of device it is. The HP site is completely useless since they only give the network driver, which does not even work. What a sack of crap. I found a bunch of drivers on other sites, none of them work. I'm glad I took an image of the Vista install since as ugly as it would be to go back to that, I may have no choice but to do so, and just give it back as is.

Feeding this laptop with 240 volts AC would be very satisfying right about now. Oops, it just stopped working, and I don't know what that smell is, but it can't be good!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Microsoft Office runs off a server?

So another crazy piece of knowledge from the little world of my IT manager.

So apparently we are running the "client-server" version of Microsoft Office.

In one instance he was complaining that Word was taking a while to load, so he was blaming the network. Later on during a meeting, he was going on saying we have the "client-server" version of power point. Yea, ooooooook lol. Whatever he's on, I want some.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not your average furry friend

I found this "little" guy in my trap today in the basement.

One bug less getting into my server.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"What's VMware?"

We run an ESX environment at work, I'd say 90% of our servers are virtualized. About 7 servers, two SAN enclosures... fairly decent sized setup.

Today the IT manager of this whole operation walks in. "What's VMware?"


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Small electrical project

For a long time, I did not have a proper light in my bedroom. The only plug controlled by a switch was inside the closet, so I plugged a lamp in it and passed the cord under, and was limited in where I could place it.

I thought it would be cool to have a light above the closet, as it would be the easiest way to do it, without needing to go in the attic, which is hard to move around in as I have a low pitched roof.

This was the plan:

I started playing with the idea for a bit and even made the first hole but then realized something weird, the inside of the wall was not backed with another sheet of drywall, instead it seemed to be a rather large wall cavity of emptyness. I sorta suspected it may be the chimney for the hot water heater, but it seems that should be a bit further.

Upon further inspection that hollow space was not that, as I looked up and could not see anything I shoved in the hole. I tried to figure out what was in there but ended up just moving on.

I used a phone line to pull the wire as I was able to easily drop it down the hole to hit where the plug was. I made a small hole above the plug to make it easier to see. My Blackberry Pearl was a great help for this as it fits perfectly in the width of a receptacle box, so I was able to take upwards pictures to see if my wire was in fact coming down, and not getting stuck somewhere in that empty space. It seems about half way up the wall there is drywall on the other side, so it took a few tries to get the wire to fall in the proper area.

Getting some progress now, the socket and conduit now installed.

And connected the wire inside the plug in the closet, which was very tricky. So many marrets in one box... I don't know whether or not I surpassed the maximum taken volume, but I made sure they were very well tight and inserted them in and managed ok.

This is the final result:

Just need to do a bit of drywall patching now.

That fixture was about $2 at Canadian Tire. A real steal!!!

I plan to put a nicer looking fixture eventually.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Linux FTW

So I was setting up win2k on my parents' old PC so I can give it to my sister as her PC totally crapped out. I went to copy her hard drive contents and it just told me it was corrupted right when I tried to open it. It did not even try.

I decided to boot up with Ubuntu to see what would happen, I mounted the drive, it gave me a warning about some corruption, but that it fixed it, and mounted it anyway.

The files are copying now. Go Linux!

Faster to copy through the linux command line anyway. Windows copying is so slow, and if there's one single error it craps out and stops.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Time to do an update here

Been a while since I posted anything. Nothing much new, but been working on serverweave. Decided to make it so everything is an "object" and treated the same, making saving and other processes easier and use less code. Next step is to implement user input validation as well as ACLs to objects.

Soon I will start back up on AoV, there are quite a few plans to make the shard better. The SQL storage engine has been put on hold for now until all the issues can be resolved, but it's getting there.