Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Merry Christmas, and Happy New year!

Have not updated this in a while, so thought I'd wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Christmas is now officially over, but remember, the everlasting gift of God is never over. Jesus Christ was sent to walk the Earth, and to take our place on the cross. As sinners we were all destined for hell. All we have to do is accept we are sinners, have faith and accept Jesus as our Savior.

A quick update on stuff I've been up to, first off, in the networking side of things, I bought myself a managed gigabit switch off Ebay as well as wireless access points. Only using one at the moment given it covers the whole house and then some.

It's nice to be able to do vlans and have enough ports on a single switch without daisy chaining a bunch of small ones. Eventually I also want to setup the wifi controller software so I can do more advanced stuff with the AP. Currently it works stand alone. I also want to vlan it so it can have a few different SSID networks.

Secondly, I also bought myself a Wii U. This is my first console since the original Playstation! Figured it would be something different to play with. I had been wanting to buy a Wii and figured I'd just wait for this to come out, so I preordered and got it in November. Early Christmas gift!

Lastly, I recently bought myself a 3rd monitor for my workstation. Unfortunately Linux seems to have really poor support for more than 2 monitors so it does not work quite right and can be flaky at times. The 3rd monitor has it's own X session so I actually can't drag stuff over. But for what I tend to use it for, it's not too bad. I usually leave a VNC session to my main server up, and then I place my consoles for debugging or what not, when coding.

I really need to finish that custom desk once summer arrives, so I can have more room!

Given I gave up on my UO game server, I currently don't really have a major project on the go, but have been working on and off (between Minecraft and Wii!) on an environmental/server monitoring system. What started off as a very basic tool to monitor home temperatures, turned into a more advanced fully configurable agent based monitoring system. I have the email notifications working nicely and while I still need to iron out some bugs such as a random segfault on exit, things are coming together and I have been using it in production.

The idea behind my system is that it's up to the admin to create monitors, and monitors are simply the output of a command. This simplifies a lot of things as you can simply setup monitors for pretty much anything you can imagine, as long as you can get the numerical output out of it. In Linux this is fairly easy given the powerful tools like sed and grep. Add Arduino to the mix and you can monitor pretty much anything physical too. Currently at home I can monitor Hydro power state, backup battery voltage, temperatures and also have a bunch of basic server related monitors setup. More to be added later such as hard drive temperature or error rate. There is really no limit to what can be monitored with this system. I've been wanting to setup water sensors as well as more smoke detectors and hook them up to this system as well.

Heck, I can even monitor mouse traps. No, really.

3 sets of 2 wired in a normally closed configuration.

I had a few mice in my attic and rather than having to move all the stuff out of the closet to go check the traps all the time, I just have to check them if I get an email alert. Thankfully I seem to have found where they were coming in from, but I'll know for sure in summer.

This app will probably eventually be released to public, once it's polished better. I will probably also add an "action" feature to it, where a certain alert can trigger a script. For example, low battery voltage critical could trigger a shut down of all equipment.

Once this project is done, I've been toying with the idea of making a full blown server management system, something like Cpanel but free. It may be easier to make it into my own Linux distro, but not sure yet. Simply put it will be a web based point and click system to setup multiple web hosting/file sharing servers. You simply enable the modules you want to use and can have either a full blown web hosting environment, or perhaps just a file server for a local network.

It will do all the dirty work for you, such as configuring virtual hosts and various fail over features of services such as DNS. It will more or less be a wrapper around existing software.

Ii've also been toying with the idea of making a MMO, but that's probably far fetched. I'll finish the easier stuff first. I also need to look into updating my websites. Some have not been touched in nearly a decade! May consolidate some of the forums I manage, as well. Should be a fun 2013!

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