Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I just talked to my youngest sister, she has two job offers and doesn't
know which way to go. I am more partial to the one that is near my house.
The offers are substantially similar, one company has a reasonable web
presence and some transparency as to who they are and what they do. The
other has a poor web presence and I can't find anything useful about them.
She interned with the former over the summer and has a good feeling about
them, she doesn't have a bad feeling about the other so that is no help. I
fear that I wasn't much help either.

Windows XP SP2 - Forced Install

So a friend of mine just sent me a link that seems to indicate that on
April 12th SP2 will be installed. UPDATE: Time is running out! Please note
that the mechanism to temporarily disable delivery of Windows XP SP2 is
only available for a period of 240 days (8 months) from August 16, 2004.
At the end of this period (after April 12, 2005), Windows XP SP2 will be
delivered to all Windows XP and Windows XP Service Pack 1 systems. I am
glad I don't have any devices running windows at home any more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Extensive Cross Linking Problems

So I just ran into an initially non-obvious problem. Given: foohost1
/usr/local/foo -> /realfoo bar: /usr/local/foo -> /realfoo Where the
contents of /realfoo are superficially identical on bar mount: foohost1:/
/tmp/foohost1 foohost1:/realfoo /tmp/foohost1/realfoo So knowing about the
links everything is clear, but if you are not thinking about them or are
unaware that they exist you get confusion. The problem: /tmp/foohost1 ==
foohost1:/ /tmp/foohost1/realfoo/one/two == foohost1:/realfoo/one/two
/tmp/foohost1/usr/local/foo/one/two == bar:/realfoo/one/two so if you were
to rsync /tmp/foohost1/realfoo/one/two AND
/tmp/foohost1/usr/local/foo/one/two In reality you are smashing the two
trees together the result in this case being strange application behavior

Posting and Losing the Subject

The post worked, but I had to edit it online and re-add the subject. One
more try and off to sleep.

Testing MacJournal XML-RPC

Testing 1..2..3.. and now as usual about this time while blogging I start
to fall asleep. This time with the correct password I think it will work.
As long as it doesn't hang again.

Things to Blog About

I keep coming up with things I want to blog about when I don't have
time... Then when I have time I don't have the energy or I look back and
say well that was hours/days/weeks ago and is no longer relevant. Maybe I
will do something about that. Possible future topic include: * Our New
house * Solaris 10 in my basement * Security Systems * Vonage/VOIP *
Internal Call routing, 911 and Vonage * Photography * Our Old House (For
Sale, almost) * Hosting dinner for 14, weeks after moving * Why an airport
express is cool, particularly with in ceiling speakers * Silt fences and
the river in my back yard * rebuilding my firewall to Solaris 10 I like
IPF and Solaris, I think I will like them together * Setting up my little
sony to be a jumpstart server *, can I get a feed from my account in this blog?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Torrus and SMF

I was able to compile the current RRDtool 1.2 Release Canidate, install
the required perl modules and Torrus without any issues. I was also able
to setup the configs, do the device discoveries and database compilation.
Instead of manually starting Torrus and setting it up as a legacy service
I created my first SMF manifest and imported it. I was expecting it to be
at least a little bit more complicated than editing an XML file, moving
the start/stop script to the right place and running svccfg -v
import /var/svc/manifest/application/torrus.xml
The online and
offline functions appear to be working quite well.... Unfortunately the
RRDTool 1.2 Release Canidate perl shared bindings are another problem. I
can however report that when the start method fails the system runs the
stop method. Unfortunately I don't think I will have any real time
to work on it until next week. Maybe I will just try a slightly older
rrdtool snapshot.
Trying an older snapshot is no good because I
get an error from configure telling me that my compiler does not support
IEEE math out of the box. So I am back to trying again later when I can
think about the problems.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Moving House

We moved almost three weeks ago. On Monday, a gentleman from the company
who we previously had power wash our deck called. We had reported to the
company that the last job was horrible, the work we were billed for did
not appear to have been performed. He wanted to come out, take a look and
try to remedy the situation. Good news...The deck looks fabulous. The deck
is clean, some of the stains didn't come up, but what do you expect from a
15-20yr old deck. The siding on the house that had old stain on it is
clean (something we were billed for but did not receive the first time).
The only remaining step is re-staining the deck (Also contracted, but we
understand that they wanted to wait for it to dry). Today we got most of
the last of the stuff from the old house staged into the living room,
loaded up the car, removed the old decrepit carpet and pad from the
basement and threw away a bunch of junk. We also talked to some of our old
neighbors, one of them does a carpool to meet HOV restrictions and such.
One of the people she gave a ride to last week is looking to buy a
townhouse in the price range we are looking to sell. We have a contact
number, it might be possible for us to get the house sold even sooner than
we hoped. Tonight in the new house, while looking for some curtain rod
hangers C- found the key chain that had the keys for the locks that I cut
off three of the storage units. There was a theory that stated that they
may have fallen in a box that was packed into one of the storage units,
based on the box that they were in that was not the case. I am vindicated
in my belief that they had not been locked inside. Tonight we also finally
got the mirror hung in the bedroom. I really like it, but it was a pain.
It is fairly heavy and one of the screws went into a stud...unfortunately
it was not a self drilling wood screw which made for hard going. The
hollow wall anchor for the other side was quite simple, easy and
effective. We also priced blinds for our bedroom. The golf course behind
our house put in a new cart path...It appears to have opened this
weekend...I am not overly body shy, but I don't need to wave to golfers in
the morning. Now to finish cleaning up the garage so we can put both cars
in it, finish fixing the legs on the old dining room table before we have
people over for dinner on Easter Sunday, probably finish unpacking and
arranging as much stuff as possible before that as well. Off to bed, I
brought some cable management stuff from the old house today but I am
exhausted and not in the mood to recable the rack tonight.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Thoughts on Solaris Beta Exam Part 2

Well, this one did not go as well. I think that name services will end up
being my downfall. I have only ever really worked with NIS once. It was
very specific and required a lot of knowledge about how NIS works,
unfortunately it was in no way a traditional use. I am also sure that I
blew a few RBAC questions. I am tempted to see if there are any openings
left and try to take the exam again (after a bit more studying). So anyone
who is reading this and has yet to take the should think about
a review of name services, RBAC, PXE booting or really everything in the
testing objectives.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Off to Solaris Beta Exam Round 2

I talked briefly about the
Solaris 10 Beta Exams
Beta Exam Part 1
Thoughts on Beta Exam Part 1
. Now I am off for part two. Yesterday a
co-worker and I both took part one at the same time, we talked about it a
last night
and we both feel that we probably did reasonably well. He was
going to sign up to take part two today as well, but the schedule was
already full (I think he just wants some feedback to know if he should
focus on any specific technology areas for his test next week :) ). I
don't feel nearly as well prepared for this part. Nothing is really new to
me, but it is technology that I have used more at home than in a day to
day work environment. I will keep everyone informed as to how many surveys
I take this time, and if in the end if I could have used more than four
hours to complete the test.

Studying for Beta 2

Had a nice evening of relaxation.


A co-worker's last day is
today. He is not going to be in for the full day and will
not be available tomorrow tonight for a going away type
event. So a group of people were going to go to the local Irish
place...Except for the big line and the cover charge. Who knew, St.
Patrick's Day and all.


So the celebration moved down the street and then
back to our new house. Now I have spent a bit more time relaxing and
hanging out than I would have liked, and I am sure the low key partying
will not be helping my test score.


So tonight now a quick
review of RBAC, zones, PXE booting, disk suite and name services. In
roughly that order. I think RBAC appeared in Solaris 8, I remember playing
with it. I also remember being excited by the possibilities but
disappointed with the execution.

As I recall the instructions were
basically "Only change this with the SMC GUI". Now I see from the
objectives, that the RBAC using CLI utilities is part of what should be
covered. I have done Zones and PXE booting at home, so I think I am doing
OK there. I am reasonably comfortable with disksuite and name services.


Unfortunately all of the afternoon and evening got eaten up by real work
and later revelry, so the feeble attempt at studying before bed failed

Thoughts on Solaris 10 Beta Exam Part 1

So day one is done. Overall I feel good about the test, some interesting
things. I took the initial survey 4 times, after the third I was sure I
wasn't doing something wrong. (After the PC was rebooted I got to do it
once more and continue on) Although I considered answering the survey with
different answers each time, I decided that it would probably be a
mistake. I haven't actually used ufsdump/restore in a long time... a quick
check shows that I got at least one question wrong* Printing wasn't as bad
as I was expecting. I haven't done much with printing in a while but I am
reasonably confident that I didn't mess it up too badly. I don't like
questions similar to "what is the proper order for these items:"
a,d,g,f,b,h d,h,f,g,e,c b,c,s,d,e,f e,d,s,x,c,v I much prefer the

First      a
Second b
Third c
Fourth d
Fifth e
Sixth f
g (So even using pre, my contiguous white
h space gets eaten if it is ^ +)

Not all items must be used Maybe it is just me, but I strongly prefer "put
in order" to which of these is correct. Particularly when the list is
long. The lists were long. The wording of the questions was actually quite
good, with very few questions that I had to read a few times to try and
understand. Only a few questions that I think were not answerable given
the wording and the possibilities. (One of which I just tested and I am
sure that the correct answer wasn't presented) A couple of questions that
I believe had more than one valid answer presented in a pick one scenario.
My favorite error... (Select two choices)
Select three choices Which one to choose, the one that is probably correct, or
do you take a third could be correct sorta selection. I went with three,
assuming that you are using mechanical grading it is probably better to
fulfill the programmed expectations. After all of that and making sure I
had a somewhat reasonable grasp on EFI and how to deal with multi-terabyte
filesystems, not a single newfs question -T or not. Tomorrow Part II, time
for more studying. *probably a few more than one really :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Solaris 10 Beta Exam Part 1

In about 1:30 I will sit down to take the Solaris 10 Beta Exam Part 1 I also participated in the Sage Certification
Beta Process as well. (Since I passed I am cSAGE certified) This sounds a lot
like the Sage beta process. The testing time is 4:15, I expect to be hit
with all of the possible candidate questions for the production exam. With
none of the immediate feedback. For all of my efforts playing with Solaris
10 at home, I wonder how well it will go. I haven't had nearly the time to
play with everything that I have wanted to play with. So now having had a
half hour or so to review the options for smf related commands one last
time I am off.

Edit: 10/12/2006, noticed some obnoxious content errors that I don't think used to exist, and applied the line breaks plugin

Friday, March 11, 2005

Things to Do This Weekend

1) Write a few pages of our group paper 2) Fix up the old house to sell 3)
Study for Solaris 10 Beta Exams 4) sleep

Local Number Portability

I have been a little busy and neglecting my personal mail. In checking
just now, I see that I have a notification from
that I have a voicemail. I will take that as an indicator that my
number transfer to Vonage has gone through. The stated minimum time for
the transfer was 20 business days, it appears to have gone through on the
10th. Figuring that getting the request sent late Friday doesn't really
count as a day, it took 22-23 business days. Part of the HOA fees at the
new house are for local phone service. Time to setup Asterisk or something
to route calls between Vonage (basically everything) and the land line
(911). I understand that Vonage has a basic 911 tie in, but why not use a
land line with full integration.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

XSH: XML Editing Shell

Just fixed a small xsh
script that I wrote months ago in my spare time to walk a
configuration snapshot.

A coworker asked me If I had a way to easily provide an overview/outline
of the data that was being collected via Torrus for a customer.
Fortunately the answer was yes, and it didn't involve the complex, ugly
and not quite functional grep and awk statements I used the first time I
tried to get quick overview of the XML tree.

The problem was that in order to get the comment I was stepping into the
comment parameter to get the value when I should have been doing

$comment = string(param[attribute::name='comment']/attribute::value);        

Then I wasn't stepping back out, prematurely ending the loop and missing
additional trees and leaves.

The Final output looks a bit like this, but goes on to enumerate all of
the data that is collected and displayed.

  Subtree = Devices ''
Subtree = router-name '2651XM chassis, Hw Serial#: XXXXXXXXX (XXXXXXXX), Hw Revision: 0x301'
Subtree = Buffer_Usage 'Buffer usage statistics'
Subtree = Small_Buffers 'Buffer usage statistics'
Leaf = Free 'Number of Free Small Buffers'
Leaf = Max 'Max Small Buffers'
Leaf = Hits 'Small Buffer Hits'
Leaf = Misses 'Small Buffer Misses'
Leaf = Creates 'Small Buffer Creates'
Leaf = Trims 'Small Buffer Trims'

The snapshot XML in part looks like



Tuesday, March 8, 2005

DCE followup/Primary Source Joke

My primary source joke made me curious. Fortunately the
Oxford Reference Online
backs me up, even in spanish.

3. DCE Abbrev. for
data communication equipment. The side of an interface that represents
the provider of a data communication in a standard such as RS232C or X25.
DCEs are usually analog or digital modems or network interface units.
Compare DTE . (From A Dictionary of Computing in Computing)

4. DCE
Computing data-communications equipment (From The Oxford Dictionary of
Abbreviations in English Language Reference)

5. DCE abbr ( data
communications equipment ) equipo de comunicación de datos m (From The
Oxford Business Spanish Dictionary (English-Spanish) in Bilingual
Dictionaries) The search for the other term returns no results.


I will
enjoy arguing about this in class tomorrow night.

When did DCE become Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment?

Has it always been Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment?
Why isn't it DCTE

DTE - Data Terminal Equipment DCE - Data Communication Equipment Is
DTE really Data Terminal-Terminating Equipment?


I think I can see a way
that Data Communication/Terminal Equipment could have become that DCTE
garbage. An exhaustive primairy source (google) search shows that the
DCE "data communication equipment"
has ~30K results.
While my
new favorite
DCTE "data circuit-terminating equipment"
has 54 results.


real questions here are why am I reading "Essential Guide to
Telecommunications, Second Edition, The" and "Absolute Beginner's Guide to
Networking, Third Edition" and haven't I already proven to myself that I
get much less frustrated when I just don't do the assigned reading?

is what I get for playing with computers instead of attending classes
during my first go at college, well this and a pile of student loans that
took a few years to pay off.