Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays

Christmas Pcitures

Getting the pictures out early this year. A few more from today that I haven't imported yet. I'll probably post those in march :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Are You Working for the hollidays?

Except for the possible negative of driving more traffic over to Mrs. Skrocki further cementing her in the list of hot bloggers at Sun. Her Putting 1st things 1st post is apropos of the season and the prevalent view at Sun.

With the exception of lugging my laptop along incase something breaks (I am on call) I am avoiding thoughts of work as much as possible.

All my previous thoughts about poking about in CAC or changing/updating my blog theme are on hold, now back to watching last nights hockey game and working on China pictures, possibly going to see Sweeney Todd before dinner with @cdash's mother later tonight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

OLPC Quick Pics for ThinGuy

On a totally shocking note, Opera on the XO-1 works great with! I was guessing that it would choke on high volume picture sites. I was able to take these pictures, browse to my smugmug page and upload them. Java isn't working as a plugin so I had to use the old browser POST method.

OLPC and Me OLPC in the mirror

Having proven I was able to blog from the OLPC XO-1 I have moved back to using ecto for normal blogging. Trying to add images and links by hand is just not what I want to be doing at the moment.

Give 1 Get 1 is still going, it isn't too late to donate one for yourself.

OLPC Give One Get One. Arrived

I am sitting here in my office writing this entry on my OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) XO-1. It arrived last night.

my first impressions:
The packaging is sparse but sturdy, Two bits of paper with a note and the saftey warnings (no babies is first on the list). I am guessing that this isn't humor but I am entertained.

The keyboard has a nice feel for a membrane type keyboard, the keys have a slight depression which makes them fairly easy to feel. It is a little small for my hands (a good thing given the target market).I tried an external keyboard and mouse (they worked as I was expecting) but I have revirted to the built in.

I have had some issues with the stock browser in terms of speed and compatabiliy. It also seems that downoloads from the browser disapear (I am probably missing something simple). Installing Opera does the trick for me. It brings back tabs! Image rendering is more consistent and reliable and I can choose a download location. Vital sites such as this blog, the full twitter web interface and google reader all work and appear correct. Sites of importance such as the managed operations portal also work.

Wireless support is quite good, at least as sensitive as my full size devices, with the exception of WPA support (comming soon), in the end I backed down the security stance of of my APs and turned on MAC filtering.

Remaining issues: paste, Copy seems to work, I can drag from the frame and paste into applications. Why can't I paste text into the terminal?

I am sure that many of you are now asking the same question...but will it run solaris? I think the answer is probably not. Atleast not with a gui.

Still others are likely wondering, will it run the super beta punchin for linux. To that I am thinking no, but man that would be sweet!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hockey, Tied 3-3

Our team remains undefeated, for the first time since EVER. Our record is now 2-0-4. We knew that we were going to be down a some players and we had a substitute goalie which made for some excitement all around.

I was a bit tired and sore from the race on Saturday morning and we ended up with a lighter than expected turnout. Aside from the stamina issues I think it worked fairly well as a recovery exercise. A prophylactic dose of IB about an hour before the game and some hard skating seems to have loosened me up nicely.

I can still feel the race a bit in my legs, yesterday felt like I was riding big hills on my bike. Today feels like I rode some big hills on my bike a while ago.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Celtic Solstice Five Miler in Druid Hill Park, Race Report

The Celtic Solstice Five Miler was a good race. I was initially concerned about the projected cold weather, indicated 34F feels like 20F, late the night before the race the projected temperatures were 23F feels like 0F. Courtney and I got on the road at 6:50 (aiming for 6:30) I was concerned about getting to the race with enough time to pick up my bib, chip and warm up.

The drive took about 1:15 and Courtney dropped me off near the south west corner of Druid Lake, when I got out of the car it was DAMN cold. Even wearing two pairs of tights one thermal, insulated shell pants, cold weather top, a running top, a mesh backed vest, light running gloves, a mid weight shell jacket and some lobster claw gloves and a hat with a polar tech band; I was still cold. I ended up not using the gortex booties having located a pair of smartwool biking socks (perfect!).

I have never been to Druid Hill Park however I knew there was a shuttle bus to the start. I saw a pickup and headed over at a light jog to try and get warmed up a bit. Missed the first bus, got picked up and then we all wondered why we took the shuttle, it wasn't much of a ride. After we were dropped of I walk/jogged down the hill to the start to pick up my number plate and chip.

I got my stuff and decided after getting moving that really what I was wearing (under the shell and pants) was going to be enough. I ditched them with my bag at the bag check and headed to the scrum of people waiting for the race to get under way. On my way to the start I saw Emily and turned back with her to get her bib and chip.

At this point running a bit late the tables had been setup for food and there was a little delay on the bib and some trouble finding her chip. As we were setting out for the starting line the last of the scrum started moving and had cleared through the start when we got there. We were hurried on through at around 5min after the clock started with the back of the field about half way across the bridge and caught up just before the starting hill.

A quarter of the way up the hill Emily sent me on ahead knowing that we were on a different pace, almost immediately after that Courtney was standing on the side cheering us on.

The rest of the race: I liked the course, it was indeed rolling hills, I was keeping an eye on my HR, aiming to keep it generally below 175 (I averaged 171 for the duration). The course was well marked, as advertised there were a few potholes and puddles nothing that caused any issues that I saw, it did have its narrow moments and aside from a little squeezing and difficulty passing it also wasn't bad. Around (or possibly at) mile 1 someone was calling the time, I was at ~9.5 (my watch) and feeling good, I missed mile two. A quick sip of water at the turn around (2.65) was welcome and three came quickly after. The middle of three was a little bit of a struggle with a twinge in my side, between 3.2 - 3.6, by four I was feeling better and started accelerating to the finish. It certainly didn't hurt that the last mile is mostly down hill but the kick took me up into the red and final sprint over the bridge and across the line drove my heart rate to a gasping 191bpm.

Took a seat for a minute to take off my chip and went out to cheer Emily across the line. Emily came across the line just about seven minutes later and on my way back to meet her I ran into Courtney who had been sitting looking for us to cross the line. We went to the tent to get a drink, a bite of food and collect my bag. The results were posted quite quickly, but the page with Emily's times wasn't up by the time we left. Unfortunately it appears that putting my warm clothes back on I managed to drop my sunglasses (Rudy Project Kerosene w/prescription insert in a black Rudy case).

On the way home we stopped to pick up my sister Karina and take her to breakfast at my Aunt Jean's. Learned that my younger sister Karina has been running and caught a hard time for not telling her we were going to be running. We stopped in at Jean's to see my Mother, my Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob and chat for a bit. A few cups of coffee, a snack, some fruit and few hours later we hit the road for home. Now we are chilling on the couch watching hockey with Courtney and the cats.

Lessons Learned:

  • One of these days, try to get nearer the front, say maybe near the pace you are intending to run. (It might be interesting to try a run where I didn't start out weaving around passing people, not that this tends to go too long)
  • Trust your previous experience, I was worried about the cold but what I selected was just about perfect (once I got moving).
  • Really do get to the race earlier, this worked but, I didn't really need the rush right before the beginning.
  • I need more practice on hills. Watching HR for climbing is working but descent isn't comfortable/smooth.

The Race site, currently disabled probably due to bandwidth (nice).

The Washington Running Report take on the race, indicating that it has grown too big and the next year it will be capped at 2500 entries.

Preliminary results: 1902 Finishers

Pl Name HomeTown XAG Club GunTime
1. Berdan, David Baltimore, MD M26 25:28.20
1348. Ferry, Shawn Leesburg, VA M31 51:00.20
1672. Ferry, Emily Columbia, MD F24 57:44.90

ChipPl Name ChipTime

1. Berdan, David 25:28.00
1177. Ferry, Shawn 46:44.00
1611. Ferry, Emily 53:26.95

In the end the temperature was around 33F. My pace was ~09:21/mi

Edit: Fixed some typos and editing issues, should have gotten a proof reader for posting while tired.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Celtic Solstice Five Miler, tomorrow

In ~20 hours I will be racing the in Celtic Solstice Five Miler my wife will be there to cheer and my youngest sister may also be running.

Went up to the community gym last evening, I should do that more often. It isn't big or equipped with all the latest gear but it has more than enough for a good workout. Did about a mile warmup, got a good stretch, did another slow mile, stretched some more and walked home. As a dry run I tried the gortex biking booties as the ventilation in my shoes has been a little on the chilly side. The booties are OK, but they are C-'s 41/42 and I wear 45s, they didn't bother me and I noticed a decrease in chilly feet on my walk to and from the gym. says Baltimore will have a "Fitness Comfort Index of 2 (where 3-1: Uncomfortable)" Mostly Cloudy to Cloudy with predicted temperatures of 30F feels like 20F. It should be fun, except for the getting up early to drive up for the race.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chicken Primavera w/garlic bread in 10min or less

Taking my cue from ThinGuy, only no one has been asking me for my recipes :)

This meal was prepared in the office kitchen, using only minimal tools and supplies.

Required Ingredients:
Garlic Salt (Garlic Powder recommended) I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Feb '07 Vintage

Italian Spice Blend Martin's potato bread, Hot Dog Rolls
Lean Cuisine Chicken Primavera
Red (cayenne) pepper

  1. Set toaster oven to Bake at ~450
    1. Place baking rack on the top rail
  2. Prepare Garlic Toast
    1. Remove a roll from the bag, split and place on clean surface
    2. Lightly coat top of roll with ICBINB
    3. Apply Garlic Salt to taste
    4. Apply Italian Spice Blend to Taste
    5. Place prepared toast in toaster oven
  3. Chicken Primavera
    1. Remove from box
    2. Place in microwave
    3. heat until hot (we used 8:30 for two)
  4. Brown/Toast the Toast
    1. At ~2:00 remaining on the microwave
    2. Switch the toaster oven to broil
    3. Observe closely to prevent burning

  5. Enjoy!

I add ground red (cayenne) pepper to my Chicken

The found "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" expired Feb 13 '07. If you can't find this vintage feel free to use whatever edible grease you can find. Butter or butter flavor recommended.

The random spices smell like an Italian blend. They have been allowed to mellow and blend on the office kitchen table for at least a month.

All times are approximate, a pre-heated toaster oven would clearly require less time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cat Proof External Storage

What happens when you disconnect the drive on the fly?
(e.g. set up a tripping hazard for your cat)

You get this message
The device you removed was not properly put away.Data might have been lost or damaged. Before youunplug your device, you must first select its icon inthe Finder and choose Eject from the File menu.
What happens when you do the same thing to a ZFS pool? This is no different
than what you get on Solaris, except it is on my Mac Book Pro.
  pool: p1
 state: DEGRADED
status: One or more devices could not be opened.  Sufficient replicas exist for
    the pool to continue functioning in a degraded state.
action: Attach the missing device and online it using 'zpool online'.
 scrub: scrub completed with 0 errors on Sat Dec  8 01:44:00 2007

    p1           DEGRADED     0     0     0
      mirror     DEGRADED     0     0     0
        disk7s1  UNAVAIL      0   114     0  cannot open
        disk0s3  ONLINE       0     0     0

Fortunately for me, my system keeps merrily chugging along.

Unfortunately (sort of) and this is much more of an issue on my Mac than on
any other system I am adding and removing devices much more frequently.

When I last connected the external disk and imported the pool I had 6
more "disks" visible to the system (really a usb thumb drive) another FW
device and a few SW RAID devices. This caused my nice portable external
FW disk to appear as disk7.
  diskutil list             
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *149.1 Gi   disk0
   1:                        EFI                         200.0 Mi   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS noroute                 88.9 Gi    disk0s2
   3:                  Apple_HFS                         57.0 Gi    disk0s3
   4:                  Apple_HFS noroute_2_1_2           2.6 Gi     disk0s4
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *55.9 Gi    disk1
   1:                  Apple_HFS                         55.9 Gi    disk1s1


The difference between the zpool status and diskutil list output
is the device configured for the pool is disk7s1 not the currently visible

I don't know how to recover from this situation live. If the device has not
renumbered you just zpool online p1 disk7s1 to reconnect on a different
device number I export and import the pool again.

To state that another way, I don't know how to effectively do:
zpool online p1
similar to
zpool replace p1
(the replace, even with -f, failed telling me that was busy)

I have just requested a pre-release tarball that is reported to fix some bugs
in the current beta. We will see how it goes.

Other Observations:

Once you load the RW kext, it appears that anyone can do anything to the ZFS pools
and filesystems. On my single user system this is OK. I am the only user and guest
accounts are disabled. e.g. Initiate a scrub as a non-admin guest account or create a
snpashot as nobody (sudo -u nobody zfs snapshot p1/Music@nobody)

You CANNOT download music from the iTunes store in the current beta. you get a
permission error. I can however add music from local files.


Edit: Cleaned up the block quotes a bit, still not really rendering as one might hope.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hockey: Tied 4-4

We ended up tied 4-4.

Went down by two in the first, picked up one in the second and three in
the third.

The tying goal was a screened slapshot from THEIR blue line.

We are doing much better as a team, but we were having issues
getting the puck out of our zone tonight.

My legs were feeling dead almost from the start, ah well. Need to get back on
the regular exercise bandwagon.

Wii for the Hollidays

As I alluded to earlier, I won "Best Wow Blog" for CEC 2007. The Judging criteria was

Best Wow Blog:
Blog that is about CEC and leverages as many different technologies as possible to communicate its message. Chosen by a panel of judges, approved by the CEC Executive sponsor Dan Berg, will review blogs for:

  • Wow factor: Does the blog incorporate technology in unique ways? Is it fun to read?
  • Is this a blog that will last throughout the year?

Sweet, I have incorporated technology in an interesting and or unique way and I am fun to read.

Alec Muffett won best podcast for his #8220Terabyte iPod#8221 presentation (which was quite interesting, you
should watch it) he is wondering if he can get a UK Wii.


Lou Springer won Best Red Shift Blog.  Go Lou!  I met Lou at CEC having previously conversed on

twitter and had dinner with him (and some other people see my dinner post listed below :) ) the last day of CEC.


iTunes, ZFS and Time Machine

I have been blogging about ZFS on OS X recently
RW ZFS and Leopard first thoughts
How to get experimental rw ZFS support AFTER upgrading to 10.5.1

As a way to start using ZFS on OS X on a daily basis I have migrated the contents of
my Music folder to a ZFS mirrored pool composed of an external disk and a matching
internal partition.

After a slightly rocky start including reinstalling my laptop so I could do the repartitioning
I wanted and a fairly high number of initial crashes things currently seems to be going well.

One of the things that I have noticed is that my iTunes Music folder and Library are polluted.
Now embedded in my library with the same name as a number of songs I have '.htm' files.
(./path/to/foo.mp3 also has a matching ./path/to/foo.htm in a large number of cases)
The files are part of some O'Reilly books I have on CD, as such I know "where" they came from, sort of.
(My library from my pre-experimentation CCC backup also has the same corruption)

A restore from my Time Machine backup is in order to get things back to a known good state. Or a recovery
from my slightly older CCC backup which is also not corrupted.

I am not particularly impressed with the Time Machine interface. It is novel and seems relatively functional
for finding the most recent backup by using the timeline on the right.

[Time Passes]

The Time Machine restore failed after ~8GB on a couldn't read/write a file error aborting the whole restore.
I do have to admit that the backups are working I can browse the backup structure. The use of hard links and
metadata is cool. Restoring via rsync does the trick, possibly faster as well since it doesn't copy unchanged files.

Even better I don't see a log, I am feeling somewhat less than impressed with the feedback from and utility
of Time Machine from a administrator's point of view. Am I asking for too much? A log of the restore with an
indication of the failure?

I have a feeling that the restore is really just a copy in Finder. An automator type action passing the
selection to Finder and executing a copy.

Again what finally worked for me was a combination of methods. I used the Time Machine interface to find the
backup I wanted and CMD-I to see the path to the directory (although would have been just as good).
Once I found the backup I wanted rsync worked quite well restoring 48GB of Music in 12,273 files.
(rsync --archive -P /Volumes/TimeMachine/.../Music/iTunes ~sferry/Music/iTunes)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

CEC: Award Winning 'Wow' Blog


I won an award for blogging. It turns out that I had the "Best Wow Blog" at CEC.

I am still not sure what exactly a wow blog is. I made a note to see if there was contest information
on SWAN but I haven't checked yet.

Hopefully this isn't a sympathy prize :)

Once I find out a bit more I'll let you know. I did win a prize, more about that later.

RW ZFS and Leopard, my first impressions

Not long ago I posted about installing the RW ZFS beta seed on Leopard after updating to 10.5.1.

As I said after the end of that post, It does work. On the one hand I haven't had this many system
panics on a mac ever. On the other hand I have repartitioned my laptop and now have ZFS pools
mirrored to an external USB stick and a firewire drive.
Since the simple tests below I have re-installed to get more partitioning flexibility. I couldn't do a live
repartition to get the space I wanted. Every attempt to repartition after the first was informing me that
there wasn't enough space.

After pulling the drive but before directing any traffic to the pool:

errors: No known data errors

pool: pool
state: ONLINE
scrub: resilver completed with 0 errors on Mon Dec 3 15:44:43 2007

pool ONLINE 0 0 0
mirror ONLINE 0 0 0
disk0s3 ONLINE 0 0 0
disk1s1 ONLINE 0 0 0

errors: No known data errors

After initiating a scrub on the pool:

pool: pool
status: One or more devices could not be opened. Sufficient replicas exist for
the pool to continue functioning in a degraded state.
action: Attach the missing device and online it using 'zpool online'.
scrub: scrub in progress, 11.12% done, 0h1m to go

pool DEGRADED 0 0 0
mirror DEGRADED 0 0 0
disk0s3 ONLINE 0 0 0
disk1s1 UNAVAIL 0 0 0 cannot open

errors: No known data errors

zpool online pool

Disconnect while writing files to the volume via rsync:
pool: pool
status: One or more devices could not be opened. Sufficient replicas exist for
the pool to continue functioning in a degraded state.
action: Attach the missing device and online it using 'zpool online'.
scrub: resilver completed with 0 errors on Mon Dec 3 15:56:10 2007

pool DEGRADED 0 0 0
mirror DEGRADED 0 0 0
disk0s3 ONLINE 0 0 0
disk1s1 UNAVAIL 0 595 0 cannot open

errors: No known data errors

When the disk went offline the IO slowed (somewhat dramatically), when it came back online it also slowed (again dramatically for ~1-2s). The resilver started and writing data to the pool while resilvering slowed everything down a bit but nothing horrible.

More to come. On a day to day basis I am running iTunes and my music library on ZFS.

My first hint: I recommend turning off spotlight indexing on the ZFS volume it seems SIGNIFICANTLY more stable.