I got the iBook, I got the Slashdot t-shirt, I got the beard...but do you think I can get a wireless signal? Oh no. Thanks, Broadcom. But hey, enough complaining. Time for an update.
The wireless ISP is gonna do a point-to-point link between windows of our old and new temporary offices. Should give us 100Mb/s access or so. Which is good, because for a while I thought I'd have to walk down to London Drugs, grab some Linksys routers, and install my own firmware to do it. Which would have been a lot of fun...but would have been a fuck of a lot to get ready in, like, three days. Now I just have to get OpenVPN talking at either end, get Shaw installed, and set up a firewall. Oboy.
And then there's the troubles I've been having with our backup server. A while back I decided to start racking all the boxes we've been using as servers -- transfer the hard drives to proper servers, then use the old shell as a desktop for a new hire. Welp, the backup server was the first to go, and man it's been a headache.
First off, I didn't take care of cooling properly, and the tape drive (HP Ultrium 215, for those paying attention) suffered a nice little nervous breakdown and kept spitting out the tape. I tried downloading the HP diagnostic tool, but it only runs on Linux and the server runs FreeBSD -- neither Linux compatibility mode (not surprising) nor a Knoppix disk (kept hanging) allowed it to work. So I had no real idea what was going on other than the drive was too hot for my liking.
But HP, bless their souls, came to the rescue. Once I made it through their speech recognition voicemail tree hell, they just sent out another one -- they didn't even bitch about not being able to run the diagnostic tool. Not only that, it came the next day, and we don't even have any special contract with them -- that's just warranty. Thumbs up for them.
But now I've got different problems: the damn machine keeps seizing up
on me. See, I've got this 500GB concatenated Vinum array of three
disks that I use as a copy of yesterday's home directory for people,
and I'm trying to move it to a four-disk RAID5 drive on the Promise
array. I tried using rsync, and it just froze...but eventually. I
thought maybe rsync was spending too much CPU time figuring out what
to transfer, so today I tried using
dump | restore -- and sure
enough, it froze again.
I plugged in a monitor, hoping for a panic or something, but nope -- just unresponsive. I've found some mention in the FreeBSD mailing lists about possible problems with write caching and the Adaptec 3960D SCSI controller (which I thought was a 39160 SCSI controller, but I guess not). I'll have to see if that does the trick or not -- but in the meantime I'm wondering how I'm gonna get yesterday on the Promise. Of course, figuring out why it's crashing in the first place would be even better...
But it's not all bad news: earlier this week, the support manager at Promise that I've been dealing with called to tell me that the word had come down from on high. Yep...Promise is going to follow the GPL and properly release the Linux and Busybox source code for the firmware that goes into the VTrak 15100. Hurray! I'll have to watch, of course, and make sure it shows up...but it sounds good. "Let's put it this way," said the manager. "It's on my desk for me to do. And I don't want it there for long." To the home front, now.
As if I didn't have enough on the go, I've blown my tax return on the makings of a MythTV backend: 2.4GHz P4, umpty-GB hard drive, the PCHDTV-300 (get it while you can!), generic 128MB Nvidia (no onboard video on this mobo, or I would've stuck with that), a Hauppauge PVR-500MCE, and a nice Asus mobo in an Antec case to tie it all together. Random notes:
- I like the case-- no sharp edges, very well put together, easy to assemble, and pretty damned quiet. Nice.
- I think the graphics card was causing problems -- the machine kept seizing up for no apparent reason, and when I opened the case to have a look the heatsink was almost burning hot. (Memory was my first guess, but I'm running Gentoo on this and all the compiles went fine -- kernel, gcc, qt...'as a lotta compiles.)
- The ivtv project lists the PVR-500 (dual tuners! yeah, baby!) as in alpha, but a fair few people have reported success with it. Me, I'm getting the finest MPEG-2 recordings of static you could ask for...but then, I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong, and I simply haven't had a chance to work on it since getting it assembled last weekend.
And now for something completely different: new mottoes for Harley Davidson:
"Harley-Davidson: Because social contracts are for weak pussy-ass losers with small dicks."
"Harley-Davidson: Because those other people aren't really human. Not like you and me."
"Harley-Davidson: You deserve it. So do they."
"Harley-Davidson: Because if you pissed in their faces, you'd be arrested."
"Harley-Davidson: Because 'Fuck you!' is just too damned hard to remember."
"Harley-Davidson: Because 'Fuck you!' is just too damned eloquent."