Nerdrium Home

Past entries























Archived Entries from June 2006

More to Do...

Gilles True Value
--electical solder

And bring home the iSight and see about streaming a webcam for the party tomorrow, just for the hell of it.

27 hamburger patties down, about 12-15 more to go... (And I'm actually not sick of making them yet--normally I get to this point and have no desire to make any more...).

I'm making 9 with ground chuck and worcestor sauce. Mmmm....

I sure hope I can get everything done that I need to by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow...

Posted: Friday, June 30, 2006, 1:46 pm
Mood: Busy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

T-Minus-One (and Counting)

Phew. So much done yesterday, but so much left to do...

Done: Radio Shack (although I don't think what I got will work--fortunately I still have today...), AutoZone, Circuit City, PDQ Printing, Cardinal Pool. I didn't make it to Friar Tuck, but I'll do that today.

I bought two pairs of speakers yesterday--one to use outside and the other pair to replace my rear surround speakers (one of the two rear speakers was blown and I had replaced it with an old crappy speaker from the garage--it was hanging by a wire from a screw--not very classy--and the other remaining rear speaker I need to replace one of the side speakers that is also blown. "Hey, check out how cool it sounds when the Klingon moon of Praxis explodes!" Yeah, overpowered receiver, not-powerful-enough surround speakers. Oops. Whoa--that was a lot to be in parentheses...). Anyway, I mounted the new rear speakers last night and they look much better than it did before.

Things to do today:

Call the junk dealer dude and finally get rid of the broken washing machine that is sitting in the garage

Make hamburger patties out of fifteen pounds of hamburger

Go to Piccadilly
--pick up the keg (1,984 ounces of Bud Light)
--get some Gin, Capt. Morgan, and maybe a few other things

Friar Tuck

--set of computer speakers that I might need the jacks for
--laptop charger (oops)
--camera battery charger

Take Alex to the dentist

Car maintenance
--change my oil
--change the redhead's oil
--replace my left headlight

--Jeff's yard (maybe)--he gets home late tonight
--our yard (duh).

I'll leave vacuuming the pool for tomorrow (because it will just need it again tomorrow if I do it today).

Okay, I'm going to get started on the burgers.

Posted: Friday, June 30, 2006, 12:24 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Use Photoshop, Dammit!

Welcome to Darwin!
ipmweb:~ grfnkmp% su -
ipmweb:~ root# cd /Applications
ipmweb:/Applications root# tar --create --file=PREVIEWSUX.tar
ipmweb:/Applications root# rm -rf
ipmweb:/Applications root# exit....


Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2006, 3:18 pm
Mood: Aggravated | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Okay, so it isn't really Friday, but I'm not working tomorrow, so it sure will seem like a Friday (especially since nobody else is at work today but me...).

I have to post the Bulletin today when it arrives in my inbox (I'm somewhat disappointed that I didn't have it first thing this morning) and I also have to add some articles to a newsletter.

And then I think I'm leaving at lunchtime and not coming back.

Too many errands to run, and while I anticipated doing some of them tomorrow, I think I'm going to be too busy at home tomorrow to be spending the day in C-U running errands.

Radio Shack
--headphone jack
--left/right component plugs
--100' (or so) of shielded wire to go between the two

--headlight for my car
--oil and filters for both cars

Circuit City
--two pairs of indoor/outdoor speakers
--car phone charger (since the redhead nabbed mine!)
--some CDs to play at the party Saturday

PDQ Printing
--Nerdrium business cards

Cardinal Pool
--new step for ladder
--another basket for the pool pump

Friar Tuck
--wine and booze for Saturday

And I think that's it for today.

Okay, I think I'll get this newsletter out of the way...

Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2006, 12:36 pm
Mood: Great! | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


I'm off Friday, so this is more like Thursday for me, which is nice. The fact that just about everyone else in the office is out for the rest of the week is even nicer--it'll be nice and quiet and I'll be able to concentrate and get a lot of work done.

Speaking of getting things done, last night I tinkered with my web-based text Adventure interface. (I had been reading an article on Slashdot that got me motivated again). And I solved one of the major problems I had been having. I wanted the window to truly act like an old text-based computer. Where the commands were typed at the bottom and the text scrolled upward as commands were interpreted and results displayed.

The problem with that was that as more and more text was displayed, you started scrolling off the bottom of the screen.

I initially developed a way to have the console part at the top, and have it continually building a string of the last few commands/descriptions, so that you'd only have a screen-ful at a time (even though the length would vary depending on what as displayed after each entered command) but at least you were always at the top.

That was way too awkward for me.

And yesterday I found out how to do it. Part of the key was using PHP's wordwrap function, which allows me to keep lines to a specified number of characters. Once I did that part, I was able to use "explode" to break up the string into an array of individual lines. Then give me back the last X number of linesToKeep, rebuild the string, and poof--that's what gets displayed. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. And it works!

The movement stuff is done, and works well (it was pretty easy--I have a table "exits" that has a row for every available exit in every "room" and if no rows are returned, it displays that it isn't a valid exit, otherwise it sets the current room to be the number of the valid exit, and off we go!).

At this point I need to create a simple way to keep track of objects in the game, like swords and magic wands and bird cages, etc. And here's where I have to think in terms of "save games." Do I use the database to keep track of items? Which will mean that for every new game started, I'll have to create a new gameID, and then have a table of item locations that updates locations by gameID based on where they are. Or do I just keep track of what the user has with a cookie/session variable and then when they go to save if then dumps the stuff into the database? I have to have a gameID/userID kind of thing anyway, but at least this way it is more client-side and not doing any more writing to the database than is necessary.

Oh well. I have work stuff to think about so I should probably get busy with that and deal with Adventure this weekend.

Well, Friday or Sunday, or Monday--Saturday is our huge annual summer party. Woo hoo!

Posted: Wednesday, June 28, 2006, 1:22 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Common Sense

(Perhaps I need to add "or complete lack thereof....")

First off, here's more landscape photos.

So last year the knucklehead that moved into the house next door took it upon himself (without asking) to hack a bush to the ground that is on the other side of the fence between our yards. What he failed to realize is that the fence itself is two feet inside the property line. City ordinance requires that all fences be put two feet inside of any property division, and ours follows that requirement. In other words, he was hacking apart plants that are on my property. An honest mistake, I suppose, but maybe he could have asked first.

He's just plain nuts. My mother-in-law claims that it is just because he is soooo smart that he doesn't know how to function in society. And we all know how I seethe when people insinuate that anyone else in the world is smarter than I am (written with a smile on my face, of course...). This is the root of the whole Mensa-thing. Anyway...

So last fall he went apart hacking down all of the bushes in his yard. He was burning some other branches and "yard debris" and had a nice little fire going, and my theory is that he was happy with his fire and just wanted to keep it going and what better way than to hack down all of the live plants in your yard for fuel, right? (And this theory is semi-confirmed--when the redhead was working at City Hall one of the guys "in the shop" told her that apparently when my neighbor was living in his previous house the fire department was called one time because he had a brush fire going that was too close to the back of his house and almost burned his stupid house down...).

Well, he hacked a bunch of branches off the two pine trees that are on the other side of the fence (on my property) so that he could have more room to get at the mock orange bush, which he then hacked to the ground. I caught him right before he was able to cut down the 8-foot tall lilac bush in the back corner. Even after I expressed that those four things (two pine trees, the mock orange, and the lilac bush) were on my land, he still didn't get it. "So you don't want me to cut it down?" No, dumbass, I don't want you to cut it down.

So over the weekend, as shown in one of my not-so-good photos, I trimmed the branches on the two pine trees that he had butchered so that they at least looked somewhat normal again. I also did a bit of pruning to the mock orange (that seems to be recovering well but is sending out long spindly shoots in its attempt to stay alive...) so that it was nice and round and looked nice.

And I did all of this while mensa-boy and his wife weren't home. On my property, and fully within my rights to prune, etc., etc., but I figured it would be easiest for everyone involved if I took care of this (and disposed of the evidence) while they weren't home.

So yesterday I finally got to washing the algae off the north side of our house. My mother-in-law offered to let me use some house-cleaning stuff that she bought recently, but since there is a huge row of hosta along the base of the house, I was reluctant to be spraying any sort of chemical, no matter how "safe" it was supposed to be. As it turns out, washing the algae off was pretty easy. I just used the hose and a scrub brush. It was a bit of work, but not too bad. But the nice clean siding isn't important...

About halfway through working on the side of the house I hear a voice behind me "Thanks for cutting those branches off those two trees." Oh boy, here we go.

Now, mind you, this guy has lamented to my mother-in-law that I'm unfriendly to him because I don't go out of my way to go over and chat every time he's outside (or something). So I do my best to handle him with kid gloves.

"Hey, no problem. They were kind of uneven so I figured I'd prune them so they looked nicer." I didn't mention that they were uneven because he had hacked them up last fall.

"Yeah, thanks for doing that." Why are you thanking me? They are my f-ing trees....

"Hey, no problem."

"So I was wondering if it would be okay for me to cut that bush back again." What?

"Uh, which bush?"

"The one that I cut back last year." That is still on my property. And remember, I pruned it the day before so it wasn't so gangly, but no, I obviously don't want it hacked back to the ground again.

So the million-dollar question is asked:

"Why do you want to cut it down again?"

Shrug. "Well, I wasn't going to cut down the other one." (I assume he means the lilac...)

"I guess I don't understand. Is it bothering your lawn or something? Why do you want to cut it down?"

"Well, it's on your property so I won't do it." At least he's figured that out, finally.

"I don't understand why you want to cut it down." I really want an answer to this.

Shrug. "I--, I just, well, it's on your property so I won't do it."

"I mean, it isn't bothering anything. The whole point of bushes and landscaping is to look pretty and be enjoyed. That bush isn't a weed or something, it's a nice part of the landscape and is pleasing to look at. I guess I don't know what the point would be to cut it back down." I'm still trying to be gentle with him, but I really don't understand what his motivation is.

He shrugged again and headed back into his garage. WTF?

Yeah, he's just so smart that he can't function. That must be it. Unbelievable.

Posted: Monday, June 26, 2006, 1:50 pm
Mood: Perplexed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


I don't have time for a long post (I'm in the middle of formatting The Bulletin for this week) but I checked a certain campus web page this morning (like I have done every day for the past week or two) and the text that I have been looking for has finally appeared as of this morning.

The long somewhat-stressful journey involving "that thing I can't talk about yet?" has turned the final corner and will hopefully be finished soon.

And if all goes well, then I can finally talk about it.

Okay, back to work--I'll post more later this morning.

Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2006, 12:39 pm
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Fathers Day Weekend

I need to learn to post over the weekend so that I don't have so much to talk about on Monday...

I spent Saturday working on the yard, and got a lot more done than I actually planned to do. I told the redhead a while back that I wanted to yank the barberry bushes that we planted a year or two back because they were growing out of control and taking over. I never liked barberries to begin with (probably because when I was a kid we had a hedgerow of them between our house and our next-door neighbor's house and you can imagine how many times any of us ended up in those awful things....).

The one growing out into the walk was particularly troubling to me:

Besides, I just don't like the look of them--too sloppy or something. Well, I decided that yanking bushes out of the ground might not be the easiest thing in the world to do. So I grabbed the hedge clippers and decided to let these nasty things know who's boss... The euonymus were looking a bit scraggly as well, so I gave them a haircut as well.

They actually don't look too bad now, even to me. I also put down a fresh layer of mulch, which always helps.

Finally, I decided to lop some branches off of the oak tree and river birch in the front yard, because I'm really having to duck to mow under them (like, do a limbo, and I'm too chubba to limbo very well....). I grabbed my pruning saw and started hacking away (I didn't upload a "before" picture because I think I'm wasting enough bandwidth as it is embedding these in this post, and, well, the difference isn't as striking from far away, but here's the "after" shot):

One thing to note: if you are ever pruning a small tree, and you are sawing with your right hand and holding the branch with your left hand, do not, under any circumstances, move your grip from the branch to the trunk of the tree, no matter how badly the tree is shaking as you are sawing:


And yes, it still hurts. And that was a total "You know, having my hand here probably isn't that good of an id-.... YEEEOWTCH!" (I'll not list the string of words I said after that....).

Okay, I have all sorts of riddles to deal with this week (why pages won't show if Apache is run by user "Apache" but do show up when Apache is run as "nobody," even though ALL of the files have read-by-everyone permissions and both Apache and nobody are part of group "web," why ColdFusion won't let me hook up to a datasource with any user other than "root," why I can't use single ticks (') in the text when I submit Bulletin articles any more, if the PHP "include" path thing has been fixed for real, why sendmail is sending bonged e-mail messages to root@localhost instead of to my address.... I think that's enough to keep me busy for a while).

And these riddles will certainly be more compelling than "Treasure Hunters" was last night. What a waste of two hours that was.... Figures that the pastor would be the biggest cheater and that the "Geniuses" would almost get eliminated because they were too big of dingbats to put Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt together and realize they were supposed to go to Mount Rushmore. I mean, come on--my kids even figured that one out.


Posted: Monday, June 19, 2006, 12:48 pm
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Turn for the Better

I gained administrator access to the WinXP machines in the lab across the hall (and I don't mean "computer lab"--this is a "lab lab" with microscopes, and gas "outlets," and big sinks, etc., etc. And there are three desks in there for our grad students. So the computers in the "lab across the hall" just means the three Dells that the grad students/student employees use. So anyway, I am an administrator for those three now and was able to get my RAID driver disk created. It updated everything on the server just swimmingly, which was nice. Next I started on the new drive configuration.

So trying to take the two bigger drives and configuring them in a RAID 1 with a slightly smaller hotswap spare was not the way to go. No matter what I did I couldn't get the RAID controller to "waste" the 250 megs that were left over--it made me either make them a second logical RAID 1 drive, or make them RAID 0 (uh, also a second logical drive, just bigger). But I figured it out. I made the array comprise one of the new drives as well as the old drive. It told me the array had to be the size of the smaller drive--perfect! So now the RAID one has one logical drive at 699xx, and the hotswap spare is bigger but better to have it fail (if it ever has to) to a bigger drive than assuming it would work failing to a smaller drive.

RHEL 4 is now installed. I didn't do much else before leaving for the day. My son is staying the night with a friend so my daughter is having a friend of her own stay at our house tonight. They're in the pool now (it is summertime hot again...).

I'm concerned that this green ash is losing so many leaves--what gives? It isn't emerald ash borer--they are still hundreds of miles away (but I checked the trunk anyway, of course). I wonder if it is stressed because of all the landscaping I did over the last year? Hopefully that is something it can recover from? I best call my resident tree expert and see what he has to say...

I mean, these leaves are falling like it is autumn....

Posted: Friday, June 16, 2006, 10:10 pm
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Okay, maybe that's not the sound a bullet would make as it just misses my head, but that's the best I could come up with.

How about not being a naive goof and reading release notes before deciding to dump an entire server and get new drives and start fresh with a new operating system install?

I couldn't remember what (if anything) I had to to when installing RHEL to deal with the Perc4/Di RAID controller on the server. When I first did all of this a few years back I was starting with RHEL 2.1. I had dual processor kernel problems, I had RAID problems, etc., etc. Finally the Dell people said "Why don't you use RHEL 3 instead?" Duh, because I didn't know it was released yet? I mean, and I had just purchased RHEL 2.1 So now I don't know if I needed a driver disk for RHEL 3 or not....

So I go searching this morning to see what I need to do for RHEL 4 to see the RAID controller. And I find all sorts of "I upgraded to RHEL 4 and now it won't see my RAID drives..." sorts of messages on Google. Oh boy.

After panicking, and then calming down, and then looking at all of this more closely, I think that my controller is new enough that everything will be fine. Phew.

But, I did find a firmware update for my RAID controller. And of course, it's an .exe file. Thanks, Dell. Here I am in my office, on a Mac, with a RHEL 4 machine and a Fedora Core 5 machine in here as well, and the download for the firmware update is an .exe file. I'm glad I got to work at 6:15 this morning. Now I can sit and wait until one of the Windoze users show up so I can make a stupid floppy. Sheesh. "Sorry, but can I borrow your computer for a minute..." I wonder if I even have a floppy disk that is any good.

Oh well. If it were easy, I guess I wouldn't have a job and the professors could just install, upgrade, and support their own servers. Or something.

I'm starving.

Posted: Friday, June 16, 2006, 12:57 pm
Mood: Uptight | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


What an exhausting week. Maybe my job is just too cushy and I'm not used to working this hard. Or something.

The test server was eagerly awaiting me in my office this morning, happily chugging along. So that's good, at least.

I only got one of the drives formatted on the production server before I left yesterday (actually, I only got one of them started--I'm assuming it is finished by now...).

Ugh, and I have so much crap to do this weekend I don't even want to start making a list. Clean the algae off the siding on the north side of the house. Have the kids find the leak in the pool liner, assuming there is one and I'm not just worrying for nothing. Replace the bottom step on the pool ladder. Put tomato cages out at the farm (maybe). Put imidacloprid down around our two ash trees since that nasty EAB has finally reared its ugly head in Illinois, change my oil. Anything else? Order a keg for the Fourth, figure out if Larry Gates is playing for us again this year, clean out the garage. Okay, that's probably enough.

I need to go get the formatting of that second drive started. And wouldn't you know it, the two I ordered aren't exactly like the three that were in there (meaning, the hot swap spare doesn't match now). The two new ones show up as 700xx megs in the RAID configurator, and the old one shows up as 699xx megs. I don't think this is that big of a deal. I think if I just make the partitions on the new ones equal to 699xx (and leave the rest as wasted space) everything should work fine. Of course, that server has been running for 3 years or so and never failed over to the hot swap spare, so I'm hoping we can make it another 3 years with the new drives and have the same results.

Anyway. I need to head to the server room....

Posted: Friday, June 16, 2006, 11:57 am
Mood: Tired | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Cheap Hosting

Heh. I think my cheapo web hosting place is under a DOS attack--it was slow this morning, almost didn't work at all mid-day, and is barely chugging along right now. Heck, I don't even know if this post will work.

(I've tried multiple times to directly access the database using CocoaMySQL and it spins and spins and spins and never connects...). Damn servers.

Speaking of damn servers....

I'm worn out. This whole migrating of things from one to another is exhausting. I forget just how much stuff is going on at any given time. Normally I assume that if I don't have anything pressing going on, then neither does the poor server. The other day when I started trying to switch things from the prod server to the test server and thinks went blanks for two minutes one of our field experts was trying to upload data and I got a phone call while I was running down the hall to the production server closet to turn the network card back on.... Sheesh.

At any rate, I think we're (duct tape and all) successfully moved from prod to test, and things are working somewhat well. I band-aided most of the problems that I listed earlier today. Now as long as I can get prod back up and going before next Wednesday or so, I'll be in good shape. I've installed the new drives, started formatting them this afternoon, and might actually have an operating system installed before I leave tomorrow.

I might come in on Saturday. We'll have to see. The sooner this is done the better.

Since I'm a geek, I have to post the obligatory shot of the server, as silly as that is...

Mine is the third one down of that group. Dual 2.8 GHz Xeons with 6 gigs of RAM and 3 x 73 gig Ultra320 SCSI 10,000 RPM drives (configured in a RAID 1 with a hot-swap spare...).

SIgh. I still have so much more to do to make this all normal again. If only I were an IT "team" that had multiple resources and multiple employees to take care of things and, well, actually, I wouldn't like that. I like my control better. Even if I have to be stressed for a few days.

Computers rock. Some day I might as well.

Ooh--I am ordering Nerdrium business cards tomorrow. Watch out, world!


Posted: Friday, June 16, 2006, 1:41 am
Mood: Exhausted | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Bad Hack

I often preface when I "create" something that it is "just a bad hack."

Well, a couple of bad hacks are coming to bite me in the butt. Okay, so maybe only one of them is actually my fault but either way, I'm not thrilled right now...

To send out a notification message to a list of subscribers, I created an aforementioned bad hack. Select all the verified users from email database, and use PHP's mail function to send each of them a subject and a message--just loop through the list. (It takes forever, and yes, this is a very, very bad hack--I just haven't got around to making a new way to do this...).

Well, Mr. New Server doesn't have access to sendmail from PHP. So "mail($to,$from,$subject,$message);" just doesn't do anything. Oh boy.... (And today just so happens to be the day that I send out a weekly notification to that list...).

I whipped up another "bad hack" that just lists all of the addresses with a comma between each one. I'll see if I can use Eudora and just paste that whole big mess in the BCC: field. I sure hope Eudora will let me do that for 2,500+ addresses...

I also found out that, for some reason, PHP won't include files outside of the path of the web directory, which is unfortunate. Surely I can find a way to get that to work again, though.

And ColdFusion won't let me create database connections for any MySQL user other than root. That makes no sense. But the connections work now as root, so I'll figure that out later.

Oh boy. It's going to be a long day....

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006, 1:18 pm
Mood: Anxious | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment

Step One Complete

Well, it's probably more like step four or five, but maybe it's the first category of steps that is completed.

My test server is now acting as the production server, and it seems to be working well.

I'm copying everything I can from the old production server to my G5. Then I get to pull the drives and hopefully these two new ones are the right ones...

We'll have to see...

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 5:32 pm
Mood: Optimistic | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Busy, busy, busy...

It's Wednesday already--sheesh...

I spent yesterday trying to migrate my production web sites from the server in the server room to a machine in my office, and after hours and hours of preparation and crossing my t's and dotting my i's, I still couldn't get it to work.

My last best guess is a problem with the httpd.conf file, so we'll see right after I get finished writing this.

Once I move everything to the machine in my office (a Dell Dimension 4400, 2.4 GHz P4, 1 gig of RAM, and two 80 gig IDE drives in a software RAID 1 configuration, in case anyone is curious), I have two new 73 gig 10,000 RPM SCSI drives to install in the "main" server, and then I can install the latest RedHat, etc., etc.

I really, really hope I can get this straightened out this morning. Like in the next 10 minutes....

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 12:29 pm
Mood: Apprehensive | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Lazy Weekend

Well the weekend was cold and drizzly. Not much swimming took place. Fortunately for me, I took the day off Friday and got the yard mowed and all of the yardwork taken care of. Then I spent the weekend reading a book and taking multiple naps. It was wonderful....

Several years ago, when we were dirt poor, I signed up to participate in a psychology "experiment" that dealt with depression. I had to fill out a bunch of questionnaires ("Mark whether the following statement makes you: happy, somewhat happy, neither happy nor sad, somewhat sad, want to slit your wrists...") and then I was "interviewed" by one of the people running the study (a grad student, I'm pretty sure). I think I got paid $30.

Well.... last week they called me at home and asked about participating in a follow-up study. I really don't have any desire to do so. My situation is a lot different than it was then. I'm generally happier, I think. And I certainly don't feel like spending the better part of the afternoon just to make 30 bucks.

So I'm going to craft a little white lie, which is partly true. I'm going to call them here in a minute and tell them that I wasn't sure that I wanted to dredge all of this up again (true), and that I'm currently seeing an LCSW every week to deal with my "depression" (true), and that after consulting with her we both decided it would be best for me if I didn't participate in the follow-up study (the little white lie part, although I don't doubt that she'd agree with me on this....).


The bosses will both be out for most of the rest of the week (one left a few hours ago, the other one leaves in an hour). I think this week might be the week when I switch the production server from one machine to the other so that I can install new drives, etc. How relaxing.

This afternoon, however, I have a different task laid out for myself... A long time ago I installed external Maxtor drives for myself and the other few people in our group to act as back-up devices. I had problems with Retrospect on both platforms, but had no problem dumping that on my end because I can just use a cron job for my data (I don't need my applications and all that crap backed up...). I didn't know what to do for them, until I found something called NTBACKUP. Not quite as robust as Retrospect, but I don't need it to be. And very fortunately for me, the professors are very, very organized. Like, they keep EVERYTHING in "My Documents." Piece of cake--NTBACKUP that directory every day--perfect.

I, on the other hand, am a sloppy Mac user. I have stuff ALL over the place. New directories made in "/", crap on my desktop, stuff just everywhere.

It has always been in the back of my head that I need to find a way to organize all of this, but I always put it low on the priority list. However, I just opened a directory and at the bottom of my screen found that I have less than 100 gigs available on my main hard drive. Yeah, you read that right--I was concerned because I have less than 100 gigs. It isn't the "less than 100" part that concerns me, it's that it means that I have over 150 gigs full on my hard drive. Full, most not backed up, and all over the place.

So the buck stops here. By the end of today I will be as organized as the professors are, and have a good working backup solution properly in place.

(It really just sucks that Mac "aliases" are not the same thing as symbolic links...)

Posted: Monday, June 12, 2006, 5:39 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

You Know You're a Geek....

...when you decide, on your day off, that it would be a nice idea to fold some laundry since the wife has to work and it would really make her life easier this weekend, so you turn on the television and think "oh, maybe I can find a ballgame to watch" and while flipping channels stop upon hearing a particular voice say "Space--the final frontier..." and say "oh, I'll watch this instead...."

Posted: Friday, June 09, 2006, 8:20 pm
Mood: Amused | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

More Spring Photos

I took some more photos outside to show, well, progress or something.

To see the new set of photos, click here.

In other news, I got the video chat thing working last night using something called ineen. It worked pretty well.

Next Tuesday I'm giving a short presentation to some folks at the USDA Riverfront building in Washington D.C. And I'm going to be sitting here at my desk in Urbana the entire time. How cool is that?

The new drives showed up for my server yesterday. I suppose I should make sure they are the correct ones...

I really need to get going with this whole server overhaul--I just keep getting interrupted with other stuff. Maybe I'll come in some weekend and do it. That might be easiest anyway.

Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006, 1:33 pm
Mood: Happy | 1 comment| Article URL | Post a comment


Mmm. The mark of the beast. Maybe we should have steak for dinner tonight to celebrate. You know, like, "eat the beast" or something.

And at the very least it is 6-6-06, not 666. To me, it is more like 06-06-2006, which certainly doesn't "equal" 6-6-6. But I don't believe in any of that anyway so it really doesn't matter. Fun, though.

Okay, I need to get this video conferencing set-up working. Enough goofing around (for now...).

Posted: Tuesday, June 06, 2006, 12:37 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

For the Sake of Posterity....

Rollercoaster all the way back up. (Note to self--fix the hack of an RSS feed because I bet it gets "stuck" at "all" [actually it will get stuck at the italics tag, but anyway...])

Sheesh--see my hell?

Two rollercoasters up, "way up" for my mood right now.

How bizarro.

I meant to take some pictures of the back yard this afternoon but didn't get around to it (I'm guessing that the few of you that read this would rather look at pretty pictures than read my babbling).

My mind is racing. Let's try a really off-the-wall analogy that might help my therapist explain all of this later.

Or not.

I seem to recall that when I'm depressed I have a void of, well, I don't know what. And my "radar" goes in search of problems. And that whole situation is ungodly frustrating.

Here's the opposite--that I don't normally write about because I'm normally just happy being this way when it happens.

Everything is flying by. All good thoughts. I'm overwhelmed. There are no bad solutions. There are no bad problems. There probably are, but they are being drowned out.

Job. Future. Money. Stock Market. Servers. School.

It's all good!

(And before I get pre-empted... No, there is no mention of wife and kids in all of that. They are my rock. They are not a variable that goes from good to bad. Or bad to good. When this opiate goofiness is going on I know that they are there, and they are the foundation--my weirdness is beyond them ...)

Too honest lately? Maybe.

I have Camelot right here in front of me. The planets have aligned.

I am, unfortunately, plagued with something that might be out of my control. Something seething.

And I will find it. And bring it to light. And banish it.

(As the redhead reads this and sings "Drama Queen...").

I'm going to win this. (I was going to try to be clever and say "Tennessee Tuxedo will not fail!" but isn't Mr. Gore from Tennessee? And that's such an injustice to penguins everywhere...)

And I was going to delete that last remark, because I don't want to be "political," but no--why am I so sensitive about politics lately?

Aaaargh. This is deteriorating quickly.

But not affecting the rollercoaster.

Maybe there is something cool on History Channel.

Or I'll just go to bed.

Posted: Tuesday, June 06, 2006, 2:42 am
Mood: Anxious | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment


Don't ask my why I hadn't checked in sooner than today.... but my cron backup jobs haven't been running since January. Uh... And cron is working fine, but the job fails because it stops for a password when it tries to do the secure copy. So somewhere in here I've fiddled with public/private keys on one of these machines and fouled everything up. Groan.

I need to calm down. The data is backed up. Everything is safe (it was on mirrored drives anyway, with a hot-swap spare ready and waiting in case either of the drives fails...). I'm in the process of re-doing servers right now anyway, so this isn't that big of a deal.

But I've got users created specifically to do the backups, and I have my desktop G5, two RedHat Linux servers, and a Fedora Core server all talking to each other with public/private keypairs.

I need to take a deep breath and go for a walk. I can fix all of this, if I just relax.

The only real thing I have to worry about is the Thawte certificate for the production server. And you know what? Honestly? I should probably just get a new one after all of this stuff is transferred to ipmtest and then back to the production server--new drives, new OS. No reason to not spend the slight amount of money on a new certificate, just to be sure. I may not need to. (IIRC, that certificate is tied to the name of the server and the IP address, and doesn't give a rip what lives in ~/.ssh...)

Okay, so at worst I have to get a new web certificate--big deal.

Now is a good opportunity for me to whittle down all of the extraneous users that I have for all of the various cron jobs and make this all a lot neater. This is a good opportunity, not a bad thing. I just need to keep telling myself that.

Okay, I need to wipe all of the authorized_keys and known_hosts files, create new public/private keypairs for each of the four machines (and give them names that make it obvious where each comes from), store them each in the same place on each machine, and then go about adding each to the other machines.

The data is all safe--that's the important thing. (And really never was in any danger....)

Deep breath.

Posted: Monday, June 05, 2006, 1:42 pm
Mood: Uptight | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Short Weekend

So a two-day weekend four days after a four-day weekend feels really, really short....

It was a great weekend nonetheless.

I got the front yard mowed yesterday. The... hold that thought until tomorrow when I'll be blogging after not having had a few beers.

Anyway. The yard is in good shape.

I went and mowed Jeffrey's lawn today. He put in a garden a few years ago and did chicken wire and slats of wood for him to put his feet on when he weeded and stakes in the ground and bricks to hold down the chicken wire and the whole nine yards. Well, I'm mowing his yard for the next two months and the garden hasn't been used in two years and has two foot grass growing, so that was the end of that. It looks much nicer now.

I'm torn with how to help my best pal.

Help. This assumes he needs, or wants, my "help." Sheesh. And I'm not being insincere, and this isn't about my own ego. But I need to cool it either way.

Next subject.

The redhead and I went to a baby shower yesterday for Mookie and Michelle. Pretty cool--they had a keg. (This is the second baby shower I've ever been to, and both involved beer and such--I think I like the whole "shower" thing...).

Our friends from Decatur came over today to swim and we had a great time.

What else... (I need to go to bed....)

I guess I'm spent. I apologize for being so boring lately....

Posted: Monday, June 05, 2006, 4:22 am
Mood: Half-Drunk | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Webcam Sillyness

What a pain in the neck this was. I had no idea this would be so complicated.

I've had an iSight camera at work for a while now, and have used it a few times to iChat with my dad (he has one of them fancy iMacs with the camera built-in). I thought I'd see about using it as a webcam in my office. How difficult can it be, right?

Well, there is no software from Apple (that I can find anyway) for using this thing as a webcam. Great. There's all sorts of third-party software, though. Most had more bells and whistles than I wanted--just snap a picture and save it to a file. I'll do the rest. Honest.

Most of the free stuff I found on VersionTracker didn't work correctly, or didn't do what I wanted. I finally found a freebie that worked, but it didn't take a picture and save it--it would take a picture and then FTP it directly to a server.

Well no, I'm not going to use FTP once a minute to my webserver--that's just asking to get sniffed and hacked. I wanted to just save it to my computer, and I'll use SCP and a cron job to get it where I want, right? But my only option is FTP. What I eventually settled on was FTP-ing it to 127.0.01 and then from there I copy it to a server. But in order for SCP to work without a password I need to give a public key, which I can't do with my hosting company. So then I thought I'd use my campus NetFiles account, but I can't SFTP/SCP to that either--it uses WebDAV. Wonderful. And there isn't a command-line (that is, cron-able) interface for using that. Groan. Then I tried my student account at UIS, which I can FTP to, but the image doesn't show up--who knows what the problem is there.

So I settled on my "home" account on a server at work. Between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. a cron job will copy the image from my local machine (and echo a datestamp), and I'll put that into a page here. Let's see if this works...

I have a feeling that timestamp part won't work. The link to the page is also here.

Anyway. I'm ordering a PC web cam today so that I can virtually give a presentation to some folks at the USDA in Washington in two weeks. This will be interesting...

Posted: Thursday, June 01, 2006, 1:24 pm
Mood: Content | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment

Next 10 entries

Return to the Nerdriumblog :: Return to the Nerdrium