My XBox Live Gamer Card
Sunday, February 11. 2001
It's been a week since we got back from Linux World Expo at the Javits Center in New York City. I really wanted to write while I was there. You'd think that for $200 a night, you could get a decent internet connection in your hotel. John, Chris and I discovered that $200 a night doesn't necessarily buy a whole lot in Manhattan.
Our trip started out wonderfully, Portland International was pretty much shut down due to fog. Our first flight was cancelled. Fortunately, my favourite airline, Alaska got us on a flight to LA from where we grabbed an American flight into JFK. We finally got to our hotel just after midnight.
We were staying at the Roosevelt in Manhattan. To all appearances it was one of the poshest places I had ever stayed, how quickly I was disabused of that notion! On arriving at room 305, we quickly discovered that our door keys wouldn't work. The bellhop quickly ran downstairs to check on what was wrong. When he returned we discovered that we had been moved to room 344. So, we tagged along and found our new room. It was tiny, and there was no roll-away bed. They eventually delivered a roll-away for Chris and John and I took the two doubles. It wasn't long before we were all sound asleep.
We woke up the next morning to the sounds of the big city. For the most part we were refreshed. We decided that the best way to see the city would be to walk to the Javits Center, so we checked our map and headed out on a walk across Manhattan.
We stopped for breakfast at McDonalds, saw Times Square and eventually arrived at the Javits Center--That place is impressive. My first impression was that there were lots of exhibitors, but not many attendees.
We saw quite a few interesting things, but nothing we felt was revolutionary. The most impressive things to me were Evolution and Red Carpet from Ximian and Nautilus from Eazel. The Ximian booth was by far the coolest and most unique at the show.
We had a series of excellent meetings with the folk we went to meet with. How all of the contacts we made eventually come to fruition will be very interesting.
One of the highlights for me was getting to pinch hit for my friend and former employee David Mandel at a panel discussion about Linux and Education. I was disappointed at the attendance, but met some really interesting people.
A couple of other notes about the hotel. When we returned to the hotel after the first day at the show, our room had not been cleaned! I went to the front desk and asked about it. I told the girl I was in room 344. She didn't believe me. I said look under the name John Shepherd. She didn't believe me (we were still registered in room 305). She asked me to run back up to the room and call her to prove to her what room I was in!
Also, I have the misfortune of suffering from migraine headaches. Fortunately, I have a prescription for a drug that usually takes care of them. I forgot my pills, and had them UPS Next Day Aired to the hotel. Of course they managed to get that messed up, and told me that my package had never arrived, and that if it had arrived it would have been rejected because my name was not on the room. Since I wasn't having any headaches I let it go at that. However, just to make sure that my medicine wouldn't stay in New York while I travelled home, I asked again when I checked out. I was informed that all packages are kept for seven days, and that yes my package really was in the hotel!
Needless to say, we won't be returning to the Roosevelt Hotel.
This week was Kyle's first week of work. What a great asset he will be as I now don't have to worry about being called away from my coding tasks to resolve network issues.
Tuesday, January 30. 2001
Tomorrow John, Chris, our angel and I head off to New York City for Linux World Expo. We will be meeting with one of our partners, and hopefully a couple of other folk. I'm looking forward to it as New York is one of the few major US Cities that I have never visited.
David, a friend, and the president of our local LUG was supposed to participate in a round table on Linux and Education at the show. It appears he will be unable to do so, so he has asked me if I would be willing to participate. We'll see if that actually happens as I have not heard details from him yet.
I told you about the system engineer from my ISP. Well, he has accepted our offer, and will be starting on February 4th. I'm looking forward to his contribution to the team. I'm sure I will be able to learn a lot from him.
On a related note, I have a friend who writes really good code and has written a commercial product that is sold all over the country. He works for a company in Salem. He would be a real asset to us, but he has completely ignored anything I've got to say about coming to work here. If he's not interested, I wish he would just say "There's no way." Instead of completely ignoring the request. It strikes me as odd. However, there's plenty of time for me to work on him before we actually need to fill the position.
Tuesday, December 19. 2000
We're installing a new test site tomorrow. There are thirty machines for us to connect with our tools. We needed to build a new server for these folk. They have some unique space requirements (they need about 72Gb of storage). This calls for RAID.
We didn't get the parts for the server until yesterday, and we were unable to get some of the drives to work. We ordered a couple of more drives UPS Red and had them here this morning. We again attempted to get the server running and still had trouble. It appeared that the SCSI support on the mobo was bad. So, we replaced it. Then we discovered that the new board wouldn't support the 600Mhz processors we were putting in. Fortunately we were able to flash the BIOS. Then we discovered that one of the new drives that we were sent was bad. Fortunately we had a drive we could use as a spare and it worked. So, after three hours of thinking life pretty much sucked, all of a sudden it didn't.
We also needed to provide support for a specific network card which we had thought we had support for. I couldn't get the card to work. I tried various and sundry drivers in the vain hope that one would work...no luck. I was finally able to glean enough information about the NIC, and presto it worked perfectly. So, after three hours of thinking life pretty much sucked, all of a sudden it didn't.
We use a proprietary tool that requires a specialized license file. We were sent a license for this project over a week ago, but we couldn't get it to work. I called the company last week and they told me they would get back to me yesterday, they didn't. They did, however, call today, and we were able to get the licensing issues straightened out and everything works great. So, after a few days of thinking life pretty much sucked, all of a sudden it didn't.
I don't usually put personal stuff here but...
I have a friend who has Cystic Fibrosis. He has lived far longer than the doctors original thought he would. He's married, has a couple of kids and is starting to get pretty sick. He's being evaluated for some lung lobe transplant surgery. My wife just called a few minutes ago to tell me that he is in the hospital with a bad infection. The doctors don't seem to be too worried, but for some reason I am. So, if you are the praying type, please pray for my friend Larry.
Friday, December 15. 2000
We're building a new development server (at least that's what we pretend that it is). It has lot's of storage 45 Gb. 36Gb of which are in a RAID stripe. We're using the software RAID that is part of the Linux kernel. It is working extremely well. It also has 512Mb of RAM and dual PIII 450 processors.
It's name is whitewitch (all of our servers are named after characters from C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Whitewitch is an inherited name. It inherited it from our old NT 4.5 server that we used to serve up our MP3 collection. Instead of coming up with a new name, and changing all our DNS entries, we simply created a new whitewitch. Of course whitewitch is not near as fitting for a Linux server as it was for that old NT server.
We discovered something quite interesting about network protocols. Before the new whitewitch, I smbmounted a share from the NT server on my desktop computer (trufflehunter). Whenever I played MP3s using XMMS, there was alway a constant bandwidth usage--at least according to GKrellm. With all our MP3s on the lovely new server, and the same data mounted via NFS, GKrellm shows very little bandwidth useage.
About those MP3s. We do not scour Naptster for MP3s. Nor do we allow any MP3s for music that one of us does not personally own. We have built a very large 3,000+ song library from each of our own personal CD collections. I don't know whether we are within the letter of the law with that. But I do believe that it falls within fair use.
One of the great things about a collection that big is that I can go from Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras to Metallica as the mood strikes. We have everything from Contemporary Christian to Heavy Metal, to Country to New Age. It makes for a very pleasant listening experience. My biggest playlist has over 2000 songs in it. I can go for a long time before I hear a repeat!
A few days ago I said thanks to a Network Solutions customer service rep who walked me through a difficult problem. Today I called to see what the status was as the WHOIS database had not yet been updated. I asked whether the fax that I sent them had been filed and my request honoured. They told me no. That I had done it wrong because I sent them two pages with my signature on them, and that the right one wasn't on company letterhead! I asked if they were going to notify me in anyway that there was a problem with my request. They said no. I asked them if they were aware that it was that level of customer service that was driving people to alternate registrars...
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