Saturday, August 18, 2007

Debian Update takes out EXP II

On 8/17 I did a remote Debian 40r0 update to the piece of crap IBM box that runs EXPERIMENTAL II.

I think Debian dropped the ball on this round of updates. A new kernel (in my case 2.6.18-5-686) was installed, but the reboot notification did not appear. When the server entered a period of quiet time I rebooted it and it did not come back up.

Not much I could do. I was at work and EXP II was at home. Sucks to be Hinky.

The same update on a variety of other boxes and VMs had the same problem (no reboot notification), but EXP II was the only one that did not come back up.

Then I remembered the RaLink rt61 wireless driver.


It doesn't come stock with the Linux kernel and if you upgrade the kernel, you have to recompile the driver. Not a big deal, but it completely slipped my mind, or what's left of it.

Since EXP II run headless in the corner of the Dink Family rumpus room and connects to DinkNet wirelessly, doing anything at all to it is a Major Operation™.

But I girded my loins (heh), unplugged it, and dragged it over to the workbench to recompile the rt61 driver.

Huh. No headers for the new kernel. You'd think those would come with the new kernel, but no. So I got those, ran make install, and rebooted.

Son of a bitch overwrote my interfaces file and set it up for DHCP. I don't have any any philosophical issues with DHCP but in my experience these RaLink drivers just don't do DHCP well.

Fixed that, rebooted again, checked everything out, shut 'er down, shoved it back into the corner, powered up, and let 'er rip.

I love this shit. Gives me something to do.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

RoadRunner SUX. GoDaddy ROCKS!!!

I've had the whole week off, so I've been dicking around. And of course whenever I dick around I inevitably fuck something up. Let me explain.

One of the things Debian 4.0r0 has that Sarge never had is support for temperature and fan sensors (see below).

sensord outputI was quite surprised and a little apprehensive when I found BOT House running at upwards of 67º C whenever there was someone playing. The Shuttle XPC that BH runs on has a variable speed "Smart Fan" and although it's relatively quiet, I could hear it spinning up and down whenever the temp went over 60.

So today I decided to jump into the BIOS and set the fan for "High" instead of "Smart" in order to keep this puppy as cool as possible.

Oddly, I found that the Smart Fan default for "High" (3500rpm) was 80º C, which makes me think in retrospect that maybe I was overreacting.

But I changed it anyway and rebooted. Better safe than toasted, I always say.

And lo and behold once more RoadRunner had decided to re-IP the subnet, so BH came up with a new IP.


Not such a big deal, really, unless you've saved BH or EXP II to your favorites, in which case you're screwed to a flat board and you have to re-browse to get the new address.

OK, so no problem. Much. A few tweaks to the firewall settings, reload iptables, and we're up and running.

The biggest hassle is going back to GoDaddy's Total DNS Control page to change all my DNS settings to the new address. So, fire up GoDaddy and...

DNS error. WTF?

It seems RoadRunner decided to take its old DNS severs down as well. I don't use them directly since I have an internal DNS server that forwards to their DNS servers (long story). In order to do that I need to drop their DNS addresses whenever BH gets its IP via DHCP.

So I sniff the wire with tcpdump to get a DHCP packet (it only takes a minute or two to get one) and plug those addresses into my DNS server. Fine. Back in business, slicker'n shit.

Back to GoDaddy, change all my global DNS entries (there are quite a few) from the old to the new, jump to the command line and check the DNS entry.


Woomp there it is. GoDaddy says it takes 24 hours but in my experience it's almost always instantaneous. Or about an hour. Whichever comes first.

So why is this important? Because RoadRunner changes my IP. Here's why.

Like I said, I'm on vacation this week. To stay connected to my work environment, I have a couple of covert tunnels (ssh and openvpn) back to my home address. Each one is the backup for the other and they "phone home" via DNS. If DNS isn't right (if it has the old IP, for instance), they get lost and it just doesn't happen.

After about 40 minutes, while I was posting this, the tunnels figured out the new address and hooked me back up to work.

Some vacation, huh?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Talk to Jesus... and win a FREE iPhone!

OK, so this is just another thinly veiled attempt to get a Google news alert for "Free iPhone", but if they can do it, why can't ?

Here's a sample from the link above:

A history changing event is about to occur. Soon millions of people worldwide will be able to have private, verbal conversations with the virtual Jesus from any phone, anytime, anywhere on a daily basis. While many instantly dismiss TalkToJesus (TTJ) as an abomination, we believe that it will strengthen people’s faith. TalkToJesus will help people connect with God’s Word by reading the Bible interactively. Users will be able to select from different translations. And TTJ will be able to speak and understand multiple languages in countries across the globe.

Is it just me or does Virtual Jesus sound exactly like this guy?

Perhaps there's a market for a "Talk to Mohammed" iPhone... when you answer it, it explodes!