2008 Election Results from Google

Google Chrome

I’m playing around a little bit with Google’s “Chrome” browser. The jury is still out, but I am very impressed with it’s rendering speed. Everything I’ve thrown at it so far, the only rendering delays I’ve seen so far are things outside of the browser’s control: time for the DNS server to resolve the hostname, bandwidth, speed of the remote web server. Rendering the page once it’s downloaded is the fastest I’ve ever seen.
I also like how well it imported all my Firefox settings, including history, bookmarks and saved passwords. The last is a little creepy, but sure saves me having to re-enter them all for every site I want to test that is behind a login.

Day two on the new job

Yesterday was spent mostly dealing with HR, getting benefit paperwork filled out, getting ID bages, waiting for a new workstation, then getting logins to all systems I need to log into.

Today has been reading some documentation, attending one meeting (a weekly ticket status update), familiarizing myself with all the different ticket / email systems. (Kana: support email. Not related to our Outlook / Exchange email used internally, HEAT: support ticket system (not to be confused with support mail system), Remedy: internal ticket system and replacement for HEAT. Are you confused yet? I am.)

Taking the train to work has it’s perks. It would take just as long to drive, I’d have to deal with traffic, put miles on my car and burn gas^H^H^Hmoney. Taking the train I drive 5 miles to the station, buy a ticket, wait for the train, then read my book for the next 40 minutes. Change trains at Union station, get off at City Place, take two escalators, through a secure door, another escalator then an elevator up 23 floors.

The break room is near by and has free soda machines (and free juice machines). Coffee is also free. Gotta buy our snacks though.

Now, if I could just get half the fluorescent lights over my desk turned off…

del.icio.us becomes delicious.com

del.icio.us changes look, name.

So after I don’t know how long del.icio.us has been around, they finally sold out and become delicious.com. Can’t really blame them. Those-other-than-geeks are so tuned to the “everything on the internet ends in .com” mindset, and putting too many dots in the name confuses people, that it makes sense eventually. But it doesn’t quite have that same flare to it.
Along with the new domain name, they’ve made some changes to their infrastructure, engine and look-n-feel. Check it out.

delicious blog

When lesbians get hitched

Congratulations to my good friends and “p”.
They snuck off to “Canuckistan” to get married. From the pictures it was a lovely ceremony.
I wish them all the best and look forward to the reception they have planned here in Big D some time in Oct.

When death strikes close to home

Coming home from work the other night, as I turned into my neighborhood I encountered a bit of police and fire activity. No lights and sirens and fire was leaving the scene, so I didn’t think much of it. Probably someone called 911 for a medical emergency and it was all over. There was one police car still in the neighborhood and he drove off when he realized he was blocking me from turning onto my street.

Kestrel said there were two police cars out front when she got ome and the officers were talking to Jeff, our neighbor across the street. I know Jeff has a past, so I was a little worried, but she said they seemed to be laughing and joking. I stopped worrying figured I’d just ask him what happened the next day.

I came home from work yesterday, saw that Jeff was home so headed over to ask what all the excitement was the day before. Jeff and Jonnetta, his wife, were sitting at their kitchen table with Chris, the neighbor that shares the other half of their duplex. I’d never met Chris before, though I had spoken with her boyfriend and roommate, Mark. I’d seen her coming home from work so I recognized her and Jeff introduced us.
Monday afternoon, Mark died, apparently of heart failure.

He’d been ill for several months, first pneumonia, then a couple of bouts of bronchitis. He was fighting off another round of bronchitis when his doctors told him if he didn’t quit smoking, it was just going to keep coming back and his lungs would never heal, so he quit. 8 days later he was dead.

Chris said she called around 3:45 to get a phone number. He said it would take him a minute to get to it, as he was rather weak and was moving slowly. When he didn’t come right back, she figured he got distracted by a book or something, as he was in the habit of doing. (I saw him many times, at all hours of the day and night, stepping out to his porch to have a cigarette, always reading a book. He made his living buying and selling books online. Their house is so packed with books they can barely move.) Later she got an uneasy feeling and came home early, to find him collapsed on the floor, unresponsive. She called 911 and they had to take him out through the bedroom window. He was probably already dead before she got home, but they transported him to the hospital, attempting to revive him.

After getting back from the hospital, she had to deal with calling his parents to let them know their son had died. While still on the phone the police showed up and made her get off the phone RIGHT NOW, so they could remove her from the house and seal it off. They wouldn’t even let her re-enter the house to feed the dog. It wasn’t until midnight that they had their search warrant, completed their search and let her back in, satisfied that there was no appearance of a crime.

Chris and Mark had just gotten engaged and were supposed planning to sign the papers on a house they are buying this Friday. Instead she’s traveling to Oklahoma City bury him.

Twitter “auto followers”

Given the nature of Twitter, I don’t understand those who just automatically follow everyone who shows up on the Twitter home page. I just blocked about 5 “followers” who were each following a couple of thousand people. Some were following as many as 80k people! Clearly they’re not actually “following” any of them, just automatically adding everyone who posts, hoping to GET as many followers as possible. “TwitterMosaic”? If I wanted to see everything posted by everyone on twitter, I’d just look at the twitter home page, not follow a specific user, who just reposts everything everyone says.
Then there was the guy who’s every tweet was “Let me help you make your life better! Read my web site! makemoneyfast.com” and variations thereof. Yeah, I need twitter spam about as much as I need email spam.
On the other hand, having finally gotten up and started my e-day, one of the first emails I read told me a lovely red-head and good friend had started following me on Twitter. 🙂

CentOS domU under Debian

I finally got a CentOS 5 domU running under Debian.
The xen-tools xen-create-image method didn’t work. I managed to find an appropriate build script for centos5, but it was pretty badly out of date, trying to install RPM versions that don’t exist on the mirror servers any more. Trying to bring it back up to date would have been a PITA. It has the RPM versions hard-coded in the script.
However the instructions at http://wiki.kartbuilding.net/index.php/Create_Centos5_DomU_on_Debian_Etch_Dom0 worked a treat.
After following those steps, I converted it from a file-based image, to an LVM, with the following steps:
Manually create logical volumes for the filesystem and swap. I use 40G filesystem LVs and 128M swaps.

# mkdir /mnt/loop
# mkdir /mnt/cenots
# mount /home/andrew/centos.5-0.img /mnt/loop -o loop
# mount /dev/mapper/ember-centos5–disk /mnt/centos
# cd /mnt/loop
# cp -Rp bin boot dev etc home lib media mnt opt root sbin selinux srv sys tmp usr var ../centos
# cd
# umount /mnt/loop
# umount /mnt/centos

Then edit /etc/xen/domains/centos.cfg and change the following lines:

kernel = “/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-4-xen-686”
ramdisk = “/boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-4-xen-686”
vif = [‘bridge=xenbr0’]
disk = [‘file:/xens/name_of_new_server_to_be/centos.5-0.img,sda1,w’,’file:/xens/name_of_new_server_to_be/centos.swap,sda2,w’]


kernel = ‘/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-6-xen-686’
ramdisk = “/boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-6-xen-686”
vif = [ ‘ip=’ ]
disk = [ ‘phy:ember/centos5-disk,sda1,w’, ‘phy:ember/centos5-swap,sda2,w’ ]

Then “xm create centos”. Boom! Centos 5, running as a domU on a Debian Etch dom0, from a logical volume.
And I still have the original centos5 image file for creating fresh domUs.

How to Speak Republican

I never was any good at foreign languages.

I’m voting Repulican!

Because I don’t think I should have money. Let Saudi Arabia have it all.

Xen and the art of server maintenance

Aught to be a good title for a book on Xen, no?

Anyway, while discussing Xen with the COO (and it just occurred to me, really this project should be the CTO’s, not the COOs… odd how the COO does all this stuff…) he came to the conclusion that, like openVZ and Virtuozzo, Xen guest systems shared the kernel with the Host. That didn’t sound right to me, but I couldn’t disprove it with my Xen server, where every DomU had an empty /boot.

So I updated the kernel in Dom0, but didn’t reboot. I now have a newer kernel installed than the one it’s currently running.
I then tweaked the /etc/xen-tools/xen-tools.conf and built a new DomU, to use the new kernel. Everything went without a hitch. I now have a Dom0 running 2.6.18-4-xen-686, with a domU running 2.6.18-6-xen-686. So it would seem that while they all “share” a kernel in the sense that they share a single install on the hard drive (all pulling from the dom0 /boot directory), they aren’t sharing a single instance of the kernel in memory.

I then tried to get a working CentOS 5 domU running, but ran into some snags. That will be another post.