Tuesday Feb 03, 2009

Dear Santa... Steve... Tim Cook - A 64GB iPhone, please?

Or, "Why Kebe doesn't own an iPhone yet."[Read More]

Wednesday Jan 07, 2009

Way to go, Disney!

Disney is including a DVD copy in some of their Blu-Ray releases.[Read More]

Tuesday Dec 09, 2008

How to tell when a performance project succeeds?

If your performance project exposes a dormant race condition, it's probably a success![Read More]

Friday Aug 15, 2008

Racoon2 on OpenSolaris - first tiny steps

Slowly but surely bringing up racoon2 on OpenSolaris.[Read More]

Sunday May 18, 2008

How to rescue data from an iBook with thermal problems

My wife Wendy has had her iBook G4 for not-quite four years now. We had to return it once before via AppleCare due to thermal problems. Well, the thermal problems are back, and this time, there's no AppleCare for us to invoke. I managed to get the machine to behave itself only after leaving it powered off for a bit, but then it would lock again. I'd heard stories about putting computers in refrigerators to keep them cool enough to run. I never thought I'd try it myself.

We do, however, have a freezer in the basement. So check this out:


I managed to get Wendy's home-directory off, and that's what mattered. I'm heading off to the Apple Store to get a new MacBook (thank goodness for the just-arrived George-and-Nancy "Will you be my friend with this stimulus?" check). I hope to do the frozen data transfer one more time to bootstrap the new MacBook.

Monday Apr 21, 2008

Can't let this one slip by

Really dumb protestor or really funny Photoshop - you be the judge.[Read More]

Monday Mar 03, 2008

Kebe's Home Data Center (or f''(Bart's new home server))

A little over a year ago, Bart Smaalders blogged about his new home server. Subsequently Bill built a similarly-configured one. (I thought that he had blogged about his too, but he hadn't.)

I'd been toying with the idea of following in Bill's and Bart's footsteps for some time. A recent influx allowed me to upgrade lots of home technology (including a new Penryn-powered MacBook Pro), and finally allowed me to build out what I like to think of as my home data center. I mention f''(Bart's...) because this box really is the second-derivative of Bart's original box (with Bill's being the first-derivative).

And the starting lineup for this box is:
  • An AMD Opteron Model 185 - I was lucky enough to stumble across one of these. 2 cores of 2.6GHz AMD64 goodness.
  • A Tyan S2866 - I bought the one with two Ethernet ports - one nVidia (nge) and one Broadcom (bge). It has audio too, but I haven't tested it as I've my Macs for such things. It has all of the goodies Bart mentioned, but I \*think\* that the SATA might be native now. (Please comment if you know.)
  • 2GB ECC RAM - with room for two more if need be.
  • A two-port old Intel Pro Ethernet 10/100 - good thing the driver (iprb) for this is now open-source. I'll explain why I need four Ethernet ports in a bit.
  • Two Western Digitial "green" 750GB SATA drives Each drive has 32GB root partitions (yes that's large, until Indiana matures, though, I'll stick with UFS roots), 4 GB swap (for core dumps), and the remaining large areas combine to make one mirrored ZFS pool with ~700 decimal GB of storage.
  • A cheap MSI nVidia 8400GS - It's more than enough to drive my 1920x1200 display.
  • An overkill Antec 850W power supply - obtained for only $100 from the carcass of CompUSA.
  • A Lian Li U60 case - My brother-in-law, who has years in the trenches of PC care, feeding, and repair, recommended Lian Li to me. It has all the space I need and more for drives, and its fan layout is pretty comprehensive. Since this box lives in my office, noise isn't that much of an issue.
  • OpenSolaris build 83 - While I'm pumped about what's going on with Indiana it's still under development, and I want something a bit more stable.

So why four ethernet ports (covering three drivers)? Well, like Indiana, Crossbow is exciting, but not yet integrated into the main OpenSolaris tree. I do, however, very much like the idea of Virtual Network Machines and I'll be using these four ports to build three such machines on this server using prerequisite-to-Crossbow IP Instances. Two ports will form the router zone. The router will also be a firewall, and maybe an IPsec remote-access server too. With Tunnel Reform in place, I can let my or my wife's notebook Macs access our internal home network from any location. One port will be the public web server, and assuming Comcast doesn't screw things up too badly on their business-class install, the new home of www.kebe.com. The last port will be the internal-server and global-zone/administrative station. All of that ZFS space needs to be accessible from somewhere, right?

I'd like to thank Bart and Bill for the hardware inspiration, and to my friends in OpenSolaris networking for offering up something I can exploit immediately to create my three machines in one OpenSolaris install. I'll keep y'all informed about how things are going.

Wednesday Jan 16, 2008

Who am I rooting for this weekend? Michigan!

Three out of four of the NFL playoff teams this weekend have Michigan stars![Read More]

Wednesday Oct 31, 2007

We'll miss you, Itojun

Jun-Ichiro Hagino, better known to the IETF community as Itojun, died on October 29th at the age of 37.

Please visit this link for a message from his colleages at Japan's WIDE Project.

He led the KAME/WIDE IPv6 work that now appears in all of the BSDs (including MacOS X), and even their user-land tools are in Linux. Having worked on one of the pre-KAME IPv6 implementations (NRL), I can tell you that Itojun pushed things along even further than I'd hoped.

I had the privilege to talk with him when I was attending IETF meetings, and even visited him on his home turf in Tokyo. He was very unassuming, enthusiastic, and an all-around Good Guy (TM). I'll miss him, and a LOT of other people will too. PLEASE follow the link I mentioned above to see what you can do to honor Itojun.

Tuesday Oct 30, 2007

No HD happiness. Who do I blame? DirecTV? TiVo? Both of 'em? Telcos?

All I want is some HD programming that doesn't cost me an additional $100/month![Read More]

Wednesday Sep 26, 2007

Go Blue! Recruiting at Michigan (day 2)

Oh my am I exhausted! I hoped to have most of the text of this completed before my flight got back to Manchester last night, but that didn't happen.

I keep telling people I know that Michigan is a hardware school (in spite of having some great software people - see my post from Monday). We Solaris developers at the Sun table were brutally reminded of this yesterday. Lots of EE's with Verilog and/or VHDL experience. Many of them asking about architecture and/or verification, but a surprising number who have never heard of SPARC, the UltraSPARC T1 (aka. Niagara), or that they can see the entire source for the Niagara with OpenSPARC. Almost every business card of mine I handed out to folks had the word, "OpenSPARC" on the back so they could Google it later.

We also tried to make sure everyone had OpenSolaris disks. There are four binary distributions of OpenSolaris on that set of disks: Solaris Express Community Edition (see the previous link) - Sun's current OpenSolaris vehicle, Nexenta - which is probably going to be one of the more comfortable ones for Ubuntu Linux users to land in, Belenix - which is optimized for Live CD use, and Schillix, which was the first non-Sun distribution of OpenSolaris, by Joerg Schilling of "cdrecord" fame. I hope some of the students went home and had success playing with OpenSolaris. You all should visit opensolaris.org and engage the community discussions with your feedback and questions.

I mentioned Monday about how much like a geezer I felt. I had more of that yesterday not only saying, "Class of '91" a few times, but also when Professor Quentin Stout visited our table. My only graduate-level class I took at U. of M. was his Parallel Algorithms class in the fall of 1990 (during Football/Marching Band season). Back in the day it was all theory - we discussed how to partition problems using the abstract PRAM (Parallel Random Access Machine). It was the ONLY parallel ANYTHING class offered when I had an available slot. This was when shared-memory multiprocessors were experiments or startups (anyone remember the BBN Butterfly, the Sequent Balance, or the Encore Multimax?). I mentioned to Prof. Stout I took his class back then. He then proceeded to tell me how the class is far more practical now. He told me all about stuff like OpenMP, and other high-level constructs that as a systems' programmer I just don't get to use all that much. I still, however, felt pretty smart for seeing the future back in 1990. I hope I have as good luck 17 years later.

Anyway, I had a great time in Ann Arbor, and I hope to get back there sooner rather than later. If anyone who visited our table is reading this, leave a comment, and don't be afraid to be honest. :)

Monday Sep 24, 2007

Go Blue! Recruiting at Michigan (day 1)

Dan's back in A\^2![Read More]

Friday Sep 21, 2007

More ZFS Love - Rapid Recovery

Like ZFS needs more praise... :)[Read More]

Wednesday Sep 12, 2007

IPsec Tunnel Reform, IP Instances, and other new-in-S10 goodies

Solaris 10 Update 4 (or as marketing calls it, Solaris 10 08/07) contains some backported goodies we've had in Nevada/OpenSolaris for a while.

IPsec Tunnel Reform was one of the first big pieces of code to be dropped into the S10u4 codebase. It shores up our interoperability story, so you can now start constructing VPNs that tell IKE to negotiation Tunnel-Mode (as opposed to IP-in-IP transport mode). Tunnels themselves are still network interfaces, but their IPsec configuration is now wholly in the purview of ipsecconf(1M). Modulo IKE (which we still OEM part of), we developed Tunnel Reform in the open with OpenSolaris.

Also new for S10u4 is IP Instances. Before u4, you could create non-global zones, but their network management (e.g. ifconfig(1M)) had to be done from the global zone. With u4, one can create a unique instance zone which gives the zone its own complete TCP/IP stack. The global zone needs to only assign a GLDv3-compatible interface to the zone (e.g. bge, nge, e1000g) to give it a unique IP Instance. You could have a single box be your router/firewall/NAT, your web server, and who knows what else, all while keeping those functions out of the fully-privileged global zone. It makes me think about upgrading to business-class Internet service at home, building my own box like Bart did and getting a few extra Ethernet ports.

Oh, and if you want to do it all with less ethernet ports, check out OpenSolaris's Crossbow and its VNIC abstraction!

Have fun moving your network bits in new and interesting ways!

Tuesday Sep 04, 2007

Detangling IPsec NAT-Traversal, and a more stable API

Now any IPsec KM application can exploit NAT-Traversal.[Read More]



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