Fruit Bat hitches ride on the Space Shuttle

Dale Ghent | March 17, 2009

I got this forwarded to me from a friend, who got it from a friend, who has a relative working at NASA: 

Although we remained hopeful he would wake up and fly away, the bat eventually became IPR 119V-0080 after the ICE team finished their walkdown.  He did change the direction he was pointing from time to time throughout countdown but ultimately never flew away.

IR imagery shows he was alive and not frozen like many would think.  The surface of the ET foam is actually generally between 60-80 degrees F on a day like yesterday.  SE&I performed a debris analysis on him and ultimately a LCC waiver to ICE-01 was written to accept the stowaway.  Lift off imagery analysis confirmed that he held on until at least the vehicle cleared to tower before we lost sight of him.

And thus is the legend of the STS-119 Bat-ronaut.

Click on the thumbnails to get the full-res photo.

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Fall cleaning!

Dale Ghent | September 21, 2008

It’s time to clear out some space and so I’m putting a bunch of things up for sale or to give away.
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Portugal vacation photos

Dale Ghent | September 6, 2008

Photos from my two week trip to Portugal to see the country and attend Boom Festival are up.

Various places in Portugal
Boom Festival 2008 photos

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Mercury gets a HBA upgrade

Dale Ghent | August 3, 2008

mercury.elemental.org is the server which hosts my $HOME and this website. It’s my Solaris 10 play-box, and I guess you can say that maintaining it is something of a hobby.

Its hardware is a quad core Xeon-equipped Dell PowerEdge 860, a small 1u server. Its pair of internal drives are Seagate SATA2, and were connected to the on-board Intel ICH7-based SATA controller. But there was something fishy about this in that the Solaris ahci SATA driver never attached to it and instead the drives ran in IDE mode. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t change this. I eventually found out the reason – Dell crippled the SATA controller in the system BIOS to allow only IDE mode!

So this server was sold with “SATA drives”, which would imply a fully functioning SATA controller to drive them… but not quite. IDE mode means there were no benefits of SATA NCA and other niceties.

To fix this, I got a LSI SAS3041E-R controller – a 4x PCIe card that uses the LSISAS1064E chipset and offers 4 SATA ports. In Solaris land, this card would be driven by the mpt driver, a proven driver as the LSI SAS 1064 and 1068 chipsets are used to drive the on-board hard drives in pretty much every current Sun x86 and Niagara-based SPARC systems.

I installed this card in the single 8x PCIe slot in the PE860, and ran a 24″ SATA cable from it to HDD1, and used the existing Dell cable that connected the on-board controller to HDD1 to connect HDD0 to the card. After some fiddling in /boot/solaris/bootenv.rc to tell the kernel the new device path to its boot drive, the mpt driver attached and I was good to go.

I kicked off a SVM mirror resync as a basic test of sequential IO, and I hit 75MB/s reading from one drive and writing to the other. Not bad. A zpool scrub of my mirrored ZFS pool of 66.5GB of data (pool is 444GB in size) took just over an hour.

So if you’re thinking about a 4 or 8 port SAS/SATA card, consider the LSI SAS3041 or SAS3080/3081 cards, respectively. Both come in PCI-X and PCIe flavors and are supported by Solaris (and OpenSolaris) just fine.

/usr/X11/bin/scanpci output:
pci bus 0x0001 cardnum 0x00 function 0x00: vendor 0x1000 device 0x0056
LSI Logic / Symbios Logic SAS1064ET PCI-Express Fusion-MPT SAS

Kernel boot messages:
scsi: /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0 (mpt0): Rev. 8 LSI, Inc. 1064E found.
scsi: /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0 (mpt0): mpt0 supports power management.
pcplusmp: pciex1000,56 (mpt) instance 0 vector 0x38 ioapic 0xff intin 0xff is bound to cpu2
scsi: /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0 (mpt0): mpt0 Firmware version v1.17.2.0 (IR)
scsi: /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0 (mpt0): mpt0: IOC Operational.
scsi: /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0 (mpt0): mpt0: Initiator WWNs: 0x500605b0000fa840-0x500605b0000fa843
pcie_pci: PCIE-device: pci1000,3090@0, mpt0
genunix: mpt0 is /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0
scsi: sd4 at mpt0: target 4 lun 0
genunix: sd4 is /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0/sd@4,0
genunix: /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0/sd@4,0 (sd4) online
scsi: sd3 at mpt0: target 5 lun 0
genunix: sd3 is /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0/sd@5,0
genunix: /pci@0,0/pci8086,2779@1/pci1000,3090@0/sd@5,0 (sd3) online

Telephoto Fun

Dale Ghent | July 28, 2008

This past weekend the X crew and I went up to Adventure Sports Center International’s artificial whitewater course, near the Wisp Ski Resort in western Maryland.

We had a lot of fun and I brought along my new Canon lens, the 70-200mm 2.8L, to see what I could do with it:

Full image set

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I need to start pranking again

Dale Ghent | July 18, 2008

Posting these for posterity:

Time Magazine – When Your Name Isn’t Yours
Wired – Burners Sweat Over Package Prank

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OpenSolaris 2008.11 – A Preview For The Storage Admin

Dale Ghent | July 16, 2008

Many reviews have been written about OpenSolaris since its release, but all of them barely tread beyond the desktop aspect, with the obligatory screenshots of the GNOME environment and a high-level description of only the major features most are already familiar with, or at least have heard of.

I’d like to take a different approach with this review, one that descends below the GUI to highlight aspects that server administrators in particular would be more interested in.
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My first real astrophoto

Dale Ghent | May 5, 2008

I took this photo of the 1st half Moon while at the April 10 HAL star party at Alpha Ridge Park, Maryland.

The Moon -  April 10 2008

Although I’ve taken many photos through my telescopes, I really consider this one to be my first “real” astrophoto, having gone through the motions of equipment setup, settings selections, and a bit of post-processing in Photoshop CS3 for this one shot of the moon.

These two books – Michael Covington’s Digital SLR Astrophotography and R. Scott Ireland’s Photoshop Astronomy – lent me a big hand in teaching me what to do before and after taking a photo or series of photos of an object. I highly recommend them.

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DOA iPods suck

Dale Ghent | March 11, 2008

I accidentally left my trusty 3rd gen 40GB iPod on the plane when I arrived in San Francisco yesterday, so I headed to the Apple Store around the corner from my hotel in downtown SF to treat myself to a new 160GB iPod Classic. I happily bought a silver one, and headed back to the office to christen it and put some music on it.

Apparently I got a lemon :(
Mar 11 15:27:47 cobalt kernel[0]: disk3s2: I/O error.
Mar 11 15:27:47 cobalt kernel[0]:
Mar 11 15:28:14: --- last message repeated 1 time ---
Mar 11 15:28:14 cobalt kernel[0]: disk3s2: I/O error.
Mar 11 15:28:14 cobalt kernel[0]:
Mar 11 15:28:34: --- last message repeated 1 time ---

… and on and on… eventually after spending 2 hours syncing only 47 songs (out of 940) did iTunes figure something was wrong and proceeded to beach ball.

Time to see how easy it will be to exchange this one.

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Making Solaris HFS-aware

Dale Ghent | March 3, 2008

I’ve started a project of my own to port the HFS/HFS+ filesystem driver from Apple’s XNU kernel to OpenSolaris/Nevada.

Hopefully this will work well enough to allow Solaris users to read and write to HFS or HFS+ formatted disks and disk images. This includes iPods that were initialized on a Mac. Please check out the page I made for it and lend a hand if you’re interested!

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