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.

Comments
Comments Off
Categories
Geekery
Comments rss Comments rss
Trackback Trackback

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

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

Comments
Comments Off
Categories
Geekery
Comments rss Comments rss
Trackback Trackback

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Comments
Comments Off
Categories
Geekery, Solaris
Tags
, , , , ,
Comments rss Comments rss
Trackback Trackback

Server upgrade time – elemental.org gets modern

Dale Ghent | November 17, 2007

After almost 8 years of running elemental.org mail, mailing lists, shell accounts, many websites (such as this one), database servers and essentially being a one-server ISP, the Sun Ultra 2 which ran all those things as lithium.elemental.org was retired and replaced this past weekend with a new server. Say hello to mercury.elemental.org.

Mercury is a Dell PowerEdge 860 with a Intel Xeon X3220 (quad core, 2.4Ghz) and 4GB 8GB of 667Mhz DDR2 RAM. Unlike lithium, mercury’s storage is entirely internal in the form of two mirrored 500GB SATA drives. This is to keep the entire package in 1 rack unit of space to keep colocation costs down.

What really excites me about this new server is that it is running Solaris 10 8/07 (lithium was running a very patched Solaris 8 FCS!). Solaris installed without a hitch and the 860’s onboard BCM5721 NICs are recognized by the bge driver, as are its IPMI baseboard controller by the bmc driver. The chipset on this system is the Intel ICH7 and unfortunately the Solaris ahci driver supports only the ICH6 at the moment, so the drives are running just fine in IDE compatibility mode.

This upgrade wasn’t just a mere update of hardware and OS. I also completely changed how the mail storage works and also make use of ZFS file systems for each user home directory and virtual web site:

  1. Out with uw-imap, in with Cyrus. All mail is delivered to Cyrus, so there are no more maildir-style spools sitting in each person’s home directory.
  2. To take advantage of Cyrus’s features, elemental.org is now operating its own Kerberos realm, ELEMENTAL.ORG. This is my first time running my own Keberos KDC, and I love it. Cyrus and Sendmail, via SASL, now offer GSSAPI authentication. Using Solaris’s pam_krb5_migrate.so.1 PAM module, as people log in with their UNIX passwords, a Kerberos principle is made for them and they are granted tickets. Pine is configured to connect to Cyrus and authenticate with GSSAPI, so shell users don’t have to type in or save their password when accessing their email!
  3. As I mentioned, all user data is now stored on a mirrored ZFS pool. Each user and virtual website gets their own ZFS file system and this will allow me to keep tabs on disk usage (and easily delete a user or site if the need should arise.) The zpool’s net size is 442GB.
  4. All incoming email is goes through greylist, ClamAV, and finally SpamAssassin milters.
  5. I’m more at ease and familiar with Solaris’s SMF facility now, having made a point to write SMF manifests for the services I’m running rather than plain old init scripts.

In addition, I’m now monitoring several aspects and services on the new system using Cacti.

Here’s to another 8 years of hopefully trouble-free operation!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Comments
Comments Off
Categories
Geekery, Solaris
Tags
, ,
Comments rss Comments rss
Trackback Trackback

Verizon FiOS with only a Apple Airport Extreme

Dale Ghent | September 19, 2007

I’ve had Verizon’s FiOS service for about a year now, and by and large I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. One thing that has bothered me, though, is the big ActionTec router that they supply. It’s a nice router and all and you do need it if you also have Verizon’s digital cable service. But I have just the internet service and I already have a gaggle of Apple Airport Extreme and Airport Express base stations around the house, so this Actiontec router was just a superfluous thingy and I felt that my Airport Extreme base station could be put to better use in its place. Now, the Actiontec router is what the VZ tech installs. It takes the 100Mb ethernet connection coming into the house from the ONT outside. According to VZ support, only it can be used to terminate the FiOS internet, but I doubted this. I wanted this thing out of the picture and was successful at doing so.What you need to do is the following:

  1. Log in to the Actiontec’s web interface (typically by going to http://192.168.1.1/)
  2. Select Network, click on “Ethernet (Broadband)” and its edit icon. Down the page, you’ll see a button labled “Release”. It’s important to release the IP address VZ’s network has given the Actiontec, or it’ll refuse to allot one to your Airport Extreme once you bring that up in its place.
  3. Immediatly turn off the Actiontec. Remove the “WAN” ethernet cable from it, and plug it into the “WAN” port of your Airport base station. Turn the Airport on.
  4. The Airport base station should boot up and request an IP from VZ’s DHCP server. Speaking of which, the “Internet Connection” setting in the Airport should be “DHCP” and not “PPPoE”. VZ no longer uses PPPoE on its FiOS lines.
  5. Configure your Aiport wireless network as you see fit and you’re done. No more Actiontec.

Step 2 is muy importante. If you don’t do that, your Airport base station will be sitting there with a blinking amber light because the VZ network is refusing to give it an IP, simply because it still thinks that your (no longer operating) Actiontec has it.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

My presentation at the 2007 AFS & Kerberos Workshop

Dale Ghent | May 13, 2007

This past week, the 2007 AFS & Kerberos Workshop went on at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) near Palo Alto, CA. Many people from an array of places eductational, government, and commercial came and presented papers and discourse on a wide range of topics involving AFS and Kerberos.

I was lucky enough to present a slide show on how we at UMBC have been combining OpenAFS with new ZFS and Zones features of Solaris 10 to obtain a more resilient AFS server infrastructure. You can view a PDF of my presentation here.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Comments
Comments Off
Categories
Geekery, Solaris
Comments rss Comments rss
Trackback Trackback

Funny Sun bug fix of the day

Dale Ghent | May 1, 2007

So today I was reading over the release notes for patch 126400-1, which is the latest OpenBoot PROM and SC update for the T1000/T2000, and came across an interesting bug ID listed under the Problem Description section:


6510364 “War Mode” in ALOM-CMT is required by the US NAVY which is currently missing

Awesome. I love knowing that my T1000s have a “war mode” now. Perhaps Sun should call it the SkyNet T1000 ;) Hopefully it’s the feature and not the US Navy that was “currently missing.”

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

More Linux/Solaris FUD wars

Dale Ghent | April 13, 2007

It’s all too often that I read posts such as this one and can’t help but to think that the writer is a tad on the myopic side of things… so much so that after a paragraph or two it becomes apparent that the writer hasn’t actually used Solaris in its current incarnation. And I don’t mean “used it” as in “I installed it and played around with it for a few hours/days, didn’t like the default GNOME theme, and promptly replaced it with Debian Etch” or some such. I mean “used it” as in implementing it in a real world production environment with an attempt to treat its features as the tools they are instead of toys.

In particular, I take issue with this comment from Mr. Zaitcev:

“This is the problem OpenSolaris is facing today in the nutshell: it has no breadth. It has a very limited number of excellent technologies, such as ZFS.”

No breadth? Care to, well, add some breadth to that statement, Mr. Zaitcev? Making a comment like that doesn’t mean you can toss out just one perceived example and end your argument at that.

It would appear that all of Mr. Zaitcev’s experience with Solaris/OpenSolaris comes from reading 3rd party accounts of the big new features in Solaris. This is exactly what I referred to in my opening paragraph… all these anti-Solaris pundits more than likely have zero hands-on expeience with the stuff they’re harshing on. People like Mr. Zaitcev read anecdotes and stories, come up with their own idea as to how things are based on those stories, and produce comically uninformed jabs posts such as the one linked above.

No breadth? Just what is the breadth that Mr. Zaitcev thinks is missing? Is breadth in this case even quantifiable? Is his supposition based solely on the age old (and aged) driver count argument? Does Mr. Zaitcev think that all Solaris is, is an ancient kernel which happened to have a few new concepts tacked on top of it?

I would bet that if Mr. Zaitcev sat down and tried to use Solaris in a real-world environment, he’d soon learn that Solaris has everything one needs in a data center environment… he just hasn’t discovered them (or read about them, natch) yet for himself. Who knows, perhaps he’d even appreciate them.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Comments
Comments Off
Categories
Geekery, Solaris
Comments rss Comments rss
Trackback Trackback
This page took 0.289 seconds to generate.