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I did some more housekeeping and now we're on a non-ancient OS again. I almost accidentally lost the backup of the site. Whoops.
Using some options which should improve the site even more than before. I have a nice puppet manifest to set it all up, too. This makes it easy to reinstall things.


As of today, I finally have working Bi-Xenon functionality. Wiring up two simple pins took almost an hour due to having to remove panels by the driver footwell to get ahold of the wire as it's being fished back into the passenger compartment. But it was completely worth it, and I can now say my Halogen to Bi-Xenon conversion is complete.


Moved the server off of Lighttpd. I added in some vhosts for use later, and cleaned up the generated URLs. I also used puppet to make it happen, so it only took me about ~7 minutes to switch everything over.

New Year, New Look

Upgraded Serendipity, changed the theme, and turned on captchas. Too much comment spam. Thankfully it all got auto-moderated anyway.

Things are good. Just got back from Japan with grandma. Car stuff is still fun.

Life is busy.

Car Stuff

Lots of stuff going on with my car, I've added a turbocharger to it.

I'm using the Technique Tuning Stage 1 kit for the BMW 330.

See here for more information on the original install.

See here for what I'm doing with it now.

OS Upgrade

I was an idiot and forgot to re-enable PHP after upgrading my OS on my virtual machine.


Clearly, fixed now.


Purging Ubuntu of Mint

Well, this was much harder then expected. Even after switching repos back to Ubuntu, and doing an OS upgrade, there was Mint garbage left on my system.

You need to remove and reinstall a few packages, and my biggest problem was grub - you have to do a

apt-get install --purge --reinstall grub-pc

in order for it to properly remove the "Linux Mint" boot menu entries. I don't think I have it 100% right, but the major problem was that they have bumped version numbers of things, and you have to tell aptitude to install the latest available from Ubuntu to make it right...

So as I said before, definitely not a fan of Mint.

While I'm not a big fan of Unity, back I go.

ZFS Ups, Downs, and Bad Information

I am a huge fan of ZFS. It's usually quite awesome. I have been using ZFS for about 4-5 years now. In most scenarios, ZFS is highly resilient, and will let you know of problems before they become a major issue. There are times where the right set of circumstances can make things fail spectacularly.

I have been dealing with issues on-and-off with our storage environments using ZFS at work. Most times things were easily recovered. However, there are times where the words that come to mind are "Why is this so difficult?" when getting into perfect-storm scenarios.

We had purchased two failover cluster setups from a vendor. One cluster for our LA location, one for our NY location. The units were installed, and except for a few initial hiccups worked well. Soon we started encountering kernel panics. One of the head-units was swapped out in the NY location. We encountered SAS errors. We encountered yet more kernel panics, coupled with failover issues. We tried replacing cables. We tried different kernel builds. We tried lots of things. All of this, over a mutli-month period and lots of time on the phone, led to us keeping the hardware and moving to software which had more robust clustering.

Continue reading "ZFS Ups, Downs, and Bad Information"

Linux Mint - Not Recommended

As alluded to in an earlier post, I was running Linux Mint both version 12 and 13. However, while the OS itself is good, I do not recommend it for a simple reason - you have to do a clean install for each release. Or, at least, you're supposed to. That's because they do something wacky after installs, and I'm not 100% certain what that is. It's the first Debian-based Linux distribution that cannot do a apt-get upgrade cleanly. There were some ordering issues when doing it. I did make it work. So, I'm running Linux Mint 13. Sort of. It still thinks it's Linux Mint 12.

I also disabled all of the Linux Mint sources, and am running a mostly-stock Ubuntu 12.04 LTS now. Using cinnamon for my desktop though. May try KDE out at some point.

Ubuntu's Unity is still not quite for me, but some things are kind of cool in that you just start typing what you're looking for, and open it. So, it's not terrible, but I still like my old-school (read: slow) methods. :-)

T-Mobile vs AT&T - Round 2

A while ago, while I was waiting for the Evo to come out on Sprint, I had T-Mobile for a while when I had gotten completely fed up with AT&T's terrible data speeds. T-Mobile had very good customer service, the pricing was good, the data speeds, the voice quality, everything was good - except coverage. There were times where I was without coverage in Eastchester, NY, where AT&T worked just fine. As it has been, AT&T had a monopoly on Grand Central Station's underground.

Fast forward to Friday. I had read on some site how T-Mobile was getting rid of all of their post-paid plans except for their Value Plans. So I looked into it, and my god, it's cheap!
For three lines of service - 1 5GB with Tethering, 1 iPhone unlimited, 1 200MB, unlimited Texting, 700 minutes shared....$240 a month after taxes. The same plan on T-Mobile? With 1000 minutes, 5GB of tethering on all lines -- $140 a month before taxes. Almost $100/month difference. Quite worth looking into. Well, I stopped by T-Mobile, and 20 minutes later walked out with a SIM card, 500 minutes, 5GB data, and tethering...Just to give it another shot. Annnd, it only took 1 day to figure out that outside of NYC, T-Mobile still sucks. Near Cross County in Yonkers, which is near a very main road, there was no 3G/4G service - back to old 2G data, which is just not acceptable today...So I will be canceling the service on Monday.

Ah well. Oh, and AT&T's data is starting to suck again, if you're not on LTE. :-(

2012 New York Auto Show

I just came back from the 2012 International New York Auto Show. Here are my thoughts about my experience.

1. It was really hot. That walk from 8th Ave to 11th Ave is brutal.
2. I'm never going back on a weekend. I definitely have to make time to get it done during the week as there's just way too many people there to make the experience pleasant.
3. There were a lot more plug-in hybrids, EVs, and alternative-fuel vehicles. This is a good sign.
4. Tesla Motors was not there, I guess I mis-read the list on the web site, that kinda sucked.

Overall, as usual, the show was not bad, but not insanely exciting for me, as it has been the past few years. With the way the economy is, companies just aren't spending nearly as much on cool concept cars, though it's definitely on the positive trend this year.

Cars I really liked from the show:

Scion FR-S
This was one of those vehicles I barely knew anything about, but there was a guy near the car that knew quite a bit about it, and was able to get me enthused about a car I would otherwise pass over. I for example, did not know that up until the auto bail-out, GM owned 35% of Subaru. Then Toyota bought out that stake, and now Toyota owns about 40% of Subaru, which explains the collaboration between the two companies on this vehicle. Rear-wheel-drive, limited slip Torsen differential, Boxer engine with direct-injection. Gets 22 MPG in city / 30 on hwy for manual (assuming a bit aggressive driving), and 25 / 34 for automatic (it shifts conservatively).

SRT Viper
Yes, there's nothing wrong with that title. SRT is now it's own entity. The new Viper looks awesome. Talked to a rep there who said she got into a bit of trouble in a 2010, and we both agreed the car is aptly named. :-)

Ford Focus Electric
Looks awesome, and is electric. What else needs to be said? $38k price, same as Leaf. Not sure which I'd pick.

Nissan Leaf
It's back again, just as cool as ever. As mentioned above, $38k before tax incentives.

VW Jetta Diesel Hybrid
Not a huge fan of VW, but the combo could be cool.

DMC DeLorean
They had an original on display, as well as their EV. That was pretty awesome.

Acura NSX Hybrid
Awesome styling. Practicality, well, who knows.

Dodge Dart
The Dart is back! They had a rally car model too.

They had a concept car which was really nice looking.

They had their EV model on display.

Fisker Karma
Looks awesome, totally impractical.

Infiniti EV-L
They had an EV concept which was nice, but likely pricey when it comes to fruition in 2014.

They had an awesome old car on display in excellent condition. Unfortunately I know nothing more then that.

So it was worth the trip, but next year I totally need a wider lens, or bring the canon instead of the Fuji, because between idiots getting in front of me, and me sucking at manually focusing the Zeiss, I'm certain some pics didn't come out as well as they could have.

Debian GNU/kFreeBSD - A Toy OS? Maybe

So I've read articles about how the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD port is nothing but a 'toy OS' and that Debian should focus on other things instead.

Well, I have to disagree. One of the awesome things about Debian, is that it tries to keep all its platforms in sync, like NetBSD. It has like 60+ ports, and that's one of the reasons releases take so long. That being said, the state of this port is entirely dependent upon what you want to use it for.

As a desktop OS, it's got some rough edges yet. DBus is not quite right, so things don't quite work perfectly. XFCE desktop is nice, but logout doesn't work correctly. I had to use xdm instead of lightdm. Little things like that. On the upside, flash kinda works (gnash) and my sound worked out of the box. (This is on my Dell laptop.) Wheezy is greatly improved over Squeeze in the respect of things working right in kFreeBSD. So I think by the time the release is ready, it will be fairly usable.

The installer is better now, zfs root works, it's pretty speedy on an SSD. Boot-up time is comparable to Linux 3.0 with Ubuntu 10.10. (I was running the older release for some video conferencing software that broke after I upgraded X, so I will probably update to something like Linux Mint 12 at some point...)

As a server OS, I have no idea, but I'm planning on testing it on a few things later today. I think it will do well in the capacity that I want to use it for.


Windows iPhone backup slow? Here's the fix

It's simple, it's easy.

Go to the start menu, Accessories. Right click on Command prompt, and hit run as administrator.


netsh winsock reset

then type exit
and restart your PC. iTunes will no longer suck 50% CPU and Apple Device the other 50% CPU.

Worked like a charm. It was just finding it that was the problem.


The Dumbing Down of Ubuntu

Now, in the past, Ubuntu was good to use. It was not that much heavier then Debian, but much easier to get installed, and usually came with more drivers.

Now, it's heavy. Not only is it heavy, it's being designed for idiots.

There are no options for anything. Power management is near non-existent. It's got this thing called Unity which is the worst UI ever. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING looks like a freaking Mac. I moved to a PC laptop to use Linux, not Mac OS. I have that on my other machine at home.

Trying kubuntu to see if that is better then the default, as with 11.04, they included the full GNOME as a fall-back, called "classic." That's gone now in 11.10.

Not happy.

DRBD Setup

Install the headers from the newly generated kernel package.

Download the source for the version of DRBD you're using.

Build the module

make KDIR=/usr/src/linux-source-

make install

The configuration files I used for DRBD:

root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# cat res0.res
resource r0 {
protocol C;
net {
cram-hmac-alg sha1;
shared-secret "FooFunFactory";
on cnc {
device drbd0;
disk /dev/cnc/centos;
flexible-meta-disk /dev/cnc/centos-drbd;
on remote {
device drbd0;
disk /dev/sysvg/instance13193-disk;
flexible-meta-disk /dev/sysvg/instance13193-disk-drbd;
root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# cat res1.res
resource r1 {
net {
cram-hmac-alg sha1;
shared-secret FooFunFactory2;
on cnc {
device drbd1;
disk /dev/cnc/centos-swap;
flexible-meta-disk /dev/cnc/centos-swap-drbd;
on remote {
device drbd1;
disk /dev/sysvg/instance13193-swap;
flexible-meta-disk /dev/sysvg/instance13193-swap-drbd;

Create metadata:

root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# drbdadm create-md r0
Writing meta data...
initializing activity log
NOT initialized bitmap
New drbd meta data block successfully created.
root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# drbdadm create-md r1
Writing meta data...
initializing activity log
NOT initialized bitmap
New drbd meta data block successfully created.

Attach DRBD to real disk:

drbd attach r0
drbd attach r1

Make this the primary node:

root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# cat /proc/drbd
version: 8.3.9 (api:88/proto:86-95)
GIT-hash: 1c3b2f71137171c1236b497969734da43b5bec90 build by, 2011-10-10 00:49:36
0: cs:WFConnection ro:Secondary/Unknown ds:Inconsistent/DUnknown C r----s
ns:0 nr:0 dw:0 dr:0 al:0 bm:0 lo:0 pe:0 ua:0 ap:0 ep:1 wo:b oos:10485760
1: cs:WFConnection ro:Secondary/Unknown ds:Inconsistent/DUnknown C r----s
ns:0 nr:0 dw:0 dr:0 al:0 bm:0 lo:0 pe:0 ua:0 ap:0 ep:1 wo:b oos:2097152
root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# drbdadm -- --overwrite-data-of-peer primary r0
root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# drbdadm -- --overwrite-data-of-peer primary r1
root@cnc:/etc/drbd.d# cat /proc/drbd
version: 8.3.9 (api:88/proto:86-95)
GIT-hash: 1c3b2f71137171c1236b497969734da43b5bec90 build by, 2011-10-10 00:49:36
0: cs:WFConnection ro:Primary/Unknown ds:UpToDate/DUnknown C r----s
ns:0 nr:0 dw:0 dr:200 al:0 bm:0 lo:0 pe:0 ua:0 ap:0 ep:1 wo:b oos:10485760
1: cs:WFConnection ro:Primary/Unknown ds:UpToDate/DUnknown C r----s
ns:0 nr:0 dw:0 dr:200 al:0 bm:0 lo:0 pe:0 ua:0 ap:0 ep:1 wo:b oos:2097152

Update the configuration:

drbdadm adjust r0
drbdadm adjust r1

Wait until the daa isUpToDate on both sides.

Once it's uptodate you do a live migration.