Icarus

Welcome to Icarus, which if you come here often, is my shiny new server.

It took 8 days from ordering the server to getting the root password, mainly due to an issue with my installation instructions (seemingly using the Debian Installer to setup LVM is a tad complicated…) It even escalated when a dosey sales rep said I could get a reinstall done for an additional $100, when they had just made a mess of the intial install. In the end it worked out, seems the problem was hardware related. Not that I’m complaining, I got a 1.8GHz CPU out of it instead of the advertised 1.6GHz. Plus with 1GB of RAM and 10 IPs, I’m all set to play with Xen.

It’s partially setup at the moment, more websites, dns zones and my email to be moved over this weekend.

In other news, I’ve been keeping busy(ish) with nixers and nest design work while looking for a temporary contract somewhere. Still no luck, just millions of brainless HR people who seem to completely rewrite job specifications just to boost their application attempts for positions. *sigh*

Since I have been working at home, mainly on my wireless network, I kept getting frustrated with my wireless access point when it stopped responding. When I had to pull out it’s AC adaptor 6 times in less than an hour this week, I gave up on it and replaced it, with the ultimate AP.

It does everything: snmp, remote syslog logging, reliable network, RADIUS 802.1x authentication. Plus it solved my printing issue (WinXP was involved) by acting as a print server. I have yet to try AirTunes, but I’m definitely impressed.

Yesterday and today have been unusual though. After being told to sod off by the ATM at the local shops last night, I went to look at my bank account, where there is €492.04 missing from my balance. Two transactions for unrounded amounts at the location “ATM” have appeared on my statement and I don’t recall taking them out.

So, after cancelling my ATM card and going to visit my bank branch in person today, I’m now awaiting word from AIB who are looking into it, but it looks quite like fraud. At least I’ve used this as a good time to switch to using a Maestro card from now on as electronic cash.

Not exactly something I wanted to deal with though. Definitely unexpected though, would have though a credit card issue would be more likely, given recent events

Flying Close to the Sun…

I decided to get a Sagonet server, so I ordered it this evening. I figured I don’t want to wait for MegaNetServe, but if I have trouble with Sago, I can always move to MegaNetServe once they offer Debian. Besides, once I get a permanent job this time next year, I’ll probably get an Irish based server, if I don’t just rent some colo space and start filling a few U with boxes…

Basic bargain server for $65 a month, but I succumbed to throwing in an extra 512MB RAM stick for a one off fee, since I’ve decided to run XEN on the server to allow me to run multiple systems.

So, hopefully icarus.conall.net (yes yes, a new computer naming theme – Greek Mythology names, which hopefully won’t out any time soon) will be up and running by the weekend (although I did give rather detailed setup instructions involving LVM2 and multiple partition) so I can start ferrying dns, mail and other such things onto Icarus next week…

On the job front, I might have a few weeks work to keep me busy. It seems Nest Design have the need for a techy to pitch in during the upcomming server migrations. I’m not too sure about the details yet, but I’m off to Drogheda on Friday to find out…

Since I also got 2 wisdom teeth removed this morning, I’m officially layed up in bed for a day or two, eating jelly and custard and not doing anything too contructive. At least not until my next driving lesson on Friday…

History Repeating Itself…

In an attempt to solidify my (little) knowledge of Perl, after reading O’Reilly’s Learning Perl, I decided to finally write a useful script, something to convert the mysql dump of my thrashed MovableType database, which was salvaged in October (it’s been on the long finger), into the MT Import Format for WordPress to use.

It took me a while today, mainly because I’m still unfamiliar with Perl, (something I’m working on fixing), the end result should be described as a bit of a dirty hack, but it’s effective, since I’ve managed to import all of my MT posts, including my homebrew posts before MT and all the comments (that don’t advertise casinos).

Server Decisions

Well, my research (window shopping, if you will) for a server has paid off.

I’m going to get myself a server from MegaNetServe, who (appear to) offer US and UK based servers, or tech support at least.

Their budget server for $49 a month is what I’m looking at getting:

  • 1.7 GHz Celeron
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 40 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
  • 5 IP Addresses
  • 600 GB Bandwidth p/m
  • MRTG Graph from switch
  • Remote Reboot System

I’m even probably going to spash out an extra $10 a month to get an 80GB disk instead. My only problem is the O/S decision.

They offer Dead Rat/CentOS and FreeBSD currently, Debian as of July. Dead Rat/CentOS is not an option, I value my time. So I’m left with deciding FreeBSD now, or wait a little bit for Debian. I like both a lot, both are easy to manage and very reliable. But I’m tempted to wait for Debian, since I’m more familiar with Debian administration than FreeBSD, so a Debian production box is less hassle. Plus FreeBSD needs more disk space the way I admin a box, with CVS checkouts of the src and ports.

So, unless someone is able to really convince me to go with FreeBSD, I’m going to wait until I can get a Debian box. Of course, that means migrating stuff off Trastevere somewhere for a few days, probably to a box at home. Hmmm, effort…

Update:

I found another interesting provider, Sago, who have a box of equivalent specs as MegaNetServe (well, a 1.6GHz Celeron CPU), but with 1250GB monthly bandwidth, plus they offer Debian now. Prices are quite comparable too, $9 extra setup fee and only $6 more a month.

I do have concerns about both companies, MegaNetServe don’t seem to understand how to make a HTML link (4 main sections of their website reference the current document). Sago are based in Florida, which is prone to Hurricanes, plus I found a forum thread about Sago, with mixed reviews (although by potentially silly Americans). Sago have a better latency than MegaNetServe and even the ThePlanet apparently. Sago also appear to have GBX and Level3 connectivity (at least traceroute thinks so), which disproves/deprecates 1 point in that forum thread.

Hmmm…

Hmmm, this 4 months holiday lark isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Prospects on the job front are small, if even in existance. I hate job hunting, I really do. Google are looking for lots of IT staff, but I’ve decided not to aapply to them for a permanent position, only to run away in a few months. I’d prefer to apply to Google in a few months time, with the intention of starting this time next year…

I’ve also started looking for a new server, since Trastevere is going back at the end of this month. I’ve started looking for a hosting company offering Debian (I would like FreeBSD either, but it’s got a larger disk footprint :-/ ), a decent monthly bandwidth cap and perferably a 100MB link. After all, I just need it for mail, dns, a few websites, remote file storage and perhaps an irc client. Nothing too taxing, but I’d like a good deal too…

It seems there are a few places that will do something vaguely matching my requirements for less than USD$65 a month (my max budget if I’ve to rent it on my own, seems Ian mightn’t want a server anymore)

Rack365 is tempting though, although I have seen some US and UK places offering similar setups for the same or cheaper. An Irish based box would be nice, but I’m not overly bothered, it’s not like I’d be going to visit it…

Yin and Yang

Hmmm, mixed news days today.

The Good News? Sarge was (finally) released, keeping to the Debian policy of quality not quantity when it comes to official releases. Of course, I can’t remeber the last time I used a Woody system. In fact I can’t remeber the last time I even installed a Woody system and promptly upgraded to Sarge, largely due to the Debian Installer.

The Bad News? (At least in my opinion) The announcement at the WWDC 2005 that Apple is switching to Intel based CPUs for all Mac lines over the next 18 months. 🙁

I’ve increasingly become a fan of RISC based non x86 CPUs in recent months, tinkering with my PowerBook (PowerPC G4) and my PWS (Alpha Miata). So much, that I’m contemplating staying on the lookout for a Sparc and even a MIPS machine to perhaps acquire as well. I guess I should try and look into getting one of the last PowerPC based PowerMacs for myself once I start working in the real world in 12 months time…

I Can See Freedom…

After a long few weeks studying (cramming if you will), as of lunchtime tomorrow they’re all behind me. 🙂 So far they’ve all gone well, even Prolog which was a pleasent surprise.

While studying, I’ve finally found a proper, decent radio station, especially since the Phantom FM online stream sucks. I’ve been listening to Virgin Radio UK, initially via iTunes, but I’ve switched to using VLC, since iTunes didn’t appear (to tcpdump) to be using the IPv6 stream.

In other college related news, I’ve gotten approval for my fyp proposal. Which means research begins over the summer since I am going to try and get into a testing cycle by Jan or Feb at the latest…

At least I’ve a few things to keep me busy for the next while, the long anticipated nap to catch up on lost sleep, tinkering with multimode fibre, LDAP, Kerberos, FreeBSD and all sorts of other things repeatidly pushed down the perverbial To Do list over and over. Suppose I should look for a job at the same time too…

Anyway, off to bed I go…