Archive for the ‘ Technology ’ Category

Rock Band Drums Suck!

Seriously. I’ve still got the box to RMA for the heads, and after several hours of rocking out last night, my “bass drum” pedal snapped clean in half. Sent in for the RMA, but I think I’m gonna have to mod this one, cuz they are just gonna keep snapping.

This is what happens when you actually

Those who say “you shouldn’t stomp on it then” are full of shit and probably never played real drums before. That’s all fine and good on easy and medium, but once you get into hard and expert, you are playing almost note for note on songs. And when you are talking songs like those from Metallica, NIN, etc, that’s a whole lotta bass drum pounding. It’s a flawed design, and it’s hella frustrating. Luckily this is so common, that there are tons of mods out there that help. The most promising seems to be this bad boy

New WP!

Just upgraded to wordpress 2.5. Love the new management interface vs the old hard to navigate one. Not much difference that I can tell yet on the end user side though.

In other news, I was reading this article the other day on lifehacker asking people their thoughts on what the best IM client is. I was totally expecting everyone would say pidgin, or even trillian (bleh) and quite a few did. But I was surprised to see a ton of people saying digsby for windows. So I checked out their page, and WOW! I immediately downloaded it and configured it on my laptop. I was truly impressed by it even in it’s beta state. It is a major memory whore (70 – 100 MB), but I’ve been using firefox for years, and nothing comes close to it’s memory usage after a day or 2 running.

The coolest features it has over pidgin are integration with email and social networking sites, and that it stores preferences on their server, so when you make changes to the client on one computer, when you use the client on another computer, it knows about everything. If you use IM a lot, and you use twitter, gmail, etc on windows, I strongly recommend checking it out.

Updates to

I’ve been doing a lot of work on my hosting company over the past week. This weekend I decided that my shared hosting plans weren’t competitive enough anymore, so I jacked up all of the plans quite a bit. I also decided it’s time to start selling Virtual Private Server packages now, since the technology is rock solid. I’ve had one for several months now (this domain is actually hosted on it along with the rest of our personal domains), and it’s been awesome. It replaced a dedicated server, and the performance has been way better.

I love technology! I’m always amazed at how quickly things progress. When I started back in 2001, my biggest hosting plan was 500 MB of disk space. Now that’s my smallest plan. The fact that any monkey can setup a blog with a couple of clicks. Or even some more complex software. It just blows me away. I just wish I got rich off of it 😉

my brain is bigger than yours

I’ve spent a lot of time working on the new users site. The last iteration died a miserable death long ago. In the past I’ve used a full blown CMS like PHPNuke or Mambo. This time I decided to keep it simple and use WordPress. I’m pretty happy with the results so far. I also found a pretty slick help desk called Trellis Desk that I have setup as well. I’ve tried several in the past, and they all either cost too much, or are a pain to get working the way I want (often both). I moved all of this to a new server, so I don’t have to worry about people having access if there’s a issue with the server that the control panel lives on (like last week).

Aside from that, work has been kicking my ass. I had to take a few days off this week to clear my head. I’ve actually been seriously considering finding a new job in the past week. I really don’t want to leave, but I’m frustrated with the way things have been going downhill, and I feel completely helpless to fix them. We’ll see how things play out over the next few weeks. If things don’t get better, I’m definitely going to pursue some of the leads I get sent all the time.

Off to the UK again…

It’s been a crazy past couple of weeks. I’ve been working ~12 hours a day trying to both get the UK shit straight, and make sure my group doesn’t completely self destruct. I am officially leaving tomorrow for my 2nd tour of duty in the UK. Once again, it almost didn’t happen. and quite honestly, had I not already made personal plans for the weekend, I would not be going until mid next week. The majority of my gear is still sitting in San Diego, so it’s doubtful that it will make it there until late in the week. My itinerary has me returning Friday morning, but it’s looking likely that I’ll have to stay a few days longer.

I’m so drained. I’m glad I have a couple of days to try and relax before the craziness resumes.

What up?

It’s funny how I feel obligated to make a “real” post every now and then. I like twitter, because it’s simple to make a quick update about what I’m doing. However, it just doesn’t have the same meaning ya know?

Anyhow, work has been crazy as ever. I’ll most likely be going back to London in a couple of weeks to roll out a very large customer deployment. The plus side is that we’re bringing in a management company to take on the day to day server deployments/management there. So basically I’m gonna go out there to pass the torch and make sure they do shit the way I want it done, then pretty much wipe my hands clean of that DC. Not long after that, I’ll probably be going out to Santa Clara, to get the new West Coast DC online.

Haven’t had much of a personal life lately due to the work situation. When I finally stop working, I just want to veg out. I started playing guitar again, so I try to at least hold it, and play some scales or just fuckoff for a while i”m watching movies or whatever. My brother hooked me up with a Guitar Port from the company he works for Line 6. It’s a pretty awesome device. Essentially it’s just a USB port that you plug your guitar into, and it has a few outputs to go to your amp, headphones, or even stereo/computer speakers. Then they have this bitchin software called Gear Box, that has “models” of a ton of different amps & guitars. Then they also have a pretty cool app called Guitar Port Online that works with Gear Box. They have a shit load of songs that they have the tab for, and you play along with it. It will automatically load up the “models” to give you the sound of the guitarist you are playing, which really helps work on your style.

I won an iPod at my office party, and promptly handed it over to Steph. Since it was a pretty beefy “classic” it was only $50 to trade it for a new iPod “Touch”. So that’s what we did, and now Steph can’t put it down for 5 minutes. It is pretty slick though, especially after they just added all the apps from the iPhone today.

I guess that’s all I have for now.

About time for a proper update

I realize that I haven’t updated recently so I thought it was about time. My apologies for the blast of worthless posts today. Stephanie finally convinced me to start using twitter, so I started using it when I arrived in London Friday, and just pushed all my updates to my blog.

So London! I got here on Friday morning, after not being sure if I was actually going this week up until the day before I left. I didn’t get any real sleep on the plane, which sucks cuz I was sure I would sleep since I got a premium economy seat (which is awesome BTW). So needless to say I became a bit of a zombie by mid day. I had some breakfast at the airport, while waiting for my coworker to arrive from Chicago. Once he got there, we took the tube to a station near our Data Center, and dragged our bags several blocks in the cold to it.

The Data Center sucks. Maybe I’m just spoiled from working in high class DC’s, but it really is a nightmare. We arrive to find out that they have been rejecting our packages because we put the DC’s name care of our company (which is how you usually do it), but they informed us that we weren’t directly a customer of theirs (we are essentially colocating in a large providers space), so we should be putting their name care of us. So he tells us that a shipment of about 12 boxes got sent back to UPS, and it’s likely they are on their way back to Holland if we don’t get in touch with them before the weekend starts. Whatever. We were fully expecting gear to be missing, since this process has been a total clusterfuck from the get go.

We finally get escorted to our cabinets, then go in search of the shipments that are actually there. We find several boxes of servers, and some switches sitting in a fire escape stairwell, that is pretty much open access in the facility. Our space is on the third floor of this building that was once a brewery or some shit. The design is HORRIBLE! There are all these little rooms that have either a few cages, or just a room alone with a bunch of racks with locks on them. There are security doors in between all of these suites. then there are these random stair cases that go down like 5 steps, turn around and go back up like 10. Then 2 more secured doors. So needless to say it was an adventure getting our gear in there. BUT, that was just the servers. We still had to go find a pair of cisco 6509-E switches, which anyone who’s ever seen/used em know are huge! So we find them in a sprinkler pipe room (are you starting to understand my hatred for this place yet?) with several more boxes.

We get this crap back up to our racks after 3 trips back and forth. As we’re putting all this stuff up there, the guard informs us that when we signed the house rules, we agreed to getting rid of all of our own trash. We say that’s not a problem, where’s the dumpster. He proceeds to tell us there is none, and we’re on our own. I go ballistic on this dude and ask him wtf I’m supposed to do with 60+ boxes and tons of Styrofoam and other padding. He tells me “unofficially” that if we come in on the weekend, we can sneak the trash down the alley and throw it in someone else’s dumpster! So after we got it all unpacked yesterday, that’s what we did.

Friday night, we went out with one of our coworkers who lives here, and her husband. We went to some little burger place. I had some fallafal, and it was pretty good. Then we went to a pub and had a couple of pints. They were cool, but by this time, both Pete and I were dead to the world, so we headed back to our hotel. I came in and brushed my teeth and stuff, and crashed HARD around midnight. 11 hours later I woke of to my phone buzzing!

So yesterday after I finally got moving around noon, I headed to the DC. We got almost everything unpacked, and racked. I got all my servers cabled up and labeled. Pete got all his network configs rolled out, but we found out that our fibre drop (the one going to Internap) was the wrong type of connector, so no intarwebz for us till Monday. I decided that I was not going in today, because I have jack shit to do without the intarwebz. So I’m going to take our coworker from India out sightseeing today. It’ss actually sunny out right now, which is a rarity here, let alone in the middle of their dreary ass winters.

XBMC = love!

I was reading some tech crap last week, and I came across this article about turning your old xbox into a media center. It reminded me that I had wanted to do this for some time, but never got around to it. I decided it would be a fun project, and it would be cool to have in time for the party, so I can stream mp3z from my server to my stereo. I didn’t really follow this guide, I just searched around for the things I wanted to do, and ended up with bits and pieces from everywhere.

Since the Action Replay is pretty much non-existent now, I opted to create my own USB adapter. To do this, I took a USB extender, and cut off the female end, then took an xbox controller and cut off the connector. I then stripped the cables on both, and twisted them together. My first attempt failed miserably, because I cut the controller cable too close to the adapter, so I didn’t have enough room to splice the wires together. So I had to go out and buy another used controller (I didn’t want to kill my other one). I also picked up a copy of Splinter Cell for like $1.50 (needed to “crash” the xbox). Then I took my trusty titanium cruzer USB stick and plugged it into my xbox.

Ghetto USB - XBOX Adapter

I decided to use the awesome Auto Installer Deluxe, to get everything setup on the xbox. Doing the softmod was stupid simple. Basically you grab a couple of “game saves” for Splinter Cell, and copy them to your xbox via the handy little USB adapter. Boot Splinter Cell up, and load one of the “saves”. Then you boot AID, and it has a nice graphical menu that walks you through installing what you want. I opted to use XBMC as my dashboard, cuz it’s just awesome. After a few minutes, I had a fully operational xbox media center.

I had no trouble connecting to my samba shares. So now I have mp3z, videos, and all kinds of other cool toys to play with, I even finally ordered another Harmony 880 to use in the living room (we’ve had one in our room for a couple years), since we have way too many remotes and devices. It makes me happy to put this thing to good use again, cuz it’s been collecting dust for over a year since I got my xbox 360.

Migrations, Painting, and other fun stuff!

It’s been a busy week. I spent most of last week working on getting setup for that big Debian customer. Not only do I have to get a deployment setup for their 40 servers, but I also had to get the Data Center ready for this customer. We previously had about 15 of our blade enclosures on a different network. So I had to recable, and reconfigure all of the switches before I can build any servers over there. Got that all done. Got a working Debian image setup, and even got NIC bonding working on it, in addition to getting some of our standard stuff configured.

In the evenings Weds, Thurs, & Fri, I pressure washed the fence to prep it for painting. We weren’t planning on painting it ourselves, but after I got some quotes, there was no way I was paying. So we went to the ho depot, bought 10 gallons of fence paint, and started painting on Saturday.

After the problems last week, I rescheduled the migration for Saturday night. This time it went a lot better. I ran into a mail problem, and spent 2 hours trying to figure it out. Then all of the sudden I look back at something I thought I checked, and realized permissions were wrong on a file. The first thing I looked at when the problem occurred! After that, it was just random little issues. I finally got to sleep at about 7:00am.

Sunday, I woke up around noon, and got back to the painting. Steph had some dog event in DC, so she didn’t get home until like 6:00, but she helped me finish up the section I was working on. It’s a very time consuming process, so we only got a little bit done this weekend. If anyone wants to help, there will be cold beer and paint for all this weekend!

Migration Night Part 1

So it’s finally migration night for, and so far things are not starting smoothly. I tried to start the backup, and of course there appears to be a bug in the backup utility, which is supposedly resolved in the next version of Plesk. So I figure I might as well do the upgrade first, since the server I am migrating to is already running the latest version. Of course the upgrade fucking breaks! So now I first have to fix this hozed up upgrade before I can do the backup, migrate the data, then restore it.

It’s gonna be a long night!

Update 12:30AM
My ninja skills are still in tact. Got Plesk mostly working again, backup is now running.

Update 1:50AM transfer is going so slow. I’m only getting 1.4MB/s between the two servers, and I have 4.5GB of compressed data to transfer.

End Game 3:35am Well, it just wasn’t meant to be tonight. It’s 3:30 in the morning, and the restore has failed twice. Giving up on this attempt, and I’m gonna have to reschedule this damn thing.