Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Planned Ubuntu + VMWare Server desktop

How does this sound? Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Desktop with VMWare Server with virtual machines:
  • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server (dedicated apt-cacher instance)
    • bridged network - to Internet
    • host-only network - apt-cacher listening for host-only network requests
  • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server (web servers)
    • bridged network - from Internet; listening on HTTP
    • host-only network - to apt-cacher server, application servers, database servers
  • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server (application servers)
    • host-only network - communicate with web servers and database servers
  • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server (database servers)
    • host-only network

I figured all virtual servers should be in a protected, host-only network. Only servers that need to get to or listen for requests on the Internet would have a bridged connection to the routers and the Internet. Application and database servers would not be accessibly to any machine other than the web servers and the dedicated apt cache server. Here is my installation game plan:

  1. install base VM with Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, bare minimum, update, upgrade
  2. shut down base VM, add host-only network interface, start-up, reconfigure network, shut down
  3. clone base VM to apt-cache VM
  4. start-up then install and configure apt-cacher on apt-cache VM
  5. start-up then reconfigure base VM to use apt-cacher on the apt-cache VM; shut down base VM
  6. clone base VM to base HOSTONLY VM
  7. start-up base HOSTONLY VM then reconfigure network, shut down, remove bridged network interface
  8. clone base VM and base HOSTONLY VM based on needs

I have some questions about such a virtualized setup. Should I bind either Samba or NFS to the host only network so I can get files to and from various machines (maybe using the apt-cache machine as a distribution point)? Should I bind DNS to the host only network on one of the machines? Should I create a dedicated backup and restore machine?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Squealing clothes dryer

Try to imagine the most annoying, shrill, squeak you can imagine (something other than the wife or girlfriend nagging you about something) and imagine that happening occasionally, on and off, every time you run the clothes dryer. According to askmehelpdesk.com this is a common problem in a series of dryers and can be traced to a bad rear drum bearing. Here is where I deal out some praise and some criticism.

First of all I would like to thank "applguy" in the advice forums. His instructions were completely accurate and easy to follow down to the color of certain items and where "four hands are better than two". I had the dryer fixed in less than an hour and I consider the task pretty easy.

I purchased the Kenmore washer and dryer set from Sears and they deserve some criticism. I purchased a bearing kit from them through their online service (alternative was a phone call). The steel ball plate was not identical to the old one and the parts envelope was burnt at the bottom and all parts except two screws were missing. That's some fine Q/A there folks. How someone missed a burnt parts envelope is beyond me. I had to use the ball bearing and the hardware from the original unit. The bearing bracket unit inside the dryer was barely lubricated and the lubricant they used had turned to rubber. No wonder the thing was ground and squealing.

While I had the dryer opened up I made sure to vacuum out all the lint and crud inside and wipe down some areas. Thankfully, the machine is now quiet again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Addicted to hand sanitizer

Help. I find myself applying moisturizing (with vitamin E) hand sanitizer to my hands every 15 to 30 minutes while in my office at work. It is starting to freak me out a little bit.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Upgrade and Ubuntu

Now on the new version of Blogger. Yeah. Big whupdeedoodoo.

Also, if you are an Ubuntu Linux user and have noticed that fetching anything from us.archive.ubuntu.com is painfully slow then remove the "us." prefix placed there at installation from the apt/sources.list file. Your apt-get speeds will be measured in K instead of B from now on. Anybody know why the us. repository is so slow?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A few "Grouchy Gripes"

Just a few things that annoy me about the web today...

Web 2.0 expandable sections

I like Google Mail and all that fun stuff but a lot of things about the "next version" of the web are just annoying. One of the things I find most annoying are the "expandable sections"; where you have to click the little plus sign next to or directly on a link to expand and make visible a block of text and/or images. Nowhere is this more annoying than in "frequently asked questions" and technical support pages. I swear if I have to click on another "do you support this feature?" link just to see a "no" open up underneath it I will scream.

Portals just to have portals

A government agency recently changed their perfectly working set of static HTML pages into a hideous, moderately functional, PHP driven "portal" (and yes it has a thing to click on to hide the portal, see above, grrr). Why? Now all of our bookmarks to key pages do not work. Why spent a crap-load of development time on static content? The content of some pages hasn't changed in nine years! The "portal" offers virtually no functionality beyond what was there before.

AJAX bloat

This technology is starting to get out of hand. I see more and more of it cropping up in places where it shouldn't be used. One application I use frequently used AJAX to dynamically build a button bar for editing. I looked at the code (which was working flawlessly without AJAX) and by using AJAX to load button images and insert them as objects into the document object there was a savings of 11K; yup, a whopping 11 kilobytes of transmission. Of course, now there is a mess of JavaScript to do all of this and it causes a memory leak in Opera (the browser I use). If it works perfectly without AJAX then why change everything and risk alienating a minority? Also, one of the things I don't think all these AJAX people realize is that they piss off the "lowest common denominators" out there. There are people with crummy laptops and old computers that cannot handle a lot of this new stuff. There are moms and dads out there with older Pentium computers that cannot justify an upgrade. Meanwhile, the "web gurus" of the world keep adding stuff to something that functioned just perfectly before it.