Monday, December 15, 2008

The Cobalt Bomber and dead servers

Well, I missed my (self imposed) Saturday deadline, but I think I have a good excuse. This weekend was REALLY busy. Friday (I took the day off) was my wife's birthday. No I won't tell you how old she is; I'm not stupid. Saturday morning was the church Leadership Meeting in the morning, tutoring Java in the afternoon and my company "Holiday" party at 6:30. And Sunday? Sunday I should have just stayed in bed. Let's just leave it at that.


Well I wanted to tell you about some of the favorite things in my life. First I want to write about my baby that's almost 7 years old now.


As I said earlier, I drive a Honda Insight. She's Monte Carlo Blue Pearl, but one of the guys at work calls it the Cobalt Bomber, so I'll stick with that. I test drove her during Christmas vacation up in Maine in 2001/2002. She was the first standard transmission Insight I drove, and I loved her. She even handled well in the snow. But living in the Virginia area, I expected I'd have to buy my Insight down there. I was wrong.


I was waiting to find out if I got the job teaching Air Force ROTC at the University of Maryland. Once I found out I got the job, we knew I needed to buy the Insight, just to be able to make it to work and back in a reasonable time. I lived about 60 miles from the school, and if you know anything about the traffic on I-95 in the DC area, you don't do that route fast by yourself during "rush hour". And Virginia law says you can take a hybrid car in the HOV lanes alone. Sweet.


Over the years, I've put lots of miles on her. 136,000 miles so far. And I'm still on the first set of hybrid batteries. I'm not sure if that's some kind of record or anything, but I think it's cool.


Break Break.


Last week my Linux server crashed. It was a slow and painful death. It WAS a Fedora Linux server with Samba and Galleon on it. I was using Galleon to move my TiVo files from my 2 TiVos to my server, then decrypt the files to mpeg files and make them available for other computers on my network. That was all well and good, until something happened. It may have been from too many power fluctuations (although with the UPS connected to it, that shouldn't have been a problem), or it could be just that the disk drives are getting old. It started with occasional disk errors (bad inodes). It slowly went downhill from there. I think it took 3 days before everything crashed. I was running my conversion script on the TiVo files to decrypt them when I got so many inode errors it wouldn't finish anything. I had to reboot the server and run fsck on the disk.


Maybe it was the fact that I was using logical volumes, but I thought that ext3 was a "self-healing" file system. Whatever; it's dead. Now I'm looking for a copy of Microsoft Home Server. Lots of places sell it, and if you install off a demo CD, you get a 60 day trial before you need to register it. So I'm trying to cobble together a system that will run Home Server. I'll pass on what I learn once I get it up and running. I've learned there are all sorts of cool programs for Home Server. More later on that. Next week (hopefully on time this time), well actually on Saturday, I'll have a review of a new social website for World of Warcraft players.