"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
June 2, 2004

Tutorial: Creating an OpenBSD Package

Andrew asked about this so he could easily install OpenVPN on multiple OBSD boxes, and mjc spammed that. Looks trivial.

5:12 AM | Linkwhore
June 4, 2004

Huh. Ian Murdock has a weblog.

17:15 < john> who's that?
17:16 <@bda> DebIAN.
17:16 < mdxi> married to DEBian
17:16 < john> oh that Ian Murdock
17:16 < john> :P

Pretty nuts no one mentioned this fact to me, seeing as his archives go back a year.

5:19 PM | Linkwhore

Bloody duh.

I hate when people break off talking to me, or pull out of a conversation, to answer a phone call.

I especially hate when they don't even bother excusing themselves.

5:29 PM | Linkwhore
June 7, 2004

Adam and I played some Go this evening. This being the first time I've ever played the game, it should be somewhat less than surprising that I got owned. A lot. I did okay the third game we played ("okay" when compared to the first two games), and have decided I'm going to try to play at least a few games a night, most likely using Goban.

I like how visual Go is, and how you can sort of step back and play without thinking (to a point). I also like how incredibly telling it is when after the game and the dead stones are pulled off the board it's completely obvious who the winner is (at least if I'm your opponent), simply by looking at captured territory. The way the game progresses organically (as Adam said while we were playing) is also pretty awesome.

So far it's really helped me to think of stones as infrantry units, chains as battle lines, and eyes as entrenched positions. Realizing that it's more about gaining territory than stones is also useful.

I played a couple games on IGS and got owned left and right, but everyone was polite, something you won't get on most gaming networks.

Here's an intro to Go I found a few weeks ago, and something I need to read more thoroughly now.

2:06 AM | Gaming

I had a dream last night that people were making a fresco to commemorate Philip K. Dick, only he had refused to let anyone take pictures of his "reverse personality", so they had to reconstruct his image from descriptions.


I've been going through the Second Variety collection the last few days...

June 8, 2004

Picked up Sterling's Distraction yesterday as various humans who know how much I dislike his (Islands in the Net, etc) novels insist it's Good.

Thus far (about fifty pages in) I'm enjoying the story quite a bit, though his dialogue is still awful. I can never tell if he's doing it on purpose, or what, but real humans don't converse like his characters.

Stephenson has this problem somewhat, but it seems to work for me.

I expect I'll spam a review of it when I'm finished. Need to do that for Chandler's Goodbye, My Lovely, various PKD books, some other stuff I've read recently which escapes me at the moment.

10:15 AM | Books

Spent yesterday fighting with our crappy backup staging server (where things go before they're taped, and stay live for a period of time) at work. The thing is a junk Gateway "server" box that was super cheap (always a prevailing concern for purchasing hardware there if we can't offset the cost somehow), but has since proven to be an enormous pain in the butt (get what you pay for).

The machine has, at various points, had its motherboard replaced, its RAM, its CPU, and finally I get the thing working, and the primary IDE bus blows out. Pretty awesome, but a minor fix, as it has three (getting that third one to work is something I really should have documented; it was a pain, iirc).

So initially the machine was running Linux with Reiserfs on a software RAID across three IDE disks on dedicated busses. Slow as hell, but it worked.

So the reiser journals blew their trees all over the place, and since the data is taped anyway, I figured I'd give OpenBSD's software RAID (RAIDFrame, ported from NetBSD) a whirl.

I unplugged the RAID disks (habit) so I wouldn't get confused during the install ( a good habit), pointed the installer at an FTP mirror and went and did other work for a while.

After the machine installed itself (not counting download times, about 10 minutes of work... Much less-than-three to OBSD) I recompiled the kernel, pinning wd0 to the first channel of the secondary IDE bus (it wanted to boot off the , and started fighting with getting the machine to get the third IDE bus recognized (the BIOS and bootloader saw the drive on it fine, but the kernel refused to see it). I spent an hour or so trying to figure out how to get the bus's device attributes (what device number it is, etc), and failed pretty badly. I don't remember how I got it for the previous Linux install, though I did try booting Debian as I have vague recollections of the default Debian kernel seeing it.

Eventually gave up on that and threw another PCI IDE card in the machine. Pinned the RAID disks in place (config -e with -o is pretty great) so they couldn't move around on me ever, and started setting up the array as described in raidctl(8). Pretty simple stuff, though I have to admit that it seemed odd (at first) that I needed to have a FS_RAID type disklabel on the array's drives.

Get the RAID device formatted, mount it, and... it's somehow managed to lose about 100GB of space. There are three drives: two 160s, and one 120. So there should be somewhere in the vicinity of 410GB usuable space, 440 total.

Machine would only see 330GB tops. I pulled the 120 out, fed it another 160, rebuild the array... yeah. Pulled the 160 out, build the array up, and it would only see 300... There's an error stating that it's "truncating" the last disk, but googling for the warning returns nothing.

Next stop is mailing lists and looking at the raidframe code to see what causes it to happen.

Obviously I'm doing something incredibly stupid here. My initial thought was block size, but... That seems unlikely considering the amount of space involved here.

So yeah. If anyone has any ideas on this one, I'd appreciate it before I just reinstall Linux on the box (tomorrow, heh, as I'm tired of not having an easy place to do backups to).

10:32 AM | Systems Administration | Comments (6)

"I don't think that Debian can really compete with Gentoo. Sure it might be okay, but when it comes to dependencies, you probably are still going to have to get them all on your own. Or is there something like portage in the Debian world as well?"

19:17 <@semi> debian can't compete with gentoo because they have different
goals - one wants to be a productive distro and the other wants
to be bsd.
19:19 <@bda> Like a little girl wanting to grow up to be a princess.

Gentoo does some good work. But that page is pretty freakin' great. :)

7:25 PM | Linkwhore
June 9, 2004

This is somewhat depressing. I took a few minutes this morning to play with SpamStats on work's mailserver.

These stats start at 0630 Jun 02:

Total number of emails processed by the spam filter : 60038
Number of spams : 43548 ( 72.53%)
Number of clean messages : 16490 ( 27.47%)
Average message analysis time : 3.61 seconds
Average spam analysis time : 3.37 seconds
Average clean message analysis time : 4.17 seconds
Average message score : 7.02
Average spam score : 10.43
Average clean message score : -1.20
Total spam volume : 102 Mbytes
Total clean volume : 69 Mbytes

It's also a default, non-tweaked install of SpamAssassin, so I would wager somewhere between a third and half of those "clean" messages really aren't.

My next step is going to be finally throw a.mx at our colo and have it dump anything over a 7, then relay the rest to b.mx at our offices.


9:56 AM | Systems Administration
June 10, 2004

Spent yesterday working on moving the services living on hastur.mirrorshades.net to ligur.mirrorshades.net. Considering some of the deals that ServerBeach offers, it was a pretty simple decision to make for Dan and I.

I had some initial issues with the machine... like the kernel I compiled didn't take, then grub's fallback mechanism didn't kick in. Apparently the NIC driver I used (eepro100, which is the module the current, vendor-supplied kernel is using) wasn't happy and thus networking didn't come back up. I had planned on writing a little at job to run when the machine comes up to check if it can get 'net, and reboot into a known-good kernel if it can't, but hit a wall with regards to available time.

Yesterday was crazy at work, so the migration only got a few minutes here and there of my time. Overall it was a simple process, and took maybe an hour an a half of my actual attention. Go UNIX. Try doing this shit with Windows, eh.

I kept a relatively information-less log of what I did for the migration (this being what, the fourth time? for this machine) if anyone cares that much.

As always, the easiest portion of the migration involved Postfix. So much love for that piece of software.

Anyway, I should probably shower and get ready for another twelve hour day at work...

11:33 PM | Systems Administration | Comments (2)
June 11, 2004

I just spent the last hour fighting with raidframe on another machine (the new production backup server).

The error message:

raidlookup on device: /dev/wd0a failed !

The config:

START array
# numRow numCol numSpare
1 2 0

START disks

START layout
# sectPerSU SUsPerParityUnit SUsPerReconUnit RAID_level_0
64 1 1 0

START queue
fifo 100

All looks okay, right?

Wait... look at the error message again...

"wd0a "


Adam O'Donnell: i would patch the source
Adam O'Donnell: and submit the patch.
Bryan Allen: http://monkey.org/openbsd/archive/misc/0010/msg01366.html
Adam O'Donnell: because no one wrote the patch
Adam O'Donnell: i will do it with you sometime soon if you want
Adam O'Donnell: there is no "strip()" in C.
Bryan Allen: I know. Or =~ s/^\s+|\s+$//gs;

heh. :)

4:15 PM | Systems Administration | Comments (1)
June 12, 2004

Finished it this afternoon. I enjoyed it, though it still didn't top, in my mind, the Mejis sections of Wizard and Glass. Still, I enjoyed it a great deal, and it answers a lot of questions that King fans have been asking for the last, oh, over twenty years.

Most of it was not so surprising, though I had no idea that the names of the Guardians were actually pulled from stories King likes (Shardik the bear, for instance). I'm pretty sure I know where it's going (especially with what happened in the Dixie Pig, and the "mid-wives" of Mia's baby), but I have little doubt King will be pulling out all the stops for the last volume.

And yes, Stephen King is in the book as a character, but it didn't bother me like I really expected it to. The way he played it worked within the context of the series, and having read a good portion of his other work, it actually made some sense.

One more book... Who will cross the sea of roses and climb the Dark Tower? And what's at the top?

(I wonder what Robert -- tokage -- is up to. He was huge into King as well. And Sarah, who first told me where the man in black fled...)

9:27 PM | Books
June 17, 2004

This week I'm at YAPC, and it's been a long damn day, so I'm going to be brief.

Ricardo has a good post of Monday and Tuesday. Today was pretty interesting. After the initial State of the Perl by Allison Randall of the Perl Foundation, and some brief comments from Jim Brandt, we got spammed at by an Apple guy from Toronto who nominally explained how to effectively use Perl with OS X but really only managed to be funny and play with Interface Builder.

After that I headed over to Mark Fowler's "Building a CPAN Distribution" and a half hour or so of "CPAN Modules Every Perl Programmer Should Know" talks before skipping out after the lunch break to hang with Rik and billn (Bill's from my hometown) in another room where the wireless actually worked. (UB graciously set us up with wlan accounts for the duration of the talk. Pretty awesome of them. The power situation could be way better, though.)

I didn't pay much attention to the talks until Pierre busted out "Lessons Learned from Many Interviews With Perl Programmers". Pierre is goddamn hilarious. 'nuff said.

Jumped over to Damian talking about Perl 6 (as it stands this week), until 1740 or so when they finally forced him to stop talking and let us leave; Damian is fun to listen to, and lots of Perl 6 stuff seems way cool, and lots either confused the hell out of me, or scared the nuts off me. Mostly it was way cool.

We then (Rik, Steve, Phil, hachi, and about a dozen other people) headed over for a Stem bof by Uri. That could have gone better, I think, though I'm not sure how. Uri is a big guy.

We dropped out stuff back at the hotel, then headed up to the Anchor Bar, where buffalo wings were supposedly invented (while good, Rik says they were not awesome, as seems to be the case with most places that "invent" something). The waitresses were cute is all I really got out of the place.

Then! Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on IMAX, sponsored by O'Reilly. A few minutes before the movie started, Rik laughed and said, "A couple of muggles managed to buy tickets." Poor norms.

Overall I was happy with the movie, and disappointed with the heckling. We had the theatre to ourselves, and I expected way more out of fifty Perl hackers MST3King a movie. You can only take pedophile jokes so far.

Just got back to the hotel now, at 0115 or so. Totally ready to crash. Tomorrow is going to be a long day as well (though hopefully not as long), as I'm spending the entire day in Learning Perl Objects, etc, which is going to be pretty hardcore, but useful for me. Anything to make things I'm pretty sure I mostly understand more clear.

Obviously the alternatives are far beyond me. I think anything "Beyond Advanced Regexes" would cause my face to catch fire.

At any rate. The time for sleeping is now.

1:50 AM | Life

Abigail is giving this talk, but I'm sitting in the Alpaca talk by Tad McClellan.

14:20 < dha> for a second there, I thought abigail said "fictional programming"
14:21 <@bda> dha: That's the sort of code *I* write.
14:21 < dha> bda - you mean you *think* you write
14:22 <@bda> Touche.

Yay for #yapc.

2:23 PM | irk
June 18, 2004

Last day of YAPC::NA. Good stuff. Excellent talks all around, some good stuff from the Town Hall meeting at the end of the day. Damian's "Sufficiently Advanced Technologies" talk was good stuff.

Here's a little sample of my notes from Abigail's "Parsing Strings" talk:

/(["'])((??{ "[^$1]*" }))\1/

Or how about this?

my $re = qr /[{] # opening brace
(?: [^\\{}] # not a brace or backslash
| \\. # or a backslash followed by any char
| (??{ $re }) # or a balanced string
)* # zero or more times
[}] # Closing brace

Someday I'll grok regex, but not any time soon. Thinking of it as a Real Language as opposed to a bunch of "Perl syntax" is the correct way, many humans insist.

A number of useful Perl modules came up, some previous known to me, some not:

  • UI::All

  • Regexp::Common

  • Sort::Maker (Which Uri uploaded to CPAN at the end of his talk on it)

  • Devel::Peek

  • IO::Progress

  • Smart::Comments

Stuff to play with.

The plan now is to eat food in a bit, then crash out. Quite a few people have gone pub crawling, but rjbs and I are both pretty beat and elected to stay at the hotel. Heading back to Bethlehem tomorrow morning, then back to Philly on Sunday.

Definitely planning to go to YAPC next year.

7:30 PM | Life
June 28, 2004

Just finished the final volume of Transmetropolitan, which I started picking up three or four months ago at the behest of solios.

There is much goodness here.

If you enjoy comics and good story, I highly reccommend it.

I was very happy with the ending. A rarity.

10:01 PM | Books