Wednesday 26 April 2006

What Time is It?

So for a while there I was getting really confused. I kept getting the output from daily cronjobs on Chevette mailed to me in the afternoon but with a timestamp of the middle of the night. Lo and behold, Chevette's clock was just plain wrong.

So naturally, I needed to get me some of that NTP that the kids keep talking about. It turns out the folks over at are trying to organize a large number of NTP servers from volunteers. It's a really cool project and worth taking a look at since they discuss specific usage issues and how to best configure your client to update time from the 'net.

So initially I setup NTP on chevette and then I realized that neither siona nor friday were synching time so I did those too. After a little bit of reading on the above website as well as the ISC's site, I ended up deciding to try to run my own NTP server on the LAN. Okay, not really exciting, but overall, the setup is really easy and definately cool. Siona updates against the servers and then chevette and friday both update against her. Kinda neet to have that working finally :D

Okay, back to work and my ever-growing TODO list.

Wednesday 12 April 2006

Chevette is Loaded and She's Online Live!

Hot hot hot! Chevette is online. Took an afternoon of downloading packages and updates and about an hour of PAM/LDAP configuration and she's live and running the Icecast stream. The stream was running off Friday before but given that's the only usable computer in the house, that was rapidly getting dysfunctional.

On the fun side, the single ices feed including transcoding takes ~30-33% of her CPU. w007! She's already loaded!

In other news, I changed the google search shortcut in Konqueror (which can be done in Firefox too) from the boring "gg" to "grep". That's right, I can now grep the 'net. Who's your daddy? Or should I say:

grep: your daddy

Google returned 1 hit: archangel

Thursday 6 April 2006

Adding a test server and some rantin'

After rebuilding Siona a couple weeks ago, I went out and (finally) bought a battery backup. I got the smallest APC UPS I could get from Futureshop which cost 40CDN. I brought it home, hooked it up, and installed "apcupsd" on Siona. It's pretty bitchin. With apcupsd, I set the tolerences, e.g. if the battery level drops below 10% or 3 minutes remaining, and the battery will notify apcupsd that power is failing so apcupsd can shutdown the server.

The really fun part is that I already got to "test" the power failure events. I had set the threshold to 10 minutes but the estimated battery life, which is just w/ Siona mind you, is only 8.4 total. So the thing with the UPS is that if there are any "significant" fluctuations in the power from the line, then it cuts to battery mode. These dirty power fluctuations happen, oh, every other day or so. So even though it only cuts to battery for a second and then restores normal power, my threshold was high enough that it just issued a shutdown at the first sign of trouble. So I've now confirmed proper operation of the UPS during a "power event" and I've "tuned" the parameters (back to the mfr default).

In other cool application news, I'm finding that AmaroK really rocks! It builds a database of your music from the song meta-data and has a really fabulous interface both for playing music (queues and playlists) and for modifying the metadata (e.g. you can update many songs at once). AmaroK is pretty damned good.

So for upcoming events, I'm thinking of finally putting Chevette to use again but this time as just a test server. Her display is hopelessly foobar and upgrading RAM would also require more $$ then I want to invest in her (sadly). So I figure she'll make a good test server so I can setup stuff like a secondary mail server and test fail-over for mail delivery. Or inter-domain operation with the XMPP server. Or just try different applications. I plan to load her with Debian Sarge on the weekend and go from there.

Anyhow, back to work for me.

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