Archive for category Internet

The Great Reconstruction

The webserver that hosted this site was also recently hosting (albeit temporarily) the Lupper worm. That has been rectified, but it wasn’t simple. There was an installation of awstats on the old server setup that I had mostly forgotten about. While I believe the firewall I had setup on the box prevented any of the backdoors the worm opened from being useful, I couldn’t be certain. I decided to rebuild the box. I chose to use a new gentoo install. After some initial pains with booting the LiveCD (because my CD-ROM doesn’t support DMA), I was off to the races. Slowly. I started on Wednesday of last week, and just managed to turn on the blog again last night.

During the process, I managed to lose all the content to the blog. Luck was on my side, and I managed to recovery it. WordPress uses MySQL as its backend database. Before I wiped the main drive of the server, I had exported the contents of the database and stored them on a separate drive. After getting gentoo up and running, I “emerge”d apache, MySQL, WordPress and other stuff I needed. (The virtual hosting in gentoo is well done, btw.)

I was in the process of restoring my database and made a one character error. Instead of using “< " to redirect the text file to the mysql command I used ">“ and redirected the output of the mysql command over my text file. One slip of the finger and two years worth of postings were gone. Ouch. I wasn’t pleased.

I managed to figure out that I could dump the unused blocks on the drive using debugfs. I let that go for a while and ended up with an 800MB+ file. A few greps later, and I confirmed my hope: the data was still on the drive. A little more investigation and I found the data was relatively contiguous in the dump file, AND because I hadn’t compressed the mysql dump, I could actually piece it back together. I threw together a couple of C programs. The first chopped out the stuff before my data and the second chopped out the stuff after my data. I ended up with a few megabytes of mostly text data that needed to be cleaned up, and as you can see, it worked.

What have I learned?:

  1. Understand your system
  2. Keep up to date on releases if you are going to have a public website
  3. Make sure backup files are read-only
  4. Don’t make major changes to your setup while tired, or if you do, triple check before hitting “return”

I’m confident managing this system will be much easier now that I am using gentoo. The old server had been running RedHat 8 with lots of stuff hand upgraded by me. Now it is running a 2.6.x kernel, and a sane packaging management solution. Kudos to gentoo. Hooray for being able to go to bed at a sane time again.

No Comments

Microsoft and Yahoo in IM cooperation

It looks like Microsoft and Yahoo have come to an agreement to make the two IM clients work together. I can say, it certainly is annoying having to have so many clients installed on a given machine.

I find the Yahoo client to have the best ease of use and features of the clients I use. I especially like the integration of the launchcast radio into the client. It is much more convenient than having a separate browser window open. I personally use or have used recently ICQ, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo, and Jabber (via Exodus) in different locations.

No Comments

Creeps Everywhere

I had to remove some of the pictures from the gallery because some mal-adjusted asshole posted links to a few of Morgan’s pictures on a little-boy fetish website. This is quite disturbing to both myself and Lisa. If this continues, I’ll be forced to password protect all of our images.

I’m not a violent person by nature, but the notion of someone using Morgan’s pictures that way makes me want to be.

1 Comment

Bandwidth finally available…

Ok, the pressure has finally lessened a notch. I have a few minutes each day for random web-browsing. I’m even contemplating doing some personal software development on a project that has been simmering in the back of my brain for the last year or so. Whew!

We had a couple of odd things happen in the neighborhood in the last week. The first was rather unfortunate. Someone shot one of the many squirrels in the neighborhood in the back of the head with a BB gun. Unfortunately, the squirrel didn’t die from it. It was half crawling around for quite a while. It ended up getting herded into a recycle bin. Lisa called around to see if there was anyone who would take squirrels, but the animal hospitals weren’t interested, nor anyone else we could think of. The next morning it was dead. I fear for the cats. If there is some person that finds shooting small animals exciting, I think the cats won’t be too far off target. One lady in the neighborhood already mentioned that it had happened before.

The other interesting point was an encounter I had with a guy two days ago. I was sitting in the livingroom when I noticed a guy dragging a bean bag chair down the street. I knew where he was headed — the dumpster near the apartment complex down the street. I grabbed the camera and headed out the door. The lady that manages the apartment complex gets very angry when people leave trash sitting there. She has called the police on several occasions. Once outside, I started taking pictures of him dragging this thing down the sidewalk. He was talking on a cell phone. As I suspected, he stopped in front of the recycle bins, released the chair, and turned around without missing a beat in his phone converstation. He didn’t even notice that I was across the street, taking pictures the whole time. When he was about 10 feet from the chair, I got his attention. I informed him that he couldn’t just leave that there — it was littering. He said he had gotten it from there a few days back. I told him I didn’t care — he was littering. He then started complaining that he was on the phone — could I wait a minute. I didn’t wait. I told him the lady that manages the apartment would be happy to call the police to report the littering incident, and I would be happy to furnish the pictures of him dragging the thing down the street to the police. He then realized that the person he was speaking to on the phone hung up. He trudged back to the chair and proceeded to drag it down the street, while trying to dial a number on his cell phone.

Thus is the high level of excitement in our lives. I have been playing with a bunch of Google applications: Desktop, Earth, Hello, and Talk. While I think Earth is pretty darn cool (although not that stable on my laptop), I think Hello and Talk have a long way to go. The only ties seem to be related to gmail — there is some linkage with the address book held by gmail. First of all, they both have IM interfaces which have different user lists, and behaviors. Talk is very primitive, although the VOIP feature has nice quality in the trivial tests I have done. With the exception of Desktop, I don’t see a compelling reason to run them all the time. The last thing I need is more applications that I don’t use chewing up memory and ethernet bandwidth. My hope is that these products converge into something more useful. Talk does replace the gmail notifier application, which is ok, but I doubt I will end up using it for more than that.

No Comments

An amazing thing happened recently

I can’t believe it myself, but I have actually found time to play a game on my computer. I recently found that I still had Warcraft III on my home PC. I couldn’t remember playing it in the recent past, so I looked at the save files. February 2003. That marks the last time I had actually played a game on the PC. This is rather amazing, considering that before I met Lisa, I spent at least 2 hours a weeknight playing computer based games. My life has really changed. I spent part of Sunday night playing, and last night as well. I’m working my way through the Orc campaign. At least that’s where I left off before. It took me about 30 minutes to become reoriented and remember all the details, but I’m feeling pretty confident in the interface now.

My interest was partially sparked by the recent release of World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, my home machine is just too lame to run it. Its time to start saving up for a new one.

Ok, that’s all the update I have time for today… whee!
I’d also like to get Halo 2 for the Xbox. I did find time to play all the way through Halo. I had to do this in the evenings after Morgan went to bed. Both Lisa and I feel pretty strongly that the violent games are inappropriate for Morgan.

No Comments

Two convicted on felony spam charges

At last, someone is convicted for sending spam! Check out the story here. If I am reading this right, it looks like it is a result of the CAN-SPAM legislation from late last year.

No Comments

The MegaPenny Project

From Hazelware, an interesting look at how to visualize very big numbers The MegaPenny Project

No Comments

HP iPod ????

What possible reason would anyone want to buy a HP iPod? Apple sells the EXACT SAME PRODUCT (and actually invented it), minus the seemingly useless HP Tattoos. I just don’t understand.

No Comments

Complete waste of time — with YETI!

There are a bunch of amusing flash games at YETI SPORTS . I don’t think anyone at work is getting anything accomplished today 🙂

No Comments

WordPress Initial Impressions

I have been mucking around a bit more with WordPress. I am evaluating it because Moveable Type’s pricing makes it prohibitive for me to upgrade. I have been getting regular spam type messages here, and Moveable Type’s default interface for comment elimination isn’t great.

All in all, I have found WordPress pretty easy to use. It was really painless to import all the MT entries.

I am becoming more familiar with CSS, which seems to help too. I had a couple of difficulties regarding the install.

  1. The install.php file came up blank initially. I solved this via some hints in the WP forums.
  2. All comments were initially being moderated. I solved this by removing a blank line in the words to filter. I guess everything matches a blank line. 🙂

I haven’t figured out an easy way to map the RSS feeds to the same URLs they were before, so I’m not going to bother. I’m hoping self discovery solves the problems. Now I just need to learn a bit of php, and I should be good to go! 🙂

No Comments