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shockme (2685)

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AOL IM: stephenhargrove (Add Buddy, Send Message)

If you really must have more information about me, see my home node [] at PerlMonks [] or my journal [] at

Journal of shockme (2685)

Tuesday January 13, 2004
05:53 PM

The Little Foxes

Wow. The last week and a half have been trying times on the computer front. It seems that anything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

First, a simple apt-get install ssh left a client's email server completely unusable. It did an upgrade to libc6 (which I had recently done on one of my servers), but something went horribly awry. fork began barfing all over the place ... and I ended up practically working through the night to get it back into shape.

I upgraded my kernel version from 2.4.23 to 2.6.1. Then my Synaptics touch pad stopped functioning. I had to google the hell out of this one ... and then remembered reading something somewhere about moving drivers from kernel space to user space. Doh! They were serious! I finally located Peter Österlund's page which contains the new driver. His page is outdated, but the INSTALL file is accurate.

There is something funky going on between my laptop and the office DHCP server. Or possibly my laptop and the office network. It just randomly drops me from the network. 5 minutes tops, and I'm offline. No network for you!. Weirdness. I'll have to investigate this when I have more time and when there's someone from Networking around who actually knows what (s)he's doing.

And this morning my workstation at the office was dead. Power supply. No power for you!. So, I've been working at a makeshift Windows box that is really good for nothing more than checking email and doing some light surfing. Grrr ... I've got work I need to do, dammit!

On the upside, I did get SpamCop and SpamHaus integrated into my Postfix set up at the house. And I tightened the configuration file down quite a bit. Then I spent something akin to a leisurely afternoon watching the logs files and feeling good every time Postfix rejected an email.

Oh, and now my blog sync script isn't working ... great ...

Thursday January 01, 2004
07:21 PM


Well, after a really weird first attempt, everything seems to be progressing smoothly.

The first install ended up putting everything in root (i.e., rather than /dev/hda7 for /usr, everything went into /dev/hda3). The only thing I can figure out is that at some point I umounted everything other than root. Beats me, but it took forever to find out what was going on.

Once I got that all straightened out, it began complaining of errors on /dev/hda3, and wouldn't boot. When e2fsck couldn't repair it, I immediately suspected a bad hard drive. I did a quick Debian install, and verified that the drive was good. Dunno. Something really weird.

So, I trashed the entire thing and started over. This morning, I configured the kernel and booted it successfully. Then after a little googling, X fired up on the first attempt. I had mis-defined my mouse, but that was all.

I transfered my .enlightenment, .fluxbox and .emelfm directories over. Enlightenment fired up beautifully.

So far, so good. Now if I could just win that lottery and get this thing paid off.

Posted from

Tuesday December 30, 2003
11:44 PM

USPS Apologies

Okay, so overnight really means overnight ...

The drive arrived this afternoon. Gentoo is attempting a Stage 2 install right now. The first attempt failed on the emerge system. I'm attempting emerge -u system right now. If this fails, hello Debian (and hours upon hours configuring X, etc.).

Tomorrow night is the big New Years Eve Party. It'd sure be nice to have something purty to show off ...

Posted from

Monday December 29, 2003
06:03 PM

2003.12.24 (ASAP) = 2003.12.29

If I could get my hands on the guy, I truly believe I would beat him to death with the CD-RW drive that he mailed today.

Huh? Today?

Yeah. He told me he'd express mail it on December 24. I followed up with an email explaining why it would be really great if I had the drive on December 29. When I arrived back in town last night, I was more than a little pissed to find that he hadn't emailed me yet. So I emailed a status request to him.

And he apparently mailed the drive sometime between receiving that email and 15:45 CST. Oh, so apologetic. So supplicating. So expiatory and explanatory.

As God as my witness I would beat him to death with the drive.

In the language of the United States Postal System, overnight does not carry the obvious meaning. See, in the context of the English language, we might take it to mean something like "[d]uring or for the length of the night". We might then believe that an overnight delivery would translate to delivering some package from point A to its final destination (a.k.a. point B) during the length of the night.

But we would be foolish naives to believe such fodder, because we would be overlooking the United States Postal Service definition. Now, I am well aware of the official definition, but I'm talking about the real world definition. You know, the one that reads something along the lines of "We will deliver this package overnight, but we specifically reserve the right to designate a night of our choosing."

As God as my witness I would beat him to death with the drive.

And if he required a signature proof of delivery I will tear his heart out with the pen ...

Lori says I need to be more optimistic ... I thought I was ...

Posted from

Wednesday December 24, 2003
09:40 PM

Christmas. Laptops and Email Servers

Since the kids will be in Odessa tomorrow, Santa came early this year. This morning when we woke, we found his footprints by the fireplace, and a note in Justin's stocking. Apparently a gust of wind blew several presents off his sleigh and into the backyard, so the kids had to go find them.

Lori's parents came up last night, and mine arrived around 10:00AM. It was a fantastic day.

My new laptop arrived around 2:30PM. With no CD-ROM drive. Grrr ... no OS, no floppy, no CD. How the hell am I supposed to play? The guy was very apologetic and is sending one out ASAP. Still, that leaves me until Monday evening - minimum - without my new toy.

For years, my Postfix server has been running on a dual Pentium Pro 200 with an astounding 32MB RAM (yeah, I know -- astounding). It's also my (and several others') DNS server I've looked into bumping the RAM, but it's going to cost in the neighborhood of $300 to get it to 128MB. Nope.

Tonight, I've resurrected an old single Pentium Pro 200 that has 256MB RAM. This machine gave up the ghost some time back due to some heat damage. Repairs so far have been minimal. It's going to be the new email server. I'm preparing a Debian install with jigdo. The CD should be ready to go by morning ...

Posted from

Monday December 22, 2003
06:33 PM

Laptop, et. al.

I received an email today stating that my new laptop should be delivered before 4:30PM, 12-24-2003. w00t.

I've decided not to install Debian just yet. I've been wanting to give Gentoo a whirl, and now seems as good a time as any. Also, with the recent troubles that Debian has had (and the lengthy timeline involved in their recovery - has been down for over a week now), it just seems that now is the time ...

I've already downloaded and burned the 2 LiveCD set, so once it arrives, I should be ready to install Gentoo on it shortly after unboxing it ... assuming that it's actually the machine I ordered.

I spent the day (day 1 of my vacation, no less) cleaning the house. Justin helped quite a bit. LJ bailed on us, and is staying with her grandparents until Tuesday. They'll be bringing her up when they come up for Christmas. And I've saved some very special chores for her. I can hear the whining already.

Justin and I spent alot of time trying out new characters on Gauntlet ... I expect more of the same tomorrow.

Tonight is Lori's office Christmas party. Some French place. I can feel my anus constricting already ...

And I've got to get my checkbook lined out before my head hits the pillow tonight. It's a nightmare ...

Posted from

Saturday December 20, 2003
10:18 PM

LDAP Continued

I've made some pretty good headway with LDAP. The Debian differences with other distributions concerning /etc/pam.d is ... fairly extreme.

Apparently most distros have settled on /etc/pam.d/system-auth as an overall authorization scheme. Debian has it scattered among several other files. common-account, common-auth, common-password, common-session ... then each program can have its own ... ssh, cvs, imap, etc.

Of course, it's possible to have an LDAP file and @include that file ... still, it makes for alot of files to edit.

I never did find any documentation on this point, so I've spent much of my time digging around /etc/pam.d.

But it's working now. And I learned alot. And I had fun doing it. So that's all that really matters.

Still, a nice Debian-based HowTo would've been mightily helpful ...

Posted from

Wednesday December 17, 2003
10:16 PM

LDAP and Fluxbox

In my never-ending quest to be completely unpredictable and totally random, I am now entrenched (neck deep) in installing/configuring/using OpenLDAP.

My experience with anything LDAP stands at an astounding 0.001%. I'm mightily impressed and understandably proud.

I did get it loaded, and gq is displaying everything the way I'd expect to see it. But, I'm not seeing/understanding:

  • The relationship between Person and Group;
  • Squirrelmail refuses to use LDAP as an addressbook.

Such fun ...

I set up a www Group, which I hope to eventually use to authenticate certain parts of my website. You know, for personal and private reasons. Reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with pr0n.

The Debian documentation is painfully limited. The remaining documentation is painfully limited.

But, the future is bright, and I have alot of beer. And that's what really matters.

On a completely unrelated note (as if anything in any of my entries is ever releated), given my abject and complete failure to get the e17 CVS to compile, a friend of mine convinced me to give FluxBox a whirl.

It's okay. The inability to middle-click on a title bar and shade a window is endlessly (click .... click click ... click ... oh, yeah) annoying, but it has several offerings that I've immediately taken to.

But e17 promises so much ... I'm not giving up. As God as my witness, as long as there's beer, I will not give up.

Posted from

Tuesday December 16, 2003
11:17 AM

Alienware Part 2

Okay, so I finally broke down last night and purchased one. Gak. For a guy who prides himself on maintaining zero debt, I've certainly bit off a huge chunk.

Here are the specs:

  • Alienware Area 51m Laptop
  • Intel P4 3.06 Ghz
  • 15" UGXA 1600x1200 Wide Viewing Angles Screen
  • 24x10x24x DVD/CDRW
  • 1024Mb DDR PC2700 333mhz Ram
  • Radeon 9000 DDR ATI Graphics Card
  • 60Gb 7200RPM Hard Drive
  • S-Video/Monitor out
  • Digital audio out
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • Headphone and mic jacks
  • Keyboard and printer ports.
  • Built-in 56K modem
  • Built-in 10/100Mps Ethernet
  • 1 PCMCIA slot
  • One year warranty

All this for just under $1,900, including shipping. Not shabby at all.

It's green .... And - of course - it'll be running Debian.

I want to be really excited, but right now, I'm nervous as hell. I just sent about $1,900 to someone I do not even know for a piece of hardware I've never even seen.

Good lord ... what was I thinking?

Posted from

Monday December 15, 2003
09:55 PM

Back to Debian

Well, I finally got sick and tired of Windows XP. The connection dialog for my VPN kept popping up at extremely random times, and when I clicked Cancel, it'd would disconnect my ethernet connection. I did everything I could think of to correct this situation. I've dug through every file, talked with the local gurus, run virus scans, etc. Nada.

So I pulled my Debian hard disk out and packed my XP hard drive away.

It's so great to be back. Last night I configured the HP DeskJet 5550 and LaserJet 2100TN. Tonight I finally got around to de-uglifying the fonts. Everything is nice and purty.

Now, if I could just find the energy to tackle my ever-growing ToDo list. LDAP, mod_perl, e17 - can you hear me coming?

The weather today sucked a nut. Continual wind of about 20 - 30 MPH gusts. The temperature was 35 degrees or so, but the wind chill was around 24. Freezing sand storms. That, I can live without.

Posted from