Sort-of-Emergency Post

I’ll keep this short as it’s a little late and I should turn in.

I’ve had a bit of a hosting hiccup – my now ex-host unceremoniously cut me off and disconnected my server on Valentine’s Day, citing an ESA copyright notice. Unfortunately for him and the ESA, there’s absolutely zero proof or truth to the notice itself. What I found a bit insulting was the null routing of my home IP – to the entire network there –  preventing me from accessing the reboot port / console to see what was happening!

I’ve decided to simply move on. I’ve brought my server home (Thanks SteveL!) and my sites and most functions are being served from my “loungeroom datacentre” until I get better hosting.

All mail / web / domain and messaging services are fine. Of the game servers only Battle for Wesnoth is running. NTP is sadly out, as of course the IP has changed. I may or may not rejoin the pool, I’ve not decided.

The Fedora repository is fine (getsnmp and tintin got updates)

No IPv6 though, alas, not until some internal changes are made.

As this is only a DSL connection it’s not ideal but it will do for a week or two – I’ll likely go with a VPS (Xen preferred or VMWare – not Virtuozzo!) and have leaned towards Slicehost or Linode. I’ve had a couple of more local offers, but these two have the backing and experience I like. Suggestions for others welcome 🙂

Supercache and I…

I’ve turned off the wp-supercache plugin on my site (I packaged and installed 0.9 last night) as it was throwing random 500 Internal Server errors.

I’m not sure why though, the logs weren’t telling me anything useful. I’m running the APC PHP cache and mod_security on top of Apache if anyone’s curious. I’d be keen to hear of a solution if it exists.

LOLWUT?

So, what have I done, where is the old site, you ask?

Well, I figured that the site could do with an update. It’s been literally years since I’ve made a major change to it. However there’s a few problems with this:

  1. I am not a hardcore website designer or coder. I looked at a stack of frameworks (Django, TurboGears, CakePHP among others) and there’s too much work involved. They’re really cool but ..
  2. I don’t have hours of time for this. I have a life after all. I wanted something simple I could use.
  3. I looked at a range of CMS options, including Drupal, which I’ve used for DotProfile Consulting. It’s cool and useful, but that being said..

I wound up “promoting” my WordPress blog to the “main” site. After looking over my old site, the only interesting things left were the Packages pages, the Quotes and the Servers pages. So I’ve added those as WP pages, redirected the old PHP pages to their new counterparts and viola (sic!) here we are.

This will at least enable me to keep the site more up-to-date in a simple manner, as well as encourage me to add to it once in a while. 🙂 The theme is a good one too hey?

There’s still some teething and missing linkage – I’ll have to re-integrate the popular Gallery (which is still google-ranked for Tina Wallmann’s photos) once WPG gets fixed. I’m going to miss the GeoIP abuse / fun, but I’m tempted to write a plugin to bring it back 🙂

The “hardcore geek” stuff I’m going to move more towards the DotProfile site, keeping this more “personal”.

If there’s anything my regular visitors miss, please let me know!

PS. No Biting Pears Of Salamanca were harmed in the authoring of this post.

Just doing some rearrangements.

Don’t mind the disruption. I’ve just moved the blog to it’s own independent URL, just to keep things clean. Visitors and feed readers will be redirected automatically (a few lines of mod_rewrite here and there)

I’ll restore the Gallery2 integration once I work out WTF is causing embed.php to throw a 400 error.

If something else explodes, please let me know! 🙂

EDIT: Seems it’s not my fault – something between multi-site Gallery2 2.3 and the WordPress integration… Almost had it going!

.bullshit

Tim Berners-Lee says the Internet is full of lies

He’s quite right in saying there’s a hell of a lot of unsubstantiated and downright erroneous rubbish out there – look around FreeRepublic or StormFront or RaptureReady or the Church Of Scientology for example (and despair for humanity) and his comments makes perfect sense.

But we’re not all Cecil Adams or the good folks at Snopes – I’d love to see them cloned but there’s no chance of that given the state of science funding – so we’re going to have to take another approach.

ICANN have recently pimped out top-level domains and while many have seen this as a bad move, suddenly it has advantages. How’s this for a proposal:

– Pass the hat around, register a .bullshit top level domain

– create 2nd-level “racist.bullshit”, “partisan.bullshit”, “psuedoreligious.bullshit” etc. DNS zones.

– Populate them like a DNS blacklist (“right hand side” style a-la rfc-ignorant.org for the techies reading) – assign them 127.0.0.2 and a text record explanation “stormfront.com Listed: Neo-Nazi hillbillies still smarting over the Civil Rights Act”

– Write a browser plugin to work in a similar fashion to SSL Extended Verification: Plugin looks up the domain on the various .bullshit DNS lists, if a match is found pops up an warning “Content on this site is likely complete and unadulterated bollocks: Take as seriously as 4chan threads” to warn the visitor that This Site Is Full Of Shit.

I see a great need. Who’s with me? 🙂

Updates..

Work: Is going well. Security and fixup work at the moment, a nice mailserver build (learning a bit about I/O kernel elevators) and miscellanea.

Life: My love is back from interstate with all of her needed gear. Catching up with old friends from school via Facebook of all places. Another old wound crossed off The List (no, my name is not Earl, but thanks Louise :-))

Hopefully I’ll have paid off the flashy jacket soon, can’t wait to give it some airings out on the town.

Went down the coast with my love and her half-sister – stayed mostly sober and enjoyed it immensely. The sore head I had afterwards wasn’t so much an issue.

Tech: Qbert is in HostingShop/Dedicated Server’s datacentre. MelbIT have released thatfleminggent.com’s DNS to me, which means I’ve taken over control of the zonefile (with zoneedit.com/SAGE-AU as secondaries for this and other domains under my control). I can now add all the funky records that MIT’s notoriously under-trained techs have no idea of, like SPF and SRV records. The latter meaning I can now do XMPP/Jabber properly and I can do VoIP/SIP if I wish (and plan to). I’m fairly happy about that.

Packge-wise, just updates for standard packages (more are going into Fedora proper, but more slowly). I am packaging for CentOS now that outrun is online (see my servers page) and I encourage folks to use it if they like.

Enlightened kids and new toys and spring cleaning..

Posted to the U-Zendo mailing list:

“What A Stupid World”

…even comic characters understand the concept of impermanence 🙂

Me:

I’ve been doing some server infrastructure and web R&D lately; I am a fairly recent convert to the benefits of PowerDNS, especially the recursor, which I’ve now installed on qbert in place of BIND (there’s nothing wrong with BIND per se, each to their own. I just happen to like this app).

I’m also VERY impressed by the Zabbix monitoring system – all the cool things about nagios, with much less hassle, niftier and to-the-point notifications (inbuilt Jabber notifications for a start) and much less noise. I’d recommend systems admins have a good look at it if they haven’t already.

I’ve also been looking into WordPress plugins, and have packaged the OpenID plugin as a starter. I may publish more should the desire to do so take hold 🙂

I am also in a business frame of mind, which is partly driving the above. If you like the idea of integrated messaging systems using open protocols (ie XMPP) then you may be interested in a project I’m thinking up. Watch this space.

Other Minor Bits:

  • Fedora 9 in 2 weeks. I will likely again package stuff for it, but as the distro gets larger there’s less for me to package that isn’t in the main repositories.
  • I’ve also removed all pre Fedora 7 repository data, as it’s a) obsolete and thus b) potentially buggy and insecure. If you haven’t upgraded to at least Fedora 8 yet, do so.
  • Oh, and by the way, if you like my packages and are feeling philanthropic, you can keep me in coffee and hard disk space by donating via PayPal – see my Packages page.
  • I’ve also been tinkering with the blog itself; if you have an OpenID credential you can now login and make comments here using it, no need to explicitly register.
  • I’ve given in to the twitterati – if you want to follow me, I’m thatfleminggent. You can probably see my tweets elsewhere on this page courtesy of Twitter Tools.

Quote of the Day

sean: it’s kind of like you stuck your head in a concrete mixer, that’s full of midgets with drum kits and now your complaining about the banging, you daft fucks

My friend Sean, on a customer who has every single Windows non-info-level event log entry emailed to them – and then complains to him about the amount of mail they get from their monitoring system.

Offline, again.

Sorry to readers / visitors again for another extended outage. This one is again not my doing but this time there’s been a happier ending.

I elected on Friday to churn my ADSL service to Internode (a fairly large ISP here in Australia) as they provide a decent service and I get a discount as a member of the System Administrator’s Guild of Australia.

Their advertised turnaround time was 20 days(!) so I’d put in my intention to close my current DSL service (see previous posts) in 30 days as required by contract. The story of what happened there has already been posted below 😉

This time, I dropped off-air at around 11 (or so Nagios told me) – I actually went home to check the console to see a bunch of CHAP password errors. Opened my ticket with WC and added that I’m offline again, can someone have a look. Of course, they have no idea.

As it turns out, Telstra had switched my line over to the Agile DSLAM used by Internode some time that day – but noone told me, Internode and Webcentral. I only cottoned on when a reboot of my router saw it train using ADSL2+ modulation and a line speed of close to 18Mbps. A call to Internode got me the login details needed, some IP config changes, tickets to update DNS and voila – I’m back baby at a much swifter speed!

So this tale has a happy ending.