486 is dead, all hail 486!

Soo.. fortunately my father is not in a grave, but in a burial urn in my home, so i can safely dismiss everything i wrote in my last post :p

Now that 486DX I mentioned in the previous post is back in business, doing the work of my LAN sole nameserver. I removed the completely useless webserver (lighttpd) from it and now it’s just a dnsmasq caching name server/-forwarder. And how wonderfully it does it’s job, name resolution is instantaneous!

It had a nice uptime of ~300 days, from the previous power outage until one just a while ago. It’s in a surge protected outlet in my UPS, which will keep it running longer than the reserve power outlets, as my kind of crappy Eaton ProtectionStation 650 seems to need a power recycle every now and then for the UPS monitor USB-connection to work after a reboot of my workstation >:o

Nothing much more to tell about this. The 486 and NetBSD 2.0_RC4 just keep on working, with all the innards from 1991 still working, even the 100MB HDD 😀

Well, that’s it!

R.I.P. NetBSD 2.0_RC4 and dear 486 powering it!

O tempore, o mores!

It is my sad tale to tell, that from this moment on my trusted temporary webserver and secondary nameserver, the second heart of my LAN is being disposed of all tasks, except sending bsdstats, collecting uptime and dust.
The 486SX, which for my surprise has a 487-coprocesssor, is now history and no-one except me can log in it for the rest of it’s life. The funny thing about the box was, that I didn’t even know it had a math-coprocessor before a few days back, after a conversation on IRC with a nick having an interest in NetBSD too. I just did ‘dmesg|less’ and behold! It is classed as a 486DX, not 486SX 😮
Here’s a piece of the dmesg of that puny, but still loveable pizzabox:
NetBSD 2.0_RC4 (TERMINAL) #0: Sun Oct 31 16:20:11 EET 2004
total memory = 8060 KB
avail memory = 6536 KB
mainbus0 (root)
cpu0 at mainbus0: (uniprocessor)
cpu0: Intel 486DX (486-class)
isa0 at mainbus0
How the hell haven’t I discovered that bit of information now underlined in the dmesg of that machine before?
Well, however, this is the end of this famous computer as any kind of useful tool… It will still report some bsdstats to confuse the world about a machine still running NetBSD 2.0_RC4 on a measly 486DX-class CPU, go and see for yourself on *BSD Usage Statistics: CPU Stats, there’s only one 486DX and that, my friends is terminal.lethe.themafia.info, or that’s how it’s called here, but me, being it’s friend call it just terminal…
I swear on my fathers grave, that I will not log in to that box anymore except once in a week or two to check it’s uptime and that’s it!
It has had many, many years of service, sometimes being the lone nameserver on my LAN and bravely doing it’s task even then…
R.I.P. (except for that login sometimes, and keep on running until the next power outage).

There’s no joy like driving with a Xeon, boy!

Hello there eveyone with a nice workstation!

To translate the title to it’s original Finnish words it goes: “Ei ole riemulla rajaa, kun Xeonilla ajaa!” :p

I bought a few weeks ago a new workstation for myself, a Xeon E3-1230v3, ASUS Z87-PRO Motherboard, 16GB of Kingston HyperX 1600MHz RAM, 120GB Samsung EVO SSD (for operating system and /home), 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black HDD (for backups and storage), a Fractal Design R4 case, SilverStone ST65F-G power supply, NVidia Quadro 600 graphics, Asus 23″ MX239 (pretty good for it’s 249€ price tag, except those speakers are total rubbish and i have stereos at home too) display (well, I’ve had this display already for a year or so) and then some like an Eaton ProtectionStation 650 UPS (from which i’ve heard some bad things about). I decided not to get any more power for the graphics than that, as i don’t do gaming much and what games i’m playing are Frozen-Bubble 2 and some kind of Breakout clone 😀

Shiit people, it’s awesome to run this box! I used to have that Early 2011 13.3″ MacBook Pro with 2.3GHz Core i5 (dual-core, four threads) and then in a situation I had it with 16GB of RAM, but the RAM failed and I got a refund (so now it’s back to 4GB RAM). That MacBook Pro is now a BOINC calculator and nothing more… Now I have four cores at 3.3GHz, eight threads, completely working RAM, and a nice SSD to boot from, not to mention GPU able to do CUDA calculations and because of that being used for BOINC-projects even better. Goddamnit this machine is a beast compared to that older MacBook Pro, like sofware just jumping in half a second when that MBP took a minute 😀 The Eaton has been working mostly fine, except i’ve lost connection to it on some reboots, so no monitoring for it then and a reboot of both UPS and the workstation needed.

Guess what I decided as the OS for this shiny new workstation? Well, no, not FreeBSD… I’ve been a BSD zealot long enough to try something “new” and exciting! I already had installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to my mothers old MacBook (from 2006 or 2007) and found it quite suitable for her needs, which are quite limited, but still. Well, from that background I decided to try out the just released Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on my new machine, and damned, it really works like a charm. Just everything in my machine works without any problems, just install and run, even the Wi-Fi connection just works. Go and see ASUS documentation for this Wi-Fi device embedded to my motherboard if you wish. Only problem was to make proprietary NVidia drivers to work, which didn’t happen out of the box. I installed the drivers from “Additional Drivers” panel in Ubuntu, but next boot gave me a black screen without a chance to go to a text-based terminal. I’ve been out of Linux and on Open- Net-, FreeBSD and OS X quite a long time, so it was a nice smell of fresh air to try out Ubuntu and it seems like a nice chap 😀

Administration wise Ubuntu is just plain stupid easy for a workstation, i could guess it being headless and running as a server quite nice too, except the upstart; I’ve been used to the BSD init quite a lot, not to mention OS X launchd which seems like a horrible cludge with it’s XML startup files (who knows when i swap my personalized init on OS X from /etc/rc.local to lauchd :p ). Well, upstart is not so bad, /etc/rc.local still exists and works if needed and “sudo service <servicename> start” works between reboots… So, now I’m running this strange Ubuntu as an administrator all the time, so software updates show as they come, on my mothers machine she’s not an admin, just to be sure.  The one problem mentioned above, NVidia drivers, got solved by hand meddling with /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf file and adding “blacklist nouveua” at the end of the file, which in fact just disabled loading the Nouveua Open Source, no 3D-accelerated kernel driver which then conflicted with the binary nvidia.ko making the machine unusable except in recovery mode with a root shell. This was something I wasn’t expecting from an OS made for the masses, but it was trivial to achieve after some googling (not to say my mom could have done what had to be done…). I’ve now got used to a lot of software available (FreeBSD has a lot too, but not everything Ubuntu has), the only thing i had to install away from apt sources was Komodo Edit from ActiveState. I have KeePassX, Komodo Edit and NetBeans on Ubuntu just like on OS X, but kept up to date by the package manager (except for Komodo Edit just to be sure 😉 ). Now I have Darktable for RAW images from my DSLR and Shotwell for “developed” images, like .jpg exported from Darktable, these were available on OS X for Darktable, but not AFAIR Shotwell, which is a great photo library software, except it doesn’t have online ordering of photobooks and somesuch like iPhoto on OS X, but who cares, the photo services here have enough options to make your books just fine online.

Bottomline is this: do try Ubuntu if for nothing else, then for the sheer fun of it in a VM. It configures your devices automagically, no need to edit a config file to load the kernel drivers except for that nvidia.ko, which, by the way seems to have put it’s piece of config in /etc/modprobe.d/nvidia-graphics-drivers.conf afterall, not by me 😮 There it blacklists nouveau and it’s bits and pieces in addition to some other stuff… The other thing is this: don’t buy a i7-4770k if you’re not using it’s integrated graphics, as it’s a hefty bonus more expensive than my Xeon and you’re probably wanting discrete graphics afterall. My Xeon is as fast as that i7, but just lacks the integrated graphics, so wtf, go for the xeon!

Happy hunting people! 😀

“Big Data and Cloud Services” -course

This one was really nice!

This spring we had an opportunity as never before, to study big data and it’s tools, manipulation and queries.
We studied mostly Hadoop on our universitys cluster, Hive on Hadoop, Google BigQuery and MongoDB (through its web-demo interface only).
Hadoop on Linux was easy for me as I was already familiar with the *nix commandline and we didn’t need to learn MapReduce programming, only the basic Hadoop commands and the Hadoop included MapReduce demos (mainly counting words from text documents 😀 ). Hadoop is a clustered solution to distributed computing and data store. As far as I understood a data node can be installed automatically just by plugging a computer with blank HDD to the cluster and PXE-boot will take care of rest, meaning the master node will provide the needed software to the data node.
Google BigQuery was a bit more difficult, import data from CSV and define the schema, well, not that difficult, but still. The query language was just that much different than SQL so it made my experiments a bit overwhelming and daunting, this one I didn’t learn completely, but passed still.
Hive, well, what do you expect, it’s almost pure SQL, just that the data is stored in the Hadoop DFS (Distributed FileSystem), this was surprisingly easy (well, mabe not, as I already had completed the “Information Management” -course). Also our final work was working on Hive and I got through it.
MongoDB was also otherwise nice, but it seems to be unable to update nested structures, or that’s what it seems to me… It can handle huge amounts of document-type (JSON) data. First I had real problems with MongoDB and it’s manipulation and query language, it being so far from SQL, but after the web-interface tutorial and some playing around on my own installation it wasn’t that bad and got me interested.
I recommend everyone who’s studying computer sciences to take part in courses like this, if there is a possibility!
Well, I got 4/5 from this course and really liked and enjoyed it!

The “Information Management” -course


As the title tells, i’m going to discuss the course in the title after it has finished a long long time ago…

The course was completely about relational databases and the RDBMS used was Oracle with APEX interface. I goddamn hate the APEX PL/SQL statement builder, you can not create multiple statements in one go, but you need to always create single statements and run them one by one. Well, the forms APEX creates are not too pretty either, but they work.

I learned SQL the next time this time, I had already taken the online SQL-course, which is part of the whole course, once and even remembered some of it from before 😀

So, the course and the homework was mostly nice, consisting of creating ER- and relational diagrams, learning the difference in small way between relational, object-oriented and network models and then some. I already have forgotten exactly what was taught :p Anyways again, the main point was in relational model.

The final work for the course was to create an free of choise APEX application with at least three forms and two tables. I created a LAN design application with endpoints (workstations, servers or some kind of mobile devices), routers and then the networks which were connected the way needed, having a router id to network id connection. My work started to seem like it will never be ready, as i made a mistake of not noticing it was indeed ready 😀 Well, i finished the work the same morning that i had to return it to the assessor at midday.

Finally, i got a decent 3/5 from the course, not excellent, but good (pun intended) enough 🙂 I enjoyed the course and it was educating, the professor was quite good at what he did and he also seemed to be a nice person easy to take contact to.

P.S. I wish i could elaborate more on the course, but it’s been a while since it ended (about a year :D)…

“Security in Software Engineering”-course

So, I attended to the course in the title and passed with grade 3 (0-5 scale). The course had many aspects of security, but not that much directly associated with software engineering… Of course we had to produce some code like a backdoor, logic bobm, a file cipher, hahs calculator and a even a fuzz-tester. Those coding excersises went well and i implemented them in my favourite language Perl even though the backdoor and logic bomb could have been made with just pseudocode 🙂

An interesting course for sure, cryptography, authentication mechanisms, cracking and malware, web browser security, some operating system security, the lifecycle of a software project from the perspective of security, something about physical security and what the hell. Much stuff in a short course (4 CU).

I’ll suggest a course like this for every software engineering student or even for systems administrators. This course was not mandatory which puzzles me, wtf, it should be! And more courses should be available from the field of security, something going even deeper and not so shallow as just one course which we have in our university’s range.

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