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Saturday, May 31, 2008

still working

Today I am watching Rocky while writing this, very realistic movie. Had a long talk with Benton, he is into the usual, making money, but specifically we discussed servers and rentals. Talked with Charles about all kinds of stuff, as I often do and setup ssh keys. Got a call from Keen so I helped someone working on setup MySQL grant permission. Fed a baby... I have been up since 3am, I am sure I did lots of other things, besides blogging, but who cares.

did the bars close?

The party animals on the first floor woke me at 3:33 with lots of drunks out in the driveway, wasn't sure if it merited calling 311 until it seemed like a fight was going to break out. Can never find the landlords email either, geez...

This week I had to return dual rank RAM, which worked, but couldn't get up to 16Gigs, and order single rank RAM, which will hopefully do the trick. I now know more about RAM then I ever did want too know. I can recommend some suppliers, actually they have pretty much all been good, but lets see how those RMAs work out. or had the best price, stock and boy did they ship fast. gave me the wrong memory, but he was gracious about giving an RMA.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

PC outlets

I was scrambling last week to find a server and it wasn't something I could pickup at Fry's, although I could probably have found a motherboard, case and memory there to build one, I don't think they have rack mounted cases, nor did they have the replacement memory I was looking for. So I ended up sending a request to UUASC for info, and go a nice big bunch of suggestions: in Torrance, Sun,, it is sometimes great to have a support group, but as we would have it, we only ended up upgrading a current server, still waiting for memory.

rude awakening, linux laptops

So I am up and waiting for a phone call from the east coast to install an Asterisk server. It dawns on my I don't have their phone number, so I can only wait.

So by now I even got a call from (3:34:57 AM) mr_dallas: hello ralf
(3:36:03 AM) mr_dallas: sudo dd if=/dev/hda1 | ssh username@ "cat > /home/user/name/hda1_drive_image.img"
(3:36:35 AM) mr_dallas: sudo dd if=/dev/hda1 | ssh username@ "dd of=/dev/hda1"
For this cool piping stuff that I wanted to do on my mysqldump commands, I guess now I can simply: mysqldump database|ssh user@othermachine "mysql database" and have the file fill right into the other database, since these can be very large, this would save time. Maybe even compress the output first:
mysqldump database|zip|ssh user@othermachine "unzip -p|mysql database" actually that wouldn't work as ZIP writes the directory at the end, very bad idea, but maybe mysqldump database|compress|ssh user@othermachine "uncompress|mysql database"

with some help on commands, the guy doesn't sleep at night either, at least not tonight.

I saw an add for and with well Linux laptops, also has servers with Linux pre-loaded as well as Lonovo and Dell,, I bet HP has them as well and the EEEPC is Linux, as is the OLPC. Google brings me to where I find what looks like a test site by distro, . I it seems like we now need a way to figure out which of all these preloaded linux laptops to use, but if you want to pay for Vista, you will find it sometimes isn't something you will even notice, since at times the vista laptops can be cheaper then Linux, they certainly are on special more often, MS makes sure that you don't get a better deal buying a Laptop without Vista on it. There are many Linux distros and it isn't really cheaper for Dell to support a Linux laptop then a Windows one as they have to hire a new guy who does this, for not many calls. However if volume increases it promises to be cheaper someday. Walmart has this Linspire thing, but it is underpowered for the price. You should probably just pay the Vista tax and get a special, you will probably get something faster then if you insist on having Linux preloaded, then ask for to send you a CD and load it yourself, Dells usually work, and I am pretty sure that others do too. is a listing from Ubuntu on testing laptops. Dell on, mine are all on this page, and I don't think that the company thought about running Linux on those laptops when they bought them, although they do run all Linux servers, except for one. Dell has a linux blog at

And the Asterisk is up again, cool... what a night.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Tomorrow I am carpooling to the Drupal meeting in Venice with Stephan, tried to invite Conrad Walton of fame, but no response yet. That car chase on it 2 days ago went half a block from my home.

I am getting up at 3:15 am to work on a VoxLine project tonight, or should I say Tuesday?

Meanwhile finding out about the interesting things happining in Crown Hights.

Daytime sleeping

So today, Memorial day I got some daytime sleep in, been a pretty long last week and childcare is also a bit exhasuting. I get a phone call from Brendan, long time didn't hear from him with something that seems to be a more constant request, whats my passwd, well I don't make it a practice to write down passwds, especially if you ask me to distroy them after using them, however I keep getting this more often. It is a bit like having credit card numbers, keeping them makes you liable in case you lost them. But the fact that this is an ongoing request that I get I may have to figure out a way to store a massive amount of passwds in a safe manor.

I am writing this on an HP Compaq nc6400 a laptop I have regular access too and have always liked. After Apple HP seems to have carved itself a nice nitch as the best laptop maker in my opinion, however I do have a rather limited sample as I also remember IBM now Lonovo, Toshiba and Sony making good product in the past, they are just not part of my every day laptops, which consist mosty of Dell product right now. I do feel the need to use lots of different laptops in case someone asks me the usual, what do I buy? Work does afford me a good veriety, this weekend I sport a D430, which replaces the up on smoke and don't turn this hazard on D420, I also have the 410, where my stuff currently lives, but I feel is in real need of reformating, something you should regularly do if you run Windows, I have found it a bit less needed in Ubuntu, but then you get a new OS every 6 months and you can upgrade it automatically, by pressing a single button, so I would imagine that if it ever got all the crud that Windows does, it woudl be replaced in 6 months, when I upgraded the OS.

When I started this post I wanted to give a hoot to GrandCentral, what a great service. Although I had my IP and Cellphone ring in the wrong room and the PolyCom is not setup yet to ring from the outside, something about it not supporting STUN and I haven't used WireShark yet to figure out the right ports for SIP to forward on my router so that this thing is happy behind the NAT. What a pain, on the other hand if I could get more IP addresses for free, like if I had IPV6 I would also get more of those unliked probles that I can see on my edge router with increasing frequency. So much of the internet is bad traffic these days, what a shame. So I was woken up with the your phone is ringing, but what is the use, by the time I get to the other room, it is all over anyhow, time to check messages.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Up at 4am, need lit keyboad

keep moving the display down to light up the nonlit keyboard on the D430, Apple has it right in lighting up the keyboard on some models, we do use our laptops in the dark sometimes, when we insomniacs start blogging. was thinking of approaching the Church ac cross the street as a venue to have LiLAX meet and educate a whole new membership into the virtues of open source and free software. I could hand out Ubuntu CDs and answer questions on Linux, maybe even have a workshop on how to convert from Windows. So I guess I should approach them today. I not up out of choice, got woken up and then after that my mind just started thinking.

So I have this laptop for the weekend, wish I could keep it, it is nice and clean new and factory installed, Windows has this bad habit of degrading with time, I am sure this one will too, but in the meantime it rocks! Lets try dualbooting Ubuntu, darn, didn't bring a DVD drive home :( On the other hand I could install Open Office on it, but I heard bad things about OO on Vista, might try out the free downloadable Office 2007, for 60 days, then you have to pay more then $400 for a copy, messed up, if Dell has shipped it would be cheaper. So again, seems like the choice might be to simply try Ubuntu for the whole thing, I checked and this hardware is tested to work with it, but I bit little details like battery life might suffer.

I spent some time with some great people, but clueless about computers. I finally decided to move Leo over to his new computer, when I say new it runs Win2K, but it has a Gig of RAM, I don't really know how old it really is, probably doesn't predate XP, but then again who really knows, maybe David who built this monster. I thought it was high time that he make use of the best hardware he has. Leo teaches at our old LiLAX meeting place and I got his number from David who didn't have time to consult. So I spend time there every few months trying to help out with their home office computers. Easy job, but rewarding as they seem to dislike setting up these systems.

So as a comparison I decided to test my home cable modem with Road Runner.
Pretty bad in comparison, but enough for what I do.

Friday, May 23, 2008

This is taking too long.

This week I was ordering memory, I never knew that memory was that complicated or that it took so long to find the right kind from the right supplier. It was one of those situations when you have a really hurry hurry thing going because memory is the last thing you want to think about at that moment, but alas, we were running out of it and the server upgrade was the only way to solve it. So we are tossing out all the old memory of course, putting in new, next questions is there are market for perfectly good 1 Gig memory sticks, when you went out and bought 2 Gig sticks? I bet the used market is flooded with it now. I wish the mother board would fit 4 or 8 Gig sticks, because we bought something that won't be useful for very long, would have rather replaced the whole server, but alas, they are watching the budget. In fact when I rebooted the server I had to run to the data center. Then the whole drama of getting the thing paid for, ended up on my card, geez... time is tight, been busy, not blogging.

It is rumored that Apple has been quietly shipping G3 phones into the country and labeling them as computers. Neat... BTW NewEgg Rocks! They really beat out MemoryMan on Price, but MemMan is a great place too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Masako Ueki

So today I took the lunch shuttle to work, the morning was used up telecommuting, so what the heck. As I am walking on Franklyn I find a bank card on the street, pick it up and think about it, hmm... I don't end up flying to Hawaii, rather dropped the card in the night deposit at the bank and then went home, tried to google what I remember the name to be and after some thought decided to use it in this story, on the off chance this person might someday google him/herself.

LiLAX/IEEE joint meeting

I was working late last night getting one of our servers to work again, but since the LUG meeting was close enough, decided to check it out. Pretty good turnout, although, basically Dallas Legan only spoke to the IEEE crowd, since I was the only LiLAX guy there that I could recognize, not surprising the meeting announcement went out very late and the meeting was on a Tuesday night, rather then the normal Second Saturday that everyone knows is LiLAX's meeting day. The AIU gave us a great room to use, and IEEE provided lots of California Pizza Kitchen food, more then the crowd could eat, so people could take it home if the liked. I saw the tail end of the first presentation. and then the phone rings, baby cries, .... I shall finish this post later.

Time, blog, I have Fast Money on, and as I listen to it, I can blog a bit, time is so tight. So Jon Inouye has a very interesting sounding talk, but I got there late so didn't really get much of it. Dallas talked about bash a subject I always find useful as I use bash quite a bit, he cover lots of material in the 2 hours he carved out for himself, went over the end time, but the audience didn't protest, but rather asked questions.

Monday, May 19, 2008

fire hazard

About 2 Friday's ago I got a call that a laptop was broken, I was off that week, but had someone extract the data and a new HD went into it. It burned that one out in smoke, so the Dell guy came to service it and determined that this laptop shall never be powered up again, it is dangerous and they will send us a new D420, funny, the picture is of it being worked on before it was deemed unrepairable and a fire hazard.

Spent the weekend trying to get a Polycom 320 to work with a NAT, much harder then the Grandstream which supports STUN. But Polycom has better sound quality, so there, more expensive, I don't want to review phones here, just my little experience and still looking for a good place to teach me how to port forward SIP, not on that great website I always use, too bad, Skype is on, and I have done that, increases your transfer rate and probably promotes you to ta super node.

Our server died, as it is on the UML-coop and all those are gone, Chris is trying to fix it tonight. Bought a 1TB external USB at Fry's for $199, cool, nice big storage, now how many MP3s can I keep? 250,000, wow, anyhow expensing it to work, don't have the time right now, although I bet I could sell this thing on Amazon, the 3/4 TB went for $350 there, don't get it. Strange. No ready made listing on Amazon, oh well, bad time to sell things anyhow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


The temperature is rising both outside and at work. We are rushing to get things done and I have been busy with a newborn as well at times, although it has been less time this week. I went to the data center and found wet suits drying on some cars. I just rediscovered my Amazon Store, I got to work on this more, I still want to sell Katmandu's Furniture on the internet someday. I was trying to edit that picture, blur out license plates, but I am on Windows, I have to say it sucks, Ubuntu would have a great program called Gimp to let me do this right away, plus this computer might have spy-ware and viruses on it as well. Maybe even a keyboard logger, who knows, I inherited it and didn't do the right thing, which would have been a factory reinstall before using it, time and all that, didn't have the CDs yet, but now I found them. Windows XP has a great tool in Start, All Programs, Accessories, system tools, Files and Settings Transfer Wizard that would allow me to move all files to a new computer, and then I could delete this one. Must try this one day with my old HD. I wish I could do it from a USB device. It works over a Direct cable, serial or LAN, even removable media, like a floppy, what a bad example, CDR might work, but really who has 1.44 MB of data anymore? But that means a USB drive should work, great! I still am a bit bugged by the poor tools in Windows, how do you crop in Paint? Funny, Linux used to be hard.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Norco ZFS

Benton called with the idea of putting a ZFS filesystem on a Norco. I was asked about LVM+RAID, but I got to admit that Mike Fedyk is probably the right person to answer those questions. But it got me thinking about creating a 12 Terrabyte storage server with 1 Gig SATA $199 drives. Total price $3168 and 3Us on the rack. ZFS is really cool and I do want to play with it. Seems he had problems with Solaris, so is now going to attempt it with Ubuntu 8.04, cool stuff, hope to blog more about this. Maybe I can even get one of these toys myself to play with. At least I can play with ZFS on a system I already have, last talk I went to it made me want to install Solaris, but now that I hear Ubuntu, yes, that is even better. I don't think I have ever been excited about a file system before, but ZFS does have cool features.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


UUASC-OC had a talk about Embedded Linux Systems by Ruth Gu. By slide 4 the usual group feedback drowned the speaker in an argument as to what is an embedded system. This is actually pretty usual for this group and I would suggest that future speakers come prepared to answer questions, there will be questions. Embedded systems as far as I am concerned are getting more powerful and the line is fuzzy anyways. As usual the speaker ends up speaking to Charles since the rest of the 18 people crowd mostly is waiting for the beer, and 1.95 burgers, well just kidding, some others do ask questions. Anyhow the speaker was well prepared, but the barrage of questions and some Open Office Impress problems flustered her. She had just installed Fedora 8 on that laptop, further telling me that you don't do big changes right before you use something, tried and true wins. But we like the presentation so much we invited her for part 2 in August, so stay tuned as a really good talk is coming in August.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Google Health

I am listening to Jumping Monkeys and am amazed that Google and Microsoft both are creating a health on the web information service. This seems like a great way to leverage the internet. On the other hand Google handles my email, knows what websites I visit, handles my phone calls, they really are big brother. Oh least I forget all the thoughts I am publishing here, but then again those are open to anyone to read.

In further talking with someone about this I realize that Yahoo and WebMD are also big in the area. I have been spamed by WebMD for a long time and they are Jim Clark, of Netscape fame's Healtheon.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I can get a house for $329

I just have to pay off the tax debt, I wonder what ghost town these houses are in, OK I am up too late tonight. It gets even better.... no don't call 800 214 6237, tempting as it sounds, I have thought about moving to a less dense area, cheap it sounds, but geez, they are sure making it sound appealing.

Wow what a great website to protect people from falling for the scams. Probably should sleep, not done that in a while. But on Conan someone who is building a space elevator in his garage, geez... I have to fast forward the DVR. Is this how it starts? We should make LiLAX into something big.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Crazy days...

I have been running around not getting much sleep, but none of it is really techie geek stuff so it hasn't been going on this blog.

I am considering building an email server, upgrading some servers and am even thinking of changing a VoIP server from CentOS to Debian, so I guess tech stuff is happening too, but gosh time is pretty tight, may have caught a cold too.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I am in a room waiting, 310 325-9110 room 5192, it is a waiting room. I am waiting for 3PM. This is a good time to talk to someone.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Google helping out Yahoo

I find this story of Google helping Yahoo out very touching. Wow, what a great company, they can never merge, they are the top 2 in this area, but wow, what kind of cooperation to keep Yahoo out of the cluches of Microsoft. Amazing.

Listening to Jumping Monkeys as I type this podcast about kids and technology. Today I find out listening to Security Now with Steve Gibson that my laptop has that darn hackable 2200BG Centrino chipset with the old driver. I upgraded it :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

George's Barber Shop

If you need a haircut this is a great place get appointment at 310 640-0027 or simply show up, open 7 days a week.

It is a loverly shop in 222 Richmond St., old town El Segundo, across the street from the trendy Second City Bistro and a walk to the beach. So fill the station, you could be cutting hair in a nice environment, in a great town.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cracked iPhone

This has really been a full day, first worked on an East Coast Asterisk project, then 8 hours at my daytime gig, came home went for a walk and finally cracked an iPhone with ZiPhone a great program, that really does work on the left my cracked iPhone for the first time, I did it with the 1.1.1 firmware first, but it wouldn't come up in T-Mobile, but I decided to undo it and simply flash it with 1.1.4, then I applied the activation and jailbreak again with ZiPhone 3.0 and this time when I came up with the T-Mobile chip it worked! I could do calls in the iPhone with T-Mobile no problem. OK, now I had a little waiting time and after that I took the phone to the airport around midnight, had to approach terminal 2 3 times to find the guy who wanted to take the phone to China to give to his wife. So that worked and I decided what a full day, went to bed but just as I was about to sleep something big happened, but that is the topic of another blog.
In the movie you can see the process from middle to finish. I don't show the downloading of the software from ZiPhone's blog, which I talked about in my April 30 post. Watch enjoy and if you feel gutsy activate your phone with any carrier you like or don't hack it and use ATT, either way it is a great phone. Remember kids if you can brick your phone by doing this, you could have all kinds of problems and hassles. Only because this worked for me doesn't guarantee that it will for you, or that future firmware upgrades won't break your phone, in fact future firmware updates probably will, research a bit further then my blog post before you attempt this.

Friday, May 2, 2008


So it always takes me days to take the pics out of the camera and upload them, this blogging thing is time consuming, but hey maybe someday I can look back at these times and reminisce, I hope that Google doesn't go out of business and dump my data in the meantime. This week I got a name on my cube, cool, I feel like I belong maybe one of these days I might even go perm. Next I will post this spongebob suit, too bad I am not booted in Ubuntu, no Gimp installed in XP, really XP comes with so little apps that are useful vs. Linux and Mac.

My journal?

I guess I wish I knew who reads my blog to figure out what audience I have. I don't know what Google offers me to find that out, but I really should play with Analytics and all that. Back in the days of my own server I would analyze log files, sometimes do reverse lookups and try to figure out who was reading my resume, which was mainly what I was interested back then, now that I have more work then I can deal with, who cares who reads it.

Last night I want to Python Piggies and saw a presentation about Pylons and Google App Engine. Since I really need to learn Python and am looking for reasons to make me read what is a rather boring book, I go to these meetings. I think that seeing all the cool stuff that I can do with it is the best encouragment to learn Python. I think maybe the book I have is simply too easy, for an old programmer like me I think it is more a matter of simply getting a project and starting to code, or maybe some maintanance, I should get involved in an open source project, that will force me to learn, or just work. Money is a motivator too. I want a house. Also spoke to our host Steven Wagner of Gorilla Nation about having LiLAX meet there, he would like to find someone other then himself baby sit us, but didn't say no, even gave me his card after I asked, we might have a home for our Linux group, this is rather cool. I could however skip a May meeting, I imagine I will be very busy.

From the way back machine, if I knew the future department, these are the jobs I should have been applying for back when I got to LA back in '98. But back then who had heard of Google and who thought that a company that didn't have a business model, but rather was trying to solve a problem for the founders would make so much money with AdSense. I might have to find some crazy people with stupid ideas to fund as they could be the future. After all I give money to all kinds of companies anyhow, my portfolio could include a very early startup, unfortunately most fail, but then I would hope that I could help this one make it.

I am watching Lil'Bush, Osama bin Laden is diagnosed iwth a weak heart, what an interesting cartoon. Seems to be something written to kids and adults at the same time, very cool idea. It simply exposes all the stereo types we have in a very fast and compact way, like the Simpsons, but this is politics.

Sold 20 BIDU@240, grrr... look it up, very bad move. In fact don't sell, buy, the market has really turned. So if I am convinced of this, is that a top? The market can be so tricky. I have an interest in the Finance API, I think that is what I might program on AppSpot, maybe some game to pit investors against each other.

So for the past few days I have been annoying the hell out of people are meetings because I needed to turn off the blasted beep in my terminal, here is the explanation of what I did to rip out the PC speaker in Ubuntu 8.04, rmmod pcspkr. For some reason the mute button doesn't cover this, bad coding, it should, I don't want nothing to come out when I mute, not this either.

Today I must figure out what sends DNS requests on a server that don't resolve, another thing I have no idea how to do, but with Google, anyone can be an expert, lol.

I found a very intersting product called Majic Jack, lets you call all you want for 39.95/year and then 20/year the next year. My neighbor uses it and really likes it, my VoIP vendor says that he has heard that it doesn't work well, conflicting views, it probably works as well as the underlaying internet. But then at that price, I wonder if it really matters when it is that cheap. I think that we are all used to spotty service with wireless, and it will sell like crazy, especially since they are investing in ads.

Still trying hard to sell my iPhone, please someone buy it from me, new in box, or I can crack, jailbreak it or develop a cool app for it, you pay for the mac if I do that.