No Xen in Gutsy :(

As detail in my [previous post](http://blog.darkmere.gen.nz/archives/2007/11/13/) I
am upgrading and installing Xen on one of my servers to replace a dodgy one. However
I got stuck earlier in the week because Xen is currently broken in the latest
version of Ubuntu ( 7.10 or Gutsy). See this [bug 161783 on launchpad](https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xen/+bug/161783) for
details of the problem. So far nobody in Ubuntu seems to have noticed the
bug so I don’t know when it’ll be fixed, hopefully in the next few days.

I had a little play about bypassing it but I really don’t want to hack libc since
that’ll completely kill the box if I make a mistake.

Another separate thing I noticed this week is that since I don’t watch any TV ( I
watch TV programmes but not broadcast TV ) I don’t have any idea what the latest
cool ads are (at least not the New Zealand ones). Perhaps somebody could create
a simple system where I can watch the “hot” ads that I currently miss on TV. Like
the “Mr T” one that I’ve been hearing about.

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Fixing the home network

One of my machines finally gave up last night. It was an old machine I was
using to run the Xen virtual machines for everything else on. The problem
was that the VMs were getting slightly corrupt. I suspect the problem
was bad RAM but it might have been something else.

Last night the VM that ran spamd, DNS and email died I couldn’t get it to
work again. Things were just too corrupt. So I’ve decided to do what I was half
intending a while back which was to combine the media and Virtual box into one.
I was putting it off cause I was hoping to buy a new machine at some point
would would include a CPU with Hardware Virtual Machine support so I had the
optioning of switching to KVM at some point in future.

However events stopped that so I’ve had to switch things on the existing box. Steps
so far have been:

1. Buy 1 Gig of RAM ( up from 256MB)
2. Install RAM and test
3. Upgrade Ubuntu from dapper to edgy
4. Upgrade Ubuntu from edgy to feisty
5. Upgrade Ubuntu from feisty to gutsy
6. Install Xen Server
8. Make sure existing filer serving, backups etc work
7. Create new default Xen image
8. Recreate email/spam/dns server image
9. Create DHCP and Wiki server (images to be decided)
10. Go though and check backups
11. Get EEE working on LAN and start configuring.
12. Get remote to home access working

Right at this instant steps 1-3 are done and the feisty upgrade is running. I
don’t think I’ll get much further tonight but hopefully I can polish off the
rest over the next few days.
END

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BarCamp Auckland

Just thought I’d post a quick pointer to [BarCamp Auckland 07](http://bca.ludwignz.com/)
which is happening on December 15th at Botany Downs Secondary College.

Have a quick look at the website for more details and to signup. They even
have some sponsors already (Microsoft). In case you arn’t aware Barcamp is
a type of unconference, see [barcamp.org](http://barcamp.org) to learn more.

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Eee PC – First Look

I got my new [Asus Eee PC](http://www.eeeuser.com) today. I’m pretty happy
since I only ordered it from Dick Smith’s online store on Sunday. It is even
smaller than I expected.

So far all I have done is unpacked it and spent ten minutes testing. Main
points:

+ The power plug is quite large but the cord is very long.
+ Camera has to be enabled in BIOs since it is off by default
+ Works okay once activated though
+ I plugged in a USB Flash drive and played some music and a TV episode no problem.
+ Shutdown and startup are pretty quick.

Some Photos:

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New Blog

I’ve decided to move my blog under it’s own domain name ( blog.darkmere.gen.nz )
for various reasons. The main is that the posting scripts I hacked up were
having some problems and generating bad RSS and the other was that I wanted
to keep software and hosting options split between my [main site](http://www.darkmere.gen.nz) and the blog.

The software I am using is [nanoblogger](http://nanoblogger.sourceforge.net) which
is shell code rather than anything complicated. But I guess if it doesn’t work
out I can look at other options.
END

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Looking forward

Miniconfs and LCA

A few weeks ago the SysAdmin Minconf got accepted
for linux.conf.au
and we posted the Call for
Presentations
. Since then we have got several proposals (with more to come) so I am really hopeful about having a sucessful miniconf in
January. This year the miniconf is only one day long due
to lots of
competition
from other miniconfs which will probably mean a
few proposals will have to be rejected but raises the average quality
hopefully. We’ll see how it goes and there is nearly two months before
the close of submissions.

Asus Eee PC

A few weeks ago
href=”http://www.the-monkey.net”>Morgan
told me about (and

posted
about) the ASUS Eee PC
. Since then I’ve been read about it and keeping an eye on
www.eeeuser.com which is the best
site for news.

The Eee PC is a small notebook, with flash based storage but otherwise
standard (but fairly low speced) components (including USB, VGA out,
Wifi and Ethernet) with what is initually announced as a target price of
$US 199. Recently the price seems to have gone up and the spec of the
bottom end models has gone down ( just 2G of flash and 256MB of RAM) but
nothing has been finalised even though it is supposed to be released in
September or October 2007.

I’m still very hopeful about the Eee PC though. Currently I don’t have a
laptop computer since the weight, lack of power and price combinations
don’t seem to work for me. However if the Eee PC ends up delivering then
I will be able to get something that will:

  • be small enough to fit in my existing bag and carry about all the
    time.
  • be powerful enough to run standard apps linux Firefox, Openoffce and
    mplayer.
  • be cheap enough ( perhaps $300 – 400 NZ) that I can but it for
    myself as a Christmas present without having to worry too much if I
    don’t use it.

Daft Punk’s Electroma

While browsing around youtube I came across a few clips from
Daft Punk’s Electroma made the members of the music group
Daft Punk . The movie
itself isn’t very mainstream but interesting enough somebody has posted
a version to youtube that shows “the full movie, but in 170 odd frames
to save you 70 minutes” which works quite well.

A clip I really liked from the very end of the movie and titled “The
Burning Man”.

Links here and
here if the above
doesn’t work.

END

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Tip on Moving your blog + Google Video

Moving your blog

A little plea to bloggers out there. When you update your blogging software,
move to a new site or otherwise change things please think about those who
read your site via RSS.

Remember you have gone to a lot of trouble to attract these people who are
subscribed to everything you write.

Thus it is NOT a good idea to just stop your RSS feed with no explanation
when you move. We love what your write but seriously it might take us a few
weeks to work out you have been quiet. Then we have to fire up our browsers,
search for your new site and go though the process of subscribing again.

Over the last 24 hours I’ve had two of the sites I follow ( Freakonomics
and Juha Saarinen (new URLs) )
move to new sites. Actually they both moved a couple of weeks ago but didn’t
see anything on their old feeds (freakonomics is trying to fix this now) so
I only found out when I read about it somewhere else.

Even if your old site won’t let you point to the new one a little farewell
note with a subtle hint will at least alert your readers to the move.

Google Video

It looks like google video recently got rid of the ability to
download their videos as .avi’s . They are still available in a PSP
orientated format which I seem to be able to play but the resolution is worse
than the avi was.

Since the main thing I watched on google video was the Tech Talks
of people speaking to google the extra resolution really helped with reading
the slides on people’s presentations. I’d ask google to provide a higher resolution
format but there doesn’t seem to be any contact available for Tech Talks. I left
a note on google video feedback however.

I suspect the next move will be to shut it down and go streaming-only via youtube.

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Buildings talking to computers

A few months ago I read an article on
how Gordon Bell is digitising and saving much of his life including all his
email, web browsing and even wearing a camera all the time that takes a photo
every few seconds.

The problem I can see with wearing a camera and microphone at all times is that
sometimes you are going to be in situations where you don’t want to record. The
obvious ones would include areas like changing rooms and toilets where people
are naked with an expectation of not being recorded and also places like
research labs, airports, military bases and movie theatres where the residents
forbid recording.

The problem is that if you are wearing a camera 80 percent of the time then you will
sometimes forget to turn it off in the above areas which could cause embarrassment
or even get you arrested.

The solution would seem to be that the camera can in some way sense that it
should stop taking photos (at least without manual intervention). After a bit
of thinking it occurs to me that using 2D bar codes like
Sample bar code to encode regulations might work.

Using bar codes means that they would be automatically be picked up by the camera
and acted on. The idea could be further developed by using a short range wireless
technology to transmit the message to non-video equipped devices.

The actual message format should be something that is standardised to that
different devices could understand it. Things like “No video recording” , “No audio recording” and
“Mute speakers” come to mind. I guess somebody will create an XML standard.
Some sort of authorisation could be added and normal fraud laws should
be enough to stop me pining a sign on my shirt and turning off cellphones on
the street.

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Busy + Food + DNS + LCA

A busy last couple of weeks.

  • Work is as busy as ever, more interesting than usual though
  • I was down in Wellington today talking DNS with a few people, all very
    interesting and fun.
  • I’m a bit behind with a bunch of other projects but one thing I’ve done
    in the last couple of weeks was create a Linux.conf.au: First timers Guide , bit of fun and people seem to like it.
  • On the weekend various people and myself went to the

    Auckland International Cultural Festival
    , pretty good although a bit hot.
    I think some of the stall holders could have also got more sales but having
    smaller portions off food at lower prices. If you want to try out lots of
    different foods then paying $10 for a lot of food is not an attractive option.
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Karajoz Great Blend

On Sunday night I went along to the Karajoz Great Blend
at the Auckland Museum. Not too bad.

  • Morgan and Robyn have a few details, read them first.
  • The “Back of the Y” guys and the dancers were good.
  • No Soy Milk for the Sponsor’s coffee bad
  • No Soft drinks bad
  • I agree with the comments by Morgan about the panel, it’s didn’t really gel. Rob McKinnon of theyworkforyou.co.nz was okay, although he sounded a little over-rehearsed. He was good to talk to afterwards.
  • Rick Ellis wasn’t to bad, he seemed a little over confident though. I am interested that TVNZ is planning to use Akamai for content delivery. AFAIK they are fairly expensive for the sort of bulk stuff TVNZ will be doing to just a few ISPs. I
    also wonder how what ISPs will do when their Akamai clusters start trying to stream to a few hundred/thousand of their users. Putting them on the far side of their traffic shapers might be the first step.
  • I also found the music a little loud, I guess I’m getting old but I have trouble hearing conversation over the background noise. A more concentrated and quieter discussion area might have been a good idea.
  • The venue was very nice however.
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