Paul Brislen kills 2 birds

In a burst of productivity, IT Journalist Paul Brislen reports comments made by
Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen in [this herald article](

I guess later in the year the paper will have rookie journalist Helen Clark
uses her unprecedented contacts to interview the Prime Minister and senior
government figures.


Home network getting there.

After a bit of playing around I got Xen going nicely a few weeks ago. One of the
tricks seems to be to make sure you have “gutsy-updates universe” setup. Since
then I’ve been rebuilding my home setup.

I’ve been creating documentation on every step as I go so I keep track of
weird stuff (trying to keep this to a minimum) and so I can repeat it
later. So I have a little document on create a new Xen instance (10 minute job),
another on a dozen things to configure it as a long term server (backups, email, etc)
and a few specific ones like Setting up Spamassassin and a Wiki.

Everything now looks like:

* 2 * Workstations
* Server
* Storage and NFS server
* Backups
* Virtual machines
* Mail / spamd / DNS Server
* http / Wiki / dhcp / DNS Server
* Various temp test servers.
* Switch
* DSL Router
* Eee Laptop

Which is a bit quieter than I had in the past with 3 server machines


Updates LCA / Miniconf / Cabinet

A few updates.

1. [Julien Goodwin]( is serialising and
adapting my [ First timers Guide](
on [his blog](

2. My [little post]( about “hidden”
information in the cabinet paper attracted a bit of attention in the papers. I
notice that while blogs give credits there was no mention of my name in any of
the papers (or even a hit of how the information came to light). I’ve heard this
is common with the MSM and I wonder if it’s a good policy for them in the long term.

3. The [Sysadmin Miniconf]( is getting there. About 86%
of the [presentations]( are
sorted out and with luck the rest should be in a few days time.

4. And last off [NZNOG 08]( is finally taking registrations.


Update on home network

The Xen bug is still open but a nice person on the Ubuntu Forums suggested
using aptitude to install the packages. Aptitude was smart enough to
downgrade libc6 in order to get around the dependency problem.

So I am now about half way through step 8 (Create new default Xen image)
of [my plan]( I’d hope
I can get a draft tidy Xen image sorted out in the next couple of days


Work :(

Every day it looks more like management have decided me and the rest of the
team just get to look after old stuff until another team builds and runs the
replacement. We have been trying to fight this for a while but it doesn’t look
like we are going to be able to fight this.

Half the “interesting” stuff (products not technology) is already gone and
most of the rest looks like following over the next 1-3 years (things don’t
move fast).

Looks like my main option is to go elsewhere, so if anyone knows of anything…


Govt accidentally releases information?

So the government releases a Cabinet paper on [this page]( about
“New Digital Advisory Body to be established” and invites people to:

Download a copy of the cabinet paper [Potential Merger of Higrowth and the Digital Strategy Advisory Group]( confirmed on Monday 12 November by Cabinet.
*Some items in this cabinet paper has been removed because it refers to financial or other sensitive information*.

So I download the PDF document and find I can highlight blank section with my mouse and read the financial and other data. Only problem
is that I don’t know if it supposed to be secret or not. Anyway. told a few people just in case.

Tight timeframe

National Library and SSC consider the timeframe for establishing the new
body is "ambitious."

No Xen in Gutsy :(

As detail in my [previous post]( 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]( 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.


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.


BarCamp Auckland

Just thought I’d post a quick pointer to [BarCamp Auckland 07](
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 []( to learn more.


Eee PC – First Look

I got my new [Asus Eee PC]( 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

+ 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: