Anthony Rumble: Rest In Peace

I’ve just learnt that Anthony Rumble passed away after an accident at home some days ago. My condolences to his family. I’d never met Anthony Rumble personally, however I had dealt with him a number of times in the early days of Everything Linux. Further more I had exchanged emails with him in the past via SLUG.

All I can say is this is a great loss to his family and the community. Anthony Rumble was a great guy and someone whom I certainly had respect for. Anthony will be missed by everyone who had dealt with him.

Richard Black: Rest In Peace

It’s with sorrow I announce the passing of an Uncle. We were informed yesterday evening that things had taken a turn for the worse. My wife and I were planning on travelling up to Bathurst to see my Uncle tomorrow morning, however it appears that wasn’t meant to be as he sadly passed away in the afternoon of today.

He will be sadly missed by his family and friends.

Rest in peace.

Linode announce 33% more diskspace for all users

Linode announce 33% more diskspace for all users. This is great news, especially since I am a Linode customer.

Oddly enough I had been considering the purchase of some extra diskspace. Guess I don’t have to consider no more, as I now have 4gb more. All I need to do is to decide a good time to shutdown the host and expand existing volumes as required to make use of the new found free space.

I highly recommend Linode. I’ll be renewing my account once the 12 months expires around the end of September this year. If you’d like to sign up with them, then please by all means use my referal code by clicking here.

Sun xVM

I’d heard a bit about Sun xVM but hadn’t actually had the chance to look at the product.

In the last day or two I have a chance to install the product. All I can say is I am very impressed. It works extremely well. Not bad for a product that is Free.

The GUI is easy enough to use, and the performance of the guests seem good too. It’s also good to see they have packaged tools packages for various supported operating systems, so the installed guest gets some extra handy functions.

Question is, what will happen to this product and others once Oracle take over. I surely hope they don’t disappear.

Australian TiVO

I’ve been a long time fan of Mythtv and have used it on and off for a number of years, however it was always a big ask to get WAF (wife acceptance factor).

Since the launch of the Australian TiVo, I have been long interested in a purchase of a unit. It was going to be purchased to replace the Topfield 5000 my wife has used for a number of years. We had a Beyonwiz DP-S1 in the past too, but sold it as I hated it, and my wife wasn’t overly keen either.

I’ve had the TiVo hooked up now for a number of days, and it’s been going about it’s business. I setup a few season passes and from this it has recorded a vast number of suggestions. I’ve then set about rating them so that it does more of the stuff we like vs the stuff we don’t. My wife is yet to use the unit and should do so from tonight onwards, I am interested to see her feelings on the unit. I certainly like it, so much so I want to purchase the Home Networking thing before the promo ends this month, or look to buying a 2nd unit instead, then adding it to our existing account, then we will get the Home Networking option for free if we have 2 units before the promo ends. I see a huge value in having the ability for a 2 unit setup in seperate rooms being able to playback recorded content from either unit. Especially handy since our house has ethernet ports in those rooms.

Guess I will need to make some decisions after my Wife has manged to use the first unit we purchased, however I must say I am impressed. It works rather well, even with some limitations imposed on the Australian models vs those sold in the US.

linode VPS upgrade from debian 4.0 to 5.0

Finally took the plunge. Upgraded out linode VPS from debian 4.0 to 5.0

Apart from an inital hiccup, it seems fine. Upgrade complete. Unfortunately I had to shutdown the VPS instance to increase a big of diskspace onto the root, so that the dist-upgrade had enough disk space.

In other news, had a bit of a funny issue today at work. It was related to domain name resolution, and oddly enough another solution to the issue popped into my head just a while ago. It’s funny how this happens to us IT folk.

Basically it looked like a host lookup was failing and we thought maybe the host record is missing from the internal dcs, while it exists in the management host we have. As everything works for the customer when the host is using dns from our management servers, but soon as we use the customer primary dns it seems to fail. First thought posible record missing, however then it dawned on me that it could be related to the resolv.conf on the host.

Going from memory I think the resolv.conf is the issue. I remember it containing the following options;

domain blah.blah.com
nameserver w.x.y.z
#nameserver a.b.c.d
search blah.blah.com
search blah2.blah.com

And if the above holds true, I think I know why. The host record exists both in blah.blah.com and in blah2.blah.com. However, nameserver w.x.y.z only serves blah.blah.com, and nameserver a.b.c.d only serves blah2.blah.com. From my understanding of the man pages for resolv.conf, it looks like you shouldn’t use search/domain together, and if you do then only the last instance of search is ever used, which in this case means everytime we try to lookup host.blah2.blah.com with the primary nameserver set as w.x.y.z it will always fail. If we hashed out the domain line, it would work, as now resolver would search for both domain suffix strings against the host being used in the lookup.

I’ll check the resolv.conf tomorrow when I am back in the office, but I am pretty certain this is how it was, however if its not then back to the drawing board (as it might then end up being a missing host record between the two domains/nameservers).

Just so we are clear, technically the host shouldn’t be using the nameserver a.b.c.d, nor domain suffix blah2.blah.com (as this is ONLY to be used from the management node) and not for the entire environment, will soon be making sure no one else depends on it and stopping it from answering requests in the future.

The countdown continues

Certain readers might not be aware, but my wife and I are expecting our first born in just over 5 weeks time.

We’ve managed to get the car seat installed, wash all baby clothes we’d purchased. In addition we have purchased everything that has been required and of course setup up the room for the baby.

I’d admit the time has gone pretty quickly. I am glad we are very well prepared and have managed to get everything done.

Getting pretty excited now.

OpenSolaris install

OpenSolaris is not bad. I installed it and don’t mind it. Although what I didn’t like was the limited install ability to select what I want to be installed.

It’s possible I did it wrong, and you can do a custom type install. I guess I will look at it again in due time.

I certainly love some features. Containers for example.

So at this stage, the only thing that has let me down is the install (or lack of custom install).

Debian Lenny 5.0

Installed Debian Lenny 5.0 onto my AMD64 machine. Seems to run alright. I immediately got VMware Workstation installed and this operates nicely too.

Operating system managed to pickup my native resolution correctly, of course currently only using an unaccelerated video driver, which will be an ongoing issue. My system has an onboard ATI 3200 HD video adapter I think. I think the only accelerated video driver is the non open source one, which from last use sucked. I’ll install the version that ships with Lenny to see how I go. Hope it doesn’t generate core files like the one on 4.0 produced. I’d really hope an open source accelerated video drivers is available eventually.

The other issue I have currently is no audio working. Which is a problem, as any virtual machines will then have no audio working either. Will work on getting the audio working tonight, think I will need to do a reboot or two with changes made. I know audio works on ubuntu, so it should work on Debian too. Just a matter of getting things right.

Doesn’t look like the default apt sources has any mythtv packages, I guess I am missing something. Will have to explore this too, as I wouldn’t mind having a backend/frontend on the host too (so I can then use the HDHomeRun network tuner, that I am interested in purchasing).

Mythtv and PS3

As per Simon Rumble I found the PS3 to have a reasonable good UPnP client too. Although the PS3 wouldn’t play back recordings that had obivously had some modifications done. ie. cutlist changes etc.

Once the recording goes into nuv format, the PS3 won’t have a chance in hell to play it. I did some tinkering and managed to setup a custom job to honour the cutlist and maintain the mpg file format. However once the 2nd install of the configuration this failed to work. 1st time I did it on a setup it worked fine. I never did get around to working it out, maybe I might again in due time.

I just noticed that the HDHomeRun units are now available in Australia. HDHomeRun is a dual DVBT tuner that connects onto your ethernet and of course MythTv can then be configured to use the unit, or multiple units. Other software on other operating systems also support it. ie. EyeTV on MacOS X etc.

Having just seen these units now available, I am pretty keen to pick up one in the near future. I have a bit of funds to use on computer items, so I think I will get one once the funds in question are available for my use again.

Of course this means setting up a virtual machine to run mythtv is very possible, as the tuner is accessed via ethernet, so no fancy pci or usb hardware to consider under the guest itself.

Lack of customer service

Let me set the scene. My wife and I have owned a Topfield PVR for a number of years, so of course we recommended it to family and friends.

Unfortunately the unit my mother purchased suffered a hardware failure within the first 10 months or so. Believe it was a hard drive that died. So the unit was sent back via the retailer. It took over a month for a unit to come back, which I believe was a reworked one. The replacement unit seemed to work fine, or did so for a little while.

Unit ended up unable to get an signal locks. I factory reset the unit, and it came good (or so I thought). It would then lock on channels, but soon as I attempt to record anything it would immediately loose the ability to lock channels and the recorded program would have a filesize of zero. The only thing I can think of is that maybe 1 of the 2 tuners is having issues. Would explain that you can factory reset, scan, and lock a channel. In any case the unit seems to be fubar.

Not sure what sort of warranty is provided for reworked units, but my wife decided to give Topfield Australia a call, and was surprised just as I with the response. First off it took my over 21mins of being hold to speak with someone, who said only that it wouldn’t be much longer. At the 30 min mark someone finally come on and this is what they suggested;

Firmware update should fix it, or it could be the leads

What a complete generic response. Sounds like they were reading a scripted procedure. Of course neither suggestion is relevant in my opinion, as the unit has worked (and both suggestions would be suitable if the problem existed from day one).

I am shocked by the customer service, and even more shocked by the product having 2 serious issues. Of course now the unit is as useful as a brick or door stop.

Ironically enough our unit we own is at least 4 years old and still going strong. Although is due for replacement, had considered another Topfield unit, however in light of the above, we won’t be considering another Topfield unit based on this terrible customer support.

New car arrives

Saturday was the big day, the new car after arriving a week earlier, was finally available for pickup. So my wife and I managed to get everything sorted so that we could go pick it up. Snap below from iPhone.

img_0034_600x800

Was happy to see they have the cars in the showroom awaiting pickup. Would be nice if other dealerships would do a similar thing.

Unfortunately we haven’t had much time to go for a drive, so the car was taken for a quick spin then put in garage. Hope to have time next weekend for a drive.

Will be advertising the 1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Coupe early April. Wife decided to hang onto it until then so she can use it until her Maternity leave starts.