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Jul 30, 2007

Whoa Nelly, it’s a dinosaur!
last update: 07/30 @ 16:15
Robert and his new friends Jordan and Cameron and I went to the zoo today. They’ve installed the triceratops from the mall there now. There are a couple more cell phone photos in Robert’s section.

Jul 29, 2007

Final birthday party… really
last update: 07/29 @ 23:15
We went over to Hank and Sally’s to celebrate Brian’s birthday (today) and Robert’s birthday (last Sunday, when they were out of town). I think Robert is doing well to have 3 third birthday parties. But I don’t think we’ll be able to keep up the pace.

From left to right: Mimi’s profile, Sarah, Robert, Jake (Hank’s dad), Brian’s back. I’m not sure what the birthday boys were talking about here, but it looks serious to me.

Jul 27, 2007

Is it us…
last update: 07/27 @ 12:30
Robert and I went to run a little errand on King Street and thought we’d stop off at the bagel store (AKA: The Uptowner) for a muffin. But we were distracted by the line of fire trucks coming up King to the building next to the Hilton.

We didn’t see any smoke or any real excitement, but two firefighters did march up the driveway and into the building in full regalia. After that, the muffin stop turned into a muffin and bagel sandwich stop. By the time we passed the scene after lunch, there was no evidence left of anything out of the ordinary.

You may remember that on the 16th, Robert and I saw an accident outside the bagel store window and whatched the fire trucks and police cars sort it out.

Jul 26, 2007

Latest geek insanity
last update: 07/26 @ 00:10

So, my latest tail of woe…

I was going to swap the “real” server (which is finally configured and running well) back into production. But I’m doing a bit of contract work and have a proof of concept database application set up now for the client to look at. Well, the client hasn’t gotten around to it. So rather than break the demonstration (by swapping out the servers), I decided to upgrade my workstation to Fedora 7.

I figured: it’s just my workstation, no network services running on it that I need to worry about, no shared data, no public stuff so it will only impact me. And since it’s the most recent of the machines I’m updating, I thought it would be the least likely to suffer problems.

Well, it seems (so far) to have but one problem — the network card refused to work. It booted up with the network card active and seeing traffic (this is weird now…) but without an address. I could give it an address, which still would not work properly. Then it would hang so bad when I tried to stop the network or restart it that I couldn’t even restart the workstation with resorting to the power button. It would shutdown all the way to stopping networking and just hang (and at that point in shutdown I don’t believe I have access to a working console).

(Oh it had one other problem, really slow boot complaining about “ata 2.01: Failed to set xfermode.” I found a reference to that via Google and fixed it with irqpoll on the kernel line in grub.conf.)

So, back to my non-networking. In the process of getting irqpoll to fix my hard disk / slow boot issue, I got into a non-bootable state — have to be careful of syntax in grub.conf. I was able to boot from the rescue disk and fix my conf file mistake. I also noticed in passing that networking seemed to work in rescue mode. So on a lark I booted from the rescue disk, chrooted to my installed, almost working Fedora 7 install (courtesy of the rescue disk setting that up for me), and tried a yum check-update. It did not complain about how I’d booted, and it found all the new packages, so I decided to update on the off chance that would get it working.

It did — I’m amazed actually. But happy (at the moment). I’ll put back my personal files tomorrow and see if I can mount my second disk, but I don’t expect to have too many troubles with either of those tasks.

So quick recap: I have 3 boxes I wanted to replace but couldn’t justify the cost of new hardware. I have one upgraded with a current OS and working fine (knock wood) as our internal server. I have a temporary stand-in upgraded and working fine (knock wood) as our public server. I have the public server ready (I think) to swap back into place after being upgraded. And I have my workstation upgraded and just need my files restored to it.

I believe I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I thought it would be a two week job, it’s been 12 weeks (and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but likely have 2 more days to go).

Whatever will I do next????

Jul 24, 2007

And an early trip home…
last update: 07/24 @ 19:36
After the daycare birthday party, Robert and I met up with Sarah at the carousel and then headed home early. This was the third fountain of the trip back. We saw one in the courtyard of the Justice Department, one in the sculpture garden, and this one the little path next to the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building.

Final? birthday party…
last update: 07/24 @ 19:30
Robert had a daycare birthday party after nap today. He was home yesterday, so this was the first day back since his birthday. The rest of his class (and teachers) sang Happy Birthday to him and we brought a cake to share.

I’m not exactly sure what he can Cole were talking about when I snapped this cell phone photo.

Jul 22, 2007

Some assembly required
last update: 07/22 @ 10:24
Robert got a cool workbench for his birthday today. It was just what he was asking for (they have one at daycare and our neighbor, Julia, got one a month or so ago). He had fun helping his dad put it together. More photos in his section.

Jul 18, 2007

The Good Life
last update: 07/18 @ 18:08

It may not last too long, but this is clearly the good life: a few billable hours on an interesting project, a couple hours work on our basement network and an afternoon trip to Whole Paycheck to pick up some stuff to turn into dinner.

Jul 16, 2007

Muffin snack
last update: 07/16 @ 13:57
This is the last of Robert’s muffin snack. Actually, I ate most of it, after a banana and some scrambled egg — he didn’t eat any of the bagel, he was not too hungry for blueberry muffin.

And there was the excitement of the traffic accident in front of the Uptowner to distract him as well…

Exciting Lunch Break
last update: 07/16 @ 12:25
Robert and I went for a walk to the post office to drop off a package and stopped at the Uptowner for a snack on the way home. It was pretty hot for walking, but we stayed in the shade as much as possible and wore our hats. We were rewarded by seeing this school bus try to make a turn that was too tight — it caught the car’s rear bumper. We saw the accident, then the ambulance and firetruck show up followed by the police.

You may be able to tell that it was a little hot since my cell phone camera was fogging up when I took this photo.

Jul 14, 2007

The walking stick
last update: 07/14 @ 16:15
On a quick trip to Seven Devils, I took a couple photos of my Dad’s birthday present. There are more photos in the vacation section. And the birthday party photos from May are also available.

Jul 09, 2007

Heat Wave
last update: 07/09 @ 22:07

So, as the temperature rose to 100 F and Robert was fussy anyway, having bid his Daddy goodbye not an hour before for his trip to NC- we decided to stay in and chill in the toy room with his buddy E.

I stood at the ready, waiting to be needed or to entertain, but the two buds just took to playing, only occasionally pushing each other’s buttons or wanting a toy the other one had. They were both a little sleepy too because once I started reading a Bernstein Bears, they just snuggled up on either side and listened through half mast eyes. Both enjoyed their vegan ginger snaps (note tummy size.)

(Did that mean that either of them actually took a nap? Noooooooo.)

Later, after another errand we met up again at the Old Town swimming pool and both Mommies and boys had a good time kicking around. Imagine my shock though when Robert challenged me to a race across the pool. I had to laugh. “Get out of here! You don’t have a chance - you’ll be lucky to pick up my wake. You can’t even swim!” Off he went kick-kick-kicking in his swimmy-vest. Let’s just say Mommy creamed him and didn’t let him get away with being cute and saying he won. He moved on to triumphantly announcing that he came in second. Mommy likes outdoor swimming pools on hot summer days.

Jul 03, 2007

last update: 07/03 @ 18:00
There are a few more photos from Bulter’s Orchard in Robert’s section. As Sarah pointed out ealier, we all had a great time enjoying the great, usually cool July weather.

Jul 02, 2007

last update: 07/02 @ 21:43
I think I can start a series of these photos of Robert staring into aquarium tanks. This is (courtesy of my cell phone camera) from his class visit to the National Aquarium. I got to go along as a chaperon today. All the kids seemed to have a great time (even though it’s a bit small when compared to the Baltimore Aquarium we’ve been to a couple of times.

Jul 01, 2007

Back to our regularly scheduled programming
last update: 07/01 @ 21:10

After reading the post below you’ll understand why I had to drag everyone’s butt out of the basement and out into a sunny July day with temps in the mid 70s. We went to the farm theme park that is Butler’s orchard and empirically tested whether blueberries do in fact go “Kuplink, Kerplank, Kurplunk” when put into a small tin pail. Answer, they do. We also learned that you should pick the smaller looking pea-pods for sweeter peas, and that blueberry cobblers are very good with soy ice cream.

Finally, we confirmed that there are few limits to the amount that a little boy’s tummy can expand when presented with a large field of sweet, fresh blueberries. (He did get some in his pail but as they say in the book…. “..and the rest, he ate.”

Latest Linux Lunacy…
last update: 07/01 @ 00:26

To paraphrase Justin “those looking for news of Robert need read no more.”

It appears one of my stumbling blocks in switching over to my backup server running the new OS is that the new OS does not announce all of it’s IP address aliases when it starts up networking. I spent way too many hours trying to figure out why I could only use 1 of the 4 IP addresses I need for my micro-network.

First I was fighting the seemingly random swapping of physical ports with configuration files: sometimes the NIC I was using for my private network would get reconfigured as my public NIC when I rebooted. Next, the networking never seemed to really come up completely configured on reboot.

I got around the first problem with the magic HWADDR= line to match the eth port with a physical MAC address. (And, in fairness, had I not been trying to move configuration files from one machine to another, the install would have done that for me.) I got around the second problem by restarting networking and associated services as the final step in booting up.

That got me to the point of having the first of the 4 addresses working consistently. That’s not sufficient for my needs of course. DNS is provided by two of the missing 3 so I was effectively off the Internet in that configuration. To add confusion to the mix, I had no problems with multiple IP addresses on one card on my internal network. So, of course, I assumed it was a bad card. But it worked fine on the internal network with any of the now three cards in the machine (good thing I figured out the HWADDR magic to make swapping the cards around sane).

The solution (and I’m hoping it holds overnight…) was to arping the upstream router from each of the 4 ip addresses (it really only needed to be done from the 3 missing ones, but I wanted to be consistant). I did that manually and have not baked it into any of the reboot scripts as that seems to hold through a boot. And it held for serveral hours; we’ll see if it makes it over night or if I need to set up some silly cron job for that.

I’m guessing since all my internal server share a single switch with no router involved, arp did not come into play with the internal address — or the other machines knew who to ask for the correct MAC address for those IP addresses.

So, at this point, the temporary server is up and serving the site and I can take a deep breath before starting the upgrade of the “real” server (the in-place upgrade was not going well: I couldn’t boot from the install CD; there may be a known issue about that).

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