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Hacker Run Swag

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  • Wednesday, June 15 2011 @ 11:13 PM UTC
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In April I participated in the Hacker Run, a "Distributed Organized Sport" (DOS) sponsored by Rapid7 (the commercial metasploit people), PaulDotCom, and The Hacker Academy.

From the Hacker Run wiki:

"Together we can push each other to compete, improve fitness, to lose weight, and relieve the stress of hacker life. So shut down your Wikileaks DDOS, put on a black running shirt and join us for the first annual HackerRun."

The swag trickled in slowly over the past two months, but I'm glad I took the time to register (and to run!).

I received this cool swag which included a really nice tech t-shirt:


LSI MegaRAID - megacli

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  • Monday, December 06 2010 @ 02:21 AM UTC
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I recently gained my first experience with the infamous MegaCli command line configuration utility for LSI-based RAID controllers. This utility apparently also works on re-branded LSI cards from Dell (certain PERC cards) and other vendors.  Our New servers from iXsystems included LSI 9260 MegaRAID adapters. These servers run FreeBSD and LSI makes a binary available for this operating system.  I later noticed that megacli is also in the FreeBSD ports tree, appears to be the same version as what I downloaded from LSI, but I did not test it.  The megacli utility is also available in standard repos for many Linux distributions.

I wanted to verify that the RAID controller would start an automatic rebuild.  I popped out one of the drives and the very loud alarm started screaming.  I waited a little bit and put the drive back in.  The alarm continued and the array did not start rebuilding.  It turns out that the controller has some self-defense against someone mistakenly re-inserting a bad drive so it won't start an automatic rebuild on a drive that was just disconnected and reconnected.  Drives that were previously in an array are marked as "Foreign" if they are reinserted. Replacing a drive with a true spare drive off the shelf triggers an auto-rebuild just fine (unless the adapter's auto-rebuild property has been altered).

I have noticed that the binary I downloaded from the LSI web site is mixed case, whereas the version included in many distrubutions / built from source tends to use all lower-case (megacli).  Be aware of this if you copy/paste commands from below.

So back to the screaming alarm...  

Here is the magic command to silence the alarm:

Why I switched to the Google Chrome web browser

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  • Thursday, June 10 2010 @ 11:03 PM UTC
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I have a netbook. It is slow. Firefox has a tendency to stall... just doing nothing apparent... on this computer. This tendency is most apparent on sites using javascript such as Facebook, Google Docs, etc.

I tried Google Chrome and it does not have this issue. On my slower computers I now use Chrome to help keep my web browsing a pleasant experience.

Proprietary Software

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  • Monday, May 17 2010 @ 04:05 PM UTC
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Dealing with proprietary software (especially buggy proprietary software, proprietary software where the company has disappeared and released no source code, proprietary software where the company has just decided to kill off the product for marketing reasons and released no source code, proprietary software licensing, proprietary software license key activation, difficult license renewal processes, license management servers that inappropriately lock the customer out of the software, etc.) can occasionally put me in a foul mood.

Over the weekend I found some images that are fitting for such occasions...

(Proprietary Software Toilet Paper)


(Proprietary Software in Quarantine)



NOTE: Images originally found at http://www.openstickers.com/ with the following license:
-----
Copyright 2006-2007, Javier A. Albusac Jiménez
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this book and associated files, to deal in the book without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the book, and to permit persons to whom the book is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or different versions of the book and inside images.
-----

Linux Home Theater PC - HTPC

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  • Wednesday, April 21 2010 @ 10:05 PM UTC
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Our digital media collection was ready to exceed the disk space of the old home file server. For the past few years I used a small, quiet, low-power PC to function as the home file server, print server, and staging/Intranet web server. This machine was powered by a Via C3 Samuel 2 processor and just couldn't keep up anymore. Most of the current Linux distributions are not compatible with that processor. I also wanted to get a faster computer in the house to make video transcoding less painful. I decided to solve all of these issues by buying an all-new Shuttle Small Form Factor (SFF) computer to be the file server and also function as our media player / HTPC (Home Theater PC).

Our home network consists of Linux, Mac, and Windows client computers. I bought a Samsung ML-2571N network laser printer for 70 dollars from http://geeks.com to eliminate the need for a separate print server computer. This printer is SO FAST and works with all three platforms. My Linux desktop computer has a color printer/scanner attached to it so if we do need to scan or print in color we just power on the desktop computer. Eliminating the print server functionality allowed me to put the new server in the entertainment center.

Our digital movies and music are now right there with the sound system and HDTV. The new machine allows us to watch full-screen flash video (such as Hulu.com). Video transcoding is about four times faster on the new server than my desktop computer (which I described in My Home Desktop Computer Runs Linux ).

Here are the specs of the new Server / Home Theater PC (HTPC):

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