Greg
Greg's diary
September 2005
Translate this page
Select day in September 2005:
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30
Select month:
2005 May Jun Jul Aug
2005 Sep Oct Nov Dec
2006 Jan Feb Mar Apr
Today's diary entry
Diary index
About this diary
Previous month
Next month
Greg's home page
Greg's photos
Network link stats
Greg's other links
Copyright information
    
Groogle

Thursday, 1 September 2005 Echunga Images for 1 September 2005
Top of page
next day
last day

Spring is here! And with it five complete years of keeping this diary. Time flies when you're having fun, and by that criterion I must have had plenty of fun.

More work on the documentation build process, and now got most of it working, discovering in the process what a horrible kludge I had made to do the page headings in The Complete FreeBSD. I'll need to look at it more later, but at least they seem to be working now.

Also found time to put wantadilla back together. Almost since I built this incarnation, it's been lying on its side with the case open and one disk not properly mounted. The “case open” syndrome isn't as sloppy as it seems: a year ago I found that it ran cooler with the cover off. Now, however, I had got a new cover with holes for a fan, so tried mounting that.

In addition, the fan of the brand new power supply that I installed two weeks ago is already making suspicious noises—again shades of a year ago. Considering that I specifically asked for a reliable model, I'm not too happy. But I have three of them, so changed that in the process.

In the evening, just before going to bed, checked my mail and heard something go beep at irregular intervals. Spent at least 5 minutes searching the office for an indication of where it might be coming from, and cursing people who write software which beep when it's not obvious. Finally traced it to wantadilla: the CPU was getting close to danger temperature (presumably due to the evening backups, which put everything through bzip2 and thus use 100% CPU). Removed the case cover, the temperature dropped, and the beeping stopped:

Image

But I'm still left wondering about the quality of cooling design when you need to take off the cover to run cool.


Friday, 2 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

So it's official: I'm leaving Rocksoft and joining MySQL. A lot of the phone calls of the past month or two were related to that. Looks like it's going to be fun. Another long phone call today, this time with Arjen Lentz, the oldest Australian employee of MySQL.

More work on build infrastructure, and now at least I have a document I can present on Monday, along with a long bug list to fix when I find time.


Saturday, 3 September 2005 Echunga Images for 3 September 2005
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Brew day today, with a difference: I've bought a grain mill from Grumpys. It's manual, however: people, including Thomas Hamann of Grumpys, tell me that there's no market for a machine-driven mill, and that you can run the thing with an electric drill.

Indeed you can, and the results are worthwhile:


This should be Crushed-caramel-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: Crushed caramel 1          Dimensions:          1536 x 2048, 352 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Saturday, 3 September 2005, thumbnails          All images taken on Saturday, 3 September 2005, small
Diary entry for Saturday, 3 September 2005 Complete exposure details

 

But my fears about the drill were justified. To crush 5 kg malt, I had to stop and let it cool down twice. This isn't a wimpy drill: it's a 420 W Bosch pneumatic drill with electronic speed regulation. As I suspected, drills are not the answer. Now I'm going to have to find an electric motor and some pulleys. What a pain!

The brewing results were interesting, though: over 10% higher efficiency than with malt purchased pre-crushed, presumably because I (deliberately) crushed it significantly finer.

Spent a little time on the Freenode #MySQL channel trying to help somebody from Toowoomba install MySQL on FreeBSD. Another issue with the Ports Collection, though I didn't find out what: a reinstall with logging was successful. But it looks like we could do with better documentation of the combination FreeBSD/MySQL.

Watching TV makes me wonder why TV stations have web sites. There's a particular program, “A touch of Frost”, on Channel 7 at the moment, but today the independent guide I get didn't give details: instead there was rugby (sport programs take precedence over everything in Australia). But I checked the 7 web site, and sure enough, there was “A touch of Frost”. It took me a while to realize:

There seemed to be no way to change the view, but then I found the button image (the truncation as shown on the screen), which allowed me to select all sorts of things. Finally I was given this choice:

image

This is a “can't win” situation: either you select some time in the future, or “the rest of today”, which gives you a long, wide display with no information. But by far the worst is that you seem to have to go through this rigmarole every time you want to view something.

I've been told that the TV channels want to limit the accessibility of their TV programme information to stop third parties from accessing the data. But it seems to be completely counterproductive to make it difficult for viewers to find out what programmes are on; that can only serve to reduce the number of viewers, quite the opposite of what you'd expect a commercial station to want. Even third party dissemination of the programme seems to be a benefit for the channels.

As far as I'm concerned, the web site is a total loss. To paraphrase their own logo: “Seven. You'd havta love it to put up with the web site”.


Sunday, 4 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Quiet day, partially spent doing some necessary tidying up of the house. We were just about to leave to go riding when Thomas Hamann called and offered a hop rhizome exchange. He duly showed up with an enormous Hallertauer rhizome which he exchanged for the Tettnang rhizome I planted last year and which didn't seem to have grown much since then. I'll be interested to see how the Hallertauer takes to being transplanted; if not, it should bear an incredible number of cones.

Out riding, which was over almost before we started: Darah is lame, possibly a hoof abscess. Back home with the intention to do some work on my paper for AUUG 2005, but somehow didn't get anywhere.


Monday, 5 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Into town today to do my swan song at Rocksoft: the tutorial on debugging. I'd been working on the handout for the last couple of weeks, but today we almost completely ignored that and jumped into a bug that had just surfaced and about which people had been scratching their heads. It was relatively successful, and at least people were happy. It's good to leave the company on a positive note. I'll still be on the payroll for a while, but this is probably the last time I'll go to the office.

While in town, bought a “Teach yourself Swedish” book and CD. David Axmark tells me that it's not essential to learn Swedish, but it's been a thing that has been just below the surface for some time, and joining MySQL just made the difference. Back home and discovered all the things I didn't expect about pronunciation. It's a pity the book's in English: it's almost impossible to describe pronunciation in English. A German book would have been better, but of course you can't find that here.


Tuesday, 6 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

I'm now in tidy-up mode, and spent a lot of today planning for life after Rocksoft. One thing I need to do is to get a new ADSL modem. That would seem straightforward enough, but it's not so simple: now VoIP has also reared its ugly head. Internode are offering a new VoIP offering called NodePhone, for which they recommend the Sipura SPA-3000 telephone adaptor. But some ADSL modems seem to be able to do the same thing, so I'm left pondering the relative merits of the bells and whistles of ADSL modems. From my particular point of view, I evaluate the features roughly like this:

ADSL2/2+ very important
switch unimportant (what can you do with only 4 ports?)
802.11 unimportant (already have the infrastructure)
Firewall unimportant (run a carefully tuned one myself)
QoS unsure (haven't investigated)
VoIP gateway unsure (in the process of investigating)

Recently I saw a recommendation for the Billion 7402VGP, but the price is a lot higher (2.5 x) than the Billion 5102 el cheapo modem that claims to do the one thing I find very important.

So: what's the best way to do things? After looking at the specs , it seems that I could get ADSL2+, VoIP gateway and QoS most cheaply in the 7402VL. On the other hand, the 7402VGL also offers an FXO port. Comparative prices are:

Billion 5102 $117
Billion 7400 $135
Billion 7202G $146
Billion 7402VL $234
Billion 7402VGP $279
Sipura SPA-3000 $170 (from Internode on signup)

I'm not 100% sure I have all details correct here, but it looks as if:

So, where does that leave me? Sent out a message to the local lists and got a number of replies, one of which said that Internode also support the Billion 7402VGP. That seems to make most sense, then, so I downloaded a manual and read through it. I'm currently running my ADSL modem in bridged-only mode, which the Billion modem doesn't seem to support. Maybe that's because it wouldn't be able to do all the VoIP magic if it did. So again I'm left wondering how to handle the situation.

Also spent a bit of time looking at how to pronounce Swedish. As I observed yesterday, a German description would probably make more sense, so looked it up in Wikipedia. I was right; the description is much easier to understand. Unfortunately, it's also at odds with the way I interpret the English book, so I wonder if it's correct. I'll need to discuss this with people who speak both German and Swedish well.


Wednesday, 7 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More investigation of the ADSL modem issue today; in fact, it took up half the day. It seems to be impossible to find out real details of how the modems work, but there's a good chance that I might have trouble with the Billion 7402VGP while running an IP-IP tunnel. It would be really nice to have a good understanding of the issues, but I don't have that, I can't find documentation about it, and I'm left with the feeling that the people I'm talking too are missing some details as well. Sent out another mail message, this time to a larger mailing list, but got no replies.


Thursday, 8 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Still more investigation of ADSL modems today. Called up Internode again and discussed the VoIP issues. Even without fully understanding the different connection types, it seems that it should be possible to give the VoIP functions of the Billion 7402VGP with an address within the tunnel: VoIP traffic then goes through the tunnel, through the modem to the end point of the tunnel (a FreeBSD box) and then back on the same wire to the VoIP section of the modem. We agreed that it could work, and so they agreed to lend me a modem to try it out.

ICT Council meeting in the afternoon, but just before I left, I heard from Internode that some minor network problems we had had with www.auug.org.au, the AUUG web machine, had become major: they changed the cables, after which the network connection did not come back. Considering that that was the only connection with the outside world, that was doubly serious. Packed in some spare NICs, tools and a spare machine, and down to the data centre, where we spent far too long looking at the cabling before finally coming to the conclusion that it was the network interface after all: it had been set up for autonegotiation, but it was dying, and in that state, though it worked most of the time, it couldn't set the speed. Adding an explicit media specification fixed that:

-ifconfig_fxp0="inet 150.101.248.57  netmask 255.255.255.252"
+ifconfig_fxp0="inet 150.101.248.57  netmask 255.255.255.252 media 100BaseTX"
      

Unfortunately, that didn't fix the problem of the dropped packets, so ended up putting another card in. But I've learnt something about network configuration: don't rely on autoconfiguration if you don't need it.

Back home with the ADSL modem and had difficulty talking to it. FreeBSD doesn't automatically talk to RFC 1918 addresses (in this case, 192.168.1.254), and sends the data to the default router. That doesn't sound right, since the addresses are not supposed to be routed, but I wonder what the correct behaviour is. Machines can have more than one interface, of course, so there should be some way of specifying which network the device is attached to. Did that, and found the modem (well, it spoke ARP), but it didn't reply to web connection requests:

09:20:45.765926 00:04:ed:42:09:a6 > 00:10:4b:66:1e:e9, ethertype ARP (0x0806), length 60: arp reply 192.168.1.254 is-at 00:04:ed:42:09:a6
09:20:45.765955 00:10:4b:66:1e:e9 > 00:04:ed:42:09:a6, ethertype IPv4 (0x0800), length 78: wantadilla.lemis.com.53973 > 192.168.1.254.http: S 3118800242:3118800242(0) win 65535 <mss 1460,nop,wscale 1,nop,nop,timestamp 760320619 0,sackOK,eol>
09:20:48.763505 00:10:4b:66:1e:e9 > 00:04:ed:42:09:a6, ethertype IPv4 (0x0800), length 78: wantadilla.lemis.com.53973 > 192.168.1.254.http: S 3118800242:3118800242(0) win 65535 <mss 1460,nop,wscale 1,nop,nop,timestamp 760323619 0,sackOK,eol>

I wonder if it's because the ADSL line isn't connected? That shouldn't be necessary, and in my case I'd like to configure it before I connect to the ADSL line.

Finally got some good replies to my mail messages on ADSL modems, both from the AUUG Talk mailing lists. The answers were good, too: as a resource, it's obviously better than most.


Friday, 9 September 2005 Echunga Images for 9 September 2005
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Spent most of the day trying to set up the Billion 7402VGP ADSL modem, with partial success. This has taken me nearly a week, mainly, it seems, because I want to understand what I'm doing. I still don't, but I've come to a number of realizations.

First, I needed to talk to the modem at all. As I had seen yesterday, it was talking ARP, but not IP. Connected up a serial line to the console port, and to my surprise got an immediate connection:

=== root@wantadilla (/dev/ttyp1) /usr/ports/misc/rfc 117 -> cu -s 9600 -l /dev/cuad0
Connected
Login: admin
Password: *****

Login successful.

admin>                              pressed ?, which doesn't echo
802.1x         802.1x port based authentication
ald            Configuration commands for ald
autoprov       PVC auto-detection commands
...
wpa            Configure WPA (Wireless Protected Access)
admin>
      

Unfortunately, I couldn't work out the syntax of the commands. system ? gives a list of subcommands:

add            Add a user to the system
config         Configuration file maintenance
delete         Remove system users
info           Display hardware/software information
legal
list           List system information
log            Set logging options
mail
restart        Restart system (same as pressing reset)
set            Set user privileges
syslog
trace
admin> system add

Syntax error - use '?' to see valid completions
      

Interestingly, it does understand Emacs command line editing. It wasn't until much later that I discovered that I had to keep pressing ? to see what to type in next. Instead gave up on it and decided to look for the manufacturer's help line, and to my surprise discovered that the Australia-wide support line was in Adelaide (phone 08 8132 6868). Called up and spoke to Darren, who told me that it was unlikely to be the disconnected ADSL line. Instead, ho told me to reboot my client machine and get an IP address from the builtin DHCP server. He obviously isn't used to customers who run real networks.

Instead set up an alias address of 192.168.1.33, i.e. in the same address space, and that did the trick. I'm still not sure whether this makes sense or not. On the one hand, without a routing table there's no “right” interface for the modem to use. On the other hand, but from ARP and from the intended use the modem knows that the packet must be coming from the LAN. That's one for me to ponder.

Before I did anything else, I had to upgrade the firmware. This is a brand new unit, but the firmware was still down-rev. The instructions at the Internode site are misleading: the firmware (which I couldn't find anywhere else) comes as a .zip archive, and it needs to be unpacked (giving a single file) before downloading into the machine. I didn't do that the first time round, with the result that it claimed it was corrupt.

After that I had to choose the encapsulation mode, the main cause of my research. The Linksys AG241 that I currently have offers a confusing enough list of options, but the Billion modem offers even more:

 
This should be encapsulation.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: encapsulation
Dimensions: 757 x 547, 18 kB
Dimensions of original: 757 x 547, 18 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Friday, 9 September 2005:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

With a bit of discussion on the technical support line, came up with a partial overview:

Armed with some of this information, I set up my modem for Pure Bridged VC-MUX, connected it to the line and rebooted it. That gave some interesting output on the serial line:

Restoring from saved configuration ...  Success

Login: NBcf1edfs1Z
PP Boot 5.00a (07 June 2004)
Copyright (c) 2004 Conexant Systems Ltd.
SDRAM size = 0x1000000
PLL indicates clock speed set to maximum value of 96MHz
MAC 0:4:ed:42:9:a6
NPn
zlib 100%
Allocatable memory starts @ 0x61dd00, end @ 0x1000000
No, or invalid, configuration information in EEPROM - trying FLASH
Valid configuration (size 256)
DSL gateway version 5.03 (24 July 2005)
BSP: ADSL-A/2/G/VO v1.00
CSP: Argon 4x2 CSP v1.0 (ISOS 9.0)
CPU: Argon 432 (0x34325247 "GR24")
Copyright (c) 2004 Conexant Systems Ltd.

NP software version is 0x00000900 (reply took 6us)
SNMP Research SNMP Agent Resident Module Version 15.3.1.7
Copyright 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 SNMP Research, Inc.
      

When it came back up, I didn't get line sync. I had to convert back to Pure Bridged LLC, after which it worked fine. Why is it that of all the possible encapsulations, I'm left with the one with the most overhead?

With the line up, looked at the VoIP configuration, which looked straightforward enough. Internode connected NodePhone for me in a matter of minutes, and the configuration worked without a problem.

Well, almost. After resetting the modem, it came up without any sign of an attempt to bring up the VoIP hardware. A tcpdump showed that it made an ntp request to get the date (which, despite everything, it set wrong by exactly one hour, possibly an bad implementation of DST for the Southern Hemisphere), but no attempt whatsoever to talk VoIP. Further investigation showed that I didn't have a default router, so it couldn't work. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to set routing: for that I needed to set a second IP address, and it wouldn't accept that in “pure bridged” mode. Called up the Billion hotline again and spoke to Kevin, who had absolutely no understanding of the issues and who knew absolutely nothing about VoIP. With some reluctance, he referred me to the email support.

Persevered and found that it's possible to set up static routes, and that worked. But still no attempt to set up a VoIP connection. I'm left wondering whether the box just can't handle a VoIP connection via the LAN. But the more I think of that, the less likely it seems.


Saturday, 10 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Spent a fair amount of time this morning writing up my findings for yesterday, and then on with my paper for AUUG 2005, which is making reasonable headway.


Sunday, 11 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up this morning with the thought that if it was such a pain setting up the Billion 7402VGP ADSL modem for VoIP, it might make more sense to try to install a “softphone”. Spent the whole day doing that, without success. Like with other multimedia software, support for VoIP softphones seems to be bare-bones and undocumented. It wasn't helped by the fact that the only machines I had handy had problems with the sound card, so even after I installed the one that was easy to install, I couldn't confirm or deny whether it would work. What a pain!


Monday, 12 September 2005 Echunga Images for 12 September 2005
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Monday is traditionally the day where I catch up on the mail that has come in over the weekend. Today I didn't make it:


This should be mailcount.png.  Is it missing?
Image title: mailcount          Dimensions:          1600 x 1200, 20 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 12 September 2005, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 12 September 2005, small
Diary entry for Monday, 12 September 2005

 

Instead I did more work on VoIP soft phones. Gave up on FreeBSD and tried Apple instead. On a recommendation, installed X-lite, after finally finding the download page (clicking on “Australia” just refreshed the image). That finally worked, after a fashion, bringing up an icon that looked like it had been designed for (or maybe by) a 12-year-old:

 
This should be toy.gif.  Is it missing?
Image title: toy
Dimensions: 292 x 399, 56 kB
Dimensions of original: 292 x 399, 56 kB
Display this image:
thumbnail    hidden   alone on page
Display all images on this page as:
thumbnails    this size
Show for Monday, 12 September 2005:
thumbnails    small images    diary entry

The image isn't just silly, it's impractical. Somewhere there must be a “menu” button, but I can't see it. Yes, you can just type in a phone number; you don't have to press the individual buttons. But it doesn't seem to expect more than one button press a second, and the acoustic feedback at one tone per second is very unnerving. And on a 2048x1536 screen it's almost illegible.

With a bit of effort managed to configure that and make a phone call, confirming that the NodePhone service was functional. Unfortunately, I also discovered that my PowerBook G3 doesn't have a microphone input, only a built-in microphone and a line input connector, which didn't work for the headset I have. Connected up a real microphone on a stand and used that, but it's inconvenient. In the short term I don't see any way past an analogue telephone adaptor (or maybe two), especially since I need to connect up the whole house. Looked on the internal web site and found recommendations for EyeBeam another, Microsoft-based softphone (from the same company as X-lite, as it turned out, and with a similar toy interface, but payware), and installed that on pain.lemis.com, my Microsoft box. But that's just the beginning of the problems: I subscribe to the belief that Microsoft boxes shouldn't be allowed on the Internet, and pain is completely blocked. What do I have to open, and what dangers lurk?

While connecting up the Mac, also tried again to install RealVNC from the FreeBSD port. The installation worked, but the level of documentation has reached a new low: I've come to put up with the fact that a FreeBSD port usually doesn't tell you where the documentation is (or even if it exists), but usually I can glean some information from the pkg-plist file, which contains a list of the files in the installed package. This port doesn't even have this file; it's created dynamically by the Makefile. What a mess.

The following day: to be fair to RealVNC, this isn't their problem. Their web site does have documentation that looks acceptable. But the port should say so, or better still install it.

On the MacOS X side, installed OSXvnc, which started up well enough, but all attempts to communicate failed. tcpdump showed the traffic going in to tomato.lemis.com, the Apple box, and getting no reply. I suspect an authentication problem, but without documentation I don't even know how authentication works. What a pain!


Tuesday, 13 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Did a little more work on the VoIP stuff today, but in general I've decided that none of the soft phones are worth using. Looking at the toy displays, you'd think they're trying to be toys. Spoke to Massimiliano Stucchi, who, it turns out, is in the VoIP business, and he confirmed that eyeBeam is the best, but that doesn't say much for things as a whole. Discovered after some trouble that it automatically drops the microphone input if I use rdesktop, the normal way I connect to the Microsoft box. By contrast, it was pretty obvious how to address the firewalling issues: allow all traffic between pain.lemis.com and sip.internode.on.net, and no other traffic to pain. But my connections still had no voice. I don't know whether I should investigate or not: it's becoming increasingly clear that I need an ATA.

Apart from that, working on my presentation for AUUG 2005. Not too early.


Wednesday, 14 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More work on my paper for AUUG 2005 today. Writing things down isn't so difficult, it's knowing what to write and what not to write. Still, it's just about done.

As if to help me in providing material for the paper, the brewing control system developed some flaky connections to the temperature sensors, giving some really weird temperatures:

image

I need to find a better way to connect these sensors.


Thursday, 15 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

So now I'm working for MySQL! I'm unusually optimistic about the fact. Somehow I already feel at home with MySQL in a way that I didn't at other companies. Spent much of the day replying to mail; MySQL does a lot of its work via email, and my email load has increased significantly. I'll have to find a way to keep the time to a minimum.

In the afternoon into town and picked up some VoIP hardware: a Cisco 7905 IP phone on loan from iagu networks, and a Sipura SPA-3000 from Internode. Installing the latter proved doubly complicated: the single sheet excuse for installation instructions, which doubles as a warranty, didn't include login information (it seemed to think that the normal way of configuration was via the phone touchpad), and I had to call Internode to get the information. Then it appears that anybody in the world could then log in and reconfigure the phone, but nothing warns you to change the passwords. I suppose this is a good candidate for firewalling port 80.

The good news is that the Sipura worked immediately after configuration. A big difference from the software solutions. Why is free software in such a mess?


Friday, 16 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

After last night's success, moved the Sipura adaptor next to my normal phone, plugged it in and tried it. No outgoing sound! Cursed and spent some time chasing it down, only to finally discover:

10:19:55.528313 IP 192.109.197.161.16436 > 203.2.134.125.16456: UDP, length: 32
10:19:55.535415 IP 203.2.134.125.16456 > 192.109.197.161.16436: UDP, length: 32
10:19:55.544808 IP 203.16.212.152 > 192.109.197.161: icmp 36: host 203.2.134.125 unreachable - admin prohibited filter
      

After some further investigation, it turned out that it was a problem at Internode, but it took a while to find. I suppose that's what happens to early adopters.

Setting up the Cisco 7905 was pretty straightforward, though configuration via the keyboard is always a bit painful. Set it up to talk to the MySQL internal VoIP network, and was rather surprised when I called Elliot Murphy, my boss, and made immediate contact, with good voice quality at that. Unfortunately, it was more a fluke: for some reason, the internal system didn't register me, and we couldn't work out why. Given that there is no documentation (where have I heard that before?), and I won't be keeping the Cisco, didn't try too hard.

Back looking at the Sipura unit. The documentation is terrible! All I get with the unit was a single sheet of paper. Found something more substantial (87 pages) on the Net, but it was old and incomplete. It did clarify the internal structure, though: the unit can talk to two different SIP servers, but the second one can only be configured to connect an incoming call from the PSTN. So I need another solution to connect both to NodePhone and the internal MySQL network. That looks like being Asterisk, but that's another can of worms. At least it compiled, but the handbook that I found is marked “preliminary”, deprecated, and two years old at that.

I later found a reference to a more up-to-date manual at http://www.digium.com/index.php?menu=asterisk_handbook, but it hasn't been written yet.

My laptop (eucla) belongs to Rocksoft, so I need to get a new one. I'd like to buy a Dell again, but they seem to be doing everything to prevent me: their web site wants to tell me what kind of laptop (sorry, “notebook”, a term I use for dead tree products) I need. They're obviously wrong: they tell me I need Microsoft, which I need like a hole in the head. The specifications are short on technical detail and full of advertisements, and making comparisons is a real pain. If anybody from Dell is reading this: this web site is really so bad that I gave up. I may end up buying from the competition, though I like the Dell machines.

Also looked in on a number of MySQL internal IRC channels. Looks like a good way to waste lots of time. One thing of interest is that many use UTF-8, which makes sense, but it means that I'm going to have to find a usable client. I think the time has come to add Emacs editing support to some more modern client than the ircII I'm using at the moment.


Saturday, 17 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Spent most of the day working on my paper for AUUG 2005, and finally finished it. Rather to my surprise, I no longer have anything pressing to do, if I ignore the video recorder project, as I am doing at the moment. Nice when the pressure's off.


Sunday, 18 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More work on my paper today, this time the slides. Well, that's how it started out. In fact, most of the work was in setting up the slide build framework; but from past experience that's the most difficult part, and more or less got it working, modulo some issues with the macros. The new framework is looking a lot tidier than what I've been using for the past 10 years.

Out riding in the afternoon. Spring is in the air, and it was also very windy. Both contributed to the horses (Darah and Ramona) being “spirited”, to put it mildly, and we didn't stay out long.


Monday, 19 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Up early this morning to attend to the myriad things that I needed to do to come on board with MySQL. Made good progress, but it took its time. Also a departmental meeting, not made any better by our geographical separation: there's no way past one of us attending in the middle of the night, and today I was the one. Meetings at 22:30 are not the best for me, and we're going to have to find some other solution.

No fewer than three short power failures in the last 24 hours. This is getting beyond a joke. The third time was just long enough for me to go and start the generator, but by the time I did, the power was back.


Tuesday, 20 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Continued working on coming up to speed on MySQL today, concentrating on getting at the internal code. That seemed straightforward, but somehow it took all day anyway. I'm not very good at following canned instructions, it seems: I need to understand what I'm doing. In this case, it was as simple as being given some environment variables which I just pasted into my .bashrc without further consideration (beyond checking for syntax and that they existed). It wasn't until my BitKeeper checkout failed with “invalid license” that I discovered that I hadn't exported them. I don't understand how it worked for the person who sent me the information. And yes, I hate software that requires a license to work.


Wednesday, 21 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More work on getting a test environment set up today, in the process discovering more things about BitKeeper. Probably the best thing to remember is the rule of thumb that if something goes wrong, it's better to remove the tree and start again.

Also got round to firing up quartet and naan, two of my old test machines, and spent some time building versions of MySQL on them, not completely successfully. There's too much discrepancy between the way the FreeBSD Ports Collection builds MySQL and the way we do it internally. We should find the One True Way.

Also tried to install Ubuntu Linux on deeveear. It failed many ties over in the same way that the Debian installation on the same box failed back in July: the boot loader wouldn't install. About the only thing that I could confirm was that it would install if I ran an absolutely standard install, but if I did anything at all out of the ordinary, it hung during install, no matter whether it's LILO or grub. Strange.


Thursday, 22 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

More work on building MySQL and installing Ubuntu today, with only moderate success on either. Particularly Ubuntu is a pain, though the problem is clearly wider than just this distro. I wonder why I'm the only person to run into this problem.


Friday, 23 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Today continued with building software. Ran into a number of issues, notably the fact that I'm not in Sweden, and access to the test machines is slow:

     rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 755.165/757.055/758.619/1.387 ms, pipe 2
      

Some of this is simply the fact that data is routed via the USA, so the round trip is 50,000 km. It's not the end of the world (well, maybe; that's where I am :-), but the slow response does tend to favour testing locally.

I now have one FreeBSD system up and running for testing MySQL, but in replication you need two, so set to installing FreeBSD 5.4 on a machine which has changed system so frequently that I forget what its canonical name is, but since it's a dual 500 MHz Celeron box, like the one I used to implement SMPng, I'll call it zaphod again. Installing took longer than I expected:

Also finally got my Ubuntu machine up and running. I still don't know why I can't install the bootstrap in “expert” mode, but worked around it by installing two images, one the default and one the one I wanted. The second time I simply didn't install a bootstrap, and used the one installed first time round to boot from the other kernel. But I'd really like to find out why I'm having so much trouble.


Saturday, 24 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Quiet day. Did some brewing in the morning, and not much for the rest of the day.


Sunday, 25 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Feeling lethargic again today, and almost decided to do as little as yesterday, but then I thought it might be worthwhile to look at deeveear, the Linux box I have been planning to make into a multimedia machine for far too long. I wish I hadn't.

The good news is that now it's up and running, I was able to play a CD from the GNOME menu tree, which made it easier than starting an xterm. The latter is not on the menu (instead there are these strange substitutes whose preferences don't even seem to give you the opportunity to specify a font size). Encouraged by the success with playing CDs, decided to have another go at installing mythtv. I failed.

Following the MythTV instructions, I first got error 403s accessing the Internode mirror server. That's understandable: I need a proxy on an Internode-known address to access it. But I already had the environment variable HTTP_PROXY set correctly. Read the apt-get man page, skipping things like this:

DESCRIPTION
       apt-get is the command-line tool for handling packages, and may be con?[7m<80><90>
       sidered the user?[7m<80><99>s "back-end" to other tools  using  the  APT  library.
      

There is no mention of proxies. I was later told that it was in the man page apt.conf, telling me that I should set the environment variable http_proxy, which also had different syntax:

=== root@deeveear (/dev/pts/4) /etc/apt 276 -> set | grep -i proxy
HTTP_PROXY=cache.lemis.com:8080
http_proxy=http://cache.lemis.com:8080/
      

To make things even more amusing, apt-get doesn't check the syntax properly; it just fails in weird and wonderful ways if you use the HTTP_PROXY syntax.

Finally got that sorted out and discovered:

=== root@deeveear (/dev/pts/4) /etc/apt 277 -> apt-get install libqt3c102-mysql
 The following packages have unmet dependencies:
   libqt3c102-mysql: Depends: libqt3c102 (>= 3:3.3.3) but it is not installable
      

In this case, it seems that there was no longer a package called libqt3c102, or possibly I didn't have my /etc/apt/sources.list file set up correctly. Spent a lot of time looking for that, without success, and finally discovered that I was able to use non-Ubuntu packages, notably those of Debian unstable. Set things up for that and got error messages like:

Reading package lists...  Error!
E: Dynamic MMap ran out of room
E: Error occurred while processing openoffice.org-l10n-tn (NewVersion1)
E: Problem with MergeList /var/lib/apt/lists/us.archive.ubuntu.com_ubuntu_dists_hoary_universe_binary-i386_Packages
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.
      

This, I was told, was due to setting too small a cache size (the default). Changed that with an entry in /etc/apt/apt.conf. But setting it much larger (up to 250 MB) didn't get rid of the problem. I could only work around it by specifying fewer locations in /etc/apt/sources.list, a think made easier by the fact that the Ubuntu archive site chose this time to go down.

Another annoyance was an error message at the end of apt-get update:

Reading package lists...  Done
W: GPG error: http://archive.ubuntu.com breezy Release: The following signatures were invalid: BADSIG 40976EAF4
buntu Archive Automatic Signing Key <ftpmaster@ubuntu.com>
W: You may want to run apt-get update to correct these problems
      

This, it seems, can be fixed by running apt-key, after getting the key from a key server. It didn't seem to work, and gpg didn't help by the fact that the --list-keys command insists on an implicit source file name ~/.gnupg/pubring.gpg, and the man page doesn't mention the concept of changing the file: it's not a file, it's a keyring! And even after you find the command, it refuses to drop the default name:

=== root@deeveear (/dev/pts/4) /etc/apt 282 -> gpg --list-keys --keyring ./trusted.gpg
/root/.gnupg/pubring.gpg
------------------------
pub   1024D/4F368D5D 2005-01-31 [expires: 2006-01-31]
uid                  Debian Archive Automatic Signing Key (2005) <ftpmaster@debian.org>
(etc)

./trusted.gpg
-------------
pub   1024D/437D05B5 2004-09-12
uid                  Ubuntu Archive Automatic Signing Key <ftpmaster@ubuntu.com>
sub   2048g/79164387 2004-09-12

(etc)
      

By the end of the day, I had learnt a lot and increased my blood pressure considerably, but I still hadn't been able to install MythTV. What a pain!

More eBay shopping today. Bought a new 5 kVA UPS. That should now be enough.


Monday, 26 September 2005 Echunga Images for 26 September 2005
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Into the laundry this morning to check on my beer. It had overflowed the fermenter:


This should be fermenter-overflow-1.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: fermenter overflow 1          Dimensions:          2048 x 1536, 256 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Monday, 26 September 2005, thumbnails          All images taken on Monday, 26 September 2005, small
Diary entry for Monday, 26 September 2005 Complete exposure details

 

It's been a while since I've seen that.

Spent the day with a lot of administrative stuff, and didn't make much progress on the new installation of zaphod. Took a look at OpenVPN, which, as I feared, is not just an out-of-the-box install.


Tuesday, 27 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Gradually it's becoming known that I both work for MySQL and am a member of the FreeBSD developer community. On IRC on both sides today, got requests to look at problems. Looks like I have my work cut out; I'm glad I can defer the decision on what I work on to somebody else.

In the way of Real Work, made some progress finally getting all the software in place. Now to install a sample database to use for general testing.


Wednesday, 28 September 2005 Echunga Images for 28 September 2005
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Just when I was about to attack my chosen bug, things changed, and I'm looking at another bug with the help of the support people. Learnt a lot about the support system, not too much about the problem.

This is the time of year for caterpillars and other grubs that can strip trees completely in some cases. Normally we find them on the plants, of course, but today Yvonne found some crawling across the driveway:


This should be grubs-2.jpeg.  Is it missing?

Image title: grubs 2          Dimensions:          1728 x 2304, 1248 kB
Make a single page with this image Hide this image
Make this image a thumbnail Make thumbnails of all images on this page
Make this image small again Display small version of all images on this page
All images taken on Wednesday, 28 September 2005, thumbnails          All images taken on Wednesday, 28 September 2005, small
Diary entry for Wednesday, 28 September 2005 Complete exposure details

 

They're ugly things, about 5 cm long. I wonder what they turn into.


Thursday, 29 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Continued work on yesterday's bug today. It's certainly a good idea to keep a “virtual paper trail”, but it makes it more difficult to come up to speed if you haven't been there from the beginning. Spent much of the day reviewing what had already happened.

Yvonne went into town today and came back with another Sipura SPA-3000 VoIP telephone adaptor. I'm using the other one for my NodePhone service, and I'll use this one initially for accessing the MySQL internal network until I get time to install an Asterisk server; after that it'll become the interface for the home phone.

Spent some time configuring that; what a brain-dead system they are! As usual, managed to lose a password (it looks as if one of them didn't “take” and was left at the old setting). The only way to reset the password is to reset everything to factory defaults. Given the pain of doing the settings in the first place, and the fact that you can't back them up, that's totally unacceptable.

Still, got the thing configured relatively easily, and I now see that I'm registered as “online” on the internal network, so people might be able to call me. I can't call anybody until I find a “dial plan” that will do what I want.


Friday, 30 September 2005 Echunga
Top of page
previous day
next day
last day

Yet another day spent mainly looking at the same bug. I now have a good overview of what's going on, but it seems that I should have been able to get there more quickly. I need to think about the time it has taken.

One advantage was that we got the customer's permission to publish the technical details of the bug. Basically, it's quite simple: under heavy load, the mysqld server crashes out of mutex_unlock_common. Nothing similar happens under Linux, so there's some reason for scrutiny of the threads library, but there are surprisingly few bug reports (though this bug may be similar). It would be nice if we could find somebody else who has had similar problems.

Also playing around with the Sipura SPA-3000 VoIP telephone adaptor. The good news is that Kolbe was able to call me up, though again we had the one-way-speech issues. I have a feeling that this is a pretty common thing. In this case, he's not convinced that his VoIP setup is working correctly, so we'll defer investigating that problem for the while. The real issue is that I still can't dial. After a days' hard work, the description of the dial string syntax blew my mind. For example, the one that I was supplied for my NodePhone service is:

(000S0<:@gw0>|106S0<:@gw0>|183[12]x.|1[38]xxxxxxxxS0<:@gw0>|13[1-9]xxxS0<:@gw0>|
1[9]xxxxxxxxS0<:@gw0>|0[23478]xxxxxxxxS0|[2-9]xxxxxxxS0|001xxxx.S5|xxx.<:@gw0>|
*xx.|<#,:>x.<:@gw0>)
      

This is all on one line; I've broken it up for “legibility”.

Persevered with reading the documentation. It looks as if I'm not the only one who's confused. In particular, it seems that there are two completely different levels of configuration, and that the devices can in fact connect to four different VoIP servers. But to do so, you need to store some details in the web configuration and others (for example, passwords) in the dial string. Really a book with Seven Seals.

Last week I bought a job lot of 5 UPSs on eBay. Today they finally arrived—at the Echunga General Store, where Yvonne had to pick them up. They only cost AUD 68 each, including transport (about USD 50), so I wasn't expecting too much, but they don't look to bad. You get a feeling about them from the instruction slip, though:

PCH Series is a new equipment of power supply which is a square wave and wisdom uninterruptible power supply. ... It will be warning when the voltage lower and can be start inerter in time. ... It is a good friend for the computer and the electrical equipment.

Interestingly, though, this gives information that we were looking for in competitive low-end UPSs recently: it clarifies that it normally just passes through. This has an impact on the power consumption: it uses almost no power when not actively supplying power.


Top of page Previous month Greg's home page Today's diary entry Next month Greg's photos Copyright information

Valid XHTML 1.0!

$Id: diary-sep2005.php,v 1.49 2013/10/28 00:32:18 grog Exp $