Today I finally swapped my last Gentoo server for an Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
server. Gentoo has served me well over these many years, but with my emerge
updates growing to several pages (meaning, I was waaaay behind on updates with
almost no hope of catching up) it was long past time to switch. I'd moved my
internal server over to Ubuntu during the Karmic cycle, but that was a much
easier switch. This one was tougher because I had several interdependent
externally facing services: web, mail, sftp, and Mailman.
The real trick to making this go smoothly was to set up a virtual machine
in which to install, configure and progressively deploy the new services. My
primary desktop machine is a honkin' big i7-920 quad-core Dell with 12GB of
RAM, so it's perfectly suited for running lots of VMs. In fact, I have
several Ubuntu, Debian and even Windows VMs that I use during my normal
development of Ubuntu and Python. However, once I had the new server ready to
go, I wanted to be able to quickly swap it into the real hardware. So I
purchased a 160GB IDE drive (since the h/w it was going into was too old to
support SATA, but still perfectly good for a simple Linux server!) and a USB
drive enclosure. I dropped the new disk into the enclosure, mounted it on the
Ubuntu desktop and created a virtual machine using the USB drive as its virtio
It was then a pretty simple matter of installing Ubuntu 10.04 on this USB
drive-backed VM, giving the VM an IP address on my local network, and
installing all the services I wanted. I could even register the VM with
Landscape to easily keep it up-to-date as I took my sweet time …
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I read this somewhere:
When we opened the door to this wonderful place, we were stunned!
Literally. Uncle Fledge had to be led in by the hand and seated in front
of the massive TV. He'd never seen anything so big. Grandma loved the
"hot" tub and even with her massive girth, it came up to her chin so she
could relax. The little family of hamsters or weasels kept wanting to
join her, so that's what the broomstick is for (in case you're wondering).
Uncle Fledge is a skier but he loved the game room so much, he played for
36 hours straight until he got pokey finger. Then Aunt Weebus dragged him
out to the slopes. Good thing too because we were getting tired of White
Lion on the jukebox. Uncle Fledge and Jimmie's favorite band, how did you
Martha was kind of obsessed with the telescope but Billy brought his
laptop and then it was family YouTube time. The view is spectacular
though. Grandma loved watching the bears ice skate on the lake. Never
seen that before she said. The twins wanted me to add that the bunk beds
are fun, and the triplets loved having their own rooms. Mom and Dad
retired to the jacuzzi for 8 hours, and little Moby had to keep refreshing
their champagne. We loved the Bears Den and will definitely be back.
- The Kimmels, the Conans, the Boxxees, the Fledge Jrs & Srs, Phil, Sarah,
Monk, Billy, Jimmy, Sandy Candy & Mandy, Uncle F. Aunt W, Grandma, Tina,
Mallory, Frank, Stu, Mack T, Mack F, Tug, Willy and "Beans".
So I got my new Mac Book Pro, named it "hemispheres" as mentioned in my
previous post. I'm very happy with this machine, and here are my early
The SSD is pure win. It's quiet, cool, and fast. The biggest immediate
downside of course is the cost, but as a refurb, this option was made much
more affordable. It'll be interesting to see how it performs over time as
there are known issues with the long-term use of the technology.
My two biggest concerns were the screen and the keyboard. I absolutely love
my previous generation MBP keyboard, as it's about the only laptop I can
comfortably use for 8 hours a day. The unibody MBPs have a completely
different keyboard, with a different feel, but I hadn't used one for a long
hacking session so I was unsure how it would feel after a few hours under my
hands. I'm very relieved to say that while it has a different feel, it's
still incredibly comfortable to use. Apple seems to know what they're doing.
I have had a few problems hitting the right keys, most notably not quite
getting the shift-2 chord right to produce an @ sign. The reach is a little
bit longer it seems so I often end up just typing a "2", somehow missing the
shift combination. I have a few other common typing errors, but for the most
part I'm getting used to it.
The other big uncertainty was the antiglare screen. I absolutely love the
matte screen on my old MBP and hate hate HATE the glossy screens that seem
to come on most laptops today. Honestly, if the MBP didn't offer a matte
screen as an option, I probably wouldn't have bought it. Of course, now it's
a $50 upcharge, but I …
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Written by Barry Warsaw in music on Fri 04 December 2009.
The relationship between the bass player and the drummer is one of the most
profound and important relationships in rock music. I've been incredibly
fortunate in my musical life to have played with a number of drummers with
whom I've had a deep and usually immediate musical connection. Almost all are
still close personal friends. For me, playing with a good drummer is probably
one of the most important reasons to stick with a band long term (it's a
necessary but not sufficient condition).
I've been with the U-Liners now for quite a few years and I've enjoyed
every minute playing with our drummer Larry. He's in the Army band, so
clearly he's talented, but it goes deeper than that. His feel is impeccable,
his timing is great, and he hears everything. What I really love about him
(and many of my other favorite drummers) is that he's solid but knows when to
go for it. It's the occasional waltzes on the edge that make for an exciting,
emotional musical moment. It can't be too often, but it has to be there. An
element of risk is involved, and I love more than anything else, those
improvisational moments within musical structure of the song, because that's
where the magic happens.
This week has been extraordinary too because I've played with three of my
favorite drummers of all time. Larry of course (and we have a gig this coming
Saturday night), but also two great drummers and long time friends. Last
night the U-Liners played a show that Larry couldn't make, so my friend Torro
sat in. Torro and I go way back (he was best man at my wedding) and is an
amazing musician. And at a jam party last Saturday night, my friend Keith
came up from Florida and …
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I really need a new laptop. While I love my 3.5 year old Mac Book Pro, it's
by now showing its age and the abuse I've given it. It runs Fusion to give
me an Ubuntu desktop, but because the disk is almost full I have to run that
from a USB drive, so it's slow. I know I can upgrade the disk, but the
machine is a Core Duo only, so that probably wouldn't help much. I also have
an old IBM Thinkpad X40 which has an excellent form factor, but a small
screen, and the motherboard power jack has an annoying habit of screaming at a
high pitch when plugged in, so it lives in its dock, making it heavier and
much less portable. And this thing is really slow.
What to do? Well, I've been looking around and with Cyber Monday (do you
hate that marketing term as much as I do?) I knew there'd be some great deals
around. One of the best, which if you're reading this the same day I post it,
is on Lenovo computers (formerly IBM), including steep 35% discounts on
Thinkpads. I know, I should get one of those!
I looked at the x200s and the x301, the former being closest to the X40 form
factor, but with a WXGA+ 1400x900 screen (yay!), no trackpad (boo), and no
built-in webcam (boo). The latter has the same WXGA+ screen (yay), a trackpad
(yay), a built-in webcam (yay) and default solid state drive (yay). It's
still under 3lbs (yay) and only .5lbs heavier than the x200s in its stock
configuration. But it's about $800 more before you start customizing
it. Still the discounts really bring both computers into the realm of
possibility, especially for a work computer that I'll be using constantly …
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So, I spent quite a bit of time this weekend making sure that Mailman 3 works
with LMTP delivery from Postfix. With some help from Patrick on the
mailman-developers list, I've gotten this working pretty well. I also took
the opportunity to play with virt-manager on Karmic. It was pretty darn easy
to create a virtual machine, load it up with Ubuntu 9.10 server and test
Mailman in a fairly pristine setting. The one gotcha that I ran into was
having to run virt-manager under sudo, otherwise it could not create the VM
files under /var/lib/libvert/images.
I'm going to release Mailman 3.0.0a4 today. It really took me much longer to
get this out than it should have. I removed the dependency on setuptools_bzr
because it really sucked having to build bzr just to install Mailman. The
whole reason for the setup dependency on setuptools_bzr was to allow me to be
lazy in creating the MANIFEST.in file. I bit the bullet and created that
file, but it took surprisingly many iterations to get it right.
On another front, after my bout with the flu and trip to Dallas, I'd been
pretty remiss in updating my two Gentoo servers. They were way behind on
patches, so I finally updated the public one, which was a royal pain in the
butt. Still, it was doable. The internal server is running EVMS which is no
longer supported by IBM or Gentoo. I think this will be the final straw that
forces me to install Ubuntu on that machine. I'm dreading moving all the
services and files off of it in preparation for that. It's going to be a time
consuming job. Fortunately, I have a spare box that I can bounce the services
to, and backups of …
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Written by Barry Warsaw in music on Mon 10 August 2009.
Well, it's been a long time since I posted anything here, and a lot has
happened. I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice to say it's been
an interesting ride. The good news is we were able to move back into our
house in August and life is good. We're not completely done, but we're
getting back on track and moving on with our lives.
Max started middle school so I am officially a morning person now, and I've
even caught the Facebook bug. We got a cat.
I want to expand this blog to cover things technical and personal, and I'm
going to spend a little time every week posting something here. I was going
to say "something interesting" but it probably won't be, so you're just
wasting time reading this. :)
The email-sig is very interesting lately. Python comes with a package to
parse, generate and manipulate email messages. It's actually very functional
in Python 2 but mostly because we cheat. In Python 2 we can be lazy about
what's a string and what's a byte and email exploits this profusely. I know
this because the email package is severely damaged in Python 3, where the
distinction between strings (unicodes) and bytes is explicit. The email-sig
is tasked with maintaining and developing the email package and we're
struggling with many tricky issues. And y'all thought email was simple
because 99% of it is spam.
Python 2.6.3 was released last Friday, but it was broken and no one should
use it. It's my fault as the release manager for wanting a shortened
candidate cycle, but I'm still not convinced that a long cycle would have
avoided the regressions. 2.6.3 broke the logging module and setuptools, so I
released Python 2.6.4rc1 on …
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Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Fri 06 March 2009.
Okay, we have roof and insulation estimates. There are basically three
options. The most expensive involves using this foam insulation between the
attic rafters. This would give us essentially a conditioned attic which would
be usable in for living space in the future. Given the price, and what we're
going to use the attic for this seems overkill.
The second option involves insulating between the joists in the second floor
ceiling but there are problems with this approach because batt insulation to
code won't fit in the old shorter joists. So this option will include
building up the joists to accept the R38 insulation.
The final (and cheapest) option seems best to me. This involves using 12"
rafters in the new roof so that it can accept the 10.5" R38 batt insulation.
We're going to go this route and it'll cost us approximately $6500. I have to
hand it to the builder for really working with us to make this as palatable as
possible. It's definitely not something I expected to spend money on and it's
definitely a painful hit, but in the long run I think it will work out by
giving us much better insulation and usable attic space. I also think it will
be easier for the builder.
Now we just need plans for the roof, and the county will probably have to
approve it. (I wonder how much that's going to cost?!)
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Fri 13 February 2009.
We got quotes on the roof insulation. Wow, it is not cheap and it makes the
whole roof proposition an even harder hit. It's going to add $2000-$3000 onto
the total cost of the roof. Tom will work up specific estimates and we'll go
over these at our next production meeting.
Nothing is happening at the house.
Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Wed 11 February 2009.
Not much is happening, as we're waiting to decide about the roof. We need to
get insulation numbers. Tom really thinks rebuilding the roof is the best
thing. I tend to agree, but we need to make it fit the budget.
We told Tom about the placement of the kiln, which we want to put in the
unconditioned space. This shouldn't be a problem, but we're still waiting to
see the electrical bid.