Occasionally I need to to the same task, or similar tasks, on a group of machines all at once. I don’t have the luxury of a fully automated environment like Puppet setup, so a great tool I’ve been using is called ClusterSSH.
Seeing as I was one of the lucky few to get their hands on an Asus Transformer Prime so soon, a couple people have asked me to write up a short review of the device.
Having never possessed a tablet before I do not have any baseline for comparison so there may be some skew in my opinions due to that fact. Some of my positives and negatives may be true for all tablets — or at least those of this size/form factor.
A quick note that I moved my site from an aging server to a fast VM at a data center, and in the process gained not only a much newer version of FreeBSD, but also native IPv6 connectivity. A few days too late for World IPv6 Day, but it’s still great to see IPv6 happening finally.
I’ve also got IPv6 going at home using he.net’s tunnelbroker service from my home router running pfSense 2.0’s IPv6 branch. All things considered it’s pretty easy. All of my PCs in the house are using IPv6 happily, even my Droid X running Gingerbread is using IPv6 without problems.
On a mail filter I maintain, there is a site-wide bayes database that is periodically trained by hand. It sits quietly and doesn’t change much over time. That is, until the Bayes database was moved to a new server. The SpamAssassin configuration was identical between the old system and the new system, there was just one problem: On the new server, the bayes_toks file was rapidly growing until it was quite large. Huge, in fact. Its size was expanding by several gigabytes per hour.
I checked all the usual things: auto learning was off, auto expiration was off, the permissions and user were set correctly, and so on. And yet it grew, constantly and swiftly.
After hours of searching and not finding anything, and various methods of tinkering, I found the answer. I backed up and restored the bayes database like so:
sa-learn --backup > bayes_backup.txt sa-learn --restore bayes_backup.txt
After that, the toks file was once again left alone and didn’t grow. I suspect the problem was due to moving from a 32-bit platform to a 64-bit platform but that’s just speculation really, or it could be some other difference in the perl versions and libraries on the two servers.
In case you couldn’t tell, I was trying to use a bunch of different ways to word this problem, going off of the various Google searches I did trying to track it down. Hopefully others will hit this post in the future and it will save them some time. :-)
I picked up a new Brother HL-2170w last week. It’s a network-enabled (wired and wireless) black and white laser printer. At just under $100, and with $30-50 replacement toner cartridges good for thousands of pages worth of output, it was quite a steal in terms of features for the money.
I had been looking for an all-in-one color printer to replace my scanner and inkjet, but the more I looked, the more horror stories I saw. And when I didn’t see horror stories, I saw absurd ink costs on a per-page basis. The sheer number of horror stories was astounding. I have always considered printers to be evil, banes of our very existence but the tales of woe that wait on printer reviews are really like no other components.
So as inconvenient as it may be for color, it seems that doing photo prints (99% of what I want in color) is cheaper to do at an in-store lab (such as Wal-Mart) than to do it at home, plus I don’t have to worry about the crazy quality of inkjet printers, or expensive-yet-not-photo-quality color laser output. I still have my existing inkjet for the rare case where I might need a print fast, but at what seems to be about $0.50/print, it’s really not worth it.
The Brother printer was pretty easy to setup. Plug it into the network, and it pulls a DHCP address. I went to the printer’s web interface and setup a static IP, changed its name, and had all the PCs printing in no time. The Windows 7 boxes found the driver automatically, XP I had to pick the driver by hand, and my FreeBSD workstation needed the hpijs-pcl5e driver for CUPS, but needed no other special configuration.
Given all the negative experiences I’ve had with printers (and everyone else has had), I thought I’d share this positive one.
Just a quick update to let everyone know that the pfSense book which I mentioned previously is now available from Amazon.
I haven’t been posting much lately, as per usual, and also as per usual I keep thinking I’ll get around to posting more. Well, this little tidbit does deserve a new post:
These past few months I’ve been working with the great folks behind pfSense, an awesome FreeBSD-based firewall system that has really impressed me at every turn. We’ve been using it quite a bit at work over the past year, so I’ve been contributing back in the form of documentation, code, testing, and other help wherever I can.
Along the way I started working with one of the project’s co-founders, Chris Buechler, on a book for the project. It’s now available from several retailers, and more will be coming soon.
So if you are interested in pfSense, FreeBSD, firewalls, or other related concepts, you’re bound to find something useful in our book:
By their request, my wife Destany and I have been taking pictures of her former high school marching band, The Pride of Paoli (From Paoli Jr-Sr High School in Paoli, Indiana) this year. We’ve posted the pictures at http://popgallery.pingle.org/.
For more information, or to view the pictures, visit the site above.
I’m well aware that it’s been more than a year since my last post. There has been plenty to write about, but nothing I’ve really taken the time to post for public consumption.
Hopefully some more stuff will show up in the not-too-distant future.