Archive for September, 2008


It starts with an R
It ends with an R

Sorry. It’s talk like a pirate day.

Apologies to Jason.

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A Conservative for Obama

The former Publisher of the National Review endorses Obama.

But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

That’s an indication of just how far the ‘conservatives’ have gotten from their past.

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Breaking the Buck

Bloomberg reports that a money market fund has broken the buck due to the Lehman mess.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, but one of my trailing indicators for how bad the mortgage/wall st./financial industry crapfest was if money market funds start breaking the buck. This is not one of those indicators that’s useful for further action, it’s one where if we pass this point, we really just need to hold on and ride it out. And it’s just happened to one fund which was holding 785 million of Lehman Brothers notes. Presumably, since they were leveraged out 20 or 30 or 40 times, there’s another bunch of billions of Lehman Brothers commercial paper out there.

I’d now like to request that I get 5 points back which where deducted from my engineering economics final back in college (1994 maybe?). There was a question where my answer was marked incorrect because I asserted that there were risks involved in investing in money market funds. I had noted that they were small, but that they existed, and the professor disagreed.

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Dear Adobe

This is not my problem. This is your problem. I don’t really give a damn about your licensing service. Except, of course, when it messes up and I have to deal with it. Sometimes I can just close and reopen Photoshop, but it looks like this time I can’t.

This time though, It might be my fault, because I’m moving things to a new drive in the laptop. Though, I have to point out that it’s taking more time to deal with Photoshop than everything else combined.

You might ask why I tried moving, rather than reinstalling right out. Well, it took two calls to Adobe to get this installed in the first place, and I was trying to do this in the evening, when I have time, there are no kids awake, and I don’t have to worry about work. But. Adobe’s not open at night.

Gah. What a waste.

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Blackberry Season

Blackberry Season

It’s really the season. 12 pints yesterday, picked, washed, and processed, and that was just one of our patches.

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IP Address Failover on Debian Etch

I’ve been using spread and whackamole for IP address failover on Debian Etch, but I’ve noticed that they’re not 100% reliable in my setup, in some cases hanging when I’m trying to query who owns a node, and in others, just not picking up the ip address that’s shared between two machines.

What I’m doing involves an active machine (or vmware instance) and a hot spare running the same code and ready to take over instantly. There’s generally very little state, as these are inbound load balancers or outbound gateways. Where I have lots of state, like database, the failover mechanisims are a little different.

I’m testing out ucarp as a replacement. It has it’s good points — it’s one piece that’s reasonably easy to setup, and bad points that it’s not exactly high profile. The current version (1.5) is a released version of the snapshot (1.5_0802222) in lenny/testing and has some significant bug fixes, so I’ve pulled the source package in from lenny/testing and the distribution from the main distribution site and compiled it on etch for a quick backport. There’s one patch line that failed — the options accepted on the command line, and that appears to have been integrated in the upstream package.

The package from lenny worked reasonably well in testing, but showed some issues in production related to not being able to “Can’t do IP\_ADD\_MEMBERSHIP”, which is necessary to recieve the multicast packets. This was fixed in 1.5 final.

Ucarp is a little different than wackamole. Wackamole just grabs an ip address when it detects that it needs to, Ucarp runs a script when it determines that the ip address needs to be aquired or dropped. This was something that I had wanted with wackamole for poking at daemons and such. The debian port has integrated the control of ucarp into the /etc/network/interfaces file, so straightforward configurations can be done completely in that file.

In /etc/network/interfaces

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

        ucarp-vid 90
        ucarp-password foobar
        ucarp-advskew 1
        ucarp-master yes
# ucarp controlled.
iface eth0:ucarp inet static

The options on ucarp bear explaining:

* vid: 90 an id. ucarp will communicate with any other instance using this id, so this needs to be consistent between the master and the spare
* vip: the address to be managed
* password: A shared password between the instances
* advskew: Lower numbers will win the election of which instance should be the master
* master: if this instance should startup as the master

This approach seems to work well for some tests, the failover time for pinging is 3-4 seconds total. But for apachebench and funkload, it seems that once they get an arp of the machine that’s getting taken over, that one stays resident until the next invocation of the app.

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Blackberry Mint Cheesecake

Blackberry Cheesecake

This was really good. Blackberries and mint from the garden, Following a grilling session of potatoes and zucchini from the garden, as well as some other stuff.

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