Epson AcuLaser CX11N

My 10 year old laser printer finally died on me earlier this week (it’s needed to be replaced/updated for a LONG time, so it’s kind of a good thing).

The replacement I ended up ordering was an Epson CX11N. I remember when color laser printers first came out, they were close to $10,000. Not only that, but this one also scans and copies (and does it well, unlike most other multi-function machines). You can also get it to send/receive faxes for an extra $100 (which I didn’t need, so I passed on that option).

But check this out… it’s normally $699.99 (which seems pretty cheap for everything it does and compared to stuff from other manufacturers), but Epson is offering free shipping (which normally is $150 or so because of how heavy it is), AND a $150 instant rebate. So that brings the cost down to $549.99 plus tax (that includes shipping).

$550 is a pretty f’ing good deal for this sucker… great printer (color laser, 25ppm B/W and 5ppm color) and an excellent copier/scanner. The fax version also has a 25 page auto-feeder for scanning/faxing/copying, but whatever… I don’t do that much, so. Either way, if anyone is thinking of getting a new printer any time soon, I would check this one out (especially before the instant rebate and free shipping expires).

Oh yeah, and it’s network capable, so you just need to plug it into your network switch/hub. :)

Random Email #23

An email I got today (the whole thing)…

I need spam! I am testing my e-mail and I need someone to send me tons of it!

What kind of whacko *wants* spam? If there was a way I could send you all my spam, you certainly would be welcome to it, but I’m not going to sift through and manually send you the 50,000 or so spams I get per month, sorry. :)

Poker

You know what’s an awesome feeling? When you have one of those nights when you play some poker and you can’t be beaten. :)

It’s fun when you dominate poker night (especially since it happens far and few between for me).

Forum Spy

I decided I didn’t have enough to do (that’s a joke BTW), so this morning I made a “spy” system for my forum (the general idea of course was borrowed from Digg). It’s “extra” slick in Firefox because of the fades and opacity ability Firefox has, but it still works in IE, Safari, etc…

It more or less lets you see what’s going on in the forum in realtime.

Check it out: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/spy.php

Unfortunately it also means that I’m still up right now and haven’t gone to bed yet. Goodnight! :)

Padres Win In The 10th

So I managed to get the kick-ass dugout seats again for a Padres game tonight, and the Padres won in the 10th inning again (they seem to do that every time I have dugout seats). :) It was a cool game, and the best part (like always with the dugout seats) is everything is free (food, beer, sushi, etc.). :)

Servers Have A Home – I Get Surgery

The new servers and equipment were installed into the data center yesterday (I also had to move the existing servers/equipment to a new rack), so everything is physically at the data center now (it’s not actually in USE yet, but at least it’s at a place where I can start moving stuff over to them).

Kind of funny to see a load of servers that’s worth 100x as much as the car they are in. :)


A long time ago (when I was 17) I ruptured my spleen and they had to cut through my stomach muscles for the surgery. Well, apparently I had a weak spot just under my belly button from when my stomach muscles were sewn back together where I got a little hernia from lifting the servers earlier (I didn’t even notice it until about 10 hours later). I noticed a little bulge and knew I probably had a hernia of some sort from lifting that crap. Anyway… I just got back from Urgent Care (it’s a 24/7 place you can go in case you don’t know). 5 hours, 1 CAT scan and 3,827 games of Bejeweled on my cell phone later, I found out that I have a little piece of fat that popped through that weak (remember the spleen thing?) point.

Not that big of a deal… they are going to call me when they can take care of it with a quick little surgery.

More importantly, the new servers are in (oh yeah, I said that). :)



A bit of a blurry picture, before the cables were tied up.
Image stolen from Julien, who helped me move and install servers today.

Update

Julien has a much more interesting account of it over here…

http://www.premiumposts.com/upgraded-to-dell-blade-servers/

Wow, I’m A Dork.

I guess it goes in waves… because last December, I was just saying I need to be more dorky. Well, I just looked over my blog from the last few weeks, and it seems I’ve inadvertently become very good at that… with all the, “blade servers this… MySQL that… load balancers this…” stuff.

The new servers and equipment are going to be installed tomorrow, so hopefully maybe I’ll have something a little less dorky to write about soon. Hmmm… maybe once the servers are in place, I’ll break down their cardboard boxes and have a break dancing contest on them. That’s the kind of stuff that cool kids do, right?

MySQL Failover Via Hardware Load Balancer

So I was thinking about maybe doing MySQL fault tolerance and load balancing through hardware load balancers by setting up a virtual cluster for database reads and another for database writes. We could setup 2 master servers in a circular replication, making sure you only actually write to one at a time (define one as a hot spare in the load balancer’s “DB write cluster”, then the backup master takes over writes only if the primary master is down). That part is no problem… I don’ t have any questions there. :)

Now, let’s say we have three MySQL slave DB servers that read from the master through the load balancer’s “DB write” connection (again, they would only be reading from one at a time). But what I want to know is what would happen to the slave servers if you fail over the master -> slave connection to a different physical master server. Is this going to cause problems with the MASTER_LOG_POS position on the slaves if they fail over to a different master server?

Does anyone know much about the inner workings of MySQL’s master/slave setup and what happens in the event of a MASTER_LOG_POS conflict? I’m just thinking it would be nice to have a truly redundant database setup that was handled 100% through hardware (load balancers).

If no one knows, I guess that will be something I’ll be testing later this week. :)

Update

How do you like my mad Photoshop skills? hah Thankfully I’m not a graphic artist for a living. I would be broke and hungry.

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ WDID!

The only thing that could should have held us up today as far as being issued building permits was the Waste Discharge Identification Number (see this post). But the county of San Diego agreed that we weren’t disturbing more than 1 acre, because landscaping isn’t a land disturbance (only the foundation, pool and driveway square footage count towards the 1 acre threshold).

So what does that mean? Well, it *should* have meant that we have building permits now, but instead… the county couldn’t find the permit number for the existing retaining wall that’s already on the site (they ended up finding it after a few hours of looking, but they didn’t find it until 5 minutes before they closed). So hopefully when Mike goes back to county tomorrow they will still know where it is and issue us permits.

Servers Are Close

The new servers will be going into the data center this week (Monday if I can coordinate it), so we are close (finally!).

Just got some stuff fine-tuned with them today… wrote a cluster-copy and cluster-exec app for copying stuff across all blades and executing something on all blades. Made an init.d script that alters the routing table at boot (for this) and also chooses which services to run based on an environment variable. So now I can change the “job” of a blade just by setting the environment variable.

Update

New servers and equipment are going to be put in the data center tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

I Hate Networks

“Hate” is a strong word, but in this case I think it’s appropriate…

I’m so f’ing sick of trying to screw around with network/routing problems with the new servers that I’m thinking about selling all my computers and going into construction.

Trying to fix arp routing issues is more than I ever wanted to know about networking… For example:

Jun 17 10:31:38 lb1 /kernel: arp: 192.168.1.20 is on em1 but got reply from 00:07:e9:xx:xx:xx on em0
Jun 17 10:32:13 lb1 last message repeated 63 times
Jun 17 10:34:13 lb1 last message repeated 157 times

Well that’s just super awesome… how about you just stop replying to the wrong network you little bitch of a server???!!?

The problem is that server A needs to talk to server B, but only THROUGH a local “gateway” (the gateway is a hardware load balancer). So fine… Server A goes through the gateway no problem. The gateway talks to server B no problem, but then server B tries to respond to server A directly (since it’s local) instead of going back through the gateway, and then server A doesn’t know where in the hell this incoming traffic is from because it never talked to server B (directly) to start with.

Computers are gay sometimes.

Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department

Guess what? The fire department gave their stamp of approval without any changes needed. So now we go back to the city on Monday and get the last 8 things checked off (over the counter). One of the eight items has not been completed yet (we need a Waste Discharge Identification Number (WDID) obtained from the State Water Resources Control Board since the area of land disturbance is more than 1 acre. This basically just tells the state that there might be a lot of water usage in the storm drainage system during construction I guess. {shrug}

We should have the WDID number in 10 days or so… so we’ll know Monday if the city will be nice and give us permits without it (yet) or if we just need to sit and wait another 10 days for the WDID number.

Random Email #21

Another random email (in it’s entirety)…

Someone stole my company, why I was a way.We move El Tigere’ Paint and Body. Money opened it ,my contacts,my account’s. They still using my tax I.D.# and my credit but the bills are coming to me. My DBA

What in the hell? How did someone “steal” your company, and what exactly did you want me to do about it for you?

MySQL Clustering

Okay… MySQL Cluster (the storage engine) kind of sucks IMO. It’s terribly annoying that you can’t alter the DB schema of anything running it (even more annoying is that you can’t alter the schema of a database that’s NOT using ndbcluster, but just exists in the same mysqld process). So I think I’m done with it (at least until they fix that and some other annoying thing).

So now I’m back to designing a MySQL Cluster using traditional storage engines (MyISAM and InnoDB). So let’s start with 4 DB servers and circular replication. (A -> B -> C -> D -> A). Okay… no problem there, especially now that MySQL has the following two variables (since 5.0.2) to prevent AUTO_INCREMENT collisions:

auto_increment_increment
auto_increment_offset

Okay, cool… just pipe MySQL client connections through the load balancers, and let it handle the failover/load balancing if needed.

But here’s the problem… if one of the servers fail, the replication chain is broken. For example if server B fails, C and D would never see anything that happened on server A. Not good.

So what about sending the replication network traffic through the load balancers as well? Then you could setup something like so: C replicates from B normally, but if B fails, then C replicates from A (automatically happening by routing replication traffic through load balancer).

Now I’m curious is if the load balancer network routing is fast enough to handle the interconnectivity of all the DB servers. I guess I’ll know soon enough (hopefully all the new equipment will be installed tomorrow or Friday).

Update

You know what would make everything really easy? If you could have more than 1 master server.

Wiggly Is Drunk

I really don’t know why I find this 3 second video so funny, but I do, so here you go. :)

My cat (Wiggly) is always falling off stuff (monitors, computers, shelves, etc.) because he falls asleep and then just falls off stuff. This certainly isn’t the funniest one I’ve seen of him falling off stuff, but it’s the only one I managed to get on film.

I Figured Out Where My Car Is

Okay, so you know how my car got stolen a few weeks ago? I just had an epiphany and realized what really happened to it…

The MPAA/Universal Studios hired someone to steal my car. They didn’t do it because just want to annoy me or because they thought it had anything cool in it (which it didn’t… except for my sunglasses). Nope… the real reason is they want to see if I would lie to my insurance company to try and claim I had other stuff in it which I didn’t, then have my car magically turn up with whatever stuff they were hoping I would claim not there. Then they could somehow use that against me to show my “bad character”. :)

Disclaimer

In case you are brain-dead, this is a JOKE by the way. As much as I would *love* for it to somehow be true (man that would be hilarious), I don’t REALLY think the MPAA stole my car. :)

So everyone reading this can just take your panties out of a bunch… this is a work of fiction out of my overly active imagination, and as far as I know has no truth at all to it.

Oh… speaking of my car, it looks like it’s going to be around 7 weeks before I have a replacement. I had to put in a special order to get the exact one I had before (color and options), so they have to build it especially for me. Lame.

$9,800 Shoes

I was in Vegas yesterday (as I still am today), and I decided that since I was terribly bored with nothing to do, I would go see if I could bang out some clothes shopping (hey, I hate it, so why not do it when I have nothing else to do?)… So I walked down to The Forum at Caesars Palace. By the time I got there, I was thinking I need some sneakers… something more comfortable to walk long distances in (I was wearing flip-flop sandals). I found a cool pair of shoes, but uhm… they were $9,800 sneakers (no joke dude!).

Needless to say, I went to the Kenneth Cole store across the way and got some shoes that looked exactly the same for $98 (exactly 100x less expensive).

I’m Invincible

I had breakfast with Matt on Saturday, and on our way back to my place, some lady fell asleep at the wheel and rear-ended us pretty hard. No screeching tires or anything to warn us of the impact, she just unexpectedly slammed into the back of us. We were in a big car (GMS Yukon thank God), stopped at a stop light and she hit us so hard that we hit the car in front of us hard enough that the car in front of us hit the car in front of them. Weeeee…. dominos! :)

I took a picture of the lady’s car with my cell phone, but hopefully someone will send me a better picture of the car and I’ll post it.

Anyway, amazingly enough I feel fine. I was a little stiff the next morning (yesterday), but it just felt like I had a good day of hard snowboarding the day before or something. And today, I don’t even have that.

So I’m thinking maybe I’m invincible… no really. :)

Golf

I’m still an amazing golfer, but since Julien doesn’t have as many people reading his blog as I do, I figured I better give him a plug on his golf game today. He shot 38 (vs. my 48) on the front 9. It got too dark to play the the last 3 or 4 holes, and that’s when I was planning on mounting my comeback. So whatever…

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I ran across a funny news article this morning… basically two lawyers have to play rock, paper, scissors to resolve their disputes. :)

Faced with the inability of two bickering attorneys to resolve even the most innocuous scheduling questions without his intervention, a Florida federal judge yesterday ordered the two to meet on the steps of the federal courthouse and resolve their latest quarrel by playing “one (1) game of ‘rock, paper, scissors.’ ” (Read the ruling.)

Judge Gregory A. Presnell of Orlando ordered the unusual measure, which he characterized as “a new form of alternative dispute resolution,” after the two Tampa attorneys had proven unable to agree upon where to hold a deposition, even though both of their offices are just four floors away in the very same building in Tampa.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/07/magazines/fortune/rps_fortune/

You can find the original ruling over here.

I’m Destroying The Movie Industry

One of the allegations of the whole MPAA lawsuit is that I’m more or less destroying the movie industry because I allegedly downloaded a movie that I own.

So here’s two pictures of some DVDs I own in my living room. I don’t even feel like counting how many movies I have (maybe someone reading this will do it for me and post a comment letting me know how many), but I’m guessing well over 200. The dumbest thing is that of the movies I own, I’ve probably watched (in its entirety) 40 of them. And I’m guessing that 50+ of them, I’ve never even put in a DVD player to TRY to watch (I just don’t have the time to watch TV/movies anymore… but it’s nice to have them in case you ever have nothing else to do… like on a plane).

When it really comes down to it, I’ve probably spent $5,000+ on DVDs that I never watch more than once (and in most cases, never at all) because I’m too lazy to make two trips to Blockbuster (one to rent and then again to return it). And since I buy movies (but don’t immediately watch them), sometimes I forget which movies I already own, so I end up with 2 copies (see 2nd picture).

So uhm… if I’m damaging the movie industry, who in the heck is supporting it? Hell, I support the movie industry so much that I be willing to feed (okay, buy dinner) some movie stars (see this post).


BTW… when shopping for furniture, I realized that entertainment center/media storage units was the hardest stuff to find when looking for something that is quality. So if you are ever looking for good stuff, check out Salamander Designs (Synergy line for me). Good stuff.

This Is What Blade Servers Look Like

I’ve had a few people email me asking for a picture of the new blade servers that are going to be taking over as web/database servers for digitalpoint.com soon…

So uhm… here is what they look like right now sitting on the floor in my spare bedroom.

From top to bottom, we have a 48 port gigabit switch (there is also a rack-mounted redundant power supply for the switch that I haven’t unpacked yet), 2 load balancers (one is a hot spare), then the good stuff… a blade chassis with 10 loaded blades. Total weight… more than a quarter ton. :)

I made all those stupid Ethernet cables by hand which was a pain! (okay, that’s a lie… I think Scott made one or two for me)

So what is in the blade chassis? 20 dual-core 2.8Ghz Xeon processors (112Ghz total), 120GB RAM, 20 x 146GB 15,000 rpm drives (2.9TB total). All 10 blades are running SuSE Linux Enterprise. This should be enough power to run my blog for awhile (hehe… kidding).

Random Email #20

Another random email (in it’s entirety)…

Wow, you are very unprofessional, I am sure that is why you sit at home with momy still at the age of 30 plus trying your best to run what you probably tell everyone is a business from your messy bedroom at momys house, I understand, I was there about 10 years ago, now I make over 200k annually. I doubt you will ever get there for the simple fact that you have no professionalism in your blood. Too bad for you. I own more than 8 successfull websites that pull in over 30k annually, I was considering advertising here during my marketing campaign, but you suck so that opportunity is gone for you. Ooops! ha, ha, let that digest for a few days, then get back to me mamas boy!

I can’t even think of anything to say about this one. But I *do* know it was cracking me up (really). heh

Although I must say… $200k/year is a truly amazing amount of income… ;)

I’m An Amazing Golfer

Today I beat my best golf score ever by about 20 strokes. I even had 2 birdies (I’ve only had 1 ever in my life before today).

So the plan is to improve by 20 strokes every game I play from here on out. Until I just start getting more eagles than not.

First Blade Is Good To Go

Okay, I think I’m relatively happy with how the first blade is configured for the new servers. So I split the RAID mirror today, and put one of the drives into the second blade and am letting them rebuild their RAID mirrors onto 2 new drives. So soon I’ll have 4 hard drives with the configuration/install, at which point I’ll have 8 blades build new mirrors. And just repeat that process until all 10 blade servers are up and running with the configuration (and then mirrored to each blade’s secondary drive for redundancy).

Either way, that means we are getting close to the blade servers being ready to go into the data center.

Update

Dude, why does it take so long for a 146GB drive to rebuild in a RAID mirror (it takes like 6-8 hours)?? This is an annoying waiting game… 6 blades are live with the configuration (all rebuilding the configuration to blank drives) at this point though. So 4 of those blanks (when done) will go into the last 4 blades, then a final rebuild so all blades have everything mirrored. I guess that’s 2 more rebuild passes to go… So maybe the blades will be ready for the data center tomorrow night.

mpt-status For SuSE Linux

mpt-status is a command line utility to check the RAID status for LSI 1030 RAID controllers. Now can someone tell me why in the hell SuSE Linux Enterprise bothers to come with a version of mpt-status that doesn’t work with the Linux kernel that SuSE Linux uses???

It’s basically like bundling some application with Windows XP, but the application only works on Windows 98 or earlier.

Really annoying man…

After an hour of screwing around with it, I finally got it to work (I intentionally broke the RAID mirror to test the rebuild)…

# mpt-status
ioc0 vol_id 0 type IM, 2 phy, 136 GB, state DEGRADED, flags ENABLED RESYNC_IN_PROGRESS
ioc0 phy 0 scsi_id 0 SEAGATE ST3146854LC D403, 136 GB, state ONLINE, flags OUT_OF_SYNC
ioc0 phy 1 scsi_id 1 SEAGATE ST3146854LC D403, 136 GB, state ONLINE, flags NONE

Now if it would just tell me what percentage of the resync is done… Oh well, can’t have EVERYTHING I guess. :)

Update

I should have also mentioned you need to run the following command to register the RAID controller with the kernel…

/sbin/modprobe mptctl