Computer issues…

This has not been my week, earlier this week my DSL suddenly dropped out, and a day later it seems it re-emerged on a completely different netblock. That meant I had to update all my dns zones, and some configs. It’s still not all recovered (SIDN) but most of it seemed to work. So yesterday I noticed that my main server was really slow… and then I mean _REALLY_ slow. hdparm -tT reported speeds around 2 and 10 MB… as opposed to 20/100. The system load hadn’t been under 10 for a while too, and that caused lots of problems in the mail-reception and spam-filtering, as these chicken-out when the load is too high. I couldn’t pinpoint the problem as the disks seemed to be working correctly (according to ide-smart, which runs tests daily).

I decided to reboot the system, as it was swapping a lot. After taking more then 10 minutes to shut down it wouldn’t boot again, because the first harddisk. Since this disk only housed my boot-loader I removed it, and booted via a grub-floppy. The system came up again, but still took about 30 minutes to get to the login prompt. Obviously something was still very wrong.

I decided to remove the rack of disks that housed the raid array for the boot and data drives, and place them in a spare system. So I took an old celery 450 I had lying around, ripped out it’s guts (cd, disc and modem) and put in a IDE-controller and USB/Firewire card, re-connected the raid-array, put in the grub-floppy and turned it on.


After frantically pushing the power button for a minute it seemed it was really not my lucky day. Some further frankenstein-like surgery later I deducted that the power-supply of my temporary host system was fried, so some more hacking was required to replace it with the much larger supply from my original server.

Now I’m running on the powersupply and disks of the old system, with the main-board, cpu and memory of the old celery. The system looks like it exploded, parts all over the place, more outside the case then in it (it’s a pizzabox model).

I hope to be able to order some new kit during the next weeks, so I can get a decent server up again. In the meantime i’ll be filtering through the 2000+ mails that the spamfilter hasn’t checked. If you’ve sent me a message over the past 2 weeks and I haven’t responded yet… please re-send it, as it got lost in the spams. 

Update:So about an hour later I start smelling something burning… I take a close look at the franken-puter and see that the power-supply fan has stopped, the power supply is warming up nicely. It seems it’s really not my day, and more surgery is required. I’ve not attached a replacement 12cm fan on the outside of the power-supply. Let’s hope this one lasts for a month or so till I get new gear…

Stemmen op papier

Vandaag was het zover, de tweedekamer verkiezingen. Ik had dit jaar eens besloten om eens stemtourist te spelen, en in Zoeterwoude-dorp te gaan stemmen, lekker ouderwets (of juist nieuwerwets) met potlood en papier. In Zoetermeer gebeurt dit al sinds jaar en dag via de stemcomputer, en zoals ook meldt, is dat niet ideaal 🙂 Hierbij wat fototjes van dit uitstapje, wat volgede keer zeker herhaald zal worden, best leuk zo stemmen in een dorpje.

Connection trouble… is xs4all still as good as they were

Yesterday night I lost my dsl connection again, luckily it happened about 5 minutes after I logged out from World of Warcraft, when I was about to go to bed. Thinking it might be scheduled maintenance (it was past midnight) I didn’t think much of it, went to bed, and would worry about it in the morning.
This morning I walked to my modem, still seeing my line-sync light blinking… I was a bit more worried, so far connection issues had sorted themselves out within an hour or so, and i’ve never had to powercycle my modem or anything to get it back up. I decided to give it a boot anyway, but that didn’t seem to help. Decided to have breakfast first and call the helldesk when I got to work. Before I left home I spotted that I had managed to get a line-sync again, but still no connectivity on the IP level 🙁
When I called XS4all that morning it took a while for them to figure out what kind of problem they were tackling here, and would e-mail me back when they found anything, still without any connection I got back to work. Later during the day Willow noticed that her irc client was (still?) online, but from a foreign IP. It seems my line had been migrated (again) without any message from either xs4all or babyxl/tiscali-wholesale. After confirming that that foreign IP was infact connected to my own router, and logging in on it I was able to reconfigure my firewall to allow actual traffic to flow again between my network and the intarweb. Now comes the irritating job of reconfiguring all my DNS zones and IP lists and memorizing the new IP… ugh… thanks XS4all.

So…in case you’re wondering why my site is acting weird, my mail is not getting through or my icq/msn is offline… that was it… and I hope I can get most of it fixed tonight or tomorrow.

Good ext2/3 FS driver for win32 systems

I ran into this windows IFS driver for ext2 filesystems today, it can read and write the most important parts of ext2/3, and makes the linux filesystems available as regular windows drives. You can even use them to store large files, so you no longer need ntfs for that, and can share your movies/iso’s/mp3’s between OS’s without having to resort to crappy vfat/fat filesystems.
I’ve played around with it for a bit, and it seems to work very well.