Older blog entries for Bryce (starting at number 109)

Doh,.. feking station I used last night didn't delete the security cookie 8/

Making plans on something evil to do to dwmw2 later,..

PS it WILL be evil

Plan has been executed,.. he was suitibly... punished 8)
The unexpected scream I just heard makes me chuckle,.. even _A_ came over to find out what the fuss was about *chuckle*

Weel that day started well enough,.. breakfast at the hotel which as it turns out isn't fantasic but it is passible. I think tomorros breakfast will be in the shopping centre's breakfast area as it seems to have a better selection than the hotel's,.. and looks cheaper.

Sat through Ted's talk on Linux filesystems which was okish but pitched a bit too low for myself. Nothing new or surprising. Thats not to say other people got something out of it though.

Lunch in the shopping centre, consisted mainly of a burgerm fries and a coke, a step down from yesterdays fried rice, sweat/sour chicken balls and ginger beef. however, it's cheap ($6 Canadian).

Got back and sat through Sct's talk on ext3 which was well received, however, having used ext3 at home a bit, no real surprises.

I was going to go to the JFS for linux from IBM talk, however, having tackled the speaker before going in to ask what the itenery of issues he was going to cover was, I realise that I'd be wasting my time. All those years of using JFS under AIX may eventually be put to use again 8) and even better, this time I'll know if JFS or the kernel or userspace is to blame for any problems.

(reeddited from last night)


Woke up early,.. (good)
Rushed off to the airport, spent 10 minutes on getting there looking for a car parking slot. Got on the waiting bus and waited....and waited,.. and waited.

20 minutes later the bus makes a break for to driver off to the terminal. Arrived 5 minutes later to discover a **HUGE** backlog of passangers at the checkin desk and the flight about 15 minutes away from departing,.. (bugger) made dash for the upstairs booking desk. Made the flight (just) only because they were calling from the desk for any remaining passangers for Ottowa to please step forward,.. (skipped about 150 people in the queue!)

<The flight was uneventful, and the on board meal was erm,.. I guess it was breakfast (just had the yogart)

Got into the Ottowa airport 10 minutes early, and looked around for a cash machine. I halfway expected it not to accept my bank cards up here, but it did. Having never been in Canada, I was surprised that the currancy features the Queens head on it's currancy. Ok, they drive on the wrong side of the road still but it gives Canada a feeling of being the 1/2 way house between the US and the UK....(even if French is spoken a bit too often here 8) )

Got on the Airport hotel bus, and waited,... and waited,...eand waited 25 minutes later the driver finally decides that no one else is going to jump on and drives off. Happily he did actually deliver me directly to the front doors of the OLS show 8) so that was a bonus.

Got show ticket (hurragh), however, the registration was supposed to be from 09:00 but the doors didn't open till 10:30 through some problem or other. Given the speed of registration ~4 minutes a person, not every one was registered before the first keynote speah. oops 8)

Got sortted out for accomodation! (hurragh!) dwmw2 has offered up one of the spare rooms in the hotel which has sortted out the immeadiate problem. Very kind of him.

Listened to Migel's keynote speack making some WHOPPING stupid generalizations and enemies 8) I bet you the press go to town over it. Hope he likes stress 8)

Errm,. lots of people to meet,.. Oddly and alarmingly, most of them recognized me on sight. My reputation preceeds me. I dunno if thats a good thing
Lots of talks,.. some intresting material

Went out for lunch with _A_ at the shopping centre's local chineese style bar, caught up on UK happenings.

More talks,..


Went to the keynote address by Maddog which was okish, however, technology failure meant that the microphone wasn't working and it was a bit difficult to hear what he had to say. After the keynote, there was much milling around and meeting people (again). Next OLS, I'll just send my reputation 8)

Late meal out with some of my irc friends. Lots of non linux discussions which was a pleasent change. You can't talk linux ALL day (and night)

Went back to the Hotel about 02:30 and crashed out.... another day bekons.



Errm I got distracted.
Cunched on kernel code until 4:30 in the morning from thursday

Collected Airline tickets for OLS. Not much else happened and as I was tired I went home,.. and well erm fell asleep!


Slept in. (joy)

MP3'd the Earth Final Conflict Album... when I came across from the UK, the baggage handlers managed to shatter a number of my audio CD's 8(
since then I have made mp3 'backups' to guard against this as two of them were actually quite hard to get a hold of.

Compiled up 2.4.0-test4 for the alpha. Made some fixes to the kernel to get it to compile (mutter, who deleted KFDS_NR?). Played with the USB on the Alpha a bit more.

The OHCI driver now seems able to work properly with the Opti USB card I put in the sx164. Having fudged the ov511 driver to NOT include floating point operators in the compiled code, I now have a working webcam. Unfortuntely the light levels in the apt. are a bit low. I shall have to get a decent lamp of some description and try and get a few shots of the erm tidy erm,.. kitchen/bathroom/bedroom so that mum knows I'm not living in squallar (ahem).

Still have the problem of making the Cypress do something useful.

Biggest issue at hand is to either a) disable the cypress USB or b) assign it a sane IRQ. Disabling it is the easiest to do however that makes the DS20's completely useless. Assigning a sane IRQ is going to take some fiddling due to a rather odd configuration cycle the cypress insists on doing.

Got lost in the kernel. Gave up and went out to watch the X-men movie with the rest of the RHAT people. It was an ok movie, but nothing to write home about. Probably the hype killed it for me. The plot as such, was to weak and transparent. Sooner or later Hollywood will start having to review all the old B&W films for decent storyline plots. I think Turner Classic Movies on cable is trying to revive that market. Definitely needs to show more wartime B&W movies 8) they at least had plot and didn't need special effects beyond cardboard cutouts for sinking ships 8)


Another lie in (Yaaa!)
ZenI seems to be unused at UWE now, so I sent out a teaser to Al that it might be recoverable by himself as I doubt Telsa wants yet another stray system appearing at home.

Looked at yesterdays fiddling with the kernel and wondered if I was still asleep when I wrote it.

Did some online accounting. Cashflow due to OLS is badly negitive. Looks like beans on toast for the next month.


In early, the I40 again shows it's dual nature as a highway and as a parking lot. Fortunately petrol is going down again and I saw the Exxon garage selling it for $1.49 a gallon.

Was going to go to the shops but got engrossed in coding again 8/ by the time I looked up, it was 23:20. This was really bad because I'd run out of diet coke and milk 8/
Made a resolution to buy in a lot more tomorrow

I was appraised of some nasty workings in the anti spam relay war. Seems that MAPS and ORBS are at each others throats causeing all kinds of merry hell. Well I always knew Paul Vixie was an evil person. After all he inflicted DNS upon the world, that horrible system that I had to administrate while I was at IBM. Nowadays of course it's ballooned out into the commercial hell that is NSI. Even more fun there 8/


Did some preliminary packing for OLS, by no means done, however, it is a start.

Looks like we lost power during the night as I came in and found my work machines rebooted. Spent some time under the desk rewiring the UPS.

Noticed that there was a large influx of new Advogato accounts today but this advogato entry gives a possible insight as to why. thought I doubt it's the full reason.

I see quite a number of people have made it up to OLS already. Strategically speaking, most of the main linux developers are in one place at one time. I'll be on the lookout for mysterious black boxes with flashing LED's in the conferance hall.... nothing to see here, move along,...

Since I'll be getting up at 05:00 tomorrow, I think I'll be haing an early night. Must make sure I leave in a tape in the VCR for while I'm away.

Should be back Sunday night.

Subnote: I am well aware of what other people say/do in the community 8)
I just don't let on that I do. You would be likely embarrased by how much I know at a sociological level.


One more day to pay day.

Played more with the Alpha at home. USB sorta works now, however the code thats written is dreadful. Dropped a note on the Alpha newsgroup to see is anyone was aware of any other IO chipset API/Compaq are using on the motherboards. With luck(?) it's simply the two revisions of the same end of lined chipset. Debugging a PCI device is fun

[root@alpha /root]# lspci
00:05.0 ISA bridge: Contaq Microsystems 82c693
00:05.1 IDE interface: Contaq Microsystems 82c693
00:05.2 IDE interface: Contaq Microsystems 82c693
00:05.3 USB Controller: Contaq Microsystems 82c693

[root@alpha /root]# od -t x1 /proc/bus/pci/00/05.3 0000000 80 10 93 c6 07 00 80 02 00 10 03 0c 08 f8 80 00 etc....

Working through the bytes to work out what way the PCI is configured can warp my little brain. Not for the faint hearted but quite fun when matching up whats on the chipset dataset paper. Kernel recompilations need to be faster. Reminds me of the fun days I had at Uni doing digital systems in the lab. Course there, drawing 13 AMPS though a CPU was more fun. (Subnote for ajv, get me some chip numbers or datasheets on the PCMCIA kit and I'll see what I can do)

Got in by 10:00ish today probably beacause I was up til 03:40 fiddling with the Alpha. I need to get a 2nd UK keyboard,.. The first one I got over from _A_ (danke) I use at work. I wonder if I can entice my former work mates in IBM to send over a nice positive keyclick UK keyboard, same one as I used to use with the RS6000 (not the new style ones which I disliked). I like keyboards that I can hear a positive response from while I type,.. they may be noisey but at least I know that I typed in the letters 8)
Still hopeful Compaq/API will notice me one day and send a spare Alpha... The developer program they cite at alpha processor is out of my price range,.. heck anything over $500 is out of my price range for a good while... incidentally 64Mb on an Alpha UP1000 is pathetic,.. heck the sx164 I have has 384Mb on it and 40Gb (ok so it's 2 IDE disks)

Somebody did a wonderful thing... somebody tidied up the test lab. No longer is it a death trap of IBM Netfinitity servers that lurk with their tendrils of cable used to snare their prey (techies). There is now a large open space in the lab,.. I bet that lasts all of 2 weeks before it's consumed by Dell or IBM equipment

Because of a deperate need for it in AU, I munched all of the RHAT AU bandwidth to send over a CD ISO though I had to bounce through ZenII to do it 8/
Something is broken in the Asian network that won't allow direct comms from the US->AU though UK->AU was fine.

Nearly skipped dinner again but Keith twisted my arm to go to Wendy's to get a burger... I'm wondering how much objection would be raised if I tried to order in a pizza next time 8)

The saga with OLS seems to be that there is a ticket available,.. just where from I dunno exactly. ajh let slip that I may be required to make the OLS DNS work,... (I just *knew* there was an alterior motive at work)
I'm flying up July 19th at 07:15AM from RDU(Raleigh) arriving at YOW(Ottawa) at 09:10AM [Flight number CP 4033], returning July 23rd [YOW(19:15) -> RDU(21:10)]. Now al I need to work out is accomodation and what to bring along with me.

Watched AT&T stock smack into a yearly low again. Also the redhat employee stock trade window closed today.

ZenII seems to be stable again (hurragh). ZenI seems to have fallen into disuse. I wonder if _A_ needs another server to help keep the celler dry. If not, I guess Al would be semi intrested in recovering the HW.

Looks like I may have a lot of web work to do in the near future,.. *cackle*


Collected my mail last night and to my surprise, the Wachovia home banking account details had finally arrived having been stamped about 6 times with 'Resend' over the front.

Spent a merry 2 hours fiddling with the account, assigning memo tags to various transactions from the previous month. The cashflow option is telling me things that aren't pleasent 8/
Fortunatly(?) there was about $900 of one time charges or I'd have been VERY worried. Paid off the CC bill, rebalanced the savings account etc.

Got in early < 08:00. Meeting at 10:00 didn't happen. Made the mistake of answering emails at a technical level and ended up writing novels on Alpha installations.

Booked a flight to OLS ($555 USD), however, I may cancel as the last remaining available ticket for RHAT no longer exists and the cost of a ticket to get in is a further $205. OLS may become a financial nightmare however there is substantial peer pressure for me to go.

Lunch today ended up being a sandwich at the deli bar.

More email.... I wonder would anyone notice if I just ignored the emails. Unfortunately for me, I'm handicapped by a guilt complex if I don't respond.

Oooh,.. the colour printer I ordered came today ($99 for a Lexmark OptraCOLOR 40 - a colour PCL5(emu)/Postscript level 2 printer). Much head scratching at how to insert the ink cartridges which according to the manual you can only do from software (how utterly STUPID for there to be no manual console method). This turns out to be untrue but I'm sure the warrenty is void now. Having said all that, the test printing I finally got out of it was quite good, though there was a little banding of the print towards the bottom half of the test page.

Watched the share price of RHAT crash into the floor again. My share options are worth nothing again. Bah.

Got email from mum again. Looks like the mysterious lack of service from BT is working again..

Fecking useless Telco(tm)


Recovering from Sunday (didn't feel too good all day (headache)) Oh look,.. a "Red Hat Unveils Linux Clustering Solution" announcement. Ok, so I knew exactly when this was going to appear. Now I have to go find a rock to go hide under. Some the business/marketting wording makes me cringe though it's all justifiable. (just). Did a load of support email for the business people, the marketting people and the road show people. Various meetings.

Skipped lunch,. the normal lunch crowd wanted to go to a sushi bar,....

I can tell it's a Monday. finally got home to check my mailbox for useful things like the ****ing home banking account details that I was ****ing promised would be there on friday. Guess what! it's not there,.. what a damned surprise. <FUME>


Aftermarth of yesterdays HA announcement seems to be slowly dribbling in. Nothing from the security peon groups. Joy. Similarly I've heard bugger all from the press. I guess I'm happy with that.

Since HA 1.0 went out the door I've been tearing into the product again with an editor. I'm making some core design changes that I really wish had been available to put in the product launch which we couldn't because we 'froze' the code for QA testing months ago. So to make up for that lost time I'm ripping into the current product with a certain fever. Too much lost time.

Skipped lunch again. Trust me. This is no big deal,.. not for another month 8)

Made a massive CVS commit. CVS predictibly got confused when I went to check it all back out in a new tree but it seems to have survived. I trust CVS about as far as I trust a seive to hold water (note, you can get a seive to hold water (non frozen) umm $1 prize for the first person who emails me how 8) if not I'll demonstrate at OLS)

Was approached by ajh to evict me from RHAT to go to OLS. The major reason why I wasn't going initially was that Red Hat wished to send me to LinuxExpo 2000 which meant about a weeks worth of lost engineering work. OLS will cost ~3 engineering days (though I tend to work Sat) so that argument has been addressed and my sleep quota has ben reduced accordingly. I still have to book a flight and worry about things like, 'do I have to call up the INS?' 'do I have a ticket for the show itself?' and 'which cardboard box am I sleeping in'. I think the last day I can prebook a flight is Friday, so some fast organization needs doing. A cursory browse of flight costs is somewhere around the $540 mark (damned tax).

Some internal decisions look likely to fracture my rose tinted glasses view of the world. DOH.

Made XFree86's MesaGL work properly under the Alpha by very simply replacing the Xfree86 4.0.1 version of mesa with the Mesa 3.2 tarball package from www.mesa3d.org
XFree86's 4.0.1 version would seem to be hosed


Spent most of saturday in the apt. Made an excursion into the shopping centre for to get a cable splitter and a second cable which gets around an serious annoyance with the cable setup. Also bought a couple of DVD's while I was there (Stargate and Eye of the beholder).

Having recabled the TV setup in such a manner that it now works again (cough, ahem..) I had a shot at trying to get the modem working with the mindspring account I extorted from Steve on friday. Some initial trouble with pppd dying randomly on sig 15 however a recompile of pppd seems to have nailed that one.

Vegitated in front of the TV.


Woke up late (hurragh)
Did a load of reading on the Cypress IO chipset. The datasheet is quite straightforward though some areas leave a little bit of liberal thinking.

Hacked on the ov511 usb driver a bit as it does funny things under the alpha. Issues are unresolved with this but it's getting there.

Bought a Belkin USB direct connect module. This is for future playing with the cable box (Muhahah...)

Watched Eye of the beholder. Very strange movie. Likely not everyones taste, heck, likely not very many people at all. Quite well shot and lots of technically excellent merging of shots, some semi decent music but the story revolves around a obcessed bloke haunted by visions of his dead daughter. The ending was quite poor.

Got a phonecall from Mum. Seems dwmw2's problems are spreading and Mum can no longer get back online. I suspect BT have fouled up again and not charged my account for the money to the ISP service. Now I have to try and find out how to reactivate that account if possible and indead, what the account name at BT was.

Fecking useless telco (tm)


Came in dead early to do a load of HTML work (ie before 08:00) only to find that some contruction work across the road had cut through the power lines to RHAT. As a result every UPS in RHAT was merrily bleeping/screaching which was an intresting experiance.

Typically when power was restored, (many hours later) many machines were left with munched FS's and quite a few of the main servers were unavailable while manual intervention was sought.

Time Warner have caught on I had access to a load of other channels and quickly switched them off. I've phoned to complain that the remote they left for to use with the cable box is broken. Dunno if I'll get a replacement today or on monday. Bah.

Hasseled IS to find out why a request for an account with the local ISP was still outstanding, so having gone in person and stood looking scarey at poor Steve I now have an issued account. I'll be playing with that tonight trying to get it to work. Bet you I manage to lockout the account.


The control for the cable box acted up horribly last night. From what I can gather, it looks like either there is a dry solder joint on the control pad or it's been misused and refurbished with a crack in the keypad tracking. The upshot being that 5, 7, 8, 9, 0 and a few other important keys don't work. I'll need to hassle Time Warner about this. Then again I appear to have every possible channel they provide now even though I signed up for the HBO channels only ... ummmm

A further annoyance is that the cable box has a cable in and cable out connector for the VCR, what it doesn't do is allow the orignal cable feed through so the VCR is completely bloody useless to record anything. Now I'm aware that I'll have to aquire one of these IR 'mouse' modules for the cablebox to control the VCR, but dear god, what a messy setup. I now have

Finally Wachovia got their act together and have reissued the home banking password for my account aving spent months buggering around giving different excuses. The excuse I got this time was 'The post office said the address was wrong' which is odd because I've been getting statements from them since day one to the correct address. Muppets.

On the way back from the bank I noticed that petrol prices have started to fall, evn if only marginally (down 2cents/gal). THATS something you'd be unlikely to see in the UK.

I have upgraded the kernel from 2.2.14 -> 2.2.16 on ZenII, however, I seem to have killed the machine 8/. I suspect it hung on going down or worse the ATX powersupply may have turned itself off. So I guess a 'magic finger' is required. *mutter*.

SteveC gets the 'man of the moment' award for rebooting the box (30 minutes later). As it turns out, although I'd built the RAID options in the 2.2.16 kernel I was blissfully unaware that the RAID in use was based on mingo's RAID patches. Consequently when the box rebooted, it attempted to load the RAID and choked. Bugger...
I've since pulled those patches down and built a new kernel, however, given how late it is in the UK I've held of on another reboot if only to let SteveC get some sleep. SteveC is off to the UKUUG for the next couple of days so I guess a reboot won't be on the cards till monday.

Need to buy some food so didn't stay at work beyond 21:15


No email.
Thats expcted since I came in yesterday and killed off all outstand email items.

dwmw2 pointed out to me that there was an SRM update available for the Alpha (SRM v5.7-1). So I Flashed the Alpha to see if it would do anything saner with the USB. It didn't.

Looks like I'm going to have to learn kernel PCI interrupt management because the USB portion of the cypress IO chip expects you to tell it what irq it should be responding on. Random selection of irq's would be a bad thing and I'm not terribly convinced that the SRM firmware is PnP capable. I just hope someone has written a nice PnP style irq registation routine in the kernel bootup.

My friend Al seems to be having fun back in the UK. In many ways it would have ben nice to stick around in Bristol and do work there. On the bonus side, he haas promised he's coming across to visit for a week so thats something to look forward to. Least his career life is moving foward and he seem happy. Intregingly he's mentioned Compaq clustering being used at his workplace which I'd be intrested in hearing about.

Time Warner made a very quick visit after an initial 'I'd just like to ask if digital cable is available..' email I sent yesterday. I now have a digital cable box perched atop my growing tower of video equipment. (ummm all I asked was...)
On the fun side, the cable box has a USB port on the back (evil chuckle) however I have to rethink my cabling stratagy as recording shows on the VCR are going to become a bit more messy.

So it looks like I can get digital. This means I could sign up for the RoadRunner Internet service, however, I dunno If I can justify the extra $39 a month to have it. I'm doubly unsure if it's wise to have it at home as I'd probably regress to boarding up the windows and doors and ordering pizza through the letterbox. On the plus side it would mean I could maybe work from home in the mornings until the morning traffic abates. There is still no word on the mindspring ISP account that I asked from from IS so I may well be forced to pursue the RoadRunner option. Time to buy shares in Pizza Hut or similar.

I now have *3* Alphas on my desk,.. this is getting silly. If this continues I'll be looking to move into the games room to setup a mini test lab. Blame _Elrond. More testing..... The kernel group are going to hate me soon.

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