Recent blog entries for miah

Well, I finally went to microcenter and exchanged the CPU. So far the system hasn't kernel panic'd once. I've recompiled lots of packages, with the other cpu, it was panicing if I tried to build two things at once. Its weird that a CPU would 'work' but be flakey.. usually they either work or they dont.

So that means for this computer, I exchanged the original motherboard (because it didnt support 3.2ghz), the ram (it was bad), and the CPU (it was flakey), so far, the case and the floppy drive i bought were the only two things to 'work'.. though i can't really say that i've tested the floppy drive =)

I still haven't quite found the answer to my computer problems. But I have found that disabling hyperthreading, as well as L1/L2 cache in bios makes all the kernel panics go away. I don't know if that means the motherboard or the CPU is at fault. Any suggeestions?

I'm still quite impressed with the speed up though. 3.2ghz is much faster than 800mhzh, a gcc bootstrap compile went from ~1 hour to 12 minutes. Which means a entire distro build should drop down a couple hours.

I need to work on my build system a bit more, the designs are all almost done, so its time to start implementing.


9 Nov 2004 (updated 9 Nov 2004 at 21:41 UTC) »

Took forever for me to remember my password, I really wish there was a 'forgot password' option here :/

I follow in the Advogato tradition of only updating my diary once every few months/years. So many things going on in life now, the biggest thing going on now thats causing me stress is my new computer. I went to Microcenter (a local computer store in Boston), and got all the parts and put it together. I've been there 4 times in the last 3 days. First the Pentium4 motherboard I purchased didn't support the 3.2ghz Prescott chip, even though the docs said it should (I hate how recent motherboards don't say what speeds they support, just FSB). After swapping out the MSI MicroATX board for a MSI 865PE Neo2-P I got the system running. I had to rebuild the kernel to get the support for hyperthreading and the built in GigE card, but that was simple. After building the kernel I started building a new gcc toolchain for my distro and I got a 'Machine Check Exception'. I looked around on google, and somebody said to test the memory. So I tested with memtest86+ and sure enough, the RAM had issues. I took today off because I needed to get new brakes and a muffler for my car, so when my car was done I went to microcenter and exchanged the RAM. After replacing the RAM, I still got MCE's, so I looked around more and it could also be caused by improper cooling. The Intel provided heatsink/fan was pretty hefty, but I wanted this to just work I wanted to be done dealing with it, so I picked up a ThermalTake 'Silent Tower', its really nice, but IM STILL GETTING MCE's. The exact issue is:

CPU 0: Machine Check Exception: 0000000000000004 <0> CPU 1: Machine Check Exception: 0000000000000004 Bank 0: b20000001040080f

Thats with hyperthreading enabled. I'm currently testing with hyperthreading disabled. With linux 2.4.27, I don't get the Bank info, but with 2.6.9 I do. Running 'parsemce' on that, I get:

[miah@server miah]$./parsemce -b 0 -s b20000001040080f -e 0000000000000004 Status: (4) Machine Check in progress. Restart IP invalid.

Which is fairly useless to me. If anybody has ideas, I'd love to hear them. If my test with hyperthreading disabled is a success, I'm not sure if I should swap the CPU or what.

Some ask, why didn't I get a Opteron? Well, for $230 I could get a dual core 3.2ghz cpu, or I could get a 1.8ghz opteron. Seeing as I've been using a P3 800 for the last 3-4 years, I wanted a huge boost when I upgraded, and 3.2 > 1.8. I have several opteron based servers at work, and while I do like them, we still see better performance on the P4/Xeon servers we have compared to the opterons.

I did some reading on hyperthreading, and its not 'dual core' like I thought, it simply creates another thread using unused resources in the chip. So then why is my system generating MCE's? The only thing I can think would be faulty CPU.

In other news.. Next weekend is my daughters firsth birthday. I can't believe a year has gone by already. She's growing quickly.

I'm sitll working for Childrens Hospital, its going ok. I've been somewhat bored at work lately. None of the work I've had to do has really peaked my interest. I feel like its all basic stuff that I mastered 4 years ago.

I've been taking a C programming class from the 'Oreilly Learning Lab'. I just need to finish my final for the second class. The classes overall have been good. I feel like I've got a really good grasp on the basics of C programming now. And have started reading 'Mastering Algorithms in C'. Its a good book, but heavy on the math which is causing me to learn more math, which is a good thing, but its taking longer to wrap my mind around things.

My linux distro is still in the works, I need some assistance with getting the installer functional though, if anbody is interested drop me a mail.

I'm sure many advogato users have said this one "I'm going to try to update this diary on a more regular basis" wish me luck =)


gilbou - do I win a prize?

Its a raver toy! I tried to goto your website, but it was in the middle of being rm -rf'd, it worked at first, then pages started disappearing, and when I refresed even the pages that worked no longer worked.


Been really busy with work.. work, and work.. We just moved from the 5th floor to the 1st floor, and I ended up changing lots of network configurations. Finished migrating people to my new mail server, and have basically stopped 99% of the spam we were getting.


Cathy and I are looking for a new apartment in Boston.. its tough. Trying to move from Malden into Somerville.. I'd like to live near Davis Sq..

personal interweb fun.. I also migrated my server from a colo in NM to my workspace were we have a T1. Its nice that I can just go downstairs and work on my server now.

Trying to get mailman to work on my new server.. its complaining that the postdrop group doesn't exist, even though a grep of /etc/group proves it does.. something is definately wrong somewhere..

Migrated my entire mail system from mbox to maildir, had to migrate my procmail setup and mutt.. still have to finish mutt.

I've been so busy the last two weeks... guh

Depressing day.. The disk in my fileserver decided to die.. Had lots of code there.. I was able to make a backup of the code before the server went totally dead, but I did end up losing some data.

I realize I've been one to speak out and remind people to backup. And I've been pretty good about backing up, but since the baby I haven't been on schedule, so my last backup is over a month old and I've done so much in the last month.

Owell, atleast I was able to save the code. Everything else I can replace. I'm planning on buying two large ide disks and getting a ide raid controller so that I can do disk mirroring. I'm now reading up on dump, going to look into setting up a real backup solution. I have a tape drive that's "ok" it'll backup 24gigs of data, which is much more than my code currently consumes.

Since I've also been reading up about GNU Arch (especially now that the GPG support is in (GOOD WORK GUYS!!)) I will likely setup a off site mirror of my repository. So that will give me several saftey nets should I need them.

Is there anything out there thats better than dump/restore thats not extremely complex to setup? If so, please email me, I might not see responses on here. Thanks!

Ah, also just noticed that my last post was Nov 5th. Since then I've become a dad. Nov 14th, my daughter was born. She's great!! I could go on for hours about her.

I've been moving more stuff into our new workspace. My friends and I are renting an old bakery for use as a workspace. Well, My friends have been renting there for about a year, and I've just joined. We already have a T1 in place, and the basement is all setup with racks. On the mainfloor we have a store-front with a kitchenette, whiteboard, big table, our projector, places to sit, and Battlezone. Behind the storefront, we have our workspaces. Basically a big room with our desks. It's working out pretty well. This month I'm going to try to move there. It might be tough, since I'm going to be a dad sometime next week.

I've managed to put a bunch of work into sunrise. Fixed some other little bugs in a couple packages. I haven't been able to get the cool stuff on the TODO list done yet, but I'm trying. My friend that was helping with the project has been really busy with school (I think, he hasn't logged in to check his mail for like 2 months now).

wainstead - man screen

Long time no update... Gonna be a dad in like 3 weeks!! Been getting lots of atari 2600 stuff lately.. Love those old games.. Trying to find a cheap 5200 and some games..

Still working on sunrise, but things are going really slow right now. I have four packages to update before I consider releasing another alpha, and of course have lots of installer stuff to check, and possibly fix.

Been reading Practical C, its such a good book.

31 Jul 2003 (updated 31 Jul 2003 at 19:05 UTC) »

Not much going on lately. Been playing xbox too much (KOTOR is awesome). Between KOTOR and .hack//infection I really haven't gone out much. Last weekend I did goto the midnight showing of some Kung-Fu movie at the Coolidge with some friends. It was called 'crippled avengers' (imdb link below) it was great, I laughed and had a good time.


At work I've been getting to know user-mode-linux (I wont say UML because I know that will confuse everybody). So far its a pretty interesting system, but I think there are some obvious things that should be fixed (like if a xterm cannot open for the default console dont hang the system, fail gracefully). I've managed to figure out alot of the options and moved default console over to a telnet port, which is nifty but it seems like after the system has completed booting that port disappears. Owell. I downloaded one of the redhat filesystems from their site, it kind of worries me in that it doesn't seem to create new ssh server keys, and how do I know I can trust all the binaries in that disk image? I'll likely end up making my own disk image in a couple of days.

I've also been dealing with the backup stuff still. I'm really beginning to hate retrospect. But its what we've got and I have to work with it. I guess its really not retrospect I hate so much as some of the systems I'm having to backup. We have a Raidzone OpenNAS system, with 1TB of IDE Raid5. Pretty neat, and from what I hear it cost alot less than a netapp would have cost. Anyways, the thing that bothers me about the raidzone is you cannot upgrade easily as its a binary only kernel module. I want to drop in a IntelPRO1000xt NIC but I worry that the 2.4.6 kernel they provide wont support it well enough and it seems I wouldn't be able to upgrade to 2.4.20. Sure, I could upgrade if I fork $2500 over to raidzone. If there are any companies out there violating the GPL right now I am willing to bet Raidzone is one of them. You can't download anything from them. Its sad because they're in the business of selling Linux RAID systems and they're totally screwing themselves. Somebody at raidzone should read 'the magic cauldren' because I really do like this system, but the binary only driver is really screwing me. My current thought is if after adding this NIC and I cant get it to work I'll swap it out with a different IDE Raid controller (Like something from 3ware, from what I can tell their drivers are included in the Linux kernel). If anybody has any other recommendations I'd appreciate it, email me.


If you're in the Boston area you should come to the 2600 meet tomorrow. Its at the prudential center, in the food court. We meet around 5p and leave around 8:30p. Its not just a gathering of 12yo's talking about AOHell, and trading warez. Many of us are Linux/UNIX/OSS enthusiasts' and some of us even work or have worked for OSS companies. It's open to everybody, and we usually have alot of fun.

16 Jul 2003 (updated 16 Jul 2003 at 16:47 UTC) »

My xbox modchip should have arrived today. The tracking number says it has, but when you live in a apartment complex you learn to never trust that until you're holding the package.

I've been working more on my gpg article. I should actually have it ready for review before next week. Then I'll need to have some people review it and give me feedback. I'd like to get it online soon.

wow to friendster. If you haven't seen it I've been finding lots of my old friends on this thing, I haven't met anybody new on it though.


Its a backup software, it backs up windows, macos, and linux clients. The server runs on windows or macos. I currently have 6.5server running on windows2000 and its performing so slowly that its almost easier to copy everything manually. I've been trying to figure out what the bottleneck is. I replace the network cable from the server to the switch, replaced the switch, and made sure the client (the one with 300gb of stuff to backup) is connected directly to the switch. I'm getting at the most 20MB/min backup rate which is really really damn slow.

Another problem I'm having with it is when running in 'proactive mode' my client (with 300gb) keeps deferring itself. The people at dantz told me to 'uninstall the client, reboot the system, and then reinstall the client' and to that i answered 'uh, its linux' but they still insisted. They don't seem to understand that it shouldn't make a difference if i reboot, and if its a server with 300gb of stuff it probably needs to stay up all the time.

Woo, long time no update.

I'm employeed now. I'm the 'ASS' (Application Support Specialist) for now. I'm feeling alot better with the job situation. I really like this place. I've been here almost two months now, and things are going very well.

Did alot of updating on sunrise. helo did a bunch of updates to the installer and the bootdisk set, but he's disappeared so I haven't seen the changes yet. I forgot to reregister sunriselinux.{com,net,org} and now some pr0n site has picked them up. I find it slightly funny.

I'm back at my apartment with my gf. Things are going alot better on that front. I've been trying to sell off a bunch of my unused computer hardware. If you live in the boston area, email me and I'll forward you the list of stuff I'm trying to unload.

Also, if you're in the boston area, goto, or goto 2600. The local 2600 group is pretty cool. Lots of smart and fun people there. I run the local 2600 mailing list, it can be found at:

I'm also happily typing this entry out on my purdy new laptop. My new employer got me a PowerBook G4 15.2" 1ghz/1gigram.. It's really nice. I must say I really like OSX. There are a few things I dislike though, and I kind of feel like there isn't a easy way to complain about it. I really need to look into that more though.

I've been reading lots of books lately. I'm just about finished with 'All tomorrows parties'. Its pretty good. Feels like it took a while to get into the good part, its good when you get there. Before that I read 'zodiac' which i really liked. I often found it hard to put down. I also read 'the ratmans notebooks' which is what the movie 'willard' was based on. I also liked that book. I highly recommend both if you can find them.

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