- A disk failure retires an old champ

So I come into work this morning and cannot log into vixen. My home directory is fine (on uzuri, my workstation), so I figure the machine must be hosed in some odd way. Yep, it sure was! The root disk had failed so it was completely dead less being able to serve out NFS, which is kernel code and thus doesn't need the root filesystem.

So I decided to shut the thing down. Vixen was a Pentium III 700MHz with 512MB of RAM, three external 18GB hard drives, and three internal hard drives of varying sizes, all under 20GB. After some quick in-my-head calculations I realized all of this data can fit on the internal disk of my current workstation with space to spare!

I moved the data over, retired vixen, and renamed my workstation from uzuri to vixen. Vixen has nostalgic value; it was the name given to the first Linux box ever in the department, and has always been at my desk. The hardware that was replaced today was deployed in 1998 (though it received a CPU upgrade at one point), so it had been in use for nine years. That's an impressive run for a computer.

So of course, after all that, I couldn't let the name die, so now my workstation is called vixen and it lives on...

I'm such a geek sometimes. It's scary.

Lynxie, the bane of 9V batteries everywhere

Lynxie really doesn't like 9V batteries.

This is "rascal mode". All he wants is play play play. No petting, no affection, just pawpawbatbatnipbunnykickmewmew. Silly kitty.

Biked 9.30 miles... iPod musings

I biked 9.30 miles today. It's the first "real" ride (more than a couple miles) in a long time; at least since mid-to-late last year. I've been trying to get back into bike riding regularly, but haven't found the time or energy to do it. I think that energy is coming back. :)

I just wish there were a nice trail around here. The day I decide to move somewhere new, I want it to be next to a nice trail. A place you can ride for miles and miles and not have to constantly watch your back for traffic. Even though I'm careful, I know I could relax more if I could ride for a while without 2000 pound behemoths passing me at high speed. It would also mean I could turn my iPod up a bit more since I wouldn't have to constantly be listening for traffic.

Speaking of iPods, my friend Rieshal tried to sell me an 80GB video iPod for $300, brand new. It's a good deal, but when I weighed $300 versus the delta of what the new iPod gives me over my old 20GB 4G, I decided my old white iPod still has quite a bit of oomph in it. There's three things I like about mine in particular; A) it has firewire support, which the new models lack. I like being able to sync it without eating up yet another USB port, B) The screen is highly visible when the backlight is off... Sure, the color display is nice for watching movies and viewing photos, but when you're just listening to music, it's nice to be able to glance at it and see what song is playing without turning on the backlight, and C) the UI feels a lot faster. I can find a track faster on mine than on the new 80GB iPods, even using the search feature on the new ones! That says something about interface speed.

I will miss these three advantages when my iPod eventually dies, but having 80GB (or more) to play with will be nice. I only have about 5GB left. :)

But I don't know what the answer is!

This cracked me up:

Those damn squirrels...

Trouble ticket of the year:

I seem to have problems downloading files from moogle and even the cs
email squirrel.

I dunno, just a bit surreal. :)

And if you're interested in dust, we have a quaint little piece from the 1980s. It's called a dustbuster.

I installed OS updates, dust-busted and rebooted Sarabi. All is well, but if anyone using services has issues, feel free to let me know. :)

Amusingly, even though Sarabi has been up for about eight months there was very little dust inside. This is in contrast to my home machines that look like dust-bunny breeding facilities after only a couple of months!

I guess having that cat around makes a difference... Bad kitty!

Stupid tricks, vol. 1

I'm a heavy UNIX user, so I find myself frequently sshing to other hosts under MacOS X. This leads to having to open Terminal windows, type "ssh hostname" and have a bunch of windows, all with the same or similar titles, logged into several hosts. This can be inconvenient at best once you find yourself logging into more than a couple of hosts.

I discovered yesterday that supports .term files -- basically description files that when launched, give you a window with those specific settings. So I went to work and found an interesting way to organize multiple terminal sessions.

Check out this script, called "s" in my ~/bin directory:

cat ~/"Library/Application Support/Terminal/Generic.term" \
| sed -e "s/HOSTNAME/$*/g" > /tmp/sshterm.$$.term
( open /tmp/sshterm.$$.term && sleep 1 && rm /tmp/sshterm.$$.term ) &

This will open a window that is ssh'ed into the host provided as the script's first argument, IE:


Neat, huh? There is one more piece, though: Generic.term

Here is the one I use; just download it and drop it into ~/Library/Application Support/Terminal. You can generate .term files by saving the configuration of any active terminal window by using File -> Save as... in

As you can see, the "s" script uses sed to replace HOSTNAME in the term file with the hostname you want to log into, then "open"s the term file and deletes it one second later, to give a chance to read the file before it goes away.

My particular .term file also sets the title of the window to be the hostname you connect to, and has a green-ish color scheme. You can, of course, change this to your liking.

This is a useful trick I'm sure all UNIX-using Macheads will like. I'm just learning about .term files now so as I discover more tricks I'll surely post more.

Second Life and online socializing... some thoughts...

Back in early 2006 I got into using FurryMUCK more, and was constantly saying "I'll never join that Second Life thing... It's too bloated, runs slow and text is enough for me. I'll just stick around here on Furry."

Then I got a Macbook Pro in March. I just had to test its amazing power, so I downloaded Second Life and gave it a try. It ran great, but that's not the point....

...I started meeting people. Interesting, fun people to hang out with. Hence, I started spending more time on Second Life. I eventually met the love of my life, Catsy, there. This changed everything; now I spend just as much time on Second Life as I do on FurryMUCK!

The point? The technology doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how pretty it is. It also doesn't matter how much CPU power or memory or bandwidth it needs. What matters in any online social environment is the people you meet and spend time with.

I've met so many of my friends through the Internet, I don't even know where to begin counting. People are what makes the Internet so interesting and engaging; without them, it's just a jumble of wires and pretty lights.

Just had to get that out. I love you all!

-Zorin the Lynx

Seen on campus...

I'm trying to figure out what could have have happened here. This is on a pedestrian walkway where no vehicles are allowed. Either University employees hit it with a golf cart, or someone got *really* pissed off and kicked it over.

Either way, it's an impressive looking hazard with the exposed wires and wet concrete; I'm surprised it's still working.

I ain't touching it! I called public safety about it two days ago but it's still there, untouched.


Forgotten computing memories...

Here is my Windows 3.1 desktop from August 1995.

Holy crap! I had forgotten I took this one. A little glimpse into the computing world I was in back then. Funny how ugly and dated Windows 3.1 looks when compared to modern operating systems.

At this point I had been on the net for only a few months. Trumpet Winsock was the app of choice for accessing the net on Windows 3.1 machines at the time! Netscape is there in all its glory, as is Eudora for mail, Ewan for telnet (many hours were spent MUCKing Ewan'ed into, Agent for reading Usenet, among other things....

All geeks have to have their copy of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation Guide", conveniently in Windows Help (.hlp) format... Applewin is present for emulating Apple II computers, and of course Telemate was the de-facto terminal program for DOS back then. It didn't run that well under Windows but I left the icon around anyway.

Gah, I'm nostalgic about the silliest things sometimes...

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