Archive for the 'Ubuntu' Category

Snowed In.

March 8, 2008

It would be easy for me to waste the rest of the evening. We are snowed in. I have not seen this much snow since 1978. Our street is impassable. Our driveway was plowed three times earlier but is now also impassable.

For someone like me who enjoys being indoors, this is not entirely bad. I have spent the day reading or watching TV and of course playing with my computers.

The computer experience has not been entirely positive. One of my file servers went down. I think I’m going to keep it down. It was the first one I built and I don’t really need it any more. I am fairly certain that I identified what was causing problems. It doesn’t seem to be playing nicely with the external drive I attached to it. Additionally, my Linux box is acting up. It won’t open a terminal. Instead, it crashes back to the login screen. Useless!

I have been playing with the Python programming language. Every now and then I get the urge to learn something completely new. This is definitely in that category. The book I have is on version 2.4. It relies on software accessories that do not seem to be compatible with the current version of Python which is 2.5.2. It figures. So I am bumbling through the book trying to figure this out as best I can.

In other computer-related activities, I spent some time looking at laptops online today. I know that I am very much used to having the flexibility of a laptop all the time. Because of the snow, I ended up leaving work early and not going back on Friday. This caused me to leave my laptop at work. It is my work laptop anyway but because I currently do not have a personal laptop it’s the only thing I have for portable computing. I want a new personal laptop. I looked at the Macbook Air and a host of other laptops including Dells and Fujitsus. I definitely think I want something light but useful. The Air is beautiful. I wonder how useful it is, though.

Otherwise, I am enjoying a weekend where I do not have a lot of structured and planned activities. It is rare for me. Strangely, I still have no desire to do any gaming. This is really odd.

Building a FreeNAS file server with 4 1 TB drives.

January 21, 2008

 I ordered parts for a new server today.  With my success in building a FreeNAS based box, I’m going to try to build another one using 4 1 TB drives in RAID 5.  If it works, I’ll finally be able to put all my data in one place.  Oh and I also ordered a metric butt-ton of Cat 6 cable to try to help increase the speed of my supposedly gigabit network.  Goodtimes are ahead!  I decided to wait on building a new quadcore flagship machine, perhaps as late as until May.

I’m really scavenging my KVM lately.  One of the 4 boxes went to build my 1st server, now my Ubuntu machine is being sacrificed to build the second server.  Yet another box is going to be moved behind the TV in the basement to act as a videoserver for that.  I’ll only have one box left!

Maybe in May, instead of just building one flagship machine, I’ll build 4 and fill up my KVM with bad-ass processing power!  Muhahahaha!  Skynet will be born in my basement…

Linux, Teamspeak and a quest for something better than Skype for podcasting.

December 2, 2007

Well, I spent many hours today messing with Teamspeak.  I think I’m going to blog about this because while I failed miserably, I learned a great deal.  I had heard about Teamspeak from Linux Journal.  This is an outstanding magazine with lots of very technical and very informative articles.  The article in question was actually evaluating using three Linux distros to turn old laptops into servers.  The author reviewed Xubuntu, Vector Linux and Damn Small Linux.  In trying to get Teamspeak to work (as the author claimed he did) I used Ubuntu, Xubuntu and DSM.  This is what took many, many hours.

Ubuntu had a blocked port that I could not circumvent.  Xubuntu kept disagreeing with my graphics card and DSM is just fracking crazy.  So I’m kinda embarrassed to admit that I ended up using the Windows versions of both the terminal and server.  They just worked.  It took me two seconds after spending half the day with Linux.

Now here’s the fail part:  Teamspeak seems to be just for gaming or other applications where audio quality doesn’t have to be any better than a cell phone.  When it’s working, Skype is the best thing going by light years.

But again, it wasn’t a total waste of time.  When you can get things to work in Linux (like Wireshark for example or even Firefox) there is a great deal of satisfaction in that.  My flagship Ubuntu box is quite stable.  I am confident that I could have run Teamspeak on it if I could have figured out how to unblock the port.  Alas, I wasn’t willing to spend any more time on it.  Now I also want to learn more about Apache and Lighttpd and PHP.

I’m still looking for a Skype replacement for podcasting.  I doubt there is one at this point.

After watching the network traffic on my Ubuntu box, I think I may actually have activated Teamspeak as a server when I downloaded it with the Synaptic Package Manager and that’s why the port was blocked. It was already running. The weird thing is that, as far as I can tell, it didn’t show up as a running process in the System Monitor. There does not appear to be a GUI interface for the server software in Linux, however, (there is in Windows) so I’m going to have to do some digging to shut it off.

I was able to get Xubuntu working on the other box by putting an old NVidia graphics card in it that I had lying around.  Sometimes it pays to keep old junk! 😉

My friend Scott had this to say:

Yes, in Ubuntu when you install a package like apache, lighttpd, mysql, or teamspeak it is usually immediately turned on by default. I actually don’t agree with this functionality. I think it should ask you if you want to turn it on immediately or not.

Secondly, you should not use the graphical system monitor. Open a terminal and learn to use the ps command. Most often I use it one of two different ways.

ps aux | lessThis way allows me to see every process with lots of information such as CPU and memory usage. I use this when I’m trying to find a process, but I don’t know which one.

ps -eH | lessThis command shows a hierarchy of processes. This lets me see which processes spawned which other processes. I use this most often to just get a nice overview of what is going on in the system.

For more information, of course you should RTFM.
man ps
The top command is also useful in this way.
man top

He was right.  Teamspeak is running as a server on the Ubuntu box.  On a lark, I logged into it on the Windows box.  It was a lot better than the other machine at the maximum bandwidth.  Now I think I need to do more testing.

Ubuntu, Servers and fun.

November 8, 2007

I’m playing with Ubuntu more than ever.  In my four computer KVM, I already have one Ubuntu box and now I’m moving to two.  I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do regarding my NAS needs.  I’ve always coveted a Linux file server.  I envision a dedicated box loaded with as many hard drives as I can stuff into it.

Currently, I’ve got a 500 GB drive attached to my router and I also have a Netgear SC101.  So I have a terabyte of storage on the network now.  I’m not crazy about the USB drive on the router.  The link doesn’t stay up all the time.  I suspect that’s because the settings on the router make it that way.  I don’t want to fiddle with it though.  The SC101 is more stable, but it’s terribly slow.  Ultimately, though, I’m not sure that I need more than these two solutions.

It’s probably just more computer whimsy to want a dedicated box for a server.  I’m full of computer whimsy.  I’ll build computers that I don’t use.  I’ll waste hours and hours in my basement creating things that have no use.  Ugh!  I feel like a freakin’ artist!

Ubuntu has Wobbly Windows!!!

November 4, 2007

Ubuntu has Wobbly Windows!