Is this how time normally passes? Really slowly, in the right order?

Saturday, December 23


Calculate Calculate...

Half a petabyte a month? Eek.

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Hope they do a good job.


There's something very strange about the visitor counter at the top. When I visit it with IE, right now, it said 000816. Revisiting it a few minutes later it said 000823. But when I visit it using Firefox, it said 172600. A bit later it said 172661.

Yes indeed. wink

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:43 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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I've Got You Under My Thumb

For some time I've been running a mix of SpamAssassin on the server and Thunderbird junk mail controls and message filters to keep my email under control. I had SpamAssassin just marking email, not deleting it, and then went into my Junk folder every two or three days to see if there was anything that had been misdirected that I needed to attend to.

Over the last few months, the frequency of my visits to the Junk folder have increased to every day, then to two or three times a day, then every two or three hours. Even though I have filters set to auto-delete the obvious crap, I'm getting something like 2000 emails a day, 99% of them spam.

No more.

Today I set SpamAssassin to auto-delete at 9, and set the value for BAYES_99 to 7. (I'm tempted to bump that up to 8.8.)

Unfortunately, since I monitor email for all of - bounces, abuse reports, that sort of thing - I need to receive things that set off a lot of normal spam flags. I don't want to, but if I don't keep an eye on things then sooner or later I'll be hearing from our hosting company. (The PHP spam incident I refer to below was one that I caught and fixed without anyone at SoftLayer being troubled because I saw the sudden increase in bounce messages.)

Fortunately the Bayesian filtering in SpamAssassin seems to be very reliable, and a 99% rating plus two points worth of other spammy traits will now relieve me of ever seeing the message. I've seen valid messages get Bayes ratings of 40 or so, but that won't get zapped unless you're doing a lot of other things wrong.

Seems to be working. I'm still getting the occasional spam through to Thunderbird - at a setting of 9, SpamAssassin doesn't catch those blasted PHYA pump-and-dump spams - but most of it is then gets eaten by my filter rules.

And a blessed peace descended upon Pixy Central...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:11 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Friday, December 22



DMCA takedowns and curt legal letters,
Government agents tracing overwrought netters,
Servers I've paid for that reject my pings,
Just a few of my least favourite things.

Spammers who sneak in through PHP errors,
Hackers from Turkey spreading their brand of terrors,
Disk drives that die when they're put to the test -
It's Christmastime, guys! Won't you give it a rest?!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 07:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, December 21


Fun With Windows Networking

One of the best things about Windows networking is that when a Windows PC loses a network connection - say, you unplug the cable - it can no longer see itself.

This matters to me more than most because I run VMWare Server on my notebook, and when I'm not connected to my wireless network I can't connect to my virtual Linux server either. Even though it's running on the same box.

So what I did was this: I installed the Microsoft Loopback Adaptor, and bridged it to my wireless network. So now, with or without wireless, I can still reach my server.

The only problem is, Windows now tells me that my wireless is disconnected. And if you go into the wireless networks screen, right below where it says "Not connected", it has a Disconnect button to disconnect the unconnected network.

Apart from that, it works fine.

I was having trouble mounting the Samba share from the virtual Linux server back to Windows, but that was because Plesk doesn't (or at least, didn't) automatically apply its firewall rules after a reboot.* Quite possible something I did wrong, but certainly confusing.

Plesk also has a nicely confusing way of managing your Samba shares; it adds an include file to the standard smb.conf, puts the shares it's managing in there, and ignores what's defined in the main file. That might actually be the best way to handle things, but it ain't obvious when you run into it for the first time.

I also set up a PPTP VPN to SoftLayer from my home network. That lets me manage the servers even if the regular public network at the hosting company is down (the VPN goes through a dedicated Cogent link); it lets me run backups without touching by 4TB/month bandwidth allowance; and it lets me do things like check on CPU temperatures and voltage levels in the servers. And do both soft and hard resets, if I should feel the urge. Without even opening a browser window!

* Yes, I have a complete web hosting management system installed on a virtual machine on my notebook.

You mean to say you don't?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:25 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, December 20


I Got A Grub

Pray, does it boot?

Nnnnot really.


Look, if you go to my brother's computer shop in Padstow, he'll replace the operating system for you.

Okay, so after all that, it just sits there saying GRUB. Remarkable boot loader, GRUB. Beautiful plumage.

I don't think it liked booting from a software mirror for some reason. FC5 was perfectly happy with it. CentOS 4.4, on the other hand, promptly joined the bleedin' choir invisible.

Excuse me, this is irrelevant, isn't it?

Yeah, well it's not easy to pad these Python files out to 150 lines, you know.

See also: This.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 02:32 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Installing the new servers at PPoE.

I brought the FC5_x64 DVD with me instead of FC5_i386, but what the heck, the machines are 64 bit and it's officially supported by the software I want to install, so roll with it.

So I install FC5, and then I install the software I want to install, and it gets allll the way through downloading and installing itself and falls over with three dozen version conflicts in various RPMs.

So now I'm reinstalling CentOS 4.4, which is the only other Linux I have on me, but which I know definitely works. Unfortunately, all I have is the CDs, so I have to sit here swapping them back and forth between the machines.

The best part is when, two minutes into CD #4, it asks for CD #1 again. When CD #1 is in another machine.


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Yeah, Shakugan no Shana sucked me right in too. Watched the whole thing in four days.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:04 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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It's A Conspiracy!!!

Went back to my PPoE to install some new machines that didn't arrive before I left. I thought I'd seize the opportunity to run my Python benchmark on them.


They're 2GHz Athlon 64 X2s. The results are Exactly. The. Bloody. Same.

I guess that 2GHz Athlons are the baseline for decent performance, for either desktops or servers. But I got my first one in 2003! Okay, so the new ones are 64-bit and dual core (and about 40% cheaper, from memory), but still...

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Tuesday, December 19


There Is No God But Chiyo-chan

And Tadakichi-san is her prophet.

And trusty steed.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:25 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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