Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fun with Cygwin and Windows 2008 R2

There was no fun to be had.  This was a real pain.  I do not know why /usr/share/doc/Cygwin/opensshd.README doesn't just say:

$ editrights -u sshd_server -a SeCreateTokenPrivilege

That was the fix.  The README above gave you some nice hints - like the word token.  Another user on the web gave the big clue to use editrights.   Running this with the -hv parameter listed the rights you could add.  I'm not sure if it mattered or not, but logging into Windows as the user and running Cygwin to create the Cygwin environment seemed to help some things as well. (Oh, and run ssh-user-config too!)

So that's it!  Be sure to read the above README and add the editrights command at the end and all should be well.  Good luck!

Friday, October 22, 2010

No thanks, I value my unstructured time

This morning's Dilbert was made funnier by the fact that I spent last night doing some free computer support for a friend.  My bumper sticker is obviously NOT working.  Maybe I should wash my car.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I like Zshell

I like Zshell.  I'm not going to detail why.  That's not why I'm writing this.  I'm writing this to save a copy of my favorite minimal .zshrc settings in an easily accessible place.  Here goes:


bindkey -e
zstyle :compinstall filename '/home/username/.zshrc'
autoload -Uz compinit

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Honey Harvest

It wasn't as much as I wanted - 5 full capped frames (although one of them was about double - so nearly 6 frames).  But it was MUCH, much more than last year.  It's over 30 pounds! That will last us a while!  I also added the NEW top feeder for winter feeding.  It hold a lot of sugar syrup.  I used the Bee-Gone to drive the bees off.  Even thought it didn't work as well as I thought it would (it wouldn't clear a full frame - had to use brush) it did seem to repulse the hangers-on so that after a while, it was clear and I took it in the house.  They have been pretty mild up until I started brushing droves of them off of 5 frames.  I had two get in my veil.  I dealt with them pretty quick - I'm not getting stung in the face again!  So - no stings and a lot of honey.  That's a good harvest for me.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Every time I feed now I get a TON of bees on the hive.  This is not normal.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How To Get Started In Beekeeping

Someone asked me about starting beekeeping the other day.  I was excited to tell them "how I would do it if I were starting again".  First off - I'm no expert.  Although I've been interested and read about it for 30 years (even helped splice a hive about 30 years ago), I just started beekeeping myself 4 years ago.  Even so, it's probably a bit premature to endorse a method I haven't tried yet, but if I were going to get started in beekeeping right now I would use the Kenyan Top Bar hives (great site, btw).  I base this on an article I read in Bee Culture a few months back.  You can build them yourself.  The design promotes health by allowing the bees to make smaller cells which seems to inhibit mite populations somewhat.  Also, the act of harvesting removes comb so that you do not have old tracked up comb that can result in sickness.

Because you don't have reusable frames and foundation, you don't need an expensive extractor.  Just two common plastic 5 gallon buckets are used (Home Depot has them for less than $3!).  There is no expensive equipment to buy - just a veil, gloves, smoker, hive tool and a 4x8 sheet of plywood!  From this sheet of plywood you can make 3 hives and have enough material left over to make 2 nucs.

If you're looking to save even more money - build these hives and nucs and give your phone number to the fire department to call for swarm removal = Free Bees!  Be sure to purchase the above equipment before doing that.  In fact, if you're going to go after feral bee swarms, you'd better invest in the entire bee suit! [Disclaimer: If you live in the southwest (or even if you don't), you might want to just BUY some nice Italian bees from a reputable dealer to start off.]

This book is suppose to cover top bar hives pretty well.  It's on my list to buy. Here's a neat video I found on building a top bar hive.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Important ZFS Migration Gotcha

I'm making a note of this.  I am still working on ZFS migration strategies in my spare time.  The snapshots are really important!  I ran a zfs send @snapshot and piped it to a zfs recieve and then had planned on running another zfs send with an incremental.  However, I tried to do this from memory ("You just add an '-i' - right?"  No!)  I got confused and deleted the target snapshot.  This is bad if you want to send an incremental.  Plus- more importantly - I wouldn't have gotten the confusing error if I had send the incremental like this:

    # zfs send -i store/messaging@today store/messaging@L8R ...

I was simply running the first command - "send the snapshot".  You have to say "-i" but you are saying I want an incremental of the earlier snapshot (@today), use the later snapshot (cleverly named @L8R) to create the delta.  Whew!  Glad I caught that in time.  Test systems are good!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is why I wear my veil

I hate it when this happens!  Ha! Saw this on Linda's Bee Journal and couldn't resist re-posting it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I saw this rerun of a Peanuts cartoon and it reminded me of this blog: No Thank You, We Don't Believe in Socialization!  The author points out a perspective not many have considered on the way "socialization" is "implemented" in the current public schools.  The old "one room schools" seem to us outmoded but maybe they had more to offer than meets the eye.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Milano gets yet another super

I ran home and added a honey super to Milano at lunch.  Wow!  This was a newly installed package - mid April - and they are doing terrific!  They were packed in there.  Harvested a bit of honey comb too and we all sampled it.  I can't understand why it is so much better than the stuff from the grocery - but it is!  I love these bees!  They are so nice!  I popped the top and pulled a frame and scraped out some comb and no one got angry.  None of them tried to sting me or follow me.  Wow!  It'll be a long time before I ever buy any non-Italian packages again!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Perl and SQLite

Finally got around to finishing my little SQLite and Perl program.  To speed things up, I used a shell script with remote SSH commands to grab the data, then used Perl to stuff it into SQLite.  Very cool!   Need to use Perl's Net-SNMP on next version but this was mainly an excuse to use SQLite.  Glad I did.  There's a lot of strangeness - can't get used to putting a dot in front of commands and many of my favorite SQL commands are missing or renamed.  Still - SO COOL to be able to create a database on the fly like that.

Want to delete all tables in SQLite?

You can do it with the following DANGEROUS commands:

PRAGMA writable_schema = 1;
delete from sqlite_master where type = 'table';
PRAGMA writable_schema = 0;
you then want to recover the deleted space with


and a good test to make sure everything is ok

Found this on the Internet but haven't ran across it elsewhere. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Whatever happened to DSL?

I really love(d) DSL.  But it's coming up on 2 years since the last release - I was getting worried, so I started searching for answers.  Funny how this all dried up right after the book was published.  It looks like in fighting took it's toll on the project.  The good news is the is an even cooler tiny Linux distro now: Tiny Core Linux.  This thing is TINY!  It boots a Linux 2.6 kernel and runs X in under 10MB!!  Watch this flash demo!  I burned the image to a CD and booted my favorite obsolete notebook - it ran great!  I'm looking forward to installing this on some old junkers I've got around here to see how much more functional they become.  It has some similarities with DSL since it is the pet project of Robert Shingledecker, one of the main developers of DSL and authors of the DSL book.  Because of that,  I expect the stability to be pretty good and package management to be pretty similar.  Besides, looks like he's been refining this for quite some time while I waited for the next DSL iso to show up at the DSL website.

Old hive, new hive

My large healthy Russian hybrid hive that wintered well then went queenless did not make it - sort of.  Let me explain.  After the "shaking" and new queen didn't take, I tried one more queen.  It still didn't make it.  However, the Italian hive completely filled the first brood chamber shortly there after WITHOUT HAVING RAISED ANY BROOD.  Obviously, the left over workers moved into the new hive instead.  I'm already on my 3rd hive body, getting ready to add a 4th!  They even went back and robbed ALL of the food stores from the old hive, cleaning it out completely. (I didn't really know what else to do with it, it was mostly tracked up brood chambers and I didn't want the honey myself).  So, next year, I guess I'll be buying another package or two.  I'd like to get 3 hives going so some day I could repair my own problems by robbing a brood frame from one and giving to another.  Anyway, I'm hoping for a good honey season.  Looks like we're off to a good start.

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Fun With ZFS

How to migrate a message store on a ZFS filesystem?  I was told "Simple! Just create a snapshot, zfs send to other filesystem, then create a new snapshot, then shutdown app, and send snapshot to new file system with minimal downtime."

Sounded pretty simple, so I tried it.  Like earlier attempts to "zfs send | zfs recv"... several minutes go by and NOTHING HAPPENS. The delay made me nervous (not knowing what was going on) so I aborted it from the NON-test system (sending to this remote system) and used tape to get it over there.

Now I am testing with about 20% of the actual message store so whatever the numbers are here, it will be safe to assume 5x longer on the other system. I start the move:

zfs send store@today | zfs recv newmail/store

It did NOTHING on the actual file system for 20 minutes. Meanwhile,
"zfs list" showed that it created the target filesystem and the target
filesystem usage was growing. When the target filesystem size matched the original filesystem, the data seemed to ALL SUDDENLY APPEAR ON THE DISK. I didn't trust it so I ran du and sure enough - 10's of thousands of user accounts were there. Pretty wild. Next test - 2nd snapshot. The 2nd snapshot should be ONLY the diffs and should be pretty quick.  I guess the assumption is that there are no other snapshots.  It has to be clean. Interesting. 

This means I could use the daily snapshot - once done, move to the
new disk, take system down, take a 2nd snapshot, move the difs & ta-dah!  Very cool stuff, this ZFS. Then I try part two.

bash-3.00# date && zfs send store@L8R | zfs recv newmail/store  && date
Friday, June 11, 2010 10:55:49 AM CDT
cannot receive new filesystem stream: destination 'newmail/store' exists
must specify -F to overwrite it
Huh?!  It sounds like I have to destroy the content on the new system to do this.  This can't be right - or can it?  It's a test system so I proceed.
bash-3.00# date && zfs send store@L8R | zfs recv -F newmail/store  && date
Friday, June 11, 2010 11:23:23 AM CDT
cannot receive new filesystem stream: destination has snapshots (eg. newmail/store@today)
must destroy them to overwrite it
Oh yeah, I forgot, it duplicates the snapshot when you do this.  No harm to get rid of that I suppose...
bash-3.00# zfs list
newmail              41.4G   226G  44.0K  /newmail
newmail/store        41.4G   226G  41.2G  /newmail/store
newmail/store@today   187M      -  41.2G  -
store                41.4G   292G  41.2G  /store
store@today          78.0K      -  41.0G  -
store@L8R             193M      -  41.2G  -
bash-3.00# zfs destroy newmail/store@today
There!  Now check to see that its all gone and note the filesystem sizes.
bash-3.00# zfs list
newmail        41.2G   226G  44.0K  /newmail
newmail/store  41.2G   226G  41.2G  /newmail/store
store          41.4G   292G  41.2G  /store
store@today    78.0K      -  41.0G  -
store@L8R       193M      -  41.2G  -
bash-3.00# date && zfs send store@L8R | zfs recv -F newmail/store  && date
Friday, June 11, 2010 11:23:57 AM CDT
After a bit and while it's doing this, I switch over to another console and run zfs list:
 bash-3.00# zfs list
newmail        4.39G   263G  44.0K  /newmail
newmail/store  4.39G   263G  4.39G  /newmail/store
store          41.4G   292G  41.2G  /store
store@today    78.0K      -  41.0G  -
store@L8R       193M      -  41.2G  -
Hey!  That's exciting!  It did EXACTLY as I thought - it destroyed the new filesystem I created.  What was once 41G is now 78k.  ;-(  But hang on, let's see what we end up with.  Some time later...
bash-3.00# zfs list && date
newmail        7.02G   260G  44.0K  /newmail
newmail/store  7.02G   260G  7.02G  /newmail/store
store          41.4G   292G  41.2G  /store
store@today    78.0K      -  41.0G  -
store@L8R       193M      -  41.2G  -
Friday, June 11, 2010 11:29:47 AM CDT
7GB?!  I only added about 200MB to the original so this is interesting ... Wait a bit more ...

bash-3.00# zfs list && date
newmail        18.1G   249G  44.0K  /newmail
newmail/store  18.1G   249G  18.1G  /newmail/store
store          41.4G   292G  41.2G  /store
store@today    78.0K      -  41.0G  -
store@L8R       193M      -  41.2G  -
Friday, June 11, 2010 11:35:15 AM CDT
Okay - that is WAY bigger than the snapshot.  Interesting... Wait a bit more ...
bash-3.00# zfs list && date
newmail        38.4G   229G  44.0K  /newmail
newmail/store  38.4G   229G  38.4G  /newmail/store
store          41.4G   292G  41.2G  /store
store@today    78.0K      -  41.0G  -
store@L8R       193M      -  41.2G  -
Friday, June 11, 2010 11:44:58 AM CDT
Okay, it is definitely going to recreate the entire 41GB and (hopefully) include the extra stuff I added.  Exactly what I expected BUT I'll take it.

A few minutes later - TA-DAHHH!  It is done.  It took 23 minutes (the first time it took 20-21 minutes).    Weird.  I don't see the point of the 2nd snapshot - just stop and snapshot the first time - or, I've done something wrong (most likely). 

Oh well.  Fun experiment.  But I'd better do some more reading before trying this live.  Incidentally, this Solaris 10 ZFS Essentials is really nice for those times you're away from a PC and want to read about ZFS.  I haven't seen the new Solaris ZFS Administration Guide but I'm putting it on my list of books to acquire.

Hopefully, this was useful or at least entertaining.  I know, I know! "RTFM!" (Which stands for Read the Fine Manual, of course).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kiev gets another new queen

Kiev, my Russian hybrid hive gets another new queen.  They survived the winter, but they were queenless when I checked on them this Spring.  I bought another queen, Italian this time (the Russian bees seemed a bit mean so trying Italian again) and after 4 days, she had not been released from her cage.  I released her and the next week I couldn't find her.  It also looked like a lot of the drones had found their way back from half a kilometer - not as many as before, but too many I fear.  I put the new marked Russian hybrid queen in - this time with clipped wings. They really seems interested in her.  I think they've been queenless long enough that they will take to her quickly.  I hope so. 

Do you like my pastel colored hive bodies?  :-)

New medium hive body for Milano

Milano, my new Italian colony is doing really well.  They were ready for the new medium hive body I added.  This hive is the 8 frame type and I am using plastic frames for the brood frames.  I have a lot of trouble with the wood ones pulling apart or sticking to the bottom of the next section.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Drill, baby, drill"?!

I saw this bumper sticker on the way in to work this morning: "Drill here, Drill now, Pay less".  Ouch!  I think I'd be scraping that off if I were him.  Even before the spill, he should've known that we only have 2% of the world's oil reserves  - we can't affect the oil prices much.  In fact, we only got serious about drilling when gas got to $4/gallon because below that, it is cheaper to import oil.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Working with Solaris 10 zones

This year, while creating the disaster backup server, I decided to but all 6 systems on one V490 with a 3310 SCSI array made into a ZFS filesystem with double parity RAIDz2 and a hot spare.  I allocated 90% and then carved it up among the Oracle Application Servers and Oracle database.

A couple of things I wanted to make note of: I found that if you simply specify the mask in the zonecfg, you do not have to add any /etc/netmasks or /etc/network entries.  After issuing an "add net" simply say "set address=" and it saves times.  It will, of course, assume the class C mask (which is correct in this case) but the ugly nag message can be avoided if you do either of the above.

The other thing I got bit by was sub-zone Ethernet connections.  I had a sub-zone that needed a special VLAN not used by the global zone.  So, I just added the Ethernet connection and forgot about it.  After rebooting, NOTHING WORKED!  It turns out the special VLAN was the connection used by my (virtual) DNS server. Since the global instance wasn't using it, it didn't get plumbed up after reboot and then it wasn't there for the DNS system and so nothing had DNS which caused a lot of slow timeouts, black screens, etc.  I didn't want or need that VLAN in the global zone so I experimented with touching /etc/hostname.ce2 (the unused card in the global zone).  That is, a created an empty file placeholder.  Amazingly - it worked.