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Saturday, June 14, 2003

June 14, 2003

Server Upgrade Complete

With the completion of the last minor tasks necessary to get things back up and running in a more permanent sense, the server split and upgrade project has been completed. I had to add a few cron jobs for things like the monthly DNS update, remove and change some settings for the LogWatch system, and also finished setting up automated backups. Currently, the way it will work is backups will save to one of the common locations on the network. This will be automated, at appropriate intervals. As I don't have a tape device or such for the servers, the plan is to possibly find some sort of Windows automation scheme for (essentially) copying the backup files to CD-RW or something of that nature. This copying will occur between the common locations and the CD-RW drive.

I have an old HP tape drive (with tapes) available; however, there's only software for early versions of Windows 95. This isn't necessarily the problem, however. The real problem is that I need to find an appropriate mounting device to make it fit in my case. Ultimately it'd be good to have the tape drive available. Even though it doesn't hold a lot (the tapes I've got work for up to 1.6GB compressed), it's still more than a CD.

But until then...at least a backup (even if only moved to another electronic location) is still a backup. And at least the servers should now be operating in a stable environment.

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Friday, June 13, 2003

June 13, 2003

Back to NORMAL

After taking some time to cut back the upper portion of the multi-shelf unit (which used to hold the printers), I've turned it into something much better for this room...and something which works and looks a lot better than before. This means that I've also rearranged the server layout and all sorts of things -- and the room is finally getting cleaned up. Finally.

I could go on for some time with that story, but I won't. Hopefully I'll get some pictures in the near future -- they'll speak better than I can right now.

Deck Project, part one:

After spending two days on the parents deck project back in the Renville neighborhood, we've managed to get over half of the decking complete. This includes building the quite massive and pseudo-complex frame system as well as all the decking installation. Due to the neat herring-bone design of the deck face, it's not quite as straightforward as straight boards; however, it's much cooler looking. I've got a few pictures available and will put them online as I get a chance in the near future.

I'm BACK!

Due to the aforementioned deck project, I was (while not away from the Internet) not available to post news items for the last several days. But, I should be back on schedule again...so stay tuned!

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

Monday, June 9, 2003

June 9, 2003

One Step Closer To Normal

After some (more) tinkering with the server box (NS), I've managed to get some other weirdnesses fixed. Most of these are minor in nature and have to do with the boot order and boot processes. I've managed to get the ftp daemon working (without much trouble) and accessible for 'trusted' hosts as I input into the firewall rules.

I also made a relatively major fix on both server boxen. It seems that RedHat 9 (and 8, which I never used) now ship with unicode support (for international fonts/distribution) by default. While the majority of things are unaffected by this, there are several things I do which are affected. Occasionally, there will be random strange characters in man pages, when logged in through the console, terminal session colors are really dark, etc. After finding the neat fix for this problem and applying it, things are much better. Much like the mini HOWTO explains, I really have no use for international support (or anything non-English in nature)...so this feature is just a PITA (Pain In The Ass) for me.

I also finally got regular www access straightened out, at least from the outside. NS now has the old 'web front' it had under RH 7.3. I made some minor changes when moving it over, but the whole point of the two pages is to let people know that I don't provide shell hosting...and also limit active services.

While I was on this kick, I finally got DICTD working...locally. The client software was always working, but I needed to get the server side installed, which it now is. I also found some neat freedict.org translation dictionaries which are cool. Anyway, I got all that stuff set up, and it's working beautifully.

I also took time to get NTP working the way it should. NS is not only the router box, it's also the DNS and NTP box. As it turns out, something got messed up with the transition between versions, namely with the configuration. NS was getting the right time from the upsream time server, but wasn't letting my network clients synchronize to it. This has also been fixed now.

As a final 'server note' today, I've added some new rules to iptables after watching the log files for a few days. Mostly in regards to random services...but it's a little more robust because of it. smile

Network Topology Diagram Complete

I've been messing with MacDraft again recently...and have completed the home network topology diagram. It outlines where each vital piece of equipment is connected, how it's connected (e.g. speed), and the order in which packets must flow (if you follow arrows) to get from any given machine to the Internet and vice versa.

Perhaps in the near future (next week, or whenever I fire up the Mac again) I will get an image version handy (I've only got it on printed paper) to put up in a good place.

Building Plans...

As I noted above, I had the Mac in operation this morning. In addition to finishing the topology diagram, I used MacDraft to quick draw up my plans for the soon-to-be-constructed table piece for the printer/server stand. I'm planning on being near my table saw later this week (from Tuesday through Thursday), and hope to get a chance to make the simple table.

As it currently stands, there are to modular tables I built (on the order of two years ago now) on top of each other, forming a shelf unit. In the bottom part is my hub, file cabinet, and Mac cart (where I also keep the scanner). On the first tabletop (at 30" above the floor) is our small TV for the back room and the Mac monitor. On the second tabletop (~50" above the floor) are the two printers -- the LaserJet and PhotoSmart. This has been inconvenient since I purchased the new laser printer last fall. But I've not had time to fix this problem.

With the addition of the second server, I need more room, plain and simple. The fix is to leave the lower table as-is. Both servers will now be in the place of the Mac cart. The second tabletop will be cut back (about 6-8+") from its existing position, making it look a little more roomy in here, and just working out better aesthetically. The second tabletop will now house the TV and PhotoSmart printer. The first tabletop will house the Mac monitor and keyboards/mice for the two servers and Mac.

So, now I need a new place to store the Mac, scanner, UPS units, and laser printer. The solution is to build a side table (fit into the corner next to the existing stand) which has shelves on it (and has only one level). The laser printer will be at a much better level (only 30") for use, and will also be tucked into the corner...a little more out of the way than it currently is. The scanner cart will now be placed under this table, and the Mac will be moved to a stationary platform underneath the main table surface. I've designed it with room for the UPS units that need to be in that vicinity, and there should even be room to spare.


But anyway, this building project is actually going to get underway! The worst part about it all is moving all the equipment! smile

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/20/07

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