Warrior Of Light
fighting the good fight   [and slacking off occasionally] RAMBLINGS - 2004
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After spending hours on trying to write "On Martyrs and Unnecessary Suffering" in the Campfire section over the last couple of months and another 2 hours this weekend, I decided to cancel it. Just to make sure there are no misunderstandings, this was not about people that have suffered great losses and in some cases lost their lives for the sake of Christian faith. I have the deepest respect for these people and I do not know if I would be able to go through what they have and still remain faithful. Rather this is about Christians that are suffering in life [either they are poor or sick or have bad relationships with other people] and believe that it is God's will for them to live in that suffering.

The more I wrote, the more subjects I had to cover until it started growing into multiple pages. As an example, "On Religious Traditions" was suppose to be a small part of the "Martyrs.." I ended up with at least 3 other sections that I had to expand just as much to make sure that I am clear. In the end I decided to write those sections separately.

This is from Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy [BBC radio version], a conversation between one of my favorite characters, Marvin the paranoid android and a front desk clerk.
[C]: Excuse me sir, can I help you?
[M]: I doubt it.
[C]: Well in that case if you can just excuse me...
[M]: No one can help me, not that anyone has ever tried.
[C]: Is that so?
[M]: Hardly worth anyone's while really, is it?
[C]: I'm sorry sir but if you just...
[M]: There is hardly a reason to be kind or helpful to a robot who doesn't have any gratitude.
[C]: And you don't have any?!
[M]: I've never had an occasion to find out.
I did end up buying UT2004 even before Shinjuru had a chance to give me his copy to try it out. GoGamer.com had one of their "48 hour sale" specials and I bought a 2-DVD version for less than $30 with s/h.

A friend of mine in church also gave me a copy of Homeworld 2 that he finished playing. At first I liked it, then I noticed that there was no way to control the speed of the game and it was way too fast for me. Some "googling" revealed that there is no patch for that but it is possible to pause the game, give orders to all your units and than continue, making it sort of a mix between real-time strategy and a turn-based game. It's a great feeling to build a fleet, pause the game, send them against enemy's command center, rotate the camera and watch the action unfold from either perspective. It's almost like watching a movie!

Even though it was great to be able to temporarily use a "real" server for my testing at home [Compaq Proliant 1600], the noise and heat it generates is way too much for home. In the next couple of weeks I will be building a replacement from old PII 450 and 2 x 20GB hard drives lying around.

Since my brothers video card failed and they didn't really want to pay for a top of the line card to replace it, I gave him my GeForce 4200 and started shopping for a replacement for me. I considered 5200 as a natural step up, only to find that on most of the tests it performed about the same as a 4200 and even the prices for 5200 and 4200 are still the same, more than a year after 4200 has been released!

I did consider ATI 9600 for a while, until I found that a few sites mentioned problems with motherboards based on VIA chipsets and a few of the games I play had forum topics specifically dedicated to ATI problems. In the end I decided to pay a little more and buy a GeForce 5800XT. Double the performance of 4200 [or more], and no driver problems. To be fair, Shinjuru has an ATI card that he is very happy with and was it not for VIA chipset, I probably would give ATI 9600 a try.
Once in a while Chuda writes something; this is one of the stories.

Every day we thank God for our little boy Samuel. He has brought so much into our lives including structure and consistency. This didn't come easy since I wasn't raised with much of either but I felt that it was important, maybe because it was lacking in my childhood. So, from day one we prayerfully scheduled our family life, but it wasn't until we took a trip to see my sister for a week that I realized the benefits of having a scheduled life and its effects on Samuel.

Just one week out of our normal routine and Samuel was different. Day by day he became more and more unruly. By the time Samuel threw his first tantrum at the airport, I began to worry. I thought our 15 month old son was changing, and not for the better. During one of his naps on the plane, I began to seek God for comfort and help. His response was to be more diligent with his schedule and be consistent with his discipline because this second year is an important one. I found some comfort in knowing what I needed to do, but I wasn't happy about the changes I saw in Samuel.

I arrived home Saturday afternoon exhausted, so Oleg took Samuel to church the next morning. Back to normal life, right? When Oleg picked up Samuel from the nursery, people told him that Samuel was throwing toys at other children and was quite aggressive; they were concerned because Samuel was so different. When Oleg told me, I felt pangs of panic and thought our lives were never going to be the same.

The following week was focused on getting back to our routine. I was diligent as the Lord said and made sure I stuck to our schedule and disciplined when necessary. Slowly he came around, and after a week he was back to his sweet easy going self. It was such a short amount of time, but for me it seemed like forever. Needless to say I was relieved.

I always thought that Samuel was a good kid naturally but I realize now that all children have the potential of behaving badly. Because of this experience, I will never forget the importance of having structure and consistency, and when I get tired of our routine, I will remember its purpose and benefits.

"What to do if you are stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder you can't move with no hope of rescue. Consider how lucky you are that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far - which given your current circumstances seems more likely - consider how lucky you are that it won't be bothering you much longer."
Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy
I've been really hooked on UT2004 lately. So far I've only been playing the demo but if I don't lose interest in it in the next couple of weeks, I'll probably get the whole thing. Oh, Shinjuru is playing something else now so he might loan me his copy for a week or so. This should give me even better idea whether to buy it or not.
Well, I made some time to update this page, sat down and... nothing. Nothing I would want to waste a minute of your time on. OK, here is 45 seconds worth:
  • Job - about the same.

  • Linux - a project is coming up but nothing to write about it yet.

  • PCs - I upgraded 2 of my WD 80GB's to WD 120GBs.

  • Games - no time to play any. Mostly focusing on chess and searching for a good game to "spend some quality time with."

  • Parenthood - this section is in desperate need of an update. Lots of things to write about but nothing solid to be "put on paper." Have to think them trough first.

  • Campfire - lots of things to write but because of the nature of the topics it takes a lot of time to think them through, find information to make sure that I'm correct and finally type it up.

  • Life - I was selected as one of the leaders of our church, Westside Covenant Church. Now I have an opportunity to wake up at 5:30AM once a week, and have a 2 hour meeting. It's actually fun :) Surprisingly, that day I seem to be the most energized out of the whole week. Go figure.
Rather than boring you with all the unexciting things that happened in the last 3 weeks, take a look at the new update in Campfire section.
Chuda and I celebrated our anniversary today [4 days late] and I didn't have enough time to post an update. I will try to do it this week, otherwise it will be up by next Monday.
The spring is here and it's tougher and tougher to stay inside now... I even found myself making a brick patio and actually enjoying it! :) I have also been reading a very interesting book, "Every Woman's Desire". Hopefully I will post a short review about it in the Campfire section sometime soon.

"Some call me... Tim."
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Practically all last week we were in a class on Novell exteNd, a GUI-driven web-services/portal application. It was quite a bit over our heads [at least most of us] but we tried to keep up as much as possible. It was an interesting introduction to portal and "portlet" creation. If we had enough time to practice what we've learned, it could be fun. We will just have to wait and see.

I had a fun [and frustrating] project to work on in the past few weeks; configuring a Linux server to use a backup T1 line when the primary line fails. I'm about half way done with it, currently if the line fails, server can be restarted and the owner can manually select which line they want to use. I can probably automate this process, just have to think it through and decide if it really would be a good thing or not.

Well, it happened again. I got tired of another MMORPG, this time Final Fantasy XI Online. This is the 4th game it happened to; first there was Everquest, then Dark Age of Camelot, then Jumpgate and now FFXIO. To be honest, they are improving, each one kept me playing for longer and longer, FFXIO lasted 4 months, more than any other one before it. In fact it isn't that I got tired of it but rather the time required to invest into the game to really enjoy it made me give it up.

During a normal week I have work, family, church activities and friends, leaving the only time I could really play the game somewhere between 11PM and 1AM. Since we live in the PST zone, that means that Central Time and EST people are already in bed by the time I am ready to play. Most PST people don't seem to stay up that late either so that leaves me struggling to find a group to play with. Oh yes, that's another thing. After gaining level 12, it becomes difficult to level alone and once you reach level 20 it would take many hours to gain one level by yourself, you really have to find a group to play with, it's not even an option.

Considering that some of the fun [advanced jobs] become available at level 30 and the total number of levels is around 70-80, you can imagine how much time it would take to get to even a moderately high level by yourself. I would be able to become a paladin somewhere around end of summer :] I could maybe even survive that but the fact that in order to complete important quests or missions requires finding a full group [6 people] forces me to find time during the week when other people are playing, somewhere around 6PM. This was the final drop for me, I simply refuse to adjust my real life schedule around a game! BTW, Jon S. did the same thing a few weeks ago, I guess it dawned on him a little earlier than me :)
OK, a week late but I am back with another update. As I wrote this, I understood why it's a week late. I really didn't have anything interesting to write about, I'm talking about interesting even to me, it still amazes me that you guys consider these ramblings of mine to be interesting enough to visit this site once in a while. Thank you.

"Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was, that they escaped teething."
Mark Twain
I've been working on an interesting project lately. We have been trying to implement ZENworks for Servers [not to be confused with ZENworks for Desktops which is already working pretty well] for a couple of years at least. This time it seemed to have failed because the person assigned to implementing the project lost interest in it and our management doesn't consider it to be important enough to assign it to anybody else. Oh well.

One of the main things I needed ZfS to do was to update a few directories on our site servers from a master server weekly. ZfS can do a whole lot more but because the project basically failed we can't even get that to work. Seeing that it would be quite useful for our IS dept. to have those directories updated, I had a challenge on my hands.

There were a few ways of doing this - manual updates, automated updates from a workstation or an automated update server-to-server. Latter one was much better than the previous two for many reasons, mainly because of reliability and time. As you can imagine manual copy would require someone to sit there and monitor it and since it had to be done at night, that was out. Creating a batch file to push those files out would work but it would take a very long time to push 1.5GB to one server, then another 80+. In addition it appears that a copy from workstation to server is slower than a server-to-server copy. After some thinking, I came with the following solution.

Two utilities will be used, CRON.NLM and TOOLBOX.NLM. Cron is a utility that was ported from UNIX world to Netware and Toolbox was a set of DOS/UNIX utilities that was created for Netware. A master server will distribute a file [CRONTAB] telling CRON what to run and when to run it. In that file will be instructions to pull new files from the master server on a given date and time.

Before coming up with something simple like this, I had to consider and disregard a few other, more complicated ideas. One involved site servers checking if a file has changed and if it has then pull a new one from the master server. I was unable to find an easy way to perform such a simple test however. To be honest, I didn't really look for a way to do this very long because right now we only have 2 files to worry about and they get updated only a few times a month. I decided to save time and will simply distribute a new CRONTAB file to the site servers when I know that there is an update.

Another, even simpler idea was to use the master server to push those files out, instead of having site servers pull them. I decided against that because pushing 1.5GB file across a T1 line [1500Mbps] will take quite a bit of time and since we have 80+ servers to do, this certainly will not finish overnight. It is important to get this done at night because copying so much data during the day will bring the rest of the tasks on that T1 line to a crawl. Having site servers pull the file should work like magic, since all 80+ will be copying at the same time and since all they can accept is 1500Mbps, master server should handle that load without a problem.

Hopefully this week will show whether I am correct on that or not. We found some problems with those two files, so now I'm just waiting until they are ready to be distributed. If this works well, next project will be to figure out a zip-pull-unzip solution for some files with long filenames. At this time toolbox.nlm is unable to handle server-to-server copy with long filenames, it truncates them. If I can get the master server to zip those files into a nice 8.3-named one, have the sites pull it and unzip it back to their long filenames, that would be beautiful!

Meanwhile Jon and Kirk figured out a way to automate some of our antivirus related tasks. It will be interesting to see it work and will sure save all of us a lot of headache. Speaking of those two, they are sort of an example of how ZfD [ZENworks for Desktops] can be used to simplify a lot of day-to-day computer related tasks. Both of them have been using ZfD at their sites extensively and have automated just about everything with it. When I started working with ZfD, I knew how much can be done with it but it was a complete surprise for me to see Jon and then Kirk buy into it and rely on it so heavily. It almost brings a tear to my eye :-]

Well, my warrior reached lvl 23 in Final Fantasy XI, then I leveled up my monk, thief and now white mage to their teens. Our original idea to play together doesn't seem to be working out so well with Jon and I. Either he goes above my level or I do, it's kind of hard to figure out a time to play that would fit both of our schedules. In addition he had a good point that if we spent as much time and energy on real life as we spend on this game, we could probably achieve quite a few things as well :) As much as I hate to admit it, he may be right. I will have to pay more attention to how much time I spend playing this game and if it takes away from other important things.
Greetings warriors! Much time had passed since my last update. Most of that time was spent terminating my consulting and web-design business, being sick or taking care of sick people and playing games. If you are still checking this site once in a while, you deserve a medal of patience :)

If you recall, I have been very frustrated with my job. A couple of weeks off for Christmas did help me forget a lot of the frustrations but after starting work they didn't take much time to resurface. After much praying and thinking I did have an interesting idea on how to resolve a few issues. It requires some preparation and to an outsider nothing may be apparent even after it's done but I think it should improve my situation. I will keep you posted. For all you conspiracy theorists out there, it's nothing really big, it has more to do with me personally than anything else.

This quote is from a forum poster on slashdot as an answer to a question about a good storage solution.
In terms of storage efficiency, nothing beats a naggy girlfriend:
  • Reliability -- remembers each and every one of my mistakes, without fail.
  • Rapid access time -- often points out my faults within milliseconds.
  • Built in redundancy -- all too eager to discuss the same topics repeatedly.
The downside, though, is the insanely high maintenance fee. Noisy too.
Ongoing problem with my server's unexpected reboots had a rather funny resolution. It turned out that the UPS was bad! The lights were OK on the UPS and no error messages were on server screen even during UPS weekly tests. For some reason I decided to make sure that it works by unplugging the power cable from the wall. To my huge surprise, it simply died, without even trying to stay up for any period of time.

More than likely it was both, the UPS and the battery, so I replaced the whole thing and now it's been up for at least a month with no problems. The funny thing is, it was those weekly tests that made the server go down :) However there must have been a few blackouts as well, since I certainly would have noticed that the only time it goes down is on Monday.

Ever since I bought Final Fantasy XI Online I've been struggling to keep a good balance between playing the game, spending time with people and doing my chores. It is no easy task! If you have the money and the time to spend on this game, let me know so we can be on the same server and maybe I can help you get started.
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