Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I was talking with a friend and he really like Astlinux, so I went to work on trying it out. Astlinux is a striped down linux disto designed to boot from a compact flash card. In my test setup, my machine is booting from a 64mb CF card, and has a USB thumb drive to store voice mail and other data.
I have to say it was more effort to get the Astlinux machine going and achieve the same things I was doing with Trixbox, but in the long run I learned more and much prefer dealing directly with the config files over the web interface of the Trixbox.
My test setup now has the Astlinux box and a phone at my home, and the Trixbox and a phone at work. I am now able to call between home and work via Free World Dialup. I am also experimenting with a Skype to SIP program, It would seem like I can get my SkypeIn number to ring in on my Asterisk box.
I don't know exactly what I'm going to do next with the setup, I may be getting a land line in my home so, at that point I might push that number into my system, and I also might be connecting to anyother VoIP provider to handle long distance calls.
In the future I would like to be able to connect an Asterisk box to the work Shoreline system, allowing me to extend my work phone, to where I'm working and break me away from the desk, but I'm not sure I really want to be that reachable to the point that I will spend money on the hardware required.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Newer Linux 2.6 kernels support AOE (ATA over Ethernet) protocol designed for high volume data thoughput over Ethernet interfaces without TCP/IP overhead. Unlike most network storage AOE volumes appear to the OS as block devices in /dev. Now because the OS sees the drive as a block device, you should be able to add a remote drive to a software mirror.
The long and short of it is you have two systems connected via a crossover cable, one system boots up normal, the other boots up in slave mode. In normal operation Server A is mirroring all data to server B via software raid. In the event of problem with server A, server B could be promoted or rebooted to be the master. Server A could be repaired or replaced and resume operations as a slave to B.
I have to say it may seem kind of crazy, but I have to agree I like the idea of using raid to mirror volumes over any other way I can think of. I was also worried about network overhead, but I think gigabit Ethernet can outtransfer most hard drives, and AOE keeps network overhead down. Exact details about switching a machine from slave to master are still in the works, but it just might work.
I'm trying to find a pair of machines just to some basic testing.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
One of the new services, Picasa Web, I've been playing with for the past month or so, and I have to say the integration with Picasa is a nice start, however it still has a long way to go. To start with a 250MB limit? What the heck is that? Google the same people that started with a 2GB email box that is growing every day, impose a 250mb limit on photos? Last I checked I have 1.7GB of pictures, I would like more than anything to have a place to store those that is relatively immune to data loss. The other thing that I think would be another useful step with Picasa Web, would be the ability to connect the Windows application back to the web albums. That way if you got a new computer and didn't have the local copies you could browse the online albums as if they were local.
From the web standpoint Picasa Web is fairly nice clean and simple, and easy to use. I was about to complain about lack of RSS support but that must have just been added in the past couple days too. I'm happy to see improvements, I hope they can push to further blur the line between your OS and web apps.
I personally look forward to a day where I might be able to take most of my life with me anywhere I can get on the Internet. I have to say Google has already released one app that has been helping me with that, Google Browser Sync, a firefox app that automatically syncs your bookmarks, and open pages. I love that when I bookmark a page on one of the three computers I normally use, it will be synced up to the rest of them next time I connect. I no longer need to worry that I bookmarked that on my laptop, or at home, its all the same list.
I guess we just have to stay tuned to see what Google does next to help push web services to the desktop.
Friday, August 11, 2006
I will be out of the office for a few hours today to help with a wireless tower installation. I don't expect to have time to play with any personal projects. Maybe of the weekend I will be able to get some stuff done.
In the mean time feel free to check out my RSS page progress.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Today I've been working on an interesting project. Many Web2.0ish sites can provide RSS feeds of what your doing on their site. In came my problem, how to bring me together in one place? In comes planet. Planet is a python script that runs and collects RSS feeds into a single page arranged by date.
While still a work in progress, feel free to check out my page.
Anybody know of anything like this that already exists?
Time passed and I was able to get a Cisco 805 router that was able to connect external modem, this was highly configurable, however lacked a friendly web interface, and caching options. I was able to use clarkconnect behind the Cisco to help cache pages to ease bandwidth problems. Clarkconnect is a all in one Linux gateway offering web proxy, dhcp, dns, file sharing, mail and more. While this setup worked ok, until the Cisco started acting up and I needed to look at replacement option. One of the biggest downfalls of the clarkconnect box was it didn't support dialup directly.
Here comes Smoothwall 2.0 to save the day. Smoothwall supports almost all WAN connection types including dialup, ISDN, DSL, PPPoE, and Cable. I have had smoothwall installed at my parents house for years now, it has been working fairly nicely. I have been running it on a old P150 laptop with an external 56K modem.
Since then I have moved out of my parents house to an area where I can get cable internet. I have been trying to get setup to do more computer repair out of my house. One of the things I want to try to do is setup a caching proxy that will hopefully cache windows updates and other files I use often like Adaware and Spybot. I would rather have my proxy cache them from a remote rather than put them on a USB thumb drive, or CD because that way I will make sure I have the latest copy. I also hope that it will cache windows updates. I personally don't feel that my Internet connection is that slow, its just nice to have LAN transfer speeds on file downloads. I figured I would give Smoothwall a chance for the job to see how it works. I went over to the Smoothwall.org website and see that Smoothwall Express 3.0 is in Alpha so I thought I would give it a try. I took a spare computer added a second network card and installed away. Setup was rather simple and from the limited testing I've done so far it seems to work nicely. I think I will give this a try for the short term and see how it works.
For the long term I have a bigger project in mind that might require me more configuration options to allow for web based user tracking and wireless security. Hopefully stay tuned for more details about Smoothwall and future gateway options.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
When the system was booted it checked for updates and I installed them. The update system was very easy to use, and much prefered the windows update. I like the fact that the update program handles updates to all of the programs that come on the install CD.
I could go on to write more, but I'll close with this for now. If your looking to leave the norm, and try something a little different without being forced to learn a lot try Ubuntu.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I've fired up the monitoring server again, and started to get to work on it. I haven't made any progress yet, but I'm hoping to get it done sometime next week.
Friday, April 21, 2006
I'm still behind on my podcasts from before vacation, I was starting to catch up but then I added Cranky Geeks to my queue. I still have 2 1/2 hours of podcasts before I get to those anyway. Currently my podcast queue is 12.7 hours.
The last few weeks of the security now podcast have been interesting, they have covered crypto. I really didn't understand very well how that all worked, but now its all starting to make sense. If you are kinda lacking in your understanding of crypto, I highly recommend listening to the podcasts.
Crossed off my list of things to do was upgrade the Propel Highspeed dialup server. The server stopped working, and forced a version upgrade. I had to install the new software on the Redhat 7.3 server. I have tried to get the software to run on other versions of linux, I could get everything but logging functioning. I'm still waiting to hear back from Propel to see if they will ever be supporting something just a touch newer.
In the to-do department, next week I'm planning to do further work on the new server that will be running nagios to monitor our network. When the server is completed, it will also hopefully be running a few other services, including IMAP for the corporate email/webmail and a wiki internal office documentation. Documentation here is a mess, I think a wiki will help exchange and enhance company processes.
I also have to install a new router at one of our locations, however I plan on waiting to do this until I get the WIC-1DSU-T1 cards for my router. My other choice is using an external CSU/DSU, and I'd like to avoid that.