If you’re a sysadmin long enough, I guarantee one of your biggest pet peeves will be people telling you what command to run, rather than what their problem is. Trust me, suck it up. Be polite. Solve the problem the right way.
Cassini’s Grand Finale
I’ve had the phenomenal opportunity to work on NASA/JPL’s Cassini mission as a computer systems engineer supporting the Radio Science team since I started work at JPL in 2000.
This month, the core Cassini mission will conclude in a beautiful and, at least for me, bittersweet, way.
Cassini’s Grand Finale:
Shorts and flip flops: Tech companies in 2016
Below is an actual email I received from a technical recruiter. I’ve changed the company’s name to “ACME” to protect the innocent:
Subject: Nice profile!
After reading through your profile 3 times, I couldn’t help but reach out.
We’re ACME, a Los Angeles based tech company shaking things up in the Programmatic Advertising space.
We’re growing at 70% annually and have a new role for an Information Security Engineer. You’re probably not actively looking but so are 90% of the people I reach out to. But once they learn more about ACME, they’re very happy I reached out.
We have a pingpong table, pool table, foosball, and the people here are awesome. Dress code: ties and jackets are not allowed, shorts and flip flops are common.
Come see for yourself, you have nothing to lose and so much to gain. Can we talk?
If I was 30, and it was 1999, this job might have sounded interesting to me. But these days the last place I would want to work is a marketing company with a fraternity like atmosphere.
Lombardi Ranch, Santa Clarita Ca.
Stopped by Lombardi Ranch last weekend to pick up of couple pumpkins. It’s a fun place to visit this time of year. Loved the JPL rover themed scarecrow!
Are you in town for E3? Here is were to eat.
Bridged networking with KVM / qemu
First off, I cannot recommend Peter Membrey’s “The Definitive Guide to CentOS” enough. If you’re a new admin or just want to make sure
you’re doing it right, this is the book to get.
Some of the scientists I support at work rely on software that requires an old, defunct version of Ubuntu (6, Edgy). And because it’s starting to get hard to find hardware that will still run that old version of Linux I’m now using virtualization technology (KVM and CentOS 5.7). These instructions should work with Redhat and it’s derivatives.
The tricky part of all this (for me at least) was setting up the network. I need the virtual Ubuntu machine to appear on the network as if it were a separate host with a public IP, rather then behind a NAT router. Thus I used a bridged network setup. The method bellow worked for me, but it’s not necessarily the only or best way to accomplish this… I’ve tested these procedures on CentOS 5.7 and 6.2. Before we get started, you need to add two CentOS packages via the yum command: bridge-utils and tunctl.
Step One: Create a virtual network bridge (br0)
This particular server has one physical interface (eth0). What you have to do is create a virtual network bridge (br0), give it your public IP/GATEWAY/etc, and then add the physical interface to the bridge…
First, backup /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 to another directory. My original ifcfg-eth0 looked like this
# Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5722 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express
Now copy /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 to /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-br0. Edit the two files so that they look like so… notice that the IP and GATEWAY are now in ifcfg-br0 and not ifcfg-eth0.
/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-br0 (I had do add my GATEWAY as well as copy over IPADDR)
Now reboot, or simply restart the network via the /etc/init.d/network script. If all is working properly, your host will still have a functioning network connection. You’re half way done…
Step two: Create a virtual, TUN/TAP interface (tap0) for your first VM.
To create the tap0 interface:
Bring up the new interface:
/sbin/ifconfig tap0 up
Now add tap0 to the bridge so it has access to your physical network:
/usr/sbin/brctl addif br0 tap0
Now, when you install or start your qemu vm, just make sure your “-net” option looks like the one bellow so that your vm has access to the tap0 interface. Most examples I’ve found on the net do these last steps in a script that then launches qemu…
/sbin/ifconfig tap0 up
/usr/sbin/brctl addif br0 tap0
qemu-system-x86_64 -hda disk.img -boot d -m 1024 -net nic -net tap,ifname=tap0,script=no -no-acpi
I Like Turtles
Saw this sign while driving through the Mojave. I also came across this one warning of Burros
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is easily one of my favorite attractions at Disneyland. For me, the show represents Walt Disney’s patriotism, as well as his love for Americana and technology.
The photo above was taken with my little Leica D-LUX 4. I prefer to take this little camera to the park, rather then haul around an SLR. Really love it’s “Dynamic / B&W” mode.
Lunar Exploration Suit
Photo courtesy of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory / NASA.
From the JPL Archives!
In this September 1960 photo, Allyn B. “Hap” Hazard wears a space suit he designed. Hap was a Senior Development Engineer in the Missile Engineering Section of JPL in 1959 when he wrote a plan for manned space exploration. JPL was transitioning from missiles to space exploration, and Hap had a lot of ideas about the subject. In March 1961, Hap left JPL to work at Aerojet, and presumably to work on the suit and his other inventions. In addition to the suit, he designed and built a hydrofoil boat and a snow making machine during his time at JPL.
It doesn’t appear that the suit was ever an official JPL project, and very little documentation exists in the JPL Archives except for the photographs and his report, which includes a disclaimer, “The views expressed in this paper are those of the writer ….” The Section 352 online photo album includes a series of photos and drawings of his Lunar Exploration Space Suit Mark 1 and plans for a moonmobile that could be controlled from the dashboard inside the suit.
After Hap left JPL, he and the suit appeared or were mentioned in Life magazine, Boys Life, and the Syracuse Post-Standard. An Experimental Engineering class at UCLA studied the suit, and Mattel created an astronaut toy that wore a replica of it. Even today, there are many web sites that include the story of Hap Hazard, his space suit, and Major Matt Mason (the toy).
You can click on the image to view a larger version at Flickr.
iPad – Infantilizing Hardware?
I have to admit that I found Cory Doctorow’s anti-iPad post at Boing Boing quite bizarre and techno-elitist. He seems to dislike both how easy the iPad is to use as well how efficiently it’s physical parts are put together (glue as opposed to screws).
His argument that the iPad is “Infantalizing [sic] hardware” is particularly short-sighted. I view the iPad as a sort of satellite of my main workstation. With such a device, good user interface design should free the user from the sort of things that make a full blown computer more cumbersome, albeit more powerful. When you’re relaxing on the couch with a cup of coffee, or on a road trip to San Fran, and all you want to do is read Wikipedia, peruse your comic library, or catch up on the latest news, your iPad is probably a good delivery method.
Furthermore, what’s more important? Simple and easy-to-use access to the world’s information database, or you’re ability to disassemble the device your using to read it? The answer is obvious. The benefits of miniaturized (system on a chip) ICs, vertical circuit fabrication, and the power efficiency they bring far, far outweigh the the benefits of being able to disassemble such a device. And I would argue that the physical device itself is far less important in the grand scheme of things compared to the almost infinite software possibilities.
And of course, as a professional Unix admin, I know that options exists for people who want to tinker at a very low level (Linux + cheap commodity hardware). We shouldn’t think of the iPad as a replacement, but rather just another option.