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Changed SSH Keys at SilverFir.net Domains

Don’t worry, there isn’t a man-in-the-middle attack going on — rather, the recent news about a large security hole in all Debian-based systems spooked me enough to regenerate all of the SSH keys.

The Photo Gallery is Back

After a long absence that began with the great file corruption of 2008, the Checksum Arcanius Photo Gallery is back. Now powered by the much-derided (by me) Gallery 2, I have come to terms what what seems to be the best photo hosting software out there.

Post # 1000

Four and a half years, four servers, three jobs, two schools, and one small sampling of a life.

Today, Checksum Arcanius celebrates its 1,000th post.

Back Everything Up ASAP

Silverfir.net is experiencing data integrity issues; I think some hard drives are dying.

UPDATE: Things are looking pretty bad. I expect there will be some major downtime in the near future — perhaps a week from now.

UPDATE 2: Thanks  to some timely work by Dan, the system appears to be stable again. It is possible this was all just a soft error of some sort — not sure on that though. Its still always a good idea to look into ways of backing up your stuff. We [Dan and I] may get something in place soon, but don’t count on us to protect any valuable data you might have.

RILOE to the Rescue

After attempted to run the open-source Math software Sage on Frankenputen and being harshly greeted by an error message claiming that libc was out of date, Bobby and I decided that it was time to upgrade the Dapper Drake edition of Ubuntu Linux that was running the server to the modern Gutsy Gibbon edition.

The first attempt was an abject failure. Used to Debian’s nearly perfect reliability, I thought I could get away with upgrading direct from Dapper to Gutsy by simply changing my sources.list file, the running apt-get update followed by apt-get dist-upgrade. Well, this series of actions ended quite poorly — what was left over was a pretty broken, not very-installed hybrid of Dapper and Gutsy. So, after some tinkering and with some help from Bobby, we managed to revert — eventually — to Dapper. Bobby then set about doing a more incremental upgrade, stepping from Dapper to Edgy to Feisty and then to Gutsy (notice the progression of letters). This apparently worked, almost.

Well, it did work, but at the same time something else broke. Namely, the kernel version shipped with Gutsy — 2.6.22 — and a package called evms do not coexist peacefully. The result was a system that would being the boot procedure and then get stuck in an infinite loop of error messages. The key services — such as SSH — that we would normally use to try to fix the problem never came up, so all hope was lost, right? Well, not quite.

Back when Dan purchased all the smograsbord (sp?) of technology that now comprises Frankenputen, the computer currently responsible for serving much of silverfir.net’s content, he had the foresight to purchase an nice little piece of technology called a RILOE card. RILOE stands for Remote Insight: Lights Out Edition. Basically, its a video card with a network port on the back. It runs a web server, which allows administrators to access a variety of functions on the server as if the administrator where at the computer physically. Even more spectacularly, it has a virtual local console — basically a virtual screen that shows exactly what would be on the real screen. So when the server was dead to the rest of the world, after a little tinkering, I was able to log in and watch the system boot from the ground up — even the BIOS messages are visible! Its really like being at the computer in pretty much every pertinent way expect physical proximity.

Watching the system come up gave some error messages which Google turned into problem-solving tips. Then, by booting an older kernel, uninstalling evms, and rebooting, the machine was back to working as good as old. But with a bunch of upgrades of course!

Once a Year

Some time this morning, I noticed that the permalink for my last post was not simply “wasted”, but rather it was wasted-3, implying that I had used the title twice before.  After a short investigation, I found that this was indeed the case — wasted was written in 2005 and wasted-2 was written in 2004 (it was imported from greymatter, so it received the “-2” moniker). I guess I didn’t have a wasted period in 2006; perhaps this will have to do.

At any rate, I figure having only one post with that title per year isn’t doing too bad. So while I get over the sniffles I acquired while staying up too late watching the first two seasons of Battlestar Galactica, listen to my music, and plug away at my Bioengineering project (due Tuesday), and contemplate some of life’s mysteries, I think I’m going to be just fine.

In other news, I changed the slugs for the three “wasted” posts to -2004, -2005, and -2007. Once a year.

Upgrades and Updates

I am now early in the process of upgrading to WordPress 2.2. A consequence is that the old themes don’t seem to work anymore. The original Checksum Arcanius theme was getting tired anyway, so I have started work on a new one. I want to move much of the current look and feel forward, while hopefully bringing a fresh look to the table at the same time. We’ll see how it goes.