More Server Upgrades

Yesterday I decided to take the plunge and upgrade the remaining servers that I have at home from Ubuntu 9.10 to 10.04 despite the issues that I had with my last upgrade experience.  These servers are all part of the MythTV setup in the house, they also do some other items, but mostly for MythTV.  Well, the upgrade went without an issue.  Some parts were slower that I would have liked, but in the end it all worked fine.  MythTV upgraded just fine.  The only item I had to do was to move some configuration files back to get my remote control to work again.  Overall, the upgrade went well and it was a relief, when I say the system boot back up.

Server Upgrade

Well, it has been a long time since I have written anything on the blog, I have been around and doing things.  Today I decided to upgrade the operating system on my server from Ubuntu 8.04 to 10.04, I prefer to stick to long term releases for my servers so that I don’t have to upgrade them every six months.  Well, it was bad upgrade.  I did the upgrade and rebooted the server and it did not want to boot.  I probably should have stopped at that point and found out what I needed to do to recover and get GRUB to boot, but I was lost and decided to just start over and install from scratch.  Well, almost scratch I did not delete the partitions, but I did format them.  Well, when the server rebooted after the fresh install it would only boot to the GRUB rescue prompt and no matter what I did I could not get past that point. I ever tried another almost fresh install to no avail.  After the third install attempt where I did delete all of the partitions and start over the server rebooted and started up just fine.  After a while I was able to restore most everything from the backups.  At this point all is looking good, but if you are going to upgrade be prepared for the worst case and make sure that you have good current backups.

Grado Labs SR60i

A few months ago I was looking for some headphones to use when I was working on the computer or was in a location that I really didn’t need or want the noise blocking properties for my Etymotic Research hf5‘s. I did some digging on the web and found that there were a lot of opinions about which over the ear headphones where the best.  Now, we all know that being the best is very much about personal preference.  I have heard about the Grado SR60‘s before and the model kept popping up in my research so I decided that I wanted to get me hand on a pair of them.  Once I got them, I must say I was impressed with the sound the quality of the head phones.  They sounded awesome.  The fit could use some improvement as my ears hurt a bit after having them on for a number of hours.  Overall, for the price the sounds is fantastic.  Also, since they are an open diaphragm design it is easy to hear what is going on around you, which can be great at time and a downfall at others.

Etymotic Research hf5 Earphones

Last spring in anticipation of heading off to Hawaii for a week I decided to take a look for a new set of earphones.  I had been using a set of Etymotic Research ER6 for the last five years or so, they had served me well and were still working fine, but I wanted to see what my options were, especially since I knew that the ER6 had been replaced by the ER6i.  I started researching online one morning and found that Etymotic Research had released a new model that was similar to their ER-4P model that I had been lusting after for a long long time, but could never justify the price in my head.  The new model was known as the hf5 (black, cobalt, red) and was available from Amazon for just over a hundred dollars which is not too far off of the price of the ER6’s that I have used for the past several years.  Well, I ordered them that they preformed great.  Imagine my disappointment when I was on a trip for work and discovered that my left earphone had no audio at times after having used them for the past six months.  I was bummed to say the least.

After thinking about my options I decided to see what the warranty period was on the hf5‘s, after all I was hoping that it was at least a year, well I was very happy to learn that it was in fact twice that.  I decided to contact Etymotic to start the return process, I must say it could not have been easier.  I called the number posted on their site and was immediately answered and transferred to customer service.  Customer service issued me an RMA number and gave me instructions on the how to return the product.  All was looking right with the world, I just needed some earphones to get home.

Well, I was out of town and decided to find a store and pick up something for the trip home.  I opted for something inexpensive (about twenty dollars) and I must say they worked, but were nowhere near what I have grown accustom to with my hf5‘s.  I got home and the cheap replacement earphones were relegated to the desk draw and the ER6’s were used while the return was being processed.

I shipped out the earphones on Monday via UPS ground since it was only an estimated two day time frame to get them to Etymotic.  I was very happy when I received an email on Friday of the same with with tracking information the return trip.  Well, UPS just dropped off a package and in it was the replacement set of hf5‘s bran new and fully functional.  The hf5‘s are great, and really like having them.  I must say that this was one of the easiest and fastest product warranty returns that I have done.  Thank you to Etymotic Research for making great products and standing behind them with great customer service.

Arizonia’s Apache Trail

I have been in Mesa, AZ for work for a few days now and I happened to have about a day and a half without any work that needed to be done, so I started looking for things to do.  I ran across some information about the Apache Trail that goes through the Tonto National Forest.  I had read that it is no all paved and that it is slow going at times.  Well, let me tell you is can be very slow going at times.  Even some of the parts that are paved are such sharp turns that that going more than ten to fifteen miles per hours is not a good idea.  When I got to the spot where the pavement ends this was still twenty plus miles to go before reaching the dam that created Theodore Roosevelt Lake where the pavement starts again.  The gravel part of the trail was very wash boarded and forced me to drive very slow.  Overall, it took me about three hours to make it from Apache Junction to Theodore Roosevelt Lake and about another two hours to make it back to Mesa.

I did stop and take a number of pictures along the way and they can be found in my gallery.  Also, I had my GPS tracker running for the entire trip, so you can see my route and all of the photos from today are geotagged with the location that they were taken at.

New Laptop Toshiba Satellite T115

A couple weeks ago I was at Microcenter and noticed a new small laptop.  The laptop that I noticed was a Toshiba Satellite T115-S1105 the price and form factor fit what I had been thinking about for some time.  This machine looks like a netbook, but is much more for not much more money.  In fact I had started by looking at the Toshiba NB205, but I was going to want to upgrade Windows and the RAM in the computer, so why not opt for this other version.  I must say that I am happy with the laptop.  It is not the most powerful machine in the world, but for the size and battery life, it does what I need it to most of the time.  It is rated at 9 hours and 20 minutes of battery life, now I have not really tested this to see, but I have easily gotten over six hours with no issue and battery to go.  It handles web browsing and basic office type tasks with ease. iTunes can at times being the machine to a crawl as can video play back.  Both of these seem to be related to the U2700 CPU that is in the machine.  The CPU is a ultra low voltage chip that gives great battery life, but is a bit on the weak side.  It will play back most video fine, but may stutter from time to time if something else is going on.  Also, the buttons for the touch pad are a bit stiff.  The button is a single piece with a sensor on both ends and for it to work you really need to click on the end of it otherwise the click does not register.

All things considered I am very happy with this machine as it is small, light weight and has a battery that will last all day.

G1 Update

Well, I have had my G1 for almost six months now and I must say that I am enjoying the device.  Yes, it is a bit of an odd design and it is a bit bulky, but nothing that I am not already familiar with having own and many Windows Mobile phones.

Well, as I stated in another post I have made it to over six hundred hours of uptime, heck the other day I was just shy of six hundred and fifty hours when I was forced to reboot the phone to get the radios working again.  I had just landed at the airport after returning for being out of town for work and the phone worked for a few minutes and then just refused to communicate with the outside world at all.  Oh, well, I would not have made it much past seven hundred hours since I just received the Android 1.6 update for my phone.  The odd thing this time is that it did not come overnight, it was right in the middle of the day.

I have not been running the new version of Android for long on the phone, but the updates to Google Maps and the Market are very noticeable and seem to feel a more polished.
The other itme that I am noticing is that it appears that the T-Mobile site near my house has been upgraded to support 3G now, that is nice, but in turn since I am right on the edge, my location based services have a hard time deciding where I am based only on the cell radio.  Some times it knows I am close to home and other times it puts me a few towns away and yet other times it has no idea where I am.  If I force the phone to 2G it will find my location in no time.  Also, if I am in an area that is covered very well by 3G it will locate me just fine.  It must be because I am right on the edge.  I must also say the the locations based on Wifi are amazing, It locates me on the correct block and within a few hundred feet of my house, a bit scary in some respects.

Over all, I am still very happy with the phone and the service, I am also glad to see T-Mobile expanding their 3G network.


Well, it has been a number of months since I have had any of my computers doing any folding for Folding@home and yesterday I decided that should change, but first a bit about what Folding@home is.  Folding@home is a distributed computing project based at Standford University.  The project is studying protein folding to get a better understanding of how it happens and maybe find a cure for some very common diseases such as  ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many others.  For more information check out the Folding@home website.

Like I said before it has been a number of months since I have done any folding, but yesterday that changed.  I have had a Folding@home team going for more than two years with working being done most of the time by computer that are on anyway for some other purpose.  If you have a computer that is on for any reason please consider installing the Folding@home client.  Also, if you would like to contribute to the team please use team 59767 when you set up your client.  The clients are available to be downloaded from the Folding@home website.  As I write this the team is in 1953 place of 164144, not to bad when there have only been four people contributing processor time to the team.  I have set a near term goal of making it to some place in the top 1500.  I am not sure how long it will take, but I am confident that we can do it.  So, it would would like to help out please download the client and help us out.

North Shore ATV Ride

Well, as you can tell from some of the photos in the last post I spent the last few days along the north shore of Lake Superior on vacation.  Two of the days several hours each day were spent riding on the awesome ATV trails in the Silver Bay area.  The trails in the area are maintained by the Silver Trail Riders club of Silver Bay, MN.  Needless to say we had a good time.  This was the first time that we had been on these trails so there is always a learning curve to finding your way around.  The first night we spent some time trying to located the trail to finally realize that just down the block from the hotel (AmercInn) we were staying at.  On Wednesday our first day of riding we headed out of town toward Finland, MN, on this day we rode about 52 miles.  The map is available thanks to Google and my GPS.  Thursday we set out to ride some different trails and ended up riding about 41 miles.  A bit shorter distance and a much a few hours less.  Once again thanks to Google the map is available.  Some parts of the trails were very rocky which slowed us down a bit and some where new trails for ATVs and were signed as such, but had not yet been updated on the maps, so that threw us off a bit.  Overall, it was a fun trip and a fun time was had be all.

GPX Track Files
ATV 2009-08-12
ATV 2009-08-13