Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

OpenSuse 42

??So… One of the things I did this weekend was spend a little time with OpenSuse 42, at the behest of some Suse reps I spoke with at work on Friday…:

OpenSuse 42

I do want to say that once it’s going it really does look good. However, these guys and other Linux distributions in general REALLY need to spend some quality time installing other distributions so they can see what those distros get right (during the install) and what they, themselves, do not. Some problems that I encountered were networking not set up properly to work with network manager for gnome unless you set networking up during the installation (regardless of whether or not you use it) and having some phantom broken hdd repo automatically installed which prevents all/any updates and no good information I can easily find on what repos *should* be set up for this distro by default.

Monday, October 5th, 2015

A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Seventh Edition

A Practical Guide to Fedora and  Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Seventh Edition
  Sometimes timing ius everything. At least it was fortuitous this time for me. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I had been sitting on this review for a little while. There has been a lot of bad news going around lately so It was really a great pick me up to see they had used one of my quotes in the book. That’s always a nice thing 😉

The rest of the book came with surprisingly good timing as well. You see, it just so happens that I have been working lately at readying my work infrastructure for the additional release of RHEL 7. This book helps to take a lot of pain out of that new release by going over what I believe are the important changes / additions a person really should know.

Like Sobells other books, he takes great pains to guide you through a variety of topics that generally amount to a good basic understanding of the operating system. You learn about the desktop and the shell and how to set up and run some common services. Much of it is updated information from his previous versions of this book as you would expect. Where it strays are the things I just happened to be particularly interested in on this go around. The biggest changes to quickly get a hold of with the new RHEL 7 stuff, as far as I am concerned, is the replacement of MySQL with MariaDB, the new firewalld daemon and the service to systemctl transition. Mark not only mentions all these but does a good job at general instruction for their use. He also adds a new chapter dealing with virtualization, covering not only KVM but also VMware and Cloud Computing, which, of course are going to be good ways for you to set up those practice VMs you are going to want to play with.

Sobell is one of those authors that, as a techie guy, I am always excited to read and review, and this time is no exception. This book, A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Seventh Edition, is going to be another on my “recommend to read” list and a constant traveler with me for quite a while. For $60 US cover price ($33 right now on Amazon) you get not only this weighty volume of information, but a nice Fedora 19 DVD and 45 days free access to the online edition of the book as well (to help keep your work bag more manageable 😉 Another keeper from Mark Sobell and Prentice Hall. Get your copy today!

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Gateway NV57H26U

Gateway NV57H26U

Gateway NV57H26U

It has been 6 years or more since I got a really decent Linux laptop, and, after giving my macbook to my daughter for college, it was high time to do so.

I set out browsing the web for the perfect Linux laptop from places like System76 and ZaReason, who have absolutely lovely and brilliant laptops to offer, and then I checked my checkbook. Ugh. So, I decided to go to BestBuy where I have a line of credit and 18 month financing. Thanks economy.

It’s quite possible to buy a really expensive laptop at BestBuy too, but, trying to avoid that I searched around for the best (ie cheapest) decent deal I could find. That happened to be the Gateway NV57H26U. This 15.6″ core i5, 4gb ram, 500gb hdd machine looked to be quite a winner for the paltry sum of $450, especially since any comparable machine was at LEAST $100 more anywhere you looked (even online).

Of course *I* will not run windows, which the machine comes with, so I took it home, held my breath (hey, I can return it right) and stuffed in a Linux Mint 11 dvd. Within 30 minutes I was completely installed and running – AND FAST. Did I mention fast? You wouldn’t believe how fast this laptop feels to me, especially since the last one is sporting a celeron at 1.6ghz. This machine is a quad core 2.3-2.9ghz machine and it absolutely screams. What a nice change of pace. Why, I bet that if it were legal to use handbrake to copy your DVDs you could rip one in about 5 minutes 🙂

This thing has a glossy black lid which collects fingerprints just as you would imagine it would. The screen is absolutely HUGE to me at 1366×768, and it is SO BRIGHT that when I am sitting in a dim room, the brightness of the screen drowns out the keyboard lettering so much that I find it hard to type. No I am not a touch typist. Yes, I wish I were. Speaking of the keyboard, it has keys sort of like macbook keys. They are flat, squarish and separated nicely. I find it a pleasure to type on, when I can see it that is. It also sports not only a full size kb, but has enough room to include a full number pad as well. The machine has hdmi out, 3 usb, vga, gigabit ethernet, BGN wireless, webcam, and an sd card reader. It sounds pretty nice as far as laptops go as well. I have tested everything on here and verified it to work with the exception of the hdmi out, the sd card reader and the microphone.

Now on to the problems… Every machine has its quirks and this one is no exception. First up is the keyboard. While it’s nice to use and type on, they made it so that in order to use the function keys as actual function keys, you need to hold down the (Fn) button. If you do not, the keys are mapped to things like media controls, brightness controls, hardware controls and the like. It’s not that big of a deal but I just found it odd that it wasn’t the other way around. The next annoyance is the trackpad. Now it’s a nice looking and feeling trackpad, however, no matter what I do it’s detected as a ps/2 mouse. From my research, this appears to be a current kernel bug, so I am hoping that it’ll be addressed in the near future. I just hate to waste a multitouch trackpad like that. Lastly is the video. The video works fine for the most part. it’s one of those Sandybridge Intel HD 3000 video hardware and I believe support is not entirely all there yet. It does not seem that I have accelerated video, although I am not a gamer and don’t use it anyhow. Other than that it looks clean, crisp and sharp and has no problems keeping up with full motion video that I can see.

What’s Good;
FAST, good looking, FAST, nice kb feel, big bright screen, number pad, inexpensive, FAST.

What’s Not:
The way the function keys are laid out, support for the trackpad and accelerated video, Microsoft tax.

I really like this and you just can’t go wrong for the money, Microsoft tax or not.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Nook, Kindle or iPad?


Kindle 3

On the last TechShow, we talked for a few minutes about eReaders before the show was over. I was pretty much on the fence about what to do about my pressing want of such a device and I was soliciting opinions and advice on the matter.

I have long wanted an eReader because I absolutely hate carrying piles of heavy books around with me, and getting an eReader gives me the opportunity to bring along a whole bunch of books wherever I go and they all fit into my pocket! The problem I ran into was which one to get?

I like the Nook because it supports more open standard ebook formats and it is locally available at Best Buy. I am on of those instant gratification people that has to be able to walk out of the store with my item in hand. Waiting for delivery drives me insane 🙂

I like the Kindle because of its general popularity, the ease of integrating it with my existing Amazon account, the book availability, and, really, I just like Amazon. I also really like that the Kindle has a keyboard (such as it is). The downside for me there was, again, I had to order/wait for the thing.

The iPad? Well, I really dig that tablet form factor, and, after having used an iPad for a few minutes, you can really see the draw of the thing. Lots of pretty applications, aesthetically pleasing, it’s the right size, I can read every kind of eBook on it, etc., etc., etc.. Downsides are its price is 4x the price of a Kindle or Nook.

What I really wanted was a 10 inch Android tablet. Unfortunately, you can’t even get a decently working 7 inch Android tablet yet. Also, when they do come out (still vaporware as far as I am concerned), they will be at the same price point as the iPad.

What’s a guy to do? Do I just keep waiting and waiting and end up never getting anything? Do I just go for the iPad and then get irritated with myself when a decent Android tablet comes out right afterward?

Well, the answer just sort of came to me yesterday. I had to go to Best Buy to pick up a movie for my wife and what did I see there? They had not only the Nook, but also the Kindle for sale. Of course I had to check them both out while I was there. It was, after all, clearly some kind of omen.

I ended up picking up a Kindle after comparing the two side by side. The kindle was faster, the demo unit actually worked (big plus), the Kindle was actually about $10 cheaper, I think it’s better looking as well, and I do remember reading about B&N having some financial dificultes recently as well. I have used the Kindle for a day now and I am still pleased with my purchase. I have to say that these things are pretty cool and I wish I hadn’t waited this long. If you are still on the fence about this like I was, go hit a Best Buy and check them out!

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Increase LVM Volume

I had the occasion to need some extra filespace on the LVM’d root partition of a RHEL(or CentOS) vm. This is how to do it:

First off, VMWare allowed me to create a second HDD on the fly while the vm was running (YAY!)

Once that was done, I rooted into the server and:

# echo “- – -” > /sys/class/scsi_host/host#/scan
(partprobe should also do the trick ??)

# fdisk -l
(Just to see that the new disk is available – in this case /dev/sdb)

# fdisk /dev/sdb
(create a new partition here)

# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1

# vgs
(list the volume groups here)

# pvcreate /dev/sdb1
(add new physical volume)

# vgextend VolGroup00 /dev/sdb1
(extend my default volume group from the vgs command)

# vgs
(check to see pv and vg has another volume now)

# lvextend /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 /dev/sdb1
(extend my / volume by the entire size of /dev/sdb1)

# resize2fs /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00
(resize filesystem to match vol size increase)
(requires a 2.6 kernel to resize while fs running)

That was it! And remember that all this was done on the fly, on the root partition and filesystem, WHILE the vm was running.

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

My computers

Everyone wants to know what kinds of crazy hardware a computer geek has kicking around his house. If you are actually reading this post, I know your curiosity will drive you to find out. Here is what this geek uses at home.

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Google Chrome

A few weeks ago I saw that an Alpha of Google Chrome was available on Linux. I could hardly wait to try it so I quickly loaded it onto my Ubuntu 8.04 box and took it straight out for a spin. First impressions were that it was clunky looking and I immediately noticed that it would not handle html authorization. That is something I NEED to use (fail), so I just filed it away and went back to using my beloved Firefox.

Fast forward to today when I noticed once again that there was a package update for GC and I decided that since I had seen a few of those go through I should probably give it another spin. All I can say is “WOW”. This thing is shaping up to be absolutely fantastic. It’s blazingly fast and handles things with speed and grace that Firefox barfs on. The only thing I have had any trouble with on it so far at all is an ornery java application I occasionally have to use, but then again, it was difficult to get it working under Firefox as well and I haven’t spent *any* time on trying to get it to work so far.

If you haven’t tried GC yet, you really should. You are missing out! You can find the directions for getting it at:

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

CentOS / RedHat + CSSH



You have heard me tell you before that cssh (Cluster ssh) is one of my most favorite tools as an admin. There is only 1 problem I have with it, and that was getting it installed on CentOS or RedHat. Not I mostly use it on Ubuntu, and that’s just a quickie apt-get install clusterssh away, but on RedHat and CentOS it’s VERY difficult to figure out how to get it going. You can find the package without too many troubles, but there are a pile of dependencies that seem hard to fulfill. Well, after some digging, here’s a sure-fire way to get it running on RedHat5.x and CentOS 5.x:

rpm -Uvh perl-Tk-804.027-4.i386.rpm
rpm -Uvh perl-X11-Protocol-0.56-1.el5.rf.noarch.rpm
rpm -Uvh clusterssh-3.21-4.el5.i386.rpm

Do that on a command line as root and you’ll have a functional cssh. Now there is some wierd error that ends up on my console when this is running, but it does appear to function correctly. Have at it folks!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Happy Halloween

A Happy and safe Halloween to you all from the Fessendens!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Tivo script revisited

Just got a note from a friend who is using the script now. Seems that I inadvertently left my own MAK in the curl script line. I just fixed and re-uploaded the file. All should be well now. Again, you can find the script at:

Thanks Allan!

Saturday, May 17th, 2008