Vostro 200 PCI-E bug

My PC at work died the other day and while scrounging together hardware to keep me running until we order new i5 based PCs for the techs I had the joy of fighting the elusive heisenbug of the Vostro 200.

Long story short: if you have issues with a PCI-E card like video cutting out randomly and never returning it’s because the designers were on meth. The solution is to only have RAM in DIMM slots 3 and 4. If you put anything in 1 or 2 you’ll want to commit suicide.

What the hell, Dell. This is why I build my PCs.

MD3000i Write Cache Suspended

I seem to run into this more often than I would like. The Dell MD3000i (a rebadged IBM which is also available as a generic LSI product) is a horrible SAN. The worst part is that you can have terrible performance with no way to know why unless you run these cli commands to figure out that the write cache is disabled. There’s no SNMP and no other reliable way to monitor the damn things, which is probably because they want you to buy their Equilogic line.

Anyway, I had a battery die on a controller again and write cache was disabled. Replacing the battery on that controller did not fix it — it was still saying the write cache was suspended. After a LOT of poking it finally came back, but I don’t know exactly how or why. I currently have a theory though that I hope helps someone out some day.

1) Known issue that MD3000i units ship with writeCacheEnabled=true and mirrorCacheEnabled=true, which puts the write cache into a suspended mode because it can’t mirror with only one controller. (They come with one controller unless you order two)

2) Fixing the above problem requires disabling both, then re-enabling only the write cache.

3) Trying the above did not work. Mirror disabled, but still suspended. Somehow with mirror disabled and forcing it to ignore the battery (cacheWithoutBatteriesEnabled=true) would get write cache working again. That’s not a good or safe solution, though.

4) Disabling all write cache settings, doing an offline/online of each controller, and then enabling all the write caches and fixing paths seemed to work.

I think it refuses to mirror the cache which keeps it suspended because the controllers still have some weird cache setting that doesn’t get cleared until you offline/online both controllers to “reset” them. It’s currently the best theory I have, but doesn’t explain why I could force it to work by setting cacheWithoutBatteriesEnabled=true.

tl;dr this SAN is a big box of shit.

MySQL-Proxy Alternative

Today was a hellish day. Late in the afternoon when we’re supposed to be winding down and heading out one of our shared webhosting servers started freaking out. No changes to any software or settings — nothing to suspect — but mysql-proxy kept crashing. We need this utility because we have a lot of old customers with configs from a long time ago when someone thought it was OK to have the database on the webserver.

We’ve never had much luck with mysql-proxy as we’ve seen it crash its fair amount of times or not start properly on boot, but this was unending. Core dumps weren’t giving anything useful; logs were no better. Here’s the MySQL-Proxy alternative that we should have implemented ages ago. Note, we’re running FreeBSD, so adapt to your own OS/Linux distro:

What you need:


FreeBSD’s rc.conf:

# mysql_proxy alternative
socat_flags="UNIX-LISTEN:/tmp/mysql.sock,fork,reuseaddr,unlink-early,mode=777 TCP:"

HAProxy’s config:

log local0
maxconn 4096
log global
mode tcp
option tcplog
option dontlognull
option tcp-smart-accept
option tcp-smart-connect
retries 3
maxconn 200
listen mysql :3306
mode tcp
option mysql-check
balance roundrobin
server mysql1 check port 3306

Ultimately, HAProxy manages the connections very well and socat fixes any old clients trying to talk over the /tmp/mysql.sock file.


NHL GameCenter Live on PS3: featureful but buggy

I’m a hockey fan. It’s probably the only sport I enjoy watching. I also happen to be one of those new age hippies that doesn’t pay for cable or satellite… streaming content is the only thing I care about. I am not interested in paying for channels that do not interest me, so I don’t see the merits in paying for TV I won’t watch just so I can subscribe to NHL Center Ice.

Continue reading “NHL GameCenter Live on PS3: featureful but buggy”

Setting up Xymon/Hobbit with nginx

(Ed: This article is outdated, please see the updated version at feld’s site by clicking here)

I just set this up today and it was a pain in the arse, so I figured I’d leave a trace of it somewhere on the internets. I hope this helps you.

Continue reading “Setting up Xymon/Hobbit with nginx”

NameCheap IPv6 Glue: Not Very Adhesive; Sort of Annoying

So NameCheap finally announced IPv6 glue support and I was quite happy to hear this. I’ve been digging into IPv6 a lot because I’ve become part of an IPv6 project at work (deployment, training, and consulting for customers) so this announcement was perfectly timed.

Well, I followed Mr. AlexS’s instructions to no avail. It’s almost been a week now with no solution in sight. I’ve even had a reply from one support person trying to tell me the glue records were there, and then showing me the output of dig which contained nothing more than a query for the host’s AAAA record. Clearly this person has no idea what the hell a glue record is.

I can understand if the issue is that the TLD (.me) is being a little bitch and won’t do the glue record. Hell, at one point I thought we were making progress when they informed me that I can’t have a glue record sharing both IPv6 and IPv4 addresses. Of course I was getting a bit stabby at that point for their incompetence, but figured I’d just work around it by creating a different subdomain for the “IPv6” version of the DNS servers.

However, the progress ended around there and now we’re playing the waiting game for something I could do in about 6 seconds flat if I had access to the TLD’s DNS servers. I fail to understand how some people get jobs in the IT industry, anyway.

Overall I’d rate NameCheap’s support for IPv6 glue records 4 out of 5 goatsies*. I might even throw in a tubgirl.

*Lower is better.

TL;DR The exciting therapy obtains the dilemma into the reasoning typewriter.

KDE 4.4.3

KDE 4.4.3 has been out for a bit and finally came to Debian Squeeze recently. You may have been running it sooner on Sid. The first thing I noticed was that when I logged in all I got was a black screen. No wallpaper, no clicking the desktop, and I couldn’t see any task bars, etc.

This was annoying.

I googled for a long time and never found an answer, but fret not my fellow Google warriors — the solution is here. Simply install plasma-desktop and you will be good to go.

aptitude install plasma-desktop

Don’t ask me why this wasn’t pulled in by kde-standard.

Left 4 Dead 2 “Banned” In Australia

So the word is that the gamers in Australia are effectively being “Lef t 4 Dead” when it comes to the new zombie shoot-em-up of the same name, Left 4 Dead 2.

My only question is, does this prevent them from obtaining it via Steam? Is it only banned in stores / box versions? The internet as a global media distributer may trump all, especially if the “sale” is taking place “out of the farkin’ outback”.

Good Grief.  Read on.

Finally you can stop using PHPNuke!

So someone was clever enough to create a CMS for gamers. Finally you can stop using PHPNuke and all its other shitty variants. Stop struggling with that clan site you’re trying to build — it’s going to suck anyway. They all do. And you know within 3 weeks it will be defaced by some Hungarian hacker with a message such as, “LOL TURKEY SUCKS ONEONE111111!!!”.

I think the only thing that could make it better is (hell, I don’t know if it has it — I’m too busy to investigate) a decent forum and possibly those stupid plugins that shows you who’s online in your TeamSpeak  / Ventrilo / what-have-you servers.


Enjin is a free, fully hosted service for all gamers, clans, guilds, and communities to create and manage a website.

via Free Clan Websites. Free Guild Hosting. Build Gaming Communities.