Monthly Archives: June 2010

Home Data Protection Schemes, pt. 1

Having more and more digital “stuff” that’s somewhat important to retain, I’ve started looking at some solutions.  Already, we put all of our “important” files on our Windows Home Server because it has disk redundancy and is available from anywhere internet is accessible.  Our pictures, tax information, etc. is all stored electronically and it is important that it be protected.  The question then becomes how data is protected from there.

What are we protecting against is probably the first and most important item to detail.  What could happen?

  • Windows Home Server failure (hardware or software) resulting in corrupted data.
  • House fire/natural disaster.
  • Theft.

After that, we have to decide how much data loss would be acceptable.  If we could potentially lose thirty days worth of data, is that reasonable?  One day?  One hour?  One year?

Tiered backups is also something that has to be considered.  Some data, like important documents, likely needs to be more secured and backed up more often than the photo collection. The photo collection likely needs to be backed up more often and securely than the TV show collection, etc.

Some strategies will come in follow up posts…


Adventures in Craigslist Land

Craigslist is an interesting place.  I compare it to the John Deere swapsheet, for those of you who might be familiar with that.   Its a place to find treasure for the price of junk, junk for the price of treasure and everything in between.  It can be critical that you move quickly or take advantage of ambiguous wording while at the same time seemingly reasonable deals show up week after week.  Kristin and I have sold more than we have purchased on Craigslist on the whole of it which I count as a good thing.

For Sale

Yesterday I put up an ad for some paintball gear with a price I thought would encourage a quick purchase, as it seems you either price it right or sit on it.  Turns out that my price, $20, was way too low.  I had a taker about seven minutes after the posting went live, which should have clued me in.  I agreed to that and I had a deluge of other people wanting to buy it, ranging from the typical “hay u want ur gun” one liners to very eloquent and polite offers up to $50 for it.  I agreed to sell it to some guy from clear across the cities for $20 and he was going to pick it up at 9:00 PM.  It’s 9:15 now and I am hoping he doesn’t show so I can move on down the line to the guy that is going to give me an xbox 360 controller and $20 cash.

I’ve got some wheels for sale too, but they haven’t been quite as popular…


VMware Lab Manager 4.01 Review

This isn’t going to interest most folks who are reading my blog.  I need to get this written out though, because some guy was looking for Lab Manager feedback and couldn’t find constructive criticism.  Here is mine, and I am sure Google will index it.

As of 4.01, VMware vCenter Lab Manager has its uses, but it has huge gaps:

1) Total lack of storage resource monitoring tools/information that would be useful. You can’t export storage usage, linked clone tree structures, etc. If you aren’t familiar with CoW disks, linked clone chains, etc. you soon will be and you’ll be wondering about this in a big way when you need to constantly buy huge chunks of SAN disk with little hard data.

2)No exisitng backup solutions. Want to back up your library entries? Enjoy manually exporting them and hitting them one by one. SAN replication IS NOT a backup mechanism, folks. Backup is to tape or similar.

3)Very little in the way of customization. We have users that constantly fill up LUNS and IP pools when they have open space in other LUNS and pools because they just use the defaults. We’d like to set the default to blank in many cases, but that isn’t available.

4)Redploying VM’s nets them a new IP. This is a huge issue at times if you have IP sensitive configurations, especially when dealing with fencing.

5)Active Directory is a mess with fenced VMs, etc. Not really Lab Managers fault, but that’s the state of things.

6)Scalability. Using host spanning networks you are limited to 512 distributed switch port groups that each fenced configuration uses. In large deployments, you are likely to collide with this, necessatating another vCenter/Lab Manager instance and fragmentation of resources.

7)Maitenance issues. Maitenance Mode even with host transport networks enabled is borked because of the little VM that Lab Manager locks to each host. This is fairly ridiculous and convulutes what should be a very straight forward process.

8)Get ready to work some enourmous LUN sizes vs what you are likely used to. We have 2TB FC Luns and the only one we extended to 4TB is having locking issues, etc. NFS is the way you need to go.

9)Enjoy adding another Server 2003 instance to your infrastructure, because 2008 isn’t supported as an host OS for the Lab Manager services.
  Oh yeah, all your important data is located in a little SQL express database on that server too. This is Enterprise software, right?

THE biggest issue I have with Lab Manager is the fact that Lab Manager accesses the ESX servers directly. Do us all a favor and use vCenter as an abstraction layer so we can actually see what the crap is going on and rely on a proven set of administration tools. Ideally Lab Manager would be a plugin and wouldn’t be harboring its own database, etc.

Bottom line is that you need to be sure you have the right needs for Lab Manager to be useful.

Original Thread:


“The” car in progress, pt. 1

The Chevelle lives!  Here are some pictures of it looking a lot more like a car than it has in recent memory…

There will be more updates in the not too distant future.  Exciting 🙂


Poster Needed

So awesome.

So awesome. has some  fantastic artwork.  The problem is, who can wear these t-shirts all the time?  They fit me like crap, too, with there “athletic” sizing.   How many people buying t-shirts online really conform to an “athletic” sizing model?  🙂  To that end, we need posters of these awesome cultural statements.  Join me in bombarding them with emails so we can display this sort of things pinned to our cube walls or framed in our family rooms.  You know you want to.

I already sent my email.  Send yours to: Woot Member Services <> Some person actually wrote me a response saying they were too little as business to handle that but it was something they might consider. If they get enough emails, maybe they will consider it right now…


RIP Northstar


According to Edmunds the Northstar V8 found in many Cadillac models will be done in July, finished.  I remember fondly the two STS sedans my parents owned.  They both had the optional, powered up 4.6 Liter engines and while they seemed to drink some oil they were a joy to put your foot into.  As gracefully as any engine I have had the privilege to run hard it would pull to redline at some 6,000 RPM  and then slip into the next gear, pulling you forward to speeds that were well in excess of the speed limit.  Those were a nice pair of cars.

What I think is most intersting is that they are almost the same engines being discontinued today.  That picture, on the left?  That was available in 1995 and they still sell it in $50.000 luxury cars today.  Evidently there was a replacement, but the whole GM going under and being baled out shelved it.

Perhaps the funny thing is that GM has so many good engines today they don’t even need it.  With the advanced V6 engines available like the 300HP+, 30MPG+ one in the new Camaro and the good ol’ super-evolved (~400HP, upper 20’s MPG) small block V8 from the Corvette GM has the gamut of power trains locked up without the Northstar.  GM can certainly make some excellent engines, in this case, too many.

It is intersting that for just a couple grand more when I bought the ‘stang I could have had a SVT with its Northstar clone, a DOHC 4.6L hand assembled V8 with nearly the same power ratings and power band of the GM equivalent.   Give the GT some extra love in July Dad, its SOHC 4.6L is as close to a Northstar as we are going to be for a while 🙂


A summer walk in the park…

A while back I took another walk through the little park near us.  I was trying out my big zoom lens and monopod for macro photography.  Overall, its a pretty soft lens and it was getting towards dusk so I had to fight to keep the pics from getting too dim.  I took about 130 pictures, only a few are even worth keeping at all.

That $450 zoom lens with image stabilization is looking pretty tasty about now…