Monthly Archives: April 2011

How not write a Blog

A fantastic website I somehow stumbled onto today:

Warning – its a huge time waster.  If you thought you could waste time on Wikipedia, look out.  Futhermore, if you do not wish to see the guts of TV shows and other media laid out for you to see, analyze and amuse yourself thereby, this isn’t going to be a great site for you.

One of my favorite pages so far: – not even related to TV, but hilarious and so true 🙂


Killing Wayward VMs in vSphere ESX

From time to time as an ESX admin, you’ve likely come across a VM that doesn’t want to die.  The infamous “Another task is already in progress.” error message likely means you have a VM locked into la-la land, unable to be powered down, reset, restarted, shut down or otherwise manipulated.  If you have ESX, this is about the time you find yourself firing up Putty and heading in to do some low level surgery.

First steps:

  • topping the virtual machine by issuing the command vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/<datastorename>/<vmname>/<vmname>.vmx stop.   Equivalent to sending it a shutdown command.  Will probably fail.
  • If this does not work, one can issue the following command: vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/<datastorename>/<vmname>/<vmname>.vmx stop hard. This will try to kill the Virtual Machine instantly.  Equivalent to a power off, will likely fail.
  • If that does not work, one can issue the command vm-support -x to list the running VMs and their World IDs, then vm-support -X worldid (note the x is case sensitive in both commands). This then prompts the user with a couple of questions, then runs a debug stop of the VM, and creates a set of log files as well that you can forward to VMware tech support.  This does some fancy background things and is your last stop before calling VMware support.  Not to mention, its a great way to get the PID of all your running VMs.  You can try kill -9 PIDOFYOURVM but that probably won’t work if the previous commands failed.
  • I’ve had to do this about four times in four years, just often to have always forgotten how to do it…


    On Sunday, I built a shelf. A big shelf.

    One of the interesting parts of our house is, what I have perceived to be, the lack of storage.  By that, I mean that there aren’t many shelves or closets in the house.  Around Christmas time, I put up a fair bit of shelving to finally unpack all of our books and DVDs  in the basement

    Pre-built shelving is also pretty expensive when it comes down to it.  The big chunks of press board also start to deform under load – especially when they get deep.  I’d had my eye on doing some shelving in our laundry room for some time, so I went o Menards, bought five 2″x4″x8’s, three 1″x6″x8′ and fashioned a shelf from a design that made sense in my head.

    The result was a shelf that was  ~20″s deep and eight feet long.  Kristin had picked up some free after rebate metal brackets that I was able to put to good use.  When I was putting the shelf together in the basement, I randomly decided that I would use four crossbeams (?) to connect the front and back 2×4″s.  It took me longer than I care to admit to do the math, but I finally realized that this cut the 2x4x8 into three segments, centered 32″s from each end.  I used wood glue anywhere I used screws to minimize the flexing and general wobbliness that home built projects can have.  I also pre-drilled all of the screws.  As luck would have it, studs are centered at 16″s and this made it possible to put the shelf on the wall easily!  Lucky me!

    After trying to straighten one of the brackets and having it break in my hands, I reconsidered the 100lb rating off each of them and decided to include at least one 2×4 support.  Two would make it look  symmetrical but one is all that is really needed.  Also, in order to make another support I would have had to cut up one of the 2×4″s supporting my miter saw… yeah, I guess maybe I am lazy and just didn’t want to cut on the ground the rest of the day.  When I make the next batch of shelves for in the back room in the basement, maybe I’ll take care of it 🙂  What made the support more interesting than I anticipated was that, when cut at a 45 degree angle the face of the brace 2×4 was longer than the face of the support 2×4.  That sounds more complicated than it is – but in the pictures you can see where I experimented with cutting a little of the brace off from the other way and it fits up snug without peeking out from underneath.  It just took a few trips out to the garage to get the angle and length of the brace right.

    What I would appreciate some input on is how to keep the darn thing square with the world.  The 2x4s were ever so slightly warped, resulting in a situation where only three corners of the built shelf would touch the ground, the fourth corner about half an inch in the air.  For a shelf eight feet long, this seemed acceptable and I just screwed in onto the wall anyway.

    It may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but I could lay out on it, it was cheap, and it fits right in with the exposed floor joists.

    The truly sad thing?  I spent more time installing a vanity light in my bathroom Tuesday night than building this shelf!


    Video Card Nostalgia…

    Video cards I’ve had/used since 1998

    Voodoo 2 12 MB!!!!! – OMG $$$  (Thanks Dad!  The gateway worked for quite a while 🙂 )
    Geforce 2 MX onboard – In my shiny Falcon NW talon system!  Well, it was actually pretty Beige…
    8500 64 MB – $130 new clearance @ BB – different drivers for different games! Things have gotten much better since 2003, right?
    9500 Pro 64 MB – $130 new clearance @ BB, used for almost 2 years!
    9800 Pro 128 MB – $80 used, Doom 3 caused me to sell it after about three months.
    6800 128 MB – NewEgg, not sure – It rocked Doom3, which I hated and only used as performance benchmark.
    6800U 256 MB – $400 (!!!), NewEgg to go along with the fastest parts available at the time – 2x 36GB raptors in RAID0, 2.4 Ghz AMD 3700+, DFI Lanpart S754, and OCZ Powerstream 500w Power Supply, when plugged into the UPS I had it would blue screen as it was power starved.  Had to plug it right into the wall!
    5900U 256 MB – $50 John Deere Swap Sheet (was in college and realized that I couldn’t afford the entire rig the 6800U was in  )
    6600 256 MB – NewEgg, Passively cooled, ~$100 I think
    7800 GT 256 MB – $345 new on launch day! 
    6800 GT 256 MB – ~$200 fs/ft (sold it later for $170, was defective on delivery, had to eat $170 loss  )
    6800 256 MB – ~$100 NewEgg
    7900 GTO 512 MB – ~$230 NewEgg – used for almost a year!
    3870 512 MB – $130 clearance @ BB (full circle!)
    4830 512 MB – $70 fs/ft – used for almost two years!
    4830 512 MB (xfire) – $60 fs/ft
    5870 1GB – $200 Newegg

    Marriage, the great man-hobby depresser 🙂  Kristin has saved me quite a bit of money in the last four years or so 😉