WP Error: The data could not be converted to UTF-8

If you’ve just upgraded to WordPress 2.9 and you are now getting UTF 8 conversion errors on your dashboard, you’ll need to take a look at WordPress Trac Ticket #11219.

RSS Error: The data could not be converted to UTF-8

The bottom line is that you’ll need to enable either iconv or mbstring in your PHP configuration. I’m using CoolStack on Solaris 10, so it was a simple matter of uncommenting the following lines from /opt/coolstack/php5/lib/php.ini and restarting apache. While you’re at it, may as well uncomment ctype as well since the new image uploader needs it.

Uncommnet the following lines in /opt/coolstack/php5/lib/php.ini.


Finally, restart apache:

svcadm restart apache22-csk

UNIX – Find Files that Changed Within Time Window

Every so often us lowly UNIX admins find ourselves needing to search a file system for files that have been created or changed within a certain time window. In other words, those files that are newer than time “X”, but not newer than time “Y”. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but my preferred method is to create two reference files to indicate the beginning and end of my window and use the “-newer” and “! -newer” flags to search for files that changed within that window.

# touch -amt 200910260000 /tmp/starttime
# touch -amt 200910262359 /tmp/endtime
# find / -type f -newer /tmp/starttime -a ! -newer /tmp/endtime

The guys at virtuelvis.com point out that it is more elegant to accomplish this without creating two files, but their solution does not work with operating systems that use strict POSIX compliant “find” implementations, making it of little use in some cases. For the curious, here is their example:

# find . -type f -newermt 2009-10-26 ! -newermt 2009-10-27

Arduino Resources for the n00b

Lately I’ve been entertaining myself by building a rebreather loop controller using the Arduino micro controller. This little open source board is really nice to work with for a number of reasons. Unlike many of the alternatives which employ proprietary programming languages, the Arduino simply uses “C”. It also has an IDE that runs the my Mac, and it enjoys an enormous development community.

I’m pretty new to this kind of thing, so I’ve been using web tutorials to work my way up from the most basic blinking LED to something that actually monitors oxygen sensors and populates an LCD with information. Some of the more valuable resources I have used are as follows:

Useful MySQL Commands

There are a lot of usefully MySQL commands that I either don’t run enough to remember or just end up using some GUI to accomplish. Nothing against Navicat, but what kind of sysadmin would I be if I couldn’t do it at the command line as well. Anyhow, I had to do a bunch of this kind of work lately, so I thought I would write the more common commands down here so I would have them to reference.

It is generally a good idea to firewall off your MySQL port (3306) unless you are on a secure network. The downside to this is that it prevents you from using GUI tools like Navicat to connect to your database server. No problem, just use this command to SSH tunnel a connection. After doing this, you can connect to your database on localhost port 8888:

ssh -fNg -L 8888: login@mysql-server

Once you have installed a new instance of MySQL, you have to change the root password:

# mysql -u root
mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('newpwd');
mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'yourhostname' = PASSWORD('newpwd');
mysql> exit

Depending on the way you handle your MySQL installation, you will most likely have to run the mysql_upgrade script after upgrades to use all the new features:

mysql_upgrade -u root –password=yourpassword

Do a thorough check to see if your tables are corrupted:

mysqlcheck -u root -p --check --extended --all-databases

Repair any corruption if it exists:

mysqlcheck -u root -p --repair --all-databases

Look at all your tables and optomize them if necessary:

mysqlcheck -u root -p --optimize --all-databases

Script to Determine Solaris 10 Zone Type

We use a lot of local zones in our Solaris 10 environment. We also use cfengine pretty heavily and there are some instances when we need to include or exclude certain automated tasks based on what type of zone we are working with. I wrote this little script that checks to see what type of zone we are dealing with. Based on the return value, I can set a cfengine class and control what gets run and where.

  • Return 0 if the machine is a global zone with 1 or more local zones
  • Return 1 if the machine is either a local zone or a global zone with 0 local zones
#! /bin/bash
# When issued with the -g or --global flag, this script will return:
# 0 if the machine is a global zone and has one or more local zones.
# Otherwise, it will return 1
# Wen issued with the -l or --local flag, this script will return:
# 0 if if is a local zone and 1 if it is not

list=( `/usr/sbin/zoneadm list -civ | awk '{ print $1 }'`)
  case "$1" in
        # If the third element in our array is null, set it to 0
        if [ "${list[2]}" == ""  ]; then
        # This is a global zone only if it has one or more local zones.
        if [ ${list[1]} -eq 0 ] && [ ${list[2]} -ge 1 ]; then
        # 1 is returned if we have a global and local zone, otherwise, we return 0
                exit 0
                exit 1
        # If the second element in our array is = or > 1, it is a local zone.
        if [ ${list[1]} -ge 1 ]; then
        # Return 1 if this is a local zone, otherwise return 0.
                exit 0
                exit 1
        echo "Usage: /local/adm/zonetype.sh {-l | --local | -g | --global}"
        exit 1

Check Speed / Duplex on Solaris 10

In the past, I always had to use the ndd – get command to figure out what my link speed and duplex settings were. In Solaris 10, Sun now gives us the handy dladm command, which makes it a whole lot easier.

# dladm show-dev
e1000g2 link: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full
e1000g3 link: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full
e1000g0 link: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full
e1000g1 link: up speed: 1000 Mbps duplex: full

Replace Failed SVM Mirror Drive

So you have used SVM to mirror your disk, and one of the two drives fails. Aren’t you glad you mirrored them! You don’t have to do a restore from tape, but you are going have to replace the failed drive.

Many modern RAID arrays just require you to take out the bad drive and plug in the new one, while everything else is taken care of automatically. It’s not quite that easy on a Sun server, but it’s really just a few simple steps. I just had to do this, so I thought I would write down the procedure here.

Basically, the process boils down to the following steps:

  • Detach the failed meta devices from the failed drive
  • Delete the meta devices from the failed drive
  • Delete the meta databases from the failed drive
  • Unconfigure the failed drive
  • Remove and replace the failed drive
  • Configure the new drive
  • Copy the remaining drive’s partition table to the new drive
  • Re-create the meta databases on the new drive
  • Install the bootblocks on the new drive
  • Recreate the meta devices
  • Attach the meta devices

Let’s look at each step individually. In my case, c0t1d0 has failed, so, I detach all meta devices on that disk and then delete them:

# metadetach -f d0 d2
# metadetach -f d10 d12
# metadetach -f d40 d42
# metaclear d2
# metaclear d12
# metaclear d42

Next I take a look at the status of my meta databases. Below we can see the the replicas on that disk have write errors:

# metadb -i
        flags           first blk       block count
     a m  p  luo        16               8192            /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s3
     a    p  luo        8208             8192            /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s3
     W    p  luo        16                8192            /dev/dsk/c0t1d0s3
     W    p  luo        8208            8192            /dev/dsk/c0t1d0s3
 r - replica does not have device relocation information
 o - replica active prior to last mddb configuration change
 u - replica is up to date
 l - locator for this replica was read successfully
 c - replica's location was in /etc/lvm/mddb.cf
 p - replica's location was patched in kernel
 m - replica is master, this is replica selected as input
 W - replica has device write errors
 a - replica is active, commits are occurring to this replica
 M - replica had problem with master blocks
 D - replica had problem with data blocks
 F - replica had format problems
 S - replica is too small to hold current data base
 R - replica had device read errors

The replicas on c0t1d0s3 are dead to us, so let’s wipe them out!

# metadb -d c0t1d0s3
# metadb -i

        flags           first blk       block count
     a m  p  luo        16               8192            /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s3
     a    p  luo        8208             8192            /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s3

The only replicas we have left are on c0t0d0s3, so I’m all clear to unconfigure the device. I run cfgadm to get the c0 path:

# cfgadm -al

Ap_Id                          Type         Receptacle   Occupant     Condition
c0                             scsi-bus     connected    configured   unknown
c0::dsk/c0t0d0                 disk         connected    configured   unknown
c0::dsk/c0t1d0                 disk         connected    configured   unknown
c0::dsk/c0t2d0                 disk         connected    configured   unknown
c0::dsk/c0t3d0                 disk         connected    configured   unknown
c1                             scsi-bus     connected    configured   unknown
c1::dsk/c1t0d0                 CD-ROM       connected    configured   unknown
usb0/1                         unknown      empty        unconfigured ok
usb0/2                         unknown      empty        unconfigured ok
usb1/1.1                       unknown      empty        unconfigured ok
usb1/1.2                       unknown      empty        unconfigured ok
usb1/1.3                       unknown      empty        unconfigured ok
usb1/1.4                       unknown      empty        unconfigured ok
usb1/2                         unknown      empty        unconfigured ok

I run the following command to unconfigure the failed drive:

# cfgadm -c unconfigure c0::dsk/c0t1d0

The drive light turns blue
Pull the failed drive out
Insert the new drive

Configure the new drive:

# cfgadm -c configure c0::dsk/c0t1d0

Now that the drive is configured and visible from within the format command, we can copy the partition table from the remaining mirror member:

# prtvtoc /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s2 | fmthard -s - /dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s2

Next, I install the bootblocks onto the new drive:

# installboot /usr/platform/`uname -i`/lib/fs/ufs/bootblk /dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s2

Create the state replicas:

metadb -a -c 2 c0t1d0s3

Recreate the meta devices:

metainit -f d2 1 1 c0t1d0s0
metainit -f d12 1 1 c0t1d0s1
metainit -f d42 1 1 c0t1d0s4

And finally, reattach the metadevices which will sync them up with the mirror.

metattach d0 d2
metattach d10 d12
metattach d40 d42