Wes Anderson Parodies

Courtney points out that urlesque has a post entitled “7 Great Wes Anderson Parodies“. I found Wes’ work through Rushmore and he immediately became my favorite film director of all time! Having joined the creative ranks of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and Mike Nichols, imagining what movies like Spiderman or The Lord of the Rings may have been like under his unique style of direction is really quite fun!

Anyhow, visit the Urlesque post for a complete list… My favorite is the Spiderman parody.

ZoneType.sh Version 2.0

We just started supporting Solaris 10 in our VMware cluster so I had to update my zone type script to detect if the OS is running there. I’m not sure how I feel about depending on the output of ptrdiag since the interface is labeled “unstable”, but it works for now, and I really don’t see Sun changing the first line of output where the system configuration is listed. Anyhow, when issued with the -v or –vmware flag, the script returns 0 if it’s running on the cluster and 1 if it is not.


# zonetype.sh -g or –global
Return 0: The machine is a global zone with 1 or more local zones
Return 1: The machine is not a global zone

# zonetype.sh -l or –local
Return 0: The machine is a local zone
Return 1: The machine is not a not a local zone

# zonetype.sh -v or –vmware
Return 0: The machine is running on a VMware hypervisor
Return 1: The machine is not running in VMware

#! /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
# When issued with the -l or --local flag, this script will return:
# 0 if if is a local zone and 1 if it is not
# When issued with the -v or --vmware flag, this script will return:
# 0 if it is a vmware host and 1 if 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

        # Don't run our check on local zones... Prtdiag can't run there
        if [ ${list[1]} != 0 ]; then
                exit 1
                vmhost=( `/usr/sbin/prtdiag | grep System | awk '{ print $5 }'`)
                if [ $vmhost == VMware ]; then
                        #If the host is running on the vmware cluster return 0, 
                        # otherwise, return 1
                        exit 0
                        exit 1
        echo "Usage: /local/adm/zonetype.sh {-l | --local | -g | --global | -v | --vmware}"
        exit 1

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:

The Banana Slug is not a Mythical Creature

OK, so I never actually believed that they were a mythical creature, but it took me so long to actually find one after moving to Santa Cruz that I had great fun telling those who didn’t know better that they were figment of the collective local imagination. Courtney, who had seen them before, always sighed, rolled her eyes, and reassured whatever unwitting soul I happened to be talking with at the moment that they did exist, and that I should absolutely not be taken seriously. On this point, I cannot disagree with her, but I must have been somewhat convincing because her mom actually sounded surprised when a friend finally pointed one out to me and I managed to snap a picture of it. She actually made me send her the picture because she didn’t believe me.

A few banana slug facts:

  • They are native to the Northwest
  • The are HUGE! Some have reached 10 inches in length, and weights of a quarter of a pound.
  • They were almost the official mollusk of California. Yes, the legislature actually voted in the noble slug, but the Governor vetoed it.
  • They are the official mascot of UC Santa Cruz.
Banana Slug

Banana Slug

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