All posts for the month April, 2007

Yes, I was part of last weekend’s festivities. Mookie put on a heck of event and I was happy to be part of it. It started Friday night at Iron Cactus where I got to watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees. Always a good thing. The dinner was great too 🙂 I had not met April before and had not seen Don or Weak since Rocco, Mookie, and I went to Vegas awhile back.

Everyone bailed after dinner, but I was downtown and got a text that Lovejoy’s was about to get “crazy”. It turns out they were having a High Five Contest. It was a lot of fun, the two pictures I found at that flickr link don’t really do it justice.

Saturday was golf in Lago Vista. Lago Vista GC is a pretty good haul from my house- 45 minutes or so with no traffic. I was playing with Rico and Rocco, down a man from a full 4 man team. We had a rotating 4th shot and playing best ball. We sucked. The main highlight of my round was that my iron play was fairly solid and that I can snap the head off my driver and have it go futher than the ball I was trying to hit. This was the repaired club from before. I think it is time to just spend money on a new one as it seems obvious this club hates me.

Yes. I was one of the monkeys. But that damn $10 grill sucked to put together. The food was great and the company was fantastic. The Mooks’ house is setup pretty well for entertaining especially if the Texas summer heat hasn’t hit and we can use their backyard.

Poker was a lot of fun. Full of donks. We probably had the sanest of the three tables and Don pushed in the dark 4 times in a row at one point. Our sanity was probably our downfall as the chip counts from rebuys at the other tables just crushed ours. I got to sit next to JJOK and chat it up for awhile which was another plus. As it turns out I was never in a position to rebuy so with the add-on I was in for $30 and got knocked out in the mid teens when my KQ could not catch up to Don’s AJ. I watched some basketball and waited for the final table so we could play some cash.

The cash game was a great learning experience- and boy did I get schooled. Before *all* of the heavy hitters sat down I got some cards and pulled some chips. That probably just delayed my cash death. Scott was the primary at this table and I could not get by him. I ended up going busto with JJ against his QQ on a 9 high flop. I made mistakes, but learned quite a bit. I won’t be as much of an ATM machine next time. I headed to the house after 2am and tried to get some sleep.

There was talk of trying to make it to the Round Rock Express game Sunday afternoon but I was too wore out to even see if that was going to happen.

A lot of fun. Thanks to Mook for putting on a spectacular event and count me in as an early sign-up for next April.

I am looking at using XEN to virtualize all of our test and development boxes at work. The newest versions of XEN along with the newest versions of Intel and AMD systems can handles Windows along with Linux. My plan is to start with Linux only to start and move on to Windows once this system is stable and makes people happy.

To do the initial testing I am using a personal machine running CentOS 4.4. It won’t be quick and will only handle one or two XEN instances but it will certainly get me the knowledge to get this into some sort of production run.

The Steps

  • Check out the install guide
  • Realize that CentOS 4.4 will not work. Download CentOS 5. Reinstall the server box with that version (thanks to kickstart and easy task)
  • XEN is now a yum package. yum install xen (this installs 10 packages)
  • Now for the kernel. yum install kernel-xen (just one package)
  • Update GRUB; the yum install added the correct version to menu.lst, but the default boot needs to be changed to match (‘0’ in this case).
  • Reboot and make sure xen is loaded (kernel and init.d process)
  • XEN will start automagically after the reboot because of init scripts, run xm list to see Domain0 running – this is the host server
  • Now the fun parts. These next couple of steps took me days off and on to get working. I, unfortunately, did not see this post by lyz until *after* I figured out these steps.
  • Create a new initrd image. Use something like the command: mkinitrd -f –with=xennet –builtin=aic7xxx –builtin=serverworks –preload=xenblk –omit-raid-modules –omit-lvm-modules –fstab=/mnt/etc/fstab /boot/xen-initrd.img 2.6.18-8.1.1.el5xen Obviously you need to match your kernel version for the last argument. You can keep this file for any of the systems that are going to use this kernel as part of your guest XEN installs.
  • Download the CentOS 4.4 base images from They are small and have very few things installed, but they work- and can be expanded to any size you need. The package includes a sample swap file as well.
  • Create a xen config file for your installation. I created a script that will help me create custom images by mounting the img file from Jailtime and editing the network config and anything else I need customized. Here is a sample xen config file I am using:
    kernel = "/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-8.1.1.el5xen"
    ramdisk = "/boot/xen-initrd.img"
    memory = 256
    name = "fast-mc-1"
    vif = [ '' ]
    disk = ['file:/var/lib/xen/images/fast-mc-1.img,sda1,w', 'file:/var/lib/xen/images/fast-mc-1.swap.img,sda2,w']
    root = "/dev/sda1 ro"
  • Now start the image: xm create -c newxen.cfg
  • The image should start but it will look like the console hung. You should be able to connect remotely via SSH. However- remote root login is not enabled. We need to fix console login and enable remote root via SSH (if that is wanted)
  • Break the attached console: CTRL – ] then run xm shutdown guest-domain-name
  • Mount the OS image: mount -o loop imagefile.img /mnt
  • Change to the images dev directory (/mnt/dev)
  • Use the host’s MAKEDEV to create some devices: /dev/MAKEDEV null zero random urandom console tty pty hda xvd loop
  • Set the systems console to listen to xvc0 rather than tty2. This is located in /mnt/etc/inittab in the gettys section. I replaced the tty2 line with the following: 2:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty xvc0
  • If you want to allow remote root SSH, edit /mnt/etc/ssh/sshd_config and set PermitRootLogin to yes
  • If you could login when the system first came up, you would notice that nash-hotplug was taking up 100% CPU. This is not cool. You can fix that problem by adding a line to the end of /mnt/etc/rc.sysinit. The line I added was: /usr/bin/killall nash-hotplug
  • Now unmount the image file and rerun xm create -c newxen.cfg
  • The console should be up, the root login for the Jailtime images is ‘password’. Try both console and SSH login (if enabled). Everything should be good to go.

I hope someone who reads/found this entry gets some value out of it. Using this entry, link above, and the xen install guide you should be able to get enough knowledge to get XEN working in your environment. As I expand my test lab (only two XEN hosts right now) I will have more details on customizing images and auto-loading them. The plan is to let Dev and QA create and destroy images on their own without having to rely on my hands on customization. It is a *long* way off, but this is a major step in the right direction.

The country is in shock today as one (or possibly two) shootings occurred today on the campus of Virginia Tech. As some of you know, I am an alumnus of VA Tech.

This sort of thing shouldn’t happen anywhere, but it seems especially out of place on the pristine campus in Blacksburg.

I want to give you a feeling of the campus and the history of violence (or lack there-of). VA Tech is a *huge* campus. 2600 acres. The University of Texas, for example, is 40 acres. There is a chunk of grass called the drill field you may hear about. That field in the middle of the main part of campus is something like 10 or 11 acres. It can take literally 25 to 30 minutes to walk/jog from one corner of the academic buildings to the other corner.

There was some talk about locking down the campus. They did some of that today. It was a quite possibly too late an action; but also a hugely challenging one. I have not been on that campus in 6 or 7 years and I could probably slip though any sort of road block system they have. If it turns out to be just the one gunman he could have easily evaded police. I don’t fault the campus or local police response very much. They responded to the shooting in Norris hall extremely quick but unfortunately not quick enough to save 30 innocent people.

Past crime. There have been only two fairly major incidents that I can recall. One was last fall when a mental patient broke free shot a hospital worker and was using the town to escape. It did not involve any students, faculty, or staff directly but it certainly affects the town because of the close proximity of downtown to campus (one block in places). The other was when I was there in fall of 1997. A few locals got into it with a drunk wedding party at a bar called Arnold’s (it changed names the next year). Shots were fired in the bar and twin brothers Terry and Kerry Scales were arrested for capital murder. I had a friend Megan who worked at that particular bar and served the victim his last beer.

Blacksburg was a fairly quiet college town in my experience. I was only at a few parties where the cops were called and fist fights were rare. It is beautiful country with rivers and hike/bike trails very near town. It is self contained, the closest “major” city is Roanoke 40 minutes away- and nothing about Roanoke is major. I sometimes miss my time there and long for the warm lazy summers.

To anyone who reads this- please don’t take the actions of a madman as a sign that the ‘burg is a crumbling mecca of crime. It certainly is not.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their family’s from today. They are going to need strength to overcome. Go Hokies!

website woes

So I deleted an unused directory and my web server stopped web serving. Ooops. Fixed now.

On Friday I tried to donate to the Lone Star Chapter of the MS150 Bike Tours. One of my fellow 42 players is doing the ride from Houston and Austin and I figured I would help out. I filled out the form, including credit card number and hit submit. Boom. “Unexpected Database Error”. Uhhh… Now what? I got no confirmation email, but it looked like my available credit was reduced by my donation. The charge hit my CC this morning, but I have yet to receive any confirmation. I hope she gets credit for her fund raising. I also need to remember to make up some sort of letter to put in my files for tax season next year. I am struck that the main purpose of this website is to collect donations and it failed dramatically at doing that. Not a good sign.

I finally won a SnG yesterday. It was an epic heads up battle lasting probably close to 20 minutes. I kept doubling him up when I was ahead and then chip away until I finally got him spiking an ace to best his pocket jacks.

You have read that one of the packages for Linux that I really like is FireHol. I still use it and it works really well. I have recently made two changes to my config that people might find handy.

First I started to blacklist people who repeatedly try and login via SSH. I get a daily email telling me when people try and where they are from. The line to add to the firehol.conf looks like this:

blacklist this # where is the IP address of the offender

Yeah, these bastards probably won’t try again and it is usually a DSL or Cable user; but they are still blocked.

The other change is to reduce iptables logging. Before this change pretty much every blocked connection was printed to the console. Annoying if you are trying to actually *use* the console. This takes two changes. The first is also in firehol.conf add the line:


Second, modify the /etc/sysconfig/syslog file and change the KLOGD_OPTIONS to include a “-c 3” line. You will need to restart the syslog service (and the firehol configuration of course). This sets the logging to the ERROR level rather than the WARNING level. Much nicer.

In my next geekout post I will get all xen on you. As in xen virtualization for linux.

[ Edit: dumb wordpress interpeting my ‘_’ to make things bold or italic; now fixed ]

Does anyone know if pre-paid credit cards still work for Poker Sites?

I am thinking of reloading for a hundred or two, but with Neteller not accepting transfers I will need another method.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship is tonight. I got my BoDog account cleaned out with the semi-finals so I am just rooting for a good game.

My garage is fully wired now. Pictures to follow. No fires, heck no sparks.