Author Archive

Bendik Leonhard…

May 01, 2008 in me

...was born today at 01:57, weighing in at 4415 grams and measuring 52cm.

Meeesa proud!

MacBook Air

Mar 11, 2008 in me, toys

After working with the Air for a while, and comparing it to my other macs, I must say I am thoroughly impressed. The SSD yields far greater benefits than what is typically reported in reviews, and while I don't really believe that any 64GB storage device is worth that kind of money, this one comes dangerously close.

It is fast. Really fast. For very many things, and indeed most of the things I do most often, it is significantly more responsive than my MacBook Pro (2.4ghz, 4gb mem, 7200rpm). The difference in CPU and GPU speeds are hardly noticeable, unless I start playing heavily with Aperture or the likes. That said, Aperture 2.0 is a joy to use on the Air, and considering I was using 1.0 on a first-gen MacBook, this one sure compares favorably.

It is also "just the right size". On the standard MacBook, the screen seems small for the size and weight of the machine. Kinda like on the PowerBook 12" - that one would be even sexier if it were half as thick. On the Air, the screen size matches the size and weight on the machine in such a way that I have no objections any more.

The screen. It's bright. And I successfully used it outdoors with the backlight turned to zero (that is, off). I imagine I could spend quite a few hours on the balcony having only the sun to light up the screen..

What can I say? So far I love the Air. Also the fact that I had to get a new bag for it; the backpack I use for lugging the Pro around is far too big for this one. The shoulder bag is so small most people won't even guess it contains a laptop, charger, and an assortment of external harddrives, USB stick and cables.

New toys…

Mar 06, 2008 in me, toys

Ok I admit it, I'm attracted to tech gadgets. However I think I'm pretty picky about the gadgets I carry around regularily, so most end up being objects of hate more than objects of lust after a fairly short amount of time.

Notable exceptions to this include my first PowerBook (G4, 1.5ghz, 15"), my third (and current) MacBook Pro, and my Canon EOS 20D (sold) and 40D (current) DSLRs. The rest fall through because of lacks in build- or software quality, poor interaction with other devices, lousy, limiting and/or cumbersome user interfaces, nasty appearance, etc.

Today, I might just have found a gadget that will be a success with me. The MacBook Air. I got the SSD model (employer pays ;), but even without SSD, I've got to say that it simply feels "right". Time will tell if it stays that way. Watch this space for updates.


Upgraded to 7.0 (now what?)

Feb 29, 2008 in Anduin

 Yesterday, immediately following the release announcement, I upgraded and all the jails to 7.0. This should give somewhat better performance, especially when under load. Not to mention it's the latest and greatest, which gives a certain satisfaction in knowing.

 Port rebuilds will follow shortly. Unfortunately, being a time-consuming process, the possibility exists that some services may be rendered unavailable or unpredictable for short (couple of hours at most) periods of time. I usually let the updates run while I sleep, and it might (will) happen that something either needs my input or breaks in some way. 

 Technically, I'm not on 7.0, but on 7-STABLE. I have decided to follow RELENG_7 instead of RELENG_7_0, as I expect some fairly important and relevant updates to hit that tree soonish, and I'd like to catch them when that happens. 

 One of the most interesting new features in the 7 series of FreeBSD is ZFS - the first real revolution in file system technology in decades (discuss!). The list of features it offers is very long, but the most relevant to Anduin would be filesystem quotas, excellent small-file performance, fast snapshots, error resilience. I've already started planning the move to ZFS, and any input from you users would be welcome. In particular, I want to move all jails to a ZFS filesystem as soon as possible, having very good experience with that on other systems.

Take care!


New stuff – backups

Feb 03, 2008 in Anduin, Users

Hi all,

I've been looking for a better way to back up home directories, mail, etc. I think I've found it: Duplicity.

As of last week, therefore, all home directories and virtual mail domains are backed up daily, with 2 weeks retention. In other words, if you manage to lose something, let me know, and I might be able to help you ..

Let's hope it won't be necessary, though.


Recent trouble

Feb 02, 2008 in Anduin, Users

Hi all,

you might have noticed some degree of downtime on lately. I sincerely apologise for that.

After having upgraded to FreeBSD 7.0-PRERELEASE, I wanted to try to make use of the gigabit ethernet interfaces in the server, which have been unused so far due to a lack of gigabit connectivity. Now all switches and routers in the datacentre have been upgraded, and I wanted to take advantage of that. I have also acquired a NAS unit (network attached storage) for backup purposes, and having gigabit connectivity would be a major advantage and time-saver.

Unfortunately, Broadcom generally produces crap equipment, and the onboard ethernet controller in is no exception. Since day one (2005) it has caused me nothing but headaches. I had hoped FreeBSD 7 would work better (work has been done on the driver to work around even more hardware quirks), but alas.

So, I'm back to square one. Back on 100mbit (but stable at least), and awaiting the delivery of an Intel PRO/1000 server adapter which should work a lot better.

I've also secured a pair of new CPUs, and will upgrade them at the same time as I install the new ethernet adapter. This should bring some much-needed extra performance - going from 2x 1.6GHz to 2x 2.8GHz CPUs.

Until then, I expect the box to be stable again (though I'll need to reboot it once more later tonight in order to get rid of some debugging code in the kernel).


Hello world!

Feb 01, 2008 in me

Another futile attempt at blogging (gawd, I hate that word)...