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RouterStation Pro OpenWRT upgrade

In an effort to upgrade my network from the aging–and failing WRT54G’s, I purchased a RouterStation Pro.  A RouterStation Pro is an embedded Linux board with some impressive hardware specs.  The part that appealed to me was the 3 Mini-PCI slots that allowed me to use wireless cards that had support in the Linux kernel.  There’s a large portion of 802.11N routers that are using Broadcom chipsets which are only supported by a proprietary blob(wl.ko).

The RouterStation Pro comes preloaded with a relatively old installation of OpenWRT Kamikaze.  Being a sucker for bleeding-edge software, I definitely wanted to check out code from the main Subversion repository to get it up-to-date as far as development goes.  Here’s how I did it.

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Chrome private browsing mode flawed

My friend chizu just brought it to my attention that the private browsing mode “Incognito” in Google Chrome has a serious flaw.  If you use the browser’s zoom functionality to increase the size of pictures or text, the browser will record the domain in your Preferences file.  One of Chromium’s maintainers has marked the bug ‘WONTFIX’ citing that it is actually a feature of Google Chrome and deemed acceptable by the UI developers.

Looks like I’ll be going back to my real incognito mode of simply using another firefox profile and deleting it afterwards.

Link to the  bug

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Munin-cron overlap fix

Recently I’ve migrated my munin instance onto a Linode virtual machine. Having fewer resources was a potential source of problems.
One of the problems that I ran into early on was that sometimes a munin-cron run would still be executing when another munin-cron was scheduled to start. This caused many contention issues, ridiculous load(35+), and once caused a reboot of the VM.

One solution I tried was to turn up the time between tests from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. This still had generated problems, as munin-cron runs still weren’t done after 10 minutes, and any greater time between polls meant subpar graph granularity.

My final solution was to modify munin’s cron entry to the following:

*/7 * * * * munin test ( ! "$(pidof /usr/bin/munin-cron)" ) && test -x /usr/bin/munin-cron && nice -19 /usr/bin/munin-cron

I ran a test to see if there’s still a PID active from munin-cron, and if not check to see if the munin-cron executable exists. If it does exist, run a munin-cron job with the nicest setting possible.

This has solved the problem while still keeping granular graphs, and has significantly reduced the load on the virtual machine.
load average: 0.09, 0.42, 0.38

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Apache Retreat 2010 Picture gallery

I’ve recently come back from the Apache Retreat 2010. Here are some pictures that I took!

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Part III: Munin[node] in cfEngine

At work we use munin and cfEngine extensively, therefore it is accurate to assume that we have a tight-knit setup that allows us to scale munin-node to all hosts in cfEngine, and have the munin-master configured through it as well. This post describes our configuration, and how it takes place.

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Part II: The Munin-master

Hopefully you’ve read the first part(Munin-Node), and have one or more nodes already configured. It’s alright if the munin-node is running on the same machine as the munin-master. The master is more of a pain to set up than the client, and could require significantly more debugging.

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Part I: Setting up Munin-Node

After becoming increasingly frustrated with cacti’s lack of sane repeatable configuration and extensibility I began to explore other options.

Munin showed the most promise and compatibility with many of the services we run at the OSL, such as memcached and varnish. I liked how the plugin system is set up independently on each host, and that each plugin can be managed, configured, and consolidated through symlinks.

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My cheap gaming rig

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I’ve been to several LAN parties recently, and have been getting a very accurate understanding of how much a pain it is to lug around a 30lb case, 30 inch monitor, and all the accessories.  I’ve looked at gaming laptops;  they all seem too expensive, too expensive, and too slow compared to something I could build myself, for cheap.

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Accelero S2 Installation on nVidia 8800GT

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In an effort to modernise my gaming rig, I purchased a second nVidia 8800GT to compliment my first.  Benchmarks and reviews indicate that this setup yields comparable performance to many of today’s more expensive offerings.  This is a log of the installation and testing of the cards.

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Gentoo on the Fujitsu P1620

Recently I picked up a Fujitsu P1620 on eBay.  I’ve grown to really appreciate all the hardware in it, and consider it grade ‘A’ hardware, except for a few gotchas in Linux.  This serves as a document for those who are seeking to gain full hardware functionality of a P1620 in Linux.