Archive for Lara

Bandwidth Throttle

I’ve been running a web server on Lara, my home server for some time now. It provides a number of useful resources over HTTP to complement a number of websites I run, the most notable one being RouterTech where it plays host to the source code downloads for the firmware releases.

The problem is that apache doesn’t have a default bandwidth limit in place and so when someone downloaded a 40-50Mb firmware source tar ball it would max out my home upload bandwidth throughout the time taken to obtain the file which wasn’t particularly helpful to other things I had running.

As a result I’ve now added a bandwidth control module into apache and have capped the download rate that all clients as a total can achieve over HTTP to Lara at 37.5K/s. This sounds draconian, but it does mean SSH access and other things I and others need at all times to the server will be uninterrupted. I am hoping for a bandwidth increase in the not too distant future when I move broadband providers but in the mean time thank you for your patience in enduring the slower than are desirable speeds.

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New Pole

As I left my house this morning I was confronted with a group of BT engineers bracing themselves to remove our telephone pole and replace it. This of course involves removing all the wires from the box at the top first, then removing the pole, sinking a new one, allowing the concrete to set (they don’t use wires to hold them up these days it seems) and then adding the new box to the top and reconnecting all the wires.

What this means is that during the bulk of this procedure I have no phone lines and no internet connection. My personal and development servers have been down since about 10:30am this morning. Hopefully normal service will have resumed by this evening but if not or if you are wondering why you can’t get access today, then this will be/is why.

Sadly they elected not to give anyone connected to this pole a warning of an outage so I was in the dark till I saw the truck arriving with the new pole. Such is life I guess.

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Lara Downtime

My file and development server, affectionately known as Lara, will be having some downtime over the next few days. I’m moving myself (desk and all) from one room in my house to another and so that this can be done as quickly as possible, I’m making the moving of my stuff, not the setting up of it at the other end, the priority. I hope to have the server up and running again by the weekend, but in the meantime you will have to sit tight. To all those that regularly access Lara for development needs thanks in advance for your patience.

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Eeep no internet!

Keen eyes will have noticed that my home server, Lara, is currently experiencing downtime. The server is in fact alive and well under my desk its just the internet connection that is dead. This in fact means that pretty much all my connectivity with the outside world is broken when at home because all my communications are internet bound (my phones and fax machine run over VoIP and TCP/IP respectively).

I’d like to say I’ll have this resolved soon but unfortunately the problem is to do with billing and so I’m not sure how long this is going to take. Matt (one of my house mates) pays the invoices to Bulldog and the rest of the house pays him on a monthly basis by standing order. Up until now this has worked fine but something seems to have gone wrong somewhere and Bulldog have suspended our connection due to lack of payment (as I was informed by a rather poorly marked-up HTML page in my browser this morning when I went to load up my router config page to do a reboot). I will need to speak to Matt about this but as he was still sleep when I left for campus to work in the Library and get my morning e-mail fix things are going to have to wait a little longer.

HUGE apologies to those who are locked out of their file stores and developer accounts on my server due to this outage. I’m doing all I can to get this fixed and will keep you updated.

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Flash works on Linux

I never thought I’d actually see the day, but its happened. Flash actually works on my Linux desktop! For a long time the flash player 7 was unstable and problematic with a lareg number of interactive website elements to the extent I had to block all flash images and view them in a different browser if I really wanted to see them to avoid firefox crashing and me losing all my open tabs.

Now that flash player 9 has finally been released things work properly. My browser is no longer trying to use flash 7 to open flash 8 files and committing suicide. 100% CPU utilisation for anything which plays sound or has remotely interesting animations is also a thing of the past. I can honestly say that I may well be unblocking flash if this good behaviour continues.

As for if I’ll start using YouTube the answer is no – browsing it can potentially be a huge waste of time and as such I only believe in its use for the purposes of embedding video on blogs and such, although even then a download of an .mpeg or .avi file would be preferable. Being able to use flash properly does of course mean I’ll be able to view embeded YouTube videos on blogs which is a superb development. I have to say I’m quite excited by it all.

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FTP Port Change

Tonight the ftp port for those with accounts on lara will be changing. If you cannot connect, please contact me to be given the new port. This change is being made due to the number of attempted intrusions being recieved on port 21 slowing down and even preventing legitimate connections at times.

NB: This does not affect those who host with me. This is only for accounts on lara (which are development, not hosting accounts).

UPDATE: It was decided not to change the port, but just restrict the access to those IPs that have accounts. As all users are on fixed IPs it makes much more sense than having to make people enter different ports in their FTP clients

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Tomb Raider Legend in the shops

Yes, its finally here, Tomb Raider Legend (the 7th Lara Croft Tomb Raider game) has been released and is now on the shelves. As possibly one of the biggest TR fans (I even named my computer after the legend herself), I am not going to jump to any conclusions or make any assumptions. I have a copy of the demo, and will be taking a peek at it soon.

Due to workload I am having to refrain from buying the full game until work eases off and my next batch of exams are over, still, its one hell of a good thing to look forward to, after all, there are not many who would say no to a piece of the all new Lara Croft 😉

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Lara down

Lara went down in the early hours of the morning for as yet unknown reasons. Web pages are no longer being served, ftp access has ceased and I am unable to gain access via SSH. No outages on the ISP have been advertised or since reported, so I can only assume that a power cut or surge has taken out the box, and it failed to switch back on after the power was restored, and is hence now in an off and unreachable state.

I will continue to try to establish a connection via SSH in the next 24 hours, but if this fails then it seems likely that Lara will be offline until I return to Leeds and restart her. I will be returning very soon after Easter. Apologies to all who need access for work purposes, but unfortunately I am unable to rectify this situation remotely. A backup of all mission critical data was take early yesterday evening, so in the event of a more critical failure I will be able to restore data on my return to Leeds.

UPDATE: It seems there has been quite a large powercut in one part of Leeds, and the power remains out as we speak. This is not in the same area as Lara, but a surge may have caused the box to go down. Either way it looks like Lara will be down until I return to Leeds and restart her.

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RAM on the way

Its taken around 2 and a half months since I ordered, but between stupid international delays and things getting lost in the post I am now finally going to get my RAM. No, this isn’t an e-mail promise, this is a tracking number from FedEx that informs me it is currently in Stanstead airport, but has got through customs, and is on its way to me by 12noon tomorow. Yay! Faster Lara just around the corner 😀

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Big brother

I was bored today, so as I was glancing around my room for inspiration I noticed my logitech webcam sitting on the shelf, unconnected since I moved in. Well, nuts to that I thought, and hooked it up to my Linux box. An hour or so later I had sorted out drivers, a video feed and an application to create a new image every few seconds on my apache2 webserver, running on Lara. The result is a webcam image in a pop-up window that self-updates every 3 seconds and you can view it right now, simply click the “View Webcam” link in the navigation bar.

All I have to do now is find somewhere to point it that is both interesting, and doesn’t cause me to live in big brother hell. Suggestions on a post card…..

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