Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Censored!

I've censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet--a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/8578/uncensor

████ ████ is ████████ ████ ████ the ████████ ████ be if ████ is ██████.
██████ ████ ████ ███████████ or █████ him and ████ him to say NO to ████

Uncensor This

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Setup Raid 1 Using mdadm In Ubuntu

Sorry for the prolonged absence. Been very busy. I recently bought two 2 Tb hard drives and used mdadm to create a Raid 1 array for my new data drives in Ubuntu 10.04
Raid 1 uses 2 identical size hard drives and will mirror the data from one hard drive to the other automatically.

I tried several tutorials to set up mdadm but several of them either missed a few steps or were lacking good instructions. But then I found this site and followed the instructions. Working fine now!

http://lummie.co.uk/ubuntu-server-setting-up-and-managing-raid1/

I can use the Gnome Disk Utility available in the repo's to check the SMART Status of each disk in the array as well as checking the health of the array.
I usually use Western Digital hard drives as they have been very reliable for me but for this project I used a set of Samsung's.

The Samsung's required a firmware fix to repair a flaw that caused lost data.
I had to create a Dos based bootable flash drive and throw the firmware on it then boot to it to flash the hard drive firmware. Talk about the retro 90's!

I have been running the array for a month and everything has been flawless.
Read and write speeds have been what I expected for a software based Raid array. And I have not had to rebuild the array except the one time I had an unexpected power outage when a tree took down a power line.

Software based Raid setups have their advantages and disadvantages.
Many of the motherboard based Raid controllers are actually considered fake Raid and don't work well with Linux. They also have disadvantages that surpass those of a software Raid.

One advantage of using software such as mdadm is the ability to use any model of Western Digital hard drives. I didn't know this fact until after I ordered the Samsung's.

A while back Western Digital pulled a fast one on it's customers. They decided they needed to increase their revenues on their higher cost 'Enterprise' models of hard drives. No one was buying them. Instead everyone was purchasing their Black edition and using them for their Raid setups.

So Western Digital went and disabled the TLER feature in all of their hard drives except for the Enterpise editions.
TLER is an abbreviation for Time Limited Error Recovery. Essentially a hardware Raid controller queries the hard drive every so often and the hard drive responds back. If the controller does not get a response in a predetermined time it marks the hard drive as bad and drops it from the array. This requires you to rebuild the array which takes quite awhile.

Since WD disabled TLER in their home based hard drives, the drive will continue to drop out of the array and require you to spend countless hours of adding the drive back into the array then rebuild it. Not very productive.

With mdadm it does not query the hard drive nor does it rely on TLER.
That means that it is up to you to be vigilant and check the status of the array on a regular basis. This can be done through the Gnome Disk Utility or a set of commands found on the page I linked to.

You can also reconfigure mdadm to send you email alerts if something happens to the array. I haven't set up my system this way so I don't know what is all involved.
You can find additional info on mdadm and advanced features here;

https://help.ubuntu.com/10.04/serverguide/C/advanced-installation.html

Remember that backing up your data is important. Using a Raid array in a Raid 1 or Raid 5 configuration is a step in the right direction but unless you monitor the array health you can have a disaster on your hands that rivals a single hard drive failure scenario.


Have fun and keep your data safe.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stanley The Spammer

Just spent about 15 minutes deleting a comment left in about 15 of my pages by Stanley the Spammer.

He left a whole bunch of oriental characters each containing a link to numerous Asian sites. After I deleted the links I then checked Google's policy about registered users leaving spam in comments. Seems their solution is for the blog's owner to turn on comment moderation.

They will go after blogs that promote spam but won't go after spammers that leave comments. Okay. I'm alright with that. But that now leaves me with only one choice. A choice I hate to make.

Everyone can thank Stanley the Spammer for forcing me to turn on comments moderation. I don't like it but I'm not going to turn my little piece of the internet into a spammer links festival.

Be assured that if you leave a legitimate comment, it will be approved and will show up in the appropriate article that you posted to.
And I will be checking on a daily basis whenever possible. Don't worry if you don't see your comment show up right away. If it's legit, it will be published.

Thanks to everyone for their understanding in this matter.

Peace out!

Monday, May 31, 2010

FFMPEG Missing Codec Error

Recently a reader asked me a question about a missing codec error while using ffmpeg to convert a video.
Here's the error message;
It seems your FFMPEG (libavcodec) installation lacks the following encoder:
MPEG AAC Audio.

I initially told him to make sure he has the AAC audio codec installed. Then I tried a conversion and got a similar message. I know I had everything installed so it was time to investigate.

Didn't take me long to find out that the ffmpeg including the unstripped version from the restricted repo's is lacking certain codecs due to licensing B.S.
So what do we do?
I read many articles talking about compiling your own ffmpeg with the missing codecs. Now I'm not against doing that but I was hoping for something easier. LOL!

Then I found this page;
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1117283

It has a comprehensive tutorial on how to compile your own ffmpeg.
And it also contains a quick 2 copy and paste terminal commands that will download and install the unstripped ffmpeg.
Just make sure that you pick your correct version of Ubuntu when using either option.

Many thanks to FakeOutdoorsman for his excellent tutorial on fixing this.

Linux!
There are so many ways around the B.S!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great News For 20 in 1 Multiboot DVD

As many of my readers know, I have been hosting my Linux 20 in 1 Multiboot DVD on Rapidshare for lack of a better hosting service.
But then the other night a reader by the name of Greg asked me to contact him about hosting my files on his dedicated server.

I contacted him and he graciously offered to host all the 20 in 1 links on his server that is also used to mirror software from the likes of Mozilla, Open Office, GetDeb, PlayDeb and other project sites.

He has provided a folder filled with the full Iso for those users who have the bandwidth to download it in one shot or for those that are limited with download caps or slow speeds, the individual Rar files are available.
He also created and md5sum file so you can verify your downloads.
I also tested his download speeds and they are fast!

Greg exemplifies the true spirit of the Linux community because during our email discussion he said he wanted to host my files to help out my readers and the Linux community. That attitude and generosity is what makes the Linux community so strong. We believe in giving and sharing.

I'm still jumping for joy at finally having this project on a server that doesn't play wait and see games with users trying to download it. And I'm happy for everyone that passes through my blog and can now download my  20 in 1 Multiboot without any hassles.

If you would like to thank Greg you can leave comments here or stop by his blog found here;
http://labby.co.uk/

As for my Linux 20 in 1 Multiboot DVD links?
You can grab them from here;
http://labby.co.uk/ubuntu4you/

Finally I must say this again even though I have said it to him at least a dozen times;
Thank You!!!

Enjoy the new links and please say thank you to Greg who made this all possible.

I must be dreaming! LOL!!

TaZMAn

Sunday, March 14, 2010

PC Upgrade Finished

Just finished my pc upgrade today!

Sorry I haven't been more active here lately but between work and real world chores I barely have time for myself.
This weekend I finally finished my pc upgrade.

I had some of the parts for a month now and with the help of a borrowed SATA cable I finally finished them. What were the upgrades?
Some hard drives and a power supply.

A few months ago I ordered a new Asus motherboard, AMD Regor 240 and 2 Gigs of GSkill DDR3 Ram.
After I had that installed I decided to go for broke so to speak.
I ordered 2 new Western Digital Black Edition 640 GB hard drives a month after I got the new motherboard, cpu and ram.

Then a few weeks ago I ordered 2 more of the same drives and a new 650 watt power supply. Now my tower is filled to the brim.
The configuration is as follows;
4 - 640 GB W/D Sata drives
2 - Sata Cd/DVD burners
1 - 500 GB W/D Sata hard drive in an external USB enclosure

You may ask why all that space just for Linux?
Good question.
My new system is now a combination personal PC, Local Network server and a Home Theater pc.

During the install of the new parts I added a new 80 mm front and rear fan. Didn't need them before as I was only running a 500 MB Sata and 80 MB Pata drive.
Now that I have four high end hard drives in this system I knew that heat would be an issue. In fact I just checked the drive temps and see that I may have to add in a second front fan and possibly a second rear fan as the drive temps are around 102 F / 39 C

Those temps are a bit too high for my liking.
If I can get them down a few degrees I will be much happier.
Don't want any heat killing the drives as I waited too long for this dream system.

As for the Linux distro I'm running now?
Switched over to the Ubuntu 9.10 64 bit version and so far I haven't had any serious issues. A few minor ones with flash games causing screen flicker in Firefox although I don't have that issue when using Opera.
I'm also using a USB mouse and at times my mouse pointer goes on a rampage and flies to another part of the screen by itself.

But for the most part I'm very happy with the system I now have and hope it lasts a good long while.

Next on my wish list is a big screen tv!
LOL!!!

And I received an older D-Link router from a friend that I plan to upgrade by installing the DD-WRT Linux firmware on it. Will try and keep you updated on that project.

Until later.

TaZMAn

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When Things Go Wrong Think On Your Feet

The title is something I have lived by and has gotten me out of more then one scrape. Recently I updated my computer components which included a 64 bit cpu.
I was very intrigued about updating to Ubuntu 64 bit but I was a bit concerned as I have heard both good and bad reports about 64 bit.

So I downloaded the Iso and burned it to a Cd. Then I tested it in live mode for a week or so. I found it was working very well and any minor issues I had were the same ones I had in the 32 bit version. So one day I decided to upgrade my PC.
I had also added a new hard drive so I backed up all my files and folders to the slave drive. I was doing a full format and install and now I was ready to do it.

I inserted the 64 bit Cd and booted to it. I clicked on install and went through the whole routine. I have done upgrades and OS changes so many times that I have this down to a 2 hour task. And that includes installing updates and software that I use.

The install was at the point where it was copying over files when disaster struck.
At around 84% the installer said it couldn't copy a file because it was corrupted.
Uh-Oh!!! I committed a cardinal sin. When I burned that Cd I did not verify it.
Never had a problem before so I got lax and figured this burn was also good.
Mental note to self....... Verify the Cd you Dummy!

Now I was in a jam. I could easily install my old 32 bit version but that would be wasting time. What could I do? I decided to boot into my 32 bit Cd, download another 64 bit Iso to my slave drive and burn it from the XP partition that I still have installed for work and help reasons. Problem was that I no longer had a grub loader and there was no way to boot into it. I could have tried reloading grub but it was getting late and I needed to get this install done.

Then it hit me!
I inserted my flash drive and used the USB Start Up Disk Creator found in the 9.10 menu to install the new 64 bit Iso to my flash drive.
Once it was done I rebooted my computer and set the bios to boot from flash drive.
Ubuntu booted up and much to my relief it fully installed.

I now had a fully functioning 9.10 64 bit system and the grub loader was installed and my XP side of it was working also.
Planning to dump that XP partition but I still use it occasionally. Actually the last time I needed it was 2 months ago. LOL!!

I'm happy to say that using 64 bit has presented no problems. A few things in 9.10 are a bit different as is making some configuration changes but those are easily Google'd.
My computer is snappier and performs much faster then the 32 bit version in certain tasks.

So if you run into a major problem, don't panic.
Step back, take a deep breath and explore all your possible options.
Fortunately Linux provides you with many options to bail your butt out when you screw up. LOL!

Take care!

TaZ