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November 23, 2003

The Black Dragon is back!!!

    The Black Dragon is back!  A pretty quick turn around time, but our new motherboard arived yesterday and was install this after noon.  After some driver updates, we were back in busness.
    Some issues that sill need to be resolved, however.  We still have two hard drives down-- one of the RAID mirror drives and a 60 gig.  Both are under warrantee, so we just need to return them.
    It apears both of the faulty Western Digital drives are under warrentee, which is very good.  Since we've delbt with faulty drives in the past, we know WD is good about replacing faulty parts.  We should just have to fill out the RMA information for the drives and send them in.
    Tyson has found a perfact replacement for the Black Dragon's dead motherboard-- a Soyo KT400 DRAGON, Black Addition.  So the Black Dragon will have a Black Dragon :)  Anyway, this motherboard is setup with the same HighPoint 372 RAID chipset as the EPoX, so the RAID arrays should function just fine.  Thankx Ty!
    We've also decided to go with a Western Digital Raptor 36.7 GB, 10000 RPM drive run by a Promise  FastTrak S150 TX2plus RAID controller.

November 18, 2003

Status of the Black Dragon

    We took the Black Dragon to our good friend Tyson "Pluvius" Mohr's house for further diagnostics.  It is most defiantly a mother board problem with the system.  During our testing, we noticed leaking capacitors near the motherboard switching power supplies.  Several of the capacitors bulged near the top, and some showed signs of leaking.  Others lower on the motherboard seemed fine.  This is probably related to the problem.
    Strangely enough, the system works after it heats up, but crashes critically if it becomes too cool.  This is a very strange symptom indeed.
    Each of the hard drives were checked by the manu factor utilities.  We found the 2 of the Western Digital drives were diagnosed with errors-- one of the 100 GB RAID drives and the 60 GB.  All the IBM drives checked out fine.  Despite the 60 GB Western Digital drive failing immediately in software, we were able to get data off the drive.
    So, the next step has to do with repairing/replacing the Black Dragon's dead motherboard.  If the motherboard is still under manufacture warrantee, we will return it.  If not, we'll look into a low-cost alternative.  Why a downgrade?
    Well, while visiting Tyson, we discussed me buying his duel Atholon MP motherboard.  This computer will become the long awaited "Red Dragon".  There's still a lot of details to cover before this system becomes real, but so far, everything is a go.

November 17, 2003

Black Dragon problems

    The Black Dragon is currently down due to hardware problems.  We believe it is due to a dieing  motherboard-- anytime the system cools down, it locks up catastrophically.  This has been observed in the past, but now has taken the system out of commission.  Diagnostics will get underway very soon to confirm the motherboard issues and followed up with a replacement plan.

November 11, 2003

Black Dragon get RAM upgrade

    The Black Dragon got a 512 meg RAM upgrade.  Tyson (Pluvius) ended up with an extra 512 meg chip and we bought it off him.  So the Black Dragon sits at a solid gig of RAM.  We did find we were in need of more RAM.  Our average application load has only increased and sometimes things were getting a bit on the slow side.  This addition should help.

November 10, 2003

Sendmail and ProFTPD work begins

    The transfer for the Azure Dragon to the White Dragon has begun.  We have been experimenting with ProFTPD and Sendmail to take over the FTP and e-mail functions now done on the Azure Dragon.  Sendmail is now ready and has taken over as the e-mail server.  ProFTPD work has started, but not nearly complete.  WarFTP is just too good!  It's proving to be a lot of work to replace it.

October 29, 2003

SSH earns it keep

    A nine day work trip allows us to test out the usefulness of SSH-- and it has won great favor.  We were able to get on the Dragon server array, copy files we needed and monitor what was going on while we were away.  The pilot says we just reached 35,000 feet and here on the Iron Dragon and I are on our way back home.

October 14, 2003

Backups get better

    We improved the backup system by archive the webpages each night.  The system creates a compressed tape archive (.tar.gz) and splits it into CD-R sized chunks.  This is done through a Perl script that runs though Cron (the script itself gets backed up as well), which also dates the archive.  Now if we can just get a CR-R drive that automatically changes CDs, life would be great.  Unfortunately, systems that do auto changing are rather pricey.  Oh well, can't win'm all.

October 10, 2003

Indigo Dragon has an OS

    The Indigo Dragon finally has an OS installed.  We completed the steps in the Gentoo installation and the system is now functional.  We still need to install everything else-- Apache, MySQL, ext., but the first step has been completed.  Unfortunately with all the other stuff I'm required to do in life these days, I don't have the time!  But, the best things to thoughts who wait...