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   Spent several hours at work trying to get access to some computer at work over the VPN.  After a lot of back and forth with the system administrator we narrowed it down to my Linux computers.  We have a setup with two networks: the corporate network, and a VLAN used as a test environment.  There are several computers that are on both of the networks, but I was unable to access any of them from the VPN and I was unsure why.  Later we found out that the Windows-based computer had connected to the wrong wireless network, leaving the problem only to the remaining Linux computers.
   This turned out to be an issue with routing.  Not exactly sure why, but when connected to two networks neither Linux machine correctly mapped the subnets.  I corrected the problem by simply taking down the interface with the VLAN and then bringing it back up.  That did the trick.  I'm not sure why.  I was digging into the routing tables a little, but still am not sure why this fix was a fix.
   Shane really getting into his work.

March 17, 2020

The Data Dragon Reimagined

Back in 2017 I put the Data Dragon online. It consisted of 8x 4 TB hard drives on a system running FreeNAS. This February of 2020 the Data Dragon had a power supply failure that might have taken out the motherboard as well. After a selvage operation about 9 TB of data was transferred to a holding area.

I have been displeased with FreeNAS. The user interface was clunky and a lot of things just didn’t work very well. I had a lot of problems getting NFS to run as it would usually just not function then just randomly start working. The interface for replacing failed drives was terrible as well. The other big problem I had was not knowing FreeBSD. It is similar to Linux, but not the same. Configuration files were located in different directories, and some commands are not the same (watch for instance). This made any command line work hard.

At first I thought I’d just go back to a basic Linux mdadm RAID-5 array. I’ve had success with Linux RAID-1 on the Snow Dragon, and setup an LUKS encrypted RAID-5 array on the Backup Dragon that seems to be functional. The problem I have is that a Linux software RAID is fixed in size. Once it is setup, that’s all you get. And to get encryption you must use another package.

Then I watched this video on OpenZFS encryption. While new in October of 2016, the encryption in OpenZFS is now mature. With the Data Dragon getting upgrades I am looking into running Proxmox to host virtual machines. ZFS is an option available for Proxmox. So I decided to do some tests. The question I wanted to answer was how hard/easy is OpenZFS to use from the command line, and does it have all the fetchers I want?

To test this, I created a virtual machine running Ubuntu Server 19.10. OpenZFS is officially supported in 19.10. On the virtual machine I added 8x 1GB fixed-size hard drives and a 10 GB boot drive. This setup will provide a playground for exploring the options of ZFS.

   Worked from home today as I had to take Eve to the shop to find out about the pulley sound she has been making.  Turns out it is a pulley, and specifically the pulley on the air conditioner.  It was be very expensive to fix this as the AC compressor would have to be removed.  That requires draining out the AC, replacing the pulley or entire compressor, and recharging the AC.  It was recommended I simply use a smaller serpentine belt and bypass the AC.  Eve has almost 300,000 miles and I have been considering a replacement for awhile.  This is one more reason.
  Tonight was our annual post-apocalypse party.  I decided I was going a little more crazy for dressing up.  I hired our friend Kim Witte to turn me into a survivor.  In his own words: "My first mistake was look at the flash.  My second was surviving."  Kim did an awesome job of of making me appear worse for wear.
   Turns out that when I was off on vacation, the world suddenly decided that the virus we've known about since December is going to be a problem for the U.S.  We had a decent turnout but our post-apocalypse party was lighter in attendance as a result.

March 13, 2020

Montana Winter Trip—Day 7

Moose visits campsite

Moose visits campsite

   Last day of the trip.  I got on the road about 8:30 am.  Part of my was wondering if I would make it all the way home.  Eve tends to burn oil on long trips and so I topped her off yesterday and heard something disturbing when I opened the hood.  I'm pretty sure I have a bearing on a pulley going out.  I've heard the sound before as I had a bearing going out on the alternator of my truck many years ago.  It failed rather spectacularly, started on fire and hadn't I opened the hood right away to put put the fire it could have taken out my truck.  Clearly I need to get Eve to a shop to get this bearing repaired, but how much longer it was going to last was unknown.  I still had around 400 miles to cover.  However, Eve is a trooper.  I made it home just fine around 2:20 pm.  A total of 3,368 miles travelled and quite an adventure.
   Pictured is a moose walking through my campsite on my second day at Glacier National.  The moose took no notice of me and none of the campsite.  Seemed the site was just something to be crossed to where ever Moose wanted to go. 

March 12, 2020

Montana Winter Trip—Day 6

   This trip wasn't the most well planned on my part and had to be shorter than what I would usually do.  So today began my trek back home.  I departed around 7:00 am.  There had been snow the night before but luckily there wasn't much.  While I am used to driving in snow, the combination of snow and mountains isn't something I have much experience with.  The beginning part of my drive was slower than usual due to snow covered roads, but once I left the hills of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest the roads were fine.  I covered 1013 miles before stopping at a rest area in south western Minnesota.
   Pictured is Dignity of Earth & Sky in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  I always stop to see her on my travels through South Dakota, and this time it was during evening twilight.

March 11, 2020

Montana Winter Trip—Day 5

   Today was spent on the slopes of Porphyry Peak at the Showdown Montana Ski Resort.  Sadly Shane had to cover for people and I was able to spend any time learning from him.  So I strapped on a snowboard to my feet and set out to recall what I learned from him 5 years ago when he first taught me how to snowboard.  Two runs down the bunny hill, and two down the easy run made me recall enough to feel like I couple handle myself.  After that I tried the intermediate runs.  I wasn't bold enough to allow myself to get going fast, but I fell far less than I had expected.  The weather was all over the place.  Sometimes it was sunny, other times overcast and by the end of the day it was snowing pretty heavy.  Winds at the top of the mountain were really strong and there was one path I had a hard time getting started because it the wind was directly at me and I couldn't get started.  In all I snowboarded for about 6 hours with a break for lunch.
   After the hill closed for the day Shane and I went into White Sulphur Springs and soaked in hot spring pools for awhile, followed by dinner.  I was fairly exhausted after this and when we got back to his place it didn't take much for me to fall asleep.