The Frozen Few

After last week’s warm sunshine, March had to tap us on the shoulder and remind us all who was in charge. It was about 37 degrees, extremely strong winds (gusting 17-29mph), and off-and-on rain. But Stephen and Jim were going paddling, so I went as well. I was delayed by something at work, so I texted them to tell them that I’d be half an hour late, so they agreed to circle back and pick me up, for which I’m grateful.

It’s been raining for a day, and I guess that caused some snow melt, because the Genesee River is at least a foot and a half or maybe two feet higher than it was on Thursday. The flood conditions caused swirling water, tricky currents, and lots of floating debris. On top of that, the winds were kicking up high waves in the other direction. I was definitely out of my comfort zone in the Thunderbolt today, but that’s a good thing – I need to get better at boat handling with this boat before the ‘Round The Mountain race. I got lucky that Small Swells and Long Lake were pretty calm conditions last year, but I can’t count on that for every race.

We started off down river into the wind. The fast current was definitely overwhelming the effect of the wind, but some of the waves were coming up on to the deck of my boat. Mostly I didn’t have too many problems handling the swirls and waves. We were doing 7.5 to 9.5 mph on the way down stream. We paddled all the way from Black Creek down to the Genesee Waterway Center.

When we turned around, we suddenly had a pretty strong bunch of waves coming from behind. I was definitely getting a bit of a ride on the waves, but even so I was having trouble going as fast as 5 mph, and I was definitely feeling the challenge. We got out of the waves and into the slower water near the inside shore, and the speeds increased a bit. We did a lot of that sort of reading the river and picking our way up through eddies and the like, and then ferrying over to the other side when the river curved the other way.

On one of those ferries, there was a very strong wind from behind, and so I was surfing and dealing with the swirls and currents, and I had to stop paddling and brace at one point – and just as I braced, I got a terrible cramp in my left foot. I’d had foot cramping problems last year, most notably during the last 3 miles of the Armond Bassett race. The cramp at this time was really bad timing. That’s the one time today when I felt most like I was lucky not to dump. But I didn’t, and I carried on to the end in spite of the cramp.

It was only when I got out of the boat that the raw wind and cold really started to hit me. My hands felt like claws as I was trying to get my boat back in its protective bag and back on the roof rack. The fact that there was a snarl of fishing line trapped in the rudder didn’t help. But I got out of there relatively unscathed and my nice hot shower afterwards felt really good.

Total distance: 7.22 miles
Total time: 1:18.

Setting up new server checklist

Don’t mind me, I’m just recording what I’ve done so far in setting up my new box.

  • Ordered new server
  • Ordered new rails for server
  • Ordered two 1Tb drives for server
  • Installed drives in server
  • Discovered rails were the wrong kind for this server
  • Grovelled around the net and found the right type of rails, ordered them.
  • Installed Debian on the server.
  • Tried just blasting the entire backup of the old server onto the new one was a disaster, went to Plan B.
  • Discovered that i386 Debian works fine, except neither the Xen nor the Bigmem kernels boot.
  • Downloaded and tried to install ia64 Debian, only to discover that’s the one for Itanic.
  • Downloaded and installed amd64 Debian. Xen kernel working fine.
  • Installed and configured munin. Discovered smartd doesn’t work because I’m using an Adaptec RAID controller. Tried to install dpt-i20-raidutils, but they don’t seem to work either. Copied some third party munin Xen nodes from old box backup.
  • Installed sshd. Copied “authorized_hosts” from old backup, configured it to only allow public key authentication.
  • Configured the dom0 to take less memory. 96M was plenty on the old box, but this one didn’t boot until I increased it to 128M.
  • Make lvm disks for the domUs.
  • Copied one of the backups. Had to change the sxp file to specify the amd64 kernel, and copy the /lib/modules/*-xen-amd64 to the disk space. It boots, but for some reason it won’t start up the network.
  • Copied another backup. This time it booted the amd64 kernel just fine, but got a lot of errors on start up. But it did connect to the internet and stuff, so I’m not sure how critical the things that didn’t start up were. May have to try installing an i686 kernel and booting the xen instances with that.
  • The box rebooted spontaneously while trying to copy a lot of files over at once. Will have to try again without the memory restrictions (and maybe with the non-xen kernel). Will also have to make sure that it doesn’t do anything bad if one of the domUs is doing heavy i/o.
  • Tried again copying everything over with the non-xen kernel with 4Gb, and it still died.
  • Tried to disable RAID controller, didn’t work. So made 4 separate 1-disk “Volumes”, and go back to install Debian amd64 again.
  • Configured with /dev/sda with 2Gb /boot, 1Gb swap, rest available. /dev/sdb with 2Gb /, 1Gb swap, and rest available. Made “available” parts of two disks into an MD0 software RAID 1, then made that into a PV for LVM.
  • Overnight untarring of backups of mp3s and xen1 didn’t crash it. Woo hoo!
  • Installed sshd, copied config from old dom0, tested sshing in with a public key.
  • Installed xen stuff, and munin-node.
  • Untarred backups of xen2-3.

Next steps:

  • Copy the backups verbatim onto those disks, and hope like hell that Xen can boot them.