MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World - Adventures

Walking through the Royal National Park from Otford to Bundeena
HP DL380 Raid Controller Disk issues.
Dark Fibre, big troubles
Dutch terrorism
We're moving again!
The abandoned toilet

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Walking through the Royal National Park from Otford to Bundeena

Posted on 2009-07-06 11:00:00, modified on 2009-07-11 13:00:00
Tags: Walking, Adventures

Last weekend the Sutherland Greens organised a weekend bushwalk through the Royal National Park from Otford to Bundeena. Since Naomi was too busy with real life, I volunteered to go in her place together with little Dirk.

At this point in time Dirkie is four years and three months old and there were a lot of reservations from the other walkers of him (and his mother) being able to do the trip, but since I volunteered to carry him where needed they agreed on it.

The Google maps link above doesn't show it, but the trip was going through the bush past the coast: Sometimes walking tracks and sometimes the path the water takes when it flows down the hills. As the crow flies only 23 kilometers, but it includes a lot of up and down between the top of the cliffs and the sand of the beaches.

The first day was about 10 kilometers, starting at 10:30 and finishing at Gary beach at 15:30. We had some great views over the water, lots of different terrain from a nice walking track to "let's walk upstream through this water to see if we can find the track again", saw the sheds build during the depression at Burning Palm beach where one of the current owners told us the story of the families living in one of them. Dirkie walked for about three-quarters of the time and spend the other time on my shoulders. At night we slept at the Gary Beach Surf Club and saw the ISS passing over in the twilight period.

The second day was up and down again with much less signs of civilisation (houses, sheds) but we had a nice over the National Park from one point, saw a lot of whales on their migration to the warmer waters in the north and had a great time. This time Dirkie walked about two-thirds of time and just like the day before when I was really sure I wouldn't make it over a next hill again we were at the end!

Neither day we saw a lot of animals, not kangeroos, no big birds. Just whales and two sea eagles... I had hoped for more cockatoos though.

Beautiful walk, recommendable for anybody who is up for it (I didn't do any special training for it, just my four kilometers walk per day (yes it's sad))

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HP DL380 Raid Controller Disk issues.

Posted on 2007-05-18 10:00:00
Tags: Adventures, FreeBSD, HP

Today for the first time in my life I had troubles setting up a normal FreeBSD machine due to the geometry of the disk. The machine has a Raid 6i card in it, and there are four 147Gb disks in a RAID5 configuration.

The device gets detected as:

da0: 420029MB (860220400 512 byte sectors: 255H 32S/T 65535C
Fdisk complains about it:
A geometry of 105419/255/32 for da0 is incorrect.
and picks:
DISK Geometry: 53546 cyls/255 heads/63 sectors = 860216490 sectors (420027MB)

Installing FreeBSD on that geometry goes without a problem. But at a reboot, it doesn't work anymore. Pressing F1 for FreeBSD at the bootmanager doesn't work, it just beeps.

Luckely Darius on #bsddev knew how to resolve this:

<Darius> also, can you get to the loader prompt on the CD after you have installed and type..
<Darius> unload
<aDrius> set currdev=disk1s1a:
<aDrius> boot -s
<Darius> then run boot0cfg /dev/da0
It works!

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Dark Fibre, big troubles

Posted on 2007-03-13 16:13:57, modified on 2007-03-13 19:10:20
Tags: Networking, Adventures

For our network, we are looking at getting a Dark Fibre backbone between our main locations and the data centre. High speed networking, that can only mean one thing: biiiiiiiig trouble.

It started with my absolute zero knowledge about using fibre as a network medium. Yes, I knew that it has to do with sending light through a small plastic tube and that it goes fast, but that is about the amount. Right now I know all pits you can end up in: Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

First thing, there is single mode and multi mode fibre. Single mode is, as far as I get it, good for long distances, multi mode is, as far as I get it, good for short distances. For weeks and weeks I was told we were getting multi mode, and I was panicking because there so many things to chose from with regarding to multi mode, depending on the distance you cover. At the end, we ended up with single mode and all was good and fine.

Second thing are the connectors on the fibre cable. There are SC connectors, which are big ones, and there are LC connectors, which are small ones. Yes, S for large and L for small. Who could have thought that?

And then, you plug the connectors in a router/switch itself via a GBIC or plug it in a media convertor which converts it to ethernet. Of course, the GBIC needs an LC connector most likely and a media convertor uses an SC connector most likely.

So we have (2+(n-1))*2*2 ways to arrange things. Increase that with my absence of knowledge (which is rapidly decreasing now) plus the idea of using different media convertors halfway the project, that will give you about 3,142 ways to order things.

And yes, we did do them all wrong...

I was told we had ordered multi mode and we have been promised single mode fibre. We ordered LC connectors on the fibre, and then we moved from GBIC to the media convertors, so we had to change put fibre patch leads in between them which were of course male-male instead of female-male so we had to put another bunch of convertors in (it is a good thing that the stuff is passive :-)

To gain bandwidth and redundancy, we have bought special media convertors which can do sending and receiving over one cable. So you can have double the everything! Only problem, the media convertors we got were not the ones we ordered: You need one with frequency A for the local side and one with frequency B for the remote side. And we got two with frequency A. The good news is that we already had ordered another set of media convertors, and we were able to swap them both for frequency B: that way we can shuffle them around and end up with a working set!

But at the end, we got our Dark Fibre backbone up and running! And indeed, it's faaaaaaaast! (Well, 1Gbps between long distances is always fast :-)

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Dutch terrorism

Posted on 2006-09-14 16:45:11, modified on 2006-09-14 17:12:35
Tags: Adventures

In my role as network administrator, I have to replace broken hardware now and then. This mostly are ethernet cables and switches, but yesterday I had the pleasure of replacing a laserhead. A laserhead, they always come in pairs, is an ethernet layer device which euhm... well, transports the data via a laser beam. Compare it with the infrared light on the remote control of your television, and then the kind which made you blind if you look into them too long.

Like all radio and laser equipment, this device sits on top of a building. A high building. And often on places where it is hard to reach. For example, bolted on a pipe on top of a two meter high wall at the 16th floor. So I'm going up with the elevator to the 13th floor, take the stairs to the 14th floor and that's the first level of the rooftop. Our stuff is two irons stairs higher, outside.

The wind in the Sydney CBD has two characteristcs: In the afternoon around 16:00 it is very strong. And high buildings in the CBD funnel the wind through the streets and over the "lower" buidlings like the one I was on.

So you have a dutchman, dressed in black (can't help it, sometimes I run out of colourful clothes), long hair flying in all directions, carrying a big blue "thing" the size of size 50 shoebox (if you read the previous paragraph you might recognize it as a laserhead), and a backpack with tools to unscrew the current laserhead and to screw it all it back. Put laserhead on floor, carefully wriggle myself and backpack through a vertical ladder with anti-accidently-fall-towards-streetlevel features, turn around and go down on the other side of the wall. Drop backpack, go back on the ladder and get the laserhead.

I probably forgot to mention that the two buildings surrounding it (much more levels higher, 38 on one and 20something on the other one) are the Colonial State Building and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Not really places where you should run into a making amok, the guards there carry guns.

Get laserhead, go back over the vertical starts and down on the other side. And start doing the work I was supposed to do!

When you're up there you hear a lot of noise, mostly the airconditioning and cars in the streets. Another thing you often hear is the fire-brigade (lots of buildings have trigger-happy smoke detectors) and police cars. Which I heard one while I was unscrewing the laserhead and putting the replacement on. But that's okay, you hear them often.

On my way back from the rooftop (two times these horrible vertical stairs, once without and once with backpack, stairs, elevators etc) you see somebody with black pants with white stains, sweating and puffing because of the work done and the stuff I carry and of course my hair in the most freaked-out position because of the wind etc. The girl at the reception to whom I have to give the key from the rooftop back signals two policemen that euhm... I have come in. What!??!?!?!?!

To make a long story short, somebody from a neighbouring building saw me going up the roof with a backpack and go down from it without one, and she/he called the police about it... Luckily all the police did was ask what I was doing up there, the receptionist probably had told them that all was fine.

Now I don't know if I should be happy that somebody keeps an eye on the neighbourhood, or that I should be unhappy that people are so easily scared about the current fear-factor about terrorism. I go for the first option!

And now, as the grand final: Mark my words, one day the dutch flag will rise again over Australia!

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We're moving again!

Posted on 2005-07-06 09:52:40, modified on 2006-01-09 16:29:23
Tags: Adventures

Yes, we're moving again. Did the last move force us from Ewos Parade into a unit on Ocean street (both Cronulla), we're back on Ewos Parade now. Boxes boxes boxes everywhere. But the good news is...

The lesser good news is:

We still have the same phone number, but no ADSL yet (despite that Telstra said it would be converted, but that was only the ADSL capability, not the higher layers which have to be done by others)

So our new address is:

Unit 2
31-35 Ewos Parade
Cronulla NSW 2230

Feel free to drop by whenever you're near!

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The abandoned toilet

Posted on 2004-11-09 15:32:51, modified on 2006-01-09 16:29:22
Tags: Adventures

Short story about my adventure on an abandoned toilet.

Early afternoon, just had lunch, needed to go shopping. And to the toilet, but it's not a priority right now.

Got back home and the not-such-a-priority has become a priority. And guess who forgot his keys: I can't get into the apartment building! What a timing... Nobody else answers their doorbells (not that it would help, I still couldn't get inside our apartment). There is a big garden outside, but everybody can see you there. And the only public toilets nearby I know are at the surf-club ten minutes walking (and this priority wouldn't let me do it).

Garden... pants... garden... pants... garden... GARAGE!

There is a toilet in the garage under the apartments. I have seen it when we moved in and for the rest I totally forgot about it. A real solution!

The garage under the apartments isn't the best illuminated place you can think of. And it has indirect "direct" access for all kind of bugs, spiders and snails to move through your garage.

First light-switch... doesn't do anything, but it's the one for the rest of the corridor where locked doors are... I see the door to the toilet, but it's locked. And it's dark here. Am I brave enough to open the door?

There are big ugly hairy spiders here in Australia, the ones you don't want to see during night or day. And cockroaches. And snails. And whatever can survive (or not!) in a locked room...

I'm brave enough to open the door. I hope so at least. The doorhandle is a turn knob. And it's dark inside, very dark. I fully open the door and turn on the light. Bad idea, now I see everything...

I carefully scan the floor, no sign of a spider. The right hand wall, no sign of something. OH FSCK, there is something in the top right hand corner! There is an exoskeleton of a spider hanging there. At least the owner isn't in it anymore. At the top of the roof is the air-hole to the garden, another place for things to hide in. A careful peek up doesn't show anything at three of the four walls inside. And the fourth one neither.

The water in the toilet is kind of strangely black. Not black-black, but transparent black. It gets mixed with about a liter of yellow water and the priority which brought me there in the first place is becoming less and less a priority and I even dare to look at the wall in front of me.

BAD IDEA! Something is making a shadow in front of me when I move my head! There must be a spider behind me at the light. And left! And right! Oh bloody, it's my own hair making the shadow. The last drops fall in the toilet pot and I reach out to do the last thing I want to do here: press the yellow button to flush.

I move out quickly, still haven't checked what's at the wall behind the door and I don't want to know. I survived and that is what most important. The light goes off and I wait until the car with my girl arrives. She doesn't leave her keys at home.

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