TextMate + QuickSilver = Fun

July 27, 2007 | 4 Comments

Like I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not fond of changing my tools, but when work replaced my laptop it was a good time to revisit text editors on the Mac. I’ve been using TextEdit to take random notes, but Mike was pleased enough with TextMate to pay for it so I figured it was worth a look.

One of the first things I noticed and read in their documentation was regarding their philosophy which was a good read and encouraging. What didn’t seem to jive is the fact that the menus are so extensive, it seems almost impossible to use without a mouse. Unless you’re using QuickSilver. I previously read (I believe on LifeHacker) a trick with QuickSilver that lets you type in menu commands.

So for example, when I finish writing this post, I would normally have to do the following with the mouse:
Bundles -> Blogging -> Post To Blog.

Now, it just so happens that there’s a short-cut, but I have near 0 chance of remembering this. Instead with QuickSilver I do the following:
Alt-<Space>, “post b”

By that point “Post to Blog” is highlighted. I hit “Return” and I’m done. Maybe it’s not for you, but for me it’s significantly more efficient.

Google Reader feed swap

July 27, 2007 | 1 Comment

I had previously been sharing my “starred” items from Google Reader and I was using it to share things I found interesting from the various sites I keep up with. Embarrassingly, only today did I discover that there’s a “share” feed as well, that’s better suited for what I’m trying to do. So I’ve made my “starred” items feed private, if you’re curious, I intend to use it for “things I want to read again later”. I will use “shared items” for, uh, sharing. I’ve updated the sidebar on the site with the new code, I’m posting this in case someone who reads this subscribes to my starred items (I believe at least one person does, hi Alex!). This is the URL for my shared items: http://www.google.com/reader/shared/03223703547434487905 which you can add to your feed reader.

Comment spam followup

July 21, 2007 | Comments Off

Regarding my rambling on December 30th about a spam attribute to the <a> tag already exists, it’s an attribute called “nofollow”. WordPress already uses it for comment links. So why am I still getting comment spam? What purpose does it serve? Are the readers of this blog going click on one of the casino links? Wait, people read this blog?!

Tonight’s WordPress Rabbit Hole

July 21, 2007 | Comments Off

So here’s how I got sucked into spending way too much time working on WordPress tonight.

  1. Hey, I really want to use feedburner, but my ajax-y search (that I’m sure nobody uses) broke last time I used the feedburner plug-in. (1 minute)
  2. I’ll just set up a Google Custom Search (20 minutes, mostly messing around with it).
  3. Now that I think about it, I was just looking at the Google AJAX API and Google Custom Search, I bet those two things could work… (2 hours)
  4. Neat, but my search results are crap because everything is under “index.php”. I should turn on permalinks (15 minutes)
  5. Well, now it’s going to take Google for ever to index my site, I should submit a sitemap…
  6. Here’s a neat sitemap plugin! (15 minutes)
  7. Crap it wasn’t really designed for sites that have multiple blogs in a single directory structure, I’ll just put it in /sitemap/sitemap.xml (10 minutes)
  8. Crap Google wants sitemaps in the root directory. I guess I’ll fix it with a mod_rewrite rule (30 minutes, most of it editing wrong file)
  9. Ok, fixed now submit the sitemap to Google and wait for it to update (5 minutes)
  10. Wait, all of the search results are prefixed with “Pablo Averbuj” I should fix that. (30 minutes, taking over UI from Google)
  11. Ok, now I’m ready to install my feedburner plugin!

At the conclusion of which I’ve spent more than a couple of hours and learned a few things along the way. The Google Custom Search Engine stuff is pretty neat, and it ties into the Ajax API nicely. The Ajax API takes a lot of fiddling to make it behave the way i wanted (ie, seamlessly fit in with my previous look and feel). The sitemap plugin I linked to above is very nicely done, especially the management page. And soon I’ll learn how many people read this site via feeds. I’m sure it will be almost as exciting as Christmas.

ReadyNAS conclusion

July 14, 2007 | Comments Off

After various failed attempts to resuscitate the NAS, Infrant decided it was a more serious hardware problem. I asked in jest whether they had an advanced replacement arrangement (they’re small so I didn’t figure they would). It turns out they did but that was a challenge of its own. I faxed over the RMA form twice and had to nag the support guy several times until they actually shipped it. They shipped it DHL ground from California and it got here much faster than anticipated.

I was a little nervous about moving the drives from one chassis to the other even though the instructions seemed simple but there was no deception. With both chassis turned off (duh) I moved the trays from one chassis to another and powered up the new unit. Everything was back, settings, accounts, permissions, IP address, etc. Completely 0 effort, so kudos for that. The new one has been humming along and it even sounds quieter than the old one for some reason.

Meet the master

July 14, 2007 | 1 Comment

Vlad makes a valiant effort.Victory!Nobody I’ve ever met has surpassed my ability to look unintentionally completely creepy in pictures. But where others have failed, Vlad has made a valiant attempt to challenge my position. Look for yourself and compare. Has the master been bested? I think not.

Useless start-up: Afeeda

July 2, 2007 | Comments Off

Saw this over on Mashable. Basically the same idea that I wrote about in December. It’s starting to feel like the dot-com days are back, for better or worse.

ReadyNAS round 3: Fatality!

June 17, 2007 | Comments Off

Today went much better than yesterday. I turned the ReadyNAS on and at first the fan only spun slowly. After it started getting past the early boot stages it spun up and stayed at high RPM. The problem is not entirely fixed. The OS doesn’t seem to recognize the fan, so I can’t get metrics on fan speed, and if the fan stops, I won’t know until it overheats and shuts down. However, it seems to be working ok since 7am when I started it. I did seems to get warm around 6:45pm but seems to be alright since. Frankly, I’d be surprised if it stays up the entire time we are gone. I think that either the fan is flaky or the motherboard is having issues. My hope is to have Infrant send a new fan tomorrow and install it when I get home from the trip. If that fan doesn’t work then I’ll start thinking it’s more than just bad luck with fans.

Sun Jun 17 19:00:23 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (55C/131F).
Sun Jun 17 18:58:23 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (55C/131F).
Sun Jun 17 18:56:23 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (56C/132F).
Sun Jun 17 18:54:23 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (56C/132F).
Sun Jun 17 18:53:04 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (57C/134F). Disk on channel 3 has reached warning level (55C/131F).
Sun Jun 17 18:48:24 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (56C/132F).
Sun Jun 17 18:46:23 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (56C/132F).
Sun Jun 17 18:44:38 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (56C/132F). Disk on channel 3 has reached warning level (55C/131F).
Sun Jun 17 18:42:23 EDT 2007 Disk on channel 2 has reached warning level (56C/132F).
Sun Jun 17 08:55:37 EDT 2007 System is up.

ReadyNAS round 2: FIGHT!

June 16, 2007 | Comments Off

Today I fought with the ReadyNAS on and off. At first I was not able to get the fan to spin up at all. I tried the new fan, the old fan, I tried spinning it by hand. It sensed the fan (ie, when I spun it by hand the RPM registered (side note, I got it up to 7000 rpm without assistance from the motor). Finally as I was about to give up, I made an odd contact and for a brief moment it spun up. It seemed that if I held the connecter in a particular way, it would spin, but as soon as it moved the smallest amount it would stop. The connector on the new fan was not what I would consider a snug fit, whereas the old fan had a snug fit. i noticed with the old fan if I spun it manually it would continue to spin indefinitely although at a very slow speed. I considered the possibility that the fan connector on the motherboard was making a bad connection, but I could pretty reliably get the old fan to spin at low RPM, and the new fan would not. I chose to overlook the fact that it worked perfectly and consistently when I first plugged the fan in, and decided the new fan was not making good contact.

Frankenfan!I scoured the house looking for a 3-pin fan connecter I could cannibalize and shockingly found none. Left with no other choice I sacrificed both fans to create one SUPER FAN consisting of the new fan assembly and the old fan connector. During this process I remembered why it is I stick with software and stay away from hardware hacking. I know, it’s pretty grotesque. So I took my handy work and hooked it up, nothing. I fidgeted here and there, tried to make it connect the way it did before. Again, just as the hard drives are about to overheat (and cause the ReadyNAS to shut down), it made contact! The beatiful sound of 3000 RPM generated by the wonders of electricity. I set the fan gently in its approximate location and let it cool the hard drives down for an hour or two. When I came back it was still working, so I decided to reassemble the appartus without shutting it down. I assembled it one way, but the fan cable wasn’t long enough (I was trying to keep the cable taut so the bare union wouldn’t touch metal (I know, genius!). I tried a second way and it was long enough but I just barely couldn’t make the pieces fit back together. I took it apart and started on the third attempt when tragedy struck, it stopped spinning! I tried in vain to resuscitate my creation to no avail. Eventually the drives overheated and the device aborted it glorious mission.

I’ve checked the websites of the nearby hardware suppliers and nobody seems to carry the 92mm fan I need. I even probed a few friends known for their hardware hoarding compulsions with no luck. Tomorrow I may try again, but I think at this point it looks like resolution won’t come without talking to Infrant on Monday.

ReadyNAS rollercoaster

June 16, 2007 | Comments Off

First a side note. When I was corresponding with the Infrant support guy, he asked for a copy of my invoice. I forwarded him a copy of the invoice along with thread (in case the ticket tracking system needed something in the body). In the process, I accidentally copied the sales guys at ExcaliberPC (where I bought the ReadyNAS last year). I noticed my mistake but i figured they would get the email, see it was regarding a purchase made last year, and delete it.  Much to my surprise, last night (Thursday) at around 10pm I got a call from a support guy at ExcaliberPC calling to check if everything was alright with the device and if there was anything he could do to help. Despite the time of the call, it was a pleasant surprise to see customer service handled so proactively. I am very impressed.

Now, for the roller coaster that was today’s adventure. When I got home from work, Leigha told me I had received a package and I knew it was the replacement fan. It never really crossed my mind that the replacement fan wouldn’t work, so I didn’t get around to replacing it until after 7pm. At around 7:30pm I had it all reassembled, turned it on, fan didn’t spin. Checked the control panel and no fan was detected.

It was at this precise moment that a lot of information came together.

  1. Infrant is based in California where it was now 4:30pm
  2. It’s Friday
  3. I’m out of town all next week!
  4. If I don’t get this working now, I won’t be able to troubleshoot remotely!!
  5. I won’t have this fixed for like another 2 weeks!!!

This is around when panic set in and I launched a full assault on Infrant. One if by landline, two if by SMTP.

Now I’ll add another bit of information to the puzzle. Early versions of the ReadyNAS NV had a fan issue that required a little adapter. My unit was supposed to be affected by the issue, so when they shipped the fan they helpfully included the adapter, which I dutifully installed. As soon as I hung up after leaving voicemail, it occurred to me that maybe the adapter is unnecessary/faulty and I should try without it. I take the thing apart, remove the adapter, and (without reattaching all the screws this time) as the fan spins up, the phone rings. I talk to my tech guy (kudos for always talking to the same tech) and tell him it’s spinning now without the adapter. He tells me the adapter is only necessary for certain board/fan combinations. I’m happy so I apologize for assaulting their communications but explain the 5pm thing and the vacation thing and he confirms they close at 5pm.

At 4:fucking59pm PST (8pm EST) the thing stops spinning. The control panel says “out of spec” for the fan. RPM == 0. I assault again, but this time I’ve cried wolf and everyone is busy drinking beer so no return phone call. After a few minutes it seems to  restart itself. It’s certainly not comforting but if something goes wront it shuts itself down so I let it ride.

Subject: Unexpected enclosure status detected [nas0]
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 21:14:47 -0360
Fan 1 has failed.

For extra insult, in the meantime I had gone back and added my cellphone to the list of emails to notify in case of failure. So it starts losing it’s mind as 10 more messages come in alarming of ever increasing hard drive temperatures, culminating with:

Subject: Disk temperature limit exceeded [nas0]
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 21:42:00 -0360
The reported temperature of a disk in the NAS has exceeded maximum recommended temperature.  Shutting down the system to prevent hardware damage.
Disk on channel 2 reports a temperature of 61C / 141F.
Fan 0: 0 RPM

Since I’m sure they are closed over the weekend, I’ll spend my time searching the message boards for similar issues and tinkering with the fan adapter to see why it wouldn’t work.


ReadyNAS: 2
Infrant: 1
Pablo: 0