A trip to Häckeberga Castle in Sweden

May 6th, 2012

Just returned from a trip to Häckeberga Castle in Sweden with my wife I just have to write that this is one of the best weekends in a long time. The castle is beautifully located on one of the 7 islands in the Häckebergalake.The castle nicely presents itself

Häckebergas castle

What sets the experience apart from your normal swedish castle is these things:

  • The nature surrounding the castle is simply astonishing. Almost no man made sound can be heard and it is very easy to take a tour into one of the forrests around the castle without hearing or meeting anybody but yourself and your spouse.
  • The food served at the castle is of gourmet class. It is not your average continental steak or ala carte menu. You get a 4-dish gourmet menu with 2-3 appetizers in between. It is complemented with a 4 glass wine menu that enhances the experience believe it or not.
  • The staff is professional yet very relaxed and friendly
  • There is only room for very few guests due to the limited amount of rooms, so it never gets crowded (the downside being that you have to book months in advance ;-)

I had a splendid weekend there. Real quality time with my beautiful wife. Will not be the last time we visit that place!

Changing boot order in BIOS on IBM xSeries servers without RSAII (using ASU)

April 25th, 2012

Today I faced challenge where I had to reinstall some IBM xSeries servers in a datacenter far far away using PXE boot. These servers did not have an RSA/RSAII card, but that is really not a problem using PXE. I prepared the kickstart on the first of the servers and did some reinstalls to get it right. And then I issued an ipmi command to reboot the rest of the servers. … and then nothing happened. Well the rest of the servers rebooted back into the old OS instance. It was ofcourse an issue with the boot order in the BIOS on the servers.

Now what? Either drive to the DC or call someone there to get it fixed. …. or use the IBM ASU tool to change the BIOS settings from within an OS instance. It is quite a useful tool

Without further ado

[root@biomd1 ~]# /opt/ibm/toolscenter/asu/asu show | grep Boot
CMOS_AlternateBootDevice4=Hard Disk 0
CMOS_AlternateBootDevice3=CD ROM
CMOS_AlternateBootDevice2=Diskette Drive 0
CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice3=Hard Disk 0
CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice2=Diskette Drive 0
CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice1=CD ROM
CMOS_PCIBootPriority=Planar SAS

[root@biomd1 ~]# /opt/ibm/toolscenter/asu/asu set CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice4 “Hard Disk 0″
IBM Advanced Settings Utility version 3.60.69K
Licensed Materials – Property of IBM
(C) Copyright IBM Corp. 2007-2010 All Rights Reserved
CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice4=Hard Disk 0
[root@biomd1 ~]# /opt/ibm/toolscenter/asu/asu set CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice3 “Network”
IBM Advanced Settings Utility version 3.60.69K
Licensed Materials – Property of IBM
(C) Copyright IBM Corp. 2007-2010 All Rights Reserved

[root@biomd1 ~]# /opt/ibm/toolscenter/asu/asu show | grep Boot
CMOS_AlternateBootDevice4=Hard Disk 0
CMOS_AlternateBootDevice3=CD ROM
CMOS_AlternateBootDevice2=Diskette Drive 0
CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice4=Hard Disk 0
CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice2=Diskette Drive 0
CMOS_PrimaryBootDevice1=CD ROM
CMOS_PCIBootPriority=Planar SAS

Nifty, right?


Upgraded to ESXi 5.0.0, 469512

April 9th, 2012

Today I upgraded my ESXi 4 installation to ESXi 5.0.0, 469512. Downloaded the updates and ran the updater. No issues at all. Kudos to vmware for making such a great product.


rpm -e on multiple packages

March 18th, 2012
Recently I got

sudo rpm -e postgresql-libs-8.1.23-1.el5_7.3
error: "postgresql-libs-8.1.23-1.el5_7.3" specifies multiple packages

This is due to different versions (32 and 64 bit) of the same package being installed
The fix is easy

sudo rpm -e postgresql-libs-8.1.23-1.el5_7.3.i386 postgresql-libs-8.1.23-1.el5_7.3.x86_64

From x61s to x60s

January 22nd, 2012

Well. Once more I picked up some old equipment at work. This time an x60s. I have recently gotten my hand on a x61s. The x61s is a wonderful machine by most standards, especially as I bought a large 8-cell battery and a 64GB SSD for it. One major disadvantage however, is the fan and power usage: Even ad idle, light websurfing it is so hot that the fan has to spin so fast that it is annoying to listen to.

The switch from x61s to x60s took around 60 seconds: unscrew the screw holding the harddrive into place. Swap the drive. Do the same with the battery. And power on. Ubuntu 11.10 booted just fine. No errors whatsoever. But then again. I had forseen this might happen, so I was already running an 32-bit version of ubuntu 11.10. Had I run an x86_64 version I wouldn’t have been that lucky as the cpu in my x60s is on 32-bit.

So to sum up: The x60s is a  teeny weeny bit slower than the x60s, but has marginally better power-envelope, but most importantly is quite a bit more silent to use! I will recommend the x60s over the x61s for the noise alone.

Ubuntu and Cisco anyconnect

January 16th, 2012

I recently installed ubuntu 11.10 in a laptop. I then had the need to connect that laptop to a cisco based anyconnect VPN. I could have gone the route of trying to install some cisco anyconnect software. I could also just issue

sudo apt-get install networkmanageropenconnect-gnome

And then configure the vpn using network-manager. I choose the latter ;-)

Hurraayyy for OSS

HP-UX filecache_max tunable and system unresponsiveness

January 12th, 2012

During work today I tweaked the online tunable called filecache_max on an HP-UX 11.31 box. From 1 to 5%. Went fine. I tested what I needed to test and then decided to lower the value again. So I ran kctune filecache_max=2% and then nothing.

Everything(!) stopped working. Well, the system could be pinged, but the other cluster node started to complain about its sister disapperaing. I littlerally got cold hands. This was supposed to be an online operation. I waited for 4 very very long minutes (being a computer professional have learned me to wait for stuff to finish).

After 4 minutes the system was back. Running as nothing had happened. Everything littlerally just froze up trying to reduce the filecache. I learnt it the hard way. Hope this post will prevent you from getting into the same kind of troubles.

Hyundai i30cw blue

January 1st, 2012

For new years eve i rented an Hyundai i30cw blue. Compared to other cars in Københavns delebiler, this is one of the more interesting cars to drive. It feels good to drive. Has what you would expect it to have of equipment and all the room you need for a little family. One of the more peculiar things is the onboard computer that keeps telling you to shift gears. On the negative side, the transmission feels a bit platsic-ish. I’ll give it 3 out of 5 stars.


i30cw blue

No cola again again

January 1st, 2012

I had a blast with coca cola for 4 months (2011-09-01 to 2012-01-01) and now it is time to stop again. It is not healthy for me. Teeth and weight. So I’ll give it at try of staying ‘sober’ for 2 more years. New target is 2014-01-01.

Using the E3000 as a caching DNS server (on dd-wrt)

December 31st, 2011

Due to popular demand I’ll post this on how to use the E3000 as a generic DNS server. I’t will be very brief, you have to fill in the blanks yourself.

First you have to get the support tools in place for this. dd-wrt is build for smallish setups as well, so some of the tools are quite limited to say the least. There are basically two routes:

  • Fiddle with the internal flash so that you can use the built-in ipkg on a jffs2 mounted flashdrive
  • Mount an USB stick, download ipkg-opt and work from there

I choose the latter. Primarily due to the fact that, that option gave me 4GB of space in /opt. It is actually quite simple

dd-wrt usb flash

dd-wrt usb flash

You then install ipkg-opt and companion tools (uclib-opt). You can use this wiki post on the dd-wrt wiki.

After that you can install all your extensions through ipkg-opt (or download them by hand). For my DNS resolver needs I choose the wonderful dnsmasq software. It acts as DNS/DHCP and TFTP software. From my router

root@dd-wrt:/opt/sbin# ipkg-opt list | grep -i dnsmasq
dnsmasq – 2.58-1 – DNS and DHCP server

The observant reader noticed that dd-wrt calls /opt/etc/config/startup in the screenshot abov (after having mounted /opt). This script is the startup script of all your /opt related stuff. I went with something like



[ -e /opt/etc/profile ] && mount -o bind /opt/etc/profile /etc/profile

grep nobody /etc/passwd > /dev/null
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
echo “nobody:*:65534:65534:nobody:/var:/bin/false” >> /etc/passwd

if [ -d /opt/etc/init.d ]; then
for f in /opt/etc/init.d/S* ; do
[ -x $f ] && $f start

and have a

root@dd-wrt:/opt/sbin# ls -al /opt/etc/init.d/S56dnsmasq
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          215 Jan  1  1970 /opt/etc/init.d/S56dnsmasq
root@dd-wrt:/opt/sbin# cat /opt/etc/init.d/S56dnsmasq


if [ -f /var/run/dnsmasq.pid ] ; then
kill `cat /var/run/dnsmasq.pid`

rm -f /var/run/dnsmasq.pid

sleep 2
/opt/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/opt/etc/dnsmasq.conf

Finally we are getting there. Before showing the dnsmasq.conf file, I will show a screenshot of the setup on the dd-wrt gui in order to use dnsmasq as DNS and DHCP server:

dnsmasq setup in dd-wrt

dnsmasq setup in dd-wrt

Notice how the built-in dhcp server is disabled and how I have choosen to use dnsmasq. Now onto the configuration of dnsmasq.conf:

root@dd-wrt:/opt/sbin# grep -v “^#”  /opt/etc/dnsmasq.conf  | grep -v “^$”

You will immediately notice a couple of things. Notice how I have the range setup for dhcp leases. Notice also how I have static leases. And finally notice how I have tftp enabled. Another blogpost on tftp another time (quite nifty for setting up servers on my vmware backend in minutes using kickstart, yast2 and solaris jumpstart).

You might think: where are the zone records? The answer can be found from the man page for dnsmasq

Dnsmasq accepts DNS queries and either answers them from a small, local, cache or forwards them to a real, recursive, DNS server. It loads the contents of /etc/hosts so that local hostnames which do not appear in the global DNS can be resolved and also answers DNS queries for DHCP configured hosts.

So I simply add my infrastructure to /etc/hosts and run /opt/etc/init.d/S56dnsmasq.

I only had the need for running DNS locally, so my choice was dnsmasq. You can also install a full fledged bind if you have that desire

root@dd-wrt:/opt/sbin# ipkg-opt list bind
bind – – Bind provides a full name server package, including zone masters, slaves, zone transfers, security multiple views.  This is THE