Thursday, September 30, 2004

Linux Hacked A Long Time Ago

Warning - Super geeky entry
I was cleaning up files in the My Documents directory on my computer and I ran across this one. A while ago I used a computer with Linux installed as a gateway for my cable modem and home network. I have a few services running on it as well, most noteably, FTP. The following text is from the log files from the time it was hacked from the outside.

[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /var/log/messages.2 grep -v apmd grep -v "Oct 27" grep -v "Oct 26" grep -v "Oct 25" grep -v "Oct 24"
Oct 22 04:02:02 24-240-69-229 syslogd 1.3-3: restart.
Oct 22 04:23:26 24-240-69-229 anacron[1587]: Updated timestamp for job `cron.wee
kly' to 2000-10-22
Oct 22 15:10:36 24-240-69-229 pumpd[280]: renewed lease for interface eth0
Oct 22 22:34:37 24-240-69-229 ftpd[9595]: lost connection to [202.
Oct 22 22:34:37 24-240-69-229 ftpd[9595]: FTP session closed
Oct 22 22:34:37 24-240-69-229 inetd[568]: pid 9595: exit status 255
Oct 23 03:03:24 24-240-69-229 pumpd[280]: renewed lease for interface eth0
Oct 23 04:02:01 24-240-69-229 anacron[10526]: Updated timestamp for job `cron.da
ily' to 2000-10-23
Oct 23 15:01:11 24-240-69-229 pumpd[280]: renewed lease for interface eth0
+1¦1+¦F-Ç1+1¦Cë+A¦?-Çdk^1+1+ì^^AêF^Df¦ ^A¦'-Ç1+ì^^A¦=-Ç1+1¦ì^^HëC^B1+¦+1+ì^^H¦^L
-Ǧ+u=1+êF^Iì^^H¦=-Ǧ^N¦0¦+êF^D1+êF^Gëv^HëF^Lë=ìN^HìV^L¦^K-Ç1+1¦¦^A-ÇFÉ 0bin0s
Oct 23 22:22:39 24-240-69-229 ftpd[13092]: FTP session closed
Oct 23 18:23:54 24-240-69-229 inetd[568]: pid 13095: exit status 1
+1¦1+¦F-Ç1+1¦Cë+A¦?-Çdk^1+1+ì^^AêF^Df¦ ^A¦'-Ç1+ì^^A¦=-Ç1+1¦ì^^HëC^B1+¦+1+ì^^H¦^L
-Ǧ+u=1+êF^Iì^^H¦=-Ǧ^N¦0¦+êF^D1+êF^Gëv^HëF^Lë=ìN^HìV^L¦^K-Ç1+1¦¦^A-ÇFÉ 0bin0s
Oct 23 18:30:57 24-240-69-229 adduser[13104]: new group: name=egg, gid=502
Oct 23 18:30:57 24-240-69-229 adduser[13104]: new user: name=egg, uid=502, gid=5
02, home=/dev/eggy, shell=/bin/bash
Oct 23 18:30:58 24-240-69-229 adduser[13105]: new group: name=eggr, gid=503
Oct 23 18:30:58 24-240-69-229 adduser[13105]: new user: name=eggr, uid=0, gid=50
3, home=/dev/eggr, shell=/bin/bash
Oct 23 18:31:23 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13106]: password for (egg/502) changed by
Oct 23 18:31:36 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13107]: password for (eggr/0) changed by
Oct 23 18:34:23 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13109]: (login) session opened for user e
gg by (uid=0)
Oct 23 18:37:34 24-240-69-229 ftpd[13131]: FTP LOGIN FROM [202.9.1
61.215], egg
Oct 23 18:37:44 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13132]: (su) session opened for user eggr
by egg(uid=502)
Oct 23 18:40:36 24-240-69-229 ftpd[13151]: FTP LOGIN FROM [202.9.1
61.215], egg
Oct 23 18:40:47 24-240-69-229 ftpd[13151]: FTP session closed
Oct 23 18:43:04 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13132]: (su) session closed for user eggr
Oct 23 18:44:47 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13159]: (su) session opened for user eggr
by egg(uid=502)
Oct 23 18:47:34 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13159]: (su) session closed for user eggr
Oct 23 18:47:40 24-240-69-229 PAM_pwdb[13109]: (login) session closed for user e
Oct 23 18:47:40 24-240-69-229 inetd[568]: pid 13108: exit status 1
Oct 23 18:56:50 24-240-69-229 ftpd[13131]: User egg timed out after 900 seconds
at Mon Oct 23 18:56:50 2000
Oct 23 18:56:50 24-240-69-229 ftpd[13131]: FTP session closed
Oct 23 18:56:50 24-240-69-229 inetd[568]: pid 13131: exit status 1

[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /var/log/secure.2
Oct 22 22:34:32 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd[9595]: connect from
Oct 23 18:21:04 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd[13092]: connect from
Oct 23 18:22:50 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd[13095]: connect from
Oct 23 18:28:04 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd[13097]: connect from
Oct 23 18:34:14 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd[13108]: connect from
Oct 23 18:34:23 24-240-69-229 login: LOGIN ON 0 BY egg FROM
Oct 23 18:37:28 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd[13131]: connect from
Oct 23 18:40:30 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd[13151]: connect from
Oct 24 18:32:07 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd[17534]: connect from
Oct 24 18:32:09 24-240-69-229 in.ftpd[17536]: connect from
Oct 27 17:29:40 24-240-69-229 in.telnetd[30209]: connect from

[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /var/log/xferlog.2
Mon Oct 23 18:41:39 2000 7 16634 /dev/eggy/wipe b _ i r egg ftp 0
* c

[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /dev/eggy/.bash_history
su eggr
ls -l
df -h
su eggr

[root@24-240-69-229 /root]# cat /dev/eggr/.bash_history
pico /etc/ftpaccess
emacs /etc/ftpaccess
emacs /etc/ftpaccess
kill -9 13145
kill -9 13146
chmod 775 wipe
./wipe u egg
./wipe eggr
./wipe u eggr
./wipe w egg
./wipe w eggr
./wipe l egg
./wipe l eggr

Basically, they exploited the FTP server with a buffer overflow. Created a root account called eggr, logged in, checked to see how much disk space there was, and then tried to wipe the log files, and log out. Obviously, the wipe didn’t work.
A .txt version of the log text

There is nobody to blame her but myself. The exploit was known, I just didn't have the latest patch installed on my Linux system. People bash Microsoft all the time, but Linux isn't so much more secure if left unpatched. Both Windows & Unix/Linux systems are fairly secure when they are fully patched, when the admins get lazy, the security problems start.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Space Ship One

Regular guys have made it to space with no government help. Well, maybe they aren’t regular guys like me, but hey, close. I watched the whole thing happen on a live webcast today at work. It was pretty intense. A lot of waiting at first, then, the ship was released from its jet carrier; the rocket engine fired, and up it went. That is where it got a little scary, it started spinning, it looked really out of control. The pilot cut the engine 11 seconds early due to the spin. The ship topped out at 358,000, or about 67 miles, and returned to Earth as planned. Space technically begins at 62.5 miles. This is actually the second trip to space for Space Ship One. The first was a few months ago, just a test flight. This flight was an attempt at the X Prize, a 10 million dollar prize for the first non-government funded space flight of three people performed twice within a 14 day period in a reusable spacecraft. I’m a geek I guess, but this stuff is just really cool!

Maryland Bear Hunt

About an hour west of my location in Maryland they are planning a bear hunt. The environmental groups are going all crazy because the state is allowing up to 30 bears to be killed. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Within the last year or so there have been several news stories about people coming across bears in neighborhoods. I doubt hunting 30 bears is going to make that big of a difference either way.

What would be cool is if you had to hunt the bear with a hand weapon like a knife or club. Now that would be an interesting hunt.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

One Million Dollars and a Gmail Account

Amy’s life insurance policy came in today, I wasn’t sure how much I could get, I basically told my advisor, as much as we can get for fifty dollars per month. She got an excellent health rating, preferred select, allowing us to get a lot for the money.

Life insurance is pretty complicated, while a million dollars sounds like a lot of money, it really isn’t. While some of the money would go to pay off debts and get the kids off to college, the rest is meant to be an income generator through investments. So, even the full million would only produce about $37,000 per year in income. We calculated that day care alone would run me over $3,000 a month if something were to happen to Amy once we had all five kids. Our financial guy actually recommended about 1.5 million, that is when I told him to get me as much as we could get for under $50 per month.

I am now cool in geek circles, or, at least I would have been six months ago. I have a Gmail account. I had three invitations in my inbox that expired, I finally went to set one up and I couldn’t, so my sister sent me another. Since I’m not really going to use that account and I don’t care how much spam it gets, the address is:

Exchange Server Failed

I was working on Amy’s computer and I decided to check my work e-mail over web access and saw an error message from the snap manager backup process on our Louisville mail server. I checked it out and it looks like the server lost network connectivity and lost connections to the NetApp over SAN, all at about the same time. That caused the e-mail databases to dismount, and nobody in that site had access to e-mail. By the time I logged in, the network and storage were once again available and I was able to mount the databases with no problem. Not sure what happened there, I’m sure there will be some questions to answer on Monday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Great Frederick Fair

We took Alex to the fair tonight. He seemed to have fun. We rode 4 rides, Amy and I alternated riding rides with Alex. He is still a bit young to ride even the small kiddie rides by himself. He saw the ponies, but by that time I only had four dollars in my wallet and the pony rides were $5. After rides, we spent my four bucks on a funnel cake for Alex and me. The only problem was that Alex wouldn’t eat it, we solved that problem by getting up and walking around. I guess he didn’t want to sit down where we were to eat his funnel cake.

Alex on the Carrousel

Alex & Amy leaving the last ride of the night

Scooters for all old people

I just read an article on CNN that kind of bothered me. The subject of the article was about a town overrun with old people on scooters, but what bothered me was how these scooters are being obtained. Most of the scooters are subsidized by Medicare. These things are not cheap, at $5,000 or more, these things cost as much as a used car. Medicare payments for the devices rose from $22.3 million in 1995 to $666.5 million in 2003. Over 600 million dollars spent by our government? While that is pocket change when compared to the Iraq war, it is still a lot of cash. No wonder social security is in trouble and Medicare needs reformed. If you ask me, the scooter industry has some friends in Washington.

Before I get flamed, I am not saying that nobody needs these scooters, there are some who have genuine disabilities that would require such a device, but the rules should be tight, and the federal government should not be paying $5000 for these things. It is also partially a problem with the companies selling these scooters; they advertise them as “little or no cost to you”. These companies do the leg work to get the Medicare approvals, making it easier for them to systematically manipulate the Medicare system and get their $5000 per scooter.

Frederick County Fair

I hope Alex is good today; I want to take him to the Frederick County Fair for some rides and tasty fair food. He is getting old enough to start really enjoying these things. I’ve never been to the Frederick Fair, but it already looks better than the Anne Arundle County Fair that I went to a few years back. I hope there will be some Animals there during the week that Alex can see. There are a few rides that he might be able to ride by himself. We will have to see, he might not want to. Now that I think about it, I wonder if I should wait until Saturday when Alex and Andrew can go together. I don’t know, I kind of got my mind set on doing it with just Alex. I took Andrew to a couple of carnivals, but the lines really get to him. I think he enjoyed the Ferris wheel though. Who knows, maybe we will go during the week and on Saturday.

Star Wars Trilogy

My copy of the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD shipped today, I pre-ordered it back in April. As luck would have it, I had it shipped to my mom’s house. It should be there sometime this week so, I guess I’ll be stopping by. I can’t wait to sit down with Alex and watch these movies. He is a little younger than I was when I first saw the original, but I’m sure he will enjoy the space ships and light sabers just as much.

Monday, September 20, 2004

City of Baltimore Without Power

It wasn’t the whole City of Baltimore, but the downtown area where a lot of the government offices are located, including city hall. I used to work in the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology and know some of the IT setup down there. One of the two main server rooms has no generator or UPS, so, I’m sure it went dark real quick. A lot of critical infrastructure was in that building, including the mail gateway and the main mail server. I heard they had geo-clustering in place so the mail server could survive this kind of outage (the 2nd server is in the building with the generator) but that it wasn’t working properly. Not a surprise, after evaluating the geo-cluster product, we decided that it would probably cause more problems than it solved. The crazy part is that I specifically recall meetings about power planning for the building without the generator, those included installing a generator and or installing a large UPS unit. That was over two years ago. I guess it didn’t happen.

What’s neat is that I am in the process of designing a highly redundant Exchange environment where I work now. Not that we don’t have generators, but in the event of a disaster that would render one of our two primary datacenters inoperable, we will be able to restore services and data within four hours. It is all about what level of service your business is willing to pay for. I’m thinking that the IT guys down at the City of Baltimore were counting on luck more than they were courting on solid design. I doubt that “all day” is an acceptable downtime window. Typically, it isn’t the IT worker’s bad design, it is a general lack of understanding of the technology and its limitations by the management there. I found myself thinking “if only they would listen”. I’m sure the IT team there is thinking the same thing. There are probably a few “I told you so’s” too.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Amy Drives

Amy got her learners permit today, it isn’t the first learners permit she’s had, but we are hoping it is her last. We ware planning to help Robin and Kris move to Delaware today but they were leaving too early for us to get through the MVA and help them move. So, we are going to pick up Aaron from my mom’s house tomorrow morning and take him to Dover.

Amy drove to Wal-Mart today where we picked up some scrub brushes, note paper, & a photo album. We also dropped off her mom’s negatives of our wedding to be developed. She drove back to Wal-Mart to pick up the pictures a little later.

Adelphia’s cable internet service has been down since Friday night, what a pain. I’m on call this weekend for work, and had to call a co-worker to help fix an issue with mailsweeper, the mail gateway we use at my company. So, while the internet was down, I played some single player video games, and Amy started reading Dr. Phil’s book Family First.

Time for bed, we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

On call & Stuff

The way they do on call where I work is new to me. Basically, the on call person is assigned all of the trouble tickets 24 hours a day. It makes for a very busy week at the office. It is kind of tiring, especially after working a 74 hour week last week.

My sister is a home owner. She called me today after the settlement The house is in Dover DE, where Kris is stationed with the air force. I don’t like the fact that she is moving to Delaware, it is kind of far away. I moved to Frederick (from Glen Burnie), and that is far enough.

Amy and I watched Survivor tonight. Of all the so called reality shows, it is still the best. I don’t like the term reality show; I would call it a long running game show or something to that effect.

My uncle Bill must be studying his computer stuff. He’s been sending me multiple choice questions, for example:

You plan to implement Hardware RAID 5. You want to be able to have drives replaced while the array is still functioning. Which of the following features should you go for?
A) hot swap
B) disk cache
C) secure lock
D) server rack

Easy for me, so I reply with not only an answer, but why that answer is right and why the others are wrong. I remember those days; I didn’t have much help, just a home PC, some books, and the early internet.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Regular Reader

Most of the regular visitors to my blog are people I know. My previous entry was commented on by a regular reader that I don’t know. While that person and I don’t see eye to eye on the subject, it is nice to know that I have a reader.

On the subject of the motorcycle accident on Sunday, I am not trying to offend anyone, but I do have a particular view. I also have a view on some of the replies to the now deleted Frederick News Post online forum. Those who are attacking the character of the person involved, the “he deserved to die”, and the “I’m glad he’s dead” posts are not my view. While everyone can agree that some very poor decisions were made that took this young man’s life and posed a danger to others were poor ones, saying that he deserved to die for it is a bit harsh. It is easy to call someone an idiot when they do something that is obviously stupid, I would be careful not to take it too far. That is why I prefer “he got what he asked for” and “he did a pretty stupid thing”. I’m certainly not glad the guy is dead, but I’m not all that shook up about it. That is not to say that his family and friends should not be though.

I got another comment that pointed out a good thing about the video, I agree that it was almost certainly erased to protect those who made it from arrest and prosecution. I would like to see some kind of consequences for the others involved, that is of course, if a law was broken. I’m not sure if it was or not, but there probably should be a law against filming stunts on public roads.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Motorcycle Accident in Frederick on US340

I’ve been following the news of a recent motorcycle accident that occurred on a highway here in Frederick County on Sunday. Oddly enough, most of the information I learned was from the forum on the Frederick News Post website.

Here is the most credible eyewitness account (spelling mistakes and all):

Eyewitness account. Due to the fatality of the accident this is what allegedly happened as we saw it yesterday.

This was an extreme example of foolishness witnessed by children. My youngest loves motorcyles and always points them out anywhere he sees them

We were traveling west in the right lane on 340 at approx 60-65mph. Approx 1.5 miles before Mt Zion road we were passed on the left by a Mitsubishi SUV. Literally dangling out of the front passenger window was a white male with half his body, one leg and arm outside the window (straddling it). The SUV was probably going at a speed of 70-75 mph. He held a video camera in his free hand (not a camcorder sized one but a larger one with a big lens.)

As we looked back to see what was going on we saw two motorcyles coming up from behind. The SUV sped up and the two motorcycles passed us (first a black one and then a whiteish with a colored stripe one). As they passed by us we noticed the drivers were NAKED from the waist down. As they continued ahead they moved into the right lane in front of us, for about the next mile or so both motorcyclists were popping wheelies and trying to half stand on their seats (my kids were commenting at how gross it was since they had no pants on). During this whole time the Camera Guy was hanging out the window filming the whole thing.

This erratic behavior by the camera vehicle and the motorcyclists caused other drivers to have to brake and slow down as they changed lanes when they needed a better shot. There was another sedan with about 2-3 passsengers in it that must have been a part of the group because they passed on the right shoulder to catch up to the mototcyclists.

Shortly after I explained to my kids how dangerous their behaviour was, the black motorcyclist popped a wheelie and lost control of the bike, we could see the flatbed tow truck up ahead approx a half mile past Mt Zion road on the right shoulder. At that moment it was surreal, his bike was shaking back and forth looking like it was about to go down and then in an instant he slammed directly into the back of the tow truck in which pieces of the bike were strewn everywhere. He had to have been killed instantly . His bike went under the truck by the back left tire and his limp naked body lay there motionless. I was surprised that he didn't get decapitated.

Meanwhile, the other cyclist with no pants pulled over in front of the tow truck. The SUV went up ahead and turned around in the emergency turnaround and then came and parked in the grassy median near the accident scene. Two white females and two white males exited the SUV. One of the males walked over said a few words and gave the other motorcyclist his pants, the two girls were visibly shaken and upset. The other male had the Camera and began filming the guy laying on the ground apparently dead ( I guess he thought the guy was going to survive). It should have seemed obvious though by speed he was traveling and the force of impact and the unnatural body position that it wouldn't be the case. They all then got back in the Mitsubishi and fled the scene and exited on Mt Zion road.

When paramedics showed up, they checked for vital signs and covered the body with a white sheet. The sheriffs department arrived next followed by the state police who obtained witness statements. Traffic was blocked in both directions for a long time as they waited for the investigators to arrive.

Ok, not if you ask me, the guy got what he was asking for. The main thread in the FNP forum turned pretty ugly. There were those who thought the guy was an idiot and deserved to die, those who were really pissed that he would put others at risk with his stunts, and those that knew the guy and thought that others shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter. And then there was me, I’m kind of in the middle. While I don’t think the guy deserved to die, I do believe he got what he was asking for. The flaming started, and eventually the thread was deleted. At the time, I thought the good description of the eyewitness account was gone for good, but someone thought to save it somehow and reposted it. There was some discussion of the video tape that was destroyed and it was a bit of an argument. I believe that the tape is evidence, and that the people who destroyed it should be charged with obstruction of justice, as they were. Others were saying, hey the tape served no purpose whatsoever. The police investigate all fatal accidents, even if its obvious. As good as the eyewitness account was, the video is obviously a better tool for an investigation. There was a lot of discussion on why the thread was deleted by the moderator, they don’t cite a reason, it is just gone. I started another thread on penalties for motorcycle stunts, since these kids and young men think they aren’t going to die, death isn’t a very good deterrent. I made some suggestions and got some great responses.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Volume Shadow Copy

I just had a good Windows experience. That doesn’t happen too often anymore. I have been having problems with my roaming profile and was getting tired of calling the helpdesk to get them to fix it. I remembered hearing someone mention the Shadow Copy Client for Windows XP and that they used it to restore something in their home drive. I decided to install it and give it a try. Talk about cool, all I had to do was click on my profile directory and click properties, I got a Previous Versions tab and was able to restore it from a couple of weeks ago just by clicking Restore.

Now, I’m and IT guy and I know what it used to take to get something restored from backup. This is so much better, and the fact that it doesn’t require a server guy to go find a tape, load it up, use the backup software to restore, and then contact the user to say it is done, is even better. I think that the average end user could figure this out fairly easily, and if not, could be talked through it by a helpdesk person without a problem. This technology is the single best advancement I’ve seen in Windows file servers ever.

Volume Shadow Copy is a feature of Windows 2003, while my company doesn’t actually use Windows 2003 server, we use a NAS device that basically emulates the API’s. They back up every hour on the hour and save those backups for 24 hours. The midnight backup is kept for a week, and the backup at the end of the week is kept for 5 weeks. My restore possibilities are endless, and the fact that I can do it as a regular end user just blows my mind. You might think that this uses a lot of storage, well, yes and no. The first backup (snapshot) is a full copy of everything, so you need enough storage to hold the data plus one complete copy. Subsequent snapshots only store the difference or delta from the first snapshot. Windows 2003 and most storage area network vendors support these types of backups. Anyone that isn’t using it is seriously missing out on great technology.

What Is Volume Shadow Copy Service?(Microsoft)

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Finished the mail migration

It seemed to take forever, but the mail migration I have been working on is complete. I sure hope that I don’t get any follow up tasks; that would mean that I did a good job. I probably will though, there were so many unknowns in this project, it is hard for me to believe that I guessed everything right.

Andrew is going to get to go swimming tomorrow. He is spending the night with my mom and will spend tomorrow with her until five o’clock when he goes back to his mother’s house. The thought crossed my mind when I remembered the last time Andrew was with my mother, he was just being taken home, and he cried when he got there because he thought he was going to get to spend time with her. Since I was going to be beat this weekend from the all night and all day work, preceded by several late nights during the week. I’m sure Andrew will have a lot of fun.

We went to Red Lobster for dinner tonight after learning that Outback had a ninety minute wait. What I got wasn’t very good, well, except for the snow crab legs on the side. I should have just gotten the platter of snow and king crab legs. The kids weren’t very good, they didn’t eat very well, and didn’t sit still. Good news, my entrée was taken off the check!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Exchange 5.5 to 2000 Migration Fun

What a couple of days it has been. My company bought a smaller company a while back and we are in the process of integrating them into our network. My part of that is to integrate their e-mail that is currently running on Exchange 5.5 with the corporate Exchange 2000 environment. It was decided early on that they would get a new Exchange 2000 server at their location and their data would be migrated from the existing 5.5 system to the 2000 system installed in the corporate Exchange organization.

It sounded easy enough, and when I received the information on their systems and the planned migration, it sounded even easier. But there were problems and surprises popping up all over the place recently. At first, we find out that the storage area network that the server will be connected to will not be delivered until about two weeks before the migration is to occur. Once it is delivered, its configuration was further delayed because there were some missing components. The storage wasn’t configured until three days before the migration. The plan was to spend three days just on testing backups and restores, along with two days for general configuration, and some time built in for documentation. Well, scratch all of that, do it all in less than two days, but wait, backups didn’t quite work right, somehow a tape got stuck in the drive, scratch another day off of testing. The schedule was also moved up a bit for a few users that needed an early migration, even less time to configure and test. In all we got it configured about a day before the migration, and the backups, well, we didn’t get a good restore until about 15 minutes after we were supposed to migrate the first three users.

Some other things, two days before migration, I find out about a blackberry server and three users who they don’t want to migrate. Ok, all of this time we were expecting to do a strait cut over migration where the two mail systems wouldn’t communicate with each other, its quick, easy, and has the least amount of things that can go wrong, not to mention, it worked great with what we were originally told, “everyone at the site is being migrated together”. Now that that isn’t the case, we had to figure out what to do with these three users. Ok, problem solved, we created some alternate recipients for their new accounts in the corporate system and migrated their mail early. The day of the migration I am told that there are 10 to 12 other users who can’t be migrated. Oh no, what a mess. Being so close to migration time, I ask if they want to halt the whole thing over this, because we can’t re-architect the whole thing in a day. Not to mention, I’m still trying to get backups to work right while this is all going on. They don’t want to stop the process, so I gave them the alternative, they must migrate, at least their mail, and that is final. In order for that to work, I had to write instructions on how to access their new mailbox. Problem solved.

So, what am I doing now, well, moving several gigabytes of mail from one server to another? Yes.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Space Probe Fails to Deploy Chute, Slams into Earth

Space Probe Fails to Deploy Chute, Slams into Earth

This is saddening. A lot of hard work and money went into this project that lasted several years in hopes to return particles from the sun that can’t be captured near earth. I find it amazing that a space ship can travel millions of miles away and then return to earth in an exact spot determined even before it left. Hopefully it isn’t a complete loss and some of the particles can be recovered, but there will always be doubt in weather what is found is really from far beyond Earth or if it is just contamination from the crash. Other reports mentioned that a battery problem was detected during the launch three years ago and they are focusing in on that as a potential reason that the parachute didn’t deploy.

I love space travel, even if it doesn’t include people. Exploring the solar system and beyond is the coolest thing ever. I agree with President George W. Bush on the new direction for the space program, the shuttle can barely get into orbit but putting people on the moon, or to mars and beyond, that is exploration at its pinnacle, and something that the space program should have been doing for a long time. If we make it to mars in my lifetime, that will be a surprise, but during the next fifty years or so, we should be continually developing technology to make it happen. Sending larger craft, developing methods of rescue, and developing the type of life support technology to make it all work.

Ok, back to work, yeah, working late from home tonight.

Exam, Work, Pictures

Last night Amy and I had our medical exams for life insurance. I sure hope we are healthy enough to get a preferred health rating, which will allow us to get more coverage for our money. Right before the exam, I went out to grab some KFC and put gas in the car. Of course, we had to leave the KFC on the counter until after they took blood, what fun. Alex got to eat outside, he ate pretty well. He was hungry though, he isn’t used to waiting until around seven o’clock to eat dinner.

The rest of the week will be busy for me with work. The e-mail, among other things, migration is occurring this weekend. There have been a lot of delays, everything from the server operating system build, to the storage area network configuration, all of which are out of our control. I have tested as much as I can for now, but I still need to configure the storage group, test the snapshot restores, and most difficultly, test the restore from tape. I also hope the server makes it into a rack sometime soon, I’d rather not have live users on a server that is sitting on a table.

In other news, Amy has sent our digital pictures to get developed into real pictures, all two hundred seventy-one of them. The cost was a little more than I expected, about seventy-five dollars after shipping. That is only about twenty-seven cents per picture. Amy calculated that it would cost about twice as much to buy film and get it developed, but of course, we were able to leave some digital pictures out, ones that were taken that make no sense, or were for a specific purpose to show somebody something like my iced up air conditioner unit, no need to get that printed out. That is almost two years worth of pictures. I think we should do it every six months or so, less sticker shock that way.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Windows XP SP2

My mother decided to install Windows XP SP2 this morning. She called me up with all kinds of problems. First, every time she would start her computer, it would give her program crash (send error report). Internet Explorer would not start, it would crash right away, AIM wouldn’t start, Yahoo messenger wouldn’t start, and it was driving her crazy. I tried to talk her through a few things on the phone, no luck. I stopped over there before I picked up Andrew for the Labor day holiday. I was not able to figure it out either. I haven’t installed SP2 yet for that exact reason, I know it will break things, and I want to have plenty of time to fix it. I will probably install SP2 on Amy’s computer first, not because I’m mean, but because her computer is a new install of XP with no programs installed yet, hence nothing to cause any problems. I guess we will see.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Amy and the Driver's Handbook

tunaepyrgna: Have you ever actually tried to read this
god forsaken handbook? Its reads like a college
philosophy book.

tunaepyrgna: "You look with your eyes but see with
your mind."
CryptoJoe2600: well, in 1993 I read it.
tunaepyrgna: Oh wow...Now I'm heading into the some
more sample questions..Too bad I can see the answers
before I even read the question.
CryptoJoe2600: heh, that sucks
tunaepyrgna: Hey. I think I've got all of these questions
before when I took my permit tests...the 15 times I did it.
CryptoJoe2600: sounds easy
tunaepyrgna: I guess...I just wish there was option
number e. Run over the officer and then he won't be a
problem anymore.
CryptoJoe2600: LOL
tunaepyrgna: The best way to tell if you are permitted
to pass other vehicles is to see if:

CryptoJoe2600: (they are going to slow)
tunaepyrgna: Hidden option number e. There are any
cops around so you know you won't get caught when
you do it.
tunaepyrgna: When on a short entrance to an interstate
where there is no acceleration lane: e. Plow into traffic
as fast as you possible can and pray no one hits you.

CryptoJoe2600: LOL
CryptoJoe2600: f: stop, wait for the road to be built
properly, then go
tunaepyrgna: Seriously though, I know the "right"
answers...but I also know the answers that the test
should have because that what real drivers do.
CryptoJoe2600: yeah
tunaepyrgna: No one checks for the markings on the
lane anymore..they just look for cops.
tunaepyrgna: Of course..if they arn't plowing into traffic
they are stopped and waiting for traffic to suddenly
notice them.
tunaepyrgna: Oh man...they say that I can't drag race.
CryptoJoe2600: ha
tunaepyrgna: Oh, and if I am involved in a crash I must
stop my vehicle.
CryptoJoe2600: what if you were involved in a crash
while running a red light? You are supposed to stop at
those too.
tunaepyrgna: It also says that I must stop as close to
the scene as possible.
CryptoJoe2600: Sounds like you will have a good
jurnal entry today
tunaepyrgna: So does that mean that I need to stay
stopped in the middle of the intersection?
CryptoJoe2600: hmm, what about those signs that say
move vehicles from travel lanes?

tunaepyrgna: Oh wait, just read a little further..yes I am
supposed to move my car from the line of traffic. So, if I
get involved in an accident at an intersection, I must stop
my vehicle in the intersection, identify myself and help
anyone that is injured, and then move my car away from
the crash.
CryptoJoe2600: What if you have to pee real bad?
tunaepyrgna: Well, I'm assuming if you have to pee real
bad than once another car hit you (or you hit another
car) the force would have made you pee already.
CryptoJoe2600: LOL
tunaepyrgna: "Keep your mind on your driving, obey
the laws, be courteous to other highway users, and you
will never have to blame yourself for the death or injury
of another human being."
tunaepyrgna: Well, thats good to know!
tunaepyrgna: So, if I hit a kid on a bike who wasn't
wearing the proper safety gear, and I obeyed all the laws
and thought only about my driving..then it isn't my fault he
is dead. Go me.
tunaepyrgna: they are teaching me how to
CryptoJoe2600: Cool!
tunaepyrgna: Oh man! Its telling me not to cut trucks
off! It doesn't say anything about cutting cars off though,
so I guess that is still ok.
tunaepyrgna: Hey, do you think I can borrow your cell
phone when taking my driving test? I wanna talk on it
the whole time (while driving perfectly) and see if I fail.
tunaepyrgna: Oh, or better yet..I want to stay up the
night before and when I'm driving I will be so tired I want
to pull over and take a nap in the back seat just like the
book reccomends.
tunaepyrgna: He can't fail me for that..the book told me
to do it!
CryptoJoe2600: LOL
CryptoJoe2600: You are having to much fun with this
CryptoJoe2600: Can I post this conversation on my

tunaepyrgna: I guess if you want.

Hurricane Frances

Well, another hurricane is on its way to Florida. It is times like this when I’m glad I don’t live in the sunshine state. In general though, I would probably choose to live there if I didn’t have other reasons for staying in Maryland. Hurricane Andrew, the most damaging storm only, shares a name with my son. Let’s hope that Frances doesn’t do quite that much damage. If the hurricane makes a turn to the north, it could be a lot worse for the Maryland area. I have a feeling that Monday and Tuesday will be kind of busy around the office, this business is very sensitive to weather.

I’m going to be busy tonight and this weekend, I am totally re-designing the routing group connectors in this Exchange organization. Since so many different people worked on the routing groups and connectors before me, they are all a little different. This change will make it all consistent and put us in a good position for opening up our new downtown Baltimore data center as a redundant mail routing location. It also gets things ready for or Exchange 2003 deployment.