Of course, now that I think about it, Debian offers the same sort of thing without the cetralized administration web interface. If you have trust in the stable distribution (plus security for security updates), then you could set up a cron job to “apt-get upgrade” your system once a week or so.

As a busy sysadmin, I’m blown away by Red Hat‘s Red Hat Network. They provide a simple web interface through which you can manage all your non-firewalled machines. Security updates can be scheduled and applied, new packagaes, etc. For your firewalled machines, you get email notices telling you what patches are avaliable for what machines, and there are tools that will go out and update the machine.

They collect a substantial amount of information on each machine, but I have faith in them (so far), so out-sourcing security to them isn’t that big of a deal to me. Especially since they charge less than $20/machine.

Last night, while trying to compile the ReiserFS quota patches into the 2.4.17 kernel, I got segfaults. It has happened before on lesser hardware, but this time, I suspect I should have paid a little more to get the ECC Memory. From The SIG11 problem:

However when the hardware occasionally flips a bit, gcc uses so many pointers, that it is likely to end up accessing something outside of its addressing range.

Ahh… The joys of an old IBM 486. I’m putting one together so that I can test the installation/conversion process I have for everybody.org. When I climbed up in the attic I came across some old VGA monitors as well. Those’ll come in handy for watching what is going on and in the rare case that I’ll need to log into the console on the machines.

My NeXTI have too much hardware lying around. I had told Alexis I would sell the NeXT to make up for some of the cost of some upgrades. It wouldn’t be that much, so she suggested setting it up for the kids to bang on. They’ll have their own ‘net connection and the only laser printer. Time to get some RAM for that baby.

Now that Mozilla support’s tabs (and I’ve figured out how to keep them from popping up in front) and is getting faster, I’m using it more. If it’s mail client supported PGP, I’d use it, too.

The project for today: a Solaris JumpStart installation.

To get started, Here are Sun’s Blueprints. Especially interesting is the article on Customizing the JumpStart[tm] Boot Image Recovery. We need that for our new NetBackup recovery procedure. Also of specific interest to me is the Building a Bootable JumpStart[tm] Installation CD-ROM since we don’t have enough machines to justify a dedicates JumpStart server.

A Google search turns up more information, of course.

From Halley’s Comment:

With a resident 5-year-old, you’re either trying to do too damned much, or just having too damned much fun.

So true. It’s 11:15 and I need to be up at 6 and I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I’m going to bed.

Since I’m in a writing mood, a quick comment about New Orleans politics. In the past couple of years, there has been a bit of ruckus about the payroll system that the public school board put together with Oracle’s help. Instead of out-sourcing payroll like any sane corporation would do, they spent a few million dollars to beta test there own system on the teachers. Since so many people (including a friend of mine) didn’t get paid or had the withholding done wrong, there was a lot of negative publicity about it. Oh, and the school board also lost almost all the people they had trained in Oracle (probably because those people soon learned they could double what they were making elsewhere).

That, of course, led to payroll snafus — like the superintendent’s father, a janitor, being paid more in overtime than any principal in the system got.

More great grist is provided by the mayor, Marc Morial, who recently attempted to get a third term by requesting an amendment to the city charter just for him. Today, in an op-ed piece, James Gill recounts a recent Sewage & Water Board meeting on the privitization that they Mayor is pushing. People had questions about why the Mayor was trying to make the privitization happen so fast, but Morial couldn’t be bothered with all the questions and responded “We do not appreciate being consistently and constantly questioned.”

And they wonder why we can’t attract any businesses to New Orleans.

Today I cycled a few miles on the levee. It reminded me that the romance of the Mississippi river is one of the big reasons I like New Orleans.

On this side of the levee, there is a track where trains move containers between the docks and shipping yards. Today there were two trains moving stuff in opposite directions. I rode a few hundred yards just a few feet from one of the trains. You can feel the massive power as you ride beside several tons of steel. It rumbles.

The Jungle over the LeveeOn the other side of the levee, it is pretty wild in some places. Between the levee and the river, it ranges from swampy to woodsy. A boy could have a lot of fun down there. My three year old had fun when I took him down there. We looked at the barges tethered by there long steel cables (as big as his arm) and pretended to run from the “Indians”. Along that side of the levee, you can get the feeling that Huckleberry Finn could still ride his raft down the river and, except for the fact that the steamboats would now be non-existent, replaced with other more modern ships, he would have much the same experience.

I’m starting to cycle again (besides my commute to work) because I weigh about 20 lbs. too much and I was reminded by a recent article in the Times Picayune how much energy cycling can burn (sorry, link will expire as there is only 14 days worth of archiving).

On the ride today, I noticed some things that need to be done with my bike. I plan to do some of those with my kids.