Drobo update
#315 Henry, Friday, 20 November 2015 3:37 PM (Category: Hardware)
(Tags: drobo backblaze)

I haven't whined about my Drobo for a short while, so it's time for me to whine some more.

Since the last time, lots of things have happened. I upgraded the Mac Mini to El Capitan. I should note that the Mac Mini is performing really well now, and have experienced no problems, shut downs, reboots, freezes, any problems at all, since Apple replaced the motherboard.

The Drobo has had a firmware update, and the Drobo Dashboard has had an update which means that driver files on the Mac Mini have been updated.

So maybe the problem between the Mac Mini and the Drobo have been fixed? Previously, if I left the Drobo connected, after a day or two I would see that the Drobo had been improperly dismounted (but not by me) and I would have to shutdown and reboot to get access to it again.

So I mounted the Drobo and left it for a couple of days. It did not get dismounted. That's one step forward. Unfortunately, while it stayed mounted, it did not stay accessible. I could read from it, but could not write. It had mysteriously become read-only behind the scenes. I had to dismount it and remount it to get write access to it again. I didn't have to shutdown and reboot, so that's a good thing.

So the connection between the two remains unreliable. Doug has a similar setup at home but he's using Firewire to connect his Drobo. It works reliably (but probably means an older Drobo).

I will continue to leave the Drobo dismounted, mount it when I need to backup, and dismount it again when done. Not ideal, but at least I can still use it.

Doug suggested that maybe something frequently reading from it would keep it mounted correctly. He suggested I get BackBlaze working again and back up just one directory on the Drobo. That's a good idea, and I will try that this weekend.

My brother suggested I push the Drobo through a USB hub so that when it connects to the Mac it's been forced down to USB 2. I will also try that. Most of the complaints I read about the Drobos and Macs point to USB 3 as the culprit.

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MacBooks for sale
#314 Henry, Friday, 20 November 2015 11:46 AM (Category: Apple)
(Tags: macbook)

Now that I have these two little 2011 MacBook Airs, running El Capitan, that leaves me with one 2006 MacBook and one 2006 MacBook Pro that are superfluous to my needs. I am going to try and sell them off through Craigslist.

To be honest though, a 2006 MacBook with 2 gig RAM and not able to run the latest version of the OS, how much is that worth? Not a lot. I'll see what they are worth, and it might not even be worth trying to sell them.

They do have one advantage to the MacBook Airs. They have a microphone jack, and the Airs do not. I have one of them with a cassette deck jacked in right now, and I've been recently digitising some old cassettes of live bands from the Townsville days.

I still have 30 or 40 cassettes to do, so I should finish them off first and then sell off the MacBooks.

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Hard disk grinding noise
#313 Henry, Friday, 20 November 2015 11:38 AM (Category: Hardware)
(Tags: harddisk transporter)

I complained about a hard disk grinding noise earlier. I have a lot of hard disks around me, and one of them is grinding and grunting and making strange noises. I finally got around to determing which one it was. That involved turning things off until the offending disk could be identified.

Turns out it's the hard disk attached to the Transporter device.

I have a Transporter device with a 500 gig external drive attached. My brother uses this as offsite backup, where offsite translates to cross-continent. It's this device that is grunting and grinding and making strange noises. If I touch the enclosure, I can feel the vibrations.

When I first attached a drive to this Transporter, that first drive did the same thing, only louder. I assumed the drive was bad and threw it away. Now I realise that the Transporter is doing things at a really low level and that first hard drive may not have been bad and maybe I shouldn't have thrown it out.

Few days ago, the noises stopped. I emailed Chris and asked him if the drive was in finally in sync, and it looks like it was. That took a while to get the drive here in sync with his drive there. Then the noises started up again, so I think he added more data to the sync mix.

It will be noise when the sync finishes. I have a lot of gear in here, and it's all been chosen for the noise level - quiet fans, quiet drives, quiet running. I'll be happy when everything goes quiet again.

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The return of OS/2
#312 Henry, Friday, 20 November 2015 10:18 AM (Category: Operating systems)
(Tags: os2)

I saw a mention on Slashdot recently about the revival of OS/2.

When I worked at Telstra in the 1990s, part of the team building WorldFax, all that work was done on OS/2. I programmed for OS/2. It wasn't bad, I got used to using it. It isn't anything I would joyously go back to.

But it appears that many people have clung to OS/2. Apparently it's still in use in many places. Companies are stuck using it because there's no upgrade path for their software. There's an annual convention called Warpstock. There's a website and a company called Arca Noae that supports old installations of OS, and they have licensed from IBM and they are going to release a new version of OS/2 codenamed Blue Lion.

Last week, there was a news item about a French airport that had to shutdown because they had a glitch in their Windows 3.1 systems. After reading the news items about OS/2, I have to believe that the French airport is not alone. There must be a lot of places that are stuck on old systems without an easy upgrade path. Maybe somewhere out there, there is a bank that does its payroll with an ancient CP/M system. I would not be at all surprised.

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Spamassassin and Linode upgrade
#311 Henry, Friday, 20 November 2015 10:03 AM (Category: Email)
(Tags: spamassassin linode)

I've been trying to update my Linode and move everything to a newer one that is bigger and has more memory (for the same price), but I am stuck. I've been stuck for weeks now and still have no idea how to proceed. Most of the websites have moved over. The website that is integrated with email and Majordomo is still on the old one, and can't move until I get email working properly on the new one.

The stumbling block is Spamassasin. I can't install it on the new Linode. I don't know why. I vaguely remember that I had a similar problem with my first Linode, and I think I solved it by turning off IPV6. But I'm not sure. I can't turn off IPV6 on the new Linode yet to test that theory. I am stuck every which way I turn.

I am a bit sour on Spamassassin right now. It's old Perl. It relies on a bunch of CPAN modules. I can install them using cpan, or I can install them using sbopkg (this is Slackware). I am getting more and more irritated with software that depends on a bunch of obscure add-ons. The Linux world is rife with this. Installation of two prerequisite modules fails. I have no idea why those modules are failing.

I have a few more leads to follow, and will make another effort this weekend to crack the problem.

If I can't, I am considering a more drastic step. I use sendmail and Spamassassin and Majordomo. I have set up a test box and am experimenting with Postfix, their spam options, and Mailman. So I have avenues to explore.

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