Archive for January, 2009

Google Maps hits a baby deer

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

It seems that images have been removed from Google Maps, but were luckily cached by the public when they were available detailing a Google Maps vehicle accidentally hitting a deer.

It seems the van pulled off to the side of the road, due to the mismatch of the markings on the road. Horrible, but also a bit comical.

I’ve always been very humored about the various things you could find on Google Maps, such as the large KFC ad:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsH4gws35ro

There are also a few car accidents, as well as breaks at the gas station, and my friend Zack.

E-Mail Transfer via Thunderbird

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Recently my website host, who will go unnamed for now, has been having immense trouble: their e-mail servers continually are having issues, as well as going down constantly, in addition to having security issues and having to reset every user’s password – incredibly annoying.

Nonetheless, I decided it was time to move my website and e-mail from their servers to an alternate one. Backing up the website was no issue using a FTP client, of course, and backing up the MySQL tables wasn’t too much of an issue (other than one MySQL table belonging to Jack turned out being enormous).

Then, it came to porting the e-mail from the current server to the new one, which is where our fun starts! I figured I might as well check to see if the raw mail files were available via FTP (as they were a few years ago). Turns out, not so much anymore; a tech support representative explained to me that root-level access would be required to obtain such files. Oh lovely! Therefore, it was up to me to figure out a way to transfer all of these e-mails.

I scoured the internet looking for ideas and possibilities, most featuring fetchmail as a simple local mail backup to a mbox format. In the end, it was my e-mail client, Thunderbird, that came to my rescue.

I created two accounts within Thunderbird – one of my current account and another of the account I will be switching to, both utilizing IMAP (so that the e-mails are stored server-side and client-side, which I’ll get to). After this, I went to the inbox of my current account, selected all of the e-mails (CTRL+A is extremely helpful), right-clicked and selected “Copy To” and then my new account’s Inbox.

It takes quite a while, depending on the number of e-mails your current account has (in my case, I have over 8,000 so it took quite a while). Amazingly, it worked flawlessly; all of my e-mails were moved very easily into the new account’s inbox and, because i was using IMAP for my new account, the e-mails were also placed on the server with the correct timestamps and sender!

Now that I am using a new e-mail server, I no longer have to worry about random downtime or other various issues and can simply use my e-mail like normal.

Pidgin Surveys Users

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
The Pidgin Pigeon

The Pidgin Pigeon

Recently I noticed that the version of Pidgin I was using was mildly out of date – using version 2.5.2 instead of the current 2.5.3; not a major issue, but I figured there would be no harm in updating. Interestingly enough, when on the Pidgin website, I noticed that Pidgin was holding a survey of their current users.

Normally I am very apathetic towards most surveys, as they are utilized for marketing to push more of a product. However, with Pidgin’s survey, it contained questions pertaining to the current setup, layout, and configuration of Pidgin, as well as additional features that users wanted.

I would highly recommend that everyone who uses Pidgin take the survey (located at here) to help the developers identify how to continue with the application. I, for instance, voted highly for the voice & video features, as those are the only two features I regularly switch to other messengers for (usually Skype).

Nonetheless, I hope that the Pidgin developers utilize this survey to achieve priority on features, to continue giving users the best instant messaging program by far.

Edit: Pidgin has posted survey results at http://pidgin.im/survey/results/

nForce’s RAID Disappointment

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

When planning my new system over the summer, I was determined to utilize a RAID 5 setup. Having 3 750 GB drives, I figured that a RAID 5 setup would yield me plenty of storage space (approximately 1396 GB) and also provide me with parity, to protect my data in case of one drive failing. In addition, the RAID 5 array would provide me with faster reading speeds, due tot he data being split between multiple drives. This setup worked flawlessly and was quite simple to use.

All was well until I decided to upgrade my storage capacity by purchasing an addition 750 GB drive (thus making a total of 4 drives). Utilizing 4 drives in the same RAID 5 setup would provide me with approximately 2095 GB of storage space. However, this is where nForce’s RAID begins to turn on me.

Attempting to utilize the nVidia Control Panel’s RAID functionality, I figured I would be able to expand my RAID 5 array, to simply add the new drive and allow my RAID to rebuild itself over the period of a day or so. This, however, was unable to be done – the only option I was provided was to convert my RAID array from a RAID 5 to a RAID 0+1 – not really what I was going for.

I contacted nVidia Technical Support to ask them about this issue; their response was that I should contact MSI in that my nVidia nForce BIOS were too old (version 6) while their newest version is version 9. In turn, I contacted MSI pertaining to the nVidia nForce BIOS. I was then told by MSI that no newer versions have been provided for nForce. I was caught between two companies in a never-ending customer support referral.

In the end, I ended up throwing caution to the wind, backing up my plethora of data and simply recreating my RAID array. However, this also caused additional problems as nForce’s RAID setup only allows one to create a 2 TB RAID at maximum – lovely. I however, figured I’d give it a random shot and booted into Windows (thankfully installed on a separate drive). Amazingly, Windows saw all 2095 glorious GB of space and all was almost well.

After rebooting, I have come to discover that every few reboots I have to recreate my RAID array by simply deleting the array and recreating it in the MediaShield BIOS (thus not clearing any data stored on the array); this somehow allows the MediaShield BIOS to shrug off the 2 TB limit and allows Windows to utilize all available space on the RAID array.

In the end, my solution is definitely not perfect and is highly limited by nForce’s limited support for modern RAID arrays. My best judgment, for now, is to simply not reboot unless I am within the vicinity of my computer and am able to recreate the RAID array “just in case”. I do severely hope that nVidia releases new patches to the nForce chipsets to hopefully solve this issue in the near future.