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<< 9 / 2009 11 / 2009 >>

Problem: upgrading to Parallels 4 breaks OpenSolaris networking

2009-10-31 10:39:00

After my recent upgrade to Parallels Desktop 4 I've run into yet another issue. Apparently upgrading from PD3 to PD4 introduces some minor changes to the networking setup, which causes OpenSolaris' ni interfaces to break.

"Break" turns out to be a large word, but it's still an inconvenience. Apparently during the upgrade process the virtual PCI slots get shuffled a bit, leading to the ni1 interface getting renamed. Before the upgrade everything ran on interface ni0, which started complaining about problems right after the upgrade.

Here's some of my troubleshooting. First, on boot you'll see:

WARNING: ni1: niattach: SA_eeprom is funny, assuming byte-mode

Failed to plumb IPv4 interface(s): ni0

svc.startd[7]: svc:/network/physical:default: Method "/lib/svc/method/net-physical" failed with exit status 96.

svc.startd[7]: network/physical:default misconfigured: transitioned to maintenance (see 'svcs -xv' for details)

Checking the svcs output doesn't actually give me much hints aside from the fact that interface ni0 can actually not be found. Both prtdiag and prtconf seem to confirm this. I then checked the output of dmesg to see if there's anything useful in there. There was.

solaris2 ni: [ID 328865 kern.info] ni1: pci_regs[0]: 00002800.00000000.00000000.00000000.00000000

solaris2 ni: [ID 328865 kern.info] ni1: pci_regs[1]: 01002810.00000000.00000000.00000000.00000000

solaris2 ni: [ID 328865 kern.info] ni1: pci_regs[2]: 02002814.00000000.00000000.00000000.00000000

solaris2 ni: [ID 297787 kern.warning] WARNING: ni1: niattac: SA_eeprom is funny, assuming byte-mode

And so on... This confirms that the ni driver and interface are working. It also tells me that there's an interface ni1. ni0 only gets mentioned when Solaris tries to actually start TCP/IP on ni0, which as has been said is not present. By typing "ifconfig ni1 plumb" I've confirmed that the network card is now in fact called ni1.

Hypothesis:

During the upgrade to Parallels Desktop 4 the virtual PCI slots got shuffled, leading to a rename of the network interface.

Solution:

mv /etc/hostname.ni0 /etc/hostname.ni1

mv /etc/dhcp.ni0 /etc/dhcp.ni1


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Problem: upgrading to Parallels Desktop 4 with suspended VMs

2009-10-29 07:49:00

I recently upgraded my Macbook with OS X 10.6 without a hitch. However, I soon discovered that Parallels Desktop 3.x does work work with Snow Leopard so I was kind of forced to upgrade Parallels as well. *shrug* Oh well...

The installation process of Parallels 4 requires that all virtual machines are shut down. They cannot be running, or suspended. Funny thing: how are you going to do that if you've already upgraded the OS and thus PD 3.x doesn't work anymore? Yeah ^_^;

I scoured the web to see if there was a command line trick to stop a suspended VM, but couldn't find one. In the end I had to boot from my backup hard drive, start PD3 from there and use it to shutdown the VMs on my Macbook's drive. At least PD4 looks pretty sweet :)


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Bye bye Powermac o/

2009-10-28 22:23:00

A bit over half a year after putting my Powermac G5 to bed I've actually gone and sold her. A new member at the MacFreak fora was interested in buying a cheap Mac to get his feet wet after living on Windows all his life. He'd tried Linux which wasn't "it" and now was curious about OS X. While the G5 is no powerhouse by today's standards it's still a very nice box for a beginner. G5 @1.6GHz with 1.5GB RAM and 200GB of hard drive space. I sold it for 220, which is a bit under the market price but it's definitely fair money for a six years old box.

Ah! I'll miss her a little bit. She was my very first Macintosh and she was definitely a woman after my tastes: reliable, gentle, nice to look at and built sturdily ^_^


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Dropbox made things a lot easier!

2009-10-25 08:41:00

Manga + Dropbox = ereader!

I've been thinking of solutions to reading manga on the road, usually opting to just bring a pocket book or two. However, now that I've started using Dropbox life's gotten a bit easier. No more need for one of those eBook readers with electronic ink and such, because my iPhone screen is -just- big enough to comfortably read comics. Hooray for the Dropbox iPhone app which gives me access to my DB share everywhere I can have 3G Internet access.

For those unaware what Dropbox is: it gives you 2GB of free online storage space which you can access from a web browser, an iPhone app, or using software for Mac, Windows or Linux. On the PC side of things your Dropbox will appear as a normal directory in your homedir. However, everything you put in that directory will automatically get synchronized to your online storage. This ensures that your files are accessible from all your computers and even when you're someplace else with a browser. Nice.


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Upgraded to OS X Snow Leopard

2009-10-25 07:46:00

Screenshot of my Macbook with Snow Leopard(Clickable)

Last week I finally got my mits on our OS X Snow Leopard install disc. After properly backing up my Macbook and disabling the guest acount (to ward off the horrible bug) the install went without a cinch. I fell asleep on the couch while it was running, but I reckon it didn't take more than half an hour. Anywho, afterwards (as expected) everything seemed exactly the same because just about all the changes took place under the hood.

Inspired by some fellow Arsians I went and tinkered some more with Geektool. On my desktop I now have:

* Output from top for the six heaviest processes running.

* SMART status LED for my internal hard drive

* IP address info for Ethernet, Wif and my Internet connection.

* The time and date :)

* In Iron Man's hand:

** Status LED for charger cable

** Current charge percentage of the battery

** Status LED for charging process of battery

Also, here's the original file for the Iron Man background.


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Computer parlance - the divide between geeks and users

2009-10-18 17:59:00

I try to help out people with computer/network questions on various online fora, like Tweakers and One more thing. One of the things that frequently leads to both confusion and frustration is the divide between the parlance of true geeks and normal users.

For example, take this thread where people discuss the ins and outs of the UPC broadband service. Many, many times will one see frustration arise between the lesser experienced members and the veritable geeks regarding the usage of m/M and bit/byte.

As in:

* m versus M = mili versus mega = 10^-3 versus 10^6

* bit versus byte = 1 bit versus 8 bits

Normal folks will happily mix their m's and their M's and their bits and their bytes, not caring about the meaning of either. They reason according to the famous adage "Do what I mean, not what I say". So you'll frequently see things like:

Until two days ago I could happily download at a well-deserved 30mbits, which today fell to a miserable 5mbits. Then I rebooted the modem and now it's back up to 3.5mbits, so I R happy.

Does that sound confusing to you? Because to every true IT geek out there it does! So now there's dozens of folks like me berating the folks who keep mixing stuff up to "get it right because you're not making sense". Of course we are then in turn labeled as nitpicks (or "comma fornicators" as the dutch term would translate). The thing is, even though SI units are piecemeal to every (IT) geek, it seems that most "normal" people don't know all of them.

Sure, they know their milis from their centis and their kilos from their decas, but I don't think anyone in primary or high school usually deals with megas or anything bigger. Pretty odd, since you'd imagine that science class will cover stuff like megaWatts etc. A quick poll with Marli (who is otherwise a very intelligent AND computer-savy person) supports this idea: she knows "m", but not "M" and doesn't know the difference between a bit and a byte.

Ah, what're you going to do? I don't think this is a divide we'll quickly bridge, unless we unify to a completely new unit for measuring network speeds :) Might I suggest the "fruble"?

EDIT:

Mind you, I didn't write this just to rant. As an aspiring teacher I actually -do- wonder how one would best work around such a problem. Verbally there isn't any ambiguity because one would always say "mbit" or "megabit" in full. But in writing there's much room for laziness and confusion, as discussed above. So, what do you do as a teacher? Do you keep on hammering your students to adhere to the proper standards? To me, that does make much sense.

EDIT 2:

*sigh* Then again, if even the supposed "professionals" can't get it right, who are we to complain. Right? =_=;

UPC doesn't know their bits from their bytes


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Open Coffee Almere, still fun and enjoyable

2009-10-01 18:47:00

Today's the first Thursday of the month, which means that it was time for another installment of Open Coffee Almere. It was our fifth get-together and I was glad to see about a dozen people show up. There were two other regulars, but the rest of'm were all new faces. One attendant even came down from the Leiden area!

I enjoyed myself tremendously and got to meet a few interesting people. The aforementioned gentleman does something really cool: he provides clinics where he combines lectures on champagne (the drink) with a certain message that management wants to convey to their colleagues. Say for example that a company would like to Go Green! (as they say). He would start the usual clinic about champagne and its many intricacies and then veer off towards ecological farming and how there's an analogy with what the company would like to achieve. I'm making a mess of explaining it, but it's really pretty cool -> Champagne Experience.

Today was the first time we'd gathered at the Tante Truus lunch room in town. I had no idea what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised. The decor is lovely, the pie's great and the coffee awesome (they include a glass of water and a smidge of Baileys plus whipped cream with every coffee). I'd heartily recommend Truus for lunch or a break in the Almere Stad area.


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