Geek, Linux, Software

VPS Servers

My domain is managed by me on my own name servers. When I moved to Long Island I lost my static IP addresses from my DSL line. So I moved both my DNS servers to Stefan’s house via his DSL line.

Not a good idea for availability. Since both DNS servers were there, any connectivity issues meant my domain disappeared. I had setup my basement server to queue up mail, but if the name servers became unreachable then no one could figure out to send mail to the other box.

Yesterday I went to http://www.tektonic.net/ and ordered a virtual private server from them. I picked the UM1 which is 10GB of disk space, 256MB RAM, on a Dual AMD Opteron 246. I selected SUSE 10.0 paid online and I’m good to go.

It’s a little different. I selected SUSE because that is what I use. Once I setup the yast repository I added bind, apache, php5, etc. and ran the online update. It’s very easy to forget that this is all virtual and on a shared box. The responsiveness is very good. I contacted my domain registrar, updated the record and poof all done.

Just for kicks I moved this blog onto this new server. I’ll see how it goes, but so far there have been no surprises.

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Geek

Dell took care of my order

Good things do happen sometimes. Dell really did the right thing.

Last night at 7 pm the Dell rep left a voice mail on my work number. I called back this morning, some phone tag and spoke with the rep today.

The rep was really helpful and professional. In order to make it up to the customer (that’s me) they are offering me one of two options:

  1. A Dell $200 gift card which will arrive 4 to 6 weeks after my workstation arrives.
  2. An upgrade from my system’s Pentium D 960 to a Core 2 Duo E6700 with the understanding that the date will get pushed out into October.

I went for option number 2. My new ship date is October 17th.

The video card I ordered originally is not available so we swapped out the 1GB NVIDIA 7950 GX2 with a pair of SLI’ed 512MB 7900 cards. The old card was that in a single slot, so no real sacrifice there and performance ought to be about the same.

I received an e-mail from the rep with the new parts list. Pricing out the exact same system online is way more expensive than what I am paying. My discount comes out ~19% if I ordered the same system today.

That’s not bad and I can wait. If I get my system on or before October 17th I will be a really happy Dell customer.

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Geek, Just Stupid

Dell XPS 700 still no useful ETA

This morning checked my Dell XPS 700 status page. Originally it was supposed to ship last Tuesday July 25th but on that day it got bumped to today August 1st.

This morning I checked and the status now says August 8th. Any bets what it will say next week?

Still no call from Dell regarding the offer of a free upgrade to a Core 2 Duo.

Here’s the time line:

  1. Ordered the XPS 700 on June 18th.
  2. ETA was originally July 25th shipping.
  3. Updated July 25th to new ETA for shipping August 1st
  4. Update August 1st to August 8th

What’s really funny is that there is that the new status requires me to click on a “I agree to this delay” link for FTC reasons. The link does not work; it gets a nice error page of 404 – File not found.

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Geek, Just Stupid

Dell is not the company they used to be (Updated)

Dell XPS 700 from CNET's web siteAfter pushing my old PC up hill long enough I ordered a new kick ass Dell XPS 700 with a 24 inch wide LCD panel. I’m getting the black one.

I had received an e-mail about how to check the status online and the estimated ship time was set for over a month when I ordered it. As the time went by I had contacted their customer service and asked if the system was going to be built. I was told that as far as they could tell they would make the date.

I ordered the Dell June 18th Father’s Day. The estimated ship time was today July 25th. As of 10:10AM today Dell’s system sent me the e-mail notifying me that I was in for a disappointment.

So I called the Dell customer number and after 2 minutes of informing the system that I did not know my customer number or order number (I do but I have learned to hate the machines). Eventually I got a real human being.

The call was professional. Phrases such as “Parts are hard to come by” and “if you’d like I can expedite the order” were said. The rep was able to upgrade to next day shipping for me so I am placated for now.

I am on for shipping Tuesday August 1st but unfortunately I expect to get another e-mail. I know that I am getting a new to market system but Dell should be able to gauge availability based on the fact that they have been doing this for a long time.

Dell XPS 700 image from CNET’s web site.

Update: In this day and age, you’d think I’d check via Google or Engadget before calling Dell. Per Dell’s Blog (see item number 2) I expect to be able to upgrade from my ordered Pentium D to the Core 2 Duo.

Core 2 Duo, that’s a bad name it trips up the tongue. On the web site it says “an option of either a free upgrade to a Core 2 Duo processor or a Dell gift card” so naturally I am going for the upgraded processor.

The blog site clearly states that you should wait for Dell to call you, but reading the comments from the customers I figures I would get pro-active and call them. I waited until lunch time and called the number for customer service number.

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Family

Exercise what?

254 calories, 40.1 carbs, 31 minutes, and 1.5 miles.

What does that mean…? I have never been one to exercise. All my exercise in the past was my 15 minute walk to the office from the train station. When my company relocated me to Melville I got concerned that my only exercise would be in the parking lot.

So I started to use the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. Nothing too hard just enough for me to get a small workout. I feel good afterwards but I really have no idea what I am doing.

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Humor

Driveways and treadmills

Yesterday afternoon my family lost our cable access. One of my neighbors is having their driveway re-paved and the contractor did not get the Cablevision guys to mark out where not to cut. It was an accident and my neighbor feels really bad about it.

This evening Cablevision sent out a guy to fix it. They only learned about the cut this afternoon from the first guy but were able to send another truck and get a temporary cable run. Temporary because the driveway contractor needs to get it underneath the driveway. Good job to Cablevision on a quick response.

Losing the TV was not a big deal for me; losing my only access to the Internet was pretty funny. No TV, no Internet, so once the kids were asleep I figured I would do some exercise.

I have begun to do 30 minutes on a treadmill in my basement. Last night while Lily was eating and talking to me in the basement I did my time on the treadmill.

I forgot to put on shoes. For me this is not unusual and I walk out to get the mail and newspaper bare foot all the time (which drives Lily nuts). But after 30 minutes I noticed that the soles of my feet were feeling “tingly”. My right foot is sore but on my left foot I apparently land on the part of my foot behind the toes hard. I’d gotten a blister that looked like it popped immediately. Hurts when I am not walking. When I do walk I have to remember to walk correctly or I get pain in my ankle.

With socks and sneakers I was able to do another 30 minutes today. I learned my lesson.

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Family

Small cars and children car seats

250px-MINICooperSYesterday after work Lily and I took the kids to see a MINI and BMW dealer. The idea is that we get one car for daily driving and an SUV for family trips, grocery shopping etc.

Right now I drive a 2000 ML-320. It’s a nice SUV but after 6 years I’d like to get something new. SUV’s are cool but gas is getting expensive. I am betting that before or on Labor Day this year gas will go over $4/gallon.

We went to the MINI dealer and looked at the floor models. The kids loved the car dealerships and they let me bring in both kids car seats and install them into a 2006 floor model. Me, Lily, both kids were a little cozy but it did fit.

I wonder how often a MINI dealer gets that request? “Excuse me, I want to check out how this zippy 4 seater does with the whole family. And do you know how many clowns we can fit in there?”

The kids car seats are pretty big and they have been using them for a long time. If we do get a MINI I’ll probably replace the kids car seats with (legal, safe, approved for their ages) smaller booster seats.

My current ML-320 SUV gets two complaints. First the cup holders are silly. They can only reasonably hold a small cup of coffee. Anything bigger and you need to get ready to catch the cup when it tilts out. Sodas from a fast food chain are just not worth the trouble.

The second complaint is the noise. Outside noise gets in very clearly. So when we checked out the X3 in the BMW dealer I was really pleased that when you closed the door, it kept out the muzak and conversation from the outside. This with other windows open (not the one in the door I was seated at). It maybe that the X3 is not the quiet and that my car is just loud. But the X3 seems like a well engineered vehicle.

We may keep the existing SUV and get the MINI. No rush so I think we’ll wait at least 2 months before making a decision.

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