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Showing posts from August, 2008

Back up your Windows desktop to S3 with SecoBackup

I found SecoBackup to be a good tool for backing up a Windows machine to S3. They have a 'free community edition' version, but you will still pay more in terms of your S3 costs than what you would normally pay to Amazon. You basically sign up for the SecoBackup service 'powered by AWS' and you pay $0.20 per GB of storage and $0.20 per GB of bandwidth -- so double what you'd pay if you stored it directly on S3. You don't even need to have an Amazon S3 account, they take care of it transparently for you.

I think this is a good tool for backing up certain files on Windows-based desktops. For example I back up my Quicken files from within a Windows XP virtual image that I run inside VMWare workstation on top of my regular Ubuntu Hardy desktop.

Ruby refugees flocking to Python?

I just wanted to put it out there that I know at least one person who was very fired up about Ruby, only to find out that all the available Ruby jobs are for Ruby-on-Rails programmers. He doesn't like Web programming, so what was he to do? You guessed it -- he started to learn Python :-)

RTFL

No, this is not a misspelling for ROTFL, but rather a variant of RTFM. It stands for Read The F...riendly Log. It's a troubleshooting technique that is very basic, yet surprisingly overlooked. I use it all the time, and I just want to draw attention to it in case you find yourself stumped by a problem that seems mysterious.

Here are some recent examples from my work.

Apache wouldn't start properly

A 'ps -def | grep http' would show only the main httpd process, with no worker processes. The Apache error log showed these lines:

Digest: generating secret for digest authentication

A google search for this line revealed this article:

http://www.raptorized.com/2006/08/11/apache-hangs-on-digest-secret-generation/

It turns out the randomness/entropy on that box had been exhausted. I grabbed the rng-tools tar.gz from sourceforge, compiled and installed it, then ran

rngd -r /dev/urandom

...and apache started its worker processes instantly.

Cannot create InnoDB tables in MySQL

Here, all…