Thursday, October 25, 2007

Close But No Cigar

Today I met Nelson Ailer, an Augusta County inspector, for my first inspections of the cabin. We didn't pass but I think we did pretty well. Here's what needs to happen:
  • Install a second grounding rod
  • Move the grounding wire into the panel (and not the meter base)
  • Install a heater in the kitchen and bathroom
  • Install ducting for the bathroom vent
  • Prep a couple of wires (cut them back, strip housing and prep the grounds)
  • Prepare the plumbing for a pressure test (100lbs on supply lines, and 5lbs on the drain line) and demonstrate
  • Fasten trusses to walls with "hurricane clips"
  • Talk to the engineer and do what he says regarding the holes that were put in the trusses (apparently that's a no no)
  • Shim the center beam on top of the footers

All in all, doesn't sound like tons of work and I mostly know what to do. Another nice bit of news is that I can setup permanent service once I fix the grounding issues.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Costco Humor

I went to Costco for lunch and to pick up some office supplies. As I was checking out one of the "cashier assistants" came up to me and said "do you want a box?" I had to ask her to repeat herself because I didn't understand what she was asking. As she did I noticed that her name was PANDORA. I just about lost it laughing but managed to squeak out a "no thank you!"

Heck no Pandora, I don't want *your* box

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Mark Cuban Is Hope

The Cubs had a disasterous finish to the season. The only thing good was that they never teased the faithful into believing that "this was the year" so the wound will heal much quicker.

There's always next year right? It'll be 100 years since we last won and Mark Cuban may buy the Cubs I don't know why I find that exciting. Perhaps it's the fact that he's so passionate about his teams, he's willing to spend money, and he's been successful with the Mavs. I hope it works out.

Quick Tips on Moving to EC2

I should really spend time documenting all of this, but instead I’ll just do a quick dump:

  1. First you’ll need a “Dynamic DNS” provider. Currently there is no guarantee that your EC2 instance will have the same IP address forever. I chose ChangeIP They have a plan that is $6/year/domain once you’ve listed the first domain at $15.
  2. If you’re already locked into a registrar like don’t worry. Just change their DNS settings to point to That’s how I’ve got it setup. is my registrar and is my DynDNS.
  3. If you want to do SMTP on your new domain don’t forget to setup MX records for the domain. Otherwise you get “relaying not permitted” errors.
  4. There’s no guarantee that the instance will remain available. It could die at any moment and because it’s a virtual instance it’s more likely to die than even physical hardware. So BACKUPS are essential. I’ve got two scripts one for a full backup and one for incremental backups of e-mail and databases etc. You can use the former to quickly spin up a new instance (which is the instance exactly as is was up to 24 hours ago) and then user the later to recover the most recent changes to e-mail, etc. One caveat about the full backup one… EC2 has a image-size limit of 10GB so if your instance has lots of data this strategy won’t work (not the SMS notification on filesystem size error)
  5. Webmin is great for system administration.
  6. Don’t forget that you need to permission ports in your EC2 instance for everything you wish to have access.
  7. The EC2 Firefox plug-in is great!
  8. I’m using Exim for SMTP/mail… It does a nice job with e-mail aliases and “catch-all” addresses like
  9. Exim may solve this, but I don’t know… I’ve got a dozen+ domains on the machine and the e-mail is tied to a user account so is the same as is the same as… I kinda like that. Though the way that I handle is is with procmail rules to move messages based on the domain they were sent to. Here’s my .procmailrc