Corrupt Time Machine? Check your router!

November 11, 2012

I've been running Time Machine off a WD My Book World II NAS for years now. Everything worked swell until a few days after upgrading to Mountain Lion when I started getting errors that my Time Machine had gone corrupt and needed to start from scratch. The error would happen on both laptops but at different times. Every few days.

My first instinct was to blame the combination of Mountain Lion and the NAS. I scoured the web for solutions but none of them worked for me. I was resigned to spending $299 on a Time Capsule when I had a perfectly good router and a perfectly good NAS. Or so I thought.

One day the wireless radio in my router went kaput; it ceased to function but the router was still working. I started using a very old AirPort Express in bridge mode as a radio. Then I started getting network issues: packet loss, connections dropping, etc. I realized something funny was going on so I thought I'd try a new router. The AirPort Extreme has great reviews and all sorts of new fancy technology that my old router did not. Plus it's very pretty. So I picked one up from the Apple store over a week ago.

Lo and behold replacing that dying router solved my Time Machine issues! I should have seen the signs long ago but there were so many red herrings distracting me.

How Loki met her long-lost brother on Facebook

May 24, 2011

I made a Facebook page for Loki that has recently gathered steam thanks to Facebook Ads.

I took out an ad targeted to people who like Cairn Terriers and today a new fan from Rochester noticed that Loki has the same birthday as her Cairn, Pommer.

A few messages back and forth later and we found out Loki and Pommer were definitely from the same litter. Loki found her brother and it's all thanks to Facebook!

Rental cars

December 12, 2010

Over the last 11 days I rented from 5 rental car companies. Here's a short review of each:

  • Fox: very reasonable prices and new cars. They gave me a brand new Ford Fiesta. Unfortunately this wasn't a great car for San Francisco. The transmission felt like it was slipping on any steep incline. But it was clean and had less than 500 miles on it.
  • Hertz: I actually don't remember anything about them or the car. Which means it was probably adequate.
  • Dollar: old, loud car that smelled like smoke. I won't be renting from them again. The price was awesome but the car needed to be aired out.
  • Enterprise: amazing service. They walked us to the cars and let us choose. They didn't have any economy sized cars so we were double upgraded for $3 extra a day. Looking back maybe this was a tactic to get some more money but for only $3 it was worth it.
  • Budget: one of the few places I encountered that rent Toyotas. We drove a Corolla back home from Pittsburgh. It was comforting knowing I was driving a relatively new and well engineered car. They also made sure we had an ice scraper.

Ubuntu 10.04, EC2 micro instances, and ephemeral storage

September 16, 2010

EC2 micro instances are great. They are super cheap ($0.02 per hour) but they don't support ephemeral (local) storage; you must use Elastic Block Store (EBS).

When using Ubuntu 10.04 ami-1634de7f I found my instance was not coming back after a reboot. I had a tough time finding the answer on Google but the issue was It's been fixed in Maverick but still persists in Lucid.

My solution was to edit /etc/fstab and add the nobootwait option:

proc /proc proc nodev,noexec,nosuid 0 0
/dev/sda1 / ext3 defaults 0 0
/dev/sdb /mnt auto  defaults,nobootwait,comment=cloudconfig 0  0

It's my understanding that if you later have some ephemeral storage available it'll mount. But nobootwait lets us boot on instances without it.

I got rid of my Slicehost VPS recently. I'm on Amazon EC2 to have an occasional machine for work. I've found it's very useful to have a machine that isn't on the Facebook corp network when debugging. EC2 is great because I can just keep the instance off when not in use. Then the only charge is for the EBS at $0.10 per GB per month - just $1.50 for me.

App Engine Query Cursors

August 24, 2010

Did you know App Engine supports query cursors?

Neither did I until a few minutes ago.