May 01, 2013
New Author

Just a quick note to welcome my friend Cthulhu who will be keeping things up to date here on the site while I’m away for a week for a work trip. Make him feel welcome and ignore his anti-iPhone rants (which will no doubt be posted as soon as I leave :) - Posted by Arcterex at 10:04 AM
March 14, 2013 Hardware Upgraded hardware Sorry for the unexpected downtime this afternoon. My partner in crime and maven over at TDI Club installed a new CPU and more RAM, so now the server is running a whopping 16 cores and 32G of RAM. A lot of power to server up some static content huh? :)

Many thanks to Fred for his hard work and hardware. - Posted by Arcterex at 05:18 PM
February 12, 2013
Top Photography Podcasts

Bit of shameless self-promotion here, I blogged about My Favorite Photography Podcasts today and thought ya’ll might be interested. If you’re into Photography this might help you out! - Posted by Arcterex at 05:01 PM
December 24, 2012
Merry Christmas from

arcterex-christmas-2012.jpgJust wanted to say a huge Merry Christmas from the team here at the mega-conglomerate. 2012 has been a great year. Almost 900 posts were written, and more than 21,000 unique visitors hit the site and were (hopefully) entertained or at least redirected to somewhere interesting.

I have a confession to make… this isn’t really a mega-conglomerate. It’s not even a mega-corporation. It’s just me, one guy, posting things I find interesting day by day. I don’t do it for money (I have adsense running on the site, but my earnings for the last year were $121), or the fame (the most I can say is that I’ve gotten a bit of minor notoriety), but because I spend the day finding interesting things online and like to share.

For the upcoming year, here are a few things I’m planning:

  • To bring the site out of it’s 2002 era design, and perhaps explore a few web design philosophies that were invented in this decade. Maybe give that new “Cee Ess Ess” thing a try. Responsive design to avoid the horrible mobile site would be great too.
  • Upgrade the backend CMS. I’ve used Moveable Type since 2002 or so, and moving to either Wordpress or even a newer version of MT would be great.
  • Site improvements like better search, some category reorganization, tags, etc.
  • Dedicate myself to actually making the site interesting to look at. Images with posts for example.
  • Actually survey my users to find out what they want. Yes, that’s right, soon the first annual user survey will be showing up on the site to find out what sort of things interest you.

(I don’t have a lot of budget for the first item, so if you’re a designer who feels generous, or would be interested in some sort of a services trade arrangement, please email me (as a photographer though I know that creative people really don’t love being asked to do stuff for free)).

Long story short, I value being able to write on the site and post interesting things, and I appreciate my readers for continuing to make the site a success.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! - Posted by Arcterex at 11:04 AM
August 10, 2012
DSBL EMail Blacklist Offline

No email for the last few hours? The fact that that is offline might have something to do with it. The issue started around 3pm PST thursday and (as far as I can tell) any mail sent to servers using this blacklist would have been bounced (not delayed) :(

As an aside, I use(d) this on UFies, so if you have a mail account here, this is why you haven’t gotten email from last night :( Sorry folks.

Apparently the server has been unloved and closed for years now, and they finally got tired of still getting requests and made it reject all mail so that lazy sysadmins (ie: yours truly) would actually do something about it. sigh

So what’s the canonical list of good RBLs? Or does everyone just use gmail or some other hosted service? - Posted by Arcterex at 07:46 AM
February 26, 2012
Server Upgraded!

Well, it took longer than expected, but the server has moved to it’s new home on…. well, to you folks everything will look exactly the same, but be faster (hopefully). Anyone logging into the server please use as the address, as if you log into the old server no changes will take effect. Many thanks to Fred and for providing the hardware and the patience with me debugging ARP caches, bad kernels, and the same :)

As always email me or tweet me at @ufies if you see anything wrong. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:55 PM
September 15, 2011
UFies Gets a Real SSL Cert (Kinda)

Just a bit of site housekeeping... I discovered you can get a free (but legit) SSL certificate from StartSSL, so I installed one on the server for the webmail. If you're a webmail user, you may be prompted that the server certificate has changed, but you'll see it's no longer a self-signed certificate.

Please email me if you see anything odd about it.

We now return you to your list of random links and fun for the day. - Posted by Arcterex at 09:58 AM
March 22, 2011
Short Hiatus

No, not the demise of the site, but I'm finally getting a bit of a break so I'll be staying offline as long as I can, so please don't be surprised if nothing really is posted here in the next week or so.

In the meantime though, send me any interesting stories as usual (easiest way is either directly to me @arcterex or the site @ufies on twitter or by email). If you're bored head over to a cool link blog like Reddit or Digg.

If you're interested in helping this site not get stale when I'm not around by being a writer or contributor, and have an idea of what the "vibe" of the site and the sorts of things that are posted here, please email or tweet me, I'd love to have some help. - Posted by Arcterex at 05:08 PM
February 16, 2011
UFies Hardware Status

Ok, so I thought I was long past this "hey the server blew up" type posts, but...

Hey, the server blew up :(

About 11:30 last night it went down, and this morning myself and Fred went in early and fought with it but the thing wouldn't even POST. So we luckily have the current server, with a mirror backup from 2am the night before (the crash was inconsiderate enough to happen just before the nightly backup).

So the last day has been fixing what I can and getting services slowly up and running. Here's the status of various bits:

  • Apache is up and running, most sites seem to be up and running, with exceptions of course. Email me or tweet me at @arcterex or @ufies if you find things broken.
  • User logins and home directories are up and running (look for any files in your home dir not owned by you though, some uid/gids might be messed up)
  • Incoming mail - working
  • Outgoing mail (ie: sending mail from the ufies server out) not working, seems everything gets a "relay denied" error, and I have no idea why (still)
  • MySQL database is up and running. Check your tables for errors though.
  • FTP is running
  • DNS is running

It's been a hell of a day for me even with having a backup server and a full mirror of the original server ready to go on it, mostly due to that the new server is Ubuntu 10.04 not 8.10 (old server) so lots of little compatibility errors are cropping up.

My main concern now is the mail, and I hope to have it up tomorrow after at least a few hours sleep.

Keep an eye for things broken if you have services running on the server, and email me or tweet me at @arcterex or @ufies if you find something.

Thanks for your patience.

Hardware , - Posted by Arcterex at 10:37 PM
June 20, 2010
More Mail Changes

Just an FYI that I've done a much more mucking around with the mail server on If you're one of the folks who does have an account there, please keep an eye out for any mail being rejected improperly, or anything out of the ordinary. Seems one of the configurations that had a whole bunch of awesome anti-spam stuff in it was being superseded by a duplicate line farther down the file, but that one didn't have the awesome anti-spam stuff. Fingers crossed this will make things better....

If you do see oddness, please email me at alan at ufies dot org or if that's broken, arcterex at gmail dot com (or if you're all web 2.0, hit me up at @ufies on twitter). - Posted by Arcterex at 12:07 PM
May 17, 2010
Tweaking The Mail Server

I've made a couple of minor tweaks to the mail server as seems to have gotten on an RBL list :( Not much we can do about it it seems, though I might be able to fake things out through our second server's IP. Please keep an eye and let me know (posting here if needed) if you're having any strange mail issues and have an account on the server. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:30 PM
April 24, 2010
Playing with Woopra

Buddy of mine told me about Woopra today for site tracking and analytics, and since I've been getting a bit more serious about improving the site for people (yes, I'm working on getting something that doesn't look like it was designed in 1998) I've set this up. Please let me know if you see any issues with page load, responsiveness, etc. - Posted by Arcterex at 04:02 PM
January 04, 2010
More On The Spamassassin Bug

I just upgraded UFies version of Spamassassin which came with the following notice, so take heed shell users:

This version of SpamAssassin fixes a bug which caused mails sent
in 2010 to be flagged as suspiciously spammy. If upgrading to this
version, you are recommended to update any per-user caches previously
created by sa-compile, and to check mail already in your spam folder
for false positives more carefully than usual. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:57 AM
UFies Welcome to 2010!

Wow, it's going to be weird saying/writing/typing "2010" for a while. Also what do we call it? "twenty ten"? "two thousand ten"? "oh ten"? "two thousand and ten"? Someone let me know please, I don't want to be one of the un-cool kids saying it all wrong.

Anyway, welcome everyone to the new year, I hope that your Christmas and holidays was fun, relaxing and spent with family and friends. I know it can be a bit of a grind getting back into work in the new year (speaking from experience, 5:30 am comes really early when you're used to waking up at the crack of noon), but I hope that I can (continue to) throw a few random links your way during the day to keep you amused and thinking. I figured I'd throw a few random thoughts up here about what I hope the coming year will bring.

The Server
The server setup is pretty strong. There are two machines running, the main server and a backup machine running with a mirror of the current server on it. In the coming year I want to set up the database to be properly master/slave so in the event of a crash there's less chance of losing any data, and also setting up the second server to be properly hot-swap (or at least minimal manual interaction) instead of needing someone to go and change and copy things all around to have it working. The big thing though is it's there so (in theory) nothing will be lost. Anyone storing important data is encouraged to do their own backups and database dumps and store them off site just in case.

The Site
Hopefully I'll be able to put up a new look and feel and features. I'm guessing that most people mostly view the site through RSS from Google Reader, Bloglines or the like, so they never see the site. Lets be honest though, the site looks like the holdover from a bad 2002 site built by a programmer because it is. Any graphic designers out there who are interested in some practice please contact me if you think you can make the site look nicer.

I'm going to continue to use the @ufies twitter account to tweet out stories and server updates if you get your news that way, as well as getting a bit more into the web 2.0 world of "conversations", social media, fan pages, and the like. For example, I noticed while hitting the Internet archive that UFies wasn't included in 2009 at all, so I have to go and rectify that :)

Outside of my own (numerous) personal goals for the new year, I want to keep on posting things of interest. I've sort of disconnected from the Userfriendly community that this site was originally set up for back in 1999, and I want to get back to the roots of the site, and find out what the few readers I have are interested in so I can better serve the people who I risk my job every day to post random links of interestingness.

That's my diatribe for this morning, there's a pot of coffee in the kitchen on the other side of the office calling me. All the best to you and yours in this new year, hopefully it'll be "your year" (or at least suck less than the last one), and I now return you to your random collection of fake Apple slate rumors and video game updates!

tl;dr everything is fine, things continuing as normal. - Posted by Arcterex at 09:08 AM
January 01, 2010
Y210k Bug In Spamassassin

Look like there is a bug in Spamassassin in the check for "dates grossly in the future" which defines among other things, 2010 as "grossly in the future". The details are here. I've updated the ruleset on though, but please check your spam boxes if you use SA for your spam checking.

Security , - Posted by Arcterex at 11:54 AM
December 09, 2009 Network Issues (Update: Resolved)

Just a note that these appear to be continuing and we are working to resolve them.

Update: Looks like it was a rate limiter kicking in for the bandwidth, meaning that a semi-free ride for server bandwidth is over. However things are resolved now and we're back up to speed. As always donations are appreciated (paypal link in the sidebar). - Posted by Arcterex at 09:58 AM
November 11, 2009
Remembrance Day

No matter where you are or what you are up to today, hopefully you'll have time to sit back and give thanks to those who gave their lives to keep the current freedom that we enjoy in the world today. For me it was my grandfathers, from different sides of World War II, living in completely different worlds, but both of whom fought in their own way. One I ended up knowing, one I only heard about in stories from my dad. Peter, I wish I could have met you to thank you.

And of course, in semi-tradition.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. - Posted by Arcterex at 09:14 AM
October 08, 2009
UFies Back Up And Running!

Well, as suspected it took a bit longer than advertised, but the server is back up and running. Please let me know if you see anything out of sorts. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:37 PM
October 07, 2009 Server Move 21:00 PST Tomorrow (Thursday Oct 8)

Hey everyone, Looks like the / hosting provider is moving their offices and merging with another company. One of the fun bits with this is their current office is closing, and they're moving all their hosted servers to a new location. Luckily the new location is just down the road from the old one, and they are willing to do the move of our servers for us.

What does it mean for you, the user? Well, not much. Basically there will be some downtime where nothing will work and you won't be able to get your mail, website, webmail, or anything like that.

When will this happen? This is scheduled for approximately 21:00PST (that'd be 9:00pm) tomorrow, Thursday the 8th. I'm told about 20 minutes, but somehow I doubt that, so I'd wager 1-2 hours of downtime for everything, mail, DNS, web, etc. Sorry about this.

That's it? Yup.

Will anything go wrong? Well, the IPs are supposed to be all set up at the new location, so they will just be powering down the machines, packing them up, and plugging them back in. In *theory*, when the servers come back up all will be back as it was.

Anything else? Well, not currently. We're getting pretty much the same deal as before, same cost, bandwidth, throughput, and support (pretty sure about the last part anyway). However, it is another company and they may want to integrate us into a new pricing SKU in the future. We'll see what happens when the time comes... I'm going forward hoping the best though.

Please follow the twitter stream for any notifications @ufies (as well as interesting links throughout the day) where I'll be posting any updates if things do go south. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:40 PM
September 08, 2009
Merry Day After Labour Day!

Just a quick note to say that after a busy long weekend, the staff (that'd be me) is back at it, and ready to face the post-labour-day week, kids going back to school, and so on. Hope everyone had a fun and safe weekend and is all ready to get back to the grind! Hopefully I'll be able to entertain you just a wee bit during the day. Thanks again to the couple of thousand of you who visit the site every day. Remember that the site is now iPhone friendly (if you're visiting on the go) and there's also an auto-twitter that you can follow at @ufies.

Have a great week everyone! - Posted by Arcterex at 09:56 AM
September 04, 2009
UFies Mail Using Different RBL Lists

Just a quick note that the mail server has switched from a long list of probably-not-all-correct mail servers to a shorter but better list sent over to my movie reviewing buddy from an ISP. Hopefully this will cut down on spam coming into the server. Please keep an eye out for any emails you miss and email me if there are any, and I can see if they were accidentally eaten by the system. - Posted by Arcterex at 04:01 PM
August 03, 2009
New Blog Software Installed!

Ok, so I did do a quick upgrade to Movable Type 4.3, and for the most part, it was pretty painless. Most of the pain associated was that the templates for the site are not quite of the same ilk that the modern software is setup for, so I need to figure out how to go and slice and dice this lovely late 90's era design into the more modern header/footer/CSS style.

A couple of new things you might notice:

  • If you're on an iPhone, you get the iPhone optimized site, courtesy of this template set.
  • Thanks to the HashTag plugin, new posts will be tweeted out via twitter and the fairly newly created @ufies account. Follow it for all your up to date random links and whatnot. Also it'll let me know that people are actually reading this site :)
  • Some new account / commenting options are coming up too, so that (I think) you'll be able to comment with your OpenID, Google ID, and others, and that'll make it way more Web 2.0 (and less of a PITA) to comment and join the conversation. Just have to set it up :)

    Thanks for your patience, assuming you're up at 10-11 or so PST! - Posted by Arcterex at 11:07 PM
  • May 21, 2009
    More Minor Mail Changes

    Just a quick note to anyone who uses for their mail. I have messed around more with the SMTP and SMTP auth settings, and (in theory) SMTP auth can now properly be used for sending outgoing mail (again, only if you have a account). Just make sure the following settings are in your mail client:

    • Port is 25 (or 587 if your ISP blocks outgoing 25)
    • Use username and password is set (and username is your own)
    • STARTTLS (or in Thunderbird in Windows, "Use TLS if possible") is set

    Email me (hehehe) or leave a reply here if there's anything wonky. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:26 PM
    March 03, 2009
    Server Update

    Yesterday evening, the UFies server expanded to two servers (yay) which will give us a server to use for the database and for backup. However at the same time (well, a couple of hours later) the main server suffered some stunningly catastrophic hardware failures. The RAID array lost 2 of the 4 drives, and the hot spare never worked. Luckily there is a nightly backup which Fred and I managed to get access to (after some heart stopping "no such device" messages).

    I spent today and this evening transferring over settings and data and reconfiguring all the old system stuff (from a gentoo install) to work on the new server (a ubuntu install).

    Probably 90% of that is done now. User accounts have been moved over, along with data, mail appears to be flowing, DNS, ftp and some websites are back online. Please email me at if you see oddness with your stuff.

    Sadly not the controlled transfer from old server to new we were wanting, and no chance to clean up dead user accounts and websites, but better (way better) than losing everything (again).

    Remember folks, backup regularily!

    Things still needing to be fixed:

    • webmail - working other than some php errors, need to upgrade to a newer squirrelmail version
    • https
    • some tweaks in pop/imap
    • smtp-authentication

    Let me know if I missed anything. - Posted by Arcterex at 09:20 PM
    February 10, 2009
    Recent Downtime

    Our provider had it's fiber line(s) cut accidentally by the city of Vancouver (thanks!) and thus the server was off the grid for a few hours today. Things are back up and appear to be all good now. Sorry for any inconvenience! - Posted by Arcterex at 03:22 PM
    November 25, 2008 Semi-Crash This Afternoon

    In case anyone is wondering what happened to the server around 1pm today:

    # uptime
    14:00:30 up 118 days, 2:48, 5 users, load average: 235.87, 218.42, 206.62

    Still investigating what happened, but the box is back and responding now. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:04 PM
    September 05, 2008
    Server Issues Last Night

    Isn't it awesome that the server has been so stable lately? Really, it has been... the various blips in service lately have been all hosting company related (other than the swapped hard drive a few weeks ago, which was a planned outage)....

    So sometime yesterday afternoon a router or switch at the hosting company blew up, and continued with odd problems (DNS related, looking up subdomains and such) until 11pm or so when I determined there was nothing I could do, it wasn't my fault, and I figured it'd all be magically fixed in the morning.

    And like some Christmas miracles, it was! :) Still waiting to hear what the issue actually was though. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:45 AM
    July 30, 2008
    UFies Back up and Going

    As it seems with all hardware issues when I deal with them, a 10 minute job turned into more like an hour. This time the causes were:

    - me figuring out how to get the drive out of the server itself
    - me making a typo in the boot config for the new kernel
    - me forgetting to compile the newly renamed SATA drivers in the new kernel
    - me recompiling the kernel to load in the new modules
    - the system taking ages to boot because all the drives had to be
    filesystem checked as the last time it rebooted was 253 days ago :)

    Other than those minor details we're back up and going on a modern kernel and a proper backup drive. Thanks for your patience everyone! - Posted by Arcterex at 12:57 PM
    July 29, 2008 Downtime 11-12(ish) Wednesday July 29

    Hey guys.... today UFies blew a hard drive, just the backup drive, so no worries, but I'll be shutting her down (253 days of uptime(!)) tomorrow (Wednesday July 29) sometime in the 11:00-12:00 PST timeframe to swap the new drive in and maybe test the latest kernel to make sure things all boot properly. Downtime should be minimal, under 30 minutes.

    During this time all services will be unavailable.

    Sorry for the inconvenience. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:41 PM
    January 01, 2008
    Happy New Year!

    Hey everyone, hope you're having a fun New Years Eve. From all of me here on the team, hoping you have all the best in 2008! It's been fun posting random links all 2007, and I appreciate your support (the clicky clicky you know what wink-wink). I am looking forward to bringing all 3 of you random amusement in the coming year.

    -- Arcterex - Posted by Arcterex at 12:10 AM
    July 16, 2007
    OpenFire Jabber Server

    Note to self: Check out the Ignite Realtime (AKA openfire) jabber server. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:03 PM
    January 21, 2007
    An ArcterVacation

    Old Post... - Guess this never got posted cause I didn't read the part in the manual about scheduling future posts properly.... OOops! Here it is for your enjoyment before I start posting again tomorrow.

    Well I'm off for a bit, my first vacation since 2001, I'm very excited. I've turned off comments for non-authenticated users who don't have typekey to keep the comment spam at bay, sorry if this screws people up.

    I've left some good folks to amuse you while I'm gone. Fred, Darren and Iambe will (or probably will) be posting here in my absence, if not, well, you get to amuse yourselves :)

    While I'm gone you can hit my daily time-sinks:

    See ya'll in a week!

    Personal , - Posted by Arcterex at 07:00 PM
    January 09, 2007
    New SPAM Controls for Mail

    I've added some super-magic postfix spam fighting rules, mostly RBL checks, based mostly on these pages. Please email me at alan ayt ufies dawt org if you find mail is broken or not going through for any reason.

    Other than that, you should just see less spam in your inboxs, and my bandwidth costs (*cough*points to donate button*cough*) should be less! Everyone wins but the spammers, which means that everyone wins! - Posted by Arcterex at 10:38 PM
    January 06, 2007
    UFies Downtime

    The server was down from around 11pm last night till 10am this morning. Sorry about that. Sounds like there was a power glitch or something was loose or... something. Anyway, everything is up and going again now. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:44 PM
    October 15, 2006
    Downtime Last Night

    Apparently there were some power issues last night at the colo, which were resolved around 11am this morning. Appolagies to all.

    And now you can go back to your daily Halloween bad costume linkage :) - Posted by Arcterex at 12:58 PM
    August 15, 2006
    Network Interruptions

    Currently there is an issue with the upstream provider data-fortress, preventing access from some locations (ie: you probably can't get to this page to read this if you're in the lower mainland), and possibly affecting mail. I'm told they are 'investigating'.

    Update: Should be all back up... - Posted by Arcterex at 01:27 PM
    August 02, 2006
    PHP5 Upgraded

    Just FYI, php was upgraded to version 5 last night.... only causalty is the webmail which gives an error message when you send email.... however, the mail is still sent. I'll fix this tonight.

    Update: Upgraded squirrelmail and it looks like that fixed things. Let me know anyone if you have issues. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:38 AM
    July 26, 2006
    Linux Kernel Killing off Processes on 2.6.15 AMD64? The last while we've had some random issues here at that maybe the inter-tubes can help me with. Around 3am, about the same time the main backup process runs, the kernel on the system here:
    Linux master 2.6.15-gentoo-r5 #1 SMP Tue Feb 21 17:49:33 PST 2006 x86_64 Intel(R) Xeon(TM) CPU 3.40GHz GNU/Linux
    decides to randomly kill off some processes (apache, mysql.....). This was an occassional annoyance, but now it's almost a nightly thing and for those of us who receive the alerts (luckily not me :) it's a real pisser. The system has gobs of ram in it and we use pretty much no swap:
    master cron.daily # free -m
                 total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
    Mem:          5969       5514        455          0        296       2490
    -/+ buffers/cache:       2726       3243
    Swap:         1906          0       1905

    Out of 6G of ram, 2.7G is used with the rest holding cached data. No swap is used. Fred dug up this post indicating this might be a 2.6.15 bug on AMD64 and I'm wondering if just upgrading to 2.6.16 2.6.17 (which just went stable) would fix it all. Anyone have any similar experience? Can you lend a hand?

    Read on for the nitty gritty details of the kernel dump.

    oom-killer: gfp_mask=0xd1, order=0
    DMA per-cpu:
    cpu 0 hot: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    cpu 0 cold: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    cpu 1 hot: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    cpu 1 cold: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    cpu 2 hot: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    cpu 2 cold: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    cpu 3 hot: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    cpu 3 cold: low 0, high 0, batch 1 used:0
    DMA32 per-cpu:
    cpu 0 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:183
    cpu 0 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:51
    cpu 1 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:176
    cpu 1 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:48
    cpu 2 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:158
    cpu 2 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:21
    cpu 3 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:175
    cpu 3 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:47
    Normal per-cpu:
    cpu 0 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:168
    cpu 0 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:11
    cpu 1 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:156
    cpu 1 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:11
    cpu 2 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:23
    cpu 2 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:1
    cpu 3 hot: low 0, high 186, batch 31 used:110
    cpu 3 cold: low 0, high 62, batch 15 used:12
    HighMem per-cpu: empty
    Free pages:      510320kB (0kB HighMem)
    Active:329243 inactive:1025889 dirty:193094 writeback:0 unstable:0 free:127580 slab:31606 mapped:212907 pagetables:3911
    DMA free:12kB min:16kB low:20kB high:24kB active:0kB inactive:0kB present:10992kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? yes
    lowmem_reserve[]: 0 3512 6037 6037
    DMA32 free:286540kB min:5776kB low:7220kB high:8664kB active:760260kB inactive:2358736kB present:3596384kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
    lowmem_reserve[]: 0 0 2525 2525
    Normal free:223768kB min:4152kB low:5188kB high:6228kB active:556712kB inactive:1744820kB present:2585600kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
    lowmem_reserve[]: 0 0 0 0
    HighMem free:0kB min:128kB low:128kB high:128kB active:0kB inactive:0kB present:0kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
    lowmem_reserve[]: 0 0 0 0
    DMA: 1*4kB 1*8kB 0*16kB 0*32kB 0*64kB 0*128kB 0*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 12kB
    DMA32: 46049*4kB 8683*8kB 561*16kB 211*32kB 8*64kB 8*128kB 1*256kB 0*512kB 1*1024kB 1*2048kB 3*4096kB = 286540kB
    Normal: 39766*4kB 5398*8kB 989*16kB 50*32kB 14*64kB 1*128kB 0*256kB 0*512kB 1*1024kB 1*2048kB 0*4096kB = 223768kB
    HighMem: empty
    Swap cache: add 9900, delete 9900, find 4865/5619, race 0+0
    Free swap  = 1951164kB
    Total swap = 1951888kB
    Free swap:       1951164kB
    1703936 pages of RAM
    175694 reserved pages
    794922 pages shared
    0 pages swap cached
    Out of Memory: Killed process 24143 (apache).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25925 (apache).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 24297 (apache).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25934 (apache).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25961 (apache).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25924 (apache).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25960 (apache).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 16420 (python).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25262 (python).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 26005 (postmaster).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25263 (python).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25264 (python).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25265 (python).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 26003 (postmaster).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25266 (python).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 26022 (postmaster).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25267 (python).
    Out of Memory: Killed process 25268 (python).
    printk: 28 messages suppressed. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:40 AM
    July 19, 2006
    PHP5 Upgrade

    So PHP5 is stable and PHP4 is out of portage. Just a note to people with sites hosted off of that I'm planning to upgrade to PHP 5.1.4 in the next while (say, by the end of the week). Please make sure your sites work with this version of PHP5 (as I understand it's pretty much compatible). Thanks.

    Update Gregg of 21st Century Digital Boy points to the list of php5 incompatibilities. Thanks dude. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:42 AM
    June 05, 2006
    Accounts Disabled on

    Just an FYI that I did some looking through accounts on the server that hadn't been logged into for more than a couple of years, or that combined with only having spam in their mailboxes. The users have been disabled, if any of these are in error let me know and I'll fix them up. This probably won't affect anyone, but I figured I'd throw it out anyway. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:58 PM
    April 08, 2006
    MT 3.2 Upgrade Finally upgraded the site from MT 2.6x to the latest version, as in the upgrade of the server I lost all my blogspam blacklist info (database incompatibility from x86 to x86_64), and had to clean 300+ blogspam this morning. Figured the quick and easy upgrade to mt 3.2 would fix that easily enough. Some day I might even upgrade the look of the site for those who don't read via RSS :) - Posted by Arcterex at 05:13 PM
    April 06, 2006
    Database Cleanup Hey guys, I did some rearranging with the databases on this server and found a bunch that had errors (missing the .MYI files for a table, but still having the .frm and .MYD files). This was preventing me from being able to backup the database properly and of course, the tables didn't work properly. If any of these tables are yours and things that used to work suddenly don't, let me know. However, most of the files were dated in 2001 or 2002, so I am pretty sure these are all old and dead files that have been long forgotten. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:51 AM
    March 23, 2006
    More Minor Downtime Just a note that the advanced management card in the server will be replaced today around 3:30, please expect the server and all services to be down for not long, probably an hour at most. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:23 AM
    March 22, 2006
    UFies Upgrade Complete A much better cutover this time than the last one to be sure, though it took about as long. Luckily this time most of the time taken was waiting for an rsync of /home and various database tables to complete, and not bashing my head against the desk and screaming "Why! Why!?" :)

    There are still some things broken, mail (pop and imap) don't seem to be working, so I'll get those going ASAP. Also jabber will be down for a bit, but that's less of an urgent thing IMHO.

    Updates soon....

    Update #1 Hey, I like fixes that fast! Looke like the mail issue was just a process that wasn't being restarted when I thought I was restarting it.... Based on the logfiles though, you all already knew that :) - Posted by Arcterex at 06:29 PM
    March 21, 2006
    New Server Tomorrow Just a reminder that tomorrow the new server will go in. Backup your stuff if needed and prepare that at some point during the day mail/web/etc will all go down. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:27 AM
    March 16, 2006
    UFies Server update March 22nd The new server has been here with software installed and testing going on for a while and all looks very well. The plan is to swap the old server for the new noon(-ish) on wednesday, march 22, that's just under a week from now for those counting. This means that *all* services will be offline for several hours. Probably you want to count on the entire day to be safe.

    It also means that if you have super valuable data you should know that I will be taking every precaution to ensure that everything remains safe. The old server will be either online or un-formatted for at least a few days or week to make sure that all data is over properly.

    The important directories (/home, mail spool, databases, etc) will be mirrored when the system is disconnected from the net to ensure that no data is lost.

    The new server is what I consider to be hardware porn, and Fred and the people over at are to thank for this.

    • dual hyperthreaded 3.4Ghz cpus
    • 6G ram
    • 5x72Gb SCSI drives in a RAID5
    • super special managment thingy to allow me to un-fubar things that would make the system unbootable
    For the hardware geeks out there, you may drool :)

    So again, 6 days from now the box will go down, then come back up faster and better.

    Any questions or concerns feel free to email me. - Posted by Arcterex at 06:28 PM
    February 13, 2006
    DenyHosts Implemented on UFies Hey there guys.... I've implemented DenyHosts on UFies. Basically this is a way to prevent the sometimes more than 20,000 ssh login attempts per-day that I get over here. The system basically adds users to hosts.deny if they get failed attempts either through invalid usernames, or invalid passwords, and expires them after a certain number of days. I got a line on this from some buddies after I posted an alternative solution with iptables. Let me know if you have any issues. If you have really bad fingers and can't log in after more than a couple of attempts, well, might be time to use ssh keys :) - Posted by Arcterex at 10:10 AM
    January 16, 2006
    Uptime Lost, a Sad Day Great sadness struck my heart this afternoon when a possible planned power outage at our hosting company (originally possibly planned for Wednesday) knocked the 662 day uptime the has had. This server was last rebooted almost 2 years ago when Fred installed some new hard drive cooling.

    Given some of the issues we've had over the last few years, you'll see why 2 years of uptime on a linux box is sometimes a big deal, especially when using "commodity" hardware.

    No fear, as some may know already, this box is in for a major refit, with a swanky new 2U dual proc, hyperthreaded, 6G beast waiting to be configured and swapped in place here. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:12 PM
    January 09, 2006
    How Many UFies With Blogs Out There? So there are another few groups that have their, where people who are associated with that group have their blogs all aggregated together on that site. A couple of examples are and

    So do we have any UFies who want to set something like this up? - Posted by Arcterex at 10:39 AM
    October 24, 2005
    Apache Upgrade Tonight Just an FYI that I'm going to be upgrading apache tonight on the ufies box. There are some configuration changes between the old and new verison, so it might be a bit bumpy. I'll test out everyone's sites before I declare it properly installed though. Just in case any of the 18 people who read this site notice it down :)

    Update - All went well, things all seem to be working, let me know at arcterex awt ufies dawt org if anything is busted. Also, please make sure your php and perl apps/cgis don't blindly execute code, k? :) - Posted by Arcterex at 04:48 PM
    July 07, 2005
    Donation Drive Hey all my faithful readers out there... UFies hasn't been doing a whole lot lately, but that's going to be changing soon! I've got a bunch of ideas up my sleeve about cool and exciting stuff that I'd love to offer here, and I'm excited about getting stuff going. Right now I host mail, web and domain services and have a great time doing it. I'm looking at expanding what's going on here a bit more, perhaps providing some better services, and re-launch the Peer 2 Peer Personals site with lots of new fun stuff for the single geek. However, the hosting for the site is coming out of my pocket right now, and some kind folks supporting me through paypal (link on the right of the page) or through other means, would be a fantastic help.

    Many thanks. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:02 PM
    June 23, 2005
    New SquirrelMail Version Sorry for the late notice, but UFies has gotten a - Posted by Arcterex at 03:47 PM
    May 17, 2005
    Help Request - Tomcat with SSL dying Hey all, hopefully someone who reads this can help me out. I've currently got a site with Apache Tomcat 5.0.28 on it, set up with it's own SSL cert (not self signed) and this works properly most of the time. However, sometimes, randomly the SSL connector will die. The website will still be available through http, so the software is continuing to chug along, but the https is dead, so the service has to be restarted. This is getting very frustrating for both myself and the customer because we have no problems with this on other sites, and there's nothing on their server (windows 2000 server) that is odd or different enough that it would cause problems. Anyone have any thoughts? - Posted by Arcterex at 10:55 AM
    March 27, 2005
    Shhhhhhh.... Don't Say Anything or You'll Spook It...
    alan@master:~$ uptime
     10:15:53 up 366 days, 20:31, 68 users,  load average: 0.84, 0.95, 0.93
    alan@master:~$ - Posted by Arcterex at 10:16 AM
    January 31, 2005
    Knock Knock Knockin' on SSHs Door I'm really getting sick and tired of this damn ssh worm that's going around. Pretty much every morning I get a bunch of entries like this from various 0wn3d systems admin/password from 40 Time(s) guest/password from 20 Time(s) root/password from 2722 Time(s) test/password from 100 Time(s) user/password from 20 Time(s) No sense in firewalling these servers off because the IPs change every day and it just makes me insane. Course, lately I've been thinking of using something like SnortSAM to make me feel better :) - Posted by Arcterex at 09:14 AM
    November 06, 2004
    High Bandwidth and Call for Donations yowza! In a fit of madness yesterday I posted a local mirrored copy of the new Episode 3 trailer, and somehow it got around the net as a mirror in the feeding frenzy. You can see the results from the BigBrother image. So sometime this morning Fred noticed that the bandwidth was up at something like 20mb/s when he moved the file away. Of course, we did basically the same amount of bandwidth we do in a month in one day, and while the way the hosting works we're not on a bandwidth-based pay system (ie: NN Gig per month) I'm not sure how the hosting company will react.

    So now is as good a time as ever to once again bring out the tin cup and point to the "Help UFies via paypal link to the right. If you've got a bit of extra to spare it would certainly make my life easier and the keeping of this server up and going a bit less of a stress point in my life. Please and thankyou and I really appreciate it.

    Next time I'll just keep it to myself!

    *makes note to set up bandwidth limiting in apache* - Posted by Arcterex at 09:17 AM
    September 09, 2004
    Monkeying with Mail Just FYI, I'm going to be messing around a bit with the mail setup, trying to convince the imap and pop servers to not suck so bad :)

    Update: Well, didn't break anything, but in theory might have sped the IMAP up a tiny bit, though I can't tell myself. I tried the tip of removing USERID as according to this and this page, but if anyone knows how to speed up a postfix+uw-imap I'd appreciate it. I was going to move to courier-imap, but moving a system with lots of users and already set up heirarchy of MBox folders to a mailder isn't all that good IMHO :) What'd be nice is a imap server that can deal with both mbox and maildir folders dynamically depending on what the user has set up, so my users can convert over slowly if they want.

    Help or suggestions appreciated. - Posted by Arcterex at 12:13 PM
    August 15, 2004
    More Upgrades Moved from perl 5.8.2 to 5.8.4 on the server, so let me know if anything wonky occurs. Some modules may need to be rebuilt, so if you get any errors about not being able to find modules, or module not linked or wierd stuff like that, just throw me an email with the error message. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:42 AM
    Peer 2 Peer Personals Back (Kinda) Yea, I've said it before, but I'm saying it again. Peer 2 Peer Personals is back in development. I've taken the stand that I WILL get something going for this to bring it back from it's 1996 roots of cgi scripts into the modern age. More importantly though, the last bug that was preventing me from getting the admin site for it working, where Iambe and myself approve personal ads, has been fixed, meaning that now your ads will actually show up in the site. Hopefully a new featureset and new look will revitalize the site and we can start hooking some geeks up! - Posted by Arcterex at 12:12 AM
    July 26, 2004
    PHP Upgrade Just FYI I'm in the middle of upgrading to PHP 4.3.8 from 4.3.4. If you notice anything wonky let me know. - Posted by Arcterex at 11:28 PM
    July 22, 2004
    Selling my Soul Well, as some of you may have noticed I've (re-)sold my soul and signed up with Google Adsense to bring in a little extra money to help pay for the site bandwidth. Of course, if you love me you are welcome to click on the 'Donate' link on the right :) However, I haven't been getting any lovin' that way, so I am seeing if the text banner ads are worth it.

    The ads have been put (for now) on a few select pages that seem to have brought in through google for one reason or another (ie: the 'how to hack hotmail passwords' page (which isn't)) and the Iambe comments page. I may put them in the main site at some later time however. We'll see how it goes.

    If you really hate them, you're welcome to donate and / or bitch and whine at me. - Posted by Arcterex at 01:46 PM
    April 11, 2004
    Minor Fixes In a flurry of small amounts of activity this weekend, I managed to fix a couple of things that had been bugging others for a while now. First of all, will now correctly forward to the right place, where the root cert will work nicely. No more bitching that " doesn't match".

    The second part will help those to access mail via imaps and pop3s... the right cert is now loaded by the system so that it's no longer localhost, but the proper domain name. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:52 PM
    April 01, 2004
    April 1st It's april 1st, so remember, believe nothing! nutink!

    That is all. - Posted by Arcterex at 07:58 AM
    March 25, 2004
    My Drives are Coooool Baby A bit of minor downtime today, planned but not announced, mostly because I'm a horrible, evil person. That and Fred put in a couple of hard drive fans which have moved the temperature of the SCSI drives from the mid 50s to a nice cool 26 degrees. All is back up, newest kernel, and all is joy happiness and rainbows. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:13 PM
    March 02, 2004
    Request for Generous UFies Via my dear friend Iambe:


    A very dear UFie I know (who will have to remain anonymous because he doesn?t know I am doing this) informed me earlier than he is shy a CD burner because his conked out on him in a cruel twist of fate. Normally when this happens we would just head on out to yon nearest webstore or brickstore and pick up a new one (funds providing) ? however our friend is unable to do so because of not only limited income (disability income) but because of a disability (mobility).

    If you happen to have an extra CD burner (say you just recently upgraded to a DVD burner) that is hanging around and wouldn?t mind shipping it to a US address on a random act of kindness, please get in touch with me at iambe at userfriendly d-o*t org(an) and will see if we can?t match your spare hardware with this kind soul.

    Thank you,

    Iambe - Posted by Arcterex at 04:59 PM
    February 06, 2004
    Up and Running So things seem to be partially back up and going. Head over here to see a tally of what's up and not. Many huge thanks again to Fred and Neil for helping to get things back up and going today. Again, comment here or on the link above for anything that's not working for you. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:11 PM
    UFies Scheduled Downtime Friday Feb 6 (today) Yes, the box crashed last night. Yes, currently SMTP is down and I'm not sure why (smtpd is crashing with a signal 11 all of a sudden). Yes, this will all be fixed (in theory) tonight between 3:30 and 6pm PST.

    I don't know why this rash of hardware problems has cropped up, but I'm going to guess it's that the box is overheating a bit, or the RAM isn't that good, or the poor little thing is just taking an enormous beating. At this point I don't care because between 3:30 and 6:00 tonight the box will go down, have it's innards put in the new (actually old) system and have that fresh, new and lovely clean box come up.

    I'll put a page on my home website of with a list of what is working and what isn't, and encourage all to post there (or here if apache is up) to let me know what is working and what isn't. Please expect a couple of days of confusion before things are worked out, but by tonight mail and web at minimum should be up and going for the most part.

    So backup, cross your fingers and send good vibes!

    Update - I managed to get mail going again by removing the postfix-tls package so if you can't do secure SMTP that's why. Sorry, but it'll be fixed tonight. - Posted by Arcterex at 11:14 AM
    January 26, 2004
    Donation Drive Well, we are back and mostly going as before. Still on borrowed hardware, but new things are coming down. Iambe today put up a request for donations which I greatly appreciate. This will be used for improved hardware (motherboard/cpu power/ram/proper raid controller?) and to help keep the box running in general. I don't expect much, but every little bit helps, and my huge thanks to all or any who would be kind enough to click the paypal donate button in the right hand column. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:42 AM
    January 24, 2004
    Back Up Well, after yet another ordeal we're back up, temporarily at least. The intermittant problems that have been plauging this box lately may be due to either a buggy or slightly incompatible motherboard. The entire box has been temporarily replaced by the good graces of my friend Neil who lent his home system for me to use until the matter of the "real" box is fixed (or until he goes stir crazy from lack of computer and steals my home system).

    The upgrade did not happen because of the hardware problems we found (detailed here The box is slightly slower and has slightly less drive space (any users logging in will note that /home is pretty full right now :) so if you have large backups or files in your home directory that you can afford to lose I'd appreciate if everyone can do a bit of cleaning.

    Much thanks, stay tuned, and appreciate the patience.

    -- alan - Posted by Arcterex at 04:35 PM
    January 20, 2004
    UFies Scheduled Downtime Thursday, Jan 22 I put out an announcement of downtime to the mailing list today. Thursday we'll be down from around 9am PST till sometime in the evening. Read the link for full details, but in short the box is going to get it's entire OS upgraded/replaced, hardware will be tested, and cables will be replaced, and the end result will be a much more stable system (both hardware and software) <knock on wood> If you've gotten me to install custom perl modules or programs on the system email me at alan at and I'll make sure they are re-installed on the new system. If you have a shell account neither your mail nor your home directory will be affected, unless I really screw things up, so make a back up anyway :) - Posted by Arcterex at 10:47 AM
    January 14, 2004
    SunRun Time of Year It's the 6th Annual Team UFies Vancouver Sun Runners! this is a 10K FUN run/walk/toddle/etc around lovely downtown Vancouver on 18 April 2004. Join your fellow geeks in various forms of pre-and post-race mischief, raise money for BC Athletics and Raise-A-Reader (, get your name in the paper for personal glory, and most importantly of all, acquire a limited edition UF artwork. C'mon out and join the fun. or mapleleaf at shaw dot ca. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:58 PM
    January 05, 2004
    Minor Burp Well, even though I just mailed out an announcement that UFies would be down tomorrow for hard drive install and whatnot, a kernel update today had some strangeness, and we were down for a couple of hours. Again thanks to my hardware monkey fred (*duck*) we are back up. Just a matter of the new kernel not putting in reiserfs support even with it loaded in properly. Very odd. Maybe an update of the tools is needed to be compatible with the new kernel or something?

    Anyway, things are back up and going, no harm, no foul. Not sure about when the actual scheduled downtime is going to happen though. Stay tuned. - Posted by Arcterex at 04:46 PM
    December 24, 2003
    Merry Christmas! Howdy all ya'll. Just wanted to say Merry Christmas! I'm hanging out with my good friend Yohimbe and a gaggle of geeks and folks I've never seen before (or see here every Christmas) and having a great time. Hope that everyone's celebrations go well, Santa is good to you, and you, your friends and family have a safe, but fun and fantastic, Christmas and new years! - Posted by Arcterex at 08:58 PM
    December 03, 2003
    /home is Restored! Oh thank the hardware $DEITY! Much appreciation for everyone's good thoughts, prayers, etc, and Fred for going in and finding that the issue was a bad cable on the SCSI drive. The original /home has been restored and if you put anything into the new /home it's now found at /var/home/<yourusername> That dir will be going away in a couple of days so if you did put anything in it since 10pm last night or so get it out of there as soon as you can.

    Some changes will be happening though, a second SCSI drive will go in to act as a mirror, and a firewire harddrive will be set up for use of offsite backups.

    Oh, and to everyone who said they didn't mind and they were looking at re-doing their websites anyway, sorry about this :)

    Yay! - Posted by Arcterex at 10:10 AM
    December 02, 2003
    Big Hardware Problems (again, and worse) This time sadly your /home wasn't safe. There were errors coming from the SCSI drive indicating that it couldn't be talked to. Fred will be getting the drive sometime tomorrow morning (around 8am PST) with a new hard drive, cable, and prayers that the drive is just being finicky and isn't completely FUBAR. I don't have high hopes though. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst I guess.

    It looks like some websites content and images will be available through a google search via the "cache" keyword. IE: go to google and type in "cache:<site>" where <site> is the site you are trying to recover. If you're lucky you'll be able to get data and images from a relatively recent snapshot of your site. Hitting the wayback machine might contain bits and pieces as well. I'm just hoping all my users had backups for my own sanity.

    Again, I'm really sorry about this folks and I'll be working tonight and tomorrow to try to get the system at least up with a /home on a different drive so people can log in, and hopefully the drive will be ok, but if not... :(

    Sorry guys.

    I'm trying to recreate home directories for those who had them before, email me if you can't get in, don't get a /home/<yourusername> or whatever. Assuming that the drive is pooched of course. - Posted by Arcterex at 10:29 PM
    November 30, 2003
    The Joys of Commodity Hardware As you may or may not have noticed there was yet another blip in the personal hell that is hardware problems for me. However, we're back up and going. We did lose /var, but most of the important files (mail, databases, etc) were backed up at 3am last night, and they were restored. Not everything was backed up, so if you notice anything strange throw me an email at arcterex ( - at - ) ufies dawt org

    Thanks for everyone's patience and understanding. Read on for an explanation of what actually happened.

    Update - webmail is busted, I'll deal with that in the morning. Fixed. It was the start of a sunday that I was hoping to take easy and relax... ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. Fred threw me an email to point me to a RAID failure message. We had had an element in one of the arrays fail not that long ago, but the spare kicked in and all was well, and I was turning a blind eye until I had the mental strength to deal with it. Anyway, the co-lo had a scheduled powerdown from the hydro company for last night. Turns out the power company was early though. While the RAID5 was reconstructing the array, it must have hit a bad block or something and kicked out the element. So now we were down to 2/3 :(

    I moved the spare partition in from the first array to put in as the 3rd and it seemed to go in ok, but as it was reconstructing something kicked it out and now we had 1/3 going, which as anyone who knows about RAID5 knows, can't really happen. Things were still running, and "ls" was still showing files, but there were I/O errors when I tried to copy files around (in a desparate attempt to save data in case something happened). So I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to go in and fix things from the console. An hour and a half later I was there, armed with a new drive.

    It's getting late and it's been a long day so I'm going to keep it short, hit my blog sometime tomorrow for an even longer and more boring version of this.

    Anyway, I figured out which drive was causing the errors and swapped it out. When it came back up all nicely recostructed and what not I was quite disheartened ("bugger" I think was one of the terms I used) to see that I couldn't mount /var anymore, as it was not recognized as an ext3 filesystem. So I re-created it, copied the files I have backed up from /var every night (mail spool, databases, dpkg lib, etc) and brought the system hobbling back up to life. I managed to recreate the needed files from a friend of mine who also has a debian unstable system (thanks wim!) and have been running various "apt-get install --reinstall <package>" commands since. Everything appears to be running again, and other than losing all the logs and mail/database stuff from 3am till 10am when the system went down ("luckily" the mailserver was down most of the day as well, so mail was sent over the the secondary server and saved, and there was only a 7 hour window of nuked mail).

    Anyway, thats about it. Like I said, let me know if anyone sees anything that is broken, and thanks to Fred for getting me the spare drive and the guys at data-fortress for putting up with me there and for keeping me company (though they had to be there anyway dealing with the power issues). - Posted by Arcterex at 10:30 PM
    November 19, 2003 Possible Baddness will be down sometime tomorrow afternoon as it will be rebuilt at that time. If you have an account on the system please back anything up as a precaution. Your home directory will be safe, but backing up any databases, etc will be a Good Idea™. Also, all passwords will be re-set, you'll have to email alan ( - at - ) to get them reset. Please email me at that address with any questions. Mostly this is a precaution but there is the possibility that this system has been compromised by a LKM trojan and data coming to and from it is considered unsafe, so if you have an account here better change your passwords on any other systems and make sure you don't trust any ssh-keys you have stored.

    Hopefully things will be back to normal tomorrow night.

    Update: Based on this post and this bug I'm confident enough to take back what I said. Ignore me. Rewind. Undo, whatever :) Thanks to Christophe for pointing this out to me. - Posted by Arcterex at 06:28 PM
    October 15, 2003
    Start of the End of DNS Problems Looks like this mess might finally be sorted out. Today I convinced NSI to tell me where their host record editing was hidden, and the admin removed a record taht was pointing to the old IP. So now finally the root nameservers are responding with the right answers, and hopfully within 72 hours the changes from my registrair will take hold, and things can finally begin propagating through the net properly. Thanks for all ya'lls patience. - Posted by Arcterex at 03:48 PM
    October 12, 2003
    Minor Changes I took this lovely sunday to do a bit of housekeeping around here. This was prompted by a bunch of comment spam that this and my other blogs and sites have been recieving. I ranted about it (caution, naughty words) and then spent some time doing something about it, and then summarized things here. I also took the opportunity to kill off some old links from the main page, add a "donate" button (now I'm paying for bandwidth, I don't mind begging for some help in that department), update the core MT files, and other little things, the biggest of all was killing off all the comment spam. Throw me an email or comment if you find something missing or busted. - Posted by Arcterex at 02:46 PM
    October 09, 2003
    Minor Mail Changes I've made a couple of minor changes to the Postfix UCE Control settings here on Looks fine so far, but post here if anyone sees any sort of a problem sending or recieving mail. - Posted by Arcterex at 01:45 PM
    September 29, 2003
    Back Online If you're reading this either the DNS issues have worked out, or you are coming by IP :) Either way, welcome back. The move went very smoothly, and aside from the fact that the world doesn't know this server at this IP exist yet, everything is just fine! If you want access to our fine, fine domains, you can also add the IP to your list of DNS servers in your /etc/resolv.conf or under TCP/IP properties in the networking area in windows. - Posted by Arcterex at 06:16 PM
    September 28, 2003
    New IPs for the Server Move Monday Greetings again folks. It looks like Monday Sept 29th will be the big moving day. At approximately 2pm PST the server will go down and at sometime past that, hopefully soon after it will be back up with the following new IP:

    The above will be the new IP for, so if you have a nameserver or a registrair that needs this information there it is. I've reset all the DNS settings to have a timeout of 10 minutes, so changes should hopefully happen relatively quickly once things are in motion.

    Again, there will be a day or two of turmoil, but hopefully things will settle down soon.

    Some here it is again:

    Fred's servers will be at:

    These changes will take effect on Monday, Sept 29th. - Posted by Arcterex at 04:47 PM
    September 19, 2003
    Looking for Co-lo Hosting in Vancouver Greetings folks. Some things are changing around here, and hopefully someone out there can help out. Since the Userfriendly servers moved from New Westminster to some far away place, the box no longer falls under their realm of influence. IE: No more free hosting for me. I can live with that. However, today I got an email from the dude in charge of the Paralynx/Parasun/Cablerocket (or whatever they are calling themselves) saying that they are no longer doing any co-lo hosting :(

    So I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for places who do co-lo hosting in the vancouver area. I'm not looking for a whole lot, basically

    Hopefully this will go smoothly. I've been told I have to be out by Sept 30th (nice short notice huh?), so the quicker the better. I'm hoping that I can sweet talk the Paralynx guys into giving me a bit of extra time if I need it, but most likely it'll be quick. The biggest thing will be a change in IP address, so all the hosted domains will have to be updated, DNS records, MX records, secondary DNS servers, etc etc etc. Bit PITA.

    Hopefully I can find something good though, and quickly. Thanks for any advice or pointers anyone can give me. Thanks for hanging in there with me. - Posted by Arcterex at 03:37 PM
    August 27, 2003 Unscheduled Reboot Yea, it's time to reset those uptime counters again. An unamed-to-protect-the-experienced sysadmin forgot that this box is plugged into the same UPS as his, and well, anyway. We encountered a bit of downtime as some inodes needed a smack in the butt to get the box up again.

    Everything is fine now. It's all ok. We're all fine here.

    On the upside, I finally got a chance to put the new kernel options to access the the extra gig of ram I have had sitting unused. Fred will be happy about that :) - Posted by Arcterex at 07:07 PM
    July 16, 2003
    Up and Alive! Turns out that while I heard 10am, the good folks at paralynx (the hosts) actually said pm, and due to them moving offices the box didn't get turned back on after we had realized our miscommunication. However, everything is back up and running now. Ok, now for another few hundred days of uninterrupted uptime! - Posted by Arcterex at 07:17 AM
    July 14, 2003
    UFies Scheduled Downtime Hi Folks. The good folks at Paralynx, who host and it's hosted domains are moving shop, so on Tuesday, July 15th sometime during the day. and all it's services, including mail, web, and ftp will be unavailable for some undetermined period of time. I don't know of the schedule or how long things will be down, but I'm hoping not too long.

    Please bear with and sorry for the inconvenience.

    Update Ufies will be shut down at 10am sharp and I'm told downtime should be only for a couple of hours max. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:54 AM
    April 10, 2003
    Deep Thought for the Day Found in a .sig on the fun with perl mailing list:
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your owncommon sense."
    Buddha - Posted by Arcterex at 10:12 AM
    January 30, 2003
    Webmail Problems and Fixes As some have noticed, the webmail service here is a bit strange, somewhere along the way IMP decided not to show any messages in your inbox. A bit annoying to say the least. Until that is fixed, or until enough people complain that it's not as good as IMP, I have installed squirrelmail as the webmail client for users.

    It works for me(tm), so it should work for you to. Please email me any issues, or a fix for IMP if you know what is going on. Squirrelmail is also available at for your convenience :) - Posted by Arcterex at 11:24 PM
    January 20, 2003
    Easy as Cake Well, as you can see we're back online, with no problems at all! The easiest hardware transfer I think this system has ever seen :) Hopefully nothing will show up tonight, or tomorrow, or for the next year or more (touch wood *tok*tok*). The only issue encoutered was a kernel panic encountered when the kernel was recompiled (I love the 2 minute compile time btw) with high memory support. Oh well, will figure that out sometime later, for now I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope things stay up and well over night :)

    As always huge kudos to Fred and Ken for their help.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled random links and funny stuff. - Posted by Arcterex at 07:49 AM
    January 18, 2003 Downtime Monday Jan 20 As some people aren't on the UFies announce mailing list, I'll throw it up here as well...

    On Monday, Jan 20th will go down from around 10am to sometime slightly later than that. I'm hoping it'll only take an hour or so. Anyway, we'll be putting the nice fast motherboard/cpu(s) back, along with a more powerful power supply.

    If all goes well, there should be no more problems, ever :) However, if things crash again I will go back in Tuesday (the 21st) and put the old (current) motherboard back in, and we'll be back up. But that won't happen, knock on wood (*tock*tock*). - Posted by Arcterex at 06:40 PM
    December 31, 2002
    Happy New Year
    Happy New Year!!!

    Hey all, just wanted to say thanks for the support throughout the last year and for making (and it's affiliated sites) such a great success. See you all in 2003! - Posted by Arcterex at 06:07 PM
    December 27, 2002
    Hello.... (again) *evenbiggersigh* Back up... again. This time (again) I think it should be ok (again).

    A suspected faulty drive has been removed and the nice dual motherboard have been replaced with a slightly slower PIII-450 that was found. Assuming we're still up tomorrow (fingers crossed) that'll mean that the load problems have been fixed (they were causing crashing).

    My huge thanks to Fred for troubleshooting and the spare hardware, and Tom (at the co-lo) for putting up with me keeping him there long after he should have been gone home and saving my bacon in a couple of cases (mkraid --dangerous-no-resync is your friend!).

    Mail will be back up in a few minutes, as soon as I restore the mail spool from backup... some data (logs mostly it seems) was lost, so please email me if you find anything busted.

    UPDATE: OMG! It's still up! Whohoooo! - Posted by Arcterex at 09:32 PM
    December 26, 2002
    Merry Boxing Day As you saw today, more problems. Something to do with hardware again, with a lovely message saying "ServerWorks OSB4 in impossible state" followed by a kernel panic. *sigh* I had to take two drives out and have them in the arcterhouse to test and see if it is a problem with the drives or not. There will no doubt be a bit of downtime in the next while due to rebooting for kernel upgrades if needed, and replacing the drives or any hardware that needs it. If you're not subscribed already, get on the ufies-announce list to keep up to date on forseeable downtime or changes. Thanks for all your patience. - Posted by Arcterex at 08:01 PM
    December 25, 2002
    Merry Christmas A huge Merry Christmas goes out to all the faithful readers out there, my friends, family, the folks at the co-lo, and everyone that has gotten me here (both in life and in this server which I use to talk to all of you)! Have a safe and happy Christmas and hope you all get the presents you want!

    (Oh, and the server is back up and no worse for wear (yay RAID) than a few bounced emails... will post the grisley details later) - Posted by Arcterex at 12:14 AM
    December 24, 2002
    Back Up and Alive! Yes folks, we're back up and no worse for wear, aside from some bounced email. There will be a reboot or two in the future to make sure that things are all hashed out, but aside from that we're good. Read more for the details.... See my blog for wha t was happening before. I came to the server farm with no idea what was going on. Booted up the box with some new memory (thanks Fred!, up to 1.5G now :)and had problems. One memory stick blew out, then the SCSI cable for /home was damaged and I had to run around looking for another (Fred came through once again), and then it was a disk error in the raid. The problem was it was the spare, so as soon as /dev/md1 started to reconstruct to recover from a currupt partition, it kernel paniced and died. I'll be rebooting to make sure things are cool, but we should be fine (touch wood) now :) - Posted by Arcterex at 04:17 PM
    November 23, 2002
    Webmail Back Well, I finally took some time hacking around on the webmail and it appears to be working again. Please let me know if you find any problems with it.

    And on another happy note, you can now just go to and you will be sent to the right place :) - Posted by Arcterex at 12:19 AM
    November 15, 2002
    Openwebmail Wierdness *sigh* well, openwebmail was working ok, then it eat all my mail (or appeared to anyway), so I've taken it off till I can figure it out. Anyone else who has had this email me and let me know and I'll restore your inbox from backup. - Posted by Arcterex at 03:50 PM
    November 11, 2002
    Webmail As you may or may not have noticed, webmail (imp anyway) is broken due to a bug in the php4-imap package. Due to this I've moved the current webmail links off the main page (out of temptation) and put up Squirrelmail, another decent webmail implementation. The link to the right points to this right now, please use it to access your mail until I can get the other webmail fixed up.

    Update: *sigh* looks like squirrelmail is b0rked as well. I'll get it all going one of these days. Lets try another one! - Posted by Arcterex at 11:04 PM
    Rememberance Day Just a reminder to take a few minutes today to sit back and think about those who have been lost to us in war and times of conflict.

    In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.
    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields. - Posted by Arcterex at 09:43 AM
    November 05, 2002
    Server Upgrade Woes Just as a note for ya'll, the server was updated this morning, and it looks like some stuff has busted pretty good. Perl 5.8 is causing problems here and there, and php4 is in-operable (apache won't start with it loaded in). There might be some db problems with people using MT as well.

    Anyway, I'm working on these, cursing all the way, and hopefully it'll all be fixed up RSN.

    Things that are busted: - Posted by Arcterex at 11:10 AM
    November 02, 2002
    Upgrade Time! I'm working on an upgrade to the latest version of the content management software, so things might be all messed up here. If they are, just ignore it, it'll be back RSN!

    Update: Looks like all went well, we're back up with MT 2.51, a database backend, and nicely trackback enabled! Wh00p! - Posted by Arcterex at 05:13 PM
    October 27, 2002
    Reminder Apparently it's the end of daylight savings time (or is it the start?) Either way your clocks should now be set an hour back, where applicable, except in Newfoundland, where you'll set them back 38.5 minutes :) - Posted by Arcterex at 08:53 AM
    September 11, 2002
    One Year. I had a few random thoughts on today, and what it means. Posted below are my resolutions for September 11, 2002. - Posted by Arcterex at 01:31 AM
    July 24, 2002
    Mozilla Wallpaper mozilla1280.jpg My buddy LIMOS threw me a pretty funky Mozilla wallpaper. I think it's been making the rounds, but this is the first I've seen of it. Tis good, and a nice high res as well. - Posted by Arcterex at 09:19 PM
    July 05, 2002
    Blender Tutorial Not sure if you've seen the Blender news on /., but I found this tutorial on using Blender linked somewhere or other. - Posted by Arcterex at 11:07 PM
    July 04, 2002
    Happy July 4th! Just wanted to wish all the 'merkins out there a happy July 4th. Don't blow too many fingers off with those fireworks eh? :-) - Posted by Arcterex at 09:30 AM
    June 30, 2002
    Pre-emptive Happy Canada Day! Well, I know it's still a few hours off (for this side of the world anyway), but a very happy Canada Day! Mucho thanks to my buddy illiad for the cute Oh Canada Dust Puppy that will grace the top of this page for a few days!

    So how is everyone going to be celebrating? - Posted by Arcterex at 09:03 PM
    June 26, 2002
    New Key for Secure Web Server Just FYI, if you head to this site in https, or it the old or new webmail, you'll see that the server key has changed. This is due to the admin (that'd be me) being a bonehead and only creating a year long key originally, and then that same guy (that's me again) not knowing how to extend the cert's expiry date (someone care to enlighten me?). Anyway, just to let you know it's all good. BTW, I'm following these instructions to create the cert, and if there's a way to make it so I don't have to change the key/cert but extend the expiry date, please let me know.

    (Pssst... the root CA for (for OE users) can be found here) - Posted by Arcterex at 10:31 AM
    June 10, 2002
    Hardware In! Yup, it's all in.... hopefully ya'll will see a difference :) The one thing that didn't go in was the new hard drive (as a hot spare for the raid array), due to driver problems. I'm going to be upgrading the kernel to 2.4.19pre-something tonight and see if that fixes it. I'll also need to do some more hardware stuff in the next few days (ie: putting proper brackets on the HDs and moving things around so the cables aren't stretched. I'll post when I take the box down again for hardware, but be expecting a reboot or two tonight. Huge thanks to Fred and his people for making this possible! - Posted by Arcterex at 08:09 PM
    Downtime Yup, time for some more downtime. This time, however, it's planned :) I'll be installing some new hardware (thanks to fred) to make this box a hoss-box, wonderfully fast, and more importantly, stable (all components are server quality). Around 3:30pst (that's in a bit over two hours from now) the box will go down, hopefully for no more than an hour max, for a bit of sugery. - Posted by Arcterex at 01:31 PM
    June 05, 2002
    New Webmail (BETA) Hey all you webmail users, there's a new version of IMP out that looks quite nice, and I have installed at This is not the final address, but I'd like some feedback from users on if it sucks/rocks and should it stay/go? I don't know if old address books can be pulled over to the new system or not, which is a potential major sticking point.

    Oh, another mail related note. I have a system called pop-before-smtp going now. The way it works is as follows. The system will watch for people authenticating themselves with pop or imap (or pops/imaps) and when it sees that, it will open up their IP as a valid relay for SMTP for a limited amount of time. End result? As long as you get your mail first via pop or imap, you can use as an outoing smtp server. This is new, and will be removed if there's any abuse (which I don't expect there will be), and feedback is appreciated :) - Posted by Arcterex at 02:57 PM
    May 08, 2002 mailing list Ok, I finally got around to setting up mailman and have created ufies-announce, a mailing list that is intended to allow people who have sites hosted, or mail, or anything like that to keep up to date on things like planned outages, upgrades, or any other major changes to the server. This is a announce only, very low traffic list, so if you're interested in signing up, go and do it. - Posted by Arcterex at 12:08 PM
    April 19, 2002
    WebMail b0rked Just FYI, the webmail email sending may be b0rked. Looking into it now.... - Posted by Arcterex at 02:14 PM
    March 27, 2002
    Well this is new... Yeap, there were some..... "changes" over here at Basically we had (another) hardware problem. The hard drive that was replaced about 4 months ago decided to start making awfulbadugly noises, leaving the box in a bad place.

    Short story is that the drives and some other hardware was replaced, but with some data loss and other messed-up-idness.

    Read on for more... First of all a huge thanks to a few people. Yohimbe ( sysadmin extraordinary) for mucking with hardware in his living room till 1am and Tom for coming in on a day off, and staying late another day to let me in to get the box out. Oh, and I won't forget Fred (the TDI guy) who donated some of his own time and $ getting the box up and going with it's new hardware.

    The box is now back up and running with it's busted 30G drive replaced with 3 40G Maxtor drives using RAID 5 for speed and redundancy, and a nice Antec AX-1240 tower case (reviews) with a 400w power supply (one theory for the blowout was bad power, as the box was running on a 250w power supply.

    The bad part about this crash was twofold. First of all, the backup script was backing up /var/spool/mail, a symlink to /var/mail. The script did exactly what it was supposed to do, and every night backed up a symlinks :( With the last hard drive problems I had mail on a separate partition, so it was all ok, but not this time. So anyone who left any mail in their main INBOX spool, sorry, but it's gone now.

    The other thing was the databases, which relates to why you're reading this on a nearly default Movable Type page :) See, phpnuke was driven from a database. Every night the database backed up by script. Well, due to some changes in the way that somethingorother changed, the programs to do the database dump every night were failing. I noticed this, but never got a chance to go and fix it because "hey, it's a new hard drive, what could possibly happen?"

    Well, guess I found out huH? Anyway, the mysql database's last good backup was around February somethingorother, and postgres's was around March 7. So a lot of stuff from ufies got lost, as well as other things (peer 2 peer being the main one. That one wasn't all that bad as it was postgres, but still...

    Anyway, so that's the story. If something is messed up, or you don't have access to something you used to (shell users) like a database, or whatever, email me at If you lost data (by the way, I hope I mentioned that the /home partition is just fine, so any data in your $HOME is exactly as you left it), or mail, I'm sorry.

    As you've probably noticed, this is a pretty default thing, so bear with me as I re-do some things, and learn the ins and outs of MT :) Now, back to getting it all back up and running! - Posted by Arcterex at 11:37 PM