If you are looking for the epic motorcycle journey blog that I've written, please see the Miles By Motorcycle site I put together. 
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  • "Starbucks Effect" may be adding to rush-hour congestion
    04/18/2005 8:42AM
    I knew it!  :-)


    So putting Starbucks out of business is the key to solving DC traffic jams?  :-)

  • Solution: Can't Boot RHEL 3.x/4.x On RAID 1 Following A New Install
    04/15/2005 2:16PM
    This was one of the stranger OS install problems I've encountered in a while.


    After doing a fresh install of RedHat Enterprise 4.0 on a new Supermicro rackmount box, the system would come up to a text "GRUB" prompt and freeze. The behavior was reproducible with fresh installs of RHEL 3.x and Fedora 3.x as well.

    To make things even weirder, fresh installs set up to NOT boot on RAID1 would install and boot just fine.

    Nothing I could find via googling or the RH knowledgebase directly addressed the problem. I did work with RH tech support and they suggested reinstalling grub--which didn't work. Wiping out and recreating partions and swapping disk order didn't work either.

    Furthermore, following RAM and drive tests, and considering the fact that several other identically configured boxes were running RHEL 3.x/4.x without a problem, something didn't add up.


    A second RH tech support suggestion,reinstalling Grub to both MBR on both primary boot drives in the RAID1, array did work.

    Subsequent fresh installs also worked after that. However, I will never deploy a server under non-emergency conditions without having as close to 100% confidence in it as possible. So rather than just deploying the box as is and calling it "fixed", I did one further test.

    I wiped the MBR and the partition table on all the drives in the box via Knoppix, and then did an additional fresh install of  RHEL4. This time, the box came up after installation without a hitch.

    Likely Explanation:

    Something in the MBR of one or both of the RAID1 boot drives was screwing up the boot process and was not getting eliminated via repartitioning and formatting.

    Reinstalling Grub to both drives in the RAID1 array and wiping the MBR and partition table on the afflicted drives both worked. The advantage to reinstalling grub on both members of the bootable RAID1 array means that if the primary drive dies you can still boot in degraded mode on the second member of the array.

  • Bootstrapping: The Secret to Entrepreneurial Success
    04/12/2005 10:27PM
    Forwarded to me by my business partner, Anatoly, this is a good article that describes many of my views on the "right way" to build a business:


    Of course, this is how Anatoly and I built DTLink Software, a company that is steadily growing.

  • Building PHP 4.3.x From Source With XML support, Stock Apache, RHEL 3/4
    04/11/2005 5:55PM
    This was a royal pain to piece together, but basically I needed stock PHP 4.3.11 built from source with XML support to work with a stock Redhat EL 3/4 apache 2.x.

    Yes, RHEL 3/4 comes with PHP OOTB if you choose to support HTTPD, but I like to add in only as much to PHP as necessary and always build my own.This is a custom install; I never do the generic "workstation" or "server" options and always install devel support, so if you set up your box differently, YMMV.

    After much digging:

    1) Grab the PHP source.

    2) Add extra stock RH packages to the system:


    3) Build from source:


    (available from: http://www.gingerall.com/charlie/ga/act/index.act?s=com)

    configure in the PHP source dir:

    [php-4.3.11]# ./configure --with-curl=/usr/bin/curl --enable-xslt --with-xslt-sablot=/usr/local/lib --with-dom=/usr/lib --with-dom-xslt --with-dom-exslt

    (obviously, add other options as you need them--these are just the XML support add-ins)

    4) make, make test, make install.

    That's it.

  • IBM Calls for patent reform
    04/11/2005 2:23PM
    From an article at slashdot.org:

    "IBM has called for tighter regulation of patents and a review of intellectual property ownership issues in collaborative software development. The company is one of the largest patent-holders in the United States. IBM executive Jim Stallings said examining patents for prior art should not only be the job of the patent office but that the wider community should be involved. Stallings also called on the industry to stop what he calls "bad behaviour" by companies who either seek patents for unoriginal work or collect and hoard patents."