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August 2005 Archives

August 2, 2005

Don't forget the silent "Q" in conjunctivitis

I said to Tracy tonight: “I had 3 ninety-minute teleconferences today and I was the lead speaker for all of them.”

She said, “Oh. So that’s why you look like that.”

Ain’t married life grand?


Some quickies:

  • We got a new server for squyres.com (aka WOPR II, Woptimus Prime, Womprat, Woprific, Our Way, Womptimal, etc.). It’s specifically to be used for a new, full, clean re-load of the OS and applications, but once it is in place, we’ll be using the original WOPR (aka Wopriginal, whompped, woprimtired) as some form of HA backup. It was purchased off Ebay, and through a complicated (and secret) set of transferrals, is now in the hands of Poseidon, the new System Loader God for WOPR.
  • Along these lines, I have resigned my title as Hermes, God of Web Stuff. I am now officially roaming the Elysian fields, or otherwise sitting on the sidelines of the WOPR Gods, sipping my gin-n-tonic, periodically shouting “Good show, old boy!” to the boys still officially running the WOPR show.
  • I got Tracy the 6th Harry Potter book when it was released a week or three ago (for our anniversary). This inspired me to finally start reading the Harry Potter books. They’re really good, but quick to read. In 1.5 weeks, 4 books down, 2 to go (in fairness, I was traveling last week and had significant times on planes and in airports).
  • Last week was our quarterly Open MPI meeting at Los Alamos. Good meeting — got lots done. Woot Open MPI!
  • Saw the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Tracy last weekend. Lots of good action as well as quality marriage humor. Big props to the “Fight Club” t-shirt that appeared in the middle of the movie (still my favorite movie of all time). I give it 15 minutes.
  • Saw Revenge of the Sith (finally) with Tracy the weekend before that. We enjoyed it — I’ll give it 10 minutes. Probably need to see it again to catch all the details.
  • I sent a submission to the Shark Tank a few months ago. It got accepted and was published the other day. To protect the guilty, I won’t say which story it was….
  • I finally got my XM radio back. Woo hoo! Bring me the finest bagels in the land!

August 5, 2005

Your car did _what_ by itself?

Some important things have happened over the past 24 hours with the munchkins:

  • Yesterday morning, I was watching K+K playing in our master bathroom. Tracy walked out, walked through our bedroom and opened the bedroom door to go downstairs (we previously had the bedroom door closed to keep them in). A few minutes later, Kathryn wandered out into the bedroom. Within a few seconds, she realized that the door was open. “FREEEDOOOOM!!!” (you could just see it on her face). She immediately did an about face, fast crawled back into the bathroom until she could see her sister, whereupon she yelled “GAH!”, then did another about fast and made a beeline for the open door. Kaitlyn dropped what she was playing with and immediately followed her sister out the door, into freedom. This just marks the first time that I have seen one of them actively seek out the other in order to do something — i.e., she wanted to have a shared experience with her sister. It was a first recognition of the other as another person (vs. “the thing that I need to get that toy away from” or “the thing that I need to crawl around). Quite fascinating.
  • Kathryn signed “more” to get more cheerios last night. Woo hoo!
  • Kaitlyn apparently signed “more” today as well. Woo hoo hoo!

August 17, 2005

Thank you for serving

I got an e-mail from a relative the other day with a copy of a Budweiser commercial the other day containing a subject line of “Best Bud commercial EVER!”. It’s the commercial where several army personnel walk through a train or airport terminal and the crowd applauds them as they walk through. At the end is a blank screen with “Thank you” which fades into the Anheuser Busch logo.

I am actually strongly opposed to this commercial.

Of course, I deeply appreciate the sentiment. I still actively walk up to people in uniform and say “thank you for serving.” As many of you know, I served for 10 years in the Army reserve.

But that’s not the point here.

The point is that Anheuser Busch is making up buck off this. A lot of bucks. They’re capitalizing in the popular feelings of patriotism, and in a bizarre way, almost taking credit for thanking military service members. This helps them sell beer. “USA = proud service members = Budweiser Beer” is what this commercial says. So I deeply resent the fact that AB is using a cheap trick for an advertising campaign. To me, this abuses memory of the service of our nation’s military members. Do you really want your sons and daughters to die so that Budweiser can sell more beer? I don’t think so.

I felt the same way when I saw a popular insurance company use the song “Coming Home” for the soundtrack to one of their TV commercials, showing heartbreaking losses due to natural disaster. I immediately filed a complaint. Apparently, I was not alone. Within a short time, the company had pulled the ad because so many other people had complained (for those of you who don’t know, “Coming Home” is the song traditionally played when deceased military members are returned to US soil).

So I don’t think that this is the Best Bud Commercial Ever. I’m actually deeply offended. You should be too. And you should let them know.

If they really wanted to make a statement, then pay for the exact same commercial to be played in prime time, but remove the AB logo at the end. Make it an anonymous “thank you.” That would really be something.

Specifically: you tell military members “thank you” because it’s the Right Thing To Do, not because you can make a buck from it.


My relative respectfully disagreed with me, which somewhat surprised and saddened me (my relative has immediate family members who servered in the military). My relative’s point was that no product was advertised and it was a good reminder to most americans to thank those who serve in the military.

I disagree. The fact that the AB logo is shown at the end means that it is an advertisement. Yes, it’s great to remind Americans to thank those in the military. Like I said, remove the logo at the end of the commercial, and I’d be all for it — this would be more like a corporate-sponsored public service announcement rather than a commercial.

August 19, 2005

Open MPI. Now featuring more cowbell.

Quickies quickies quickies,
Quickies everywhere!
Quickies quickies quickies,
Quickies in the air!

  • Kaitlyn has more-or-less accidentally stood a few times for a few seconds before executing a controlled sit-down. She’s not quite ready to walk yet.
  • I signed up for Vonage for a “work” phone line at home. Should be interesting to see how this works out. It’ll allow me to save a truckload on my home phone bill because I currently have an “unlimited” long distance place which costs an arm and a leg every month. Vonage will replace that.
  • The new reality TV short “Tommy Lee Goes to College” shows the Motley Crue drummer “attending” the University of Nebraska in the Fall of 2004 (I say “attending” in quotes because he was not enrolled as a student). Tracy’s cousin’s husband, Tony F., is the director of the Nebraska marching band and is apparently in every single episode except the very first one. Go Tony!
  • Kyle’s getting married! She said yes!
  • Rich’s getting married! They managed to get a Basilica date!
  • Michelle had her baby! 3 weeks early, but is well!
  • WOPR2 lives! (the new squyres.com server was initially setup today)
  • The munchkins’ first birthday was the other day. My in-laws and Tracy’s gramma (i.e., the munchkins’ great grandmother) were here. They had a lot of toys before, but now — holy crap, they have a lot of toys.
  • As I left the parking garage in Bloomington the other day, I thought to myself “What is that flapping noise?” 1.5 hours and $160 later, I was driving home on a brand new front-right tire (thanks Acura for using those expensive sport tires!).
  • If you ever doubted that there are good people in the world, my in-laws accidentally left their cell phone at a rest stop in Indiana today. Shortly thereafter, a kindly soul (who was driving on his way to Tennassee for the weekend) had found it and managed to talk to my mother-in-law’s sister and setup a meet to give the phone back. Within hours, my in-laws had their cell phone back.
  • The newest Clive Cussler paperback (“Lost City”) is continuing the downward trend (IMNSHO) of that series. The characters are all stereotyped, there’s no depth (to the characters or the plot), and the story is quite predictable. Clive is writing a lot of books that have a “with so-and-so-” bylines these days — I am guessing that he is doing less and less of the writing, therefore contributing to what I’m perceiving as the downward trend.

August 22, 2005

Open MPI Escapes

This is exactly the same title that Brian used for his blog entry on the same subject; cope.

Open MPI has finally opened its code base up to the world (yay Open Source).

We still haven’t released a stable version yet — we plan on starting release candidate tarballs for v1.0 in about 2 weeks. See the full announcement here.

August 28, 2005

On CUPS, IPP, OS X, and home area networking with multiple routers

I write this up for two reasons:

  1. Someone may actually find this via google someday and find it useful
  2. So I don’t forget

It took me a while to figure out (all of which, in hindsight, makes perfect sense, of course), so if I can save myself, or someone else, some time in the future, that’s a Good Thing…


Background:

I recently got Vonage, which, for the purposes of this conversation, means that I had to add another router into my home network. This router must go right behind the DSL modem in order to guarnatee quality of service for the telephone TCP/IP traffic. However, this Vonage router (Linksys, in this case) does not have wireless capabilities, so this unfortunately means that my D-Link wireless/wired router must go behind the vonage router. It looks like this:

|-----------|    |---------------|    |---------------|
| DSL modem |----| Vonage router |----| D-Link router |
|-----------|    |---------------|    |---------------|

I’m running OS X 10.3 and 10.4 on clients, and CUPS v1.1.19 (I know, a bit old — it’s from my Mandrake 9.2 machine [it ain’t broke, so I don’t fix it]).

The Goals:

I have two routers, and I need to have clients hanging off both:

  • I have a Linux box that must be ssh-able from the outside. Hence, it really needs to hang off the Vonage router, and have port 22 port forwarded to its local IP address (more on this below — see the Hindsight section).
  • This same Linux box also has an HP printer hanging off it (local parallel connection) that all computers in my home should be able to print to.
  • I have several wireless clients in my home (laptops, handhelds, etc.).

Problems / Confusion:

The D-Link router does not allow me to disable NAT, so it must be a separate subnet from the Vonage router. This is one of the biggest problems — if I had been able to have the two routers create one logical subnet (e.g., with a default gateway from the D-Link->Vonage, and a static route from the Vonage->D-Link), all might have worked out significantly easier.

Part of my confusion was that my OS X clients used to just “find” the printer hanging off my Linux box when they were connected to the network. Once I went to this new configuration, my OS X clients would no longer “just find” the printer.

Analysis:

It turns out that CUPS (http://www.cups.org/) uses the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) as the backbone for all of its printing. CUPS can also be setup to advertise its printers via IPP using UDP broadcasts (which my Mandrake 9.2 box did by default). This is how my OS X clients used to “just find” the printer before when they were all on a single subnet. But now that they’re on different subnets, this UDP broadcast doesn’t cross the boundaries — if I connect any client on the Vonage network (i.e., the same subnet as the Linux box with the printer and CUPS server), they “just find” the printer, as usual, and everything is fine.

However, this doesn’t help printing from the D-Link subnet (e.g., my wireless clients).

On my D-Link OS X clients, I tried manually adding an IPP printer, but that never worked. Specifically, I would enter the IP address of the Linux server (on the Linksys router) and the printer name, and then try to print something to it. OS X would try to print and then report that printing had “stopped” with no other expalantion.

Looking at the CUPS logs on the Linux server, I saw that it was replying “Hey, there’s no such printer here.” Looking even closer, it looks like the clients were posting to the URI path /ipp/<printername>, which is what CUPS was insisting did not exist. Looking further back in the logs at jobs that did succeed, I saw that they had posted to the URI path /printers/<printername>. So somehow OSX is inserting the prefix /ipp instead of /printers. How to fix this?

It seems you can’t fix it from the OSX “add printer” GUI (either 10.3 or 10.4). You have to manually edit /etc/cups/printers.conf to reflect the correct URI and then kick the local cupsd (i.e., kill -1 it). On 10.3, this seems to just cause a cupsd reload; on 10.4, you may need to wait a few seconds for the launchd to re-start the cupsd.

Once this was working, I could see that print requests were correctly spanning the entire distance from an OS X client, across the wireless, across the D-Link, into the linksys, to the Linux router, and to the CUPS server. However, jobs were still not printing. Looking at the server CUPS logs again, they were resulting in a “403” HTTP error code every time (“Access Forbidden”).

This was really werd — in my cupsd.conf file on the server, I have a block similar to:

<Location />
Order Allow,Deny
Allow from All
Deny from All
</Location>

Watching the logs server’s CUPS logs (using LogLevel “debug2”), I could see that it wasn’t barfing on the config file, and it was using the “/” Location for the permissions on this printer. But it stubbornly gave 403’s for all accesses until I deleted the Deny clause! Specifically, I had to do the following:

<Location />
Order Allow,Deny
Allow from All
#Deny from All
</Location>

And then it worked just fine (i.e., got “200” HTTP responses instead of “403”, and jobs would end up printing). According to the Apache conventions and the CUPS documentations, my first version should have worked fine — the Allow clause should be examined first and then the Deny clause should be examined. But only by not having a deny clause (effectively making an empty deny conditional) did it work. Just for completeness, I tried “Order Deny,Allow” and got exactly the same results (although that it what should have happened in that case). I tried many carefully-constructed cases (kicking the cupsd every time, of course), but could never get this to work properly until I commented out the Deny clause.

I downloaded the 1.1.19 source and had a quick gander through it. It appears to have the Right code in it for checking the Order, but it somehow appears that the parser is always reading in the file as “Deny,Allow” instead of “Allow,Deny” (I double checked that it was reading the config file that I thought it was reading by introducing syntax errors and saw that they were reported in the log). I’m not sure how this was happening, and I ran out of time before tracking down the problem in the parser. Perhaps someone else will have the time to figure this one out (I have a wholly unremarkable cupsd.conf file). And perhaps it’s fixed in later versions of CUPS (http://www.cups.org/ says that the current version is 1.1.23).

So these were the three Big Things that I had to do:

  • Manually add the IPP printer on the OS X clients by IP address and queue name
  • Manually edit the OS X client printers.conf (in /etc/cups on OS X) and kick the cupsd
  • Manually edit the server cupsd.conf file and remove the “Deny” clause

In Hindsight:

There are several other configurations that might have worked:

  • Move everything down to the D-Link and simply setup port forwarding from the Linksys to the D-Link to the host that I need to ssh to. This should [hypothetically] work, in terms of port forwarding (i.e., it will work for any real router; I’m not sure of the exact capabilities/bugs of these two broadband routers, and whether it would really work or not), and then put all hosts back on one subnet and the whole IPP UDP-broadcast-not-spanning-multiple-subnets problem goes away. I may actually try this in the near future as it would simplify a lot of things.
  • I should have been able to use LPR-style printing (CUPS supports the server-side of LPR as well) — i.e., don’t rely on IPP self-advertising printers, but rather configure the clients manually to talk to the LPR server (via IP address and queue name). However, when I tried this from OS X clients, although the print job did end up issuing on the printer (LPR doesn’t support authentication / authorization, so there were no permissions issues), somehow it ended up printing a stream of postscript text instead of the actual formatted output. I’m not sure where the translation was lost (i.e., that the printer / driver didn’t realize that the job was postscript and do whatever translation was necessary), but I abondoned this attempt because I wanted to use IPP for so that clients would automatically download the relevant PPD files from the CUPS server.

About August 2005

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in August 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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