Home Fileserver: Active Directory Integration

Matt Harrison wrote to me recently, to notify me about a guide he’d written showing how to integrate a ZFS-based OpenSolaris fileserver with Microsoft Active Directory.

His guide covers all the necessary areas like: configuring Kerberos, synchronizing time/dates, enabling the CIFS server, joining the domain, user and group mapping, ZFS datasets, setting ACLs and auto-sharing home directories.
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Home Fileserver: RAIDZ expansion

Recently I decided to expand the storage capacity of my ZFS home fileserver’s ZFS storage pool, which was configured to use a single RAIDZ vdev comprising of three 750 GB drives.

I wanted to expand the RAIDZ vdev by adding one extra 750 GB drive.

As you may or may not be aware, it is currently not possible to expand a RAIDZ vdev in ZFS, which is a great pity.

However, it is still possible to achieve this expansion goal, but you have to perform a few tricks. Here is how I did it.
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The UK seems to be embarking on a big nuclear power plant building exercise, to replace existing plants about to be decommissioned, to help reduce reliance on oil and gas, to reduce the carbon footprint and to increase availability of power for increasingly power-hungry consumers. These new plants will most likely be the new EPR reactors.

Apart from past horrors like Windscale, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, constant ‘minor’ leaks, spills, irradiation of power plant workers, radioactive contamination of the water table, the political ‘hot potato’ of the costs and dangers of long-term safe storage of radioactive waste for thousands of years, plus costs of securing the waste from terrorists, a big nuclear power plant rollout plan sounds like a great idea.

But what about renewable energy sources? Are these really viable, or just a crazy idea? They are at least clean and safe, don’t generate waste in operation, and provide employment for installation and maintenance personnel.
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Two French nuclear spills in one month

July 2008 has been a bad month so far for the French nuclear power industry with two nuclear spills already, and the month is not finished yet.

The first nuclear accident occurred on Monday 7th July 2008 at the Tricastin facility, where 74 kg of liquid uranium was spilled and entered the water table.

Interestingly, or not, at the time of writing this, the original Tricastin nuclear spill story I read on The Daily Telegraph website at this URL France orders tests on all nuclear power stations after leak has been removed (it seems back again, although edited perhaps, as the edit date is inconsistent with the Google Cache version). However, while it lasts, here is the Google Cache version.

As if the first nuclear spill at the Tricastin site at Bollene was not embarassing enough, there was a second nuclear spill at another Areva-controlled nuclear plant at Romans-sur-Isere, south-eastern France on Saturday 19th July 2008, which you can read about here: Second Nuclear Leak In France. Inspectors reportedly found that the pipe had been broken for several years and did not meet safety standards. Tut, tut, but never fear, as French Environment Minister Jean Louis Borloo has called for tougher controls at nuclear power plants, suggesting automatic problem detection and alerting systems be used in future. Now, which companies sell that cool technology, and why aren’t they already using them if they exist? Borloo’s comments will no doubt soothe any fears any potential buyers of French nuclear technology might have.
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The Great Global Warming Debate

I would be the last person to claim to be an expert on issues related to global warming. However, recent news items that have caught my attention have made me curious. In today’s article American physicists warned not to debate global warming it appears that there is unease regarding the close examination of the figures used in the current global warming algorithms and models.

Viscount Monckton claims that the fundamental figures used in the global warming models were derived from a theoretical model that looks good initially, but that fails to take into account the infinite variations in conditions presented by the real world. Here is his explanation of how the global warming believers’ climate models are verified:

“Since we cannot measure any individual forcing directly in the atmosphere, the models draw upon results of laboratory experiments in passing sunlight through chambers in which atmospheric constituents are artificially varied,” writes Monckton. “Such experiments are, however, of limited value when translated into the real atmosphere, where radiative transfers and non-radiative transports (convection and evaporation up, advection along, subsidence and precipitation down), as well as altitudinal and latitudinal asymmetries, greatly complicate the picture.”

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I’ve been Slashdotted

I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened, due to seeing high traffic in the web server logs and lots of links appearing, but today my website was Slashdotted. If you are a webmaster, this is either your best day ever, or your worst nightmare, depending on how robust your web server solution is.

Luckily for me, I upgraded to some decent infrastructure recently, in expectation of something like this happening one day.

After writing an extensive series of articles that cover Sun’s excellent new file system called ZFS, I’ve had absolutely thousands of page reads on this web site.
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Macro magic 2

During a recent trip to the ‘Golden Triangle’ area of the Luberon National Park region of Provence, France, I took the following photos, mostly with a Nikon 105mm VR macro lens. This lens has excellent bokeh properties, due to the use of a nine-blade rounded diaphragm opening, giving pleasing effects in the out-of-focus areas of the photos.

I made many mistakes, causing limited depth of field, which I have learned from.

However, this time, I used (1) a tripod, (2) cable shutter release and (3) shutter release delay for almost all of the macro shots, in order to provide stability and prevent introduced vibrations from blurring photos.

However, in many cases, in an attempt to use natural light, I achieved reduced depth of field. I need to investigate more the use of high-powered flash to obtain higher depth of field in an outside environment where you need to have fast shutter speeds, due to environmental problems like wind moving the subject being photographed.

Nevertheless, I still managed to get the following fairly reasonable shots.

None of the photos have been enhanced in any way. No Photoshop. No photos have been enlarged. Crops have been made on selected photos to show the detail the macro lens is capable of providing at 1:1 reproduction ratio.
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UK police suspicious of photographers

In the last few months I have read a few news stories regarding the UK police treating photographers like criminals, by telling them that they are not allowed to take photographs, even when the photographers have clearly not been taking pictures of any items related to national security.

It would appear that many police offcers are ignorant of the laws applicable to photography, as there have been many recent cases of photographers having their photos deleted or memory cards seized.

This must stop, and a clear statement needs to be made to the police and citizens, so every police officer and photographer knows what is allowed, and what is not.
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Promise Beyond

GarageBand is one of the applications you’ve probably seen on your Mac but never really used much, but it can be a lot of fun, as I discovered.

Using the built in loops and the music editor, you can create music really quickly. It can start like a kind of ‘painting by numbers’ for music.

I’m still learning how to use this fun piece of software, but I collected together my first attempts and made them into a small compilation.

Real musicians will probably say these ‘tracks’ completely suck, and I know there are many faults and mistakes I have made, but as a first attempt I think the results are not too bad.
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