Daily Archives: Sunday, 19th Jun 2011

Upgrading and other such games

Well, that was, err, interesting.

For reasons that seemed quite sensible at the time, I decided that today would be a good day to upgrade my Linode virtual server to a more recent version of its Linux distribution. There’s a quite nicely documented process for this, so away I went, pausing only to not take a backup more recent than this morning’s automagic one[1].

Well, it ran through all the expected stuff, but then cam up with some sulky messages which suggested that it wasn’t at all happy with the installed firewall, and as a result of that it wasn’t going to let MySQL start, so there. Now as this site is ever so slightly dependent on MySQL, that was a bit of a problem.

I tried some of the basic troubleshooting steps, but this didn’t help at all. After a bit more fiddling, I decided it was time to back out and revert to a backup. This is a reasonably simple process with Linode:

  1. Shut down the running server
  2. Resize its disk partition to make room for a restore
  3. Restore from last backup
  4. Wait
  5. Reboot into restored system

There were a few more jobs I needed to do, though. As I’d typed a couple of posts after the backup was taken, I copied the actual database files from the slightly duff server to my computer first, then when I had the restored one running, I stopped the MySQL demon, replaced the database files from my copy then restarted MySQL. All appeared to be well, but I had missed a step.

When I copied the files from the duff server, I did it using the root account, and did the same when I copied them back to the good server. This meant that they were owned by root, and while the MySQL server could open the database, it couldn’t actually save any changes, which caused me a few moments of confusion. It was then just a matter of stoping MySQL again – quite likely not necessary, but I thought I’d play safe – then running a quick

chown -R mysql:mysql foldername

to restore ownership. I then restarted MySQL and all was as it should be.

Finally, as I was happy that I was back where I should be, I deleted the disk partitions used by the duff server, shut down the good one and resized its disk to use all the space, then restarted it.

And if you can read this, it all worked. If you can’t read this, it didn’t.

I’ll try the upgrade another time, most likely by a less exciting method involving starting a new Linode, updating that, then moving all my stuff across to it and shutting down and removing the old one. As Linode charge only for the time you actually have a Linode in use, it’s not an expensive option to bring up a temporary server. I probably should have done that the first time…

[1] Yes, yes, silly me, etc

Weight and Stuff Report – 19 June 2011

Back down again today, good, good…

Today’s picture is a reminder to myself that I need to get some things put on sale on eBay. Yes, I’m planning to sell my dear old Canon EOS 30D, on the grounds that I haven’t used it once since I got the 5D MkII. There will also be some lenses and a few other things going on sale, once I’ve got all the relevant bits together[1].

Going, going...

Going, going...

[1] Cables and manuals put in safe places, the usual kind of thing…

Primeval – Series 5, Episode 4

When Connor created his own ickle strange sparkly thing anomaly last time, I thought that it might lead to Bad Things, and I’m sure you won’t be at all surprised to find that I was quite right[1]. Having got it up and running, Connor talks to Philip, who wants to move forward with what is obviously going to be an Evil Plan. Connor is a little more cautious, but is swayed by Philip’s encouragement and the flattery of April…

Matt easily hacks into the copy of Connor’s encrypted hard drive[2], but is interrupted by the anomaly detection alarm, which oddly enough didn’t go off immediately, but waited for a suitably dramatic moment. Matt and the rest of the gang get into Connor’s lab where Matt suggests that it really would be a good idea to lock off the anomaly. Philip, who’s been lurking in the back room, oozes out and points out that the lab is the property of Prospero[3] and that Matt should go away.

Afterwards, Connor explains to Abby that Philip’s quite nice really, and how all he wants to do is use the anomalies as a source of unlimited energy, which he’ll give away to everyone at no charge. Abby missed the opportunity to ask Connor his views on the viability of Santa and the Easter Bunny, and totally missed the chance to sell him Tower Bridge, because I’m quite sure he’d have bought it.

Of course, where there’s an anomaly, there’s usually a creature, and Connor’s little home grown one is no exception. Being a small anomaly, it’s quite a small thing that comes through, though as creepy beetles go, it’s quite large. The security guard who’d been left to keep an eye on things managed to send it back through, which seemed to attract the attention of its friends, who all come through for a beetle party at the ARC. Lots and lots of them. Thousands, at the very least. As they eat the guard, the ARC goes into Lockdown, all exits sealed, that kind of thing. And as the lab is sealed, dealing with the beetles shouldn’t be a major problem, except for the little matter of them eating through the reinforced concrete walls in a few seconds.

And that wouldn’t be so bad if the beetles weren’t joined by the Queen Beetle. Hold on, do beetles have queens? Well, apparently these ones from whatever the heck time they’re from do. And she’s big. Really big. Laws of physics as relating to insects and size of legs and things defying big.[5]

Lots of the usual fun then follows, with beetles falling through a hole in a duct like Tribbles falling onto James T Kirk, pesticide proving to be ineffective, Jess not feeling at all well after having an allergic reaction to being nibbled by one of the beetles, and more beetles appearing everywhere in a manner reminiscent of Gremlins.

All the fun is being observed from New Dawn[6] by Philip, who refuses to release the Lockdown, and April, who when not being watched by Connor, doesn’t seem to need her geeky glasses and talks about an octave lower, and also seems a lot more sinister.

As it appears that the beetles will chew their way out of the ARC and then cause havoc in the outside world, Philip decides to activate the autodestruct that he hadn’t bothered to mention before. Yes, apparently he has the power to incinerate the whole place, with everyone in it, and I’ll bet that wasn’t in the public/private finance deal.

Connor has a Cunning Plan, though. He can do some weird stuff with his anomaly that will emit a gamma-wave pulse that will kill the beetles. OK, it will also kill anything else that gets in the way, but fortunately the ARC has a lead-lined panic room. Oh, and all the creature cages are lead-lined too, so the rarely-seen collection of monsters will be fine too.

There’s a bit more running around, but everyone gets into the panic room in time to avoid being fatally irradiated, even though this seems to involve Abby and Connor running faster than light, but let’s not quibble about minor details like that, OK?

Having been a little perturbed by Philip’s reluctance to release the Lockdown, not to mention the little matter of the autodestruct thingy, Connor goes to New Dawn and does some sneaky looking at a remarkably insecure computer terminal. There he learns two things:

  1. The only reason the autodestruct didn’t happen was not because Philip was a nice guy who disabled it, but because the beetles ate the wires
  2. Philip has a recording of Helen Cutter talking about their joint plan

He heads back to the ARC, and apologises to Matt and Abby for having been a very silly Connor. They start to plan what to do next, but they may be a little late, as Philip is activating his own anomaly making machine, which is like Connor’s only much, much bigger. Now that can’t be good, especially as April is looking increasingly sinister. I keep expecting her to turn into Helen Cutter for some reason…

Now despite my gently mocking tone, I have to say that I respect what they’re trying to do with Primeval. It would have been easy to make it into a simple monster of the week show, add a bit of personal relationship stuff to make it look like an ongoing story and have fun. But the creators are making much more of an effort than that, with what looks like a nicely developing thread throughout both of this year’s series. Good stuff, lots of fun.

And it looks like a slightly larger creature might be causing trouble next time.  :bouncy:

[1] I generally am, you know
[2] Look, if you’re going to nitpick about unlikely technological achievements, this may not be the show for you. Anyway, Matt’s from the future, and they’ve probably got better maths there, err, then.
[3] ie, him[4]
[4] Well, strictly speaking, his company
[5] OK, OK, that sentence will be taken out and shot later
[6] Philip’s base for his sinister project