August 2006 Archives

Tiered Communication Model

I've been thinking a lot about different mediums of communication. It's taken me a long time to learn not to flame people when they send me a crappy/stupid/insipid/mean/antogonistic email, but instead to take a deep breath ... and call them on the phone. This idea has led me to use a model of tiered communcations. Face to face is tier 1. It's the purest most reliable (though not perfect) medium of communication. Then there's video/tele conferencing (tier 2) which has many of the face to face elements like real time feedback but only include a small part of the sensory spectrum. Then you get into delayed mediums like IM/email/letters which are coarse and prone to misinterpretation (tier 3). Many people would contend that video conferencing is the same as face to face, but that's not true. In a video conference you can't smell, you can't feel air currents from exasperated arms waiving, and there's no risk of somebody punching you in the nose. So given any scenario I try to decide which of those 3 tiers is the most appropriate for the communication. I try to reserve tier three communciations to simple statements of fact that are hard to misinterpret. I know it's a little over thought, but I've worked hard in the last few years to develop these "ephemeral" aspects of professionalism. I'm sure this has probably been developed, researched and PhD'ed. But I drummed this up on my own.

Latest home storage upgrade, 400GB


One of the RAID1 arrays was failing in my IDE bandelero because of a bad hard disk. Worse because of kernel panics the reiserfs was corrupt and causing further kernel panics. It took me a long time pussy footing around the filesystem to get a good backup. I basically ran strace against rsync and waited for it to kernel panic reading the reiserfs filesystem. Then I gathered any lstat64 failures, rebooted and excluded those files from the backup. After about 20 kernel panic reboots and lstat64 results, I got a full backup. I'm switching back to ext3. Reiser did fine until the hardware failed. I was using reiser 3.6. I'm sure it's more stable now, but once burned twice shy.

Thankfully no critical files were included in the corruption. My old writeups call this an mp3 share, but it has grown more important than that in my adult life. It has tax returns, quickbooks files, laptop backups, appliance serial numbers and a lot of other important data. I even keep an offsite backup a few times a year.

After all that was done, I could move on to building a new array. Best buy had 200GB disks for $79 each. That's 40 cents per GB or 80 cents per RAID1 GB. That's a nice change from last time where it was $480 for 240GB which is $2 per GB or $4 per RAID1 GB. I'm still using the same promise chip (PDC20269) based Maxtor PCI card. What follows are the details of building a new 400GB logical volume from 2 RAID1 arrays with some helpful commands tacked on the end.

Symphony Tarns Hike

We spent our July 31st anniversary on a three day camping trip (pics) to Symphony Tarns off of Hiland Rd near in Eagle River. We hiked in through the valley as suggested in an Alaska hiking book. We joked that is was the gate to Moridor because it was wet, long and bushy with a cross through beaver brush on water and then a steep hike up to the Tarns. I took on a severe chill (aka hypothermia) the first night from dehydration and exhaustion (server change overs at work). Olivia saved me while I was chittering in the tent by making warm dinner in the cold dark Blair Witch vibe. I slept most of the next day, but we had dinner on a high point over looking the lakes. We decided to take the mountain ridges back and skip the bog. That path started with a hard climb and then a death march ridge run. We ate lunch huddled around around the stove in the driving wind. Some high points of the death march were great terrain, seeing a herd of mountain goats from above (video), some great alpine flowers, and just beautiful views. But it was a long hard 9 hours. We estimat ethe hike was 17-18 miles with about 4000 feet of up-again-down-again vertical gain.