Archive for February, 2008

How do Companies Survive Without Spam Firewalls?

2008-02-29 Leave a comment

After this happened, I went into the configuration of the network firewall in front of our spam firewall and told it to drop connections from and Here’s the result. This is the hourly mail stats from our Barracuda. The blue is the “rate-controlled” rejected spam from the spam hosts.
Rate controlled spam
You can almost hear the spam firewall going “Ahhh”.

Categories: Other Work Stuff

Another Record Spam Day

2008-02-28 1 comment

Yesterday we exceeded our previous spam record by 20%. We received 58,000 spams yesterday. The scary part is that we only set the previous record six days earlier, at 48,000. I don’t think we can sustain that rate of increase for too long before our spam firewall melts. It’s still ticking over at less than 10% utilization, but who knows if there could be a rate that would be a tipping point, after which it would suddenly leap up to maximum utilization and stop keeping up.

The problem is the massive flood of spam coming from the domain name The spammers have recently added a new spamming source at Today we’re getting hammered with about 12 to 15,000 per hour.

I just modified the firewall in front of the Barracuda to reject connections from and It’s already lightening the load on the Barracuda quite a bit.

Spammers can die in a fire, please.

Categories: Other Work Stuff, Rant

Science Night

2008-02-27 Leave a comment

Last night APEGGA hosted a “Science Night” at the kids’ school. We went and had fun watching the kids build tinfoil boats, paper airplance, electric motors, newspaper towers, and gak (some kind of slimy silly putty). We also got to watch interesting demos of the structural strength of eggs, the percussive power of baloons filled with hydrogen and oxygen, and the foaming power of baking soda. Mack particularly liked the explosions, and he also seemed fascinated by the minerals that the geologist guys had. Emily was more into the tinfoil boat building, and enjoying the demos with her classmates.

I secretly thought that the chemistry demo with the hydrogen balloons would have been more fun if the chemistry professor giving the demo had shown us how to generate and capture hydrogen at home for some home-based “experiments” since blowing stuff up at home is such good entertainment.

It was so much fun that next year I think I might volunteer to man a table during National Engineering and Geoscience Week at some of the local schools.

Categories: Neat Geek Stuff

Vision Upgrade to 5.1 Done

2008-02-26 Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I cloned our entirely virtual Vision system into Engineering, and our DB / Analyst guy Bart and our accounting people went through a run-through of upgrading Vision from 4.1 to 5.1. They were pretty successful, and after doing a bunch of testing, they figured out which of our particular customizations would have to be tweaked to get working in 5.1, and declared themselves ready.

On Saturday night, I took a last backup of the whole virtual environment, and Sunday morning, Bart upgraded Vision to 5.1. He called me at the snowboard hill by 10:40 AM to let me know he was done and everything was back up and running. I love it when an upgrade goes off so well. We’ve been running on Vision 5.1 for a couple of days, and so far, so good.

Categories: Virtualization

New Record Incoming Email Quantity

2008-02-22 4 comments

Yesterday we set a new company record for incoming emails. We received 50,060 messages on Feb 21. Of those, 3701 were legitimate emails and the other 46,359 were spam and viruses. Over 19,000 came from one email address: Note to spam harvester robots: Please harvest and spam the bejeezus out of it.

Throughout this barrage, our Barracuda spam firewall allowed a single message from to come through, and blocked the rest of the 19,000. Barracuda spam firewalls are worth their weight in bandwidth charges.

That is all.

Categories: Other Work Stuff, Rant

Thinkpad R40 Getting Old

2008-02-21 1 comment

I have a Thinkpad R40 that’s been kicking around since about mid 2004, I think. It’s been a great laptop. It’s rugged, speedy, reliable, runs Linux great, and even works with Solaris. I also love the superior keyboards of Thinkpads, being something of a keyboard snob. Sadly, something is wrong with the wired ethernet subsystem. I intermittently lose the wired ethernet connection. It happens in Windows, Linux, and Solaris, so it’s not a driver issue. It’s not just the port, because the problem occurs with the docking station too. The wireless adapter still works normally, but we don’t have wireless network access to our internal networks, so it’s tough to use it for work.
Thinkpad R40
If I can’t figure out what’s going on with it, I will be sad to see the old workhorse go. Hopefully I can replace it with another Thinkpad, or dare I say it, a Macbook Pro (gasp).

Categories: Other Work Stuff

Emily’s Head Shaved

2008-02-14 Leave a comment

Emily raised over $1200 in the Valentines Day Hair Massacure.

Here’s before,
Long hair
then with pink hair, which suits her surprisingly well,
Pink hair
then shaved! She has a nice round head.
Shaved head
I’m very proud of her.

Thanks so much to our many friends and family who generously donated. It goes to two great causes.

Categories: Personal

Lots of Wii

2008-02-12 Leave a comment

I’ve been playing lots of Wii games lately. First, my old friend Tim from high school, who works for Vivendi Games, sent us a copy of Crash of the Titans, made by his company. Mack and I played that for several hours on Sunday, and it’s a hoot. I also did a little Wii Boxing on Sunday evening. Then, I finally talked Jenn into playing some Wii with Emily and she got hooked on DDR Hottest Party. Jenn and I played until after midnight on Sunday night and another couple of hours last night. I spectacularly suck at DDR, but it’s exercise, anyways. Jenn has much more dance-coordination than me, not surprisingly.

Categories: Neat Geek Stuff

Getting GroupWise to work on 64-bit Ubuntu

2008-02-08 12 comments

I recently switched one of my machines to Ubuntu 7.10 64-bit edition. I use 64-bit Linux on my desktop so I can run VMware Server and use 64-bit guest machines.

We use GroupWise for email and calendaring, and I’ve never had anything but brutal performance out of Evolution in my GroupWise account so I decided I wanted to use the real GroupWise client. Unfortunately, it’s a 32-bit rpm package built for SLED and there’s no deb package of it, and no 64-bit build.

To get it working on 64-bit Ubuntu took a few steps. First, I needed a deb package, and GroupWise comes as an rpm, so I installed “alien” which is a utility that can convert between package formats.

sudo apt-get install alien

I tried using alien on my 64-bit machine to convert the rpm to a deb like this:

sudo alien -c novell-groupwise-client-7.0.2-20060607.rpm

This resulted in a “wrong architecture” error like this:

dpkg-gencontrol: error: current build architecture amd64
does not appear in package's list (i386)

Since I couldn’t figure out how to make alien try to build an i386 deb package on my x64 machine in 30 seconds, I gave up, used scp to copy the rpm file to the i386 machine next to me in my office, and used alien on it to convert the rpm to a 32-bit deb package. Then I copied the resulting deb package back to the 64-bit machine.

Next, I knew I needed a 32-bit Java environment for the GroupWise client. Ubuntu has a lot of 32-bit packages built for the 64-bit platform under the deb package moniker of ia32-xxx.deb. The 32-bit java package I needed was ia32-sun-java6-bin, which provides a 32-bit java6 jre.

sudo apt-get install ia32-sun-java6-bin

Next, I tried installing the GroupWise deb I created before using dpkg:

sudo dpkg -i novell-groupwise-client-7.0.2-20060607.deb

The install failed complaining of missing libraries libstdc++5, libasound2 and libgcc1. I removed GroupWise, installed the dependencies, and reinstalled GroupWise. This time it installed.

sudo apt-get remove novell-groupwise-client
sudo apt-get install libstdc++5 libasound2 libgcc1
sudo apt-get install novell-groupwise-client-7.0.2-20060607.deb

After that, I had to change the jre that GroupWise comes with for the official Sun jre I installed earlier. To do that, I just went like this:

sudo rm -r /opt/novell/groupwise/client/jre
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/jvm/ia32-java-6-sun/jre \

The next step was to try running the client using /opt/novell/groupwise/client/bin/ which of course failed. This time the error message indicated a missing library and some libgtk and libglib components. Some googling indicated that I needed libglib1.2 and libgtk1.2. Remembering this is a 32-bit application meant I needed the 32-bit versions of these libraries. Unfortunately, there are no ia32 packages of libgtk1.2 or libglib1.2 in the Ubuntu 64-bit repositories.

I had to go to Ubuntu’s web repository for Ubuntu 7.10 and download libgtk1.2 and libglib1.2 from here and here respectively. I needed the 32-bit versions, not the 64-bit versions.

I saved the two deb files locally, and then unpacked them into a temporary directory and copied the libraries to the 32-bit library directory.

mkdir temp
dpkg -X libglib1.2_1.2.10-17build1_i386.deb temp
dpkg -X libgtk1.2_1.2.10-18_i386.deb
sudo cp temp/usr/lib/* /usr/lib32/

At that point, all the library dependencies were settled, and I was able to run GroupWise without problems. To get a GroupWise icon on my desktop, I just copied the .desktop file to the ~/Desktop folder:

cp /opt/novell/groupwise/client/gwclient.desktop ~/Desktop/

Good luck if you are trying this yourself.

Categories: GroupWise, Linux

OpenSolaris Network WTF

2008-02-02 1 comment

I have an older IBM Thinkpad R40. It has a build of OpenSolaris on it from the fourth quarter last year. I have been trying to get the Intel Centrino wireless card to work on it, and playing around with nwam. I enabled nwam last week, had no success (it detects a jillion wireless access points out the window of my office but won’t connect to any of them) and I disabled it again and switched back to manual network configuration. Now, when I’m on a wired connection, it works for a while and then forgets which device is the gateway device and I lose my network connection. Going into the network administration panel and setting the gateway device usually gets it back for a couple of minutes, but then it goes away again. It’s very frustrating.

So far, I’ve used svcadm to ensure that the nwamd is disabled and the svc:/network/physical:default service is enabled, which is how it was setup before I enabled nwam initially. I’m not sure where I should go next. I was just about ready to do a live upgrade on this machine anyways, so I might just do that and see if the problem fixes itself. I’m running Solaris on this box to try to become more familiar with the intricacies of Solaris, since we have a few storage servers in production running Solaris, but I need this machine to at least work on a basic level, otherwise it’ll be back to Ubuntu on it.

Categories: Sun Solaris

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