August 2010

Mac Book Air struggles with external monitor

My first generation MBA is having a hard time driving my Dell 2005FPW at 1680 x 1050 @60Hz. For general purpose use, i.e., web browsing, it would be sufficient. But for extended use and coding, I’m not seeing as crisp an output as I would like.

I do have to admit, a green on black iTerm is crisp, but black on white, like in Thunderbird or a web entry form, causes me eye strain.

Still struggling with wanting a new computer

So, I want a Mac Mini, but I basically really want a bare bones system that I can then flesh out. I want to have the ability to put in two drives, i.e., I really don’t care about having an optical drive.

I’d like to be able to add in a pair of SSDs. I don’t even really care about paying for the 2 500G drives, they can go in an external case. Having a TB of firewire attached drives is appealing as well.

But I guess there is a price point where I don’t want to pay for Apple’s quality versus a Frankenstein’s price. And yes, I also know that the Mac will probably be quieter.

Finally doing some mail filtering

Okay, started off with some simple procmail filtering on my main account. It has been a while since I’ve used it. But I got tired of my desktop being off while I was traveling and not having Thuderbird do the filtering for me.

The one incompatibility I have is that I want to keep unfiltered email in ‘/var/spool/mail/<username>’ such that it then shows up in my Inbox for both Thunderbird and the iPhone.

I guess I’ll add a dummy account and see if I can get it to do that with procmail.

Server reinstall

I tried to update my Shuttle XPC from Fedora 11 to 13 via yum. I’m pretty sure my system got horked with respect to yum right before this effort when I did my last yum update. It stopped being able to connect to the servers.

Once I determined it was in a bad state, I went ahead and copied off most of the data I knew was important. Yes, I missed something. :->

The data I tend to copy off is:

  1. Home directories
  2. /etc
  3. /usr/local
  4. /var/<domainname> – web site(s)
  5. /var/named

What I failed to get this time was /var/spool/mail. I guess I either thought /var was too big or too deeply nested. This is despite the fact I had over 100G more free space on my backup drive than the server’s hard drive.

So I lost a couple thousand email messages that remained in inboxes rather than being saved. Since I tend to hoard the stuff, no biggie.

The install over didn’t work as well as I would have liked, so I did a fresh install. I wasn’t that impressed with the installer – it seemed to take too long discovering the disk and skipped over some of the screens (e.g., it would consistently skip over the installation method {cd} and try to find the image on a drive slice).

After the install was done, I had to configure the following services from my backup:

  1. /etc/passwd
  2. DNS
  3. mail
  4. ssh
  5. sudo
  6. dovecot
    1. Don’t forget to generate your own certificate to enable SSL
  7. httpd
  8. noip

I hate that it makes you create an user before you can do anything and it goes ahead to create a group at the same time.

The other complication here is that since this is my only DNS server, I have to do tricks on my other machines to get outside to documentation. (Hence my desire to have a backup server ready to go on a moment’s notice).

Need a new computer

Well, need may be strong, I at least want a new one. I’m trying to decide between a Frankenstein micro-ATX from and a Mac Mini. I almost went with the new Jetway nettop, but balked when I read one too many review about fat caps with jetway motherboards. I want silent and reliable. I know that the new Mac Mini will meet that criteria, but it almost feels like overkill (web, dns, mail, and NFS testing). I’d also either have to spring for the server version or run a Linux VM.