2011
01.18

A number of people have posted comments or e-mailed regarding the status of Flay.Com’s previous site. Unfortunately, the plug-in database and web pages contain a good deal of content that was sent to me with permission to publish. I can’t just hand it over for somebody else to do the same. It’s a matter of respecting other’s intellectual property.

Since I have neither the time nor the inclination to go through every page, entry and posting to decide the status of each, I’m afraid the database won’t be going anywhere in the foreseeable  future. Sorry. There are other alternatives available out there and I suggest that the more they are supported, the more likely they will stay maintained in the future.

2011
01.06

Stanley Up a Mountain

Stanley On The Snow Took a great drive with some visiting friends just before Christmas and Lee snapped this of Stanley. Mercilessly swiped from his Flicker account.

2011
01.05

I live in Vancouver. Really, the only weather we have a legitimate right to complain about is some pretty constant rain throughout the winter months. It’s often cold rain, fair enough (in fact it’s slushing down outside as I type this, like millions of tiny snowballs being thrown at you).

But when I see the below, I’ve got to consider that I’ve become a mincing motorcyclist. Sure, I’ll put up with a bit (or days even) of riding in the rain when it’s warm out. But as soon as the temperature drops, I’m hiding inside with everybody else. New years resolution #2, stop being such a sissy!

2011
01.05

I want to monitor the entire facility here. I mean, I do “check stuff” but getting a actual temp reading from all machines sure beats wandering around and deciding whether a box is overheating by feeling the exhaust vents. Or whether the fans are fine by machine vibration and noise (or lack therof). Being sent warnings rocks. There is, as usual this late in the season, no budget. So…

I cobbled together a box out of abandoned workstation parts and install Ubuntu. Runs great right out of the gate. Nagios, the monitoring application seems to install fine. But of course, it can’t see anything yet…

Now, to join that machine to the Active Directory Domain. Apparently I don’t have to screw around with Samba config files any more because I’m told there is a application to join up to AD in the Ubuntu Software Center. After a few hours of screwing around, I come to the conclusion it just doesn’t work. Sure enough the web confirms it’s fatally bugged. Solution is to ditch that and download the latest from Likewise, the developer. Presto! We log into the domain just fine. Still kind of slow but messing about with the config files for awhile seems to fix that. Thanks internet! Just have to allow the new domain account to sudo so I can keep working. Took a couple of tries but I finally sussed things. Make sure to use visudo or <cough> bad things happen.

Now, for the Nagios client. Luckily there is a project with a precompiled one for Windows, NSCLient++ to the rescue! The install goes without any warnings but can’t communicate with the Linux box. Well, for one the wizard didn’t seem to configure it correctly. And, yep, I left the firewall running on the windows side… <sigh>

Still no go. Looking into the Nagios application configuration, there is some weirdness. The docs refer to config files that can’t be found, even with a system search. Easy enough to re-create them from the documentation but, still, strange stuff. Finally the config passes a sanity check and we launch! Now we connect to the client just fine, but some of the modules are not reporting correctly.  Step one accomplished! Hopefully all the tweaking goes well and I can get those pesky modules performing as they should.

Helpful Links:

Domain Users into Sudoers
Mount samba shares with utf8 encoding using cifs
Nagios Blog
Monitoring Windows Machines with Nagios

2010
12.31

Cityengine for Vue

CityEngine for VueOne of the latest fun toys has been CityEngine. We use the (rather pricy) standalone at work but they’ve just come out with a cheap(er) version for Vue users. I’m not up on the restrictions this version is under but if you haven’t check out this software and, well, you have a use for massive cities, it’s amazing to watch your first city being built before your eyes as you press a button. Then it all gets pythonscripty/cody/technical, but the build button is still a hoot. There is a trial of the standalone version for those so inclined.

2010
12.31

Maxwell Render Fire

maxwell render logoI bought into Maxwell Render as soon as I came out, being a fanboy of Next Limit’s software in the past (though the stiff upgrade pricing on Realflow has me stopped at V4). It’s a pretty renderer but, as is the lot of unbiased renderers, a bit on the slow side, especially for someone used to FPrime-like speediness. Feedback being the mantra in TV land, I’ve put it aside until now. I must have missed the message but they’ve added an interactive renderer to the lastest version. Maxwell “Fire” works a treat through Maya (and other packages) and lets you tweak quickly before setting off what is likely to still be a long render.

2010
12.31

Trees Designer 1.6

It’s the most fun IMHO. I mean, in the history of LW plugins, I’d consider FPrime the most useful. But EVERY time I’ve started up Pawel Olas’s Trees Designer, I’ve lost track of time. It’s easy to use and what a concept, creating geometry guides for foliage to grow to and around? Brilliant! Of course, I neglected to ask for a license transfer when I “upgraded” my LW dongle from the old parallel port version to USB. Time to go begging…

2010
12.30

I’ve been playing around with some facility monitoring apps like Nagios. They run on linux, so I revived an old box at work and learned a ton configuring it to exist within our AD domain. Overall I’ve been pretty happy as Nagios is very cool. Totally worth the effort. Apparently I’ve become overconfident in the process.

I borked my laptop. See, it’s one of those units with both and Intel and Nvidia graphics chips in it. So you can extend the battery life or switch over in order to play games perform more intensive tasks. It works really well with a button click under Win7-64. I didn’t even consider that Linux, which is SO easy to install and configure these days, would have a problem. I mean, I don’t care which chip it recognizes as I’m not going to do much intensive work anyway. Gulp. It gets confused and recognized neither! From what I can glean, it CAN function with a bit of config work but will likely have “issues” running a GUI. This scheme relies on hooks built into Win7 and just isn’t supported on Linux. Garrrrrr! I suppose now I’ll have to learn how to erase any trace of linux from a machine without also nuking it’s native OS installation. Yeah, you’re right, I should backup first, it might take a couple of tries. Wasted an evening, Bah!

* one should note, I’m a massive bit of a linux noob novice and, more likely than not, I’ve simply done something wrong, no matter how plaintive my cries to the contrary. In fact, I’m constantly amazed anybody lets me touch their computer, much less pay me to do so…

2010
12.29

Welcome to the, what is it, fourth? incarnation of Flay.Com. The old site was a bear to manage and didn’t reflect my present interests. Between a job, wife, family (well, four rescue cats and a bouncy little dog) and a crack-like addiction to motorcycles, if I’m going to type for free, I damn well better enjoy it.

I’ll say it up front, the plug-in database is unlikely to come back. I had the gig for ten years or so, others have picked up the slack. They’re not hard to build, but to maintain long term, well, that’s a different matter. A constant slog.

Postings here will more closely relate to my present personal interests and, unfortunately for some readers, personality. Now, for starters….

The dog needs a walk. Later.