Not so Archy anymore

Okay I admit. No Arch on my desktop at this moment. However not all is lost!

Since the return to world of Window$, I have started playing around with virtualization more. So far I have jumped into Xen and KVM hosts running inside VMWare (nested virtualization it is called?) and been having fun with them. Xen virtualization for now has been mostly because of a presentation we need to do at school, but inspired by it I also put installed another Debian host with KVM modules, QEMU and virt-manager. I’m still really just a beginner with all of this, but I am fairly excited with all the possibilities, some which I do plan to incorporate into my proper server machine some time during this spring or summer when I get time. The plan is to install either Debian or CentOS as host and have at least couple of VMs running there, possible one them as a game server, other not so sure yet. Possibly some lightweight web server for test purposes.

Since I’m getting somewhat hang of setting the VMs up and running, I think the next important step would be learning those snapshot features available and start using LVMs a bit more again. But I’ll update more on this stuff later on.

I guess that is about it for now, not too much to update at the moment. Spring has arrived and I’ve been cycling again, likely need to switch the rear rear derailleur since it appears to have bend at some point and now throwing the chains off the gears every now and then, besides all the adjustment I’ve tried to do.

Goodbye for now, enjoy the spring and coming summer!

The Arch journey

It’s already the second month of 2017 apparently and it’s been pretty much three months since my last posting. Not a lot has happened, school has been going just fine and I’ve actually given in and fully adopted Arch Linux. Or at least as fully as I can, I do still have to use Windows at school but you get the idea.

I decided to go and try to install Arch Linux on my school/work laptop for the first time on the new year’s eve and I was bit surprised how painless the whole process was. It took me less than two hours to get the installation done and not too long after that to get the graphical environment running (Gnome 3). Since the installation has been quite solid since that I even made the decision of at least trying to go full Linux on my home machines and started the process of migrating my Windows 10 desktop to an Arch machine. The install itself was again quite painless, took actually less than hour this time around but a few problems arouse. On my desktop I have an actual dedicated graphics card, Nvidia GTX 970 and to fully utilize it to its potential I had to install the proprietary drivers. Well, the drivers themselves installed just fine but for some reason I couldn’t get the graphical environment, more precisely display manager (LightMD) to start. Luckily I was somewhat familiar with the systemd services and logging process since we used CentOS as an operating system of choice at school to study Linux. I did some digging in the journalctl and apparently the culprit was just a single missing x-server related package, which was preventing the connection to be made for xorg and then launching LightDM.

And with that said, now I am quite happy Arch user. Got myself a nice Mate 1.16 desktop environment, working graphics drivers and all the programs I need. The hope is that this installation will be used for quite some time, I am not too afraid for some things to broke every now and then, I should be able to if not fix those at least get around them until I do have the know-how of what happened with the updates. I do plan to keep my laptop bit more clean when it comes to the packages installed, just so it might survive more updates without anything mission critical breaking. Though to be honest there isn’t too many things that would be affected by a breakage since most of the work is done either with the Google cloud applications or at school using the Windows machines and the Cisco devices. So not too much to lose other than an hour or two of getting the laptop back running.

But for now I say my farewells and hopefully next time I am writing here I do still have the Arch installed on my desktop as well, I do not want to give in to the temptation of installing Windows again, even if it means “sacrificing” some more or less useful applications (e.g. Adobe Digital Editions and the software related getting the DRM protected e-books usable on e-reader).

It’s been a while (School, Manjaro Deepin etc.)

It has been too long since my last post. It’s not because I’ve been busy (I have not) but more of not exactly having too much to write about.

A few weeks ago a new period started at school and we switched from Windows servers to Linux, more precisely CentOS. I’ve used Linux-distributions for quite some time now, first time in 2009-2010 I think with Xubuntu but more actively with Ubuntu 12.04 distro family, especially Mint 13. As for late I’ve been mostly using Manjaro Linux since that has been worked so well with my laptop (Lenovo G50-80) and went on to try the Chinese Deepin desktop environment which has actually become my favourite DE to use on the go. Wouldn’t use on desktop since I do want some more customizability. It has worked without hiccups so far, though there is little annoyance with the window manager when you launch first an application it will distort the desktop for a quarter of a second. Bit nitpicking but would be nice to have fixed.

But to actually go to the point of why I wrote about my experiences with Linux, the classes on Linux/CentOS have been quite nice so far. Learned quite a bit from Logical Volume Managements (LVM), how the Access Control List (ACL) works and little bit of how the system logging can be configured. We are also starting finally a project using what we have learned so far by using a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino micro controller to collect and send sensor data to a database and present in some form to users and maybe do something else with the data as well if we have the time. The connection between the devices shouldn’t be too much of a problem since we have some experience with the devices. In the spring the group I was working with used Raspberry Pi and a PyBoard to collect various sensor data and send it to web before removing the Pi and just using the PyBoard itself to do the work (minus the web part which we left out in the final product). So that experience I believe should come in handy with this IoT-project.

But in the other, bit lighter news the snow has finally come! It is a bit twin bladed sword since I do enjoy cycling to school and to other errands but on the other hand I love walking and running during winter time. The cool weather for me is just so much more comfortable since the sweating is much less of a problem and the body stays cool during the run. For the time being I try to at least go and run twice a week, preferably three times (twice during the week and once on weekend). Those times are also great for listening on podcasts since the ones I usually listen to last from an hour to around three hours and my trips to the outside world last around an hour so shorter shows are almost done when I finish up and the longer ones can be split to multiple days. And also as a side note, I really should invest in either some sort of slipper prevention or just get a new pair of shoes with them built-in.

But that is all for now, I shall write again hopefully by Christmas time, maybe earlier if I have enough things to write about. Adiós and enjoy the winter!

Life’s good

So the school started last week and so did my major studies in IoT and cloud computing. It has been mostly what I expected. Some physics on Mondays and rest of the week is more on point with the cloud computing and server stuff with Windows server virtualization, CCNA studies and little tinkering with an Arduino board which we are going to use with a project later on.

I was kind of hoping we would use Linux with the servers but to be honest it is still important to know different tools so all is good with that. Also since I haven’t used Windows as a server that is new stuff to me. The CCNA or Cisco Certified Network Associate is basically studying for CCNA1 in this term. We are pretty much working in groups the whole time and in the CCNA1 class we did some basic Cisco routing using some network switches and connected two desktops through together using the mentioned switches using the command line tools used with the Cisco devices.

Arduino for those who don’t know is a micro controller which can for example used for digital thermometers or controlling lights at home. A bit similar to the Raspberry Pi but as the Arduino is just a micro controller it doesn’t have a proper OS installed like with Raspberry. The board has a small on board memory which has the basic OS which runs the programs uploaded to it.

One big difference also this year is that the studies are more or less international. Pretty much half of the class are foreigners so English is used from day to day basis which creates a good environment for learning the language. In my group there is me, other Finnish student and an exchange student from Japan.

But besides studies what have I done? I’ve finally made some use to my old PC parts which have been laying around for quite some time. With a new power supply, CPU cooler and an HDD I turned my old gaming rig into a home server. It has been working quite nicely so far. It is running Ubuntu Server 16.04 and so far I’ve installed Samba for file sharing, LAMP stack for possible web hosting testing (won’t host anything public there since I don’t to risk my home connection being over flooded with who knows what). I’ve been also running my personal Minecraft-server there for a days now and if need comes could run other game servers there for few friends. I also have a few crontab jobs doing basic backups for the server (and possible future servers) syncing files to a second internal hard drive, which by the way is my old laptop SSHD, and to my Raspberry Pi file server. So files should be quite safe. For future I might want to upgrade the system memory from 4 GB to 8 or even 16 and start some testing with server virtualization with KVMs (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) for example. I did try some virtualization with Virtualbox with phpVirtualBox (web interface for managing VirtualBox VMs) but run into some version problems with the latter since that hasn’t been updated to the latest version yet for Ubuntu 16.04.

As far as the plans I was talking about for this blog in the first post, I planned to do a thorough review of the Steam controller, but I’ve been too lazy to actually learn the configuration of that device to give it a proper, fair review. So maybe some day but no promises.

But for now I bid you farewell and a good week wherever you are. I shall continue my adventures in this world we call Earth and learn more about servers.

Blog started and about the plans for it

Hello dear reader

A few days ago I came up with a thought of starting my own blog again. I kept a blog for some three to four years ago and it was fun while it lasted, but eventually it just fell apart thanks to my inactivity of writing posts and other activities. However I think now is a fairly good time to get this thing started again since I think it’s good to write longer texts once in a while.

My hope is to write at least something every week, just to keep this “hobby” alive so it doesn’t dry out too soon. I have an idea or two for proper posts already, but they require a bit more research but hopefully I can get that out by some time next week.

What I can already write about however is this site. I planned on hosting this blog and my work in progress home page on my Raspberry Pi, but with having a page publicly available brings its own risks and I’d like to keep my home connection working. Also this way I can keep testing stuff with my Pi without worrying about the site going down. I will probably start building my small home NAS out of the Pi at some point since I got my external drive last week finally (500GB USB3 drive for -40% of the original price) for that project. I might post about how the NAS project went when it’s done.

But I think that is all for now, take care and let’s write some more later!