HP is robbing me blind

Since when was 25ml of ink worth $30 and why package the print head with the ink? Pretty sad when the price of the replacement ink is more than the price of the latest and greatest printer.

My Epson dot matrix printer that came with my first computer (an apple IIe) still prints fine and it’s 20 years old! Each replacement ribbon is $9 and a ribbon is good for hundreds and hundreds of pages of text.

I guess this is how HP can be a complete failure in the pc/electronics department (hp/compaq pc’s are the Ugo’s of the computer world) and still be a profitable company. It’s the Gillette business model, give them the razor for cheap and make a mint on the blades.

Upgraded the site to WordPress 1.5

Ughhh.. forgot how much time I had into customization on my old 1.2 install. The theme and css stylesheet layout for version 1.5 is completely different. So instead of trying to make my old css work I opted for a new theme, equix. Already I don’t like some of it but it’s a good base to work off. That’s the wonderful thing about OSS, I can take his style and modify it to my liking.

PHP Gallery

I know php gallery has been around forever but I just added it to subaruclub.ca this weekend to handle all the media and I’m VERY impressed. I’ve always used IDS and it’s worked well for me but due to the fact that it’s perl/cgi and it resizes on the fly it tends to be quite a resource hog.

Gallery’s upload tools are quite impressive as well. Also the fact that I was able to include the php headers and footers we already had to ‘nest’ gallery was a bonus. The gallery looks almost native to the rest of the site!

One item I noted, ImageMagick lacks support for Jpeg and PNG files by default in FreeBSD. To compile in support for these you need to do the following:

vi /etc/make.conf and add
WITH_JPEG=yes
WITH_TIFF=yes
WITH_PNG=yes
Save and exit
cd /usr/ports/graphics/ImageMagick/
make deinstall clean
make reinstall clean

Once that’s complete Gallery shouldn’t complain.

Linux on Dell PowerEdge servers…

My .com client has a mid-sized server farm at a Savvis IDC in the US. Since they are an e-tailor Christmas is one of their busiest seasons. As part of this years ramp up we’ve purchased and installed many new servers for the website, most of which is dell hardware.

Each web server node in this install runs a variation of Red Hat Linux, consisting of a base RH-9 install with numerous add ons and tweaks specific to the company. Dell hardware is quite Linux friendly, my only real gripe is with their choice of network chipsets. Why is it that on an ultra cheap PE750 you get a good, well supported Intel 10/100/1000 ethernet controller but on a $4000 PE1750 you get a Broadcom 10/100/1000 controller?

I have never really had much luck with Broadcom based network cards, usually I have to fight with the buggy TG3 kernel driver or download and compile a driver module from broadcom that isn’t without it’s bugs. Both Cisco and Foundry enterprise grade switches seem to have auto-negotiation issues with the Broadcom chipset that ships in the dell hardware. This means I have to force both sides of the link to 100-FDX, which is a pain in the butt.

Also, I’ve recently had trouble with the new Dell Cerc (Adaptec) SATA raid cards and the Linux kernel. Both the 2.4.x and 2.6.x aacraid drivers that support the new Cerc card seem to crash under heavy I/O which doesn’t really evoke confidence when you’re setting up a small fileserver. The last time this happened to me I ended up installing FreeBSD instead due to it’s much more stable Adaptec Raid controller support. Actually, in general I’ve had much better luck with Dell Perc cards based on AMI megaraid chipsets, the Linux driver for these seems quite stable and has been for a long time.

Sun Ram costs too much…

Anyone want to give me 512mb of ram for my Ultra 5? No? I didn’t think so. Playing with MySQL clustered, trying to cobble together a working cluster to run some tests on.