Murkworks web update

For those of you keeping track, DNS changes have as of this afternoon still not fully made it out into the wild. I’m seeing several of our domains at half-propped status, with both versions (with and without www) not agreeing on whether they’re pointing at the old addresses or the new ones.

I cannot currently tell if this is an Apache problem, because the old addresses are not answering connections at all–if I try to throw my web browser directly at or, the connection times out and never actually makes it to the servers. So there’s nothing in the Apache logs for me to debug. Note that the exact same servers are happily accepting web connections sent to the new addresses, though.

So, if you have web content with us on the Murk and you still can’t get to it, have patience and keep checking. Your domain probably isn’t fully propped yet. If you want to doublecheck whether it has or not, and you don’t know how to do that, here’s how:

  • Windows computers: Open a command prompt and type ‘nslookup’, then a space, then your domain. For example, ‘nslookup’.
  • Mac computers or Linux: Open a command prompt and do the same thing as with a Windows computer, only using the ‘host’ command instead of ‘nslookup’. For example, ‘host’.

If you get back an address that starts with 209, that’s the old address. One that starts with 173 is the new one.

Questions, let me know! And thanks for your patience, Murknet peeps!

Murknet websites status update

userinfosolarbird is taking care of most of the technical work to transfer our network over to the new connection, but the websites are on me. So I’m making a clean sweep through all of the websites we’re supporting, to try to make sure that they’re all still connecting properly.

And, Internets, I could use your help! We host the following domains. Please let me know if you can reach them both with and without www at the beginning of the URL:


ALSO, and this is IMPORTANT:

If you own a domain hosted at our site, you should log into whatever registrar you’re using to make sure that your references to our name servers are up to date. Drop me a comment or send me email at my gmail address (annathepiper) to doublecheck what name servers you should be using!

Heads up all, shiny new Murknet on the way!

I just got the confirmation from Comcast: we will be having SHINY! NEW! INTERNET! installed this coming Thursday between 8am and 12pm. userinfosolarbird will be working with the tech to get everything up and running.

This means that any of you folks out there who have or use resources on our net may notice weirdness in our web pages or mailing lists or server accessibility over the next couple of weeks as things get updated, and as the changes propagate out onto the net at large. So please have patience! And once everything settles, you should hopefully even notice much better speed for loading web pages and the like.

If you have files on our servers, either newmoon or lodestone, now would be a very good time to doublecheck that you have backups. Make sure in particular that you have off-site copies of anything critical. If you need help getting to any of your files, let me know!

Survey of usage

Hi all,

Dara and I wanted to communicate with everybody that in the last many months we have been highly, HIGHLY dissatisfied with the state of our Internet service at the Murkworks. The quality of service we’ve had has been extremely erratic; our bandwidth has been very unstable, and far too often we’ve been actively down. This cannot continue.

But in order to make informed decisions about what course of action to pursue to improve matters, we need to hear about who’s using the Murkworks resources regularly, and in what fashion. So if you’re doing anything regularly on our servers, please let us know.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Hosting personal or professional web pages, whether for yourself or an organization
  • A regularly maintained email account
  • An active mailing list
  • Primary or secondary DNS for domains
  • Using account space for a backup of personal files

So please check in, folks. It’s important for us to get a real sense of who’s actively using the system. Thanks!

All clear? Maybe? This is Seattle so more like partly cloudy

Okay folks, newmoon is talking to the world again. Mail seems to be coming in and going out. Mailing lists are apparently working again, and it is now once more possible to ssh into the box.

It took userinfosolarbird getting home to help me beat the box into shape, though. And this is what we had to do:

  • Dara discovered the cd drive in the box wasn’t actually properly plugged in. Plugged that back in properly, only to discover that it was old and crotchety enough that it was refusing to read the rescue disc I’d created
  • Tried to burn a second rescue disc, but the old and crotchety drive wouldn’t read that either, so Dara swapped the old drive out for a different one we had
  • Using our backups from earlier in the week, I grabbed a screwed up copy of a file and got us back to the point of being to log in
  • Once we were able to log in, I had to reinstall a package called libssl, which I had to do by manually grabbing the .deb file since Debian’s actually had an OS update and apt-get wouldn’t let me get the version I wanted (for those of you for whom that actually makes sense)

Long story short, those of you who rely on newmoon, please, PLEASE check your stuff and make sure that everything looks okay. If you have files locally stored on the box please ssh in and check them. If you’re getting mail from newmoon, please doublecheck that your mail clients are behaving as you expect.

Please report any issues to me or Dara. Drop a comment on this post, or else send me email at either my murkworks or my gmail addresses.

Open Source is the future of PAIN

Current status of newmoon: fucked.

I had discovered that the reason the box wasn’t ssh’able upon bootup was that ssh was segfaulting. So were the imap and pop3 daemons, and all of them were bitching about Fine, I think, and as per userinfosolarbird‘s advice, I decide to pull /usr/lib out of newmoon’s last backup files.

Which went swimmingly until the part where I tried to cut into the extraction from the tar file, which must have been before the damn files were actually extracted properly. Because when I copied them in on top of /usr/lib on newmoon and rebooted, they bitched about being “too short”. And now I can’t even log in to the damn box, even from the console. I try to log in as root, and I never get a password prompt, and it tells me “Invalid login”.

So now I’m going to have to create a Debian Live CD, in the hopes that booting from THAT will let me fix the damn system, and if that doesn’t work I’m going to have to ctrl-alt-fuckit and see if I can just upgrade to the new Debian 6 release. And that’s going to take oh so very long given that the Murkworks’ bandwidth is CRAP. And this is assuming we even keep door and lodestone running, given that we have a Wind Advisory up until 9pm this evening, with the potential of 50mph gusts.

All of which, given that a) I am fighting off a cold and really wanted to curled up under a blanket for most of this afternoon, and b) I wanted to be editing my novel today rather than doing emergency system repair, does NOT have me in a pleasant mood right now. I swear, right here and right now, that the next person who tries to preach to me about how awesome Linux is and how much better off we’d all be running Open Source software is going to get a keyboard shoved down their throat. When it comes to Open Source vs. The Damn Software Works Without Me Having to Google How to Do Every Step of the Process, you know what? I’ll take The Damn Software Works.

Newmoon damaged by power spike, murkworks mail down

We just had a couple of power spikes at the Murk, like we do. This time though they appear to have taken out one of our UPSes–and it was the one that newmoon, our mail server, was plugged into. When I tried to bring newmoon back up, it worked for a while and then hung. I am not currently able to log into the system to restart its services.

So this means that as of this afternoon, mail services on are down. This impacts not only personal accounts but the various mailing lists we run. Please spread the word if you’re on any of our mailing lists, and if you have backup personal email accounts, let people know they should use them this weekend if they need to get in touch with you.

userinfosolarbird or I will post here when we have more updates. Watch here, either of our journals, or my Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Sorry about this, folks. :/

Vacation in review

I’ve got to say, two weeks of just hanging out at home has been one of the nicest vacations I’ve had for a while. It hasn’t been fancy or exciting or expensive, but it sure has been relaxing. The last few times I’ve had this much time at home have been surgery recovery–and by comparison, this has been more like the Longest Weekend Ever. All things considered, an excellent way to round out 2010.

In brief, here’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks:

  • Saw and enjoyed both Tron: Legacy and Tangled. Both were quite pretty, and while T: L had less plot than one might have liked, it actually had more plot and emotional weight to it than the first one did. And I say this as a fan of the first one, which I rewatched during this downtime, too! As for Tangled, I liked it more than I expected it would, given my prior fear that it’d screw up my favorite fairy tale. It was Disney by the numbers, but then, Disney does do awfully catchy numbers.
  • Did Longest Night with , in which we did what seems to be becoming my yearly tradition of rewatching The Lord of the Rings. We are sure you’ve noticed by now that the sun did, in fact, come back up.
  • Speaking of Solstice, and Christmas by extension, I didn’t really want much loot this year thanks to having gotten the Awesome Guitar of Awesomeness. But a few lovely bits of loot were had nonetheless! Most notably, Dara gave me a really clever little capo that lets you capo individual strings and therefore simulate different tunings. I also got Peter Jackson’s King Kong on Blu-Ray from , Matt Smith’s just-concluded series of Doctor Who from , a B&N ebook card from , a lovely hardbound copy of a Norwegian graphic novel from , and the obligatory pile of stocking stuffer candy.
  • The Thursday before Christmas, Dara and I went downtown and spent a lovely afternoon at Ummelina, the spa on 4th. We did their two-person Pacific Rim package, and mmmm relaxing. This was redeeming the gift card I got Dara back in April for her birthday, since we’d decided that “while I am on vacation” was an excellent time to do so. After the spa, I did a lightning-quick raid on the marketboys, catching them JUST as they were closing up shop and surprising them by my arrival. They looked pleased to see me! Or at least pleased to sell me literally last-minute raspberries. ;)
  • Christmas Day itself was fairly quiet. Dara and I went back downtown for the aforementioned viewing of Tangled, and afterwards had Chinese at a place downtown we hadn’t tried before. We didn’t care for the place much, but they were awfully overworked that night so we couldn’t quite hold it against them. And the food, while mediocre, was revived by Dara later for two more meals’ worth of nomming. So it was a win in the end.
  • Have been doing a lot of trying to fill out all the achievements on Plants Vs. Zombies, as well as trying to play through the new levels in Angry Birds. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.
  • The high point of Christmas Day was definitely the Doctor Who Christmas Special, and big kudos to BBC America for having actually broadcast it in a timely fashion and uncut, as I previously posted!
  • Also as previously posted, Dara and I had an almost impromptu totally blottoed viewing of “Spock’s Brain”!
  • Also watched a lot of MST3K as I was seriously in the mood. Bought one of the DVD box sets we hadn’t owned before and watched all of those, as well as The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (PERFECT followup to “Spock’s Brain”) and Hercules Against the Moon Men via YouTube, streamed over the Blu-Ray player. (Which worked amazingly well, I might add, and way better than playing those same videos over any of the computers in the house would have done. Even given that it’s on the exact same network!)
  • Some light reading was done, and way less writing or editing than should have been (read: none to speak of).
  • Caught a cold, which was NOT so fun. But really, it didn’t change much of what I was doing anyway, except while I was shaking it off, I was doing the same things with added blankets, Nyquil, and sneezing. George was very, very happy to occupy my lap the whole time regardless.
  • And last night, we finished off the year with a lovely visit from Jenny as well as , , and their children, for consumption of homemade pizza, some more boozahol and snacks, and playing of Rock Band 3. Jenny stayed overnight with us so she wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to Issaquah with a bunch of drunk New Year’s Eve partiers out on icy roads, and we got up to have tasty breakfast cooked by Paul. A great way to finish off the old year, and start a new one, indeed.

So yeah. Feeling ready and rested if not tanned, and rather looking forward to getting back into the swing of normal things on Monday. Bring it on, 2011!

Yet another power outage

But at least this one was short.

Woke up around 5:30, and failed to get back to sleep in the Comfy Blankets of Comfiness, so around 6:30 I thought “screw it” and got up with the intention of having a nice leisurely breakfast and then heading out for work. So there I was boiling water for tea and opening up the laptop to start my morning perusal of the Intarwebz, when suddenly–PANG! NO POWER!

Couple of nervous-making flickers, too. So I went to shut down the server core, and while userinfospazzkat came up to feed the cats and turn on a lantern to light the kitchen, I went up to wake up userinfosolarbird and let her know the power was out. A call to Puget Sound Energy told us only that “equipment failure” was the cause of the outage, and that it had apparently impacted 1,165 customers. YAY!

So I headed on into work a little early, getting market berries on the way for breakfast nomming, and shortly after I got to work Dara jumped on IM to let me know that we were back. And that I’d accidentally shut the servers down for reboot, not shutdown. Oops. *^_^*;;

Anyway folks, those of you with resources, please to be doublechecking them and make sure that they’re functioning correctly. We should be fine, but never hurts to doublecheck. And oh yes, for those of you who log onto it, the MurkMUSH is up!