Mail outage on

Heads up folks who are on mailing lists hosted on or who get their personal mail there: we are having an unexpected outage of newmoon, the server that runs our mail. We’re working on it.
The outage is going to necessitate a clean install of the operating system, and once that’s done we’ll have to reinstate functionality like mailing lists. We apologize for the inconvenience!
Primarily impacted by this:
1) the and filk mailing lists;
2) anybody who gets personal mail on newmoon.
I’ll post here, on Twitter, and on my Facebook page when newmoon is back up. Thanks in advance for your patience! Drop a comment if you have any questions.

Solving some computer issues

The last few days have been pretty big for solving computer issues at the Murkworks. So here’s a writeup about what I solved!

First and foremost, I got crossposting to Dreamwidth working again. Turns out the root cause of the problem was Dreamwidth changing security settings under the hood, as per this post. The instructions they gave for generating an API key for the client Semagic also worked for the JournalPress plugin I use to crosspost off my WordPress blog. So whew, finally, that’s sorted.

Second tech issue solved: my secondary laptop Savah (the one with the dual partitions of Windows 10 and Linux) had to have its backup settings in both OSers rejiggered, since they stopped talking to the laptop we use as our Time Machine/general backup server. We’ve got this ancient Mac that our newer Macs keep talking happily to, and it’s got three, count ’em, three different hard drives plugged into it serving as backups.

But Win10 stopped talking to it and I don’t really know why. So Dara came up with the useful alternate plan of setting up Samba on one of our Linux servers, making a share on that, and letting Windows 10 do its backup to that share. This also necessitates excluding the directory that share’s in from the main server backups. But so far this seems to be working.

Third solved tech issue is bigger, and I’ll spend another post on that, because that’s all about finally finding a solution to my RSS reader needs!

Incoming Seattle snowstorm alert for users

Most of you out there probably are aware already, but just in case you aren’t, be advised that we have serious snow on the way here. Therefore, as is often the case when we have wacky fun weathertimes, connectivity to and resources we house may be impacted. Our power may go out, or even if we stay up, connectivity via Comcast may be affected if there are any issues with ice on power or phone lines.

Assume therefore that if you can’t reach any commonly accessed resources, this will be why. This will include the Murkworks MUSH, WordPress sites and other web pages, mailing lists, user logins, and mail.

Follow Cliff Mass’ blog for ongoing weather developments if you’re interested. His last two posts on the situation are here and here. The Times has an article up here.

If we do go down and you need to reach me, you can do so via my gmail addresses, annathepiper or angela.korrati.

Murkworks web server system upgrade: check your web pages!

userinfosolarbird and I updated the version of Debian we’re running on our web server tonight (because that’s just how we roll on Christmas, yo). So all you out there who have web pages or blogs hosted on our site, please doublecheck them and make sure nothing looks broken!

Dara and I confirmed that Apache came back up okay, as well as MySQL and WordPress, so non-Wordpress pages and WordPress blogs alike do appear to be loading. However, we have NOT checked things in depth. So please be sure and go over your pages and let us know if anything looks broken!

The Anna upgrades to Lion report

So yeah! Decided after reading the ginormous Ars Technica writeup of Lion, and after reviewing my system this afternoon to see what PowerPC apps I still had (answer: nothing I couldn’t live without), I decided to go ahead and install Lion tonight. It was definitely the easiest OS upgrade I’ve ever done, I’ll give it that.

And in no particular order, here are things I’ve noticed about it:

One, once I rebooted into the new OS, things were quite a bit sluggish for several minutes–but there were two reasons for that. One, Spotlight went and reindexed everything on the drive. Two, I launched Mail as pretty much one of the first things, and that also needed to do significant updating of its database. So things were pretty pokey until both of these finished up their business.

Two, trying to launch iTunes got me an error message about not being able to open an iTunes Library file, but this was easily fixed by doing a quick check for software updates and downloading iTunes 10.4. iTunes then proceeded to load as per normal.

Three, goddamn, Mail is very… gray now. I’m not sure I approve of that, but we’ll see if it grows on me. Ditto for the new gray scrollbars.

Four, I quite like Launchpad, a new icon at the top of the Dock that’s basically a quick and dirty way to get at all of the apps on your system. If you’re an iPhone or iPad owner this interface will look very familiar, and it lets you swipe through it as well if you have a touchpad on your laptop like I do. You’re supposed to be able to organize the icons into folders like you do on iDevices, but I haven’t tried that yet. I like it less because of the similarity to iOS and more just because it means I can lose several less commonly used icons off my Dock.

Five, I discovered entirely by accident that you can set individual desktop backgrounds on the individual desktops available in the new Mission Control feature–which is cool. It’s a much nicer version of Spaces + Expose and even after playing with it for only a few moments, I’m grooving on it. And now I can go fwip-fwip-fwip-fwip through the Dashboard and all four of my desktops in a quick line, and I see LION! ELEPHANT! ISLAND! GREAT BIG SEA! It’s neat.

Six, if I have a Terminal window up and I’m connected to the MurkMUSH and I get paged, the icon starts bouncing at me and showing a little number on it indicating there’s something that needs my attention. Didn’t do that before.

Seven, hrmm, the Ars Technica review was talking about the dots on icons on the Dock that indicate which ones are launched going away. However, I still see mine!

Time Machine is now doing a massive 9.52GB backup–over our house LAN, no less, so this’ll be a while. But on the whole the upgrade appears to have gone swimmingly. I still need to verify that I can reboot into Win7 as needed, and that I can also launch Parallels to run that Win7 install as a VM, as before. (I did update Parallels since they deployed an update to talk to Lion, or so they took pains to inform users.)

Also still need to see if Safari’s new Reading List feature will seduce me off of Firefox, and what the new document handling model will be like once I get a hold of a version of a word processor that can talk to it. (Mac Word 2008 does not.)

But so far so good. And oh yes, speaking of Mac Word 2008–if you’re using Mac Office on your system, you WILL need 2008 or later if you want to upgrade to Lion, what with Rosetta support being removed. Be on the lookout as well if you’re at all reliant on Microsoft Query, which is part of Excel. That was one of my few PPC apps left on the system, and a bit of judicious Googling showed me that Microsoft has word out that they’re advising anyone reliant on Query to not upgrade yet until they fix that. They’re also reporting that Outlook is having trouble importing data out of Mail once Lion is installed, so people this might affect should keep an eye out for that.

AND! Since I am a Big Fish employee, it does behoove me to point out that older Big Fish releases, being PowerPC games, won’t run on Lion either. Be on the lookout for our powers that be to issue word on what Mac customers should do about those specific games. If there are particular games you don’t want to lose the ability to run yet, you might hold off a bit on the OS install.

More as I observe it! (And dammit, why don’t I have a Lion icon for posting to LJ and Dreamwidth?)

A bold new era of Internet that doesn’t suck

We’re not quite done settling everything on the new net yet. But I can bring you this tasty evidence of our new bandwidth:

Meanwhile: for those of you who connect to the Murkmush via newmoon, you might find that you can’t get to the MUSH from that server. If so, you might try connecting to lodestone instead and running tinyfugue there. I encourage people to run tf on newmoon usually but we do have an install of it on lodestone as well.

userinfosolarbird reminds me that the address on newmoon has in fact been turned off, since unlike lodestone and door, newmoon can’t handle two addresses at once. For web purposes, this is really only of interest to those of you for whom we’re supporting mail on domains as well as web. If we’re supporting mail for you, your web hits go by default to newmoon, and I have to punt them over to lodestone instead. But since newmoon can’t talk to the old address any more, this means newmoon will just lose any hits sent to domains that still map to it.

Long story short, just keep doublechecking if your domains have caught up with the new IP addresses yet. Let me know if you have any questions!

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!