Has it been a month?

I guess it has been quite a while. Where to begin? I suppose work is always a good starting point. It’s been crazy in DCS (Distributed Computing Services) lately. Our new storage array (EMC again) arrived and we’ve been working on getting that set up. Thankfully, EMC pushed off their original date to come set it up (it was supposed to be yesterday) to this coming Monday giving me a little more time to finish the wiring. Our new fiber switches are in and installed along with new fiber trays to attach to our ladder rack. Tomorrow we should finish running the obscene number of cables required to get all 5 of our new cabinets on the network. Then we just have to configure the connections.

We’ve also been working on a number of other projects:

  • We moved one of the air conditioners to the middle of the data center and will be moving the other one once Telcom finishes moving their telephone racks. This should improve our cooling efficiency.
  • The second UPS and the flywheel will be installed soon – thankfully I have no responsibilities with either of these projects.
  • We’re beginning to run into space limitations in our racks and on our switches. Vendors are coming to help us decide what to do with our patch panels. Recabling those if we have to will keep me busy for the better part of a year. Hopefully they can suggest a way to simplify our cable management (we have 2Us of cable management for every 1U patch panel) that will leave our existing patch panels the way they are.
  • We’re looking at ways to seal our cool rows from our hot rows to increase the efficiency of the AC. We’ve been attempting to get big sheets of plexiglass mounted in the spaces between our populated racks, but that has been pushed off for a while now due to all of our more important projects.
  • There’s quite a few other projects that are still being evaluated, so I probably shouldn’t say much about those except that they’ll all be keeping me busy for the foreseeable future.
  • I’ve been traveling quite a bit as well. Recently I picked up a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx with the intent of using it to insert GPS coordinates into the EXIF data of my photos along with auto navigation and perhaps geocaching. I’ll post a review of the unit later, but simply having it has been invaluable during my trips.

    I’ve been doing a bit more on the photography front than I did earlier this summer. My motivation is returning and I’m beginning to go places just to take pictures again. I think the lull was definitely good for me. I’ll end this post by leaving a few photos and some links.

    I went to Porcupine Mountain State Park with my friend Gowtham in July and discovered some amazing scenery. You can find the photos in a flickr collection, but I want to show everyone this one (I think it’s one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken:
    Preque Isle River gorge-1

    I also attended an autocross and took an astonishing amount of pictures. What made it onto flickr is only a smattering of what made it home with me.
    Car 26

    My most recent photo expedition was simply a trip around downtown Houghton. I decided I wanted to learn a bit more about black and white photography, so I stuck my 50mm f/1.8 lens on the Nikon and headed out. It’s simply amazing what black and white does for the atmosphere of a photo. Sticking with just the one focal length made me focus quite a bit more on where I was in relation to my subject and my framing. It was definitely a good learning experience.
    Old McDonald's drivethru

    Winter Carnival

    So besides dealing with a broken laptop, what else have I been up to?

    Well, last weekend was Winter Carnival, Michigan Tech’s annual celebration of snow and alcohol. Melissa came up to see me, my brother Scott was in town and I got to see a few other people that I rarely get to spend time with.

    The snow statues this year weren’t as good as normal, but I do have a few pictures to share:


    Hanging Gardens of Babylon

    Medieval Castle

    You can find the rest of them on flickr.

    Saturday Melissa, Scott, his fiance Sarah and I went to Carrousel Winery a local winery that opened about 8 months ago to order wine for Scott and Sarah’s wedding. We did some wine testing and they ordered a batch of 6 gallons (about 30 bottles) for the wedding. Of course, I walked away with 5 bottles for myself (and I’m sure I’ll go back for more again). I think I’d like to get into wine making some day, it looks like a lot of fun (and fairly easy to do).

    Saturday evening there were fireworks, and even though they started early, I managed to get a few photos that turned out pretty well.

    Winter Carnival Fireworks-2007-9

    And that was pretty much the last of my fun. School is kicking my butt this semester and I desperately need a break (which I wont’ get for another… 3 weeks or so). Ah well, life marches on.

    LSPR and Flogging Molly

    The Lake Superior Pro Rally was held Friday and Saturday and of course I volunteered. I got to take some great shots, a bit of video and hang out with some friends who I don’t spend enough time around. Tim has cut it all together into a video, which he has put on YouTube for the time being. Once he finds a fast host, I’ll put up a link for the high quality version of the video.

    Besides a video camera, I hauled my DSLR along and got a number of shots that I think turned out pretty well:

    LSPR Stage 2 - Bob Lake - 20 October-2006-9

    LSPR Stage 2 - Bob Lake - 20 October-2006-17

    LSPR Stage 9 - Delaware - 21 October-2006-8

    LSPR Stage 9 - Delaware - 21 October-2006-7

    LSPR Stage 9 - Delaware - 21 October-2006-9

    Saturday night, pretty much everyone I knew headed up to the Wood Gym at the SDC for the Flogging Molly concert. It was incredible. Those guys put on one hell of a show! The second opener wasn’t all that exciting, and I think they were the completely wrong genre of music to be an immediate lead-in to Flogging Molly, but I was more than satisfied when I left. My legs still hurt from all the dancing I did.

    This is probably the best weekend I’ve had all semester. Unfortunately, I had to pay for my fun with a rather large amount of homework that had to be accomplished on Sunday. Hopefully I’ll be able to get even more done tonight and maybe even get a jump start on some of these papers I have due.

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade

    Last Friday (29 Sept. 2006) was Michigan Tech’s annual Hobo Parade. Why we have a Hobo Parade to celebrate our homecoming, I’m not sure, but it does provide for some rather amusing photos. So, without further ado:

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-11

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-15

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-17

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-18

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-23

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-33

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-4

    Michigan Tech Hobo Parade-2006-9

    Busy is my new middle name

    This summer has been pretty hectic, since the beginning of May, I picked up a second job at Pat’s Foods in Hancock working their trucks two mornings a week. On top of that, I’m still putting in hours at Resnet and am taking a class (World Resources and Developement) at Tech.

    After the first couple weeks work has been interesting at Resnet (the first two weeks were full of the tedious process of disconnecting nearly 2000 users by hand). Since then, I’ve been installing and configuring Xubuntu on an old K6 laptop we have at the office. All I have left on that project is a couple networking scripts and setting up sudo access for a few commands for the user.

    My other project has been setting up BackupPC for the office. Since this is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, I decided that the proper way to learn and test the program would be to isntall it on my home network to learn the configuration files. After a run-in with an rsync error I got it all set up and will be installing it in the office at the begining of the week.

    Somehow I’ve even managed to find some free time and this weekend I’ll be going out to see some waterfalls. Life is good.