27 January, 2006

checkcable 0.95

checkcable has been updated. It now uses the Perl library Sun::Solaris::Kstat again, where possible. The first version did this for all cards, but the Kstat data wasn't reliable and sadly I had to wrap ndd instead (boring!).

If you haven't seen it before, checkcable produces the following output,
   # checkcable
Interface Link Duplex Speed AutoNEG
hme0 UP FULL 100 ON

It has been written to support dmfe, bge, ce, rtls, ge, hme, and a few others. It occasionally gets updated to support extra cards (see the HISTORY list). Many people have emailed me about this program over the years - thanks for your support. If you do send me updates to the code, please follow the style. These days I'm following "Perl Best Practices" by O'Reilly (yes Mark, you've guilted me into it :-).

In similar news, Alan has been working on bringing Kstat.pm into the OpenSolaris build, which all of my Sun::Solaris::Kstat tools use. Thank you Alan!

11 January, 2006

Brendan Clones

Recently James Dickens figured out that I'm a member of a family of Brendan clones, and suggested that there may be 1000 Brendan clones in Australia. Now that the cat's out of the bag, let me clear up a few things and introduce the gang. Firstly, there isn't 1000 of us - it's more like a dozen, however the number does vary. The following is a photo of 7 Brendan clones busy working.

Sitting on the close left is documentation Brendan, and on the far left is testing Brendan - who is always busy testing programs in a variety of scenarios. Documentation Brendan takes the most interesting tests from testing Brendan and turns them into example documentation. Documentation Brendan also sometimes answers emails when email Brendan is travelling for work (as is the case here).

On the close right is programmer Brendan hard at work typing code. Sitting on the far right is creative Brendan, making suggestions to programmer Brendan. Creative Brendan maintains the enormous todo list for all the Brendan clones.

Sitting under the desk reading is study Brendan, who is currently studying "Solaris Systems Programming" by Rich Teer. Study Brendan is always reading, and reads textbooks from cover to cover. If he isn't careful he may need to get glasses (or borrow them from engineer Brendan, who isn't pictured here).

Sleeping on the floor is sleeping Brendan, who sleeps on behalf of all the Brendan clones.

Standing with the cricket bat is master Brendan, who creates Brendan clones and destroys the ones not working hard enough. Programmer Brendan calls him "homicidal maniac Brendan", and only gets away with it as he works so hard.

Out of shot is TV Brendan, watching the Australia vs South Africa test cricket series. And (of course) photographer Brendan is taking the photo.
DTraceToolkit ver 0.92
I've just uploaded the latest version of the DTraceToolkit. A number of niggling issues have been fixed, and a few scripts added.

The next few releases should be about polishing other components of the toolkit - such as documentation and examples, rather than simply adding more scripts.

I hope you find the toolkit useful.

10 January, 2006


I just made a quick update to findbill, a simple Perl program that scans a disk to find where backup UFS superblocks are. Most of the time sysadmins use "newfs -N" for this - however if you have tuned file system parameters "newfs -N" doesn't always work.

The output now includes information from the superblocks: last write time and mountpoint, if available. This should help identify what are false positives - such as older superblocks from a previous filesystem that haven't been overwritten.

# findbill /dev/rdsk/c0d0s3
Searching /dev/rdsk/c0d0s3,

Type Block Time last written Mountpoint
UFS 16 Sun Jan 8 16:11:42 2006 /extra1
UFS 32 Sun Apr 17 18:28:54 2005
UFS 32352 Sun Apr 17 18:28:54 2005
UFS 64672 Sun Apr 17 18:28:54 2005
UFS 96992 Sun Apr 17 18:28:54 2005
UFS 129312 Sun Apr 17 18:28:54 2005
UFS 161632 Sun Apr 17 18:28:54 2005
UFS 193952 Sun Apr 17 18:28:54 2005

It's called "findbill" as I've heard the UFS magic number (0x011954, which we scan for) is either Bill Joy's or Marshall Kirk McKusick's birthday (the FFS authors). The UFS cylinder block magic number (0x090255) looks suspicious too.

findbill also identifies superblocks from MTB_UFS - the revamped UFS for the world of terabyte filesystems (UFS lives!).

04 January, 2006

3d Photos

I've uploaded new photos to my website, including some of San Francisco and the Grand Canyon. I've also uploaded a few 3d anaglyphs (red/cyan glasses) taken at Beijing,

I created these anaglyphs using the freeware tool AnaBuilder, and are available in full resolution (downsampling anaglyphs can sometimes cause odd JPEG artifacts). Anaglyphs may give way to autostereo displays in the future (no glasses required), or even VR displays if they ever take of, so keep hold of the original left/right pair. In the meantime anaglyphs are fine.

Hopefully I'll inspire others to try 3d photography. :-)