Archive for the 'FreeBSD' Category

A tale of two AirPorts

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The concept of a “guest” WiFi network, open to anyone but isolated from the rest of my home LAN has always been appealing… The feature has existed in the AirPort Extreme routers since the third generation (circa 2009).

Originally the feature would disappear the moment you turn off router functionality and place the AirPort in bridge mode. This combined with my insistence on letting my FreeBSD box serve as the Internet gateway for my household negated my ability to use the feature.

In a firmware update some time ago, this feature re-appeared, even while the router was in bridge mode… I tried it once, discovered I could get no traffic to flow through it, shrugged it off and disabled it…




Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

The goal was rather simple, take my infinitely useful FreeBSD box and scale it down to more practical metrics. Less space, less energy, no noise. The tool for the job: 10 years of technological progress.

Well, I’m not sure if that was the goal or the excuse, sometimes one simply gets an itch. An urge to integrate new hardware and drag old and reliable but bulky and power hungry hardware to the curb.

Maybe I’m being too specific in the details to label this as a recurring rite… but a good intro is a good intro, I’m sticking with it.


Banishing Inferno to the Basement

Monday, June 1st, 2009

I’m now back to my regular ol’ routine, just finished a week long “staycation.” So other than spend quality time with the family, what does a system administrator who doesn’t have to go to work for a week do with his time? Pull some CAT5 and clean up my home network, of course!

Inferno, my FreeBSD home gateway, file, web and everything else server has been irritating me with its typical PC fan whirring for too long. It was high time to uproot the beast from its cozy spot on my office floor, where it sat for nearly eight years and drag it to the basement and finally bring tranquility to my office.



Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Like every other Maxtor I’ve deployed in the last several years, the Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 (6Y120L0) 120 GB drive in this server was throwing multiple read errors and threatening to fail at any moment.

As opposed to waiting for its imminent death, I decided it was time to do some upgrades.

Not wanting to invest in a PATA drive in 2008, I added a Promise SATA300 TX2 SATA PCI controller card and a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 750GB (ST3750330AS)

No hardware upgrade is ever complete without the complementing software upgrade. During the procedure I also opted to upgrade the system from FreeBSD 6.2 to the nearly production ready FreeBSD 7.0 RC2.

In spite of the long hours of work required to completely setup a new FreeBSD installation, everything went smooth. FreeBSD plays nice with the new controller card and everything is now up and running and back to normal. The old 120 GB drive was getting a little cramped anyway, the extra breathing room is going to be nice!

Fun with FreeBSD Serial Consoles

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Like most whom are geeky enough to run a home server, I run my server headless (no keyboard or display attached). This is convenient 99% of the time (namely for everything excluding operating system upgrades or occasions where you firewall yourself out of your own machine while tweaking IPFW rules)…

Traditionally I avoided this problem via a PS/2 KVM switch between my server and desktop PC. That solution met it’s end when I ousted my last desktop PC. In order to continue with the KVM style setup I would need to find a KVM equipped with USB keyboard and mouse ports and both VGA and DVI display ports, which apparently is not easy to come by short of some very high end setups.

It seems more often then not, the old fashioned strategies yield the greatest success. I opted for a NULL Modem cable (1969 called, they want their RS-232 back) and a Keyspan USA-19HS USB to Serial adapter for the Mac Mini.