Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moving internal mail servers

I've been having reliability problems with a flaky drive on my primary desktop box, which happens to also be my primary mail server for my personal domain.  Unfortunately, when that machine goes down, so does all the email for everyone in my domain.  I can live with that for a few hours, but this has happened now for the better part of three days, which is unacceptable.  I therefore set about to move my SMTP server off my desktop box (running Ubuntu 11.04) and onto my firewall box (running CentOS 4.9).  Nothing much ever changes on the firewall, and it runs on server-class hardware (an HP ProLiant), so it should be a far more reliable platform.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Expanding a filesystem with Linux LVM

In today's world of ever-expanding storage requirements, it's not uncommon for the capacity of a hard drive to be eclipsed before it physically wears out. When this happens, it can be a pain to back everything up, replace the drive, and then restore your stuff back onto the new, larger drive. Not only is there margin for error, but copying that much data can take a really long time... and that assumes you can even buy a single hard drive large enough to store everything. Fortunately, Linux solves this problem by pooling together multiple physical drives into a single partition using the Logical Volume Manager. I recently had to expand an LVM partition and I ran into some speed bumps that I wanted to help others avoid.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rooting and upgrading an HTC Hero (CDMA) phone

I recently bought an old HTC Hero (the Sprint/CDMA version).  I wanted something inexpensive to be used as a non-cell, WiFi-only device, and the 2.5-year-old Hero fit the bill nicely.  The only problem is that Sprint stopped updating the Hero at Android 2.1 (Eclair).  At this writing, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) has just been released, and most new phones are still shipping with v2.3 (Gingerbread).  The thought of running such an old version (v2.1) didn't really appeal to me, so I decided to root the phone and install a new v2.3 firmware.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New smart phones

So... this is what the 21st century looks like.

My wife and I just upgraded to our first smart phones last week.  Stacy got an HTC EVO 4G, which is over 18 months old, but very highly regarded.  I got a Motorola Photon 4G, which is only 3 months old.  We're both glued to them these days, spending an insane amount of time figuring out which features will make us more productive and which are just time sinks.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


You've stumbled across the introductory post on the Prairie Rim Tech blog.  Here, you'll read about all kinds of technology that crosses my mind.  I've got 20+ years of programming and system administration experience, so a big chunk of the subjects will probably fall under that heading.  I'm also big into Linux and open source software, and the new Prairie Rim site has me brushing up on my web hosting skills.