Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FreeNAS Update: Rsync and Unison

I've been using FreeNAS since the beginning of April, 2010, and it certainly has met or exceeded my expectations in that time. It still serves its purpose well, however the way I have it set up has changed quite a bit since April. You can find my original post here (FreeNAS Review). I wanted to take the time to describe my first thoughts when creating my NAS file server, and how it has changed into its current form.

My NAS's main purpose is to be a file server and store movies, tv shows, and music to be used mostly by my AppleTV, but also with all computers on my network. I had started in June/July '09 with an external hard disk plugged into my Apple Airport Extreme router. The disk spun 24/7 and eventually became unreadable by September and I was mad. Luckily for me, I still had most of my data backed up on the gaming desktop. But the backup was taking most of my desktop's HDD space and so I wanted it all on its own. For that reason, I bought a Linksys NAS 200 that featured RAID1. I thought a second disk would at least keep my data safe if the disk crashed again. It was waaay too slow for my needs and so I built the FreeNAS server.

RAID1 vs. Rsync

FreeNAS was set up with the same RAID1 as the Linksys and it was much faster, so life was good. But as I talked about it more and more, RAID1 sounded less and less secure. Sure, I was safe from a hard disk failing but there were other things that could delete my collection still, and I'd be SOL. I could accidently type a command wrong and accidently delete the entire /Movies folder with a hit of the enter key, and that would happen on both drives instantly. Or the flash drive containing my FreeNAS config could fail and my software controller would be erased. Without the software controller settings, you can't access a RAID array (at least not easily, like at the user level). So for these reasons I backed up, wiped the RAID array away, and changed to a local rsync service.

Rsync runs once a day in the middle of the night, and basically mirrors the entire Media Drive onto the backup disk. I have until 3:00am to undue any accidental deletions or changes to the filesystem made during the day. If the media disk were to fail, I'd only lose a day's worth of new stuff which is usually a tv show or two. I'd rather re-download two tv shows than 1.5TB of movies and stuff!


In addition to backing up my media, the FreeNAS server acts as a remote location for backing up important files from my other computers, including my macbook pro(music), Gaming PC(Pictures), and Alison's files. The Macs simply use Time Machine to backup their files, and I could use Windows 7 Backup to store my desktop's files. But, I thought it'd be nice to sync my Pictures between the desktop and the laptops. That way, when I go home or do imagework, I always have the latest, up-to-date images on all the machines. Having them on different computers protects them against being lost if a disk dies, and unison can archive deleted files if you want it to which protects against accidental deletion. You can think of unison as two-way Rsync, in that any change you make will be backed up on the server, but if the server data changes, the changes will be sent to your computer as well.
To use Unison in FreeNAS, you only have to enable the service in the webadmin. You'll want SSH enabled as well. Everything else is done from the client computers. Install Unison (http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/download.html), and create a private SSH key so you don't have to type in your SSH password (http://linuxproblem.org/art_9.html). Windows users will need to install Cygwin for the unix shell.

Next, create a preferences file on each computer you want to sync files to. Probably looking something like this:

    # Roots of the synchronization
    root = /Users/username/Whatever/
    root = ssh://username@192.168.X.XXX//mnt/Disk/PathTo/Wherever/

    # Paths to synchronize 
    #path = current
    #path = common
    #path = .netscape/bookmarks.html

    ignore = Name {._*,.DS_Store,Thumbs.db}

Obviously, you'll want to change the username, IP address, and path to your own settings. You need to give it two directories to make the same. One local to the computer, and one on the remote disk or network location. "ignore" tells the config to ignore whatever files or regex you want. In my case, it's ignoring those annoying hidden windows and OSX files. You can set it to anything, even entire directories. And there are lots of other options you can do as well. See the User manual for all options (User Manual).

Once the config file is done, save it to the appropriate place.
In OS X, it's ~/Library/Application Support/Unison/batchpref.prf
In Windows (Cygwin), it'll be c:\cygwin\home\username\.unison\batchpref.prf
Linux is probably ~/.unison/batchpref.prf       (I dont have straight up linux, so I don't know for sure)

Now that the preferences are saved, you should be able to run unison from the command line. Type:
unison -ui text -auto -batch batchpref

This tells the computer to run unison, in the text-only user interface, in automatic mode (doesnt ask you what to do in errors), and to use the preference file we just made. From here, you can run it as a cron job in OSX/Linux, or make a .bat file in windows and run it with Task Scheduler. I have it run on windows at startup, and once a day on the macs. You can also run it manually when you want to make sure you're up to date.

Now, I guess websites like dropbox offer similar capability, but you're either limited in filesize or you have to pay for it. Paying isn't a bad idea, since I suppose if my house burned down I'd still lose everything. But I find unison to be a great way to back up and syncronize easily and for free. Especially if your data is the "nice to have" but not the most important memories of your life.

I'll finish the post off with a newer pic of my home network. It's clickable to view it a little bigger. I still have other FreeNAS updates I can write about, but since Rsync and Unison are so closely related, I thought I'd give them their own post.
Posted by eclipse on 11/30 at 11:42 PM
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Wedding Story

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Posted by eclipse on 10/29 at 06:29 PM
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

FreeNAS Review

I promised in my last tech post that this entry would continue, and hopefully conclude, my journey towards the perfect Network Attached Storage (NAS) system.  The primary reason I want to use one is to stream TV Shows and Movies to my Samsung 40” LCD TV in my Living Room by means of my AppleTV.  It also serves as a backup location for my important files, and is now capable of performing server related tasks that were previously handled by the AppleTV.  This is my 4th attempt at a NAS solution for the Spitfire Network, the most expensive, the most capable, and finally…the most likely to survive.  For a quick NAS summary:

NAS Solution
Eclipse (Gaming PC)Too loud, power intensive, resource hog
no redundancy
Apple Extreme Wireless Station + USB HDDRan drive continuously leading to failure
no redundancy
Linksys NAS 200Ridiculously Poor Performance, Noisy
Atom / FreeNASBest of all worlds but expensive, large footprint

I tried all the cheap alternatives to buckling down and forking over the cash for a decent NAS / Server but in the end the only lesson is one we should all be familiar with already - You get what you pay for.  In trying to be cheap, all I got in return was lost data (Apple Base Station) and unusable performance (Linksys + hosting files on my gaming pc).  Not that a FreeNAS solution has to be expensive however.  These days many people have a spare PC in their garage or something.  All it needs to be given new life as a FreeNAS server is:

x86 Processor
128 MB ram
32 MB disk space
Network card

The catch is that your hardware has to be supported by FreeBSD, but I’d be willing to bet that if it’s anything similar to a commercial computer, you are all set.  I looked into the option of buying a cheap, used PC for under $100 on craigslist but in the end I decided to build a new PC specifically for a few reasons:

1. I knew exactly what hardware it would have, with warranties.
2. By using an Atom chipset it has power consumption comparable to a netbook, which is preferable to a power hungry P4
3. The Atom D510MO chipset is fanless, making the entire computer almost silent
4. Gigabit Ethernet (up from 10/100 on the linksys nas)

I bought a nice looking glossy black case from Newegg, which was running a pretty nice deal on it as long as I signed up for spam, and sold the Linksys NAS for $5 profit.  I had the disk drives already from the linksys raid setup, so in the end I just had to buy the case, atom board/cpu combo, and 1 GB of RAM for it.  Not too much cost to expand its use greatly, but if you were starting from scratch it might be a big investment.  So give it a try with your old garage PC first.  I paired the computer with a 23” Samsung 2333HD Display, which is kind of a misnomer.  The actual NAS is capable of displaying a typical Unix/bsd console, but it’s really meant to run in a corner or a closet without a keyboard or monitor hooked up.  In fact, there is no GUI display included.  The monitor is really displaying video from my macbook pro, which makes the computer give the appearance of a hackintosh.  It’s also a nice 1080p HDTV.  The actual Atom computer runs without being plugged into the monitor, unless I’m debugging something.

So I spent all this money getting decent hardware, at least the software was free!  You’ll need to decide between a “full install” or “embedded” install.  The full install is like a typical OS installed onto your disk.  The embedded install is copied to a USB Flash Drive which is then booted off of, and it runs FreeNAS in a virtual disk created out of RAM.  The full install is easier to customize, but the embedded install is blistering fast and allows your hard drives to spin down when idle.  I went with the embedded because it’s very important to me for the idle disks to spin down.  This saves wear and tear, heat (remember it’s fanless), and power ($).  You can’t repartition the boot drive, so I had to add another flash drive to run my custom server apps like rssdler and python.  Running these apps off the main data HDDs would prevent them from spinning down (they’d never be idle).  Flash drives are cheap SSDs and it works great for NAS purposes.

After the initial console setup, you can unplug the monitor and control the system via a web interface on any other computer on the network.  This makes it very easy to choose services, set them up, add disks and shares… You really don’t have to be a pro to get it to work reliable and consistently.  I followed a tutorial, added my two hard drives as a redundant software RAID 1 array[Edit 11/30/10: This has changed, see: FreeNAS Update: Rsync and Unison], and added windows and apple file sharing in less than 20 minutes.  Performance was a ten-fold increase over my Linksys NAS, averaging about 40MB/s transfers which I’m guessing is limited by gigabit ethernet.  But don’t take my word for it, here’s some fancy looking pictures:

Linksys                        vs.                          FreeNAS

My Atom server blows away any of my previous NAS attempts, and I’m finally happy and able to not worry anymore about my hard disks crashing and taking all my stuff with them like the great hard drive crashes of 2003.  It’s far quieter and faster than the Linksys NAS, and I can run apps like rssdler off the server alone.  This means the AppleTV, which is already slow, doesn’t have to use its few resources on downloading for me anymore.  It uses waay less power than my gaming pc did when it stayed on to serve files, and adds the redundancy of two drives, protecting against hardware failure.  The loss of one hard drive wouldn’t make me lose any data.  The web interface is easy to use, and since it’s a mini-atx form factor, it’s got plenty of room for additional hard drive space so I can expand it over time.  The Linksys and many other NAS devices only support a maximum of two disks.  And did I mention how quiet it is?

The only disadvantages I could think of was the additional cost for having an additional computer.  If you have an old PC and could throw it in the closet or something, this disadvantage may not mean much for you.  Also, the mini-atx form factor eats up some desk space for me, but I want to keep it close to my other computers.  Again if you threw it in a closet you might not care.  I’m decent enough with Linux/Unix/bsd commands that I didn’t have any trouble setting it up, but if you’re a windows lover then buying a commercial NAS might be up your alley. 

So in summary, I am totally blown away by FreeNAS and all it’s capable of.  I tried everything else, but sometimes when you need the job done right you just have to do it yourself.  My next tech post will probably be about AT&T U-Verse, how it’s integrated into my new house, changed my network, and reacted to my experiments.


Check out the free software at: http://freenas.org/freenas

Posted by eclipse on 04/29 at 12:04 AM
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Slipping the surly bonds of Earth

A little video I made about flying

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless falls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor e’er eagle flew-
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie McGee
Posted by eclipse on 12/07 at 10:41 PM
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Monday, October 17, 2005

Flight Team results

Back in Spring Semester of 05, myself and the other flight team officers looked to each other and set a goal for our team.  We decided that this year, we were going to do well enough at the Regional NIFA Safecon Competition that we would be invited to the national competition.  The KSU flight team has not been to the national competition in 19 years.  So, let me tell you that this was no small feat; to revamp the team, practice, learn, and keep up with everything else in our lives.  A lot of you all know that I haven’t been around a lot for a while.  This is why.  October 9-16 was the Regional Competition at Western University in Battle Creek Michigan.  It was one of the best expiriences of my life.  It was cool to see all the other teams and planes and talk to them.  It was also really cool to see our team come together from almost nothing and perform so well.  Usually 3 teams from our region (about 7 colleges) make it to the national competition.  This year they were only going to take the top two.  Western Michigan always wins first.  Ohio State University always wins second.  The third place spot is always fought for.  Last year we lost the third spot to Ohio University by 6 points out of hundreds.  This year Ohio State University is hosting the National Competition, so it turns out that they go to nationals no matter what.  This means that there was still a spot even with W.M. in 1st and OSU in 2nd.  Well, this year we worked our asses off all semester and all week.  It came down to the awards banquet Saturday night.  Our hearts on the line as they announce each of the top 10 winners of each event.  When it came down to it, the Kent State University Precision Flight Team….came in second place!  We even beat the “unbeatable” Ohio State!  That means that the only reason Ohio State will be at nationals is because they are hosting it!  It’s so awesome!  If you work hard enough for anything you can do it - ANYTHING!

Posted by eclipse on 10/17 at 09:51 AM
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Quakecon 2005

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Sunday, April 04, 2004

History is written by the victorious

The sun rose slowly over Planet Frostbite, taunting the few warriors left on the planet. Years of war had reduced the once beautiful pearl in space to a glazed sleet of ice. You had to be the best to stay alive on Frostbite. You had to be even better to win. Five soldiers were on call this particular morning. Commander Eclipse, and Privates Rombus, Darksquare, Swiftwulf, and Infinity X, all trained in various aspects of combat. Though long and arduous, The war of JeloH was coming to an end. You could feel it in the air, the oncoming foul stench of death. But these heroes of the Red Team knew they would not fall. They had trained for this their whole lives. And it meant too much to them.

There was only one power node left in this planet, and controlling it meant you could push pure energy into an enemy's core and override the shield protecting it. Once vulnerable, the core could be destroyed via conventional means. No one remembered how the war began. But we knew how to end it.

The moments before the battle were tense, each team waiting for each other to make a move. Waiting for Rombus to load...his weapons. Over the radio, the command was given! "GO!" It yelled, but the convoy of death was already marching. A tank, a manta-class hovercraft, a raptor-class air cruiser and two scorpion-class light transport trucks rushed to the power node. Speed was of the essence. The power node must be under red control, for without it the team could only defend. And you can only defend for so long. But there was a problem. Midway through the journey to the power node, the node turned blue! In the race for victory, the mighty red team was losing!

Through the eyes of Eclipse, commanding the slow but powerful and armoured tank, the battlefield was a mess. There were light ships flying everywhere! So many he couldn't tell which were friendly and which were not. The blue power node, now halfway completed was his primary target. Through the mess of combat, he caught glimpse of another danger. The enemy tank was already in the battle, tearing his teammates apart with ease. It would only require a few shots from the main cannon to destroy the node, but he would leave himself vulnerable. This was his first choice in a long and bloody battle. Time seemed to slow down as he knew he could only do one thing.

"I've got to take that tank out" Trusting his teammates with the destruction of the blue power node, he charged his tank directly in front of the enemy tank, to draw its fire. Watching his armour blasted away by the other tank, all he had to do was damage it to the point where his team could destroy it. To put it simply, he was trading the red team's tank for the blue team's. Like a game of chess, sacrifices must be made to advance the other pieces. Driving his tank right up to the enemy, staring the blue team's captain in the face, Eclipse smiled as he saw the light come from the other tank's cannon. He laughed as his tank took all the fire from the other team. "You think you've won?" He yelled as his tank blew up, making him the first red casualty. Moments later, Swiftwulf's AVRIL rocket ripped through the weak armor of the damaged blue tank and Rombus's flak cannon tore through the underdefended power node, leveling the playing field.

Only the field was no longer equal. Without the tanks, only light vehicles were left in the center. The red team was prepared for this. The blue team, passionate in their cause, but not experienced enough, believed in their vehicles. The vehicles were their key to winning. The Reds knew better, leaving their weak vehicles and equipping themselves with AVRIL anti-vehicle heat-seeking missiles. Within moments, the blue team was all but destroyed, and construction of the red power node commenced. The blue team had led, but couldn't withstand the red offensive.

Pain was extreme but short, followed by nothing. All of a sudden, the pain was back as Eclipse woke up in the red base, respawned through the energy of the red power core. He immediately knew the situation, getting in the new tank to help with defense. Because his tank was destroyed first, he was also first to respawn. Arriving at the site of the new power node, the tank took up the position as power node defense. Two runners, Darksquare and Rombus, flew high speed to the enemy core, damaging it little by little. The runners were light and underarmed, but extremely fast and able to get past the strong defenses at the blue power core, and with the strong defense by Infinity X, Swiftwulf, and Eclipse, the power core fell after constant pressure.

Victory was ours! Cheers went all around as the red team rejoiced in victory. It was short lived however, as blue team demanded "You have to win two out of three!" The red team was caught in surprise, some several feet from their command interfaces. Scrambling our attack as the power node was already in blue control. The enemy flyer attacked our base right away, damaging Eclipse's tank heavily before being chased off by Darksquare's flyer. Proceeding towards the battle with Infinity X performing repairs, it didn't stand much of a chance against the already present fleet of blue arsenal. The red team had lost the race again.

Defense of the core was hard. Eclipse's tank had to be protected! The only way to take the power node was to destroy it with the tank. Other methods were too slow, as the blue attack lowered the red power core's power to 50%.

"Infinity! Rombus! I need you two to heal me as I push through their defense!"

With the two soldiers linking the tank, Eclipse drove straight through the blue attack, watching the blue vehicles pass him on their way to his power core. With the two healing the tank, he could survive anything they shot as he protected them, as they hid behind his armor. The power node in sight, Eclipse let out a fury from hell, reducing the power node to rubble in four shots. With the power node destroyed, the shield around the red power core rose once more.
"Oh shit!" Eclipse yelled, realizing that now he, Infinity and Rombus were facing a two front battle. Newly spawned Blue soldiers from the right and the soldiers who were attacking his core from the left now sped towards the three. That's when the blue team made their mistake.

After a short battle involving the tanks, the blue captain must have thought his tank was going to be destroyed, so he abandoned it. Eclipse's shot ripped the ground apart around the tank, stealing the life from the poor blue soldier, but amazingly the tank itself survived. Infinity X, wasting no time, jumped into the tank and hijacked it, and the two red tanks blew away the advancing blue team's wave. Infinity's tank was destroyed soon enough later, but it turned the tides on the battle, allowing the red team to attack once more.

Bullets flew past him as he raced through the canyon. Private Darksquare would let nothing intimidate him. He had nothing to fear. He was the red offense. He was the chosen one. Dodging a tank blast to the right, he hit the boosters and flew over it at 100 miles per hour, leaving it in the dust. Up ahead of him laid the blue power core, and his heart lusted for revenge for the damage to his power core. The blues, determined in their fight as well, chased the lone rider, but to no avail.

"Your deaths only fill me with strength!" He yelled, his body in vampire mode, living to see the blood of his enemy. It took the entire blue military to take him down, but not before he single handidly took the blue power core down 50%, his revenge was complete and he was awarded the purple heart, the second miracle of the battle.

BAM! The sound of the tank cannon impact echoed through the canyon walls as the scorpion flew 20 feet in the air, only to be followed by the car ripping to peices as Infinity X's Jeep laser blew it to peices in mid air. The blue spirit was crushed the same way. The red defense was in solid control of the power node and would not give it up for the rest of the battle. Swiftwulf's flyer and Darksquares Raid led the attack and the blue team fell with a loud explosion as the power core was reduced to scrap metal.

It was a costly battle, and although the war was now over, the benefits were less than desired. Many invisioned great rewards and joy at the end, but instead they were left with only a 15" LCD Gear grip pro, a pair of headphones, and a mini-pc gear grip pro. The feeling of victory would have to be enough for these tired soldiers, but they deserved it.

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Posted by eclipse on 04/04 at 06:39 PM
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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Six Flags Worlds of Pain

Yesterday it rained so bad that Six Flags closed early. This is a once-a-year event, so it was a pretty cool thing. Too bad it cuts into my pay though. I had to work the oldies during the second rain storm. That ride almost never shuts down. So I started to think as I worked, wishing I were dead instead of getting a crappy 6.50/hr to get SARS from the rain. I was thinking about how much I despise that awful, terrible ride. Most of the rides at the park are not awesomely fun to operate, but the Oldies have to be the worst. Either You are getting really really sunburned because there is no roof or shade, or else you are getting rained on. There's not much else. I'm going to be very straight-forward with the rest of this rant.

Why I hate my rides:

Case 1: Merry Oldies

This ride sucks because all the parents have some sentimental value attached to it. They remember riding it as kids because all the rides back then sucked ass. These dumbasses bring their 2 month-old, barely concious infants onto my ride. These kids can't even open their eyes yet, so they aren't going to be able to have fun. Still, the parents think they are doing the right thing as responsible adults to bring them onto the smelly overgrown lawnmowers I drive all day long. About 1 in every 20 people can actually figure out how to drive the cars, too. There is the obvious gas pedal inside the car, and the brake we use to stop the cars when the guests are being dumb. The brake is all the way outside of the car. yet still half of the idiots, i mean guests, try to stretch their legs as far as they can and push the pedal down, not realizing that they are just making it stopped harder. In the morning, when I'm still in a good mood I'll be nice, but later on I'll tell it like it is "The gas pedal is inside the car, genius". They still don't get it. The first thing you learn at a job like this is that the guests don't actually listen to you. I usually resort to using simple hand motions to indicate stop, go that way, and get smacked. They love it though. Making my job harder is why they paid $40 per person to get in. There are so many of them at the oldies. It draws more people than the Serial Thriller. I can't keep up with them most of the time. The thing about people is that, when they are in a large group, they are only as smart as the dumbest person. To let them onto the ride, we send out five groups at a time to wait behind the gates for the cars to be parked. Once they are parked, you let them in, it's pretty simple. So I'll let the 5 groups out, and I'll say "wait here" to the group of people who didn't make it to the gates yet. I'll watch them as I walk to one of the cars, and they won't move. But the second I start moving the car up, they all run out into the gate platform. They fucking wait for me to stop watching! Then they realize that there's nowhere to go, but the next 20 people have already come behind them, and they are all realizing this too. I come running up yelling for them to go back to the turnstile to wait, and they don't want to get yelled at, so they try and hide. They are so dumb! Because I can see them. I'm not an idiot, but still. In a group like this you have to control certain individuals because once again, no one listens to you, but they will follow certain types of their own kind. Usually, these people you must control are in the front of the line, they usually set the example for all the other noobs to follow, but not always. The danger lies in groups that are split up into multiple cars. They will wait for everyone in their group to get a car, then they will decide that they don't have to wait behind gates and they will be in the car and driving off before you can run over there. You can yell all you want, but they don't care. They think you're complimenting them or something. Like I said, people are idiots. They are idiots. Idiots. When I'm separating the groups, I ask them "how many?" and they look at me like I'm speaking Martian or something, so I say "how many people are riding in your car". They usually can figure out that I'm speaking some sort of dialect of ghetto called "English", but they can't get it, so they usually say something like "Three".

"Okay, can you all go to the third gate by the blue car?"
"Oh, we're all going in our own cars"
"Well, there's a minimum of two people per car"
"Ok, well me and [second person] then"
"Well, who's [third person] going to go with?"
"She can go with [second person]"
"So, three people, right?"
"No, I'm by myself"
And at this point the conversation repeats until I want to kill myself, which doesn;t take long.

The Oldies Spiel, if I wrote it:
"Ok, idiots, Push the fucking gas pedal down to the fucking floor. It's the circle pedal right next to your fucking foot. Don't fucking bitch at me when the car doesn't move because you need to fucking push it harder. It's not a real car, it takes some fucking effort, you wimp. I do it all day, so you can fucking do it for 2 minutes, and don;t come back complaining because every single car is like this and I don't fucking care. It's ok if I bump the oldies because there's no one inside the cars to get hurt. It's not the fucking bumper cars, so if I see you do it, I'm going to cuss you out. No getting out of the car, because the bags of chips you see aren't real. It's just a bag of air. Now hurry up and go.

Case 2: Ice Mountain Splash (Log Ride)
Wear your god damn shirt. No one wants to see that shit. You came to the park on a hot, bright day and now your skin is crusty red and peeling away. You have to wear your shirt on every single ride outside of the water park. It says so out front, in the map, and...and..no one wants to see that shit! Seriously, you'd think you'd see more hot chicks riding the rides, but mostly you see old, fat, disgusting old women with layers upon layers of fat coming out. It's hard enough to look in their general direction, much less help them out of the boat. When there is a hot girl, she's always with some stupid guy (who is never with a shirt, and probably doesn't know what a shirt is). The last option you get is the 14-15 year old girls who are smartmouths and pretend you are their best friend because they can read your nametag. They are all pricks and you just want to shove a rocket launcher down their throats. Once again, all the people in line want to run onto the platform, which is strictly forbidden. They think they are so much closer to getting to ride if they are on the platform. Well, there's still the same number of people in front of you no matter where you are, dumbass. Luckily, in this ride we have a chain to keep people off the platform. It's pretty cool, because I've seen people walk full speed into the chain and almost fall over. God damn, they are so dumb! The best part is that the chain is right at crotch level for all the damn 15 year olds. That's some funny shit. The little kids usually just go right under the chain. I had this one kid that did that and fucking ran full speed towards the water, completely suicidal. I had to fucking catch him in mid air. I should have let him go. People lose all sorts of shit in the water. I think it's funny. Usually it's their hat when they go down the hill. The hats will float on by later and we grab them. If they are nice, we take them :D People lose sunglasses a lot because they are clipped to their shirt's neckhole. They bend over to get in and bloop! There they go. Still, the best is when people lose their shoes. Mostly sandals, they get so mad, and it's understandable, but I can never stop laughing. They bitch and bitch and eventually go away. This one 5 year old didn't want to go on the ride on morning and started screaming and kicking, and when his dad picked him up and carried him to the boat, he kicked so hard his shoe went flying into the water and I couldn't let him ride. That was the smartest kid I've ever seen. People beat their kids in the park all the time. It's pretty scary. I've seen one lady take off her belt and start whipping the poor kid senseless. It was scary as hell, but, granted, the kid was being a dumbass. I wanted to do something, but what could I do?

The Log Ride Spiel, if I wrote it:
You there, put your fucking shirt on. Don't fucking bitch when you get wet because you know its a god damn water ride. I said put your shirt on. Stay seated until we tell you to get up, because you always get up all at once, on one side, and tip the boat over, dumbasses. Sit two people up front, and don't move. We can see you. The ride may freeze cause it's fucking 30 years old, but don't get up cause it'll tip over. Keep your hands inside the boat, and don't fucking say "my butt's wet" when you get out because everyone says that and its fucking ANNOYING!

Case 3: Serial Thriller
This is the only ride I could work all day. Still, we get some pretty big dumbasses here too. My favorite are the ones who take forever to sit down, and when they try, the seat has already been locked down and they cant get in. Not wanting to cause any trouble, they of course hide from me until I get to the back row where they explain the mystery of the locking chair and I have to unlock every single seat on the train and recheck all the bars again. Once you unlock them, even if you announce it over the intercom, everyone freaks out when the bars unlock. They scream...in bloody terror. It's funny at first, but when they all ask you separately what happened you just want to choke them. Listen to the damn intercom! Because their feet are suspended in air on this coaster, they always swing their legs and I get kicked 500 times a day. Sometimes I get kicked hard. The next time I see them at their job, I'm going to walk up and kick them in the shins. Yeah, you like that idiot. You know you're too fucking fat when you can't sit in a roller coaster seat. I've put some fatass people in there, but sometimes it just won't work. I never know what to say to these people. So I say very little. If you can't fit here, you should buy some diet pills, not a Six flags ticket. I've seen some people too fat fo the oldies. That's scary. When I'm driving the coaster, it's bad too. People never listen to what you say, so you can take advantage of that. But it's hard when you are yelling at them to go through the exit or get off the railings. Tinisha resorts to screaming through the microphone, which is funny, but would get her in trouble if she was caught. I do more of a casual demeaning like "If you are carrying a giant pair of red dice, and are leaning against the enterance gates, please look straight down at your toes. If you see that you are leaning on the gate, please take two steps back". Then I usually tell the guest next to me "Don't lean on the gates, pass it down". Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The thriller has broken down so many times with me at the controls, I don't know why. It's bad luck, but I think they won;t let me do it anymore. I'm hardly ever at the Thriller.

The Serial Thriller Spiel, if I wrote it:
Hurry up and get on the damn ride. When the person comes by to check your safety harness, don't fucking kick him. Don't ask him if the ride is safe. Don't ask him to hold your damn cell phone either. If you get stuck, you have to pull back on the restraint, like we told you to, a million times. Don't scream before the ride leaves the station and try not to puke, because its fucking nasty.

About 60% of the money I make at the Park goes to 1)Taxes and 2)Food. Its amazing how much we get ripped off and taken advantage of. I work for 15 hours a day and get payed for 12, if I'm lucky. After expenses, I get payed for about 8. The working world is fun, ain't it?

Can't wait for school to start, I've got so much to do. Leave a comment with a work story like this to cheer me up or something. :D
Posted by eclipse on 07/22 at 10:53 PM
In FeaturedRants • (5) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, June 07, 2003

200 miles of disappointment

Had to start the day off with Six Flags training.  I’m trying to get a job as a ride operator there.  I couldn’t go to sleep the night before so I was really tired.  So the only thing that got me through that was knowing I was going to go to the Whempys LAN in Columbus afterwards.  Well, we all drove down in Tim’s car and after the hour long trip there were like 30 people there.  We didn’t want to pay $15 for a 30 person LAN for only 8 hours or so.  We went to Wendys to decide to go or stay.  We left, so the trip consisted basically of driving 200 miles to go to Wendys.  It was some damn good Wendys though.

Posted by eclipse on 06/07 at 07:53 PM
In FeaturedLifeGamingLAN Party • (1) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Whempy’s Wireless Project

    The problem:  To fit 4 people and 8 computers (including 3 laptops  raspberry) into 2 cars and arrive at the Whempy's LAN Party in Columbus, OH.
    The solution: Establish a wireless ethernet connection between the two cars and Microsoft NetMeeting for voice communication.

    Situation: Two cars, My (Eclipse's) Car took the point because I had driven there before, although it was last year, so we weren't too sure where we were going.

    Equipment List:
        Eclipse's Car:
            Passengers: Eclipse, Codex
            Computers: Eclipse's Desktop, Eclipse's Laptop, Codex's Desktop, Codex's Laptop, Codex's Server
            Wireless Solution: Codex's Laptop with external antenna placed on top of car for extended range.
        Swiftwulf's Car:
            Passengers: Swiftwulf, Krhainos
            Computers: Swiftwulf's Desktop, Krhaino's MiniDesktop, Krhaino's Laptop, AC Power inverter, Access Point
            Wireless Solution: Krhaino's Laptop next to access point, powered by AC Power inverter.

Figure 1: Access Point. 
Obviously the backbone to a wireless network.  We chose to power an access point rather than connect the two wireless cards directly so we could get a larger wireless range.  Even with Swiftwulf's car directly behind, 802.11b doesnt have a whole lot of range.  Because Krhaino's laptop doesn't have a long lasting battery, the power inverter was used in Swiftwulf's car so he could use it to power the access point and laptop.  The access point was placed on the passenger sun visor for optimum range and we didnt trust it to be taped to the outside of the car.

Figure 2: Performance.
Performance over the mobile wireless network was marginal.  This picture shows Krhaino's laptop which was right next to the access point.  The strange thing was he got pings of around 45-50 to codex's laptop, while codex got pings of around 2000 to krhainos.  Voice over the network worked after a brief setup period, however.  File transfer between the two cars also worked, as tested by copying the directions back and forth.

Figure 3: Netmeeting.
Because there was no DHCP on this relatively simple network, static IPs were used.  The lead car was assigned, and the the other was  Netmeeting was chosen as the communication software due to its simplicity, smallest setup time, and the fact that we didn't have much choice.  The problem we ran into was that Codex's laptop runs linux, and doesn't have netmeeting.  To solve this, we downloaded Gnome Meeting for him.  This connected with the windows laptop, but the two could not text chat to each other.  Voice chat worked though, and we ended up using that instead.

Figure 4: Execution
Both cars did an excellent job of staying close enough for the LAN to work.  Codex had some problems connecting to the access point at the beginning, but it worked and the two computers could talk.  We found out that sony microphones must suck because we were having some problems hearing krhainos, but overall it was cool.  Even had a radio station going for a few minutes :D

Next time, some improvements can be made and we hope to have wireless gaming during the 2 hour trip back and forth from Whempy's

Figure 5: Success!
We arrived at the LAN Party just in time for Codex to get a winning ticket.  He won two Cold Cathode Lights.  Congrats, Codex.


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Posted by eclipse on 06/03 at 09:58 AM
In FeaturedTechPCGamingLAN Party • (0) CommentsPermalink