time to go raise goats on a mountain

Yesterday, the provider that hosts one of my personal machines fell off the network for about 12 hours, and topped it with a power outage from which my machine didn’t come back up on its own. (Never heard why, hardware was fine when it did come up; suspect some mismanagement in the colo space.) The network that came back after the outage was materially slower than before, making it increasingly hard to actually migrate the remaining services off of that machine, onto the new one, which now had replacement fans.

I left, as you might imagine, quite a few voice mails on the tech support box, mails to the support@ address, and even a voice mail on the cell phone of the president of the hosting provider (he had insisted previously that I should call him if there were ever a problem). When I finally heard back from someone at the hosting provider, I was told that I could move my machine to their cabinet at 151 Front for improved reliability. They were doing this for me as a favour!

“No, that’s fine, I’ll take care of it.” Well, actually…they were doing this to reduce the load on the now-weaker uplink from the colo space.

“I won’t be running out of there for long, and I can keep the bandwidth down just fine for a few days, but thanks.” Well, actually…they were doing this because they were shutting that colo space down because their remaining colo customers didn’t need all that space.

“Cool, I’ll be done in a week or so and then I can remove the box entirely, don’t worry about it.” Well, actually…they need to be out of that space in 48 hours or they’ll have to pay rent, or something. I was unable to avoid mentioning that I’d been told I would need to give 60 days notice to cancel my own hosting, a few weeks earlier; I was weak in that regard.

So a wonderful friend of mine moved the old machine to some rack space he has, and then he and other wonderful friends worked all night to get the routing unscrewed. In the process, one of my new machines had to be rebooted, and my friends’ respect for my sleep trumped the possibility of calling me to help fix things when the services on that machine didn’t talk to the network post-reboot. Once I got up this morning, I spent about 30 mins figuring out what state the various bridges were in and then Google led me to victory in about another 30.

For a period of a few hours, I had no DNS service, as the machine I was using as a secondary DNS server was experiencing related but not identical failure; a failure of redundancy that I will soon remedy. That led to a bit of mail bouncing, if it was sent to shaver@off.net or shaver@mozilla.org, so please do resend if you were thusly victimized. My blog was also down for a bit, not that anyone is likely to care about that.

I’m not sure if it’s irony or demand creation, but the same company that I have now put behind me offers a high-availability network access service — clearly, I should have availed myself of it.

with vacations like this, who needs work?

I took a day off today to get some stuff done around the house, and to put some new drives in the server that hosts this blog, among other wonders.

Once we got into the server hosting space, which was mildly exciting, things went downhill in a hurry:

I had 4 drives in my backpack, and 4 drives in the machine, but only capacity for 6 drives of this size (3.5″). I did not have the right kind of screwdriver to manipulate the front panel of the machine — and to fit the 5th and 6th drives, even, I would have to remove the CD-ROM and media-bay stuff. And get more sleds.

While I was removing the CD-ROM, and discovering that the chassis probably wanted an adapter of sorts to enjoy these new drives at all, I managed to stick my left pinky a little into the whirling maw of pain that is a chassis fan. That little mother was really spinning, because the impact sent a blade flying off the fan, and sent me to St. Mike’s to get a tetanus shot and have a doctor inspect my now-oddly-hamburger-like pinkytip.

So now I need:

  • 2 drive sleds,
  • possibly, some conversion kit to go from ’4 x 3.5″ drives plus media bay’ to ’6 x 3.5″ drives without media bay” on a Dell Poweredge 2950,
  • two new chassis fan modules,
  • someone to work the shift, control and command keys on my computer for a little while,
  • a picture of the blood spatter on the sticker that says “don’t put your finger in here when the power’s on, moron”.

And I’m totally going to need another day off at some point soon, after this mess.

(Oh, I also lost my book somewhere today, possibly at lunch, so I had to buy another copy.)

two things you should read

One thing about work: Stuart has a truly excellent post about memory work in Firefox. The sort of post I’ve been wanting to figure out how to write for some time, and he just plain-out nails it.

One thing about not-work: my lovely sister Steph is featured in an article in the Montreal Gazette, which — in spite of the strange headline and conspicuous lack of photo — I found quite enjoyable.

daddy’s home

I’m back at work today for the first time since life changed completely and wonderfully two weeks ago. Thanks to everyone for their congratulations, support, and good wishes; they are very much appreciated by all three of us.

I have a pretty good-sized backlog of mail, and I suspect it’ll take me most of today to get through it, but if you are waiting for a response from me and don’t get something by the end of tomorrow, you should feel welcome to send me a gentle reminder. I will be on IRC and IM for your gentle-reminding needs.

In the interim, you can entertain yourselves with cute baby pictures:
Random cuteness

Claire Madeline Shaver

October 16, 2007, 22:29 Eastern. Six pounds, fourteen ounces. Awesome.

Claire at 8 minutes

Mom and Claire are both doing fine, I’ll be away daddying for the next 2 weeks, so don’t expect response to work stuff and you will be less disappointed.


Update: the thought of gifts is appreciated, but unless you’re going to bring them yourself so that you’ll have the joy of meeting her, I would much rather you make a donation in her honour to SickKids. We have been blessed with a healthy baby, but not every baby is as lucky as Claire, and the great folks at SickKids work hard to make sure that every baby gets what they need to be happy and healthy.

adrenaline withdrawal

Between the frantic reskinning of AMO, the general hubbub of the Firefox 2 release, and then preparing for and delivering my FSOSS keynote, last week was pretty much non-stop adrenaline. I was completely exhausted by Thursday night, to the extent that I actually stayed on campus rather than try to get up Friday morning in time to defeat Toronto traffic for a 9AM keynote slot back up at the Seneca@York campus, but the conference itself was enough of a source of energy that I managed to keep rolling until relatively late in the evening.

Saturday was spent sleeping and traipsing about the city as part of Madhava‘s bachelor party, which was not exactly a meditative exercise itself. Ridiculous fun, of course.

So today I’m feeling pretty weird, I have to say. I’ve been quietly working through my backlog of “deal with this later” stuff — mostly context, but some of it perilously close to core — and letting the novel and welcome sensation of choosing my own next steps wash over and around me. I will readily admit, to the surprise of nobody, that I enjoy the rush of execution and the feeling of making decisions “live”, but I’m really looking forward to spending a few days taking a fresh look at the paths I was on before the explosion of the last 2 weeks. If nothing else, it’ll be nice to have “am I forgetting something important?” downgrade from “certainly” to “possibly” for a while.

And I should do some laundry, too.

I’ll probably — hopefully? — be less present/active in my usual interrupt-driven communication environments for a bit, but if you need me I’m sure you can reach me without too much trouble…


I, Mike Shaver, love Philip Imperial Schwan with all my heart.

Je vous remercie pour votre attention. [tags]personal, phik[/tags]

when I see your face

Getting my first eye exam in 2 years today, since I really need to replace my bent and scratched glasses. My prescription is pretty stable, but I got some eye drops that are apparently going to screw me up pretty good for the better part of 8 hours.

I am looking forward to fumbling through customs and security at Pearson this afternoon, liberty bag in tow. With my luck, I’ll end up having some allergic reaction that will leave me unable to drive from SFO — or maybe that’d be vlad‘s luck… [tags]personal, travel[/tags]

Je me surfeit

As any of our posse can tell you, a trip to Montreal means running a significant risk of developing gout. The food is amazing, as always, and other than a brief sputtering on Friday afternoon the weather has been perfect. None of this hotter-than-the-loins-of-hell crap that we left behind in Toronto, for example.

Lunches have been pretty low-key affairs, since breakfast was often taken around 11, though the paninis (one ch�vre, one “� la Cubain”) and salad at “olive + gourmand” were definitely a score. We of course did lots of wandering touristy stuff, including an excellent little exhibit on prehistoric Japan at the archaeological museum, and the impressive set of gardens-cum-exhibits at the International Flora event, and I managed to buy some new and much-needed clothes as well. But enough about non-eating pursuits.

On Friday evening, Steph scored us a table at her friend Chuck’s new restaurant, “Garde Manger”. It’s new enough that it really doesn’t have a sign outside, but it’s well worth risking mild confusion. When my Caesar arrived in a stein with two meaty crab legs sticking out, I knew we were going to have a good time. The three of us picked out a half-dozen items from the tapas-y daily menu, ranging from a fresh tomato salad to a ridiculous bavette with frites. Then, of course, the waitress upsold us — I mean called our attention to the availability of their assorted fresh seafood plates. We took the “small”, which only featured a dozen oysters in addition to crab and shrimp, which was undoubtedly the wisest course. A nearby table — which I suppose all of them were, really, given the scale of the joint — had a large “plate” hoisted onto their table with what looked like considerable effort; I believe there have been credible productions of The Little Mermaid with less underwater fauna. For dessert, we shared a generous slice of pecan pie which I would be reluctant to carry across the border without a doctor’s note. (We later learned, through Steph’s network of restaurant-industry informants, that the pie was made by Chuck’s mother.)

The next night (after the museum and garden stuff above, but I’m too lazy to edit for mere chronology) Austin arranged a table for Steph, Tyla and me at “Joe Beef”, the latest of David Macmillan’s endeavours. I’ve been a fan of David’s since first enjoying his work at Globe, and though David wasn’t on site last evening we had a pretty good time nonetheless. His partners Allison and Fred took care of us, and we gorged ourselves appropriately.

Before leaving today Tyla and I wandered over to Atwater market, a staple of our Montreal days. It’s been nicely restored since the fire a few years ago, and a little complex has sprung up across the street, boasting a large SAQ, some condos, and assorted grocery/drug/houseware stores. We’ll have to take a closer look when next we’re in town together. I hope I won’t be another 4 years! [tags]personal, mozilla, montreal, food, travel[/tags]


This is the farthest I’ve ever been from my mom on Mother’s Day, I think: she in Vancouver, and I in kinda-London (soon to be Amsterdam). I usually don’t dwell on distance, and honestly once we’re no longer in the same house or city my communication frequency degrades as though I were stationed on Titan, but I struck me a bit today.

When I was much younger and shorter, and I believe had not yet developed the annoying habit of interrupting everyone I spoke with, Mom was considering taking a job in France, I think with Alcatel. At the time, I really didn’t know much about anything, but it seemed like a neat idea and only a little scarier than our previous moves, if indeed “scary” is not too strong a word. (I was inured to the traumas of relocation early and often, no doubt in part due to the “gypsy” blood Mom claims to host.) Now, though, I boggle at what an undertaking that would have been for Mom, with two young children, no support system at all in France, a language she didn’t really speak, a new job, visas, being an alien again — I get tired just thinking about it, because I’m a spoiled wimp.

But reflecting on that of course leads me to reflect on all the other miracles that Mom — or “Janice”, as I knew to yell for in stores, not quite realizing that a mother can pick out her child’s voice even when there are thirty other mothers in the area — performed to keep us going and healthy and happy. Performed so well, in fact, that I took it very much for granted growing up. Feed and shepherd two kids, be a consummate software professional (both technically and “socially”), help her quirky and demanding son learn and grow, pitch a mean softball, train a dog, drive stick, be a great and true friend, look out for her kids’ friends too, keep a house, act as the nexus for her family, make a desperately shoestring budget feel comfortable, and make a mean lasagne? Sure, how hard can it be? Mom can do it, and she can’t even beat me at chess any more.

I could relate a thousand anecdotes of her strength, courage, humour, wisdom, kindness, good judgement, selflessness, and other miscellaneous virtue, but after living a lifetime of them they pale when I try to capture them in words. I am who I am today, at least the good parts, because Mom is who she is, and because she never caved in and became someone else, even — especially — when that would have been so much easier. So thanks, Mom. I don’t know what else to say.

[Ed: boy, it sucks when I forget that I need two line breaks to create a new paragraph when I'm posting by mail.]


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