Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It's been a quiet week ...

... but things will be getting busy soon. We have maintenance windows scheduled for the next three Saturdays so I'm kissing a normal sleep schedule goodbye. Fortunately, I took some time out last night to raise a few pints with the boys. AG and LC had a multi-hour rambling conversation that spanned everything from baseball to fantasy football. Now, I like watching sports. I'm rabid about my hockey (Go 'Canes!). But man, these guys ability to retain information about players, games, stats, etc. is staggering.

I think the only thing standing in their way is Hurricane Ditka.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Seriously Good: Paisano: Tuna Casserole

Glenn Reynolds recently linked to Kevin Weeks' (not that Kevin Weekes) Seriously Good food blog. While browsing through the blog I came across his Tuna Casserole. Man, does that sound good.

One more blog into Google Reader and a new recipe to check out.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Geoff Huston on the IPv6 Transition

The End of the (IPv4) World is Nigher!
Funny how some topics seem sit on a quiet back burner for years, and then all of a sudden become matters of relatively intense attention. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a number of pronouncements on the imminent exhaustion of the IP version 4 address pools. Not only have some of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and some national registry bodies made public statements on the topic, we’ve now seen ICANN also make its pronouncement on this topic.

We're definitely running out of IPv4 address space and the transition to IPv6 needs to happen sometime soon. Personally, I don't think we'll see the type of widespread adoption necessary to push us past the tipping point until at least 2012. Network operators will slice up the customer allocations into ever smaller chunks and the end users will NAT more and more services behind the handful of addresses using ever more inventive methods. That's a good thing (sort of) as Huston is predicting that we'll be looking at an exhaustion point for the address space in "late 2009 / early 2010"
rather than looking at an exhaustion date for IPv4 addresses of around 2012 to 2014, which appears to be so comfortably off in the distant future as to be inconsequential to today’s Internet industry, the exhaustion date has drawn in to late 2009 / early 2010. This is just a little over two and a half years from today and all of a sudden a rather abstract debate about the viability of various options to cope with this address exhaustion issue is looking uncomfortably real.

He bases this prediction on a growth curve that fits rather well into an o(2) polynomial function (Extensive data here).

So what's a Network Administrator to do? Unfortunately, most of us fall into the same boat. Until our providers move to IPv6 there's not much of an incentive for us to undertake the process within our networks; The business case isn't there but the potential for interruption to essential services are. The latter, I think, is why we'll continue to see widespread reluctance to migrate in the near future (and even beyond Huston's probable exhaustion date).

Too many businesses (even high tech ones) treat the network layer as black box because they do not understand the complexities involved. And because most technology executives (CTOs, I'm looking at you!) don't come from a network background and don't know what goes inside that black box they don't fund it to the fullest extent as they do with their software engineering or systems budgets. The result is that one of the most important technology layers, one which all the other flashier layers are dependent upon, is not allowed to perform to its limits or is not properly engineered to handle what is demanded of it.

We end up, then, with a situation where the business sees no need to migrate to IPv6 and the network administrators are reluctant to make the case because of a perception that the business will not listen to their recommendation. My advice: Prepare now. Start building the deployment plans and evaluating your networks and equipment to determine what needs to be done. The business will eventually realize that there is a need to migrate and when the time comes you'll be ready.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Watch your WiFi: iPhones flooding ARP requests?

NetworkWorld picked up a story on Apple's new iPhone taking out Cisco LWAPs at Duke University:
The built-in 802.11b/g adapters on several iPhones periodically flood sections of the Durham, N.C., school’s pervasive wireless LAN with MAC address requests, temporarily knocking out anywhere from a dozen to 30 wireless access points at a time. The campus network staff is talking with Cisco, the main WLAN provider, and have opened a help desk ticket with Apple. But so far, the precise cause of the problem remains unknown.

I tend to agree with one of the commenter's speculation that the iPhone's wireless stack is trying to find its "home" network and in the process is sending out a flood of Unicast ARP requests. That's probably circumventing whatever flood controls might be in place which causes the Controller to fall over. Since they're using Light-Weight Controllers (my guess is that it's the 4400-series) multiple WAPs will become unreachable simultaneously as they all depend on the controller to function properly.

Cisco will probably get a fix out there to prevent this behavior, but I also think the onus is on Apple to fix their WiFi stack. The fact that Apple has been completely silent on the matter doesn't help things. If they're aware of an issue they need to be open about it and work to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Instead, it looks like they've taken the traditional Apple line of clamming up about everything. That works well when you're trying to build buzz for your Latest Coolest Thing Ever™ but it creates horrible feelings in the marketplace when there's an issue that requires resolution.

Hat Tip Instapundit

Update: Cisco Security Advisory: Wireless ARP Storm Vulnerabilities

They don't mention the Duke issue at all, but it's pretty clear the problem was due to their handling of unicast ARPs when doing Layer-3 roaming.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I'm bored ...

I'm waiting for dinner to cook (mmmm.. Spaghetti and meatballs) soI figured I'd take some pictures while I walkmy roommate's dog.


My Car

Rachel Lucas is right

I can't argue with the facts.


Thursday, June 21, 2007


A couple of my buddies' band is playing downtown tonight .

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft Surface

A lot of the blogosphere has been buzzing about Microsoft's Surface computer. This is by far the coolest video I've seen.

I'll take two please.

The Auto Prophet: Inflation Adjusted Gas Prices

I pinged this story in the LinkBlog but I think it bears repeating here.

Inflation Adjusted Gas Prices

"Why so sad, people?"

Julian Gough ponders why the modern literary novel is "so bloody boring"

What is wrong with the modern literary novel? Why is it so worthy and dull? Why is it so anxious? Why is it so bloody boring?

Well, let's go back a bit first. Two and a half thousand years ago, at the time of Aristophanes, the Greeks believed that comedy was superior to tragedy: tragedy was the merely human view of life (we sicken, we die). But comedy was the gods' view, from on high: our endless and repetitive cycle of suffering, our horror of it, our inability to escape it. The big, drunk, flawed, horny Greek gods watched us for entertainment, like a dirty, funny, violent, repetitive cartoon. And the best of the old Greek comedy tried to give us that relaxed, amused perspective on our flawed selves. We became as gods, laughing at our own follies.

This obsession with dry, slogging seriousness combined with a particular group's particular jargon and language structure as a sign of true professionalism has thoroughly penetrated Western culture. It's not just the literary novel that's turned its back on clear comprehensible writing. I see it in all aspects of our culture from the disclaimers on ads to the stilted construction of emails flying about in Corporate America.

We seem to have developed a fear of humiliation and to counteract that we've wrapped ourselves in this impenetrable fog of buzzwords and jargon. This allows the writer to appear more intelligent while also moving the discourse such that any attempts at humor or levity can be dismissed as "inappropriate". After all, doesn't everyone look up to dour geniuses as the pinnacle of intellectual achievement?

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not pushing for red noses and big shoes in the Boardroom. I do believe, though, that as a culture we've lost a lot of the ability to laugh at ourselves. Maybe it's a response to the constant push for bigger and better. If we admit for a second that we're flawed then we've seemingly given a leg up to whomever we're competing with to be richer, better looking, smarter, etc. Sometimes you just have to look in the mirror and realize that you're a bald white guy that's probably too anal retentive for your own good. I have to do that every day and every day it gets a little easier. I'm still driven to succeed and improve myself but I know a few of my faults and shortcomings now and they make me chuckle.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The world's worst motorcycle gang

Spotted outside my office today ... Heh.

Introducing the LinkBlog

I recently made the jump from Bloglines to Google Reader for my feed consuming needs and in the process set up a LinkBlog (Bloglines would let you share items also, but it was a pain in the ass). Check it out as well as the random sampling over on the right side of the page.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Live blogging the commute

Traffic in and around RTP sucks. It doesn't help my mood when I get to the gym and discover that all the parking is taken up by an anime convention going on at the hotel next door.

Hello World!

I've blogged in various places here and there on a few occasions in the past, but never with any regularity or seriousness. This time, though, will be different!

We all go through periods of transition in our lives and I think this blog, as an outlet, will help me through this particular somewhat painful one I'm working through now; My wife and I have separated after nearly eight years. Yes, I know people get divorced all the time (although the divorce rate is ebbing at the moment). Still, going through it sucks even if it's as amicable as my ex and I are trying to make it.

Make no mistake, though, this blog isn't going to consistently solely of emo moaning and angst about divorce. I honestly hope that's only a small percentage when the blog is taken as a whole. I'm a geek. I work as a network engineer at a technology company here in Research Triangle Park (who shall remain nameless for the time being) and I love my job and all the little interesting bits of tech that I get to play with day in and day out. I read voraciously with a strong bent towards SF of the old school hardcore variety. That's not to say there aren't some kick ass new writers out there. John Scalzi and Alastair Reynolds immediately come to mind.

So watch this space for frequent (hopefully) updates in the future. For now, it's time to kickstart the holiday weekend.