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Server UI

Filed under: Fluendo,Hacking — Thomas @ 4:14 pm

4:14 pm

I’m trying to keep a todo list around of what we need to do at work.

I’ve started thinking about the user interface, and have translated one of the use cases to a scenario. It’s enlightening to force yourself to actually try coming up with a UI, because it adds a bunch of design restrictions and forces you to cover your ground again.

I’m happy we’re using Python and that we have Johan around. He’s fixing bugs in PyGTK as we encounter them and I can bother him nonstop with all sorts of newbie PyGTK questions. Making GObjects in Python is insanely easy compared to the equivalent in C. So much so that you just create a GObject when you need it, because you can rely on its signal handling working well, whereas in C you’d hack around it.

So I’ve written a UI for a producer using a test signal, and a UI for a preview window for video that you’d be able to insert in any of the components on the server to see what’s happening. Now back to the drawing board to incorporate things I need that I’ve figured out with these tests.

Need to stresstest the server regularly as well. I’ve found a bunch of HTTP stress tests but they focus mainly on how well a server processes requests. We’re looking for something that would either allow us to “capture” requests together with their low-level read/write times and then play them back. The difference with HTTP request replayers is that we really want to replay the specific read/write behaviour, since this also effectively emulates both the speed the client reads at, as well as the specific burstiness of the client.

Or, any project that can generate requests this way, where you are in control over the simulated clients’ speed and their specific request profile would be good. Drop me a note if you know of a good one.


Filed under: General,Life — Thomas @ 3:54 pm

3:54 pm

The past weekend started badly. I had been having lots of internet issues at home lately; half of the day my ADSL connection times out and I get a new IP address assigned every fifteen minutes. The net result is that both my IRC and IMAP connections are pretty much unusable.

Also, some machine somewhere was asking my DHCP server for an IP address every minute, always pretending to come in via a different nonexisting host.

Friday evening I wanted to try and fix this. I started by trying to find the rogue host. I couldn’t find the MAC address in any ARP table, and I couldn’t figure out if there was a decent way to ping MAC addresses.

In a short flash of lucidity I configured my DHCP server to give that MAC address an IP address, to see what happened. After some waiting, that worked, and it got an IP address for me. So the host was somewhere close !

After portscanning it and telnetting to it, I realized it was my old Compaq Router locked in the fake ceiling. Why it never showed up in ARP tables I have no idea, but there it was, the bastard.

Anyway, fixing that didn’t really solve my ADSL problem. So back to that. Only then my main server started throwing errors, and then I couldn’t log in anymore. Reboot the machine, hard disk problems. Lots of IDE timeouts, sectors unreadable, and so on…

Sigh. So I bit the bullet – I’ll stop using the old machine – it had the irritating problem of not accepting hard disks bigger than 30 GB anyway, and the mirrors I try to keep locally for fedora.us and rpm.livna.org building have grown bigger than that. And to replace it, I used some other machine lying around that I know some people will hate me for.

Anyway, it took me until about five in the morning to save what was left saving, migrate configurations, test stuff, and so on.

Luckily, the day after we were expected at Julien’s place :) I felt a bit tired the next morning, but Wim, Johan, Kristien and I left in my car around 1. I had chosen not to bring my laptop :)

The rest of the weekend was a mix of great barbecue, floating around in the pool, having fun, laughing, playing petanque, reading, talking, playing guitar, singing, and staying up late. I almost forgot about my server trouble. Almost.

Anyway, we had a great time, and finally headed back home Sunday afternoon. After which I went back to fixing up the server. And I’m still stuck with crappy ADSL, hurray.

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