Thursday, 29 April 2010

Passwords you never created and never knew

Every so often the more technically-savy in a family are called on to help set-up a new computer when an old one begins to fail. Experience tells you that there are a number of things that you'll need to do as part of this process, but there's generally one or more things you forget to check for and have to fix later. It's seldom a single-session process.

Last weekend the main problem was an unknown password for an email account. In a scenario which can't be that uncommon, an email account had been established by a friend and the password for it remembered by the email client but no human being. Luckily we were able to salvage the password using one of these tools and restore access to the email via a new client on the new computer.

It seems all to possible that we will encounter this scenario with a depositor at some stage, so it's handy to have an easy fix for it. On the other hand, it's a little worrying how easy a fix it is...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

So long floppy, hello retro cool!

If you've been following Victoria's rather brilliant posts about media, you'll be sad (or perhaps glad) to hear that the demise of the floppy draws ever closer now that Sony are discontinuing floppy disks. I suspect everyone has a story to tell that involves a floppy disk, the fear, the shear agony of that lost essay, the relief at the kindness of the geek who saved the file. These stories will become a thing of the past.

To balance this bad news, I also wanted to flag up the Vintage Computer Festival up the road at Bletchly Park. Lets hope they raise a glass to deprecated storage devices and their tales!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Do you know the way to Dundee?

The Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee is putting on what looks to be a very interesting seminar entitled "Practical Approaches to Electronic Records: the Academy and Beyond". And I'm not just saying it'll be very interesting because we're talking at it either. Just take a look at the packed programme and I'm sure you'll agree.

I'll be covering the workflow we're adopting here at futureArch and hopefully demo part of it, as well as discussing our digital asset management system, the foundation for our archive and how those ideas may scale to smaller systems.

Hope to see you there and if not I'm sure we'll be reporting back right here so stay tuned!

(Also a bit (um, I mean big) thank you to Jennifer Johnstone for helping me find my way to Dundee! :-))

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Using a D-Link DGE-530T Gigabit Network adapter in ESX 4.

For our developers ESX testbed/playground I wanted to install two D-Link DGE-530T Gigabit PCI Desktop network adapters unfortunately they do not appear to be on the ESX supported list. These are the steps I took to get them to be recognised by ESX:

1. Acquire the skge.o driver which supports the Marvell Yukon 88E0001 chipset

The discussion Using a Marvell LAN card with ESXi 4 contains a link to a tarball sky2-and-skge-for-esxi4-0.02.tar.gz containing both the sky2 and skge driver

2. login to ESX 4.0 as root and copy the skge.o driver to /usr/lib/vmware/vmknod

2.1 download sky2-and-skge-for-esxi4-0.02.tar.gz

2.2 tar xvzf ../sky2-and-skge-for-esxi4-0.02.tar.gz

2.3 cp vmtest/usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/skge.o /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod

3. run 'lspci' and identify the NICs location (the xx:xx.x number in front of the description)

03:00.0 Ethernet controller: D-Link System Inc Unknown device 4b01 (rev 11)

4. run 'lspci -n' and determine the vendor and device IDs (for D-Link it should be 1186:xxxx)

lspci -n
00:00.0 0600: 8086:29b0 (rev 02)
03:00.0 0200: 1186:4b01 (rev 11)
03:02.0 0200: 8086:1026 (rev 04)

5. create the vmware pciid file '/etc/vmware/pciid/skge.xml' here's a listing of the mine

cat /etc/vmware/pciid/skge.xml

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='iso-8859-1'?>
<vendor id="1186">
<short>D-Link System Inc</short>
<name>D-Link System Inc</name>
<device id="4b01">
<vmware label="nic">
<name>DGE-530T Ethernet NIC</name>
<table file="pcitable" module="ignore" />
<table file="pcitable.Linux" module="skge">
<desc>D-Link System|DGE-530T Ethernet NIC</desc>

6. create file /etc/vmware/init/manifests/ which contains a single line as shown
cat /etc/vmware/init/manifests/
copy /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/skge.o

7. reboot the server and checking the /var/log/vmware/esxcfg-boot.log should confirm:

That the esxcfg boot process has loaded the skge.xml metafile , constructed the new file and included the skge.o driver in the initramfs image.

8. running 'lspci' after adding a second DGE-530T card now shows

03:00.0 Ethernet controller: D-Link System Inc DGE-530T Ethernet NIC (rev 11)
03:02.0 Ethernet controller: D-Link System Inc DGE-530T Ethernet NIC (rev 11)

Of course the normal caveats and disclaimers apply as in not supported by VMware etc.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Want to be our new graduate trainee?

We are now advertising for our second graduate traineeship post within the project. This one-year post is intended to provide pre-course experience to a graduate prior to undergoing professional training on one of the recognised archive courses. Being based within futureArch, it particularly suits an applicant wishing to develop an understanding of how the shift to digital communications impacts the work of archivists. 

The postholder will support the curatorial and technical work of the futureArch project, while sampling a variety of more traditional archival work, including providing services to researchers in the Special Collections Reading Room. The postholder will also participate in activities organised through the OWL Graduate Trainee Scheme.

Further details and application forms are available here. The closing date for applications is 10 May 2010 and we expect to interview on 1 June. For a flavour of some of the work Victoria has done during her time as a trainee take a look at some of her posts to this blog and to the Bodleian graduate trainee scheme blog.