Category Archives: APH

Server Health Monitor Screen

Clever things one can do with byobu / screen. I have a bunch of servers I need to monitor more or less constantly. I rigged up this aesthetically pleasing array of monitors so I get to look smart when someone, whilst I’m in the middle of programming or something, asks if server blah is having problems.

This one is of our main router / firewall / phone switch. Note the upper right pane where I can quickly sort out who’s using all the bandwidth; it’s iftop with the colorization patch. The left one is the Asterisk console. The bottom one is just syslog washed through grc.

My Workstation

IMG_20150415_131523I built the gnu tool chain from source. The right monitor has my vi editing session, OpenOCD, and a telnet to OpenOCD. …and yes! that is a model M keyboard the second best keyboard ever made. The left monitor is a little more interesting, the box in the left hand side of my desk is a BitScope, this is a decent Oscilloscope, Spectrum analyzer, and logic probe all in one box. The Linux software works well out of the box. Also there is a Flyswatter II and an Olmex USB programmer (I like the Olmex better), these were a bit difficult to get set-up with OpenOCD but have gotten easier as OpenOCD has matured. I’ve used things like AVROne, and PIC Kit 2, but OpenOCD is far better as remote gdb works well. Say what you will about the learning curve for gdb but it’s the best debugger.


My lab bench is a bit messy at the moment. Okay, here I spent a few bucks (the microscope) but I share lab space with an engineer from another department. This engineer has low vision (legally blind). He has forgotten more about analogue then I’ll ever know. I hoped, if I spent some bucks and got a good microscope, he’d use it too and he does so it was a good deal. IMG_20150414_141233

I’m A Curmudgeon

I admit it, not only do I use vi (vim), but I use the terminal version. Here’s is screen shot of some Braille Buzz source, notice I use clang complete (Intelligent code completion), and tagbar for navigation. Please don’t get too hung up on the code remember this was hacked together as a proof of concept, the production code will still be C but not so messy.vim colourized with ClangComplete

may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts

In order for our department to function we had to get out from under the main company’s security policy, in order to do that we need our own infrastructure. Our security policy (I wrote it) basically says you (we are all developers in this department) are your own system administrator (part of the job description). You are responsible for whatever your workstation does on our network network, if I have to pull your plug and you can’t do your job that’s on you, not me. Sounds harsh but in practice not so much.

We took a disused electrical service room, Facilities brought me more air-conditioning that I could have wished for, and Maintenance gave me an old equipment rack. The two Dell boxes down on the bottom are nothing to get excited about but the SuperMicro on top, I built from scratch (about half the price of a comparable Dell and yes I counted my labor). Now, I have no illusions that this server room is going to win any beauty contests but these three machines run our Firewall, phones(Asterisk), file servers (SMB and NFS), backups, and Android builds. If something breaks, I have parts–you try getting more than an appeasement engineer in the four hour response time here in Louisville Kentucky. The only downtime we’ve had in about a year is when a fan failed on one of those old Dells, we lost an hour of Internet. Oh, those two things on the right are interesting they are Braille printers (embossers).IMG_20150414_115925