Computing Insanity

Uninterruptible Sleep

Recently, I’ve upgraded some servers at work to RHEL7. I’ve had a few things that I didn’t plan for, but that’s to be expected when you do a major upgrade and you can’t test everything in advance. However, I have had one issue that is still causing problems. And ironically, it seems to affect my own account the most.

On most mornings, when I ssh into our server, it takes a really long time to login. I assumed this was an nfs issue because I almost always assume slowness things are related to nfs. After logging in, I run top and can see the load on the system go up. There’s no single process that looks to be out of control. I did notice though that an imap process under my name would jump to the top every so often. Since I had Mail on my mac open, I expected that. However, since I wasn’t doing anything with mail and I didn’t see any new messages, I didn’t understand why it would suddenly cause a high load. I thought it was just coincidence, but after a few days of this happening, I figured something was there and I googled “Mac Mail High Load”. This brought up High Mail CPU with El Capitan as the first result. And I was running El Capitan. I ran the top command and looked for processes in the uninterruptible sleep state and found me with a bunch of them. I have a few because I’m checking a few different email accounts, some are under my username and others are under a user called ichep.

[~]# top -b -n 1 |grep D
  476 ichep     20   0   19776   3208   2204 D   0.0  0.0   0:00.12 imap
  946 mary      20   0   20052   3348   1992 D   0.0  0.0   0:00.14 imap
 1101 mary      20   0   19296   2400   1928 D   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 imap
 1166 mary      20   0   19044   1996   1672 D   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 imap
 1167 ichep     20   0   19044   1812   1524 D   0.0  0.0   0:00.00 imap

I followed the instructions in the webpage and turned off “Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox” and closed the preferences window. Then reopened it and turned off “Compact mailboxes automatically”.

Now when I run mail, I don’t appear to get those processes in the uninterruptible state. However, I still think there’s an nfs issue causing those processes to get into that state. I’m not 100% sure though, so I’ll keep an eye on things over the next week to see if I find anything. The weird thing about this is that I tend to notice the problem the most, the first thing in the morning when I initially login. This makes me think it’s an nfs issue, as the disks that I’d normally use would probably be unmounted. My logging in should cause autofs to mount the disks I need. And I think there’s a disk that my .bash_profile uses to source something that is causing the problem. The only “proof” that I think it’s an nfs issue is that I check another mail account on a different server. On this second server, everything is set up exactly the same, except that my home disk is a local disk, not one mounted via nfs. And on this second server, I’ve never seen any issues with this type of delay or uninterruptible sleep states.

Books Business Insanity Pickabout

New Big Project

For quite a long time, I have wanted to write a book and try to sell it. For a multitude of reasons, I haven’t. As of yesterday, no more! I signed up for 30×500 to get started. I’m hoping to find out ways to determine if my idea will actually help people, thus making it worth doing. Am I sure about this? Absolutely not. Who do I think I am to write a book? I’m not an expert at anything. It will probably be the worst book ever and will sell zero copies. However, I’ve decided that this is something I want to try. I’ve decided that being afraid of failure is worse than failure itself. I want to give it a try. And the 30×500 class is a way to help me hedge my bets. It cost me $1900 and my goal is to make that back within the next three years. (Official date: March 8, 2020) Doable? I have no idea. But I’m going to put in the work on it. I’ve deleted everyone I follow on Twitter, except people that I know personally. So I shouldn’t be wasting any time there. I’ve also deleted all the bookmarks for blogs I like to read and youtube videos I like to watch. Again to not waste time. Lastly, I’ve created a new account on my laptop to use for studying and writing. So all of the programs and things that I have on my laptop aren’t available to this second account and thus I can’t have them open while I’m working. I’ve created a website for it. Let’s get started!

Insanity Misc

Random Thoughts

It’s an early Sunday morning and I’m relaxing with a cup of coffee when I thought I’d post some random thoughts I’ve been having.

1. What’s the point of this blog?
So, I really don’t have a point. I love to read other people’s blogs, so I thought I’d make my own. At first, it was just to learn how to set it up. But now, it’s because I like having it. The most successful blogs have a general theme that they follow. Either most of the posts are about personal finance/becoming financially independent, woodworking, making, sewing, etc. My blog is not like that. I guess my entire blog is just a collection of random thoughts. More accurately though, I look at my blog as a place to put things that I want to remember. Since I only eat oatmeal when the weather gets cold, every fall I’m trying to remember how I made it the last year. Thus, I posted my recipe for oatmeal. If I spent a long time at work or at home, figuring out how to configure something on my computer, I’ll write a post about it. It’s a very satisfying feeling when I then google that same problem a year or two later and my own blog post shows in the results. This is also why I have the comments turned off. This is really just for me. The information here might be helpful to other people, which is why I let anyone read it. I have had a couple of people send me a tweet that they found something here useful and that’s pretty cool. But I’m really not trying to build a community or gather people to a cause. And I find it hard to believe that anyone is really interested in what I’ve written here. Checking the analytics for my site, over the past month, I’ve averaged around 500 unique visitors per day. I’m guessing that the majority of these are bots for search engines. However, if you are a real person reading this blog, welcome! I hope you find something useful here.

(Nuts, it took me so long to login to my account to check the anayltics that I forgot what my other points were going to be. I’ll see if I can jar the old memory to get the back to the front.)

Oh, right.
2. Cars. Since I’ve been tracking my expenses in software since 2004, I have a lot of information about where my money has gone. I was shocked to find out that since 2004, I’ve spent over $53,000 on cars. Ok, yes, if I average that over 12 years, it’s only around $4400 per year. And two big chunks of that were in 2012, when I started getting a bunch of repair bills on my van and then sold it and used my sister’s car (and made her car payment) while she was in Germany and then 2013 when she came back and I bought myself a car. But still, seeing that much money go to cars sort of bugs me. I’m happy to say that as of right now, in 2016, my car expenses are under $1800. I think I have to pay insurance at the end of the month, so I’ll probably end up just under $2500 for the year, which does not sound too bad. I’d like to think that I’m getting more reasonable in driving. I have been biking a lot more. Though I will admit that I gave up biking to work somewhat early this year just because I didn’t feel like doing it in the colder weather. Yes, I am a big wuss.

3. Gratitude. In addition to this blog, I also have been keeping a written journal. I’m doing this because I like the physical act of writing on paper. I also enjoy working with paper. I made personalized stationery as gifts a couple of years ago and recently I bound my own book. These were totally fun projects. So I decided to use a blank book that I had as a sort of journal. When I remember, I’m trying to include something I’m grateful for. I’ve read that keeping a gratitude journal helps with happiness and I’m inclined to agree. I haven’t been doing this too long (a little over a month), but I am happier when I remember that life is good and I have a lot to be grateful for.

4. Cashflow. I’ve been increasing the contributions to my retirement accounts steadily over the past couple of years. It’s been good because I’ve felt that I haven’t really noticed that I’m bringing how less each month. However, over the past two months, I have felt like I’ve been a running out of cash a lot quicker than normal. Starting in January, I’ll finally be maxing out what I can contribute. While I’ll only be bringing home a couple of hundred dollars less than I am now, I have a feeling that it’s finally going to start hurting a bit more. So one thing that I’m going to have to look at in my yearly review is what other expenses I can cut a little. I think I’m doing ok, but I feel like I’m still wasting a little money in certain places.

5. Election. I was hugely disappointed with the outcome, but I have accepted that Trump is the president. I don’t think he’ll be good for anyone in the world, but I’m hoping that he’ll surprise me. And I’ve already made a contribution to the ACLU because I’m thinking they’re going to be busy for the next few years.

This post is now long enough, so I’ll stop. It’s sort of blowing my mind that it’s already December and that the year will be over soon. And while I still think that life is good, I’ll be happy to see 2016 end.

Arts House Insanity Repairs

Sewing Machines

I took the sewing machine that was given to me in to get tuned up. The repairman called and said it needed a lot of work and that it would cost around $250-$300. For an old sewing machine that I didn’t like all that much, it was too much money. So I let them keep it for whatever parts they could salvage from it. I don’t sew a lot, but it is a tool that I’d like to have. So I’ve been researching sewing machines.

One thing that I did was look at the type of sewing that I do. I have never used any stitch except a straight stitch. When I was looking at a bunch of home machines, they all bragged about having 50 or 100 different stitches. This is not a selling point for me. I’ve also never made an article of clothing in my life. I’m trying to remember if I ever repaired one and I’m not sure that I have. What have I made? Quilts and curtains. What would I like to make? More quilts and curtains. But also, bags and tablecloths. I’d also like to be able to work with leather. It would be nice to be able to make a leather bag or a leather book cover. And in the far future, I could see me trying upholstery. So I want to get a sewing machine that can handle thicker fabric.

After googling around a bit, I think I want an industrial machine. You can get those that run on regular power in your house, which is what I’d like. A lot of them come with a large table, which would be fine. I don’t need a portable machine. I’m leaning toward a Juki machine because they seem to be really good and there are a bunch of very old ones still in use. I was looking on Craigslist and found a couple of used ones. And then I also looked up new ones, which don’t seem to cost that much more. Plus, there’s a distributor in town who will give you a free hour tutorial on any machine that you buy from them. I think that would be a great idea, since I’m pretty much self-taught on sewing machines. I’m sure there are some basics that I just don’t know.

For now, I’ve set up an alert on Craigslist to let me know anytime someone posts a Juki. If I find a really good deal, perhaps I’ll get a used one. Otherwise, I’ll save up my money and look into a new one.

House Insanity Repairs


I thought that I would take today and try to finish the curtains that I’m making for my bedroom doors. My mom gave me a new iron, which works fantastically well. I also got an ironing board, which also makes ironing so much easier. So I was making great progress with ironing and sewing the side seams. Then, I ran out of thread on my bobbin. No problem, I thought. I learned how to thread the bobbin a while back and even made a youtube video of it. So I thread the bobbin and get back to work. But I don’t get back to work. For reasons I cannot determine, the machine is not moving the material forward. If I press the reverse button, it goes back with no problem. But it won’t go forward. So I screw around with it for a while. What did I do? No idea, but the material starts to move forward slowly. (Reverse goes backwards much quicker than the material is going forward.) So I try again, but things still aren’t right, as the thread is bunching on the bottom. I remember the rule that thread problems on the top of the seam are usually due to the bobbin and problems on the bottom are usually due to the needle. So I rethread the needle and it’s just not working correctly. By and large, I have a decent amount of patience, but this drained ALL of it. I can guarantee by neighbors heard the slew of obscenties I spewed. I then decided to buy a new sewing machine and started researching them online. This gave me some time for my blood pressure to drop and to calm down.

I hate it when my tools don’t work properly. The bad thing about this sewing machine is that it was given to me and I have no manuals. But the good thing about this sewing machine is that it was given to me, so I paid nothing for it. I had thought when I spent all that time making the movie about how to thread it and practicing using it, that I had the operation down. However, now it seems like that isn’t the case. I’ve also googled all about this model and can’t really find any information on it. So I’m very much leaning toward getting a new one that I can learn how to use properly and get repaired if needed. But since I don’t really have the money right now, I’ll probably struggle along with this one for now.

Insanity Resolutions

March Roundup

Pretty uneventful March. I didn’t spend a lot of money, which is good. So I had plenty to save after I paid my bills. The odometer on my car read 36,722 which means I drove 1150 miles in the month. That’s a lot more than I should have. And in looking at my calendar, I know that I drove my car far too much and biked much too little.

The good news is that I no longer need to go to therapy for my knee. It’s definitely gotten better. I’m not going to say it’s great, but it’s much better than it was a couple of months ago. My therapist asked me what my goal was and I told her a 5K. She said I should sign up for one and take my time working up to it. I also know that I need to keep up the stretching because that definitely helped things. Sadly, now that I don’t have to check in with a therapist, it’s much easier for me to skip the stretching routine.

I’m still eating crap, which is not good. At some point, I keep thinking that I’ll get back in the swing of making healthier food and eating that. Sadly, I’m not there yet.

Today, starts April which means 30 Days of Biking starts. This makes me happy as I know I’ll bike every day. I started today with a great ride to work. The ride home was a little less pleasant, as it was raining really hard. And to top it off, I left my keys at work. So I had to sit outside, wet and cold, until my wonderful brother came by to let me in the house. I just got back from driving to work to pick up my keys and I’m sitting under two blankets to try to warm up. I’m hoping to knock the stupid off of me, so that April turns out to be a great month.

Insanity Misc

The Big Short

I had been wanting to see “The Big Short” for a while. Today, I found that it was still at a theater downtown, so I biked over to see it. Like most people, I pretty much knew the story. I’ve read a bunch of Michael Lewis books, though I can’t remember if I actually read “The Big Short” or just lived through it. Anyway, I thought it would be good and it was. How I judge if a movie is good or not is based on how much I’m thinking about the movie after it’s over. And, let me tell you, all I’ve been thinking about is this movie and I’m completely depressed.

I have written this paragraph a few times and can’t quite find the words for what I want to say. I guess I’m just amazed at the level of greed in the world. It reminds me of how my Dad used to say people would always praise “the almighty dollar”. I just don’t remember this level of greed when I was growing up. I’m sure there were greedy people, but I don’t remember the idea of being rich being such a big deal. And the thought of screwing anyone to get money. Do I want to be rich? I guess I do, but rich to me is having my mortgage paid off. It’s funny, but I have told one of my brothers that I thought we were already rich and he basically laughed at me. I’m comparing myself to people making the average salary in the US, which I thought was around $50k. I make more than that, so I figure I’m rich. However, my bro makes quite a bit more than me and is around people who make more than him. So comparing himself to his peers, he doesn’t feel rich. Anyway, “The Big Short” is all about people at the top 1%, which neither of us are. So comparing ourselves to them, we’re nothing.

I’ve just reread what I wrote and I feel like I’m rambling. So I’m going to stop as I’m still depressed. This post is just fertilizer for the blog. I’m just depressed about the world and wanted to do something. Maybe I’ll come up with a real plan to do something later.

Insanity Misc

10 years ago

February 25, 2016 was the 10th anniversary of my blog. Technically, it’s the 10th anniversary of my using wordpress on the blog. I believe I registered coldandheartless in 2000, when my nephew was born, though I’m not entirely sure. But since I have pictures from when he was born posted, I’m pretty sure. And I have some pictures in directories named 2003. Yay for me in naming the directories correctly. So I know I had the website before 2006. But moving to wordpress looks to have happened in 2006. So let’s celebrate that.

My first blog post tells what I thought the blog would be about, which was my house. That’s still basically true as, ten years later, I am still working on my house. But it has also evolved to be a place for me to put notes on anything that I want to remember. This could be my new year’s resolutions or how to write a bit of code. You could sort of say that it’s my own personal google. And something that does cause me to chuckle is when I google something and it gives me a result on my own website.

So a belated happy anniversary to the blog part of coldandheartless. I’m happy that it’s still around and still a bit bummed that I lost a bunch of posts between 2008 and 2010. (Lesson learned, don’t run the server at your house. It’s worth it to pay a cloud provider. FYI, I use linode.) Here’s to 10 more years of me learning new stuff and documenting it here.

Computing Insanity

Getting Started with Ubuntu

Just about all of the linux systems that I work on are a RedHat variant (Scientific Linux or Centos). But in the past few years, more people have been using Ubuntu, so I need to become familiar with it. And yesterday, I had to set up a system to help someone troubleshoot a board that we built. So here are some things about Ubuntu that I’ve learned recently. And just about all of this stuff is done using the command line because that’s how I prefer to work.

Ubuntu doesn’t let you su – to root. Instead it requires you to sudo before commands that you’d run as root. I personally find this annoying, but so be it.

To change the hostname, edit

To change a network interface to a static ip, edit:
If you want to change eth0 to be static, add a section like:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

Note that if you edit /etc/resolv.conf directly, it will get rewritten on reboot with the values here.

To install packages, use apt-get:
sudo apt-get install gnuplot

To update packages, use:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

To list packages installed, use:
dpkg -l (can use with grep to find particular packages)

To find a package (where you know the name):

[email protected]:~$ apt-cache search gawk
gawk - GNU awk, a pattern scanning and processing language
mawk - a pattern scanning and text processing language
dpkg-awk - Gawk script to parse /var/lib/dpkg/{status,available} and Packages
gawk-doc - Documentation for GNU awk
skktools - SKK dictionary maintenance tools

apt-cache search . –will list all packages

==Notes about getting the ubuntu client in our ldap domain

For NFS,
$ sudo apt-get install libnfs-dev nfs-common
(NFS mounts files as expected)

== The following stuff didn’t work and I didn’t have time to investigate further.

To try to join our ldap domain, try
$ sudo apt-get install ldap-utils libpam-ldap libnss-ldap nslcd
/etc/ldap$ sudo mkdir cacerts
$ sudo auth-client-config -t nss -p lac_ldap
$ sudo pam-auth-update

$ sudo pam-auth-update
$ sudo /etc/init.d/nscd restart
* Restarting Name Service Cache Daemon nscd

Arts Building Insanity Repairs

It’s Funny

I’m a huge fan of YouTube for learning how to do different things. I’ve been watching tons of YouTube videos for woodworking while I try to build stuff with my reclaimed wood. Last weekend, I decided got a beanbag chair that had no cover. So I decided to make a new cover for it and in the process broke something on my sewing machine. So I was looking around YouTube for some help on fixing it. In the process, I watched a bunch of videos on sewing. It was so funny to me how the genders of the people hosting the videos just changed. For woodworking, I can think of one female who made videos. Everyone else was guys. For sewing, it’s all women. This just struck me as very funny.