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Sysprep may cause early balding.

I was happily moving along doing windows automation tonight, when suddenly sysprep broke. I'm sure I killed it by accident, or something. Googling around for the error found this knowledgebase article explaining that there is no way to recover and, quote, "When you experience this error, you must re-create the image. You cannot correct the problem with the image."

Fuck that.

If you read the docs on using sysprep/wsim/windows aik/whatever, they all point you at building a 'reference computer' which entails lots of manual work modifying settings and installing things. Sysprep can make useless all of your precious work? Sweet!

I'm just glad most of the things I've done to this system were automated so I can just reinstall and rerun the scripts.

Fedora 6, utmp growth, Amazon EC2

% ls -l /var/run/[wu]tmp
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root  utmp  364366464 Aug 13 22:00 utmp
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root  utmp  1743665280 Aug 13 22:10 wtmp
That's 350 megs and 1.7 gigs. Cute. Performance sucks for anything needing utmp (w, uptime, top, etc). The 'init' process is spending tons of time chewing through cpu. System %cpu usage says 38% and is holding there on a mostly idle machine.

Lots of these in /var/log/messages:

Aug 13 22:10:27 domU-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX /sbin/mingetty[6843]: tty3: No such file or d
irectory
Aug 13 22:10:27 domU-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX /sbin/mingetty[6844]: tty4: No such file or d
irectory
Aug 13 22:10:27 domU-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX /sbin/mingetty[6845]: tty5: No such file or d
irectory
Aug 13 22:10:27 domU-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX /sbin/mingetty[6846]: tty6: No such file or d
irectory
Aug 13 22:10:32 domU-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX /sbin/mingetty[6847]: tty2: No such file or d
irectory
I'm not sure why /dev/tty1 is the only /dev/ttyN device, but whatever. Either way, mingetty flapping will flood /var/run/[ubw]tmp over the span of weeks and eventually you end up with a system that spends most of its time parsing that file and/or restarting mingetty.

I fixed this by commenting out all tty entries in /etc/inittab and running "init q":

# Run gettys in standard runlevels
#1:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty1
#2:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty2
#3:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty3
#4:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty4
#5:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty5
#6:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty6

Proof society is doomed

I left my notebook at work, so I won't be doing my defcon writeup tonight. Oh well. I leave you with this terrifying reality captured from Technorati:

Booting from SATA on ASUS K8N-DL.

So my new fancy computer is here. Turns out I originally bought the wrong formfactor motherboard, because I had a silly moment.

Either way, I've now got the system running, but not without some serious battle scars.

Ubuntu happily installed (very slow to partition/newfs stuff though). However, upon reboot, the bios clearly couldn't see the boot drive. My SATA drives are plugged into the on-board Silicon Image RAID controller with no raid configurations set up.

Guessing, I told the raid controller to create a 1-disk concatonation with the disk I wanted to boot from. Voila, the BIOS sees the one disk now and I can boot from it. Linux finds the other two SATA drives when booting.

Sigh..

Also, when Ubuntu says "Computing the new partitions" it really means "I'm creating a new partition right now. Go get something to eat, I'm going to be here for a while." Large partitions, for some reason, take quite some time to create.

Forbes.com sucks. Here's one reason why.

I followed a webclip link out of gmail today and it dropped me off at a news story on Forbes.com. I wanted to read this story. However, I was presented with something horrific. I was presented with the results of a tragic effort that I can only presume is a scheme to show as many "punch the monkey" advertisements as possible.

What is this scheme? Well. I landed on the page. This page had two average-length paragraphs. No sooner had I finished reading the first paragraph than the page reloaded and showed me another, new piece of text.

Six seconds later. A new page.

Repeat.

Turns out Forbes.com has some sort of slideshow they try to use to display stories. To make matters worse, there are advertisements everywhere. By the time I figured out what part of the page I was supposed to be looking at, it went to the next page. Sure, you can stop the slideshow, but I only found that out afterwards.

Thanks Forbes. I almost read one of your stories.

Clicky for an example article

Thumbnail screenshot of the page follows. Enjoy the massive amount of whitespace and adspace.