eRacks Systems Tech Blog

Open Source Experts Since 1999

https://solace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/docker-logo.pngDocker, Please – “Available for both Windows and Mac” Are you kidding?

This reminds me of the legendary line from the Blues Brothers movie:

“We got BOTH kinds of music – Country AND Western!”

Sheesh.

Lame – it’s all based on Linux!  And Open Source!

Docker runs natively on Linux – the only way to get it to run on Windows and/or Mac, is to run it inside a VM (Virtual Machine), running Linux.  Ahem.

So apparently that’s what this does, although you couldn’t tell by the name, the marketing blurb, nor the description.

DOCKER TOOLBOX

The Docker Toolbox is an installer to quickly and easily install and setup a Docker environment on your computer.

Available for both Windows and Mac, the Toolbox installs Docker Client, Machine, Compose and Kitematic.

Source: Docker Toolbox | Docker

Sigh.

j

October 9th, 2016

Posted In: Linux, Open Source, Technology, Uncategorized

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cloudThis is what we’ve been saying for years now – that the best path to the cloud is to:

  1. Own your core / foundation infrastructure and hardware, at least one server worth, and
  2. Architect it properly with DRY DevOps best-practices and repeatability, to scale into the cloud as needed to meet spot demand

Here’s the reference:

The Hybrid Cloud Helps Midsize Companies CompeteThis e-book is based on insights and recommendations by the Ventana Research, benchmark research report, “Business Technology Insights: Six Key Trends in Optimizing IT for Competitive Advantage.”

Source: The Hybrid Cloud Helps Midsize Companies Compete: Networkworld White Paper

December 23rd, 2015

Posted In: How-To, servers, Uncategorized

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hard_disk_drive_05Many of you may know this already, but:

  • We build all our systems to order, and
  • We only use factory fresh, new components in our new systems.

This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but it still needs to be said.

Why?

About 4-5 times a week, we get emails like the one at the end of this page –

Offering “Clean pull” components for low prices in large lots – At best, these would be considered “Refurb” components, but are really just plain used.  They have a much shorter (or no) warranty period than new components – they’re also often factory seconds or grey market parts, sold sideways to dodgy suppliers so that they can build systems cheaper.

We do not use these suppliers.

So again, we always use 100% new and factory-fresh components in our new-system builds – (on occasion we sell our B-Stock systems, which are clearly marked as such, and what they are – reconditioned, etc).

Some of the additional ways it is possible to cut corners on building and assembling IT equipment, in addition to used or refurbished parts, is to use factory lot-ends, factory seconds, factory defects with a “Workaroundable” defect – this is how Dell got their start – they would buy large lots of, say, NIC cards (This was before motherboards came with them onboard!), with a known defect, and write (and pre-install) the Windows driver for it – almost always unbeknownst to the end-user, or disclaimed in fine print in the EULA that the customer is forced to accept.

In this market, with plenty of storage servers, with large numbers of 3.5″ hard disk drives, this is especially tempting for some box-builders to use components such as these – again, we do not do this, and *always* purchase new parts only, from reputable, nationally-known suppliers of components and computer parts for our servers, especially such as hard disks, etc.

We consistently see product out there in the marketplace which is built with these dodgy components, and have many times been asked by our new customers to help them bring these products up to spec with new parts, and re-test and burn-in to ensure reliability and a fighting chance at a full product lifetime.

Best,
Joe

Joseph Wolff
Founder and CTO
eRacks Open Source Systems

Here is the example email:

Clean Pull HDD offer ( Lot# ST4815)
90 days warranty
Payment Bank wire only
EXW- CA USA

Seagate ST3120025ACE 120GB IDE 3.5" Qty 820 pcs take all deal @ 5.00 each
Seagate ST3120026AS 120GB 7200RPM SATA 3.5" Qty 1700 pcs  MOQ 500 pcs + @ $ 9.00 each
Seagate ST3320310CS 320GB SATA 3.5" Qty 2400 pcs MOQ 1000 pcs + @ $ 13.50 each
Seagate ST3320311CS 320GB SATA 3.5" Qty 1400 pcs MOQ 1000 pcs + @ $ 13.50 each
WD WD2500AAVS 250GB SATA 3.5" Qty 4000 pcs  MOQ 1000 pcs + @ $ 12.00 each
WD WD3200AAJS 320GB SATA 3.5" Qty 4500 pcs MOQ 1000 pcs + @ $ 14.00 each
WD WD2500AAVS 250GB SATA 3.5" Qty 4700 pcs MOQ 1000 pcs + @ $ 12.00 each


Axxxxx

Global XXX Enterprises,INC909-360-9993email: axxxx@xxxenterprises.net
email: xxxenterprisesusa@gmail.com
Walnut, CA 91789 USA
www.enterprises.net

Call/Email to us for large qty discount .

AGS  WTS /WTB  :
We carry a wide range of products. Please contact us for your other requirements........
Hard drive ( Pull/refurb/New) , CPU ( Pull/New), Laptop/Tablets ( Refurbished/New)
Memory, Monitors,Keyborad , Mice ,Networking Products ,Printer,  ETC

November 15th, 2015

Posted In: Backups, New products, servers, Storage

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ubuntu-1510Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf is now available on all eRacks systems.

Ubuntu 14.04 is also still available, as it is a Long Term Release (LTS) with a longer support window.

As always, if you want a different release, or even a beta, alpha or “Daily build” release, we’ll be happy to accommodate – just place it in the “Notes” field when you place your order or request a quote.

j

 

November 2nd, 2015

Posted In: Linux, ubuntu, Ubuntu 14.04

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Zenbook with beverage - IMG_20131019_231446531Minty Zenbook

I am typing this on a nifty new eRacks/ZENBOOK13, with Linux Mint15 installed.

This is a slightly newer rev of the very pretty Asus Zenbook line, with twin 128GB SSD modules installed in a small carrier which screws into the standard 2.5″ HD space (it could also be replaced or upgraded with one of our standard HD/SSD choices, here: http://eracks.com/products/laptops/ZENBOOK13/)

This post will walk you through what we had to do for the installation, with the details.

Installation Cookbook

  1. Boot to an Ubuntu 13.04 install disk. (13.10 should work, or Ubuntustudio works too, that’s what I used).  For some reason, the Mint installer doesn’t install the default EFI boot choice properly, so you have to start with Ubuntu, then replace it with Mint. Read on.
  2. Using gparted (fdisk could work, too), delete the partition tables on /dev/sda and /dev/sdb, and replace the GPT-based partition tables with with msdos-type partition tables.
  3. Install Ubuntu on the 1st of the two SSDs. Don’t worry about the 2nd disk (_yet_).  Be sure to check the “Install with LVM” box after you select the default “Erase and install…”.
  4. Reboot into Ubuntu, and note the partitions cerated.
  5. Boot into a Mint 15 Install disk.
  6. Install Mint15 into the same partition structure – in other words, do NOT select the default “erase and install…” , but rather the “Something else” choice, and tell it to put the root partition on the same partition you noted in step 4.
  7. Install rEFInd (http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/) from a rEFInd install disk, that you downloaded and burned from there. (I used v0.74). Be sure to install it in the /boot/efi partition (typically /dev/sda2) created earlier. The reason to install rEFInd, is it’s an invaluable tool to use to boot from any EFI-capable location on your computer, and will be used later on.  I put mine in EFI\refind\refind_x64.efi
  8. Be sure to also copy shell64.efi into /boot/efi/EFI/tools/, so rEFInd can find it, and show you the EFI Shell choice & icon.
  9. Boot from rEFInd.
  10. Choose the EFI shell.
  11. Using the bcfg command, (help -v bcfg is your friend!), list the boot choices, and verify that “ubuntu” is there.
  12. Add “mint” as a boot choice, pointing to EFI\linuxmint\grub64.efi – mimic the way the “ubuntu” boot choice is done.
  13. Reboot into the boot menu (hold Esc down during the Asus logo) and verify that “mint” and “rEFInd” are there.
  14. Test them both out – rEFInd should also give other interesting choices you can try out.
  15. You should be able to launch Mint from either the “Mint” choice in the Asus boot (holding Esc), or from the Mint choice in rEFInd.
  16. Optionally, you can add the 2nd SSD (mentioned in step 3) to the main volume using LVM, to use the full 256GB.

That’s it!

Wrap and Beverage

I must say, this is a BEAUTIFUL machine – I want one myself!

Between the FullHD display, and being roughly the same thickness and sizeas the magazines I often carry into any given bar / restaurant here in Los Gatos, this is a joy compared to my regular 1920×1080 Asus laptop..

…And it beats the heck out of a tablet..

…And the battery life seems great, it barely made a dent in the hour or so I spent surfing with it while drinking my beverage of choice at one of the local establishments here.

…And did I mention it’s screaming fast, with the i7 CPU and 10GB RAM?!

Bon Appetit,

j

 

 

October 20th, 2013

Posted In: How-To, Laptop cookbooks, New products, News, Open Source, Products, ubuntu

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5 Comments

Creating wealth requires smart investing which is something you have to learn if you want to achieve financial freedom. In the following paragraphs you will learn how to select, invest in and manage high quality mutual funds that can actually generate the required returns, you’ll also learn about online trading.

First, you need to understand the difference between a taxable and tax-free bond, as it will be the largest portion of your mutual fund holdings.

The tax advantage of a bond is that it does not have to pay a capital gains tax when you sell it but you have to pay income tax when you withdraw the money when it is sold. In contrast, a mutual fund pays no taxes when you sell it. As such, the bond will pay a lower tax rate than a mutual fund. Also, the bond’s yield is higher than a mutual fund. If you have $100,000 in your IRA and you sell a $1,000,000 bond, you will end up with $99,999.99. This is a 5% yield, which is much better than the 2.5% yield of the bond. This means you will make $5,000 more, but you will have to pay taxes on it. In some states, the tax will be higher. The best way to reduce your tax bill when you sell a bond is to roll the bond into another retirement account, such as a Roth IRA.

To be sure, you may want to look at mutual funds. It’s easier to do this than roll bonds into a Roth IRA because you only need to sell one bond. This bond will be converted into another mutual fund, which will be converted into yet another mutual fund, and on and on.

What if my IRA provider won’t take me to another mutual fund if I use another company’s bond?

A bond is a bond. No, this isn’t some kind of weird, “weird” bond, it’s a bond. If you get a new investment manager and she doesn’t offer a bond fund for you, then you have options.

Option #1: Look for an exchange-traded fund that is similar to the fund you want to work with. Exchange-traded funds are mutual funds that track the performance of a broader market index, such as the S&P 500 index. These funds are available to retail investors who invest using a brokerage account, a 401(k) plan or a high-yield bank account. An exchange-traded fund provides the investor with a price, which they can then use to buy or sell the underlying index. ETFs provide you with the ability to buy or sell securities at a pre-set price, so that your holdings can match the movements of the market. ETFs can be traded in different ways, such as over the counter (OTC), over the phone, through the Internet or through mutual fund brokers.

For the first 10 years of trading, you don’t need to invest in any individual exchange-traded fund. Instead, you can simply buy a mutual fund that includes the shares of an ETF.

But it is crucial to understand that ETFs are actually stocks, which means that when you invest in them you’re investing in the overall market. In fact, the market, like a giant pyramid scheme, is a giant investment scheme, because it is in fact designed to make money for the people running it.

September 17th, 2013

Posted In: Uncategorized

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eRacks Sony Laptop – Part 2 – Shrinking partitions & Installing Linux

Step 1 – back up Vista partitions

[joe@sony ~]$ sudo su
Password:

[root@sony joe]# fdisk /dev/sda

The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 14593.
There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024,
and could in certain setups cause problems with:
1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., old versions of LILO)
2) booting and partitioning software from other OSs
(e.g., DOS FDISK, OS/2 FDISK)

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x200c5cbf

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1         889     7138304   27  Unknown
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2   *         889        4076    25600000    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3            4077        4101      200812+  83  Linux
/dev/sda4            4102       14593    84276990    5  Extended
/dev/sda5            4102       14593    84276958+  8e  Linux LVM

Command (m for help): q

[root@sony joe]# dd if=/dev/sda2 | gzip -9 – >vista.img
51200000+0 records in
51200000+0 records out
26214400000 bytes (26 GB) copied, 2384.53 s, 11.0 MB/s

[root@sony joe]# ls -l
total 6168412
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Download
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Music
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Public
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Templates
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Videos
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 6310241019 2009-02-20 21:58 vista.img

[root@sony joe]# dd if=/dev/sda1 | gzip -9 – >recovery.img
14276608+0 records in
14276608+0 records out
7309623296 bytes (7.3 GB) copied, 739.479 s, 9.9 MB/s
[root@sony joe]# ls -l
total 12022456
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Download
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Music
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Public
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 5988678705 2009-02-20 22:15 recovery.img
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Templates
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Videos
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 6310241019 2009-02-20 21:58 vista.img

[root@sony joe]# mv vista.img vista.img.gz
[root@sony joe]# mv recovery.img recovery.img.gz
[root@sony joe]# ls -l
total 12022456
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Download
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Music
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Public
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 5988678705 2009-02-20 22:15 recovery.img.gz
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Templates
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Videos
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 6310241019 2009-02-20 21:58 vista.img.gz
[root@sony joe]#

 

Step 2: Boot from the Ubuntu CD and install Linux!

 

Previous: Part 1 – the OOB Experience

eRacks Sony Laptop – Part 1 – the OOB Experience

eRacks Sony Laptop – Part 3 – Virtual Windoze

June 9th, 2009

Posted In: Laptop cookbooks, Open Source, Products, Technology

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vaioPreamble

It’s been our goal for some time to bring compelling value to Linux Laptops, in a way that truly surpasses whats available from a Windows or Mac laptop, beyond just “Almost as good but cheaper with free software”, which seems to be one of the prevailing current perceptions we need to overcome.

The lovely style and features of Sony laptops and notebooks, have always generated inquiries from our customers about our plans to carry them.  (Also others, like Lenovo, which we already carry).

This series of posts is about our ambitious plans to add value, and truly make your Linux Sony Laptop experience from us far superior to what it would be from a run-of-the-mill vendor.

Read on.

The OOB (Out of Box) Experience

Windows Tax, File Format leverage, and FUD

For years, we’ve sold laptops with Linux only, and with no “Windows Tax”.

Although this has been good, and has been well-received by the market and the Open Source community, Microsoft and other proprietary software vendors, notably Intuit, have been tenacious about leveraging control of their file formats, limiting control over your own data, and using the usual other vendor lock-in techniques to ensure you can’t move away from their products without severe switching costs, “Compatibility issues”, and other FUD (fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and FUDlike behavior.

“I’m your new bookkeeper.  I assume you have QuickBooks?”

“Hi, joe, this is Fred, your CPA – do you have those latest QuickBooks files of the company’s books, so we can get your taxes done on time?”

And so forth.

True Value

With this in mind, we are introducing some solutions, courtesy of Virtualization (specifically, KVM, the excellent and well-received hypervisor built into the Linux kernel – not the proprietary VMWare, although that could be used, too), which will allow the best of all possible worlds –

  1. Native Linux compatibility and raw speed
  2. Complete windows compatibility and instance, with full control or greater
  3. Isolation from viruses and other malware
  4. Ease of backups, system administration, and forth
  5. Freedom from restrictions controlled by proprietary vendors (Sony, Microsoft).

Coming Up

In this series of posts, we will be going over many things – the installation process, moving partitions around for both OSes, running windows “In Place” with the original licenses, etc, reviewing various linuxes (Linuces?) for their hardware compatibility, Dual Boot vs Virtualized Windows-in-a-window, “Tech Tips” and what we did to get things working, how it works and what it does, in the end – and so forth.

This concludes “Part 1 – the OOB Experience” — Stay tuned, as it were…

j

May 27th, 2009

Posted In: Uncategorized

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