Open source software activity usually bumps up quite a lot before and during Christmas.  This time around I am waiting for:

What are your waiting for this year?

On remote logging with syslog

We’ve been doing some interesting things at work, as always, with yet more people and Linux boxes.  And of the side effects of mixing people, Linux boxes, and several locations is this need for some sort of centralized logging.  Luckily we have either syslog-ng or rsyslog daemons installed on each machine, so the only two issues seemed to be reconfiguration of syslog services for remote logging and setup of some log reading/searching tool for everyone to enjoy.

As for log reading and searching, there seems to be no end of tools.  We picked php-syslog-ng, which has web interface, MySQL back-end, access control, and more.  There were a few minor issues during setup and configuration, but overall it seemed to be OK.  I also patched the source code a bit in a few places, just to make it work nicer with our setup and our needs  (both numerical and symbolic priorities, preference for include masks over excludes, and full functionality with disabled caching).  In case you are interested, here is a patch against php-syslog-ng 2.9.8f tarball.

Once everything was up and running and we started looking through logs from all our hosts in the same place, there was one thing that surprised me a lot.  Either I don’t understand the syslog facilities and priorites fully (and I don’t claim that I do), or there is just too many software authors who don’t care much.  Most of our logs are coming in at priority critical.  Even if there isn’t much critical about them.  Emergency is also used way too much.  And there is hardly anything at debug or info or notice levels.  (RT, SpamAssassin, and many other applications seem to be using critical as their default log level).  Luckily, that  almost always is trivial to fix using either the configuration files or applications’ source code directly.

Pafos airport reborn

Famagusta Gazzette reported on November 16th:

The new Paphos International Airport will be fully operational from midnight tonight, marking the end of flights to the old terminal.

Hermes, which manages the airports in Cyprus, announced that the new building covers 18,500 square metres and has the capacity to serve about 2.7 million passengers per year.

It has 28 check in counters, three luggage conveyor belts, four security arches, a VIP lounge and specially equipped lounges for businesspeople, information systems for passengers and parking places with a capacity of 800 vehicles. It is estimated that around 1,800 people will be employed.

I’ve been to the upgraded airport a couple of month before it was officially launched and I have to say that I was really impressed.  It’s bigger, cleaner, better organized and equipped, and feels like a real airport.  The one that was there before was more like a village utility building for accidental landings.

It’ll be interesting to see how the flight schedules and distribution will change, especially with Larnaca airport undergoing upgrade as well.

Quantum of Solace

Some days ago I went to see “Quantum of Solace” in the cinema.  This is the continuation of the James Bond agent 007 series.

It ended up being a pretty good action film, with car chases, boat and airlane fights, shootings, and explosions, etc.  But, on the other hand, it has the least to do with James Bond series from all the episodes that I ever saw.  Bond movies always had plenty of style, spy gadgets, sexy ladies, and English accent.  In the one, most are either totally absent or overminimized.

However I still enjoyed the action and all the special effects – well suited for the big screen.  I’ll give it an overall 6 out of 10.

WhiteSnake in Nicosia, Cyprus

The other day I went together with a few friends to the WhiteSnake rock band concert in Nicosia.  It was the same venue and more or less the same setup as for the concert of the legendary Deep Purple back in 2005.  Except that:

  • the sound was really crap this time
  • WhiteSnake is not Deep Purple by any means – much more commercial, less passionate
  • both video and photo cameras were not allowed, so no pictures
  • there was much more advertising for the event, and the place was crowded
  • there was a warm-up band, which actually performed better than WhiteSnake at certain times

A few things that I was thinking about during the concert:

  • we need more beers
  • “F*ck this” and “F*ck that” in between the songs doesn’t suit the romantic mood of many songs.  Like, “Is this love?”
  • we need more beers
  • like we have SEO – Search Engine Optimization on the web, some over-commercialized bands probably have CCO – Concert Crowd Optimization.  Pointing fingers to random people in the crowd, waving, shouting “Let’s make some f*cking noise!”, and other attempst to engage the audience strongly suggest that.  Plus a few other things.
  • we need more beers
  • “Ozzy!  Bring back Ozzy!  Ozzy rocks!”
  • “Smoooooke on the water!  Fire in the sky!”
  • we need more beers

Overall, I did have a good time with all the noise, beers, and fooling around.  But I won’t be going to the next WhiteSnake event.  One is just enough.

P.S.: If you want to see pictures, Flickr can help you out – thanks to small size of modern cameras and huge disregard to rules by rockers all over the world.