A ride with my motorbike

Every year we (2 friends i know since the HTS Arnhem and me) go for a ride on
our motorbikes.
Today was a beautiful day; not to hot, not to cold; just
perfect. Normally we go for 3-4 days to Belgium or Germany, but this
year we stayed in Holland and only went for 1 day.
The tour took us
over the winter dikes of the rivers de Rijn and de Waal. We started in Westervoort and from there we went to Huissen, Nijmegen along the north side of the Waal
all the way to Neerijnen.

There we went north, through Geldermalsen
towards de Rijn, where we took the south side of de Rijn back to
Arnhem. When we got back to Arnhem, we had driven about 200 km, mostly
dikes. Riding the dikes is very much fun; very low traffic and very
much nice curves. Plans for next year have already been made: in 2009
we’ll go to the region of Koblenz, Germany.

New DSL modem installed

This weekend i installed a new DSL modem that arrived on friday. It’s a AVM Fritz!Box Fon WLAN 7170. It is replacing my good old Speedtouch 510i, that has been working for 6 years, right from when i started using DSL. The Fritz!Box gives me a nice solution for switching to VOIP.

With the changing of the modem, i could no longer use the SIP-spoof method with my old Speedtouch anymore, where the NIC of the firewall gets your external IP address, instead of the modem. So, it was time to get rid of my old firewall and replace it was something new. So now i have a new modem, a new firewall and 1 PC less to be on for 24 hours a day. It cost me 2 evenings to get it all up and running again, but it was worth the effort.

Delaying startup execution

I run my Domotica-VM on Windows 2003. I call it the Domotica-VM, but it does much more than that; SQL Server 2005 and IIS are also running in that same VM. I still had an issue to resolve there, which was adding a startup-delay to my Domotica application.
Whenever the VM booted, my Domotica app just started to fast, immediately trying to connect to the SQL Server, which was just to busy at that moment to accept connections, resulting in a messagebox saying it couldn’t find the SQL Server. So i had to build in some sort of delay for starting up my Domotica app. First let SQL Server go through it’s process of starting up, and then my Domotica application.
The standard Windows 2003 Task Scheduler doesn’t have a delay feature, so i searched for some handy little piece of software that could take care of automatically starting up my Domotica application with a delay of let’s say half a minute.

I found an appllication called Xecutor that could do just that. It’s small, and it removes itself from memory when it has completed its tasks; just what i needed. Very neat. I’ll send them a postcard 🙂

Suddenly it starts having BSOD's… (2)

Some moments ago i updated the NIC driver. Current driver version is, made for Vista, but i was able to install it on my Windows 2008 Server. At reboot Hyper-V service got stuck, it didn’t want to shutdown, so i had to push the reset-button. However, everything booted ok afterwards. At the same time i re-installed the 4GB RAM i recently removed. So now i’m back to 8GB, with a more recent driver. Now all i can do is wait to see if this driver-update has helped…

Suddenly it starts having BSOD's…

Since i virtualized a bunch of my PC’s, i’m having some trouble lately with my Windows 2008 Server running Hyper-V RC1. I get BSOD’s way to much, somewhere around 1 every 2 days. I was lucky that i witnessed the BSOD on 2 occasions and i could see vmswitch.sys being mentioned on the screen as the possible culprit. This lead me to the following Microsoft TechNet Forum post. 

Well, that can’t be a coincidence that this thread mentions the same NIC as i have on my Gigabyte EP35-DS4 motherboard. It seems to be a problem in the driver for this NIC (an on-board Realtek RTL8168/8111 Family PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC). So probably updating the driver should help, although i don’t know yet how to handle this if the driver is not digitally signed..we’ll see. The replacement RAM was already purchased, cause the problems started around the same time that i added an additional 4GB so i blamed that at first… well, nevermind, a bit of spare RAM is always handy 🙂

CPU Charts

I finished a new page today, containing CPU Charts for all of my virtual machines. This way i can keep track of what’s going on ‘ínside’ my virtual machines, without having to log on to the server all the time. The data for these CPU Charts are produced by a Powershell script running on the host, that periodically does some WMI querys and stores the results in a SQL Server table.

I’m planning on expanding the monitoring of the virtual machines by adding things like disk usage, uptime etc so i have a good view of how the systems are performing and whether they need attention or are just running fine.

Time for a new central heating

Yesterday we got a letter from the company that does the maintenance of our central heating. It said our current central heating was to vulnerable to failures and we were offered an upgrade to a newer central heating at a reduced price. Well, it is true that our central heating has caused us a lot of trouble through the 10 years that we live here. So i understand the reason why they want us to upgrade to a newer model from a different brand. But i’ve got my own wishes…
Our new central heating should be controlled by means of the Opentherm protocol for instance, so that i can ‘tap’ the communication between central heating and the thermostat and incorporate the data that i can get out of that, into my Domotica System. And i’ve made my choice: our new central heating will be a Remeha Avanta, controlled by a Remeha Celsia 20, including a so-called gateway for attaching a RS-232 cable to it and tap the communication.