I just came across OSXPlanet via MacUpdate.com. One of the reviews there mention that it’s an app written by 15 year old Gabriel Ott.

It takes the NASA “cloudless earth” and “earth at night” images, projects them into whatever global projection suits your tastes, and can also overlay current cloud coverage. It also shows the day/night areas of the globe, showing either “cloudless earth” or “earth at night” as appropriate. VERY cool.

Just showed it to my wife, who normally uses a computer with a 10-foot pole, or assistance, or both. She was amazed. Cool.

Anyway, grab yourself a copy, and set it as a login item.


MySQL on MacOSX 10.3 Panther Server

Boy, was Alan right… Don’t use the version of MySQL (4.0.16) that comes prepackaged in MacOSX 10.3 Server. Man, does it stink.

Update to 4.0.17, using the handy dandy installer provided on MySQL.com/downloads – it works great, and even starts on boot (unlike the version that comes with panther…) Just bit the bullet and updated versions on careo.ucalgary.ca, and the weird database behaviour has apparently disappeared.

Repository Folly…

Alan’s writing about what he calls “repository folly,” where people get so hung up on the “R-word” that they forget about what’s important. Metadata becomes king, content and users fall through the cracks.

I couldn’t agree more. Metadata, and the “R-Word” should be merely tools, serving specific roles, building to a well defined goal. They shouldn’t be the whole widget. Nobody in their right mind would care about either.

I think it’s got to be all about getting compelling content created and used. Everything else becomes means to that end. Including CAREO, Pachyderm, the iApps, etc…

Learning Commons Server now updated

Almost done updating the Learning Commons webserver to MacOSX 10.3 Server. Process went ok. Not as smoothly as I’d hoped, but better than I’d feared. The installer wouldn’t let me do an “Archive and Install” so all I had to choose from was “Erase and Install” and “Update” – 2 options I never use when installing MacOSX. I chose “Update”.

It kept all settings, accounts, etc… and the whole process was pretty painless.

Dealing with MySQL was a different story. I took Alan’s advice and installed the standard MySQL distro rather than using the built-in MySQL. It’s working ok, but I had fun getting our data in. We were previously using MySQL 3.23.something, and the import barfed on the mysql table – different number of columns needed in 4.0.17… I added them into the SQL dump by hand. Ick.

And, some apps just plain aren’t able to connect to MySQL on the commons server for some mysterious reason. Doh.

All other webstuff seems in order – PHP, Perl, etc… are Just Working.

Still working through some weirdnesses, but it’s basically there. Some of the apps on the server aren’t working yet, but as soon as the MySQL stuff gets resolved, we’re good to go.

We’re planning on picking up a couple of shiny new XServe G5s and an XServe RAID, so this is going to be a kick-ass server farm. Planning on moving our apps onto one server, streaming media to another, and CAREO to a third, with metric assloads of storage available for all via the XServe RAID…

Really loving the integrated admin app…

Panther Server Admin

CAREO Now Pantherfied

We finally had to upgrade CAREO to MacOSX 10.3 Server (it was still running 10.1.5 before that!). Over the Christmas break, we had a nearly catastrophic failure of the hard drive in the CAREO server. Not a good thing. We’ve got everything backed up, so I just slapped in a new 75GB drive (well, it’s old – inherited from a previous project).

The installation of Panther was dead easy. Configuring WebObjects was more trouble that it needed to be (permissions on the /Library/WebObjects/Configuration directory were too strict, and the app_server user couldn’t write the config there, so wotaskd bailed. not good).

The hardest part of the whole process was getting the MySQL database updated. We had been running MySQL 3.23.49 before, and Panther comes with 4.0.16 – so I couldn’t just move the database files over – had to export/import the sql dumps. fun hiccoughs there – quoting field names is a Good Idea in sql dumps…)

Still some minor annoyances – MySQL doesn’t want to launch at boot, so I have to manually % sudo /usr/local/mysqld_safe &. And, there are probably some minor things that didn’t find their way onto the new drive before the old one completely packed up and died. I’ll add them as they’re noticed…

The new admin apps are waaaaaaaay nicer than before. Nice to see 7-day high water marks for network and CPU usage. Nice to be able to config just about everything from a nice handy interface. Also nice to see all servers status indicators in a single window.

Next up on the upgrade parade is the main Learning Commons webserver. It’s been acting VERY flaky lately with database deadlocks all over the place. It’s also running 10.1.5 and WO 5.1, so updates to the OS will bring many bug fixes…