Home backup server back on CentOS 7, monsoon takes out our broadband

Been busy around here at Casa Lembo the last few weeks. The home backup server morphed from FreeBSD 10 to CentOS 7, and our broadband connection got “washed out” for a few days. All that and some thoughts on why I think the state of tech really sucks.

So I’m slowly working myself up to renew my Red Hat certification and decided that being up to my ears in RHEL at work is just not immersive enough, so last weekend I tore down the home backup server that had been reliably running on FreeBSD 10 and rebuilt it with CentOS 7 — going for the default XFS file system in the process. The only major annoyance was the continued lack of support in CentOS/RHEL for mounting UFS/UFS2 volumes (of course FreeBSD still can’t do ext4, so I guess we’re even?). That meant I had to reformat and then restore our data from backup: lost time I’m laying right at the feet of the RH kernel team for not including the UFS2 drivers in RHEL 7.

After years of drought we’ve been having quite a lot of rain here on the Piedmont, so much so that apparently some of Time Warner Cable’s equipment got waterlogged causing our usually solid 50 mb/s downlink to drop to 1 mb/s for several days. Out for a walk with the dogs today I noted a 200 feet or so of what looked like 50 ohm coax snaking its way down the street between two TWC street cabinets. In TWC’s defense the two rainstorms that preceeded this were veritable monsoons, and I’m sure their engineers did their usual diligent job in rigging a temporary fix. The big problem remains TWC’s lack of transparency when it comes to outages. They really need to be more forthcoming about the extent and cause of service problems, if only to keep their customers from feverishly looking into alternatives to TWC service every time something goes wrong.

Which brings me to my last point: the state of tech right now in the first quarter of the 21st century. It sucks. Unlike some I don’t think it would suck less if it were in the hands of government rather than cowboy investors. Both groups are led by ignorant clods who are too absorbed with their own self-interest to not only see what needs to be done, but have the will to do it. Wireless broadband in the US is more than a joke, it’s a catastrophe. So much snake oil has been slogged around that there’s a serious risk of a major conflagration if anyone creates so much as a spark.

After 100’s of millions of tax breaks and other giveaways to the big carriers most of rural America still doesn’t have much better that 90’s dial-up, and urban areas aren’t much better off. Some of this is thanks to the government, which has consistently failed to put the carrier’s feet to the fire and call bullshit on their empty promises and half-baked tech — at the same time enabling those same carriers to harden the barriers to real competition they’ve been maintaining for decades. There is no real competition even in urban markets, thanks to policies that allowed the old CATV monopolies to retain their local monopolies without requiring equal access for potential competitors. As it stands we have a few giant carriers pretending to compete in a small number of markets where prices are kept artificially high and second-rate technology perpetuated.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).