Tactical Technical Strike

Musings, Thoughts, Notes, & a brain dump of what I come across

A missed thought in deconstructing the Caps failures

Posted on | April 29, 2010 | No Comments

No one really has had a problem with Varly’s play in this series loss to Montreal, but should they? Did he under-perform just as much as Semin?

The Caps went through the season winning a team record and league leading 54 games. They did that by rotating goalies, treating them as interchangeable parts that needed rest and practice just as much as they needed them to get hot. For a team that throughout the year used two goalies even during their team record 14 game win streak, after the 68 playoff minutes, they became a one goalie show. Jose Theodore won more than half of the team’s games this year (30 wins). He started more than half of the regular season games. He finished the season on a 20-0-3 burner. But after 68 minutes and a bad 3 minute stretch, he was banished.

Varly is a fine goalie on his own account, don’t get me wrong. But I think his reputation is far inflated by his performance in the New York Rangers series in last year’s playoffs. He was avreage in the Penguins series, eventually being replaced after giving up 4 Game 7 goals. He started the season strong this year, but was very ordinary in the 2 months after returning from injury (A record of only 3-3-4 after coming back). Change up the momentum during Game 2, that’s fine. Play him through Game 3 and ride him hot. But once he cooled down in Game 4, Game 5, and especially Game 6, you have to think that maybe you have leaned on that pole just a little too hard.

If the Caps think they can win “their way,” ignoring defense and playing guns blazing offense, why did they change “their way” as soon as they got to the playoffs? Yep, many teams in the past have won the Cup by riding a hot goaltender, but that’s not what’s going to get the currently constructed Caps there. They are going to score 4 or 5 goals in many games, regardless of the opponent being shut out or scoring 3. But to change the strategy in the HOPES of getting Varly hot was just bad.

Varly played GREAT in Game 3 in Montreal. He had a 96% save percentage that game, and when the Caps needed momentum and a win in the early half of the series, he came through and set the Caps up to cruise in the series. But other than that? Commonplace at best. When a win was really needed to finish the series, when the pressure was on in Games 5, 6, or 7, his save percentage was a commonplace 87.2%.

Semyon Varlamov Statistics
Game Save Percentage
Game 7 87.5%
Game 6 85.7%
Game 5 92.9%
Game 4 92.3%
Game 3 96.3%
Game 2 86.4%
Total 90.8%
Jose Theodore Statistics
Game Save Percentage
Game 2 0%
Game 1 92.1%
Total 91.1%
For fun: Jaroslav Halak Statistics
Game Save Percentage
Game 7 97.6%
Game 6 98.1%
Game 5 97.4%
Game 3 76.9%
Game 2 83.8%
Game 1 95.7%
Total 93.4%

Varly didn’t give up the farm, he kept most games within striking distance (Something Theo wasn’t doing in Game 2), but did he really do anything great? And when you start to say yes, did he do anything as good as Halak did?

In Game 7, while it was a good shot and a defensive breakdown, Varly had a great view of that last, series clinching goal in Game 7. The Habs went stick-side, and Varly couldn’t get their in time. Just minutes before the Habs tried to beat him wide gloveside, and just hit the post. But you know what? That side of the goal WAS OPEN. With the boys desperately trying to get back in the game on offense, I think most Caps fans had to think they’d at least have a pretty good shot to get an equalizer. Allowing that 2nd goal was a killer.

The same could be said in Game 6. The Caps had struggled all game, but you know that they are going to really pressure this 3rd period. So when Varly lets in a goal 4 minutes in, counter-productive can’t begin to describe it. Later, when the Caps have finally broken through Halak with some 3 or 4 minutes to go, and you know that Ovie and the team was going to turn up the pressure, but they are down 2 instead of 1, and it’s an uphill/up-mountain battle. They might not have gotten the tie, but they were going to go into Game 7 hopefully on stronger footing than where they started the 3rd period, but instead it was a meaningless goal in a 3 goal loss.

I don’t know a ton about hockey, but I’ve watched and read enough to not give Varly as much of a pass as many in the media are doing (nor give Boudreau a pass in sticking with him). If this series did anything, it ended the Jose Theodore era for good, and now we can rise (and Fall) firmly on the back of Varly, finally not being able to rest on someone else’s laurels.

[1] Varly stats
[2] Theodore stats
[3] Halak stats

Windows XP ate my printer

Posted on | April 29, 2010 | No Comments

Weird issue arose today while helping my parents try to fix a computer problem. They have a lovely HP Laserjet 1012 printer that is just the Bees Knees in terms of their printing needs. Well, this issue isn’t the printer, it’s windows (Shocking, I know!).

The issue: Every 10 seconds, Windows is kind enough to remind them that “It’s found new Hardware (An HP Laser Jet 1012 printer), and it needs to be installed.” Sounds normal? Well, the printer is already installed. It can print test pages, web pages, and word documents with no problem. Ugh Windows. Ok, ok. I’ll just go ahead and let windows install it. Click OK, click yes, and AHHH! “The device installation failed. Please report this error to the vendor.” Ok, whatever, I can still print right? {POP}. That’s the sound of a Windows alert popping up to tell me that I have “found new Hardware (An HP Laser Jet 1012 printer), and it needs to be installed.” Now you see the issue.

The solution: It seems that sometimes when you install devices using vendor specific solutions (you know how HP wants you run their disks to install their printers instead of using the normal Windows found new Hardware Wizard), Windows XP doesn’t get the message, and still thinks the device is un-installed. Supposedly it can be caused by certain virus scanners being on at that same time, or some other issue. Whatever. The point is, Windows makes life really annoying regardless of why. So, I searched through the Internet and found a Windows Knowledge Base article on it (KB 298370) as well as a good Tom’s Hardware Article on it.

So, what’s the solution? Well, other than trying to un-install the printer and letting Windows reinstall it, is to edit the Registry so Windows stops trying to install it. What to do? Well, first you have to find the Device’s Hardware Id. You can do that by looking through the device manager (Right Click “My Computer”>Properties>Hardware>click Device Manager) at hidden devices (View Menu > “Show hidden devices”) and finding the hardware id by viewing the properties for the device in question (Right click > properties), navigating to the details tab, and setting the drop down to Hardware Ids. Record these ids somewhere.

Now, you need to open up the Registry Editor (Start Menu >Run > regedit), and navigate to the Hardware Key for this device. The path to the key is:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\{Recorded Hardware Key}. Delete the Software and Hardware Keys, and windows should be back to normal (fingers crossed).

Note on deleting the Hardware Key: You may not have the proper permissions, so you need to give the Everyone group Full Control of the key. This can be done by Right clicking on the hardware key (left pane of registry editor) > Permissions. Select the Everyone entry from the table at the top, and click the allow box for Full Control.

[1] Windows Knowledge Base 298370 : Fun fact, this bug applies to ALL versions of Windows XP. Good job MS.
[2] Tom’s Hardware Post

Why’s my cloud server broken? Basic fix for your Ubuntu rackspace cloud server

Posted on | April 6, 2010 | No Comments

Ever used a Rackspace cloud hosted, Ubuntu based cloud server? That’s right, i’m sure 3 or 4 of you at least. Well, here’s a pesky problem that bothered me for a while that I finally got around to looking up how to fix: “The bad locale error.”

The Setup: When using APT on the server, you are constantly met with an error describing how your language and locale are not set up correctly. This can also pop up when using other perl programs and scripts, but APT is likely where you saw it first. For me, it looks something like:

perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
LANGUAGE = (unset),
LC_ALL = (unset),
LANG = “en_US.UTF-8”
are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”).
locale: Cannot set LC_CTYPE to default locale: No such file or directory
locale: Cannot set LC_MESSAGES to default locale: No such file or directory
locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory

Well, weird, because as you can see, the lang is clearly set, and you think that would be enough to quell any warnings. Not in this case. This error can also be easily reproduced by asking for the current version of perl from the command line ($> perl -v).

The Fix:
Very basic actually, turns out that the system is just missing a few of the locale files. Looks like they installed the languages but not the other localization pieces. Easy to fix, just install the full language pack for your chosen language (for me, english or en). I did this by just doing a quick apt-get for the full package ($> apt-get install language-pack-en-base). That’s it, problems fixed. I never found a true issue caused by this, but it did have a habit of filling log files with clutter. Better to fix issues, however minor, before they have some cascading result down the road in my opinion.

[1] Rackspace Cloud Servers
[2] Ubuntu – Repairing Perl Locale Errors

Manage Oracle applications without using the oracle user for Linux

Posted on | March 25, 2010 | No Comments

Oracle Express Edition is available for linux (x86 architecture) and pretty darn awesome. What better to have on your development *Nix box than a somewhat true to production dbms system as well? I clearly use postgres and mysql as much as the next guy, but when doing things for my day job, Oracle still rules the roost, and you don’t have many free software options as alternatives (the government loves to pay those expensive per-processor licenses).

So anyway, I did the long song and dance of installing Oracle Express edition and got it up and running, but still had some nagging concerns. First, it’s a pain to have to switch to the oracle user just to start Oracle and how out-of-place it installs the oracle files. Well, it turns out issue #2 appeared from and center when fixing issue #1.

To use a non-oracle user to manage oracle, most of the documentation online says you just have to add this user to the “dba” system group. Sounds easy enough, but that wasn’t enough for me. It seems that the listener still wouldn’t start (using lsnrctl start), After reading the errors, and exploring the file system, it turns out that while the DBA group is the “group-owner” of all the oracle files and directories, the dba group only has Read and Execute permissions over the files. That means when writing to the log files, which are thrown into the oracle directory system INSTEAD of /var/log, the non-oracle user can’t write.

The Solution: Just change the permissions on the network/listener logging folder[1]. I allowed the Oracle user (owner) and the DBA group (group-owner) to have write permissions, and viola!, my non-oracle user could not start and properly execute oracle management tasks.

[1] The network logging location: /usr/lib/oracle/xe/app/oracle/product/10.2.0/server/network/log

Virtual Box Fail: Or why was this so darn hard to figure out?

Posted on | March 21, 2010 | No Comments

The setup: Had a VMWare Virtual Machine. Windows 2003, R2 to be exact. It was all nice and pretty, ran in VMWare just fine. The issue? Virtual Box [http://www.virtualbox.org] is my Virtualization platform of choice. It runs on almost all platforms (Linux, Solaris, Windows, and Mac), has both closed and open source versions, and contains most if not all of the features of VMWare and it’s ilk. It doesn’t give you (at this point that I know of) the sort of enterprise and automation options that some of the more advanced (and expensive) VMWare options provide, but even that i can imagine it growing towards.

Anyway, back to the point. I had a VMWare guest machine, and needed to migrate it to a VirtualBox guest. The first thing I had to do was fix issues that the migrated Windows guest has with it’s hard drive controllers (See the Hard Disk Support section of [3]). I did other pre-migration techniques from within the VMWare guest, and then created my VirtualBox Guest. I added the disk image to the media manager, and configured the settings (including networking) of the guest o/s. However, on boot, my network connections was empty!

The Work: Well, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the networking to work. Install and reinstall guest additions? Change and add numerous network adapters using all of the guest network types and host interfaces? Change connection state? Find a way to add the network adapter from inside the guest OS? Nothing worked. It was until I came across this message after hours of searching. It involved Modern Windows verions no longer having the Intel drivers by default, and that causing problems when instantiating instances of those network adapters. Well, after installing the drivers from the intel site, I could finally get a network connection to present itself and get my guest OS online, and in virtual box. That only took 2 days.

PostScript: After the fact you start questioning whether or not you missed anything while testing. I’m almost certain I had tried the intel driver before, but who knows? One of the things that most confused me was when I went to review hardware devices, there wasn’t even a sign of the “non-working adapters.” I can understand the adapter not having the drivers or not being compatible with the guest O/S, but to not even show up in the hardware list? That sounds like a problem somewhere down the line…

[1] Sun/Oracle Virtual Box
[2] Apt-install: Virtual Box Open Source Edition
[3] Migrating Windows Systems to Virtual Box
[4] No network adapters in VirtualBox (VirtualBox Forum discussion)
[5] Intel e1000 drivers download

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