Month: July 2008

New UPS on site

If you think of a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) as just a small box that sits under your desk, you have got to see the monsters we use in the datacenter. took delivery today of the first two boxes that make up the UPS portion of our new 500KVA Mitsubishi monster. Total delivered weight, 7200 pounds – nearly four tons. The heavier of the two containers by itself was over 4000 pounds. Here’s a pic of the staff and driver getting ready to roll it out on our dock. The batteries and battery cabinets, which are very heavy (the batteries are mostly lead) will be here another day.

The Mitsubishi offers 450KVA of capacity at it’s rate power factor of 90%. This gives us lots of room to grow. Today our Leibert provides 104KVA, and our PowerWare 128KVA. Together these two are just about 1/2 the size of the Mitsubishi. Like I said, lots of room to grow.

Congrats on this next stage of the project to Russ Irving and Kelsey Cummings. It’s been a long term project, and it’s great to see hardware on site.

Next up, waiting on the city permit, structural engineering, rigging and finally turn-up.

Celebrating 14 years

Do adults belong in the bounce house?

Do adults belong in the bounce house?

We mark’s inception on July 26th each year. This year, it was a BBQ and some crazy kickball at Morton’s in Kenwood. Staff and family participated. Click for some pics. Support was unavailable while we took this break, thanks go to our customers for their patience.

The Board Shorts are here!

100% Polyester, machine wash cold, dark colors only and oh so cool.

In preparation for our upcoming annual BBQ has outfitted every employee with Board Shorts embroidered with our company logo.

In appreciation of this gift a few employees volunteered to sport the new shorts. employees wearing the new Board Shorts employees wearing the new Board Shorts

Yes we are that weird and cool.

The recent DNS vulnerability and the impact on

Earlier this week US-CERT announced a very serious DNS Cache Poisoning vulnerability which affects a large number of DNS servers across the Internet.

Thankfully we here at run PowerDNS on our Authoritative and Recursive servers which has been hardened against this type of attack for years (official PowerDNS statement on the vulnerability).

The vulnerability would allow an attacker to inject incorrect answers into the recursive server, which would then send clients to a potentially malicious web site or redirect email, or any other network traffic; all of which would be un-detected by the user or the host running the name server.

It is highly recommended that you update your DNS name server software; all major vendors will have patches and updates available; of course if you were running PowerDNS, then you wouldn’t need to do any patching. 🙂

We are fueled by coffee.

We would be remiss if we didn’t plug our favorite Coffee Shop and coffee Baristas at Flying Goat; we are fueled by the coffee there and they always take care of us.

Come by the Flying Goat Coffee shop in Santa Rosa during the week (or even on the weekends) and you are likely to find a handful of employees; we love this place. Somehow no matter where we live it’s always “on the way” and has become the post-lunch go-to place during the week for some of us.

Come by for a coffee; if you see people with badges, say “hi”; we’ll be the guys huddled together talking about computers. 🙂

Opinions on personalized email domains?

I’m interested in feedback on a concept.

We are researching the idea of offering personalized surname based email and web addresses. This would mean that a customer could select an email address like, and an optional web address of for example.

Each would forward to a customer’s usual mailbox or website, so there would be be no change to existing addresses or settings – just a new personalized address in addition.

Over 35,000 surnames are available, matching over 60% of individuals.

What do you think? Is a surname based email address and web address worth a few bucks a month? Comment here with your opinion please!

How to write a WordPress plugin to notify your customers via Twitter.

WordPress has a page on “Writing a Plugin” that you can refer to for all the gory details; this post is a quick demonstration of how you too can notify people of updates to your Blog via Twitter.

Add your handlers:


Add some check boxes to the “Write Post” interface:

function notify_customers_checkbox()
<fieldset id="notify_customers" class="dbx-box">
<h3 class="dbx-handle">Notify Customers:</h3>
<div class="dbx-content">
<input type="checkbox" name="send_to_twitter" id="send_to_twitter" checked="checked" /> twitter
<input type="checkbox" name="send_to_list" id="send_to_list" checked="checked" /> email
<input type="checkbox" name="send_to_nntp" id="send_to_nntp" checked="checked" /> nntp

Check the status of those check boxes:

function notify_customers($post_id)
if ( isset ( $_POST['send_to_twitter'] ) )
{ send_to_twitter($post_id); }

if (isset ( $_POST['send_to_list'] ) )
{ send_to_list($post_id); }

if (isset ( $_POST['send_to_nntp'] ) )
{ send_to_nntp($post_id); }

Write a method to take your post, clean it up a bit and send it off to Twitter:

function send_to_twitter($post_id)
$twitter_user = 'sonicnet_status';
$twitter_pass = '';

$post_url     = get_permalink($post_id);
$post_title    = stripslashes($_POST['post_title']);
$post_title    = html_entity_decode($post_title);
$post_content    = stripslashes($_POST['post_content']);
$post_content    = strip_tags($post_content);
$post_content    = html_entity_decode($post_content);

$twitter_message = "$post_title: $post_content";

// We only care about published posts.
// If it's an old post being updated prepend "Update" to the post.

if ( $_POST['prev_status'] == 'draft' ) //new post.
if($_POST['publish'] == 'Publish')
$xrl = file_get_contents("$post_url");

$twitter_message = substr($twitter_message , 0 , 117);
$twitter_message = "$twitter_message... $xrl";
$twitter_message = urlencode($twitter_message);

$url = '';
$curl_handle = curl_init();
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_URL, "$url");
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 2);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_POST, 1);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS, "status=$twitter_message");
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_USERPWD, "$twitter_user:$twitter_pass");
$buffer = curl_exec($curl_handle);

And there you have it; you’ve just told all your Twitter followers about your latest Blog post.

You’ll note we do some other cool stuff to keep our customers in the loop; like send them E-Mail and post to Usenet, but that’s another Blog post.

More bees!

As I’ve written previously, I keep bees. Yesterday I got a call from Oak Grove Elementary School in Graton about a swarm of bees in one of their trees. The nice folks at Beekind referred them because has a bucket truck which I can borrow, so we can reach swarms which have settled high in a tree.

I’ve captured two swarms already this season, and have three hives running now, and that’s about as many as I want to manage. So, I called my friends John and Chris Mason at Emtu Wines. They lost both of their hives last winter, presumably to colony collapse.

I sent John up in the bucket this time, while Chris and I observed from below. The swarm wasn’t nearly as large as the one from Occidental, perhaps three pounds of bees, about 10,000. Boxed up and away they went, into one of the empty Emtu hives. Hopefully the bees will be successful there, and none of the elementary school kids will risk anaphylaxis.

Staff BBQ

Friday Beer Bash

We celebrated our sales performance of the satellite Internet access product by spending some spiff money on a staff BBQ.  The support department was allocated some money for each new satellite customer, and they elected to spend it on some great beer and amazing food for all of us.

Kudos to the chefs in the support group.  This was a great way to close out a Friday afternoon.

Join the fun at – visit our jobs page.