Archive for August, 2016

Using sysbench to benchmark CPU

30 Aug

Just a quick note about using sysbench to benchmark CPU; this will require you to compare it against other servers though.
[[email protected] ~]# sysbench –test=cpu –cpu-max-prime=20000 run
sysbench 0.4.12: multi-threaded system evaluation benchmark

Running the test with following options:
Number of threads: 1

Doing CPU performance benchmark

Threads started!

Maximum prime number checked in CPU test: 20000

Test execution summary:
total time: 23.2247s
total number of events: 10000
total time taken by event execution: 23.2217
per-request statistics:
min: 2.12ms
avg: 2.32ms
max: 40.60ms
approx. 95 percentile: 3.00ms

Threads fairness:
events (avg/stddev): 10000.0000/0.00
execution time (avg/stddev): 23.2217/0.00

Just keep an eye on total time. This benchmarks a single core, how long it can calculate prime to 20,000. The above was taken on a VMWare VM with a physical server using a Xeon X5560 @ 2.8ghz CPU.

This will test multi-core/thread performance:

[[email protected] ~]# sysbench --test=cpu --cpu-max-prime=20000 --num-threads=4 run
sysbench 0.4.12: multi-threaded system evaluation benchmark

Running the test with following options:
Number of threads: 4

Doing CPU performance benchmark

Threads started!

Maximum prime number checked in CPU test: 20000

Test execution summary:
 total time: 5.9896s
 total number of events: 10000
 total time taken by event execution: 23.9490
 per-request statistics:
 min: 2.12ms
 avg: 2.39ms
 max: 10.36ms
 approx. 95 percentile: 3.34ms

Threads fairness:
 events (avg/stddev): 2500.0000/58.60
 execution time (avg/stddev): 5.9873/0.00

The mystery sound

25 Aug

A man is driving down the road and his car breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, “My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?”
The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, even fix his car. As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound. A sound unlike anything he’s ever heard before. The Sirens that nearly seduced Odysseus into crashing his ship comes to his mind. He doesn’t sleep that night. He tosses and turns trying to figure out what could possibly be making such a seductive sound.
The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, “We can’t tell you. You’re not a monk.” Distraught, the man is forced to leave.
Years later, after never being able to forget that sound, the man goes back to the monastery and pleads for the answer again.
The monks reply, “We can’t tell you. You’re not a monk.”
The man says, “If the only way I can find out what is making that beautiful sound is to become a monk, then please, make me a monk.”
The monks reply, “You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of grains of sand. When you find these answers, you will have become a monk.”
The man sets about his task.
After years of searching he returns as a gray-haired old man and knocks on the door of the monastery. A monk answers. He is taken before a gathering of all the monks.
“In my quest to find what makes that beautiful sound, I traveled the earth and have found what you asked for: By design, the world is in a state of perpetual change. Only God knows what you ask. All a man can know is himself, and only then if he is honest and reflective and willing to strip away self deception.”
The monks reply, “Congratulations. You have become a monk. We shall now show you the way to the mystery of the sacred sound.”
The monks lead the man to a wooden door, where the head monk says, “The sound is beyond that door.”
The monks give him the key, and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone. The man is given the key to the stone door and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. And so it went that he needed keys to doors of emerald, pearl and diamond.
Finally, they come to a door made of solid gold. The sound has become very clear and definite. The monks say, “This is the last key to the last door.”
The man is apprehensive to no end. His life’s wish is behind that door!
With trembling hands, he unlocks the door, turns the knob, and slowly pushes the door open. Falling to his knees, he is utterly amazed to discover the source of that haunting and seductive sound……

But, of course, I can’t tell you what it is because you’re not a monk.

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 24, 2016 at 09:50PM

Why does the police department need my ethnicity

24 Aug

You know what bothers me… I just filed an online police report with the Sacramento Sheriff department and one of the few “mandatory” fields was about my ethnicity. They had specific ethnicities to, Filipino being one of them. Just didn’t see why that mattered when I was filing a report about items stolen off my property.

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 24, 2016 at 10:41AM

FaceBook Post At August 24, 2016 at 10:19AM

24 Aug

Man I love Amazon. 3 packages were stolen off my front porch (yes I have cameras and yes I submitted a police report w/ photos of the women who stole the boxes). I called Amazon though to see if there was anything they could do.. because 3 items came from 3rd party sellers Amazon wasn’t able to replace them but they gave me a full refund on them. Wow. The other 3 items were shipped by Amazon from the local warehouse, so Amazon is having those 3 items re-delivered via same-day delivery for free. Amazing Amazon… simply amazing. Now to invest in more cameras and a security system. Welcome to the world we live in.

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 24, 2016 at 10:19AM

Mounting Amazon Cloud Drive and Uploading Encrypted Data

12 Aug

I have about 5tb worth of files I need to backup online. With 5tb of data, solutions like Dropbox,, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc. aren’t viable.  Technically Google Drive you could pay $10/tb so $50/month would get me 5tb of storage.  That’s still a lot just for backups.

There are “commercial” or “enterprise” solutions like Amazon S3 or Glacier:

– Standard S3 storage that’d cost $148 a month
– Standard – S3 Infrequent Access Storage that’d cost $62.50 a month  (wouldn’t work too well for me since I’d be accessing it frequently)
Glacier Storage that’d cost $35 a month (but I’d have difficulty accessing my data quickly/on-demand)

I know, I’m cheap, but then I discovered Amazon Cloud Drive, $60/year for “unlimited” storage. That’s essentially $5 a month, way cheaper than any of the above solutions, and you can easily access your files whenever you want.

There are a few caveats though, cloud drive does not offer standard protocols like WebDav/FTP/SFTP, they use some proprietary protocol but it is web driven. Luckily the development community has come up with solutions, reverse engineering the Amazon Cloud Drive protocol and making it where you can access. A friend of mine uses NetDrive with Windows to mount his Cloud Drive up to a drive letter. But I’m a Linux guy, so in steps acd_cli (aka acdcli).

ACDCLI technially, but it’s a python library/class that allows you to interact with Amazon Cloud drive using the “acdcli” python script. Essentially you can do things like “acdcli ls” (to list files) and “acdcli upload” (to upload a file) and “acd download” (to download a file) and “acd rm” (to delete a file)

More importantly, is the “acdcli mount” command, which allows you to mount your Amazon Cloud Drive to a path (like /amazon_cloud_drive). This uses FUSE, which is a pseudo-filesystem, it’s kind of like a regular linux mount but it’s done at the software layer rather than deeper in the kernel. This roughly translates to it not being as reliable/stable/fast as a regular mount, but it works. You won’t be able to use it like a “normal” mount/filesystem, don’t go expecting to do file/group ownership, permissions, symbolic links, etc. it’s limited, mostly it’s good for basic file storage/retrieval. Read more about it.

It’s fine though, all I intend to store on my Amazon Cloud Drive is photos, videos, backup files, etc. I don’t plan on putting anything advanced on it or interacting with it in any advanced capacity.

With acdcli you will first need to authenticate it to your Amazon account. You could run “acdcli init” but that kind of assumes it can launch a browser and point you at a specific URL. That URL turns out not to be so “lynx” friendly, I ended up copying/pasting that URL into a real browser on my computer. Essentially you authorized acdcli to access your amazon account and you will get a “oauth_data” file. Copy that file to your linux server into ~/.cache/acd_cli/oauth_data

Then run “acdcli sync”  this sync’s acdcli with Amazon Cloud Drive. acdcli kind of keeps a local listing of all the files that are on your cloud drive. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s a speed thing, so that it doesn’t have to talk to Amazon Cloud Drive every single time you do an “ls” or something. But just do it.

Then run “mkdir ~/amazon_cloud_drive”  followed by “acdcli mount -ao ~/amazon_cloud_drive”  and bingo. Now if you look in ~/amazon_cloud_drive/  you’ll see your files. Easy right?


The issue I had with Amazon Cloud Drive is when I read through their privacy policies, or their terms of service policy or whatever they call it. In the middle of it, hidden in legalize, is wording that let me to believe Amazon support engineers could look into your data. While I don’t have anything to hide, I also don’t want to expose all my personal files to just anybody. I’d rather Amazon not be able to see my data, so… encryption.  I discovered “encfs” thanks to another guide/article, encfs  is also a FUSE type of mount but it basically encrypts/decrypts on the fly from one directory to another directory.  You essentially point encfs to a “source” directory, where the encrypted files will be stored, and to a “destination” directory where you will work with those files like normal.

First just run “encfs” to setup a key and a passphrase for the key. You could technically not put a passphrase into the key since we won’t be uploading that key to the cloud drive, but I prefer to passphrase protect it just in case. Once you have the key, which is an xml file called encfs.xml,  you can do something like “export ENCFS6_CONFIG=’~/encfs.xml'”  or whatever.  Once you do that you can work with encfs more easily.

Now run “mkdir ~/acd” followed by “encfs ~/amazon_cloud_drive ~/acd” enter your passphrase and done!  Now you can place whatever files you want into ~/acd/  and it’ll be stored to your Amazon Cloud Drive encrypted.


So below you’ll see in “/amazon_cloud_drive” there are the Documents/Pictures/Videos folders Amazon automatically created for us but there are 2 folders that have strange characters, even the folders/filenames are encrypted.  When I look in /acd  I will see that those 2 encrypted folders are backups/ and photos/  etc. etc. it makes sense if you look at it/think about it. The bottom line is, it works. Amazon has no idea what those files or folders are, safe from prying eyes. Again, I have nothing to hide, it’s the principle of it all that gets to me. They don’t need to see photos of my children, or backups of a computer I had 3 years ago.

# acdcli mount /amazon_cloud_drive
# encfs mount /amazon_cloud_drive /acd
Password: ***********************

# ls /amazon_cloud_drive

# ls /amazon_cloud_drive/SoDvpAGY4PDKDLszKyLiG-3A
NvZd KedFXEq5dj9HcP2f6zaD4nXI/

# ls /acd

# ls /acd/photos


So what kind of speed am I getting? Well… right now I have 2 servers pushing my files to the Cloud Drive. One server is on a 1gbps connection (it’s in Germany and tends to have speed and packet loss issues) and it’s consistently uploading at around 30mbps. My other server is uploading to the Cloud Drive, at the same time, using a 100mbps connection (but in the U.S) and it’s able to consistently upload around 45mbps. So it’s pretty good in general. It is taking several weeks to upload 5 Gigabytes but I don’t mind. I’m using rsync to sync the data and afterwards I’ll have a cronjob run rsync once a day to sync only the changes.

For download speed, I’m getting close to double the upload speed. 60mbps from Germany and 90mbps from the U.S server. That 90mbps may be able to go faster but remember, I’m only on a 100/100 connection. So… not bad! Technically it’s fast enough to stream video off of. Theoretically you could put Plex on your server, point it to the ~/acd/ folder to where you personal family videos and photos are, and then you could access those personal photos/videos of your family from anywhere.


So it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. More than once my uploads have frozen/stopped. I’ve had to ctrl+c the rsync process, “umount -l” the /acd and /amazon_cloud_drive folders and kill any left over rsync/acdcli/rsync processes. Kind of a pain.  I’ve then had to run “acdcli sync” and then mount the folders up again and start the rsync process.

Also one time I was getting some error codes from Amazon’s servers when I did the “acdcli sync” command, some searching seemed to indicate that it’s a known issue and potentially something on Amazon’s side is blocking your authentication. The solution was simply to delete your oauth_data file and re-authorized acdcli using your browser and putting the new oauth_data file into place. I’ve had to do that once, but ever since I did that things do seem to be working a bit better. It could be just because I’m uploading so much data, relentlessly, consistently pushing data file after file after file. Maybe it’ll be more stable after all my files are up on the Amazon Cloud Drive. I imagine I’ll still need to update the oauth_data file once every month or two.

I really don’t know how Amazon is going to react to 5tb of storage, however I’ve read in forums about several other users who’ve stored 5tb, 10tb, 50tb and even 100tb of data on their cloud drive and haven’t gotten any complaints from Amazon. That’s insane, 100tb? Even I’d feel guilty about that. That 100tb was from a user was complaining the acdcli was limited to 100tb of storage, turns out he had close to 100tb of files stored on his cloud drive for many months. Wow.   So hopefully my measly 5tb won’t raise an eyebrow. But my general advice to anybody attempting the above setup, backup everything. Use Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup location, don’t keep your “only copy” of a file on Amazon Cloud Drive. According to their AUP (Acceptable Use Policies) is that they do reserve the right to cancel the account of any abusers. Remember, there’s no such thing as truly “unlimited”.  Also the fact that the files are encrypted may throw up some red flags, everyone’s natural reaction is “what are you hiding?”.  I suggest using a combination, anything non-important or generic, store in your “amazon_cloud_drive/” folder unencrypted. Anything you prefer to keep private, for whatever reasons, store in “acd/” which would be protected by encfs.  Also, DO NOT LOSE your encfs xml file, that contains the key to encrypt/decrypt your data. If you lose, your data is as good as useless.

Boca house for sale

10 Aug

Selling our house in Boca Raton. Praying we get a good price and quick sale. We’re listing it for less than the redfin (292k), zillow (296k) and eppraisal (294k) estimates. I’m gonna miss this home, both Alexander and Cayla came home from the hospital to this house. A lot of good memories there.

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 09, 2016 at 05:18PM

Amazon Cloud Drive with encfs

08 Aug

Amazon Cloud Drive is cool, especially with acdcli’s fuse mount ability and encfs for encryption (Amazon can’t see what I’m storing). Been uploading all weekend, at 2.4tb so far but should be around 6tb or 7tb when I’m done. Not bad, unlimited storage, for $60/year. I’ve read forum posts with people storing 20+ tb of data to amazon cloud drive, that’s nuts.

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 08, 2016 at 10:45AM

Riddle about truth and lies

05 Aug

Alice has come to realize something about her pets.

The Cat lies every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and on the other days he speaks the truth.

The Dog lies on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and on the other days he speaks the truth.

Cat: Yesterday I was lying.
Dog: So was I.

Which day did they say that?

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 05, 2016 at 01:48PM

Non-Negotiable checks

04 Aug

Why do business/corporate checks have “NON-NEGOTIABLE” written on them. I mean was there ever really a time where you could negotiate the value of the check?
“Hey bank lady, I like your hair by the way, can you deposit $130 in my account from this check?” “Sir, the check is for $110, the best I can do is $115” “Please, I really need the money, can you do $120?” “Fine”

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 04, 2016 at 01:31PM

Riddle about shooting your husband

04 Aug

A man and a woman live peacefully in a house together. But one day the woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over five minutes. Finally, she hangs him, but ten minutes later they go out and enjoy a wonderful dinner. How can this be?

From Deon Paul Rodden at August 04, 2016 at 11:26AM

Deon's Playground

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