April 2006

California is a wonderful place. I enjoy living here, although I would not mind 100 acres of forested land somewhere besides here some day. All in all, the weather is some of the best I have seen after flying all over the world, the people (once they are out of their cars) are very nice and the flying is great.

This month, I welcomed my 20 year old niece Sarah and her 8 month baby daughter NivieAnna to California for the first time. They are visiting me for 6 weeks and we are going to have a great time. We start tomorrow with a trip to Lyttle Creek where I will take Sarah shooting for the first time. I have been shooting since before I joined the Marine Corps in 1986, so it is a sport that I enjoy a great deal. They are from North Dakota, where it is known to get to 80 below zero in the winters. Yikes!

Once we drop the little one off at the sitters, its off to Upland, California to meet up with a good friend of mine and then off to the San Bernardina mountains and the Lyttle Creek shooting range. We are going up with a group of friends and we are looking forward to having a great time.

We are planning on some great trips, so check back here to see where we go in the next six weeks, and how I fair with an 8 month old in the house. :-)

Cheers Everyone.

This is a quick shell script I wrote that allows me to grab backups off of my Asterisk servers and drop them on whatever system I happen to run the script from. In this case, I wrote it for my laptop so I could quickly grab a full asterisk and mysql backup or just the entire /etc/asterisk directory from Asterisk servers I was running.

I am quite sure there are better ways to do this script – maybe someone could post them here. As usual – Use this script at your own risk.


One thing that I have noted is that WordPress rewrites some of the stuff when I paste my scripts, so for the actual real script, please click here: SCRIPT

# grab_backups v1 – Richard J. Sears 4/23/06
# Simple script to grab some Asterisk backups from other
# systems

#Set some varables up


cat <

Well, Hello Everyone.

I cannot believe that it has been since December since I have last updated my website. There have been lots of things going with me since December. I will give you some highlights here – but be sure to check back for the full articles.

At American Internet Services where I work, we have completed a HUGE power upgrade to the facility that includes adding an additional 500kW UPS system and four additional battery cabinets to our existing power backup systems. This upgrade took over three months and had a price tag in excess of $300,000! Needless to say it was quite a project. Look for a full rundown and some great pictures soon.

On another front, I am back flying the Piper Malibu (N4363Q) – PA46/310P. For those of you not familiar with the Malibu, it is a 6 seat, pressurized single engine aircraft capable of flying at Flight Level 250. Of course, there is great benefit at times to both pressurization and the ability to cruise at FL250. In a recent flight from San Diego California to Bakersfield California, we filed for 12000 feet and our cabin altitude was at a low 2000 feet. This was great because I had an 8 month baby on board who appreciated the fact they she did not have to deal with her ears on the way back down! The other benefit (mostly east bound) is that you can pick up 50 to 80 knots of tail wind at times at FL250. The down side is that coming back you usually have to stay low to avoid the say winds as a head wind!

The Cirrus that I fly (N8148F) has been in the shop getting a full XM Weather upgrade done to it. This will allow in-flight near real-time weather updates in the cockpit allowing for greater flexibility and safety in regards to having up to date weather information at your fingertips. I have never flown with the XM weather system, so I will be attending some training on it and will report back on how it all works. A great by product of the XM weather is (of course) XM Radio to entertain my passengers along the way.

Besides the occasional flight in N736TB, a very well equipped Cessna 172 Hawk XP II owned by a good friend of mine, the Malibu and the Cirrus are the main stay of what I use to fly when it comes to single engine stuff. On the twin engine front, I have been flying a Cessna 421 B model. It’s a great plane, fast, clean and of course, a twin! It had been some time since I last flew a 421, so I did a high altitude recertification and check out and have been lending a hand flying left seat when the need arises. The other pilot, a friend of mine, is quite capable of flying left seat, but he knows that I enjoy it only too well and is always nice enough to allow me to fly Pilot-in-Command. It is very well equipped with an MX20 system and STEC 65 autopilot. Another benefit is spoilers (which I sure wise the Malibu had) to allow descents without having to pull the power too far back on those huge engines. This allows us to not only keep them warm, but also allows the pressurization system to operate to its full potential since it works off the turbo charging system.

My niece Sarah and her baby girl NiviAnna are staying with me until mid May. It has been very interesting having an 8 month old baby in the house. Last night however, I don’t think NivviAnna (or anyone else for that matter) slept more than an hour. Wow – what a night. For those of you that have kids, I am sure you know exactly what I mean. My neighbors had quite a laugh over this turn of events. They have four kids, the youngest of which is almost 12, so they remember! I am so totally unaware of everything it take to have a young child around the house it’s not funny. Diapers, milk, formula, cheerios, more diapers, baby wipes, more diapers, more milk, $30 cans of formula, more diapers !! Where does it all end??? However, I am totally blessed to have them staying with me and enjoy it even in the middle of the night when I can’ sleep! I just keep reminding myself that pretty soon she will sleep through the night and there will never be anything else to worry about….right? :-)

Another project keeping me occupied is the expansion of our data center in Sorrento Valley. We have seen tremendous growth (hence the need for a power upgrade) and growth brings with it change and change brings with it a lot of other things that need to be done. But growth is a good thing, especially in our industry which has had a black eye (for good reason) for a long time. We are slowly filling up the data center to capacity and are looking for another data center to start filling. Its all good.

Part of our growth is the ever present expansion and grooming of our backbone network. We are a Tier II player in that we do not own our own backbone; we buy transit from a bunch of Tier I carriers and aggregate them on our network. Currently we are at over 7 Gigabits of backbone capacity spread over three very powerful backbone routers. We added an OC48 (2.5GB) optical link from our San Diego data center to a cage we have at the One Wilshire Building (OWB) in Los Angeles. We deployed a couple of Cisco ONS15454 boxes and some Cisco 6509 switches and have expanded our network and connectivity into the LA area. Part of the benefit of getting into OWB was the access we had to the many carriers there.

Part of our drive to provide the best possible network connectivity to our customers was the addition of 19 private peering connections onto our network. These peering sessions allow traffic going to those networks or coming from those networks to go direct and bypass the public internet peering points thereby decreasing latency, number of hops and sometime packet loss. And overview of our network (without the private peering) is here: http://www.americanis.net/net_data_center.php?view=diagram

Another project that I have been working hard on is getting my Dell XPS laptop fully up and running on Gentoo Linux (http://www.gentoo.org). With the help of one of my engineers Chris, I am now fully operational on my Dell under Gentoo. I am running KDE as my desktop and have pretty much everything up and running the way I want it. I do have dual boot with Windows XP for some specialized software that only runs under windows (Jeppesen NavSuite being the most important of these). But other than that, I run 99% of the time under Unix with a KDE desktop. I will have an entire article around this process as well, for those of you out there with Dell XPS laptops that would like to try out running Gentoo on your systems.

Well, I better run – lots to do and not a lot of time to do it in. I am taking the day off tomorrow to go shooting, so I have been working this weekend from home to make up for lost time.

As always, I look forward to any feedback or suggestions.

Cheers Everyone.