Category Archives: Misc

Extreme fan noise with an HP ProLiant ML110 G7

A little while back I posted some initial impressions of the Hewlett Packard ML110 G7, and noted:

“One review made mention of the ML110’s quiet operation and how it would not be noticed in an office environment. Well, unless your office happens to be on the factory floor of an air conditioning manufacturing plant, you’re going to notice this thing…”

Out of curiosity I decided to look into this a bit more. It turns out a whole bunch of other folks have encountered the same thing, and if you perform an online search for “HP ML110 G7 fan noise” you’ll find many forum posts with all manner of straw clutching – from running every firmware and BIOS update under the sun, to nuking warranties with third-party cooling hacks.

One thing I noted with my unit was the actual reported fan speeds via the LOM were in the order of 31%/13%/10% for the three fans respectively – which hardly accounts for what sounds like a system with its fans running absolutely full tilt (completely unsuitable for office operation).

Buried in one forum post was information apparently passed on from HP’s support personnel to an affected customer, advising them to reseat the front fan (referred to as the PCI fan in the service manual), as apparently it may become dislodged during shipping. Sounded rather odd to me as clearly the fan itself is functioning (a bit too well…), but as it turns out this totally nailed the problem. After disconnecting the fan’s motherboard connectors and physically removing the component, then letting the system boot, POST and shutdown with a fan error, then reconnecting everything and powering it back up, the server is now quiet.

Updating iLO3 firmware on an HP ML110 G7

Hewlett Packard’s website is an embarrassing mess. Don’t go looking for an easy-to-find page for the iLO3 with a one-click firmware download, because you won’t find one. The state of HP’s site is a rant for a future post, but for now here’s a quick guide to getting your hands on the latest iLO3 revision. The sole catch is that you’ll need a Microsoft Windows-based PC at some stage, irrespective of which OS you have installed on the server itself (OpenIndiana in my case).

First, go to HP’s product page for the ML110 G7. Next, we’ll choose “Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2” (blech…) as our OS:

HP ML110 G7 product page

Look for the Lights Out Management Firmware section, and click the relevant link to start the download (we’ll go for a 64-bit Windows target OS):

Download the iLO3 installation file

Now, run the downloaded executable file (named “cp022549.exe” in this example) on a Windows-based system (Windows 7 or Windows 8 will do just fine) and extract (not install) the file contents to disk:

Extract the downloaded file contents

Look for the .bin file in the extracted files – this is the one we need:

Look for the firmware BIN file

Now, go to the iLO3 admin BUI, upload the .bin file, and wait for the update to complete. Once the LOM reboots, verify the firmware version:

Prepare to upload the BIN file

Firmware file is uploading

Updating to the latest firmware


Compare the old firmware version to the newest


iLO3 firmware is now at the latest version

Forking GlassFish Redux: Payara Server

In the time since I last wrote about the need for a fork of Oracle’s GlassFish Server, Oracle have effectively removed the viability of GlassFish as a production system by killing off professional support in favour of their megabucks closed-source WebLogic product. This was a completely unsurprising move, and simply added to the mountain of orphaned and abandoned techhnology inherited from Oracle’s Sun acquisition (to which we can add some more recent additions).

Fortunately, and largely due to the wisdom of Sun to originally open source the product, a new player in the Java app server scene has appeared with what is to all intents and purposes the GlassFish fork we’ve been waiting for: Payara Server.

You can check out their website at: As mentioned on their site: “We take GlassFish upstream. We support it, fix it, enhance it. We release it as open source Payara Server.”

Do I have funds or a current use case to pay for professional support for an app server yet? No. Do I want to use the same product I’ll eventually be using in production while I’m in the startup/setup phase, easily and without restriction? Yes. Will I pay for support if the use case requires it, and if it guarantees a healthy product/project down the line in the best spirit of open source? Happily, and especially if it’s from the same vendor offering the product to begin with. Not rocket science, and when a vendor throws too many obstacles in my path I’ll simply switch to an alternative which does afford me these freedoms.

Looking forward to trying this out.

The Trade Me $1 Reserve BCom

Preserved here in all its glory – before the Trade Me fun police took it down. Enjoy.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The bane of my life (and probably everybody else’s)

I think folks have every reasonable cause to question the general competence of IT persons who design authentication systems that mandate an exact password length, or a maximum password length (say, 10 characters max), or passwords which must not contain certain characters, or lock your account out after three (why three?) attempts.

Also cute – government online service providers that ask you to fill out a “forgotten password phrase” when you set up your account initially. How are mere mortals supposed to remember the phrase two years down the track without writing it down or reusing it? And how is this supposed to be more secure than your basic security questions?

Hello DuckDuckGo (and goodbye

DuckDuckGo logo

Yeah, I can now really do with less targeted advertising, a search homepage which isn’t like a giant ad itself, and Google mining my search queries to “enhance” their floundering me-too social network. Plus that other nasty business. So I’ve switched to DuckDuckGo. It’s like of old, searches are anonymized, and it’s got a cooler name to boot.

The standard DuckDuckGo search provider for add-on for Firefox (the best darn browser around) can be found here.

Natural pest control, Nepenthes-style

It’s a marvellous thing seeing the efficiency with which my pitcher plant can trap and kill food when simply left to its own devices. Bugs are attracted to the nectar, clamber into the traps and become nom noms for the plant. What’s more, it really loves the New Zealand climate combined with being parked next to an open bathroom window. Pitcher plants make a terrific addition to the household for natural pest control. Quite pretty to boot.

Pitcher plant

Scott McNealy’s Top Ten reasons for employees wanting to keep an office

10) Need a place to hang a picture of my chihuahua
9) How can I micromanage my direct reports if I can’t see them?
8) Naps and/or nooners with co-workers
7) Need storage for pilfered coffee, toiletries, condiments and kids’ school supplies, and the A/C is free too
6) We have to still work on “spare the air” days
5) I have self esteem issues
4) I prefer to make my pay by the minute phone calls in private
3) The public sector union work rules mandate private offices
2) Your spouse wants you out of the house, or you can’t stand being home with your spouse, or both
1) You can’t brown-nose virtually

Scott’s really quite entertaining talk on the subject of remote work from which this was transcribed can be found here:

Adding Chinese as an input language in Ubuntu 12.04

Quick how-to for those wanting to know.

Under Ubuntu system settings click on “Language Support”:

Ubuntu Language Support settings

Under the “Language” tab in the window that appears go to the “Keyboard input method system:” drop down list, and select ibus:

Enable the ibus keyboard input method

ibus input method enabled.

Log out of the computer and log back in. You should now observe the presence of a keyboard input method icon in the system status area:

Keyboard input method icon

Click on this, and from the menu that appears select “Preferences”:

Ubuntu keyboard input method preferences

In the window that appears, click on the “Input Method” tab:

Keyboard input method tab

Now, enable the “Customize active input methods” setting. From the drop down list select “Chinese” -> “Pinyin”, then click on the “Add” button:

Selecting the Chinese input method

Chinese input method is now added

Now open an application – in this example we are using Firefox. Go to the keyboard input method icon, and from the drop-down list that appears select “Chinese – Pinyin”:

Selecting the Chinese input method

The keybord method input icon should change accordingly, and now typed text should reflect the language:

Chinese input method selected and active