After today, I’m about ready for an old-man rant about the evils of modern technology. Instead I’ll write up the problem and solution I had today in case others come looking for it. I happened to brush against my computer today and the static caused it to freeze up. Okay, that’s annoying, but not the end of the world. Reboot and start things back up. But monitor #2 came back up in a weird resolution.
I have a $5/month virtual server at Digital Ocean, which I use for some light work and for an extra location outside my usual networks from which to test connectivity. I noticed recently that they’d increased the RAM and disk space included for that price. It turns out I could have just clicked a button to expand it, but I decided to make a new droplet and move everything to it, since that’s really how you’re supposed to handle the cloud – lean toward spinning up new systems rather than getting attached to the ones you have.
I run FreeBSD on a Dell Latitude D520 laptop. One issue in installing it is that the wireless doesn’t work out of the box, so you have to install firmware for it. In this machine’s case, the needed firmware is in the net/bwn-firmware-kmod port. So you have to connect with the Ethernet port long enough to get that installed, or pull it in some other way, like a flash drive.
For FreeBSD administrators, ZFS and jails combine to make virtualization easy, fast, and secure. A FreeBSD jail is a virtual machine which can only access the resources assigned to it when it was created, so its processes have no access to the rest of the machine. ZFS is an advanced filesystem that makes it very easy to create and destroy filesystems whenever they are needed. Together, they make it a matter of moments to create a new virtual system for testing, walling off network services, or other projects.