blog of the software engineering student and occasional tweeter

Google Search and Google DNS outage

Monday, October 13th, 2014

It really isn’t every day that your Google Search request fails with:

Server Error
We're sorry but it appears that there has been an internal server error while processing your request. Our engineers have been notified and are working to resolve the issue.
Please try again later.

My two subsequent attempts also failed with the same error, but it got back into working order after that.

I quickly searched this message on Google Search – after it was working of course – and found something else you also don’t quite see every day:

38sec

Crawled “38 secs ago”? Someone else’s discovery is definitely related.

Just minutes before however, 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 could not be reached from my location, which are usually reached in around 24ms. Over 30 minutes later, it was finally rerouted to somewhere else with a latency of 174ms. I’m not sure if these issues are related, but something has definitely gone wrong somewhere.

Google_last_10800

A 30-minute outage and then a reroute to a location outside of Australia.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some admins at Google were running around with their hair on fire.


Intel DN2800MT all-in-one Mini-ITX motherboard

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I decided yesterday on a bit of a whim that I wanted to replace my current network router, which is not exactly your typical router. While you could say that typical routers consume something like 2W of energy, come in a decent-looking plastic enclosure and have lots of continuously-flashing lights, mine’s actually a full-height computer in a boring old tower box. What’s worse is that it has an Intel Pentium D 960 3.6GHz dual-core processor, which loves to eat at the power bill. Those who realise that a router is not meant to be a power-hungry device like this would probably be yelling at their screens right now, and it’s true; 130W TDP for just the CPU is far too excessive to be run 24/7 given that an average router CPU (let’s say 400MHz or so) will consume a Watt or less.

But why would you even use a full-size computer as your router? Well the size is definitely questionable, but it’s the fact that it’s a general computer that I’m trying to emphasise. When I say this I mean it’s a computer that you can install anything on, and tweak to your heart’s content (so definitely not an Apple Mac). For example, I installed Gentoo Linux on mine (some people might have jumped ship after reading that) giving me OS-level customisation as well as the ability to open the box and add components to the motherboard.

When you buy a router from the local store, granted it’s probably fine for most people’s homes as-is, you’re not really able to tweak the components to for example add more memory or insert an additional network card if you need it, and you’re definitely not able to tweak the OS without re-flashing the firmware with a third-party variant like DD-WRT, OpenWRT, Tomato or others which can still be limiting.

I don’t like having those restrictions.

I like something that I can tailor to suit the task exactly, which in my case means making it more generic to allow for future integration with other systems. And what do I mean by that? Well, handling HDTV network streaming will be one, holding a second fail-over 3G connection to switch to automatically in case the main connection goes down is another, and most-importantly having the ability to do absolutely anything from an unrestricted UNIX command-line prompt on an operating system of entirely my own choice. And that’s why I bought the Intel DN2800MT, to replace my previous router (which, in case you’re wondering, had an ASUS P5VDC-MX motherboard that had slots for both DDR and DDR2 memory – what the hell?)

The Intel DN2800MT Mini-ITX motherboard

This thing is great. It has an on-board Intel Atom 1.86GHz dual-core processor and- wait, that’s still overkill. Ah but before you say more, let me mention that it takes 12V DC input instead of the usual AC and only consumes about 6W of energy while in use. That’s a massive improvement over my current setup while allowing for much greater customisation.

If you haven’t already spotted, the best thing about this motherboard is that it’s of Mini-ITX form factor. That means of course that it’s very small compared to a typical computer motherboard (which is usually ATX and requires active cooling, although it’s also common to have mATX which really isn’t much bigger), giving me the chance to get a nice slim box for it.

And here it is.

M350 Universal Mini-ITX Enclosure

Okay so we’ve now entered the grey-area. That’s the case I’d like to get, but I know it isn’t going to have any space for a PCI-E x1 card, which I will need for the secondary NIC as the motherboard only has one built-in (sadly). I’ve been researching a potential solution and I’ve found that you can use right-angle riser cards to switch what once was the height to now go length-wise in the case.

PCI Express x1 right-angle riser card

That’s exactly the remedy I need for the expansion slot. It probably still can’t fit in that tiny case, though, but a slightly taller one is still better than a full-size Mini-ITX case, which is comparatively twice or thrice as high as the one already pictured.

More soon.