May 22 2015

Three new quotes to the database

Today I added three new quotes to the “My Favourite Quotes” database that you see on the right-hand side of my blog.

“The evil people of the world would have little impact without the sheep.”
–Tim Clark

“Apologising does not always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.”
–Unknown

“Some day soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That’s when I will be truly dead – when I exist in no one’s memory. I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies,too, vanishes from the living memory. I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?”
–Irvin D. Yalom in Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy

The first one came up during a conversation that I was having with a colleague who is absolutely brilliant. That quote in particular sums up a very simplistic idea, but one that would have a dramatic impact on human existence if we were to recognise our sometimes blind following of others.

Cheers,
Zach

May 20 2015

Amavisd isn’t running with Postfix – connection refused to 127.0.0.1

Late last night, I decided to apply some needed updates to my personal mail server, which is running Gentoo Linux (OpenRC) with a mail stack of Postfix & Dovecot with AMaViS (filtering based on SpamAssassin, ClamAV, and Vipul’s Razor). After applying the updates, and restarting the necessary components of the mail stack, I ran my usual test of sending an email from one of my accounts to another one. It went through without a problem.

However, I realised that it isn’t a completely valid test to send an email from one internal account to another because I have amavisd configured to not scan anything coming from my trusted IPs and domains. I noticed several hundred mails in the queue when I ran postqueue -p, and they all had notices similar to:

status=deferred (delivery temporarily suspended:
connect to 127.0.0.1[127.0.0.1]:10024: Connection refused)

That indicated to me that it wasn’t a problem with Postfix (and I knew it wasn’t a problem with Dovecot, because I could connect to my accounts via IMAP). Seeing as amavisd is running on localhost:10024, I figured that that is where the problem had to be. A lot of times, when there is a “connection refused” notification, it is because no service is listening on that port. You can test to see what ports are in a listening state and what processes, applications, or daemons are listening by running:

netstat -tupan | grep LISTEN

When I did that, I noticed that amavisd wasn’t listening on port 10024, which made me think that it wasn’t running at all. That’s when I ran into the strange part of the problem: the init script output:

# /etc/init.d/amavisd start
* WARNING: amavisd has already been started
# /etc/init.d/amavisd stop
The amavisd daemon is not running                [ !! ]
* ERROR: amavisd failed to start

So, apparently it is running and not running at the same time (sounds like a Linux version of Schrödinger’s cat to me)! It was obvious, though, that it wasn’t actually running (which could be verified with ‘ps -elf | grep -i amavis’). So, what to do? I tried manually removing the PID file, but that actually just made matters a bit worse. Ultimately, this combination is what fixed the problem for me:

sa-update
/etc/init.d/amavisd zap
/etc/init.d/amavisd start

It seems that the SpamAssassin rules file had gone missing, and that was causing amavisd to not start properly. Manually updating the rules file (with ‘sa-update’) regenerated it, and then I zapped amavisd completely, and lastly restarted the daemon.

Hope that helps anyone running into the same problem.

Cheers,
Zach

May 19 2015

2015 St. Louis Children’s Hospital Make Tracks for the Zoo 5K race

Well, it was that time of the year again this past weekend–time for the 2015 St. Louis Children’s Hospital Make Tracks for the Zoo race! This race is always one of my favourite ones of the year, so I was excited to partake in it. There’s always a great turnout (~3500 this year, I believe, but 1644 chipped for the 5K run), and lots of fun, family-oriented activities. One of the best parts is that there are people of all ages, and walks of life (pun intended) who show up to either walk or run to support the amazing Saint Louis Zoo!


2015 St. Louis Make Tracks for the Zoo pre-race line-up
2015 St. Louis Make Tracks for the Zoo – Pre-race
(click to enlarge)

It started out a little iffy this year because there was some substantial rain. Ultimately, though, the rain cleared and the sun started shining in time for the race. The only downside was that the course was pretty slick due to the rain. Despite the slippery course, I did better than expected in terms of time. My total 5K time was 19’06”, according to the chip-timing provided by Big River Running Company (which is a great local running store here in the Saint Louis area). You can see the full results, and sort by whatever criteria you would like by visiting their ChronoTrack site for this race.


2015 St. Louis Make Tracks for the Zoo results
2015 St. Louis Make Tracks for the Zoo results
(click to enlarge)

There were some great runners this year! My time earned me 13th overall, 11th in overall male, and 3rd in my bracket (which is now Male 30-34 [ugh, can't believe I turned 30 this month]). Some really outstanding participants (besides the obvious of the overall winners) this year were Zachary Niemeyer, who at 14 finished 15th overall with a great time of 19’10”, and Norman Jamieson, who at age 79 finished in just over 33 minutes! I’ll be lucky to be able to walk at that age! :-)


2015 St. Louis Make Tracks for the Zoo - Nathan Zachary
Me, tired and sweaty from the humidity, but happy with the experience
(click to enlarge)

So, it was another great year for Make Tracks (especially since it was the 30th year for it), and I’m already looking forward to next year’s race. Hopefully you’ll come and join in a fun time that supports a great establishment!

Cheers,
Zach

P.S. A special thanks to my Pops for not only coming out to support me, but also for snapping the photos above!

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