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This is an area to find tool, fixes and configuration tips.

Freebsd 8.0 hard freezing with Supermicro's X7SPA-HF PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul MacKenzie   
Tuesday, 27 April 2010 09:22

As part of our desire to be as environmentally friendly as we can we are always looking for ways to become even more efficient. Newer technology less power is one good way to continue to cut our power usage over time through upgrades.

Supermicro's X7SPA-HF MainboardI have been investigating using the newer Atom D510 chip with a super low power footprint for an entry level server or as a router. Both of which provide opportunities to reduce our power usage. The motherboard I picked for this purpose was Supermicro's X7SPA-HF which has 6x SATA ports making it fairly ideal for an inexpensive low-power backup machine along with using the new SSD technology for super fast boot and more reliable boot /os storage. One of its "benefits" is the heat sink instead of a moving fan on the cpu. Generally, fans next to hard drives are the first to go and if I can avoid this being one possible issue in the future then why not?

In the process of installing and running the latest Freebsd 8.0 stable (April 25, 2010) all was going well until I started to get hard freezing on the system with no logging. What was odd is the system ran fine for 6 days in another room so I was pretty sure the hardware was fine. I was finding the intermittent freezing was taking place every 1-3 hours and seemed to be more frequent when there was high cpu load or high net traffic. These were my clues which took a bit of time to sort out. Based on past experience with all hard freezing situations for most operating systems the source of the problem is usually traced back to bad hardware. So I started with this to determine the cause. 

I replaced many parts of the new system including the ram, motherboard / cpu but kept the same chassis. The case had on big fan and a few small fans in it which seemed like more than what might be required and provided a good amount of air flow to keep the hard drives and cpu heatsink cool.

As I was unable to find the source of the problem by replacing the hardware, I started to switch the fan directions and make alterations in the air flow of the case by leaving the side of the case off. After these improvements were made the freezing has mostly stopped and it has not happened for 16+ hours now with some fairly extensive cpu testing.

I also noticed that turning off "Active Power Management" in the usb section of the bios seems to improve the situation.

If anyone else is implementing the X7SPA-HF in a server environment and runs into hard freezing then I recommend you start with the possibility of overheating and the settings in the bios.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 13:48
Fix for sa-spamd error "child process exited or timed out without signaling production of a PID file" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul MacKenzie   
Thursday, 08 April 2010 20:24

In the process of upgrading Spamassassin 3.3.1 through portupgrade on Freebsd to I ran into the following problem.


Starting spamd.
child process [5443] exited or timed out without signaling production of a PID file: exit 25 at /usr/local/bin/spamd line 2585.


I searched on-line and saw a bit of information about reinstalling.

I decided to run spamassassin --lint to see what it might show and I was surprised to see the following:



config: no rules were found!  Do you need to run 'sa-update'?


So a quick update of the spam rules by running "sa-update" and now the sa-spamd starts just fine. For anyone who gets the above error make sure your rules are not missing for some odd reason after running portupgrade. There is usually an option to ask the user to download the latest update during the portupgrade install so this is probably a rare solution to the above problem. Despite this fact, it takes so little time to check if the above error is caused by a missing rule file so its worth a quick check.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 13:47
Fix for Wordpress “Could not remove the old plugin” error PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul MacKenzie   
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 09:24

In the process of upgrading Comic Press on a Wordpress blog I ran into the following problem.

Downloading install package from http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/comicpress-manager.1.4.8.zip.

Unpacking the package.

Could not copy file /usr/home/homedirectory/www/blogdirectory/wp-content/upgrade/comicpress-manager.1.4.8/somefile.php


I searched on-line and the only solution I could find on-line was an article telling to remove many nested wp-content folders but this did not work for me as I did not have nested folders as described

This error also happened when I attempted to install any plugin via the web interface.

I worked through the error and found that for the most part this was a ftp problem on the Freebsd 7.2 server.

Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 09:38
Fix for CiviCRM “Could not find valid key” error PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul MacKenzie   
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 09:24

In the process of implemting CiviCRM within Citizen's For Clean Air's Joomla website I ran into the following problem.


Sorry. A non-recoverable error has occurred.

Could not find valid Key


I searched on-line and saw a bit of information dealing with a few unrelated topics.

After some searching I was able to reproduce the problem with cookies disabled on the browser but not any other way.

I then saw a few posts that the url migt be realted to this problem and the site was configured for both www and without www in the url. With a little more testing this indeed turns out to be the case.

If you load up the site without www, and then submit the CiviCRM form it appends the www to the form submission location and brings up the error.

To fix this I added an entry into the .htaccess file as follows:


RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^c4ca\.org [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://www.c4ca.org/$1 [R=301,L]


This solved my problem by forcing all access to http://c4ca.org to be redirected to http://www.c4ca.org. I hope this help to solve other people's issues when working with CiviCRM.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 13:45

Opening the Mind

"The First step in developing true compassion is being able to recognize, to open to, and to acknowledge that pain and sorrow exist. Everywhere, absolutely everywhere, in one way or another, beings are suffering. Some suffering is intense and terrible; some is quiet and small."

Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg


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