Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reflections on teaching junior highers

I had the pleasure (and toil) of preparing a Sunday School lesson this pas week for our junior high students. My assigned passage was Genesis chapter 21, verses 1 to 21. This portion relates the birth of Isaac that God promised, and the sending away of Ishmael and Hagar.

I don't intend to give a lesson here, but I did note a few things worth mentioning.
  1. First, when you study the Bible only for yourself, you get something out of it that is very narrowly applicable for you. At least, as someone who went to a missionary school from K-12 and attended a Christian college and seminary, that's what happens to me.
    But, when you study for the purpose of teaching others, you have to take into account their concerns and needs, and suddently what God has to say becomes more broadly applicable. This may be because my perceived needs do not always coincide with any given text.
  2. Second, junior hight students are in the middle of a transition, the cusp of entering young adulthood, and they are a fascinating mix of youthful naivite and hard-bitten realism. The JH's were innocent about personal relationships and yet really struggled with the screwed up dynamics of mixed families.
  3. Third, God surprises you when you seek His message for your people. Something I never would have thought of on my own occurred to me the morning before the lesson, and it changed how the conclusion of the passage would be presented.
  4. Finally, I enjoy teaching the young; there is so much energy there! I just don't know if they learned anything!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ran into an interesting Windows Server 2003 problem today. There was very high CPU utilization by lsass.exe and svchosts.exe (NETWORK SERVICE), and an inability to create outbound network connections. The client has previously rebooted this server to resolve the issue in the past, but wanted an explanation.

This client runs our application from that server using Terminal Services. Our application would not run and was given a cryptic message with the error code 10055. That five-digit code looked like a Microsoft TCP error to me, and sure enough it was. A quick Google searched turned this up:
10055 WSAENOBUFS -- No buffer space available.
Since that is a TCP error, that would mean no network resources are available. I ran "netstat -n" but saw very few established sockets.

Task Manager showed high CPU usage by lsass.exe and one svchosts.exe running as NETWORK SERVICE. I tried to download Process Explorer but Internet Explorer could not get to any websites; the bottom of the page said there was a DNS error.

I opened a command prompt (CMD) and was able to ping www.yahoo.com, so DNS works. I figured I would just FTP the file, so I ran FTP from their server to our web site and got another error:
> ftp: connect :No buffer space is supported
So, another error that points to TCP resources being unavailable.

I tried asking the great Google for answers about TCP resources and error 10055 but mostly found people who rebooted to make the problem go away. There were some Microsoft Articles about increasing the maximum TCP/IP socket buffers, but this is not our server, so I do not want to make changes requiring a reboot without knowing if it would even solve the problem.

Naturally, I examined Event Viewer and saw some error messages that suggested more socket errors which Microsoft's KB indicates a group policy not being able to execute. Probably not the root problem.

I decided to figure out which service was killing the CPU and see if it was also tying up the network resources.

LSASS sustains a bunch of services, including HTTP SSL, IPSEC, Kerberos, NetLogon, NT LM, Protected Storage, Security Accounts Manager, and maybe a couple others. It seems to manage TCP sockets rather than use them, so though CPU is high I figured I could safely ignore LSASS.EXE

OK, svchosts.exe is starts up services, so I ran the Services.MMC (or go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services) to examine services. I went through all the listed services and looked at the details for each. Where the command line included svchosts.exe, I looked for the "-k NETWORK" to determine which svchosts.exe service was running as NETWORK SERVICE. I restarted each one and watched Task Manager to see if the high-CPU instance of svchosts.exe disappeared briefly. When I got to the "Server" service, both svchost.exe and lsass.exe freed up their resources. The Server service also restarted Net Logon, DFS, and Computer Browser.

Ta-dah! I was able to browse the web, FTP, and of course our application worked again. Since this was not our Windows Server 2003 machine, I passed the information along. But, that certainly beats rebooting completely.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Clyde Cook

Not many of those who read this blog will have had to privilege of meeting Dr. Clyde Cook. Nonetheless, his passing is both a sad and glorious thing. Biola has a tribute site for Dr. Cook.

I graduated from Talbot in 2000 and 2008. Biola found me in 1991 and I began attending in 1992. Dr. Clyde Cook was there for my entire Biola and Talbot experience. I was very pleased to hear he was retiring and it gave me joy to think that this wonder servant of God spending well-earned time with family and friends.

I heard about his passage into glory the day after; good friends and fellow Biolans told me. Strangely, while I felt sorrow for Anna Belle Cook, I smiled with the realization that Dr. Cook was received in celebrated in heaven.

"Well done, good and faithful servant." If I have known any man about whom I could confidently assert would hear these words upon meeting our Lord and Savior, it is Clyde Cook.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New MSN phishing problem

I use several instant messengers. There's a new phishing / trojan (?) program floating around on MSN Messenger. If you get the following message you should not click this:
Hey check this.. http://very.c00l-stuff.com ..brb !!
In fact, as a general rule, don't click on stuff unless you have a good reason.

The scary thing is that the message came from a family member on my contact list. That implies that my family member has an infected PC. So, watch out for unsolicited links to websites and downloads, even from trusted sources. Always double-check.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First weekend in the RV

So we had our first weekend out in the RV. We got here really late on Friday night. The neighbors were all very understanding; a couple of them helped us back in to our spot and our next door neighbors John and Shannon Williams (full-timers) helped me do part of the hookups. John and Shannon's son is four and is also named Lee. He starts montessori school on Monday; he's a bright and very social. The neighbors and RV'ers we did meet all seemed friendly and social. I could get used to this.

The sewer hose that came with the RV was too short, so I've yet do do my first dump; that will come in a hour or so.

Oh, we slept fine. The RV wasn't quite level, so we slept with our heads sightly higher than our feet on Friday. I fixed that with a couple of tiles Saturday morning. I'll have to pick up some leveling blocks.

Our biggest worry had been the cats and dog. This weekend was a scorcher and we kept the air conditioners off to see what it would be like. We did have the windows open and the vent fan on. There were no problems; though it was very hot outside, it didn't get too hot for either one of us, and the cats and dog seemed rather content, even though it got to 93°F outside.

I like being connected with the outside; all the windows and openness of the RV makes me feel less disconnected from the environment and our neighbors. At night, I can see stars. It feels good and right to sense the rising and setting of the sun, to be part of the circadian rhythm.

The cats' favorite space is under the hideaway sofa; the enclosed space may make them feel more secure, and it is probably 5° cooler under there.

Today we ran the RV's air conditioning, and it is very comfortable. We haven't had air conditioning at home since October 2004, so even adjusted to 80°F it feels great in here.

Well, I need to batten down the hatches and get ready to move. We wants to be home about 16:00 and I still need to dump the RV...

Friday, April 11, 2008

First night in the RV

I'm writing this from our RV, on my laptop. I've got the accouterments (or accoutrements) of geekhood; laptop, PDA, cell phone, Internet access... the lot rental covers the utilities and we're not looking into someone else's RV.

OK, the RV isn't quite level; we'll get blocks in the morning to finish the last bit of leveling. Things are working, which is good. We can do this; we can go RVing.

Anyway, one of the first things I noticed; people are very helpful.
Second thing, very little light pollution; I can see stars!
The third thing, it's quiet! I like it very much.

I hope we sleep well tonight; it was my first time leveling the RV, so we'll have to see.