Monday, June 22, 2009

Email Scraper - In Python with urllib and regular expressions

The past few weeks I have been messing around on the site Most of my work at Sandia lately has been writing (documents in English), with some IT work / configuration thrown in. This site seems to be a cool way to make some extra cash ($20 so far, only one success) and have fun writing programs.

One potential customer wanted someone to manually go to a bunch of web pages and harvest contact information. I started an email conversation with the guy, mentioning that I think there was a better way to automate this. Currently, I have a quick prototype I put together using urllib and regular expressions in python. If he picks up the project, I think I can find/create a better regular expression for email and clean up the data. Right now, I wanted to mess with writing some sort of email harvester; I just thought it would be fun (I have no aspirations towards becoming a spammer).

The code takes a list of fully qualified URLS, one per line. Here is the list the potential customer gave me.

Here are the results after running my program:

brian@ubuntu-bind:~/tmp/other_programs/rent_a_coder/web_grabber$ time ./

real 0m9.527s
user 0m0.312s
sys 0m0.208s

Not too great, but pretty good for about an hour and a couple of questions to my friend Aaron, who is awesome at Python. If I ever seriously want to write an email scraper (either for myself or a customer), I'll get a better regular expression, clean the output up, make it multithreaded and dump the email addresses to a database.

I may or may not ever actually post the code to this one, depending on how the sales go. If you would like to see the code, leave me a comment with how to get in touch with you.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

417A Princeton - One of My Rental Units

Last November, I purchased a piece of property at 417 Princeton in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fixing the place up, keeping tenants happy and growing a garden have been a lot of fun. I currently have 417A rented out until just before classes start at UNM, but I want to get things lined up after that. In order to get the place rented out for the summer, I prepared a lot of multimedia to send to two students that live in New York. Luckily, they decided to rent it for the summer! Hopefully these pictures and movies will help me keep the place rented out, as paying the entire mortgage without tenants is not something I want to do.

417 Princeton - Front View

The above picture is an image of my house from the road. My parents and my friends helped me paint the place white and do all the trim work. It was a huge project, but the place looks a lot better now!

Small Lantern
My dad likes to do metal work, and constructed the base for this lantern by welding some decorative angle iron to a piece of steel and capping it. My cousin Brett and Dad helped out a ton with digging this hole and installing this lantern.

Porch View
My uncle Rob constructed the new pieces of railing for this porch, and my father, friend Ryan and I installed it. The porches were previously falling apart and rotting, so this was a gigantic improvement.

417A Princeton - Front Door

This image is of the front door to 417A. The stained glass was there when I purchased the place. I think it adds a nice touch to the door.

417A Princeton - Side Door

The side door for this unit is located off a very nice utility room with tons of storage space. It makes a nice coat closet and tool area.

This is of the walk way running along the house. It could use some landscaping.

The below pictures were taken before my garden was going strong. My friend Efrain helped out a ton by arranging all the logistics of picking up rail road ties in Socorro for REALLY cheap ($5 per tie, instead of the $16 at Home Depot or Lowes). Efrain also loaned me his saw to cut them. My buddy Kevin did a lot of the heavy work associated with lifting and moving them, as well as some cutting. My friend Oleg helped out with planting, and always takes care of my garden when I go out of town.

This image is of my super big tomato and corn bed.

This is a picture of my strawberry bed and part of my smaller tomato bed.

Here is a close up of my small tomato bed. The plants look a lot bigger now!

This is an overview shot of the back yard.

Overall, I am really happy with how the outside of my place is coming along. I still need to work on the trim in a few places, but the paint job is of a very high quality. I am very lucky to have so many friends and family that are skilled and interested in helping me.

The below videos are of the inside of my 417A unit. This unit is in the best shape out of all my units. I really like all the hard wood floors all over the entire place. The kitchen linoleum is in much better shape than any of the other kitchens.

This is the front room for my place.

It technically is a one bedroom apartment, but so far always two people have lived there. Currently, I have a guy and a girl that are not romantically involved sharing the place, so it's almost like a two bedroom.

This is the bathroom for 417A. My father, Ryan Coleman and I completely replaced the bathroom floor in two days. The bathroom got a bit crowded with three people in there.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Veritas Backup - Manually Starting and Stopping Jobs

Veritas Backup 8.6 and Background Material
Lately I have been helping my family out with some of their information technology work down in Silver City. Since I live in Albuquerque, and Silver City is four hours away, I cannot help them all the time whenever something goes wrong. Something goes wrong quite often with the latest and greatest in 2001 backup technology with Vertitas Backup, version 8.6, revision 3878. Luckily, the machine running this backup system is on a totally isolated network, so we do not have to worry about the numerous security problems associated with running such an old version. My friend Ryan ALWAYS tells me to upgrade to a different backup system, but that isn't too high up on the IT priority list right now.

In Veritas lingo, a job represents the configurations associated with actually backing something up. Jobs are things that need to run in order to back up.

I find that I need to manually restart jobs, and cancel stuck jobs, as a means of achieving reliable backups. Hopefully this blog post will help that happen when I am not around and serve to show other people that may not be quite so familiar with Veritas 8.6 how to do that as well. I think providing documentation of IT work is very, very important and can save tons of time and money in the long run! Please leave me a comment if you find this post useful.

Canceling A Stuck Job
With this software, it is not easy or possible to run two different jobs at the same time, on the same tape. Sometimes a job becomes 'stuck' and runs forever. It is important to cancel these stuck jobs so you can start a new one. One way I found to cancel a stuck job involves being in the "Activity Monitor" window, as shown in the below image.

Figure 1. Activity Monitor
Left click on the labels describing the view pane you want to be in.
This is with my camera phone.

Once you are in the "activity monitor" you should be able to see a list of jobs that have run, are running, or failed. If you right click on a job, and select "Cancel" that will cancel the job for you. I have noticed that it sometimes takes a minute or two to actually cancel.

Figure 2. Canceling a Job
Don't forget to wait a minute or two after you cancel the job

Manually Starting a Job
Once you have made sure there are no stuck jobs, you can manually start a job if you would like. The system I work with has scheduled jobs, so manually starting jobs shouldn't (hopefully) be necessary. I like to manually run a job to make sure everything is working OK after canceling a stuck job, rebooting, adding a new tape to the rotation or anything else that would make me doubt things are working perfectly.

One way I found to start a job is to navigate to the "Job Definitions" view pane. This is at the bottom on the screen, next to the "Activity Monitor" described above. Left click on this label to switch to that view.

Figure 3. Job Definitions
This view lets you see all the jobs that have been created.

Once you are in this view, you can see all the different jobs that have been created for your system. For our system, we are interested in the job titled "Backup 0002." This job backs up our entire system. In order to run this job, right click on it and select "Run now..."

Figure 4. Actually Running A Job

After you have run your job, it is important to see how things are going. Switch back to the "Activity Monitor" and look at your running job, as can barely be clearly seen in the high-quality image below.

Figure 5. Backup Job Successful!

Hopefully this document clearly explains how to manually cancel and restart jobs using Veritas 8.6. The employee known simply as "The Handball Destroyer" at the office has picked up a lot of the the day to day responsibilities regarding the computer systems here and I hope this document helps them, and any of the Internet masses.

Also, I refrained from taking screen shots of the server since I would like it to stay in complete isolation. I do not want any sort of writable media entering that environment, and it is completely isolated with regards to networking. Sorry about the resulting lack of picture quality!