Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aspect of the Fox

Aspect of the Fox:

  • Aspect of the Fox is a new ability for all Hunters.
    • Aspect of the Fox: Party and raid members within 40 yards take on the aspects of a fox, allowing them to move while casting all spells for 6 seconds. Only one Aspect can be active at a time. 3 minute cooldown.

This certainly wasn't on my list of aspect ideas that accomplish getting hunters a raid cooldown.

When I'm on my restoration shaman, I find very little use for Spiritwalker's Grace.  It's a 2min cooldown and lasts 15 seconds and lets me toss a bunch of greaters while moving.  I really should use it more.  There are plenty of places where I should be moving and healing.  But the shaman isn't my main and the training I've instilled is to NOT move while hitting some buttons which is a little difficult to overcome.

Six seconds seems really short for this kind of buff.  Not only do you have to tell everyone when you're going to start it so they don't screw up their spells, you also have to tell people when it's over so they stop moving while casting.  (Or everyone gets a visualization for this buff counting down.)  If it has a visualization for folks that indicates it wearing off then that can help.  But again six seconds is really brief for this.

The 3min cooldown makes sense.  The buff is just really difficult compared with something that is defensive or increases mana or increases haste or heals.  Those are going to be consumed as long as the person popping the cooldown does it at the right time.  This requires the cooldown to be popped at the right time by someone who doesn't normally know about those issues and it needs to be consumed by someone who doesn't have control of when it falls in their casting rotation.

If it has more applicability and useful-ness to the class using it then it will be more widely used and better used.  MM may have uses.  Tame beast may have uses.  Our new version of Sniper Training has issues on its own, but if it had synergy with it, that might be interesting.

Overall I'm very happy to see a hunter cooldown.  I'm a little confused by it.  But not lean-pack-confused.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Lightly Technical Post on Gaining Access to Lost AWS EC2 Cloud Compute Machines

Data Loss Background 

Last Sunday a friend of mine contacted me and let me know I had to move all my crap off his ancient machine he had been hosting for me.  It was a machine I had given him in the 90's... a Sun Ultra 10.  Ancient.  Unfortunately I had several websites on it and content for this site hosted on it.

I quickly made an account with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and spun up a "free" machine, got the ssh keys, and then tar-gz'd everything and copied it all down to the new EC2 instance.  Some nearly 2GB of data.  Much of which were old family photos.  All was well. I also pulled down a copy to my local desktop.  He then nuked the machine.  All was well, and I had a decent amount of work ahead to recreate some web servers to host this.

Then within four hours my desktop failed.  Hard.  Turned out to be the motherboard.  I had backed up almost all the data in two places but with one stroke I had lost everything.  I could no longer access my AWS instance because the ssh keys to enter it were on the desktop.

I will most likely buy a replacement desktop and then slot those drives and have the data, but that isn't happening this month.

Necessity being the mother of invention I figured out how to recover access to the cloud instance. It being a couple decades since I did any heavy unix sysadmin work, and not being an AWS expert, it took me a few hours to piece together.  Luckily this was pretty light stuff.  Here's how.

Gaining Access to Your EBS EC2 Instance Without the SSH Keys

1. Make a new EC2 host in the same AWS account.  Ensure it is in the same availability zone as the host with the lost keys. (When spinning up, set it in the config step under subnet.)  Make sure you use keys that you have available. ;-)

2. Stop the original EC2 host with lost keys.  Wait 'til it's stopped.  And do not accidentally TERMINATE it.

3. Go to volumes.  Note the attachment information of the new and lost-keys hosts.  Copy-paste it.

4. Detatch the EBS from the host with the lost keys.  Wait until its state changes to "available".

5. ssh in to the replacement host.sudo -u root mkdir /mnt/lost-key-volume
6. Attach the volume to the replacement host by selecting it and attaching (right click or menu pull down) to the new host id.

7. When it's attached the console will show attachment information.  Note where it is attached. e.g.-/dev/sdf

7a. Note: Newer Linux kernels may rename your devices to /dev/xvdf through /dev/xvdp internally, even when the device name entered here (and shown in the details) is /dev/sdf through /dev/sdp.

7b. If you're using ubuntu, the kernel wont necessarily attach the block device as /dev/sdf.  Type 'lsblk' to see what's up and 'df' or 'mount' to see what is already mounted.  You can also 'ls -lt /dev/' for the recent blocks mounted.  Use what lsblk gives you.  

ubuntu@ip-172-31-45-8:/dev$ lsblk
xvda    202:0    0   8G  0 disk
+-xvda1 202:1    0   8G  0 part /
xvdf    202:80   0   8G  0 disk
+-xvdf1 202:81   0   8G  0 part

7c. So in my case /dev/sdf means I want to mount /dev/xvdf1
sudo -u root mount /dev/xvdf1 /mnt/lost-key-volume

8. Now go in there and add the known pub ssh key to the authorized_keys file.  Don't change the perms of anything in the .ssh directory.  If you're feeling adventurous, you can do something like cd'ng into the mounted FS, nav to the ubuntu/.ssh and run:'cat ~/.ssh/authorized_keys >> authorized_keys'

9. Verify the
authorized_keys looks good, or you'll have to repeat a lot of work!

Unmount it cleanly 'sudo -u root umount -d /dev/xvdf1'

11. Detatch it using the console.

12. Attach it to the original host and the original device block. In my case, my original device was /dev/sda1 If you don't have right dev point your instance will not boot.  

13. Once it's attached, boot your original host. Note: for whatever reason (maybe just because I was typing out steps and this was #13) my original host didn't start the first time around. I decided to stop the temporary host I used to mount the EBS. Then I was able to start it up.  There might be something fishy in the EBS Volumes manager.

14. ssh in using the keys you have and put in to the authorized_keys file and enjoy access to your old host!

That shows how reasonably easy it is to move EBS around from host to host.  It also shows that you should have two factor authentication (2FA) on your AWS Web Console login because ssh only gets you so far.

I'll get the title fixed when I get around to setting up a webserver.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Still Here!

I lost a server.  Then I lost the motherboard I had the backups on just 12hrs later.  I still have the drives, but no computer to drop them into.  Sweet times.  My title doesn't work anymore.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Revising the Blogroll


Eyes of the Beast
LOL Survival
Thrill of the Wild


Big Red Rhino
35 Yards Out
Piercing Shots
Rapid Fire
WoW Hunters Hall

Need to Add Somehow

Solar Flair

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Upgrading Your Hunter Gear -- on day one of 5.4.8

When 5.4.8 lands we'll have a landslide of gear upgrades to make:
Gear changes are coming! First, in Patch 5.4.8 (which is currently in testing on the PTR), all upgradable epic items introduced to the game in Patch 5.4 will be given the option to upgrade 2 more times for a grand total of 16 item levels. This change will be applied to all items found on the Timeless Isle and in Siege of Orgrimmar. For instance, if you have an item level 553 Greatsword of Pride’s Fall and its Upgrade Level is 2/2 making it item level 561, once the new patch goes live it will display 2/4 and allow you the opportunity to bump it up to item level 569. Whether you’re working on a newly boosted character or progressing through Siege of Orgrimmar, we hope this change will provide you with the extra punch you need to take down your foes.
I've been generally just sitting at the cap.  If I feel like I will easily make up a bunch of valor, I'll blow some on upgrading pet-tanking gear.  But now all hunters will have 15 items to upgrade.  (Legendary cloaks were added in 5.4.)  If you're already maxed-out on 2/2 upgrades, it will take 7500 valor to get all those items from 2/4 to 4/4.

It's been a while since I've dealt with valor. You cannot earn more than 1000 valor in a week and can only amass 3000.  If you spend 3000 on day one and then valor cap your 1000 quickly there-after then you can get eight items upgraded.  Then week two you can get two more. Week three, two more.  Etc.

Since it will take at least four weeks to upgrade everything, you want to prioritize your upgrades.  My order of operations is:
  1. Upgrade items I will not replace first
  2. Upgrade items I am not likely to replace
  3. Upgrade items with the biggest impact first
If you have tons to upgrade and just want the most immediate impact to be felt ... immediately, then you should upgrade your ranged weapon.  If it's replaced then you upgrade its replacement.  But if you want to be optimal and have a lot to upgrade, go with this priority order.

Evaluating this simple priority order is not simple.

My group of items in the above category 1 is a short list; I have a legendary cloak and pair of heroic-warforged boots. That will cost 1000 valor.

I have eleven other heroic items.  It is not particularly likely that I will get heroic-warforged versions of any of these, but it is possible.  Our raid is normally clearing the first 8 bosses in heroic in less than three hours.  We can clear the next two on heroic but can't seem to carry anyone for them and getting a full ten raiders isn't easy.  We are not currently doing Thok, Siegecrafter, Paragons, or Garrosh on heroic. Thok is a week or two of heavy progression attempts possibly with some locks extended. I have two normal set pieces that could be replaced by drops from heroic Thok and heroic Paragons. Siegecrafter and Garrosh are unlikely for a long while.

Getting a drop off heroic Thok is slightly less likely than getting a heroic-warforged piece.  However it's a specific drop as opposed to one that may happen to any of the other heroic non-set pieces.  All this makes me think that the helm, dropping off Thok, is more likely to be replaced than any other piece that I have.  For that reason, I should not upgrade it at this time.

Another consideration is that there are multiple rings and trinkets that are be usable by us. There are ways to juggle things around to accommodate upgrading one and getting another as a drop.  This is a pretty deep corner-case though. 

It is possible that I may get a random heroic-warforged gloves or chest drop which could cause me to shuffle my other tier choices around to retain the four-piece bonus. But generally, the other pieces that I will not replace are my heroic tier pieces: my chest and gloves. Tier pieces do not come in warforged variety. Those two pieces will cost another 1000.

To complete my first week of purchases I'll upgrade two more items.  I continue to coin bosses that drop ranged weapons and the magic trinket.  That said, it only makes it slightly more likely that I'll get a replacement weapon.  To that end, we use the third criteria: Upgrade items with the biggest impact first. The number one biggest impact is the ranged weapon.  I have 500 valor left for the first week.

Not all gear pieces are valued the same.  Yes item levels are there, but a chest piece is more important and has more stats than a ring.  For most pieces, you can see the weighted differences by looking the stats in a piece.  Agility + (secondary stats * 2) is your exact measure for non-trinkets.  And as a rule of thumb, you can just look at stamina.  This would push me to upgrade my pants or helm.  But my helm is more likely to be replaced off Thok so the pants are the choice...

...but the Assurance of Consequences trinket is exceptionally nice.  An additional 8 item levels should reduce the cooldown of abilities by more than 3% more.  That will not correspond to a 3% damage boost, but it will be noticed compared to +160 agility and a bit more than +200 secondary stats that the pants would give me.

This means that upgrading the Assurance of Consequences trinket will be my final 500 valor expenditure of the week.

In Summary

Upgrade items I will not replace first

  • my legendary cloak and heroic warforged boots
  • my other heroic tier pieces (can't be warforged!)

Upgrade items I am less likely to replace

  • my list of heroic but not warforged gear (incl weapon and trinket)
  • my normal mode tier pieces that drop from heroic modes we haven't killed (with likelihood of killing each)

Upgrade items with the biggest impact first within the previous categories

  • my weapon
  • my force-multiplier trinket