Month: June 2008

The New DNS Mess

The Age has an interesting article about proposed DNS changes [1]. Apparently ICANN is going to sell top level DNS names and a prediction has been made that they will cost more than $100,000 each. A suggestion for a potential use of this would be to have cities as top level names (a .paris TLD […]


Kernel Security vs Uptime

For best system security you want to apply kernel security patches ASAP. For an attacker gaining root access to a machine is often a two step process, the first step is to exploit a weakness in a non-root daemon or take over a user account, the second step is to compromise the kernel to gain […]

Ha Security

Dell PowerEdge T105

Today I received a Dell PowerEDGE T105 for use by a client. My client had some servers for development and testing hosted in a server room at significant expense. They also needed an offsite backup of critical data. So I suggested that they buy a cheap server-class machine, put it on a fast ADSL connection […]


Safety of Child Seats

I have just watched an interesting lecture by Steven Levitt about car safety for children in the 2-6 age range [1]. The evidence he presents shows that the benefits for children in that age range are at best insignificant and that in some corner cases (EG rear impacts) the child seat may give a worse […]


Car vs Public Transport to Save Money

I’ve just been considering when it’s best to drive and when it’s best to take public transport to save money. My old car (1999 VW Passat) uses 12.8L/100km which at $1.65 per liter means 21.1 cents per km on fuel. A new set of tires costs $900 and assuming that they last 20,000km will cost […]


Links June 2008

Paul Graham has recently published an essay titled How To Disagree [1]. One form that he didn’t mention is to claim that a disagreement is a matter of opinion. Describing a disagreement about an issue which can be proved as a matter of opinion is a commonly used method of avoiding the need to offer […]


Solving Rubik’s Cube and IO Bandwidth

Solving Rubiks Cube by treating disk as RAM: Gene Cooperman gave an interesting talk at Google about how he proved that Rubik’s Cube can be solved in 26 moves and how treating disk as RAM was essential for this. The Google talk is on Youtube [1]. I recommend that you read the ACM paper he […]


TED – Defining Words

I recently joined the community based around the TED conference [1]. The TED conference is expensive ($6000US) and has a long waiting list (the 2009 conference is sold out) so it seems quite unlikely that I will ever attend one. But signing up to the web site is easy and might offer some benefit. One […]


ISP Redundancy and Virtualisation

If you want a reliable network then you need to determine an appropriate level of redundancy. When servers were small and there was no well accepted virtual machine technology there were always many points at which redundancy could be employed. A common example is a large mail server. You might have MX servers to receive […]

Ha Virtualisation

Letter Frequency in Account Names

It’s a common practice when hosting email or web space for large numbers of users to group the accounts by the first letter. This is due to performance problems on some filesystems with large directories and due to the fact that often a 16bit signed integer is used for the hard link count so that […]