Month: April 2009

Redundancy in Network Infrastructure

It’s generally accepted that certain things need redundancy. RAID is generally regarded as essential for every server except for the corner case of compute clusters where a few nodes can go offline without affecting the results (EG the Google servers). Having redundant network cables with some sort of failover system between big switches is regarded […]


Email Passwords

I was doing some routine sysadmin work for a client when I had to read mail in the system administration mailbox. This mailbox is used for cron job email, communication with ISPs that run servers for the company, and other important things. I noticed that the account was subscribed to some mailing lists related to […]

Security WTF

Creating a Double-Ended Bun

The people who made the above magazine advert gave it two top-halves to the burger bun. But I think that there is actually a demand for such buns, and that it is possible to make them! Traditional buns have a flat bottom where they rest on a baking tray. One solution to this problem would […]


Links April 2009

P. W. Singer gave an interesting TED talk about the use of robots in war [1]. He briefly covered some of the ethical and social issues related to robot soldiers as well as showing many pictures of existing robots. Since November 2007 there has been a request for Google Gears to support “Iceweasel” (the Debian […]


Vibration and Strange SATA Performance

Almost two years ago I blogged about a strange performance problem with SATA disks [1]. The problem was that certain regions of a disk gave poor linear read performance on some machines, but performed well on machines which appeared to be identical. I discovered what the problem was shortly after that but was prevented from […]


Mo Rewards

While shopping at Highpoint [1] today I noticed that they had a new loyalty system. It’s called Mo Rewards [2] (for which the real web site is at [3] which has no link from the main site because they didn’t care enough about their web presence). The way that Mo works is that everyone […]

Misc Computer

Amusing Thanks.txt Entry

My SE Linux Play Machine [1] has a file named thanks.txt for users to send messages to me [2]. On a number of occasions people have offered to give me things in exchange for the password for the bofh account (the one with sysadm_r privileges). I’ve been offered stolen credit cards, a ponzi scheme of […]


The Future of Electric Cars

TED published an interesting interview with Shai Agassi about electric cars [1]. One idea that I hadn’t heard before is that of moving car batteries between regions as they lose capacity. An old battery for an electric car that can only handle short journeys may be useful in a region where journeys are typically short. […]


The AP and Copyright on the Web

The New York Times has an article about the Associated Press (AP) trying to gain more control over material that it distributes [1]. The article is not clear on the details. One noteworthy fact is that the AP apparently don’t like search engines showing snippets of their articles. This should however be an issue for […]


Fixing the Correct Network Bottleneck

The latest news in the Australian IT industry is the new National Broadband Network (NBN) plan [1]. It will involve rolling out Fiber To The Home for 90% of the population, the plan is that it will cost the government $43,000,000,000 making it the biggest government project. Kevin Rudd used Twitter to say “Just announced […]

Networking Politics