Planning Servers for Failure

Sometimes computers fail. If you run enough computers then you encounter failures regularly. If the computers are important then you need to plan for the failure.

An ideal situation is to have redundant servers. Misconfigured clusters can cause more downtime than they can prevent and it requires more expensive hardware to properly implement a cluster […]

First Dead Disk of Summer

Last night I was in the middle of checking my email when I found that clicking on a URL link wouldn’t work. It turned out that my web browser had become unavailable due to a read error on the partition for my root filesystem (the usual IDE uncorrectable error thing). My main machine is a […]

What to do When You Break a Server

Everyone who does any significant amount of sysadmin work will break a server. Most people who have any significant experience will have broken several. Anyone who has never broken one should be treated with suspicion by other members of the sysadmin team, they probably haven’t learned the caution that most of us learn from stuffing […]

Exetel Stupidity

Anand Kumria has an ongoing dispute with Exetel, the latest is that a director of Exetel has libeled him in a blog comment [1].

Having public flame-wars with customers generally isn’t a winning move for a corporation. But doing so in the context of the blog world is a particularly bad idea. The first issue […]

Ffmpeg and Video on a Viewty Phone

I recently decided to copy some of my FLV (Flash Video) collection to my LGU990 Viewty mobile phone [1]. I was inspired by the ffmpeg cheat sheet [2].

deb lenny selinux-mm

Firstly I installed the version of ffmpeg that comes from the Debian-Multimedia repository [3]. Then I spent about an hour getting it to […]

How to Choose a NetBook

I’ve previously written some suggestions for people choosing a portable computer [1]. Basically it’s about how to start by choosing the correct type of portable computer – if you don’t know whether you want a NetBook or a Laptop then you are really lost.

Now there are a range of NetBook type devices which vary […]

I’m Not a Fan

Fandom is something that has never made sense to me. If a sport such as football interested me then I would play it. Being good at something is not a requirement for participation, in fact my observation is that amateurs who kick a ball around for fun (without even keeping score) appear to enjoy it […]

Hating Microsoft

In mailing list discussions I’ve seen Windows users get rather unhappy when people talk about “Hating Microsoft“, this often includes claims that it’s supposedly “unprofessional” to hate one vendor. Some go as far as to claim that it’s a good idea to avoid hiring someone who says that they Hate Microsoft – not that I […]

DomainKeys and OpenSSL have Defeated Me

I have previously written about an error that valgrind reported in the STL when some string operations were performed by the DKIM library [1]. This turned out to be a bug, Jonathan Wakely filed GCC bug report #40518 [2] about it, Jonathan is one of many very skillful people who commented on that post.

deb […]

Microsoft Open Source Information Evening

I have just attended a Microsoft Open Source Information Evening. It was in some ways one of the stranger things that I have experienced in my computer career.

Firstly there was the location, it was in a function room in the CBD, it was convenient for public transport and had good service but seemed likely […]