ISP Troubles

Yesterday from about 2pm to 8pm Aust EST, my ISP had some serious routing problems. This, unfortunately, isolated my network from vast tracts of the Internet for the duration. Some people could get to my site, whereas others could not. As far as I know, locally TPG, Internode and iiNet subscribers would have been unable to reach my site, but Optus and Bigpond subscribers could NOT. International ISP's seemed to be very hit-and-miss. I have no idea what went pop for my ISP, but it was intensely frustrating! Apologies to anyone who had mail problems with my site or couldn't access the web site.

The Grays go Gigabit!

It's taken a while but the cost for gigabit ethernet is finally down to a point that I considered justifiable. So I lashed out (sic) and bought a 5 port Dlink gigabit switch. This then connects to my 8 port 10/100Mbps switch/router and ultimately the Internet. The machines on the Gbit switch are simply my home server, Nat's desktop, and my Mac Mini. I've also run a patch cable for my Macbook Pro for the odd occasion I need better-than-wifi speeds. The wireless access point hangs off the 8 port 10/100 switch as it will never do better than 54Mbps, so there's no reason to waste a gigbit port on wifi!

All in all it's been a relatively straight-forward transition except for Nat's desktop. Her machine would only sync at 100Mbps on the 5 metre CAT5e cable between her and the new switch. So I went out today and bought 6 metres of CAT6 from Dick Smith Electronics (AUD$10 all up) and crimped the ends myself. For a similar pre-made CAT6 cable, they were asking around double what I paid (thieves!).

The results have been what I expected. Loading photos and large files from the file server is now a LOT faster. I especially noticed the difference when browsing the file server in "thumbnail" mode; it was as fast as it would be if running locally. The Time Machine backups for my Mac Mini are now super fast to the file server too which is great as the system (the Mac Mini) bogs down a little while it does the backup. Basically, with the consumer-grade hard drives in my server, I am now limited by the speed of those drives and the CPU power in the clients far more than the network fabric. It's nice to know that as I develop this network any gains in the server speed will pay off for the clients on my LAN.

Hot Air Balloon Logic

A man piloting a hot air balloon discovers he has wandered off course and is hopelessly lost. He descends to a lower altitude and locates a man down on the ground. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, about 30 feet above this field."

"You must work in Information Technology," says the balloonist.

"Yes I do," replies the man. "And how did you know that?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "what you told me is technically correct, but of no use to anyone."

The man below says, "You must work in management."

"I do," replies the balloonist, "how did you know?"

"Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect my immediate help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault!"

This reminds of some employers I've worked for...who shall remain nameless - you know who you are!

Double-demerit weekends

With the advent of the Easter long weekend, (yay!) the NSW government have continued their love affair with double-demerit points for driving offences. This is a weird way to ensure safer driving, in my opinion, as statistically, public holidays are no more dangerous than any other time to be on our roads. However, after driving down the freeway into town this morning, I couldn't help but make some observations now that double demerits are in force.

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Southern Cross Cable Damaged

I've just received an e-mail from an ISP we manage at work that the Southern Cross Cable has been damaged due to storm activity. So if anyone notices a slow-down between Australia and the USA, this would explain it. I will be curious to see if InterNode's investment in bandwidth via Asia to the USA shields their customers from this most recent Southern Cross dilemma. Internoders.....comments??

The curse of old software

After spending a fair amount of time yesterday getting my Mac Mini rebuilt as my desktop machine (it has spent the last 18 months of its life faithfully as the Gray Matter mail, web and everything-else server) I was most disappointed this morning when I couldn't get Apple Mail to stay up long enough to read a single message. After about an hour of googling I decided that none of the fixes seemed to be applicable to my situation.

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When good ideas go bad

As many people know, I run a mail system for myself and a few other family members and friends. Up until this week it used a very robust backend being driven by Mac OSX and postfix, mailscanner, spamassassin and clamav. However, in my day job I've been gaining a lot of experience and respect for a bundled open source platform called Zimbra. So I thought I could kill two birds with a one nuke and drop Zimbra onto a new Linux-powered machine. In principle, this was (and still is) a good idea.

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Catching up....

Having resisted the pressure from friends I finally caved in and joined Facebook. Yeh, yeh, I'm now a web 2.0 (sic) whore and all that. The good thing is that I've made contact with some long-lost friends from high school and other people who I worked with the aviation industry etc. Whilst this website is good for posting my personal thoughts and happenings, it's rather "isolated" in that I'm the only one here. I'll continue to update this site and it will still be my main outlet but for those less important notes and ramblings, head over to Facebook.