Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A Tekky Posting

Wow, the web server has stayed up all on its own for the last week now. However, it matters not, because I have bought a "new" server off eBay. In Tekky speak for a moment, this thing has dual Xeon processors running at 2.4Ghz (since the current machine runs at 800MHz, that should be fast!), 4GB RAM (current machine has 1GB), a pair of 36GB hard drives. The current machine has three hard drives configured in a RAID5 array, which is nice. The new one has larger disks, plus has onboard RAID capability. So only two disks, but I can live with RAID0 no problem.

Of course, it is second hand so we'll have to see how impressive it is when it finally arrives... Fingers crossed, and all for eighty-five quid!

Aside from this I should mention another business purchase recently. For ages my colour laser has been giving me jip when it comes to printing. A shame because whilst I get the feeling that the problem is quite small, I've had trouble in the past with people being willing to fix printers, far cheaper just to buy a new one. The problem is that although I hardly ever print stuff out, when I do print things out it is important stuff and I really don't want to be faffing around. Now, I'd resolved to live with this, until Jacqueline took us to Staples one day. There, I saw a small Samsung device which was not only a colour laser printer, but also a scanner, copier, fax too. And not only did it come network-ready, it was wireless. This looked brilliant since it would mean I could dump two printers - the laser and a small inkjet all-in-one I bought so I could send faxes - and still have the added bonus of siting this thing nowhere near a computer. So, as soon as some money was available, I bought one. Not from Staples, of course, they're far too expensive for me. I set the printer up on the wireless network (five minutes to basically just change its IP address), and all the other setup I could do from its built-in web site. Really easy.

And the final bonus, this thing now sits in the hallway under the telephone table. So there's less clutter in the office and less far to walk if I happen to be working elsewhere in the house. Not bad printouts either! If anyone is interested the model number is CLX-3175FW, and the cheapest place I found was at

A very tekky post indeed!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Silence was golden

Well I'm quite surprised that the web server has stayed up for something over 36 hours now, although if truth be told I have already decided to buy and build a new machine. The machine which servers my blogs (as I write this) is a dual PIII-800 with 1GB RAM, so to all intents and purposes is very much obsolete. I bought it 2nd-user in 2002, so I would estimate at least ten years old. It has server me well, but these days for around GBP100 I can pick up a dual 2-3Ghz Xeon with a couple of GB RAM, so it makes sense to retire the old machine. The main hit will be the time it takes me to configure, but hey, we have a bank holiday coming up...

So I'm in a position where I haven't been able to update the blog for something like five months, however it is scary to think now that so little has changed. My clients forced me to take a fortnight away from them over christmas, but apart from that I have taken absolutely no time off. Still pretty skint and owing taxes, but the sums are sufficiently small now that I can see the light. I've never really got on with HMRC but they have been very reasonable about my repaying them, I can only imagine that there must be millions of people in the same position as me so they don't have much choice. There's very little for them to gain by taking court action, they certainly won't get their cash any quicker.

We've found out that Alice will be going to her senior school of choice, thank goodness. That all went through very smoothly despite the scare stories one reads in the press. Despite living in Wiltshire we're taking the Hampshire route once again. Hampshire has a true comprehensive system and I think this will be best for Alice. Wiltshire operates a grammar system and for one, Alice isn't up to grammar standard, and for two I think going to a secondary modern almost puts them into a "failed" state right from the off. I can't help thinking that in the two stream system the grammar kids are going to get a better deal academically than the secondary modern kids. At least where she's going the playing surface is flat.

I've got them booked in for the Race for Life in a month or so, a 5km charity run in aid of breast cancer. However I've seen no evidence as yet of any preparation.

I'm still (still!) at the same client, although this is very much touch and go. They asked me again to go perm around christmastime, which I refused again. Now they seem to be taking steps to get rid of me. After they were forced to make all those cuts a year ago, they've obviously decided to get as many people in as permanent employees as possible. More difficult to fire, I guess. But I couldn't in all seriousness go perm with them, there are just too many things about how they operate that I think are crap, being perm would just totally wind me up. In any case there are a fair few roles on the market at the moment, I have been for one interview for something that was totally wrong, but although I am looking have not found anything good just yet. Must keep looking.

I'm also still cycling. Cycled right through the winter too, even when the snow was on the ground. I'm not really changing shape any more though, so I think I'll need to cut back on what I'm eating in order to get any slimmer. That'd be nice though, so I'm trying desparately to avoid the dreaded crisps etc.

And of course we have a general election shortly. I had pretty much determined to spoil my ballot paper as a register of disgust, however I was pleasantly surprised when our Labour guy told me he was very much anti-war. This is a guy who is a youngster, in his mid-twenties, so it was refreshing to hear him say something that was so totally out of step with his party leaders. That he happened to have an identical view to me on a question I still feel passionate about was an added bonus. So, he'll get my vote.

And yes, I'm afraid for me the war is still an issue. Britain is a first-world country and should be setting an example. It is important to me that the people who run the country do not feel as though we can quite happily roam the world resorting to thuggery when we come across regimes that won't co-operate with us.

Anyway, the size of this entry almost makes up for five months without an entry, so I shall stop now.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

No Entries

A very brief update, my web server went down just after the last entry and I haven't got around to fixing it until now.

Even now I think what I have done is just a patch. The server is something like 10 years old and creaking somewhat, I think I'm going to end up having to get hold of a new server.

I'll start blogging regularly again once I've replaced the server, in the meantime everything might be somewhat intermittent.