* Posts by Rob Brady

12 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Sep 2007

Diary of a server failure

Rob Brady

Data isnt data unless it's in (at least) two places (Preferably far apart!)

Agree full with the other "Old Timers" comments on here.

RAID should NEVER beconsidered as backup.

Skimping a few bucks on the RIGHT hardware to balance the cost of downtime and potential data loss is always false economy.

El Cheapo "Fake RAID" cards should be avioded like the plague with the possible exception of ICH SB onboard RAID 1 for boot drives ONLY in small systems. Disks created by that are generally highly portable to another box if the motherboard dies. Also handy to get around the braindead ESX/XenServer installer decisions.

Battery backup in a RAID controler is nice, but even nicer are dual powersupplies to an A & B rail (Fully independent power). If you're not in a data center then two separate UPSes will do at a pinch. It may be overkill for a home NAS serving up movies, but if your job is on the line then make a strong case for it. If you're overridden, get it in writing so if things do go south then you know you'll still be employed.. ;-)

On the subject of backups, if you even half care about protecting your data you must have at minimum "Offline" backups in a fireproof safe, or preferably at a remote site (LVM with snapshots is great for this).

The classic error is to assume that just because you have two copies of data on the LAN you're golden. While unlikely, a decent fire or lightning strike will quickly show you the error of your ways.

Lighning's rare, but I've had to deal with the aftermath of a big strike 30ft from a rack of servers. Induced current travelled over the cat5, powerlines and in a whole host of other "Interesting" ways. Succeeded in destroying every hard disk at the site - both in the server rack and every PC on the LAN along with pretty much everything else IT related. The 20x disks in the SAN were actually turned into magnets! Yup, you could pick up screws with them...

All in all, about 30TB of data was blown away. Once new hardware was sourced it took less than a day to have everything back up and running, with no luck involved.

There's a reason it's called "Disaster Recovery PLANNNING"... ;-)

Unfortunately it's not until you've had your fingers burned at least once do most people start to pay attention to this unglamorous part of keeping systems running. In my case it was cutting corners on when building a big RAID6 array (many moons ago). Being young and inexperienced at the time I overlooked the small matter that if you have 8 IDE disks on a 4 port controller when the drive that fails is the Master, you'll loose the slave as well... Ooops.

Glad this worked out for you, but consider yourself bloody lucky you dodged a bullet here. It's easy for eveyone to lecture over a rookie mistake, but I'm still astonished how many "Pros" have no idea about what it really takes to avoid data loss.

Hopefully this story and subsequent comments will enable at least one reader to learn from the mistakes of others, but I'm sure there also will be more than one that scoffed but gets bitten later by something similar.

Intel swallows McAfee: Why?

Rob Brady

AV is unlikely the primary motive for Intel's actions.

Intel moving so agressively to gobble up McAfee points to this being a defensive, rather than offensive measure. So what would posess Chipzilla to blow such a huge premium on an unloved AV provider?

Well, in March of this year McAfee were awarded this patent:- http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=8FvNAAAAEBAJ&dq=7673343 which is just broad enough to be applicable to integrating things such as http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/17/lyric_probability_processor/ the latter being something that Intel should justly be afraid of if it lives up to 10% of its billed abilities.

What better way to mitigate the threat than own how uch a tool can be integrated into any system, and in turn give Intel leverage to licence Lyric technology at a sensible price.

With the patent awarded in March, and how long it takes to put together an aquistion such as this the timing is at least plausible...

Office for Mac steps closer to Windows version of software

Rob Brady

Helps if I follow the links - OSX Gets Pivots

Finally, Office for Mac has a USP over Numbers/Open Office and moves into being a real tool.

Shame on El Reg for bigging up the uninteresting features (Photo Editing) and missing the single killer one that's got added


Rob Brady

Pivot Tables?

Any word on Pivot Table/Pivot Chart support? Those are the only reason I keep a WinTel version of office around.

Kingston SSDNow V+ 512GB solid-state drive

Rob Brady

WikiPedia Links in Articles?

While I get the purpose doesn't it fly in the face of El Reg's stance on the "Quality" of Wikipedia?

Citing it as a source reference points to a change of heart, lazy rporting or (horror!) falling standards in El Reg's reporting. In all three cases, say ain't so Joe!

On topic to the review, over there in the USA once again it's £/$ pricing. Forshame...

Intel staff 'fired' in ring piece stunt

Rob Brady
Thumb Up

It would be easier to do for real than fake this well.

There's more on Intel's site, looking at the behind the scenes clips and the rest of the content (Including a longer version of the launch)

After I'd finished laughing hysterically for a good 5 minutes and watching it a bunch of times I'd say it's real.

If not it's a fake with a level of skill that would be greater than firing 5 guys out of cannons.


As for what it does to my opnionion of Intel:-

a) R&D is about risk taking.

b) Sometimes doing what others would think gets impressive results

c) Because of a+b Intel is wise to have and R&D team in Finland, but keep them away from explosives please.

d) I suppose after the precision needed to make processors for them this is child's play.

e) It's still a brown trousers event, and the level of confidence in what they have designed is impressive.

e) How the BLEEP did they get this project funded by Intel?

f) Whatever Intel paid to fund this non-core-business project was totally worth it.

g) Intel should not push their luck firing anymore employees, but these ones involved in this need a promotion. :-)


Apple said to have axed Atom support from OS X 10.6.2

Rob Brady


I have a netbook running OSX (Leopard 10.5.8), with a retail OSX disk I purchased from my local Apple store. I have the receipt, and I've only installed it on the one machine.

"Why not by an Apple?" folks will cry..

They don't sell what I need is my response. I have a sub-notebook WITH FIREWIRE (Via EXPRESS SLOT). With Apple merrilly eliminating firewire from anything that isn't the size of the Bismark, along with eliminating Express slots and interchangable batteries there isn't a product they make that is useful to me.

Actually they haven't made any hardware that meets my needs for some time, although I've bought a fair pile of BRAND NEW gear from the over the years


Performa 400

PowerMac 6100/60

PowerMac 7100/80 (with Dos Board!!!)

PowerMac 8100/100

PowerMac 8600/200

PowerMac 9600/300

PowerMac 9600/200DP

PowerMac G3 233 Tower

PowerMac G3 300 Blue

PowerMac G4 350 Graphite

PowerMac G4 400 Graphite

PowerMac G4 667 Graphite

PowerMac G4 733 QuickSilver

PowerMac G4 1GHz Dual QuickSilver

PowerMac G4 1.25GHz Dual Mirror Door


PowerBook 160

PowerBook 540C

PowerBook 5300cs/100

PowerBook 3400c/240

PowerBook G3 250

PowerBook G4 400

PowerBook G4 867


Newton (Now referred to as Original)

Newton 110

Newton 120

Newton 130

Newton 2000

Pioneer calls a halt to LaserDisc hardware production

Rob Brady

LD outlived the VCR! Who'd have thought?!

Wow, Laserdisc outlived VCRs...


LD is STILL, and by the looks of things will be forever, the best quality home viewable version of Star Wars before Lucas "South Parked" it.

Han Shoots first (In the new versions the whole meaning of Solo's redemption from nasty guy to good is lost), and ILM models complete with go motion animation has a character to it that the CGI stuff done on for the "Special Editions" sorely lacks.

No I don't have a projector and deteriorating print of it, I'm not quite THAT nuts.

I suppose that makes me a luddite. I buy my music on Vinyl too. Smaller selection available, but no Paris Hilton songs!

As a side note, is anyone else disturbed by the lack of any LEGAL mass market method of recording and keeping lots of TV these days? No VCRs, TiVO and other hardware DVRs have long term archiving & storage issues, and the TV Company DVRs are not even work joking about..

Sure there are several computer based PVRs free of DRM, but ithey take a Reg Reader to configure and maintain. Even then the results are mixed as everyone is doing their best to lock them out of being able to record anything worthwhile.

No, I doing want to pay per view, no I don't want to have a subscription to be able to watch movies years after some anonymous committee has decided that they don't want to bother with them, and I want to be able to preserve (Like for years) random TV shows that will never get a release.

It's taken a while but it's close to the point where the "Betamax Ruling" has become irrelevant.

Lego terrorist threatens democracy

Rob Brady

"Lego doesn't expect or condone product cusomization"

Ok, I'm somewhat a Lego geek.

The only thing thing not made by Lego in that Minifig set are the guns and genades. Even they can be duplicated close enough with the Lego Indy range of Nazis (Way to go Lego!)

The "Terrorist" scarf is from the Star Wars Dengar Minifig, and the Bandoleer torso is from a Tuscan Raider (You can clearly see the capcitor thingy around the neck on it, hidden with the scarf... 30 seconds later I have my very own "CIA Operative!"


Gosh darn it, he's all stock Lego! It's just some subversive stuck together parts from two different kits to make something new, shouldn't be allowed....

I wonder what Lego made by Apple would do?!

AC Coz I happened to have the Lego at work...

Virgin Galactic to unveil tool to fling rich people into space

Rob Brady
Thumb Up

2 Best Techs to come out of NASA

In order:-

Disposable Nappies (Diapers)

Non-Stick Pans.


Laptop vendors burned in battery plant blaze

Rob Brady

I mean, didin't they see it coming?!

Link the 3 concepts with a 4th

Laptop batteries

Catching Fire



The amount of noxious chemicals used to make batteries makes me wonder why the factories don't go up in flames more often!

NBC to Apple: 'You're fired!'

Rob Brady

www.sage.tv + iPodifier + = DRM Free Video for iPOD

FULLY AUTOMATIC caputure, commercial deletion, transcoding, and it sticks it in your iTunes library and best of all, free from DRM and totally legit for personal use under "Fair Use". Well at least here in the USA..