That time of the year again

November 22nd is Saint Cecilia’s Day (patron saint of music) and, by lucky happenstance, also the anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten -England’s greatest-ever composer.

In times past, no music would have been played today in the Diznix household that wasn’t written by Britten… but this year has been an exception. I confess to some Shostakovich and Vaughan Williams!

Nevertheless: Happy Birthday, Ben.

Alas, poor Romulus

As time races towards the point where the last bits of my Sydney server room are moved to Seattle, this was one of the more poignant moments: the point where I shut down my OID (Oracle Internet Directory) server, which has been doing faithful names resolution duties for quite a while:

The load averages are nothing to write home about, but that box has been running uninterrupted for 2 years and 17 days. Until now.

Oh -and look. It is possible to use CentOS (4.x) in a production environment!

Snakey Saved

Well, it was more of a close-run thing than I’d care to have happen again, but Marion turned up from the Wildlife Rescue Service and saved the day.

She began by being rather braver (and closer!) with a pair of wire cutters than I would have been:

That didn’t see to be doing the trick, though, and after several attempts on the part of the snake to bite her, Marion switched to the ‘get it from behind’ school of animal rescue:

I might mention in passing that Snakey decided to eject copious quantities of poo at this point, producing a unique smell that I shan’t forget in a hurry. Marion ended up wearing most of it, but we all ended up sharing its essential qualities!

Just before the final snip of the wire-cutters, this was Snakey:

I’d usually try to stroke any wildlife we get on the nose before it darts off, but on this occasion, I decided not to 🙂

As he was finally snipped free, Snakey tried to bite Marion, ToH, and me, who happened to be passing (a bit too close) by. But she got him into a storage container easily enough, after which he calmed down. Marion (somewhat courageously in my view!) then popped him on her passenger seat and drove him away for a quiet spell in a veterinary clinic. All being well, she’ll return in a few days to let Snakey loose again, back where he belongs.

There’s never a dull moment around here, I can tell you!


This turned up this afternoon:

It’s a red-bellied black snake, which is quite venomous, so neither of us are getting anywhere near it! And it’s stuck in our Wallaby-proof fence. It’s obviously suffered some damage, but let’s hope it will be OK. After a chain of phone calls, there is allegedly a man from the Wildlife Rescue Service on the way… and in the meantime we’ve thrown a towel over it to calm it down some (on advice from WIRES).

Either the fence or the snake’s going to pay dearly… hopefully, it’ll be the fence!

Update: The snake was successfully extricated, defecating over everyone in the process, and is now going home with the lady from Wires (who’s got bravery in spades!) for a couple of days. If all goes well, it comes back for release after that. Photos when I can get them off the camera!

Long time no see!

It’s been a long time between posts. The reasons for this are many and various, so I’ll just list the main ones.

  • I blew up the computer. Actually, I blew up two of them. The first was simply a mishap: I now know that SATA header sockets will detatch themselves from a motherboard really easily if you tug just a bit harder than you ought. The motherboard then sparks spectacularly and makes a weird burning smell when you try to push it back on and plug it in. Bye-bye Intel i7, I hardly knew ye. The second remains an honest-to-goodness mystery: I changed the graphics card in The Other Half’s PC and it thereafter simply refused to power on. Switching back to the original graphics card, same thing. Switching to onboard graphics, nada. In fact, this remains the only “it just died, honest” computer I’ve ever been responsible for. Farewell, then, trusty Quad Core.

    Fortunately, work was throwing out a couple of old PCs, so I’m now the not-so-proud user of a 2007-vintage Core 2 Duo, and TOH is the somewhat-disgruntled user of a 2006-vintage Pentium D.

    One good thing to come out of this, however, is that it has (almost) cured me of tinkering with PCs. They get installed and sit there, untouched but mostly functional, from now on.

  • I have been manic at work, moving all our databases from their long-time Sydney home to a new datacenter in Seattle. After instance uptimes of 420+ days, it was surprisingly emotional to have to issue the ‘shutdown immediate’ command, let me tell you! There have been evenings that have turned into mornings without me noticing, and afternoons that have stretched long into the night. Even when things have not been quite so hectic, my mind’s been focussed on the next move.
  • The reason why work has been disposing of old PCs and moving all its databases to Seattle is that it was bought out by a competitor back in May and I get made redundant on December 1st, once the move to Seattle is complete. Impending redundancy has done nothing to make me feel inclined to blog, I regret to say: quite the opposite. With the departure date now getting extremely close, I guess that mood is lifting a bit… but I am not particularly looking forward to the post-Christmas job-hunting.

So that’s mostly why I’ve been ‘off air’ of late. Normal service may shortly be resumed, I hope.

In the meantime, Fedora 16 has just been released and it’s time to get my download started and to give it a whirl. So maybe a bit of tinkering is still allowed…