February 17th, 2007


This week's geekery

About three weeks ago one of our research groups took delivery of an expensive server, which went into our machine room. Although it's from Sun it's based on 64-bit AMD processors and is basically just a very high-end PC in a rack-mount chassis. It's so high-end that it has another smaller PC inside it running some variant of Debian so that you can monitor and remote-control it (it even watches what's being sent to the VGA monitor port so you can view it in a Java application).

The task of installing Linux on this server was delegated to me. I then installed Sun's raid software which we used to configure an external disk array. And then, at some point, it died.

We've had Sun engineers on site for three days now. They've replaced the motherboard, the first main processor and its RAM, and the service processor, and still the system stayed dead. So they have given up and a new one is being ordered. Oh well.

Apparently "lots of people" get recruiting approaches from Google. Well, this week it seems it's my turn. They didn't try that hard, though. The email I received looks very much like a form letter. It says "To give you an idea of the Engineers I am looking for I have included links to job descriptions below" and this is followed by a list of links to openings in the following locations: Mountain View; SantaMonica; Kirkland, WA; New York; Ireland, and Switzerland. I wonder if the "contact information" they found "on the Internet" included the country in which I live. They certainly can't have seen anything like a CV online.

There are probably few people online who haven't by now heard of the case involving Verizon and the number 0.002 (I'm usually the last to find out about these things). I got a spam this week from a UK company offering document scanning services for "a reasonable low cost of 0.035p per page (example £3.5 for a file with 100 pages)". This was delivered in text and HTML complete with an image of a man and a pile of paper documents in BMP format. This 208x259 image was 158kB in size. Not a great way to advertise your competency in the field of image processing. Anyway, as astute readers will have noted, unsolicited commercial email is actually illegal in the UK.

In other spam news, I got one that trotted off the old excuse of "[company] has acquired your email address from a third party, who have assured us that you have consented to receive emails from us. If this is not correct, we apologise." I carefully visited their web site in Lynx, to discover that it had already been suspended by their ISP. Hah. Not long after that, I discovered that this same spam had been sent to five long-expired accounts at our department, most of them belonging to users who left over five years ago.

I did a YouGov poll earlier today, and it was possibly the worst proofread one I've done there. So I'm quoting a few of the questions here — see if you can see why they puzzled me.

not a pollCollapse )


Oh, and…

BBC THREE will you please stop popping that bloody alien up on the screen together with the big blue stripe in the middle of the programmes!