“Fun” with electricity.

Well, this afternoon was “fun” at work.

It was just before 4pm when I decided to plug one of the two power inputs on our main server, a Sun E250, into a new UPS we’ve bought for it. I checked the server’s status lights to make sure that there weren’t any problems and that it was running on both power inputs. So, I pulled the top cable out… and the server switched off. Oblocks!

Anyway, seeing as the server was down anyway, I transfered all the external disks onto the UPS and powered up. Everything seemed to boot up ok, so at 4:10pm I went off to get some tea. While drinking my tea a user came over and told me of a problem he was having. One of our hosts, and only one, was being denied access to all NFS exported filesystems. As far as I could tell, the only way to try to fix it meant rebooting the server again. That fixed it, so I left the room.

As I left I switched off the lights and suddenly the new UPS started beeping, so I turned around, turned the lights back on and went over to have a look. The power had tripped on one of the circuits in the machine room. It had taken out a few of the servers and all the network kit (I’ve not yet installed the UPS for the networking kit as I need some rails for the rack). Oblocks!

Now I had another problem, the trip switch is in a locked electrical cabinet, it’s 5:08pm and the only person with access to the electrical cabinet key has gone home. I had to break into the cabinet, reset the trip and then get all the equipment back on-line.

It was a complete pain.

It was 20 years ago today….

On this day in history:

My Sinclair QL was purchased from Boots in Bedford on this day in 1986.

I remember that on the way home we stopped off at my Nan’s house in Riseley, where I opened the box for the first time, took out the manual folder and the manual pages, which were separately wrapped in film, and put the pages in the manual.

So, why is this momentous?

Well, it was the machine which got me into serious programming. I taught myself 68000 assembler on it, I wrote programs to help me with my degree coursework, I wrote my field mapping project on it, I learnt C on it and it was the ideal development platform for the robotics coursework for my MSc. But above all, it was one of the biggest reasons that Robert Newson and myself became friends.

As it happens, I was trawling Google looking for QL stuff as an amusement and saw that Robert was active on the QL-users mailing list. So, he’s still active in some areas of computing, as well as tweaking Bullet now and again.

Filing and other stuff

This afternoon I’ve spent generally tidying up my living room and filing stuff away.

In the process of filing stuff away I came across the Babylon 5 watch and mouse mat I got for the cost of postage ($16.50) about 6 years ago. They were originally promotional material from Sierra for their game “Babylon 5: Into the Fire” which was unfortunately scrapped close to the end of its development when Sierra Studios reorganised in 1999.

Anyway, it got me thinking, “I wonder how much these things are selling for these days.” So, I did a little Google search. It seems that my investment all those years ago was a good one. The watch is selling for between $50 and $70 and is considered “very rare” on the collectors sites. However, the mouse mat isn’t doing so well and is only in the region of $15. Still, I think it was a good buy over all.

Not as cold as forecast.

Well, the cold-like illness I had was obviously not a proper cold. I’ve still got a slightly phlemy throat but that’s it now.

Yesterday I just felt shattered and unable to focus, so I spent a great deal of the afternoon asleep, after which I was fine other than feeling dizzy if I rotated my head quickly. Obviously something was affecting my ears and balance.

At least the illness didn’t linger, so I’ll be back to work on Monday.

Cold comfort


A cold snuck up on me in the night, started to make me have to swallow every 30 seconds or so and stopped me sleeping. So, here I am, working from home (for small values of work) and trying to dose up and get better ASAP.

I hate colds.

I spent my last morning in Cornwall in bed.

After getting up I tried to record the Vangelis album. However, due to muddy paw prints and cat hair (from our old cat who loved to sit on things after coming in from the garden) it wasn’t in good enough shape.

We watched The Incredibles in the evening before I did most of my packing and got to bed early.

I got up at about 10am, pottered around a bit and then got on with the job of burning the penultimate two albums to CD during which I talked on Bullet.

After lunch we went off to Truro so that my Dad and I could finally get something my Mum wanted for Christmas, which was perfume. Whillst there we popped into the Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop where I managed to pick up a couple of jumpers in the sale.

It was a quiet evening with OK telly programmes. Now it’s time for bed.