Blog entries from December, 2009

Robust backups

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 at 9:06 pm

In light of the failure experienced by two prominent technical bloggers I am glad that over the past few weeks I have been gradually improving my situation in regard to backups by finally crossing a few items off my Todo list.

So what have I done?

Firstly I now have a daily backup of my hosted sites (this one, plus those of some friends). Although I assume that Dreamhost have some form of backup and redundancy, Phil and Jeff learned the hard way that you can’t necessarily trust your host. So in addition to a daily rsync that pulls down all of the hosted files (mostly wordpress files, but also any new images) I now have a server side cron job that dumps each mysql database to a date based file. These mysql dumps are included in the rsync.

It was only last night that I tested these files. From the starting point of a generic Apache with an empty htdocs and an empty mysql database, I was able to copy in the files and import the database. It all worked.

However this is only bringing the backup of my site onto a system that I control. What about the backups of that system?

This is where a pair of external USB drives comes in. The plan with these is to alternate every couple of weeks (at the most) these between home and work. What I have been working on is an automated method to get the data onto one of these drives when it is connected to my windows desktop.

Why the windows desktop?

Because the bulk of what I am backing is 110GB of photos. While these are incrementally synced to my linux box, it is faster to sync them straight from the source. But this is causing some issues with backing up the linux data.

My mail is stored in Maildir format, but when that is copied over windows doesn’t like the file names so they get garbled. So technically I should still have the message content, but I wasn’t sure. So instead I am going to create some archives (tar.gz or possibly rar so I don’t end up with gigabyte sized files) that are then copied over the network.

As this is still a work in progress I expect that the details will change.

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The Indys are finally up on eBay

Sunday, December 13th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

After listing my PowerBook on eBay earlier tonight, I continued on to finally list the two SGI Indys as well.

This comes after a break of almost two months in the downsizing of my computer collection. Now hopefully the Indys will be sold and picked up before Christmas, while I continue to sort through Apples.

The listings:

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Goodbye to my precious

Sunday, December 13th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Five and a half years ago I bought a 12″ PowerBook. It was a brilliant little machine that I used a lot in the first few years. But over time I used it less and less, until I didn’t even bother taking it to work with me. At that point all I was using it for was to sync my iPhone, but a few months ago I stopped doing even that when I started syncing contacts and calendar over the air to Google.

So the other day I finally made the decision … the decision to sell it. I probably will only get a few hundred dollars, but it is now up on eBay.

Two conferences have proven that at the moment all I need when away from home is my iPhone, but I’m thinking that if I do need a laptop again I’ll probably get some form of netbook.

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Bugs and Melbourne Perl Mongers

Monday, December 7th, 2009 at 9:10 pm

At two Melbourne Perl Mongers meetings this year Paul Fenwick co-opted us into fixing bugs.

Melbourne Perl Mongers Bug Squash (September 2009)

Our first attempt was against the Volatile 100. It wasn’t very successfull, but we did all learn a lot about how to read the CPAN testers reports. The problem we had was that the Volatile 100 is made up of the modules that are depended on the most. As such these are already well tested and the reports that we were looking at where for quite unusual bugs.

Melbourne Perl Mongers Bug Squash (01)

Melbourne Perl Mongers Perl 5.12 bug triage (November 2009)

Our second attempt was at first hindered by problems with the wireless network, but that just meant we had to head over to the pub that had free wifi. This time we were a lot more successful as all we were doing was triaging new bug reports against Perl itself.

melb.pm 5.12 bug triage (10)

Now I am looking forward to the meeting this week where Damian Conway will be presenting The Missing Link.

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OSDC2009 wrap up

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 at 10:29 am

In the last week of November I headed up to Brisbane for the sixth Australian Open Source Developers’ Conference and over the three days of the conference I took a lot of photos. Yesterday I completed sorting through them and uploaded 177 of them to Flickr across four sets.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter, identi.ca or Facebook would have seen me commenting as the conference unfolded, but here is a pictorial summary of what I consider to be the highlights.

OSDC2009 – Day 1

The conference began with a talk from Karen Pauley on Understanding Volunteers:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 5

Richard Jones discovered issues with MacBooks an some projectors:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 10

Paul Fenwick told us about the awesome things we missed in Perl:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 18

Adam Kennedy brought us up to date on Padre:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 27

With the day closing with lightning talks:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 31OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 33OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 34OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 36

OSDC2009 – Day 2

On short notice Marty Pauley gave a great talk on simplicity:

OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 1

Then later in the day Arjen Lentz let us know that failure is not an emergency:

OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 14

With the day concluding with lightning talks:

OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 28OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 29OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 30OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 31

OSDC2009 – Dinner

At dinner a certain someone garnered lots of attention by dressing up for his dinner talk:

OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 20

While everyone else was challenged to illustrate in Play-doh how removing something can be a feature:

OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 35OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 38OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 43OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 56

OSDC2009 – Day 3

On the final day we heard about Google Wave:

OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 10

contained more lightning talks:

OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 31OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 33OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 39OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 35

Before being closed by Pia Waugh talking about open source in government:

OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 40

It was again a great conference, that I really need to speak at again next year. My only regret this year was that I had to fly back on the Friday night. It would have been better if I had hung around and flown back on the Saturday like I did last year.

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