The world, how it works, surroundings, myself, etc.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Server Room Tragedy #2

A few months ago:
We realized that the proxy server's primary hard-disk was going bad. It was reporting errors in several sectors. We knew it would go down very soon. The Server Room staff were duly informed and we also acquired another system as a backup. This system was setup as a fallback proxy server

A few days ago:
Mr XYZ, a server room staff, reinstalls the fallback proxy server with FC5. All the configuration settings are gone

A few hours ago:
Proxy goes down. You guessed it right -- the hard disk crashed. With cries of SOS, the two new staff members rushed to us. Then started the damage control again. The proxy server won't boot. Need FC2 1st CD. And I was nuts to expect the Server Room to have one. Had to burn one (dig a well when it's fire). But it won't solve the hard disk problem -- hard disk problems can be hard, remember!

Anyways, we looked at the fallback system -- it had a brand new FC5 installed, smiling shamelessly, unconfigured. With nothing else to do, we start configuring this system. It took a lot of time before the basic services got working and the internet came back (thank god the backup server hasn't been tampered with yet).

Friday, April 21, 2006

svn recovery

What do you do when you have a submission in a few hours, and your svn starts reporting something like:

svn: Unable to open an ra_local session to URL
svn: Unable to open repository 'file:///svn/gswall/trunk/Client'
svn: Berkeley DB error while opening environment for filesystem /svn/gswall/db:
DB_RUNRECOVERY: Fatal error, run database recovery
svn: bdb: PANIC: fatal region error detected; run recovery

To make matters worse, you recollect that the last non-svn backup is a bit too old, and you start blaming yourself for keeping all the blank DVDs unused.
Well, luckily (and thank God for it) there is:

svnadmin recover /path/to/svn

This did something to the Berkeley DB, and the prob fixed. I was almost dead.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Server Room Tragedy: #1

A TA informs the Server Room about a lab exam to be conducted on Wed morning. He asks for accounts for 100 students.

Mr JP, the one who had been informed on Mon, forwarded, as is his custom, the work to one of the new staffs. He asked him to create the accounts MANUALLY. 100 accounts manually -- it took a whole day. He does it. But the TA is not informed. The TA was left to guess the system IP, the 100 user names, and the 100 passwords. Besides, the server room is clueless about the whether the teaching lab (the exam spot) is intact and working or not.

Wed: (Lab Exam day)
The TA inquires in the Server Room at 9:00. The exam was at 9:30. Only Mr Madhu is present (he wasn't there in this loop). Dr Anoop would be angry if things don't work out. Oblivious, he begins the damage-control mode, the only mode in which the Server Room ever works, whenever that is. A machine is handed over to the TA and he is asked then to create accounts, etc. Mr Madhu finds a script that was used earlier for this job, and the TA then creates the account, all accounts on the same system. Naturally, no quota, process limits, mem limits, etc were placed. The server froze several times during the exam.

Points worth nothing:
The server room, the place supposed to be the mecca of technical efficacy, creates 100 accounts manually. And the TA isn't even informed.
At the last moment, the TA is handed the server and is expected to feel at ease with it -- i.e. he is asked to manage the needful.

Expected Questions / FAQs

1. What's the hue-cry? What's your point?
Ans: Simple. The server room is not in a position to manage itself. Doing away with new student sysadmins is suicidal.

2. When do you expect the Server Room staff to get efficient?
Ans: Never

3. Why did you title this post as #1?
Ans: Things like this is just the beginning. More such exemplary activities happen every day. I'll post the next one as #2.

4. Such examples are called case-studies. I took SE, so I know.
Ans: I don't care what it is called. I took SE, but still I don't know, and happily so.

It rained and wow!

It rained yesterday evening, and wow what a rain it was -- relinquishing Hyderabad from the painful sun. If you were out at that time, you would have seen how quickly everything happened. I was. Not 5 minutes ago I was telling Visesh that if it continued thus, it was going to be a painfully hot summer, and as if God(?) was listening, he threw open the skies. Within 5 minutes, the stoic, suffocating air around was replaced with soothing, swift breeze. It was dark and powercut accompanied. At a point, we were standing in Gachibowli, waiting for auto, as it poured. We were drenched. The only light around was that from the intermittent lightning, but it was frequent.

By the time we reached the Hostel, the water accumulated in front of the OBH had made impossible the corssing without getting wetter. I think they should arrange for boats near the entrance. Oh, the times when rains meant paper-boats. I don't even remember the last time I made a paper-boat. We don't do much with paper these days anyway. Felt like dancing in the rain.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Trip to Microsoft Campus

I just returned from a (casual/informal) trip to the Hyd M$ Campus. Thanks to Bothra for playing a wonderful host.

The look and feel was good. Excellent, in fact. Transparent glasses throughout. In the evening, you can actually see people working insde, from the side galleries. I wonder if that makes one conscious while working. I mean, sort out a couple of issues and you could be pictured all day long from satellites!

We (smr, parry, bansi & I) tried our hands at FuΒball (pronounced as fooz-ball) -- first time. FuΒball is nice. I like it. Can we have one in IIIT? They shouldn't be expensive, are they? But a lot of fun they are for sure. The game was exciting. We were on even until Parry made the winning move.

The chairs in the outside lounge appeared cute. Red petal-shaped ones, blue heart shaped ones. I expected the heart-shaped ones to be red, though.

The running water fountain in a setting of rocks outside the building was good. I like water bodies, so I was bound to like this.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Right to Disownment

Ever since birth, we have been carrying the load of the constitution of India. Heavy words like democracy, liberty, freedom, equality(??) are no more than crap-on-the-head. Just because I was born in part of the globe called India, it was assumed that I would be happy to comply with any and every law the founding fathers of the constitution chose to pen down. But this assumption is flawed. I don't want any of these heavy-weight words. Why should I pay taxes when I know that it will go to satiate the govt's whims and fancies. There should, therefore, be a way by which I can disown the govt, the constitution, and everything related. I propose the Right to Disownment.

Every citizen should have the right to disown the govt of that state. This frees him of any taxes, and also liberates the govt of any responsibility/obligation towards the individual. This balances the equation between the govt's performance and citizens' obligations.
  • The govt be like any corporate entity -- merit-based. You perform, I subscribe to you. You don't perform, I disown you.
  • I won't pay VAT, and the govt won't be obliged to resolve consumer-products related litigations for me.
  • I won't pay road-tax, and the govt won't be obliged to make roads for me. I agree to pay a tax every time I use a maintained road.
  • I won't pay the education cess, and the govt shouldn't feel obliged to provide education at the primary and other levels for me. The govt shouldn't bother to create reservations, etc for me. I would be more than happy.
  • I won't pay the income tax, and I won't expect the govt to interfere with the finance of the country. Everyone would be content.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Google MV's pics

Follow this link to see some (supposedly spy) photos of Google's office at Mountain View, CA.

The sad MHRD

The Ministry of Human Resources of the Govt of India is a sad entity. While most of the limelight is nearly always taken by the other more-profilic ministries of Defence, Finance & Home, MHRD has lately tried all tantrums to exhibit its existence. What else can explain the sudden urge by MHRD to raise the reservation to unprecendented levels so that one in every two students is an undeserving one? Who wants it? I don't think even the OBC's like this. They'll forever be tagged as the one-who-did-not-deserve.

If the ruling goes by, I have a few more suggestions to make for the upliftment of the so-called backward classes (BC).
  • 49.5% of the width of any and every road be reserved for BCs. No one else can traverse on them.
  • 49.5% of all public toilets in India be reserved for BCs. They should be FREE (as in free beer) too.
  • Out of every 100 times Arjun Singh's wife/daughter has sex, 49.5% of them should be with BC men.
  • 49.5% of Arjun Singh's balls be castrated and donated to BCs.
  • For every book which anyone buys, he should tear 49.5% pages and donate it to a BC guy.
  • 49.5% of all land be donated to BCs.
  • Everyone should donate 49.5% of his income to BC people.
  • 49.5% of India's GDP be donated to BCs.
  • 49.5% of oxygen in the atmosphere be reserved for BCs.
  • 49.5% of all sea-beaches be reserved for BCs.
  • .. and so on. 49.5% is the (magic) key figure.
Needless to say, the BCs should not be required any payment, merit, etc for the above favours.

Mr Arjun Singh, you are an unhappy wretch. The more I think of you, the more I love the pigs in my neighbourhood.