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

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Server Room Tragedy #9

The situation:
IIIT site has been inaccessible from outside IIIT for the last two days. Karteek Alahari mailed me from Oxford to inform this.

The tragedy:
The tragedy is not that the site is down for two days. The tragedy is that server room doesn't know that it's down.

1. You mentioned about meeting the director. What happened?
Ans: Yes, some of us met the director yesterday. We have scheduled an at meeting after the convocation (convocation time is hectic).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Home on Wikimapia

I am able to view my house on WikiMapia. In the iamge below, the rectangle showing "Prem-Villa" is my house. Since it is Patna, the neighbourhood is quite green yet. I always had a conviction that my house bisected the straight line joining Patna Jail with Patna Airport (both visible from my house). I was right.

Feels like I should change this post's title to: "My Home as I See It"

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Server Room Tragedy #8

The situation, the tragedies:
IIIT changes ISP. Internet deteriorates, and is unpredictable (my opinion). The transition of public IP addresses weren't carried out smoothly -- misconfiguration. The research server managed to get itself listed into a number of DNS blacklists. Mails from the research server were being bounced back or treated as spam (I tested with gmail). The DNS configuration file serial ids were unchaged, confusing the DNS caches for our IPs all over the world. I fixed some of these.

IIIT is now dependent on a single ISP. Alternate mail routing is impaired. No round-the-clock incoming mails now if this ISP is down. The internet gateway server is removed. It's firewall had been placed with the intention of protecting the webservers of several research labs since they don't have firewalls of their own.

Paresh tells me that he's unable to use spamassassin for filtering spams. Some configuration files are inaccessible. He mailed the sysadmin staff a week ago and now has given up hopes for a response.

Visesh tells me that his mails to some universities had bounced. They treated IIIT mails as spams. He has switched to gmail now.

The cookie crumbles:
Things are not right. This is not how IIIT's system administration ought to function. I have three words to describe it -- cluelessness, damange-control and irresponsibility. If student sysadmins are unnecessary, why does Mr XYZ come running to me for every silly but critical problem? I can continue "helping" but what after 1 month when I'm gone? There has to be a solution before a major disaster breaks out.

I'm going to meet the director. I've sought an appointment. Others (particularly labcoms) are welcome to join me.

1. When are you going to talk to the director?
Ans: As soon as I get the appointment.

2. What are you going to suggest to the director?
Ans: I think that the server room cannot function without a student sysadmins. Not having student sysadmins is suicidal. Repeat after me. Not having student sysadmins is suicidal.

3. Do you think you are crazy?
Ans: Yes. Do you think so too? :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Frailty, thy name is Manmohan

"Frailty, thy name is woman," mused Shakespeare.

In the present context, Shakespeare would like to reconsider the phrase to something like the title of this post. Clearly, his Cambridge degree and Oxford doctorate could not evoke in him enough perseverance and will power. How else can the most educated prime minister in the history of India agree to life-changing decisions like 50% reservations, abandon disinvestments, office-of-profit bill, etc. All these when India's missile man is the president. Leave alone the constitution, how did the PM's conscience permit him these? As the only PM who could never make it to the Lok Sabha, is it difficult to see him as a puppet, intentionally planted to take orders from the real boss? Is India stupid? Maybe. Is the majority a fool? Definitely.

People, crowd, mass, the population just see the end-result, not the complete equation. One can blame terrorist organizations for the 7/11 Mumbai blasts. But does India have enough will power anyway to avert these? Is it impossible that the blasts were a signal from some disgruntled youths who wanted to make a point -- that no good can come from reservations? The PM may express solidarity by saluting the Mumbaikars for quick recovery from the blasts. But that's nearly not what a PM must be doing. While the intelligence tries to figure out the WHO for the blasts, the PM should think about the WHY for the blasts.

Someone would say -- "terrorists want to disunite India". What a shame! Why, in god's name, would they want to do that? What is the motivation? What'll they get? It's stupid to even think on these lines. They cannot be objective-less. They have to have a real RHS for the equation with 7/11 blasts as the LHS -- not something as placebo as "disunite" India. It just doesn't make sense. One doesn't get up one morning and start bombing just to disunite India. But if one's livelihood is snatched away -- yes. So, the real culprits are not the terrorists, but someone else, most of whom move about scott free. With ministers like these, who needs terrorists?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006