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February 8th, 2010

It goes up to 11 -!

As the server count here in the office has increased significantly recently, over the weekend we asked our ISP for a few extra IP addresses. A /248 came through on Saturday morning, and one of my weekend tasks (along with setting up a VM of Exchange 2010) has been to get them working. marypcb paints tanais's room and I do the network infrastructure. It's a fair division of labour.

To be honest, the documentation for our router isn't the best, but with a mix of downloaded PDFs, information from the router FAQs written by the UK distributor, and posts by users on the distributor's forum, I managed to get everything set up. The new IP addresses were added to the router's IP alias table, and set up so they weren't part of the default IP pool for out-going NAT addresses. I then set up a couple of test services using the router's multi-NAT functions, specifying specific IP addresses for each server's remote desktop and installing a RDP client on my iPhone.

But I couldn't connect to any of the new IP addresses. The old one was working just fine, but nothing was getting through.

I was stuck, even though it seemed I'd done everything correctly. I checked with a friend with the same set up, but he couldn't connect to my servers either. So, I documented everything, and sent it back up to my ISP.

Just before midnight last night I got an email from them (midnight, on a Sunday?!), saying they'd restarted my DSL service from their end, freeing up a routing configuration that hadn't propagated through their systems correctly. I fired up the iPhone, and connected to both of the new server RDP connections, and to the temporary web server I'd set up. Our new addresses were online and routing correctly.

It's a good feeling when something you've been puzzling over for a couple of days suddenly comes together, and you realise you'd got it right all along.

The next task is to move the router to the first socket in the house to get rid of the ATM CRC errors, and to hopefully eke out a megabit or so more bandwidth. That and to finish the Exchange migration, upgrade the main server to Windows Server 2008 R2, and move our BES from its server onto a VM on the new quad-core machine.

Once a sysadmin, always a sysadmin.


Via Boing Boing, here's a video of Kim Stanley Robinson talking about science fiction as the new realism.

I've seen Stan give a version of this talk in a conversation at the always excellent FiRe conference (a TED-like cross-disciplinary futurist event we always try to get to). He's got a lot of important things to say about the world we've built over the last fifty years or so - and how we've leapt over the bow shock of the future, cushioned by science fiction. Actually, that's an interesting thought - that Toffler's Future Shock is the mach buffeting as we pass through the transonic transition of change. After all, how relevant is Toffler to the post-industrial, post-future 21st century?

And of course it goes both ways, as Stan says "When you slow down? Well, that’s another—you feel that too. This is like when your connection to the Internet goes out for three days, or your phone line, or when your cell phone dies—these moments when you’re suddenly not having the sixth sense of the cloud…"

Also, rather niftily, the latest YouTube Player now includes a right click menu item "Copy embed html". That simplifies linking to things. Another little dose of the future...

Glazier on call

marypcb and I heard a news broadcast about yesterday's Shuttle launch with a description of the new cupola module as "some big windows".

"Ah," she said, "So they can get glaziers to go out that far on a Sunday in Florida. You'd never get that in Putney..."

Y'know? She's right. Customer service just isn't there these days...


Blue Pacific Sunset

As you all know, I'm a sucker for a good sunset. There's something about the light and the shadows and the patterns in the sky that just gets me pulling out the camera every time.

Our last trip to the US coincided with a nasty set of storms in the Bay Area, wave after wave of rain and wind battering the hills and mountains. Then one day, when we had some time free from meetings and writing, there was a pause. the sun came out, and we drove through the steaming forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains to one of our favourite little seaside towns, Capitola. We sat on the sea wall, drinking coffee and eating cakes, as the sun set, and the photographers flocked to the waves.

I rather liked this view, with the sun just about to slide over the cliffs, silhouetting the pier and highlighting the high-altitude clouds, harbingers of the next bout of storms.

Capitola Sunset

Capitola, California
January 2010