September 11, 2006


Over the past few days I have been contemplating canceling my T-Mobile phone contract. I currently paid(ed) £20/month for 100 minutes and 515 text messages (and the 500 messages were a web exclusive offer) + £2.50 for 20 picture messages, of which I used zero!

Last month my T-Mobile bill come in at over £156 !! I almost died. Not to mention the handset which I picked out is pretty crappy Sony Ericsson Z520i – I love sony, but this handset is pretty poor, VGA (0.3mpx) camera, no memory card slot, and just doesn’t look that good when you’re down the pub with yer mates.

So today on my lunch break I call up T-Mobile via the usual 150, press a few buttons, listen to some awful music for 5 minutes. They said my call would be handled by a “specialist team” – reminds me of highly trained conHH^Hsalesmen who would force you to take their service and insurance plans. Anyways..

They answer and ask what they could do for me. I told the nice lady that I was thinking of canceling because I just do not feel that I was getting value for money with my price plan – that, and my handset sucked. She took a look at my last bill and screamed “THATS HUGE!!” “lets move you”..

so I get put in touch with this nice customer service person who seemed to understand my priceplan needs, and we agreed that moving to the FLEXT 35 package was the best option for me (this is what I wanted!). So all in all, they changed my contract to a nicer one that suits me, and kept a customer – they couldn’t do anything about my crappy handset though, ah well. Result!

Five Years Since September 11th

I’m not sure if anybody else has remembered that today marks five years since the horrific ‘9/11’ terrorist attack, which killed thousands of innocent people.

Did they get him yet??

September 07, 2006

ZFS Again

We’ve been running ZFS in development for a few weeks now, and things have been quite smooth. We have 4 Zones which are sitting on top of a ZFS RAIDZ array and they work without hastle. Managing ZFS is a breeze, insert a disk, “zpool add poolname diskname” and your disk becomes part of your raid array, no newfs, growfs, vtocs or formatting to worry about – scary eh?

Only snag is.. it’s really immature! The current version of ZFS in Solaris 10 6/06 has no support for hotspares, nor any support for scaling down a RAIDZ array.. which you might think is fair enough – who would ever want to scale down an array?. Well, we did! We had to “borrow” 2 disks from our ZFS array but ZFS currently has no feature at this time that lets you remove disks from an array (forever) – sure we can just “offline” a disk and then clear the errors, but the array still operates in a “degraded” state. sighh. Oh well, it’s still very impressive!

August 18, 2006

Solaris10: ZFS

Writing about web page

We have started using ZFS in conjunction with Solaris 10 Zones here at elab – for development and testing purposes. Those of you who are unfamiliar with ZFS can find out more at link

Basicly ZFS is Sun's new super volume manager. It's quite immature and has only been around one or two years so I don't think anybody uses it for any serious production work yet – but things look very promising! I've wrote an article about how to migrate existing Solaris 10 Zones over to ZFS and it shows just how easy and flexible ZFS is to deploy and manage – you can create flexible "Storage Pools" with redundancy in seconds – with a single command! No more Format/fdisk/newfs or metastat with SVM/disksuite. Simply create a Storage Pool, then create a volume
and start filling it up!

Here is the link to my article:

ZFS is the future of Volume Management with Solaris.

August 01, 2006

Where do you get a nice Sandwhich on Campus?

Does anybody know where you can get a nice sandwhich (or hot meal !) on Campus ?

Tesco Sandwhich = evil
Tesco cafe = evil's kitchen
Costco on Westwood = cool, but no cheese savory :(
That cool cafe in University House = weird cucumber in my cheese sandwhich

Oh yeah, erm, I'm fussy! ;)


July 27, 2006

It never rains, but pours

So I decided to get an early night last night. I figure a good nights rest will do me the world of good – only to be woken up (and I assume I am not the only one) at around 2am by a very loud storm – much like the storm from last Saturday. I've noticed the storms are alot more concentrated in Leamington Spa than then are in Newcastle Upon Tyne. All you usally get in Newcastle are clouds and abit of drizzle.

So I wake up a few hours later and go to work – in a T–shirt (!) – looking around outside I can see that most of the storm from last night has actually dried up – fantastic. Walking up the parade I hear some thunder (oh noes!) so I start running up the parade to get under a bus shelter before I'm caught in part 2 of the crazy storm. I'm waiting for the bus when the water comes pouring down the street and into the bus stop, shoes are getting very wet at this point!. Luckily the Bus comes and I jump onboard – only getting slightly drenched!.

I hope Chris did not cycle to work today!

July 26, 2006

Ruby Blues

Semi–Work related blog post, ah well..

I feel absolutely awful today! Woke up in a cold sweat, lost my voice, coughing up abit of blood, feel pretty weak – all very nasty stuff. I think that I am coming down with flu or something. I am NOT looking forward to waking up tomorrow! ahh

Today's plan.. get Ruby oci working across snorky, and a couple of other boxes. We don't have a Sun C compiler installed on snorky, so I'm having to cheat slightly by building it on another machine and copying the libs over by hand. We'll see how it goes!

Any medical students care to diagnose my symptoms? :)

July 25, 2006

Sysadmin Appriciation Day Friday 28th July!

Writing about web page

It's that time of the year again when you all have to show your apprication for your hard working System Administrators!

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