Questions to Private Seller and Inspection Process


1. How has the motorcycle been maintained? Are there any maintenance records?

2. What’s the VIN? (To check if it is clean or stolen)

3. How long have you owned the motorcycle?

4. Have you ever crashed the motorcycle?

5. Are any extras included?

6. What aftermarket parts have been added?

7. What’s the mileage? (Just in case)

8. Can I take the motorcycle for an inspection?

9. Do you have the title? (Or Is the title in your name? Is it clean?)


1. Ask the seller to have the engine cold (Do not run it). Inspect the exhaust pipes for leaks or corrosion. Start the engine. How it sounds? Is there any strange sound coming from the exhausts? Also, dents in the exhaust header can cause performance issues. Be sure to inspect it from underneath.

2. Overall appearence. It’s easy to tell the difference between a bike that’s just been “quick cleaned” for a sale and the one that’s been garage kept and pampered by a true enthusiast. Check all the tight spots. You know the hard to reach places where dirt can accumulate. The enthusiast will take the time to get into these areas and keep his bike looking showroom. The “quick cleaner” will not If the bike has plastic fairings, check the “tabs” that connect them to the frame. The first thing to break when a bike has been crashed is usually these connection points, and shoddy repair attempts can be easily spotted.

3. Frame. Look closely. You’re looking for dents, scrapes, cracks. Is there any indication the bike has bottomed out, taken a hard landing or been in some kind of accident? Get hands on with the frame too. Slide your hands over as much of the frame as you can. You may feel something you can’t see. Check the steering head bearings. While holding the front brake lever, rock the bike back and forth. If you feel movement or hear a clicking sound, it’s a good indication that the bearings in the steering head might be loose or worn. Place your hand over the upper triple clamp and frame to feel the movement. Check the steering stops on the neck of the frame. This is the metal stop that meets the tabs on the lower steering stem to stop the handlebars from turning. If you see that the metal is bent, bulging or excessively rusty, this can be an indication that the bikes was involved in a crash.

4. Clutch. A little slack in the clutch cable is normal and any excess can usually be adjusted out. Squeeze the clutch in. Is it smooth? Release the clutch slowly. It should release smoothly. You should not feel any “snags” or “pops” as the clutch lever is engaged or released. Have a seat on the bike. Engage the clutch. The bike should roll smoothly with little resistance while in first gear with the clutch engaged. The clutch lever should have some free play before it engages, if not there is a higher chance of excessive wear on the clutch.

5. Brakes. While sitting on the bike, take it out of gear and roll it forward. Gently apply the front brakes. The brake lever should operate smoothly and the bike should slow to a stop with little to no noise from the brakes. Release the brake lever. It should return smoothly into position and the bike should now roll freely with no dragging of the brake calipers. If they drag, they need work. While braking at speed you should not feel any pulsing in the lever as this would indicate a bent rotor.

6. Suspension. While straddling the bike, shove down on the front end. The forks should return to position slowly and almost silently. Any loud noise can be bad news. Look at the fork seals. They should be clean and smooth. There should be no fork oil on the tops of the seals or on the forks. If there is a bit of oil around the fork seals the bike may just need new seals which are relatively affordable. But if there are nicks or rust on the fork tubes a more serious repair is needed. The forks themselves should be clean, shiny and smooth. Bounce up and down on the seat. The rear shock(s) should offer some resistance and return the rear end to normal position without springing up and down. Run your fingers up and down the fork tube. If you feel any bumps it is most likely rust. If you feel a crease, it means the fork has been bent at one time, most likely the result of an accident.

7. Chain and Sprocket. Check the tension of the drive chain by pulling it away from the rear sprocket at the three o’clock position. You should not be able to pull it farther than about halfway off the sprocket tooth. Any farther and it’s time to replace. The inner area of the chain that contacts the sprocket should be clean, smooth and shiny. Other things to look out for are links that are binding or kinked. This will cause tight spots in the chain and subsequently enhanced excessive wear on the drive train. If you can put the bike on a stand and spin the rear wheel you can easily see if the chain maintains the same tension as it turns. In addition, keep your eyes out for excessive rust. Small amounts can be easily removed but large amounts can mean it’s time for a new chain. Check the sprockets closely. Look for sprocket teeth that are hooked, pointed or chipped. If the teeth on the sprocket are leaning over, both the sprocket and the chain have excessive wear and should be replaced.

8. Tires and Wheels. Smooth even wear should be expected and is no cause to worry. Severe wear on the center third of the rear tire could be an indicator of long-distance freeway riding or performing “burnouts”. The latter is definitely not good for the tire but also causes unnecessary abuse on the engine. Excessive hard braking and skidding can cause flat spots on the tire. Check the 4 digit DOT numbers on the outer sidewall of the tires. The first two digits indicate the week the tire was manufactured, the second two digits indicate the year. Most recommend replacing tires when they are 6 years old, even if they appear to be in good condition. Inspect the wheels for dents. If possible, place the bike on the center stand with the transmission in neutral and spin the back wheel. Watch it from both the side and the rear to identify dings or bends in the wheel. The same can be done with the front wheel using the kickstand and some help from another person. Cupping is a natural wear pattern on motorcycle tires. It is not a sign of bad tires or suspension parts. It simply shows that the tire is gripping the road (thank you Mr. Tire!). This cupping develops on the sides of a tire. The forces that come into play when the motorcycle is leaning while turning are what produce the effect. When the tire becomes quite worn, the rider will experience vibration and noise when leaning into a turn. The softer compound tires tend to cup sooner.

9. Fuel Tank. Open the fuel cap and look inside. You may want to bring a flashlight with you. You should be looking through a light amber-colored fuel and clearly see the bare metal interior of the fuel tank. If the fuel is dark it’s probably old and should be drained and replaced. You’ll also want to flush the system and change the filter just to be safe. When inspecting the fuel tank you want to look for rust or any grit or sediment in the tank. If you’re not sure if you’re seeing sediment, rock the bike gently from side to side and set up a small “wave motion”. If there’s sediment you’ll see it shift from side to side. If the tank is full be careful not to overdo it. You want to keep the fuel in the tank. Some fuel tanks may have a coating applied to them to prevent or even cover old rust. In this case you will not see a shiny silver surface but more likely a light milky surface.

10. Coolant. The normal appearance of coolant is neon green and should smell sweet. With the engine cold, remove the coolant cap and take a look. Green is great. Brown-colored coolant could mean either rust or oil has invaded the engine. If the engine has begun to rust, you will want to consider some costly repairs in the future. If you have oil in your coolant you may have a leaking head gasket or failed O-rings. O-ring repair is not a death warrant for a bike but fixing a head gasket is a job for an expert “gear head”, so you may want to reconsider your purchase if this condition exists. Removing the radiator cap (cold engine only) will quickly tell you if you have any oil in your system. Since oil is lighter than water most of the oil in your cooling system will float to the top of your radiator. If you see an oil slick floating on your coolant there could be engine problems.

11. Oil. If the bike has a sight glass on the side of the engine you can see immediately the color of the oil. If the sight glass is discolored or brownish, the oil may have begun to “varnish” the engine interior. This is caused by not keeping up on frequent oil changes. If there is no sight glass, use a stick, cloth, paper towel or other such item and dip it into the oil via the filler cap. Clean syrupy-looking appearance is new oil. It’s been changed recently. If the oil is black, you’ll want to ask when the oil was changed last. So, new oil and black oil is normal. What isn’t normal? Water and oil don’t mix. If the oil has white milky streaks in it, water is getting into the engine.You may not want to purchase a bike with this problem unless you’re ready to tear down the engine. Oil impedes wear on an engine but does not fully prevent it. Normally, unless the oil has been recently changed you may feel a very slight grit when you rub a drop between your thumb and forefinger. If you feel or see shiny metal flakes in the oil this is very bad news. This engine is eating itself from the inside out. You do NOT want this bike.

12. Cold Start. Alright, you’ve looked the bike over carefully and you’re ready to hear it run. Each bike has its own cold start temperament and you will eventually get to know yours. Make sure the fuel petcock is turned to the “on” or “reserve” position. Depending on the bike you may have an electronic choke that requires no manipulation or you may have a manual cable type choke. If it’s manual, ask the seller to set it at his preferred setting. He’ll be happy to set it for you. He wants it to want it to start right up for you. Ask him how much throttle he normally gives the bike on startup. If it has an electric starter, use it. Once the engine is running, return the throttle to its normal position. You don’t want to “redline” a cold engine. While the bike is warming up, take the time to notice. Is it running smoothly? Is the engine chugging? (Maybe not enough choke). Look behind you. Is the bike smoking? If your bike is running a fuel/oil mix, (dirt bike) a little smoke is not unusual. If it’s smoking a lot, it could be a fuel/oil ratio mis-match or a timing issue. A street bike should not be smoking. Depending on the color of the smoke, a smoking street bike could mean trouble. Dark smoke and a heavy fuel smell is probably just a fuel/air ration problem and can be adjusted away. Blue smoke is burning oil. You should probably walk away from this bike. White smoke or steam can be coolant in the exhaust which is most likely due to a leaking head gasket (major repair needed). Listen to the engine. Do you hear any knocking, rattling, pinging etc.? It should be smooth and clean sounding. If you happen to own a mechanic’s engine stethoscope then by all means, bring it with you. It’s like what a doctor would use but has a long metal probe on the end rather than that icy cold cup we’ve all gotten to know and love. Most people don’t own one of these but an old friend taught me a simple trick for listening deep into an engine. Bring a wooden dowel rod with you when come to look at the bike. This is also handy for checking the oil as mentioned earlier in this writing. Touch one end to the engine and place your ear against the other. Internal sounds will be transmitted through the rod and you’ll be able to hear it from the other end. Place the rod in several locations on the engine and listen carefully. A couple of words of caution. Make sure the rod is long enough so that you don’t lean into a hot engine. Also, if you used the rod to check the oil’s condition earlier, don’t stick the nasty end in your ear!

13. Electrical. Check the headlights on both high and low beams. Sit on the bike and run through all the switches including the blinkers, horn, hazard lights and others to verify they are in working order. Pull the front brake lever and press the rear brake pedal to make sure the brake lights are operable. Check all the gauges for proper function. While idling, if the headlight should get dim it is most likely caused by either the idle being set too low, or it could be a weak battery.

14. Background check. Ask for all the service records and receipts for the bike. The thoughtful rider will save all service records. Perhaps the seller is the “do it yourself “type. This is not necessarily a bad thing. One of the best used motorcycles I ever bought was off an avid club racer/mechanic. The thoughtful “do it your self-er” should have receipts and records of all repairs. We also recommend that you get an official Motorcycle History Report. It’s inexpensive “peace of mind” when buying.

15. Title/Registration. Finally, carefully check the bike’s VIN number and license plate number against the title and make sure they match what’s on the title. The VIN number is usually located on the steering head of the frame. Make sure all the numbers are visible and none have been tampered with. Check the title to make sure there isn’t a lien holder. If there is they should have signed off their portion. Of course if the seller doesn’t have the title it’s not advised that you should make the purchase. The last thing you want is to buy a bike you can’t register, so avoid Curbstoners. If the bike doesn’t have a current registration or sticker or if it’s registered in another state you should contact the appropriate State Department to determine what the fees might be to register and bring it current.

16. Safety Check. Finally, once you’ve made your purchase, have your bike inspected by a qualified motorcycle mechanic. The vehicle’s safety should always be your primary concern.


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Vanilla OS Ditches Ubuntu for Debian

Well, I’m not the only one to think Ubuntu became bloatware.


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Phil Read dead at 83.

221007085354 Phil Read 21254

The World of MotoGP lost one of the bests. Phil Read passed away at 83 in his home in Canterbury, UK, leaving behind a rich legend. He was partially responsible for what the MotoGP is today because of his behavior and driving technique.

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Phil was born in 1939 in Luton, and since his early years, his love for bikes and engineering became obvious. In 1955, at 16, he raced on a Velocette KSS and later in local races with BSA. 1960 was the year for his first ManxGP win with a Norton. But 1961 was when he entered the pantheon of TT Isle of Man winners with a Yamaha. Behind him, they were racing some other legends, such as Giacomo Agostini and Mike “The Bike” Hailwood. In total, he wins 8 times the TT. 1964 he gets his first GP250 title with the Yamaha RD65. 1968, perhaps, was the best year in his career, winning 2 titles, the GP125 and GP250, establishing his legend. 1971 is when he gets back the title on the GP250 with the Yamaha. 1973 and 1974 established dominance, winning the GP500 title with the MV Agusta 500. His last year of racing was 1982, after 52 wins in Grand Prix, 7 titles, and millions of fans worldwide.

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FIM honored him in 2002 as a Legend.

Phill Read at the office…

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Don’t move to Texas, but if you insist…

Είναι γνωστό πως μεγάλος αριθμός από Californians και όχι μόνο, μετακομίζουν στο Texas για πολλούς και διάφορους λόγους, ειδικά κατά την διάρκεια της πανδημίας: Κόστος ζωής, κόστος αγοράς κατοικίας, κλίμα, BBQ. Τον τελευταίο καιρό υπάρχουν αρκετά άρθρα που καλούν κόσμο να σταματήσει να φεύγει. Η γενική λίστα με τους λόγους που θα πρέπει να αποφύγει κάποιος την μετακόμιση, περιλαμβάνει τα παρακάτω:

  1. Save all bacon grease. You will be instructed later how to use it.

  2. If you do run your car into a ditch, don’t panic. Four men in the cab of a four wheel drive with a 12-pack of beer and a tow chain will be along shortly. Don’t try to help them. Just stay out of their way. This is what they live for.

  3. Remember: "Y’all" is singular. "All y’all" is plural. "All y’all’s" is plural possessive.

  4. Get used to the phrase "It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity". And the collateral phrase "You call this hot? Wait’ll August."

  5. Don’t tell us how you did it there. Nobody cares.

  6. If you think it’s too hot, don’t worry. It’ll cool down-in December.

  7. A Mercedes-Benz is not a status symbol…a Super-Duty pickup is.

  8. If someone says they’re "fixin" to do something, that doesn’t mean anything’s broken.

  9. The value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door but the availability of shade.

  10. If you are driving a slower moving vehicle on a two lane road, pull onto the shoulder. That is called "courtesy".

  11. BBQ is a food group. It does NOT mean grilling burgers and hot dogs outdoors.

  12. Weddings, funerals and divorces must take into account the Rodeo & parade schedule.

  13. Everything is better with hot sauce or BBQ sauce.

  14. DO NOT honk your horn at us. It is obnoxious and we will sit there until we die.

  15. We pull over and stop for emergency vehicles to pass.

  16. We pull over for funeral processions, turn our music off and men remove hats or caps. Some people put their hand over their heart.

  17. "Bless your Heart" is a nice way of saying you’re an idiot.

  18. No mater what kind, Sprite, Coke, Pepsi, Mtn Dew, it isn’t called soda or pop. It is all called coke or soda water!

  19. There will always be a tractor on the two lanes when you are running late, so allow time for that.

  20. If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes, it will change.

  21. We respect andconsider heroes, first responders, veterans and teachers.

  22. The American, Texas, POW and Gadsden flags are considered sacred.

  23. The Constitution is sacred…ALL of it!

  24. Unless you’re prepared to fight for it, your political opinion might be best kept to yourself.

  25. Many of us carry firearms, all of us carry knives.

  26. God is sovereign and we PRAY!

~ God Blessed

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The dreamers of the day

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

T.E. Lawrence

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Sea Fever

By John Masefield.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

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VAXen, my children, just don’t belong some places. By Jack Harvey.

Μια ενδιαφέρουσα ιστορία εποχής επί κυριαρχίας των VAX και των IMB 3090 mainframes. Για να μαθαίνουν οι νεότεροι και να θυμούνται οι λιγότερο νέοι…

Notes by Tony Finch: The author of this piece is Jack Harvey, harvey(at), and it was originally published under the title "The Immortal Murderer" on January 18th, 1989 on DECUServe, the DECUS member bulletin board."

And within two months it was already being copied around without
proper attribution –

VAXen, my children, just don’t belong some places. In my business, I am frequently called by small sites and startups having VAX problems. So when a friend of mine in an Extremely Large Financial Institution (ELFI) called me one day to ask for help, I was intrigued because this outfit is a really major VAX user – they have several large herds of VAXen – and plenty of sharp VAXherds to take care of them.

So I went to see what sort of an ELFI mess they had gotten into. It seems they had shoved a small 750 with two RA60s running a single application, PC style, into a data center with two IBM 3090s and just about all the rest of the disk drives in the world. The computer room was so big it had three street addresses. The operators had only IBM experience and, to quote my friend, they were having "a little trouble adjusting to the VAX", were a bit hostile towards it and probably needed some help with system management. Hmmm, hostility… Sigh.

Well, I thought it was pretty ridiculous for an outfit with all that VAX muscle elsewhere to isolate a dinky old 750 in their Big Blue Country, and said so bluntly. But my friend patiently explained that although small, it was an "extremely sensitive and confidential application." It seems that the 750 had originally been properly clustered with the rest of a herd and in the care of one of their best VAXherds. But the trouble started when the Chief User went to visit his computer and its VAXherd.

He came away visibly disturbed and immediately complained to the ELFI’s Director of Data Processing that, "There are some very strange people in there with the computers." Now since this user person was the Comptroller of this Extremely Large Financial Institution, the 750 had been promptly hustled over to the IBM data center which the Comptroller said, "was a more suitable place." The people there wore shirts and ties and didn’t wear head bands or cowboy hats.

So my friend introduced me to the Comptroller, who turned out to be five feet tall, 85 and a former gnome of Zurich. He had a young apprentice gnome who was about 65. The two gnomes interviewed me in whispers for about an hour before they decided my modes of dress and speech were suitable for managing their system and I got the assignment.

There was some confusion, understandably, when I explained that I would immediately establish a procedure for nightly backups. The senior gnome seemed to think I was going to put the computer in reverse, but the apprentice’s son had an IBM PC and he quickly whispered that "backup" meant making a copy of a program borrowed from a friend and why was I doing that? Sigh.

I was shortly introduced to the manager of the IBM data center, who greeted me with joy and anything but hostility. And the operators really weren’t hostile – it just seemed that way. It’s like the driver of a Mack 18 wheeler, with a condo behind the cab, who was doing 75 when he ran over a moped doing its best to get away at 45. He explained sadly, "I really warn’t mad at mopeds but to keep from runnin’ over that’n, I’da had to slow down or change lanes!"

Now the only operation they had figured out how to do on the 750 was reboot it. This was their universal cure for any and all problems. After all it works on a PC, why not a VAX? Was there a difference? Sigh.

But I smiled and said, "No sweat, I’ll train you. The first command you learn is HELP" and proceeded to type it in on the console terminal. So the data center manager, the shift supervisor and the eight day-operators watched the LA100 buzz out the usual introductory text. When it finished they turned to me with expectant faces and I said in an avuncular manner, "This is your most important command!"

The shift supervisor stepped forward and studied the text for about a minute. He then turned with a very puzzled expression on his face and asked, "What do you use it for?" Sigh.

Well, I tried everything. I trained and I put the doc set on shelves by the 750 and I wrote a special 40 page doc set and then a four page doc set. I designed all kinds of command files to make complex operations into simple foreign commands and I taped a list of these simplified commands to the top of the VAX. The most successful move was adding my home phone number.

The cheat sheets taped on the top of the CPU cabinet needed continual maintenance, however. It seems the VAX was in the quietest part of the data center, over behind the scratch tape racks. The operators ate lunch on the CPU cabinet and the sheets quickly became coated with pizza drippings, etc.

But still the most used solution to hangups was a reboot and I gradually got things organized so that during the day when the gnomes were using the system, the operators didn’t have to touch it. This smoothed things out a lot.

Meanwhile, the data center was getting new TV security cameras, a halon gas fire extinguisher system and an immortal power source. The data center manager apologized because the VAX had not been foreseen in the plan and so could not be connected to immortal power. The VAX and I felt a little rejected but I made sure that booting on power recovery was working right. At least it would get going again quickly when power came back.

Anyway, as a consolation prize, the data center manager said he would have one of the security cameras adjusted to cover the VAX. I thought to myself, "Great, now we can have 24 hour video tapes of the operators eating Chinese takeout on the CPU." I resolved to get a piece of plastic to cover the cheat sheets.

One day, the apprentice gnome called to whisper that the senior was going to give an extremely important demonstration. Now I must explain that what the 750 was really doing was holding our National Debt. The Reagan administration had decided to privatize it and had quietly put it out for bid. My Extreme Large Financial Institution had won the bid for it and was, as ELFIs are wont to do, making an absolute bundle on the float.

On Monday the Comptroller was going to demonstrate to the board of directors how he could move a trillion dollars from Switzerland to the Bahamas. The apprentice whispered, "Would you please look in on our computer? I’m sure everything will be fine, sir, but we will feel better if you are present. I’m sure you understand?" I did.

Monday morning, I got there about five hours before the scheduled demo to check things over. Everything was cool. I was chatting with the shift supervisor and about to go upstairs to the Comptroller’s office. Suddenly there was a power failure.

The emergency lighting came on and the immortal power system took over the load of the IBM 3090s. They continued smoothly, but of course the VAX, still on city power, died. Everyone smiled and the dead 750 was no big deal because it was 7 AM and gnomes don’t work before 10 AM. I began worrying about whether I could beg some immortal power from the data center manager in case this was a long outage.

Immortal power in this system comes from storage batteries for the first five minutes of an outage. Promptly at one minute into the outage we hear the gas turbine powered generator in the sub-basement under us automatically start up getting ready to take the load on the fifth minute. We all beam at each other.

At two minutes into the outage we hear the whine of the backup gas turbine generator starting. The 3090s and all those disk drives are doing just fine. Business as usual. The VAX is dead as a door nail but what the hell.

At precisely five minutes into the outage, just as the gas turbine is taking the load, city power comes back on and the immortal power source commits suicide. Actually it was a double murder and suicide because it took both 3090s with it.

So now the whole data center was dead, sort of. The fire alarm system had its own battery backup and was still alive. The lead acid storage batteries of the immortal power system had been discharging at a furious rate keeping all those big blue boxes running and there was a significant amount of sulfuric acid vapor. Nothing actually caught fire but the smoke detectors were convinced it had.

The fire alarm klaxon went off and the siren warning of imminent halon gas release was screaming. We started to panic but the data center manager shouted over the din, "Don’t worry, the halon system failed its acceptance test last week. It’s disabled and nothing will happen."

He was half right, the primary halon system indeed failed to discharge. But the secondary halon system observed that the primary had conked and instantly did its duty, which was to deal with Dire Disasters. It had twice the capacity and six times the discharge rate.

Now the ear splitting gas discharge under the raised floor was so massive and fast, it blew about half of the floor tiles up out of their framework. It came up through the floor into a communications rack and blew the cover panels off, decking an operator. Looking out across that vast computer room, we could see the air shimmering as the halon mixed with it.

We stampeded for exits to the dying whine of 175 IBM disks. As I was escaping I glanced back at the VAX, on city power, and noticed the usual flickering of the unit select light on its system disk indicating it was happily rebooting.

Twelve firemen with air tanks and axes invaded. There were frantic phone calls to the local IBM Field Service office because both the live and backup 3090s were down. About twenty minutes later, seventeen IBM CEs arrived with dozens of boxes and, so help me, a barrel. It seems they knew what to expect when an immortal power source commits murder.

In the midst of absolute pandemonium, I crept off to the gnome office and logged on. After extensive checking it was clear that everything was just fine with the VAX and I began to calm down. I called the data center manager’s office to tell him the good news. His secretary answered with, "He isn’t expected to be available for some time. May I take a message?" I left a slightly smug note to the effect that, unlike some other computers, the VAX was intact and functioning normally.

Several hours later, the gnome was whispering his way into a demonstration of how to flick a trillion dollars from country 2 to country 5. He was just coming to the tricky part, where the money had been withdrawn from Switzerland but not yet deposited in the Bahamas. He was proceeding very slowly and the directors were spellbound. I decided I had better check up on the data center.

\Most of the floor tiles were back in place. IBM had resurrected one of the 3090s and was running tests. What looked like a bucket brigade was working on the other one. The communication rack was still naked and a fireman was standing guard over the immortal power corpse. Life was returning to normal, but the Big Blue Country crew was still pretty shaky.

Smiling proudly, I headed back toward the triumphant VAX behind the tape racks where one of the operators was eating a plump jelly bun on the 750 CPU. He saw me coming, turned pale and screamed to the shift supervisor, "Oh my God, we forgot about the VAX!" Then, before I could open my mouth, he rebooted it. It was Monday, 19-Oct-1987. VAXen, my children, just don’t belong some places.

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Ghosts of the Everest

Mysteries and legends are meant to live in people’s hearts, and George Mallory’s story has both ingredients: legend and mystery. Whether he managed to be the first to climb Everest with Andrew Irvine is a mystery, as is his whereabouts…

Born in 1886 in Cheshire, England, Mallory was a legend even before climbing the mountain. Leader of England’s first two failed expeditions to conquer the “third pole,” as Everest was called, in 1921 and 1922, he was considered the top climber of his time. Athletic, with his own climbing style and incredible endurance.

On his third (and final, as it turned out) attempt, Mallory was determined, as his age wouldn’t give him another chance to be the first to set foot on the world’s highest peak. “We are climbing again for triumph or final defeat,” he wrote to a friend just before the final ascent to the summit.

On the morning of June 8, Mallory set out with his loyal friend on this mission, Andrew Irvine, from Camp 6, just 600 meters from the summit. Irvine, a relatively inexperienced 22-year-old climber who joined the team at the last minute and specialized mainly in repairing the “primitive” oxygen bottles the team had, became Mallory’s “student” and co-pilot throughout the British expedition.

Noel Odell, a member of the support team, was exploring the area below, making scientific observations for which he had gone to Everest with the expedition when at 12:50, he observed two “black dots” climbing a “rocky step” at a rapid pace. This was the last time anyone saw the two climbers. A sudden snowstorm that broke out immediately afterward erased all traces of them, creating the greatest mountaineering mystery in history. Did they manage to reach the summit about thirty years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay officially set foot on the world’s highest peak in 1953?

Mallory’s legend influenced every climber who tested themselves by climbing Everest. His attempt, along with Irvine, in an era with primitive climbing gear, clothes, and oxygen bottles, is a unique chapter in the history of human exploration. The thousand or so people who have reached the summit to date owe much to the man who first showed how to get close to the sky, know and touch your limits, and feel the power and magic of nature.

The “ghosts of Everest,” as the two climbers were called, became the central point of research for many generations regarding whether they managed to reach the summit. As part of this research, in May 1999, the Research Expedition formed to search for Mallory and Irvine discovered, in excellent condition, on the North Face of Everest and a few hundred meters from the summit, the body of a man (photo). Sewn into the collar of his shirt was a label with the name G. Mallory. The items found on him (notes, clothes, a watch, handkerchiefs, letters, rope, knife, etc.) did not allow researchers to determine if Mallory and Irvine had reached the summit. The camera they had with them, which would have shown if they had indeed reached the summit, was not found. Irvine’s dead body, which is waiting somewhere around there to be discovered by someone, may hold the solution to the greatest secret in mountaineering history…

According to speculation and based on the position of his body, it appears that Mallory slipped from a greater height, possibly dragging Irvine with him. The spot where he was found suggested that the two were returning to the last camp. However, what couldn’t be answered is whether they were returning as “victors” from the summit or had decided to give up due to the storm. The research focused on the oxygen bottles (and whether their supplies were sufficient) and on Odell’s last testimony, who, upon returning to England, “clouded” by the pressure of the whole country for the truth, changed his testimony about exactly where he had seen the climbers. All versions were examined, and countless speculations were made, but definitive conclusions could not be drawn. Mallory’s supporters rely on his promise to his wife that if he reached the summit, he would leave her photograph there. On his lifeless body, this photograph was not found…

Since then, Mallory’s name has been inextricably linked with Everest. He himself had surprised everyone when, in response to a persistent journalist’s question at lectures in America before the expedition, “why are you going to Everest,” he replied: “Because it’s there!” To the same question another time, he was more detailed: “For the rocks from the summit, for the geologists. For the knowledge of the limits of our endurance, for the doctors. But above all, for the spirit of adventure that keeps the human soul alive!” The legend of Mallory and his companion, Irvine, will haunt Everest forever. Because myths and legends live forever in people’s hearts…

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Boeing 747s receiving key updates through floppy disks, report

Floppies? Yep, 3.5” floppies. Boeing updates the navigational parameters of the “Queen of the skies”, the 747-400, every 28 days through a 3.5” floppy disk drive installed at the cockpit. It turns out that the airline industry is not so much modernized.


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Το μοντέλο αντιμετώπισης του COVID-19 της πολιτείας της California

H California, και ιδιαίτερα η νότια California, έχει μια πολύ σοβαρή ιδιαιτερότητα. Έχει καλό καιρό. Για την ακρίβεια, έχει σχεδόν πάντα καλό καιρό. Όλες τις μέρες του χρόνου. Χειμώνας στην Καλιφόρνια; Τι είναι αυτό; Σκεφτείτε πως είναι να ζεις σε μια περιοχή όπου μεταξύ Νοεμβρίου και Απριλίου (τους χειμερινούς μήνες στην Ελλάδα), έχεις ανοιξιάτικο με ελαφρά καλοκαιρινό καιρό, γύρω στους 20-25C, καθώς τους υπόλοιπους μήνες έχετε μόνο καλοκαιρινό καιρό, από 30-35C μέχρι και 40-42C. Οι παραλίες είναι όλο τον χρόνο ανοικτές, με κόσμο κάθε ηλικίας να τις απολαμβάνει. Η Καλιφόρνια είναι βέβαια και μια πολιτεία των 40,000,000 ανθρώπων που έμαθαν να ζουν με ένα συγκεκριμένο τρόπο, σε μια περιοχή με ένα συγκεκριμένο κλίμα. Αυτό λοιπόν δεν βοηθάει καθόλου με την αντιμετώπιση του Covid-19. Για την ακρίβεια είναι καταστροφικό.

Όταν λοιπόν τα πράγματα σοβάρεψαν κάποια στιγμή με τον ιό, ήρθε η πρώτη εντολή του κυβερνήτη στις 13 Μαρτίου. Έπρεπε λέει να μείνουμε όλοι στα σπίτια μας. Πώς διάολο το κάνεις αυτό στη Καλιφόρνια; Μια βόλτα στις τοπικές παραλίες και βλέπεις χιλιάδες κόσμο να κάνει surfing, κολύμπι ή απλά να βολτάρει τριγύρω. Απίστευτες εικόνες!. Στο τέλος Μαρτίου έβλεπες στις τηλεοράσεις άνθρωποι να πεθαίνουν στα νοσοκομεία της Νέας Υόρκης, και στη Καλιφόρνια ο κόσμος κατά χιλιάδες βουτούσε στα νερά του Ειρηνικού για να δροσιστεί. Πια πανδημία; Το βλέπει λοιπόν αυτό η κυβέρνηση της Καλιφόρνιας και καπάκι έρχεται δεύτερη εντολή να κλείσουν όλες οι παραλίες. Η ακτοφυλακή καθάρισε γι’αυτό. Αυτοί οι τύποι είναι άγριοι, δεν σε παίρνει να τους πεις όχι. Που θα πάει ο κόσμος λοιπόν που ψάχνει απεγνωσμένα μια ευκαιρία να βγει έξω από το σπίτι; Θα κάτσει μέσα; Αμ δε. Κάνα δυο μέρες μετά άρχισε ο συνωστισμός στα πάρκα (δεν μιλάμε για τα εθνικά πάρκα, αλλά για τοπικά). Εκεί που γενικά τα πάρκα ήταν σχεδόν άδεια, τώρα δεν έπεφτε βελόνα. Τρίτη εντολή από τον κυβερνήτη της Καλιφόρνιας και ήρθε η ώρα να κλείσουν τα τοπικά (και εθνικά) πάρκα. Έλα όμως που στα τοπικά πάρκα δεν έχεις την ακτοφυλακή να καθαρίσει. Τι κάνεις; Η αστυνομία, που είναι βασικά επιφορτισμένη για τον έλεγχο των τοπικών πάρκων, είναι μπλεγμένη με τα δικά της. Δεν υπάρχει περίπτωση να αποσπάσει κόσμο για να καθαρίσει τα πάρκα. Έρχεται λοιπόν ένας τύπος τις τοπικής διοίκησης με την φαεινή ιδέα να γεμίσουν τα πάρκα και τις πίστες σκέιτμπορντ με άμμο. Στέλνουν λοιπόν τα φορτηγά στις παραλίες να φορτώσουν τόνους και τόνους με άμμο που την μετέφεραν στα πάρκα και τα μπάζωσαν. Αποτέλεσμα; Έφυγε ο κόσμος από την μια που ήταν ξαπλωμένος στα πάρκα, και από την άλλη ήρθαν οι τύποι με τις μηχανές εντούρο για Μοτοκρος. Δείτε τώρα τι έγινε. Έφυγε ο κόσμος από τα πάρκα επειδή τα γέμισαν με άμμο, και ήρθαν οι εντουράδες για practising. Έσκασαν λοιπόν και τα περιπολικά της τροχαίας, ελικόπτερα, σκύλοι, γάτες κλπ για να τους διώξουν. Ησύχασαν λοιπόν τα πράγματα για μερικές μέρες. Ο κόσμος όμως είναι ανήσυχος. Βαρέθηκαν να τους λένε να μείνουν μέσα. Θέλει απελπιστικά να βγει έξω γιατί δεν πολύ-καταλαβαίνει τι γίνεται.

Και έχουν δίκιο εν μέρει. Βλέπεις, πως η Καλιφόρνια είναι από τους βασικούς προορισμούς των κινέζων. Βρίσκεται στην δυτική μεριά της Αμερικής και σχετικά κοντά τους. Ημερήσια λοιπόν, έφταναν στην Καλιφόρνια, χιλιάδες κινέζοι με πτήσεις προς το San Diego, San Francisco και Sacramento, πολύ δε να έρχονται από την περιοχή της Wuhan, το επίκεντρο της νόσου. Για την ακρίβεια περίπου 430,000 κινέζοι ταξίδεψαν από την Κίνα στην Αμερική μέχρι την στιγμή που ο Τραμπ έθεσε σε εφαρμογή την ταξιδιωτική οδηγία. Περίπου 40,000 ταξίδεψαν ΜΕΤΑ την εφαρμογή της ταξιδιωτικής οδηγίας με προορισμούς σχεδόν σε όλη την Αμερική, το Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Seattle και Newark. Ήταν λοιπόν όλοι αυτοί οι κινέζοι υγιείς; Ποια είναι η αλήθεια λοιπόν για τον ρυθμό μετάδοσης του ιού, πότε ξεκίνησε πραγματικά η πανδημία και πόσοι έχουν συνολικά ήδη νοσήσει;

Τέλος πάντων κάπως έτσι πέρασαν 2-3 μήνες και αφού τα κρούσματα κάπως σταθεροποιήθηκαν – προσέξτε το “κάπως” – λέει ο κυβερνήτης “ανοίγουμε παίδες το μαγαζί, σαν περιμένουμε αλλά να φοράτε μάσκα μη κολλήσουμε ξανά τίποτα περίεργα μικρόβια”. Ξεκίνησε λοιπόν ο κόσμος, ακόμα και αυτός που δεν το έκανε προηγούμενος, να πάει στα μπαρ, τα εστιατόρια και τις παραλίες. Πιάσαμε βλέπεις Ιούνιο, Ιούλιο και το καλοκαίρι εδώ δεν αστειεύεται… τα 40άρια πάνε και έρχονται. Μαζεύτηκαν όλοι λοιπόν, είτε έβηχαν λιγάκι, είτε είχαν δεκατάκια πυρετό ή αισθάνονταν κάπως αδιάθετοι (ψιλό-γρίπη είναι, θα περάσει…), στις παραλίες και τα μπιτσόμπαρα, να περάσουν καλά, μαζί με αυτούς που δεν είχαν κάποιο πρόβλημα υγείας, και να γιορτάσουν την ημέρα ανεξαρτησίας, την 4η Ιουλίου. Αυτό το μάζεμα, συνδυαζόμενο με το ψευδές σύνδρομο καταδίωξής τους από την ομοσπονδιακή κυβέρνηση, και την απόπειρα στέρηση της ελευθερίας των αμερικανών που ξεκίνησαν να πιστεύουν πως φορώντας μια μάσκα τους περιορίζει τις συνταγματικές τους ελευθερίες, έφτασε τα πράγματα εδώ που είναι σήμερα, η Καλιφόρνια να είναι το βασικό επίκεντρο μόλυνσης και ο κόσμος να πέφτει στους δρόμους σαν τις κότες… Και δεν υπάρχει καμιά ελπίδα μπροστά μας. Χωρίς εμβόλιο… ο κόσμος θα συνεχίσει να πεθαίνει στους δρόμους.

Απίστευτο αλλά αυτό είναι ένα κλασικό παράδειγμα του τι μπορεί να συμβεί όταν δεν υπάρχει ηγέτης να οδηγήσει ένα κράτος. Είχε πει κάποτε ο Μέγας Αλέξανδρος πως “Μη φοβάστε έναν στρατό λιονταριών με ηγέτη ένα πρόβατο. Να φοβάστε ένα στρατό προβάτων με ηγέτη ένα λιοντάρι”.

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The Managerial Crisis in America

I’ve been wanting to write about why good companies fail under the weight of incompetent managers for a while now.

Having worked for American companies for over a decade, I’ve found that interacting with managers is a daily (painful) task. There’s critical information that needs to be communicated clearly and concisely. But how do you convey information to someone who has no clue about what you’re talking about or whose knowledge of the subject is limited at best? What precautions do you take to ensure they understand the implications – without teaching a 4-years university class to them? How do you guarantee the integrity of the information as it’s passed up the chain? Where does your responsibility end? An even more intriguing question is: how did that person become a manager when they’re not qualified to lead a high-performance team of scientists and engineers?

The answer to all these questions is simple. Other equally unqualified managers decided that person was ready to move up the company’s food chain. The path looks like this: Typically, in relatively small U.S. startups, an idea quickly becomes a business model, and if it seems viable, it attracts funding. Money starts moving things faster than it should, and when you need help, you first turn to your friends. Friends are always there to lend a hand. Some of your friends know how to code, others know how to design, and maybe how to run around a few things. As the company grows in size and volume, you start trusting these friends who brought you this far. And that’s where the mistake is made.

When a company approaches a critical point, it needs to hire scientists, engineers, technicians, etc. But who’s going to oversee them? Your friends! Friends who might have brought in other friends, whom you equally trust, become managers, directors, and C-level executives. If the company’s product is science-based, those friends who wrote a few things at the beginning and ran some initial errands now must interact with scientists and engineers. There’s your point of failure.

Right there.

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Το κρίσιμο ερώτημα που δεν απαντήθηκε ποτέ

Σε θέσεις εργασίας όπου διαχειρίζονται διαβαθμισμένες πληροφορίες, πως δουλεύεις remotely?

Όταν ξαφνικά οι περισσότεροι υποχρεωθήκαμε να δουλέψουμε από τα σπίτια μας και να επικοινωνήσουμε ηλεκτρονικά, οι υποδομές των εταιριών αποδείχθηκαν το λιγότερο ανεπαρκής. Πριν τον COVID-19 υπήρχαν οδηγίες για το τι μπορείς να έχεις στο corporate laptop σου και τι όχι. Ήξερες απο την αρχή τους κανονισμούς. Όταν όμως από Παρασκευή στη Δευτέρα δόθηκαν οδηγίες σε όλους να ξεκινήσουμε να δουλεύουμε από το σπίτι, ξέχασαν να μας πουν το πως.

Πως διάολο συζητάω με τους συνεργάτες μου για πληροφορίες που είναι κρίσιμες και διαβαθμισμένες; Πως ανταλλάσω πληροφορίες για τα συγκεκριμένα projects;

Οι περισσότερες εταιρίες έθεσαν περιορισμούς στη πρόσβαση σε διαβαθμισμένα στοιχεία αλλά δεν βρέθηκαν ανεπαρκής στο τρόπο που θα εξασφάλισαν την ασφαλή επικοινωνία μεταξύ των στελεχών που διαχειρίζονται τα projects. Μέχρι σήμερα λοιπόν, 3 μήνες σχεδόν μετά από τη καθολική απαγόρευση της πρόσβασης στο δίκτυο της εταρίας, δεν έχει απαντηθεί το ερώτημα, πως δουελεύεις εξ’ αποστάσεως, όταν δεν έχεις καν προβλέψει την πιθανότητα να συμβεί κάτι τέτοιο. Να σημειώσω πως αρκετές λύσεις έχουν αποριφθεί για τον εκπληκτικό λόγο πως είναι open-source και επομένως μη ασφαλείς.

Να λοιπόν που βρισκόμαστε στη μέση ενός προβλήματος που επιδεινώνεται εκρηκτικά από την αδυναμία κατανόησης του μοντέλου ανάπτυξης open-source λογισμικού. Το αποτέλεσμα λοιπόν είναι το εξής. Ένας αριθμός από IT managers που δεν ξεπερνούν τους 2-3 σε αριθμό, που αδυνατούν να κατανοήσουν το μοντέλο ανάπτυξης ελεύθερου λογισμικού, κρατάει μια εταιρία αιχμάλωτο της αμάθειά τους, και επι σχεδόν 3 μήνες κανένα project δεν έχει προχωρήσει μιας και αυτή η αδυναμία τους λειτουργεί σαν χειρόφρενο. Θα εκπλαγείτε από το πόσες εταιρίες βρίσκονται στην ίδια ακριβώς θέση.

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Σουηδία. Ένα τραγικό πολιτικό πείραμα η αντιμετώπιση του COVID-19.

Η Σουηδία από την αρχή φαινόταν πως αποφάσισαν να ακολουθήσουν μια διαφορετική προσέγγιση της αντιμετώπισης του ιού. Τα σχολεία είναι ανοιχτά, ο κόσμος πάει στις δουλειές του, ψωνίζει και βγαίνει έξω σαν να μην συμβαίνει τίποτα. Από την άλλη, έχουν επιβεβαιωθεί μέχρι την στιγμή αυτή 14,777 περιπτώσεις με αποτέλεσμα 1,580 άνθρωποι να έχουν χάσει τη ζωή τους από τον ιό. Το ποσοστό θνησιμότητας είναι μεγαλύτερο του 10% των περιπτώσεων, όταν σε άλλες ευρωπαϊκές χώρες η θνησιμότητα είναι πολύ μικρότερη του 5%. Αυτό που μου έκανε βέβαια μεγαλύτερη εντύπωση από όλα, δεν είναι ο τρόπος που διαχειρίζονται αυτή την κρίση. Στο κάτω-κάτω χώρα τους είναι, εκλεγμένη κυβέρνηση είναι από τους πολίτες, επομένως τους εμπιστεύονται πως κάνουν το καλύτερο για τους πολίτες τους.

Αυτό που μου ξένισε ιδιαίτερα είναι η δήλωση του επικεφαλής της Σουηδικής επιδημιολογικής υπηρεσίας, Anders Tegnell, που αναφέρει πως πιστεύει πως λίγες ακόμα εβδομάδες και η Σουηδία θα έχει αποκτήσει herd immunity. Επίσης λέει πως τα στοιχεία που αναφέρει προέρχονται από ένα μαθηματικό μοντέλο και προφανώς θα πρέπει να περιμένουν να δουν αν θα βγουν αληθινά!. Τι συμβαίνει εδώ πέρα λοιπόν. Μια κυβερνητική υπηρεσία που σκοπό έχει να προστατέψει τους πολίτες, χρησιμοποιεί ένα μαθηματικό μοντέλο πρόβλεψης μιας χρονικής περιόδου στο μέλλον όπου θα επιτευχθεί το λεγόμενο herd immunity, εκθέτοντας τους πολίτες της σε έναν θανατηφόρο ιό, με 1 στους 10 πολίτες να πεθαίνει, και περιμένει να δει αν το μοντέλο είναι σωστό.

Οκ, οι ερωτήσεις λοιπόν είναι οι εξής: Αν το μοντέλο είναι λάθος, τι γίνεται; Τι έκανες για να προστατέψεις τους πολίτες σου; Βγήκε κανείς στη τηλεόραση η στο ραδιόφωνο να τους μιλήσει και να τους εξηγήσει τι συμβαίνει; Έχουν εγκρίνει την απόφασή σου να τους χρησιμοποιήσεις σαν δείγματα σε ένα πειραματικό μοντέλο που πιθανόν να μην επαληθευτεί; Τους εξήγησες ποιες είναι οι συνέπειες στη ζωή τους αν δεν επαληθευτεί;



[Edit 21 Απριλίου, 2020 @ 12.03 πμ:    Ενδιαφέρουσα συζήτηση στο Reddit]

[Edit 20 Μαίου, 2020 @ 22.53 μμ: Sweden becomes country with highest coronavirus death rate per capita] Λοιπόν, το μοντέλο βγήκε τελικά λάθος…

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Η COBOL πίσω από κρίσιμα Αμερικανικά συστήματα

Τουλάχιστον προσωπικά, η τελευταία φορά που χρειάστηκε να κάνω κάτι με COBOL ήταν στο πανεπιστήμιο. Αιφνιδιάστηκα όταν λίγες μέρες μετά της οδηγίες των κατά τόπων  κυβερνητών διαφόρων πολιτειών της Αμερικής για lock-down είδα αγγελίες σχεδόν παντού για την ανάγκη να βρουν developers για COBOL. Ψάχνοντας λίγο περισσότερο ανακάλυψα πως σχεδόν όλα τα συστήματα της υπηρεσίας που καταγράφει και διαχειρίζεται τους ανέργους (Unemployment) τρέχουν εφαρμογές γραμμένες σε COBOL!. Όσο λοιπόν ο δείκτης ανεργίας ήταν το 1-3% όλα έτρεχαν ομαλά. Όταν μέσα σε 1 εβδομάδα τα συστήματα χρειάστηκαν να διαχειριστούν 6+ εκατομμύρια νέους ανέργους λόγο του ιού, έδειξαν την αδυναμία τους.

Δεν είναι η πρώτη φορά που γίνεται κάτι τέτοιο στην Αμερική. Υπάρχουν αναφορές για απαρχαιωμένα mainframes να τρέχουν συστήματα διαχείρισης και διανομής ενέργειας, στρατιωτικές εγκαταστάσεις, IRS (η Αμερικανική εφορία) που κανένας δεν τολμούσε να τα ακουμπήσει. Ο φόβος των hackers ήταν ο λόγος που ξεκίνησαν να ανανεώνουν αυτού του είδους κρίσιμα συστήματα. Απλά δεν πίστευαν πως θα γινόταν κάτι τέτοιο με τον COVID-19 και άφησαν τα unemployment services τελευταία στη λίστα αναβαθμίσεων. Μερικά παραδείγματα. Η IRS (Αμερικανική εφορία) τρέχει σε ένα IBM mainframe το software που μαζεύει φορολογικές δηλώσεις και αποδίδει πίσω refunds γραμμένο σε  assembly. Η ηλικία του;  61 ετών. Το σύστημα διαχειρισμού πυρηνικών δυνάμεων τρέχει σε ένα IBM mainframe του 1970 και χρησιμοποιεί 8″ floppy disks που κρατούν max 80 Kb δεδομένων. Ηλικία; 57 ετών. Υπήρχε σχεδιασμός για αντικατάσταση πολλών από αυτών των συστημάτων μέχρι το 2017, αλλά τα περισσότερα είναι ακόμα εκεί, γουργουρίζοντας και κρατώντας τις πύλες ανοικτές.


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Αλλαγή SSD σε Proxmox Server

Η προηγούμενη εβδομάδα τελείωσε με εντυπωσιακό τρόπο. Μεσημέρι Παρασκευής και το inbox μου γέμισε με alert messages από έναν από τους server μου, έναν HP Proliant DL380 G8. Ο server έτρεχε κυρίως μια εφαρμογή Python για να εξάγει γραμμικές και γωνιακές επιταχύνσεις από binary αρχεία, να τα καθαρίσει, να μετατρέψει τις τιμές σε μετρικό σύστημα (m/s2 και rad/s) και να εφαρμόσει μια σειρά περιστροφών.  Υπήρχαν επίσης δύο, τρεις άλλες εφαρμογές, αλλά τίποτα το εξαιρετικό. Όλα αυτά κάθονταν πάνω σε Proxmox v6 Virtualized Environment το οποίο είναι και το κύριο σύστημα που χρησιμοποιώ σε όλους τους servers μου. Η εφαρμογή λοιπόν που εξάγει data από τα binary αρχεία, έτρεχε πάνω σε ένα cluster 2 SSD drives σε RAID-0 γιατί κυρίως αναλύει τεράστια δεδομένα, με τυπικό παράδειγμα τη διαχείριση 400+ εκατομμυρίων γραμμών που η κάθε μία έχει 7 στήλες. Σε ένα τέτοιο setup χρειάζεσαι ταχύτητα, γιαυτό το λόγο λοιπόν επέλεξα το RAID-0 stripping για να αυξήσω την ταχύτητα πρόσβασης στους 2 SSD δίσκους. Η ιδέα ήταν κάποια στιγμή να υποστήριζα το setup με άλλους 2 SSD δίσκους σε ένα RAID 10 setup το οποίο θα υποστήριζε RAID-0 στους πρώτους 2 δίσκους και RAID-1 mirroring στους άλλους δύο δίσκους. Αυτή βέβαια ήταν η ιδέα… όχι ότι ποτέ έγινε πραγματικότητα.
Η βασική αρχή λοιπόν εδώ είναι η εξής: RAID-0 σημαίνει πως έχεις 0% πιθανότητες να ανακτήσεις δεδομένα αν κάτι πάει στραβά με έναν από τους δίσκους σου… και πήγε.
Με το που έλαβα το πρώτο μήνυμα από τον Server προσπάθησα να συνδεθώ μέσω ssh αλλά τίποτα. Αυτή ήταν η στιγμή που σε λούζει κρύος ιδρώτας. Προσπάθεια μέσω κονσόλας από κοντά, και ένα ατελείωτο stream από drive’s errors, κατά την διάρκεια του reboot επιβεβαίωσαν πως ένας από τους 2 δίσκους πέθανε ηρωικά. Σχεδόν μια εβδομάδα δουλειάς χάθηκε. Το τελευταίο backup ευτυχώς ήταν σχεδόν 5 μέρες πριν το συμβάν. Τέσσερις νέους δίσκους αργότερα, και ο server ήταν επάνω αναλύοντας ξανά τα δεδομένα.

Ηθικό δίδαγμα… Θέλω πιο συχνό backup.

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