27 Apr 2003 mascot   » (Journeyer)

Holidays

I've been in Scotland for the past two weeks, interspersing homework with mountaineering and photography. The weather was exceptional - unbelievable in fact: for the entire first week, we had hot sunshine and a cloudless sky. Anyone who's been to Scotland will know that this is highly unusual :-) I only got rained on once the whole time, and that was on the last afternoon. We did have an impressive thunderstorm directly overhead on one evening though - the strikes were so close that the electric field made my Dad's hair stand on end.

Computer stuff

I came home to a broken power supply in one of our home PCs. (No, it wasn't a power spike! It had been left unplugged. I'll just put it down to lack of attention :-) That machine is usually left on, so perhaps it was just some sort of momentum that kept it going...) Rooting around for spares, the only one I could find was in the back of my cupboard, labelled (by myself) as "Broken; buzzes". Well, it seems to work :-) and the buzzing is barely audible. I'll keep an eye on it though...

Linux Kernel Software Watchdog (and the daemon, watchdog-5.2)

I came across this for the first time today, and realised immediately how useful it could be on the webserver I manage for my friend. This server has bouts of instability, which I'm still trying to pin down, but my friend is trying to run a hosting business and doesn't appreciate long downtimes when it crashes and I'm not around to fix it. It seems that once I install the software watchdog, the downtime should be limited to only a couple of minutes in the event of a crash.

(Yes, I know this is fixing the symptoms rather than the cause. I'm still trying to find out which of the kernel patches I've applied is causing the crashes.)

I wonder if there are any other obscure goodies in the Linux kernel which I haven't come across yet? I'd certainly never heard of this before I came upon it by accident. Is this just me living in a cave, or are features like this rather under-advertised?

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