Monthly Archives: August 2008

Wet and Wild!

This is our second consecutive wet summer.  Not least, lots of rain this past week, so the river is again high and vigorous – and fun.

I’ve discovered a great swimming spot I wasn’t aware of before, just a mile or so upstream from Tavistock and within walking distance of home.  First time I went there was classic swimming weather (the kind we’ve had very little of this year): hot and sunny.  It was fun, a good swim, and there were children playing.  In the main flow I could swim on the spot at a comfortable pace.

This Monday I was there in wet weather, and felt the force of the river as I swam the turbulent main flow.  No way I could swim on the spot any more: I was being swept rapidly downstream despite my best efforts.  Strike out vigorously for the calmer water on the right hand side of the river, where I find there’s a countercurrent taking me upstream, at a comfortable pace for swimming on the spot.  Hinting at scary, and a swimmer could’ve been in trouble if they’d lost presence of mind.

Thursday I was in again, after sustained wet weather.  The river was higher and more vigorous, and the main stream had a powerful pull that was sucking me back in as I struck out for the countercurrent side.  Even the latter was pretty vigorous.  Lots of fun, but it’s reached the point where I could use some proper white-water training to help make sure this river remains my friend!

Must get a riverboard too, so I can get some real thrills when the water’s high.  But for that I’d love to find a local club with local knowledge.  The only ones I’m aware of are canoeists from Kelly College, Tavistock’s exclusive private school.  I was about to say they’re not open to outsiders, as that’s what they’ve said when I’ve met canoeists in the street, but their website hints that it might be worth my while to try and enlist for a course.  Hmmm ….


Following the way DrBacchus and pctony have led, I’ve subscribed to slicehost.  All being well, I’ll migrate all my online presence there by the end of the week (except what’s already “outsourced”, like this blog running  That’s DNS, Mail, Web and SVN.  I’ve already fully configured infrastructure (ssh keys and firewall) and DNS, and I hope to finish mail tonight.

Slicehost looks like the ideal deal now for people like me, offering a full virtual machine at less than the price of a highly-restricted virtual host when I first got an online presence independent of my then-employer in 1995.  There’s no longer any good reason to keep on my old 1997 server in a data centre, and by retiring it I free myself from “what if” worries concerning things like hardware failure.  And finally, the economies of scale should reduce the carbon footprint.

Not sure where I’ll put the retired server, but it’ll be b***** useful to have a box with space for lots of old rarely-used-but-sometimes-wanted hardware.

A hell I’d forgotten …

I’ve been independent for so long, I’ve been able to organise myself to avoid most of the worst things people inflict on themselves. For example, I’m usually pretty good at avoiding peak-hour travel.

But since returning to wage-slave status (albeit slave to a better master than of old), I’ve come to see Monday-Friday as no longer being as free as I’ve been accustomed to. And so it is that today, on a Saturday, I took the bus into Plymouth and went shopping.


Now I remember why I’ve avoided Saturday shopping for ten years 😦  Though I should perhaps add that I rarely go shopping at all other than locally or for food: today was the first time this year.

Yay for Zones!

Well, I’ve still no idea what killed my SFW build.

But after further attempts to fix or work around it, I’ve gone for an alternative approach.  Instead of just running it as its own user (as I started out doing), I’ve created a new Solaris Zone dedicated to sfw.  And of course an sfw user within that zone.  I’m happy to say that it works within the zone, so I’m back on track and (hopefully) isolated from whatever caused the trouble.  Evidently zones have more to offer than mere security 🙂

Next, I’m playing about with creating a virtual network amongst zones.  Slightly confuzzled by the significant differences between my solaris version and the crossbow docs (such as Sunay’s blog) in, for example, the dladm command, but I think I can work around that.