Site back… almost…

Sometime overnight the server that hosts my site – noble.gen.nz – was brought back online after 42hrs (or more) of downtime. This was (hopefully) the final announcement on this outage from the The Kiwi Web Hosting Company,

Thursday 28 February 2008 – 01:50
Mitosis Update:

All services should now be back up and operational on Mitosis.

Techs will be continuing to work on the server over the next day or two to iron out any difficulties that still remain, but all core services are running.

There will be some delays with mail that has queued during the outage, as remote servers being to reprocess messages for delivery.

Again, we apologise for the inconvenience and thank customers for their patience during this time.

There are indeed some difficulties left. In my case I’m lacking php session variable support meaning some interactive features aren’t working yet, such as my contact form, Matt’s photo gallery and pre-set zooming on my weather station map via Google…

Still, at least basic web services, including ftp and email, are back!

Advertisements

From bad to worse

My personal website noble.gen.nz is still down and news from the hosting company is getting grimmer with each update…

Tuesday 26 February 2008 – 19:00
Last updated: Wednesday 27 February 2008 – 09:34
Work to date on restoring service for those sites that are hosted on the server Mitosis, has proved to be extremely difficult, with further unexpected issues being encountered. The restore process has had to be restarted, extending out the ETA of service restoration that we had hoped would be by close of business today. It is unlikely at this stage that the service will be able to be restored this evening. We are taking this opportunity while restoring content to virtualise the server, mitigating issues after the content restoration has been completed, and also providing some future redundancy should issues of this nature ever arise again.

We regret that we have not been able to restore service as this point in time to those customers affected by this outage, and are committed to ensuring a resolution as quickly as possible.

–update— 23:00 26 Feb
The restore process so far is going as expected with no reason to expect any issues at this stage to hamper the full restore

–update— 07:20 27 Feb
Good progress has been made overnight with the data replication, the process however has taken longer than expected. Senior technicians will soon be able to ascertain an ETA for having the remaining steps finalised before full restoration is made.

–update— 09:34 27 Feb
Because of the complexity of cpanel restoration as well as the varying size of accounts on the server to be restored a firm eta is impossible. We have dedicated a tech to the restoration of this system as well as made all resources available to him. As we are rebuilding this machine we are also virtualizing it to make restoration a much easier and faster from here on in. Again we appologize for this issue

but wait, there’s more…

Wednesday 27 February 2008 – 13:30
The issues caused by the failure of Mitosis have had far wider reaching impact than we have expected. Initially the issues were related to a hardware failure. Replacement of the parts to get the server online proceeded without any issues experienced. The issues begun when we started restore on the operating system, cPanel and customer content. Due to data being corrupt, the restore process has taken longer than expected. Once the restore was complete (this morning) testing begun to bring the server back online. The net result of the testing showed that the server had been compromised via an insecure web page. The person or person’s who have accessed the server have uploaded a number of exploits which have caused further damage to the data upon the server. At this time we are hoping for resolution toward the latter part of today. We apologize for the inconvenience at this time and ask your patience while we work through the issues. We are doing all we can to ensure that the services are resumed as quickly and securely as possible.

By my reckoning this outage is rapidly approaching 36 hours (or more). Just as well I don’t depend on the domain for business and/or income…

The one piece of praise I can give Kiwi Web Hosting is that they are keeping customers informed. Kudos for not leaving the end users in the dark (despite the fact the server is!)

Website still down…

Just in case you’re wondering where noble.gen.nz is, including several photos linked to from this blog, the server it’s hosted on failed this morning and is currently being worked on by my provider The Kiwi Web Hosting Company. This from their announcement page,

Tuesday 26 February 2008 – 07:36
Last updated: Tuesday 26 February 2008 – 15:14
Customers hosted on the sever Mitosis will be affected by a routing issue with this server, causing issues with both email and websites – technicians are currently working to resolve this as quickly as possible

–update–
The problem causing this issue has now been determined as a catastrophic hardware failure. Technicians are organising a replacement server, which will then have content from the failed server transfered to it. The process of restoring content can take a considerable period of time and resolution prior to noon today is unlikely. Further updates will be posted here as they become available.

–update–
The rebuild/restore process has taken longer than expected but our technicians are still working to get the server online as soon as technically possible. We deeply apologise for the ongoing interruption to service and appreciate your patience in this matter.

This is clearly no small issue, as the server has been out of action since at least 6am this morning, now 10 hours and counting, the longest outage I’ve seen to date. In KWH’s defence outages are rare and normally brief, so hopefully they’ll have it back up soon…

Edit at 7:45pm…

Approaching 14hr (or more) and still down, with a rather disappointing update from KWH,

Tuesday 26 February 2008 – 19:00
Work to date on restoring service for those sites that are hosted on the server Mitosis, has proved to be extremely difficult, with further unexpected issues being encountered. The restore process has had to be restarted, extending out the ETA of service restoration that we had hoped would be by close of business today. It is unlikely at this stage that the service will be able to be restored this evening. We are taking this opportunity while restoring content to virtualise the server, mitigating issues after the content restoration has been completed, and also providing some future redundancy should issues of this nature ever arise again.

We regret that we have not been able to restore service as this point in time to those customers affected by this outage, and are committed to ensuring a resolution as quickly as possible.

Looks like it will return tomorrow…

The very hungry caterpillar

Yes, that’s one of Matt’s favourite books, but also describes a particularly fat caterpillar on our tree. Check him out!

Up close, these little guys are bizarre and intriguing,

He’s an emperor gum moth caterpillar or “Opodiphthera eucalypti” and is happily munching our eucalyptus tree, along with scores of his mates.

If you’re curious what the adult moth looks like, head over to Wikipedia, which tells me these guys are native to Australia, but also found in NZ’s North Island as an introduced species.

Hands-free Umbrella anyone?

OMG! It’s eating his head!!

This is the weirdest invention I’ve seen in a long time. Sure it will keep your head dry – pity about the rest of your body though and I’m picking it gets pretty stuffy in that bubble.

Still, the Nubrella is billed as the “ultimate weather protector” and “stops rain, wind, snow and extreme cold – and keeps your head, face and shoulders drier than ever”. Riiiight. Shame you’ll look like a complete dork. At least is won’t turn inside out in Wellington’s wind!

Someone is wrong on the internet!

How many geeks, er, wives agree with this one?!…

What do you want me to do?  LEAVE?  Then they'll keep being wrong!

“What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they’ll keep being wrong!”

from xkcd.

😀

Software for Parents

If you’ve got a toddler who likes playing with your keyboard, mouse or computer power button, then here’s a nifty little piece of software you might want to try.

Toddler Keys is “a useful tool for parents that allows you to lock your computer keyboard, CD drive doors and power-off button.”

With this software activated, you can safely leave your PC on and unattended without fear of apps or docs being opened or closed, or even coming back to find the PC off via the power button.

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are a number of options you have to prevent your toddler (or cat!) from unwanted PC usage. To ‘unlock’ the PC, simply type “quit” – or set something else in the settings,

As an added entertainment bonus, you can set up a bunch of pictures to display and/or sounds to play when keys are pressed. I’ve used it a bit in the last couple of weeks and it suits my needs – especially since it can disable the power button which Matt has found a couple of times already…

It’s Windows only and is a small 480KB download from this website.

There are a couple of known limitations – the power button lock is XP only, it can’t lock the reset button, it can’t prevent an instant reset via a 4 second hold of the power button, and it doesn’t stop a ctrl-alt-del sequence. Those aside, it works a treat – until Matt learns to read and type the unlock code displayed on screen…