Service migration etc

Hi folks
TLDR: scroll down to the next bold bit

As part of the clustering setup I now have nicely running, I’m planning on moving practically everything over bit-by-bit to the new machine, then I’m gonna bring the old machine down for a rebuild.

I’m in the process of migrating DNS to the Linode DNS manager – a much easier and more central place to manage all of our DNS entries than various DynDNS/Domainmonster pages. This process is in progress now, but will take up to four hours to complete after I migrate a domain.

I pushed the “caskie” domain and helpmebot’s domain to Linode now, and will complete the rest later tonight.

My next step is to perform a database master switch from charmander to blastoise. This is something I’ve never done before, and therefore don’t know how smoothly it will go. I’ve got a few things to do first, (set up ALL database access hostnames to use the new roles in DNS rather than specific IP addresses and/or hostnames), but then I’m hoping it will be a simple case of set the master read-only, wait for the slave to catch up, stop replication and start it the other way, and then set the new master read-write. At some point I’ll have to update DNS too – but I’m not quite sure of the best point to do that.

When that’s done, I’ll start moving sites over to the new server slowly too, and then the few straggling services that run on charmander too.

Stuff you need to be aware about:

  • Database migration may cause up to 30 minutes downtime/disruption in the near future
  • Site migration may cause up to 30 minutes downtime/disruption in the near future

I’ll let you know closer to the time when, and I’ll try and keep it to a low-use time if possible.

Sorry for any inconvenience – I’m trying to build a better service :)

(Cross-posting to )

Trains part 3

Urgh, I shouldn’t have posted that earlier…

the 1128 train that actually arrived at 1139 was cancelled at Oxenholme, so I couldn’t get that one. I went for a wonder, onto the other side, and saw that the digital display boards were no longer showing the next train, but rather “Welcome to Oxenholme”. Obviously, they thought there’d be no southbound trains in the near future.

It was just after I’d got a phone call that I saw a Virgin Voyager to Glasgow entering the station on the northbound platform. Not wanting to miss it, I raced to get on it, but my effort – while appearing successful – was actually in vain. Everybody in the station tried and succeeded to get on that train, but the train was then too overcrowded to safely depart the station. I was one of those who got off the train to allow it to depart – given assurance that there was another train 10 minutes behind this one.

I’m kinda glad I did get off actually – I would have been stood next to a door which didn’t want to stay closed. In waiting for the next train, I managed to get myself a table seat, rather than the standing room only that it was on the other train.

I finally managed to arrive in Carlisle at about 1300ish. Two hours after I bought my ticket, and two hours after I was intending to get there.

Getting home wasn’t too hard, got the 1549 train back that actually left at 1646. A relatively uneventful journey, save for the awesome glow from the pantograph sparking – lighting up the area around the train with an amazing blue strobe light :D

All this for only a semi-successful visit – had I known earlier, I could have been much much more successful online.

Train travel madness part 2

So, after yesterday’s vain attempts to go to Carlisle, I finally decided to take the plunge and go for it today. About 10 minutes ago, I finally bought my tickets, and it’s looking more and more like the train is actually going to arrive.

I was intending to get the 1023 train to Edinburgh, but it seems that I’m now going to get the delayed 1128 train to Edinburgh instead. But, having only left Preston at 11ish, it’s not going to be arriving until 1138 (at the moment).

It seems like it’s the exact same problem as yesterday – an early train broken down coming over Shap, and all other trains getting stuck behind it. Then, all the train staff are in the wrong place for later trains to run. At least, that’s why they’re saying that the train couldn’t run past Preston.

Oh well, looks like I’ve got another 10 minutes to waste away, hope I can make it back from Carlisle later tonight… :S

It’s all shaking!

Well, I did feel it!

Sat at my desk, I suddenly became acutely aware that something wasn’t quite right, it’s a really hard feeling to describe. Something was happening, and it felt really weird. After a couple of seconds, I felt some definite shaking, as well as hearing stuff on my shelves rattling. Just a sudden soft jolt, not huge shaking, and then settling down to the same unnerving feeling that it started with. After a few more seconds, all was back to normal, except for my state of confusion, and suspicion that it could have been a few things:

  1. A small local earth tremor
  2. VERY Large lorry going past – but there was no traffic
  3. Something happening downstairs

It quite clearly wasn’t the second, and the third wouldn’t explain the strange feeling before and after.

Anyway – it turns out that it was an earth tremor, at least it was a tremor locally. Elsewhere in the county it might have been classed as an earthquake, but I reckon some of the stories are exaggerated a bit.

3.6 on the Richter scale, somewhere near the Honister Pass – at least that’s what BBC News are saying.

UPDATE: states it’s actually a 3.5, and is located near Coniston.

Travel chaos

So, in my vain attempt to go to Carlisle today, I found out that the trains in the UK actually don’t like the cold weather…

So, I was planning to get the 1023 train, but it was delayed until about 1050ish according to the ticket office guy, so I thought I’d leave it for a bit, check the departures board etc, before buying a ticket – and I’m glad I did.

Southbound was still waiting for the 0742 train to arrive – only 2h40m late! A train had broken down at Tebay, and all the other trains had got stuck behind it.

Eventually they managed to move it, but a lot of trains were in the wrong place after that.

This country seriously doesn’t know how to cope with cold weather…

Getting drunk is not good for work the next day…

So, for a quiet night with a couple of drinks, work the next day, I thought why not? It’s only gonna be a couple of drinks, and there’s not gonna be that much to do the next day.

Urgh, not doing that again. I don’t think I’ve thrown off Thursday night’s hangover entirely yet.

So, a nice quiet night turns bad when you move off the cider and onto the vodka. When it becomes a good idea to move to another bar, get more drunk, then move on to a club, things can go downhill quickly.

So, me and a bunch of my straight(er :P) friends, and we happen to end up in CC Blooms (a gay club) – I’m still in amazement about how comfortable some of them were with some of the dancing that was occurring :P

And then there was the karaoke. Singing along to Snow Patrol’s Run, at the top of your voice without a mic is a bad thing. Sore throat Friday, No voice Saturday.

It was the Carol Concert that went the most pear-shaped though – being ridiculously hung-over and trying to op a sound desk when there’s a slight issue of the next channel being at max with something like static with the gain at minimum. No off switch for the channels. Hungover. Yeah, you guessed it, I nearly deafened everyone in the room. Including the principal of the university. :S

So, I had the sound desk to pieces after that, dunno what was wrong, but wired it up slightly differently, and took out some kit that was unneeded. The problem seemed to disappear, so meh.

The Christmas Party followed later that day, and with the freshly DMX’d UV LED thing pointing at the white christmas tree from the red party, I was happy that not much could go wrong, and that I could enjoy myself on the lighting desk again. Until I remembered that this DJ is not the best, and that I was still hungover. Also, this DJ really really really likes his bass. Several times I had to get him to turn it down cos stuff was vibrating across the table – I thought my netbook would be safe on top of the lighting desk, sitting on some unused (for this party) faders.

I looked away for all of two seconds, heard a crash (over 100dB music, I might add), looked around and saw the external screen for my netbook had lost signal. My phone which was charging from my netbook was missing, as was my netbook.

The whole lot was on the floor.

My phone is fine I think, however the USB cable for it is now almost useless, so I’ve had to buy another one. My netbook also seems fine, though the casing around the screen cracked open. I managed to snap it back together though, but the camera is now in the wrong place inside the casing for it to be any use.

Ah well, guess I’ve learnt to be more careful with my netbook etc.

2.5 feet is not funny

Seriously, who’s smart idea was it to land Edinburgh with 2.5 FEET of snow just before the exams? Like we aren’t stressed enough already with the prospect of the impending exams, just add a bit more stress of how to get to uni when there are no buses running.

The uni didn’t bother cancelling the exams until it would have been too late for me anyway.


Home for Christmas

Well, I decided yesterday that I’d come home today. Did I look at the weather forecast before deciding? No.

So I woke up this morning, expecting the amount of snow and ice to be roughly the same as it’s been for the past few days – minimal.

How wrong was I?

Several inches must have fallen overnight, sometime between 0300 and 1000 UTC. Of course, this meant my train was about half an hour late getting into Haymarket, the start of the train’s journey being Edinburgh Waverley – a distance normally covered in about 4 minutes by train.

And now the overhead power lines have failed just outside Carlisle, so the train ahead of us has got stuck.

Oh the joys of rail travel.

EDIT: That’s 58 mins late leaving Carlisle. :(

Red Party

Well, a lot has been a hectic few weeks – I’ve not not really had much chance to update this. Now I’m on the train home for Christmas, I’ve got a bit of a chance :D Ah well, I guess as my last post was about the Red Party, I better start there!

Well, after a hellish setup, the Red Party went down pretty well I reckon. I eventually went with four par bars all with red gel, three attached to the back bar of the stage, one on the rig above the house right speaker stack. Some LED PAR36s on the back bar, a couple of Martin RoboScan Pro 518s, and two PR Pilot 150s on the floor completed the set for the main stage.

The general setup of the stage

A cool idea of mine was to put two more LED parcans (64s) underneath the steel deck that the DJ was going to be on at stage right – a bit of diffusion gel on the parcans, and some blind material that I butchered during freshers week draping off the stage gave a pretty cool effect – the light from them merged together on the blind material. You can see the blind material ready to put up on the floor to the right of the steel deck in the picture above.

It was dubious as to whether or not we could go ahead with the event, especially given that the union closed at midday due to the snow, but we managed to convince the president to run the event. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen the president working behind the bar!

I did a little playing around with a UV light we’ve got – it’s LED based and can be configured into a sound-sensitive mode, as well as being DMXable. However, we’ve never DMXed it before, and given how much other work I had, I didn’t want to try and program it into the desk. I set it up lighting up a white christmas tree on top of the bar though – it looked pretty damn cool!

Ah well, it was an awesome night – Gypsy Cream and Twanda were just awesome :D