Keith Emerson – 2 Nov 1944 – 10 Mar 2016

Sad to hear today’s news of the death of Keith Emerson. There’s hardly a week goes by these days without a part creator of my music library leaving us.

Keith Emerson

The Nice and Emerson, Lake and Palmer were two bands I took too right back in the late 1960s and early 70s. They are both in my iTunes library today and I still consider the ELP album “Trilogy” as my number one Desert Island Disc, my mobile ringtone is the synthesiser bit from the track “From the Beginning” (the synth starts about 3min in).

Gone but not forgotten, thanks Keith.

Heart Internet – UPS System? I don’t think so!

UPS MultiModule System
UPS MultiModule System

A few years ago, after an altogether unsatisfactory “dalliance” with FastHosts as my webhosting provider, I decided that Heart Internet were a better bet. All has been excellent until this last month or so. Recently I have been treated to a couple of prolonged service problems. Today’s has been the worst example – not only have all my sites been down due to a UPS problem but so has the entire email service to them.

What went wrong?

At first Heart blamed the problem on a DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attack, but then suddenly changed the reason to an unexplainable problem during scheduled maintenance!

The maintenance was supposed to be the change of a “Voltage Monitor” in their Uninterruptible Power Supply, OK that sounds fine, but why on earth was the work done during normal working hours? As an experienced UPS engineer, I know that any decent UPS system would be resilient as an N+1 or N+2 configuration. That means that, as a minimum, the system would comprise enough UPS modules to support the load with 1 or 2 module(s) out of service.

As an example, let’s assume the entire load was about 1000kVA (approx 1000kW), A sensibly configured UPS would be 5 units of 250kVA (this is a minimum, there could easily be 6 modules, N+2), one/two online but acting as standby(s) should any other fail. This also allows for one/two module(s) to be taken out of service for maintenance should that be required.

It seems today’s failure happened when the entire system was switched to bypass (meaning servers were supplied by the mains) while the “Voltage Monitor” was attended to. That should never have been considered. A properly configured/specified UPS should have been able to remove one or two modules from service without compromising the entire system.

That of course assumes that the faulty item was not in the overall system monitoring component. If that had been the case, the work should not have been done during normal working hours and should have been done as “planned maintenance” out of hours and customers warned.

As it happened, the entire system appears to have been compromised during normal hours. Something interrupted the mains supply while the UPS was in bypass and thus the entire Heart Datacentre lost supply. Completely unacceptable under any circumstances!

How to solve the UPS problem?

A message to Heart Internet: Contact me if you want to know how to configure a proper UPS System, and, if this kind of failure happens again, don’t bullshit your customers…..

Windows 10 – pt.3 Nagging Upgrade Notifications

Running Windows 7 or 8 and fed up with continued upgrade nagging messages?

Well there is a solution 😉

Say no to Windows 10 - stop nagging


Stop the nagging with GWX Control Panel

This is a free tool that can remove and disable the ‘Get Windows 10’ notification area icon on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Recent versions can also disable ‘Upgrade to Windows 10’ behaviour in the Windows Update control panel and do much more. See the user guide at the Ultimate Outsider blog. You can still download GWX Control Panel as a standalone executable if you don’t like installers.

I’ve installed it on a couple of machines running W7 and it works! The nagging stops.

Windows 10 – pt.2 (privacy problems)

Windows 10 PrivacySince that last post my opinion of Windows 10 has changed.

I pretty much use Windows for two applications: FamilyTree Maker and FrameMaker. They run well under the new system but there’s a more to the “upgrade” than meets the eye.

There are a whole host of privacy problems, look here, and some annoying general issues which are all over the internet.

Let’s get it clear, I’m not paranoid about sites gathering information about me, I just want them to be open about it.

I have AdBlock installed along with Ghostery in my browser and they take care of most intrusive browsing stuff but Windows 10 has a heap of things that are nothing to do with the web, they just send info about me and my internet usage to Microsoft. worse still, I need to switch these off rather than accept the default install settings.

If you have doubts about this, search Google for “Windows 10 privacy”, I suggest you read those results carefully!

For information: I use BitDefender free edition for antivirus and Malwarebytes for malware protection, those seem to work well together and rarely intrude on my computer use while keeping my computer clear of problems.

These precautions alone don’t stop Windows “phoning home” so I suggest you check the links given above to protect yourself.