Rob's Ramblings

Monday, 31 August 2009

Websites down

My apologies to anybody trying to access any of the websites I run; it appears that my hosting provider has a problem, and any access to any website is giving a page saying "Great Success ! Apache is working on your cPanel® and WHM™ Server". This normally appears when I point a domain at the server without having set it up in the control panel, and uploaded some content.

It's been down 24 hours that I know of so far.. at least I'm not relying on them for mail or anything else. And this only a week or so after I give them a glowing referance on a review site ... but I guess it is the first incidence of downtime that I've had with them in the almost two years I've used them.

We're just in the middle of listing some items on eBay, so I'm rather glad that this time we didn't rely on self-hosted images, as otherwise none of them would be showing up! (Several images in other posts in this blog will appear broken, though, sorry..)

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Finally, after canablising and repairing motherboards of three dead A5000s I now have a working fileserver again! At last I can get on with the important tasks in life - getting set up to run a viewdata BBS up at the Acorn World show up in Huddersfield next month.

There will be intermittant access to it in the run up period; if anybody wants to re-live the glory days of being online in the 1980s, then watch this space for access details.

(And for those reading this on Facebook, click "view original post" below to get to the actual blog entry..)

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Saturday, 22 August 2009


Ttomorrow is our seventh wedding aniversary. So I look up what the proper gifts should be ...

Traditional 7th wedding anniversary gifts have a theme
of Wool and Copper.

A Contemporary or Modern 7th anniversary gift has a theme
of Desk Set.

The Flowers associated with the 7th anniversary are Jack-

The Gemstone list shows Onyx and Lapis Lazuli associated
with this Wedding Anniversary.

A desk set ?!?!

And I've never heard of Jack-in-the-pulpit. But Wikipedia tells me it's also known by various other names, including "Bog Onion" and "Brown dragon". I bet the florists never use the first of those..

So, wool and copper ... Hmm...


Econet and furry batteries.

Firstly, I think I'm going to disable keyboard navigation on Opera, after yet again managing to press something that sent me forward or back a page and lost all I typed when I came back here. Let's try again.

OK, it's been a while since we had an update.

I've replaced my econet network cabling with some of PhilB's brand spanking new econet socket boxes. If you're into econet, then I really must recommend these. They link together with standard Cat5 fly-leads or cable, and have built in terminators where required.

That didn't help with my A5000 econet problems, however. Indeed, shortly afterwards the blasted thing wouldn't power up at all.

I put a plea out on comp.sys.acorn.misc and very soon have three offers of replacement machines. They really must be a nice bunch on there!

But a but of reading up has enlightened me to a standard problem with A5000s - Acorn, in their infinite wisdom, decided to solder Ni-Cad batteries directly onto the motherboard. You would have thought they would have learned their lesson with the exploding battery packs on the Masters. Anyway, after 15+ years, these batteries grow fur, and leak battery acid all over the place, wrecking tracks and burning the legs off chips..

So, with two replacement machines here, plus my original, I have three fury batteries, and none of the machines will work properly. I clean out Maplin of tagged Ni-cads (they don't have anything remotely pin compatible, so I'll have to solder them in on leads.) and rip out the batteries and clean up as best as I can the boards here. One looks like it's had it, with a fair bit of damage. The second required one track repair, and that is now firing up to the desktop. The third, my original machine, looks OK, but still won't power up. I'll have to get back to that.

Next task is, of course, to rebuild a whole machine. I'm going to use the SD-IDE drive I got from Mark at retroclinic, which is already formatted. I just need to work out how to copy disc-to-disc on a machine with only one IDE interface, as it is reluctant to co-exist with another drive.

I may have to set up another fileserver, fire up the A5000 with the hard drive, and copy everything off across the econet, then copy it all back again. Assuming the econet works now .....

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