This site

I have created this site that I, and others by invitation, might use it to express opinions on various matters.

Nobody should assume that statements made are true, though they might be. Where authors choose to point to evidence, readers should examine that evidence and decide for themselves whether the evidence supports their assertions.

Authors are human, they make mistakes just like you do.

HP Z400

Some time ago I purchased an HP Z400 with a quad-core XEON processor, 2x500 Gbyte disks, 8 Gbytes RAM & Quadro 600 graphics from a Mandurah HP dealer, now defunct. (The dealer is still listed on your website:
Supernova Computers
Unit 1 58 Reserve Drive
Mandurah WA 6210).

I did so believing I was purchasing a computer of outstanding quality that would serve me for many years, and certainly longer than HP's consumer computers and office desktop computers such as its DC7900.

At some point I upgraded the system to 16 Gbytes of RAM.

HP Z400 six beeps problem

I have an HP Z400 workstation with the problem described here.


Bunnings is driving me crazy. When I visit its website, it insists I choose a store. It's not as if Bunnings accepts orders over the Internet, so I can't buy stuff from the shop except I go to one of its physical shops, and I don't need the website for that.

I note that some websites can easily figure out where I am without me telling it, so obviously the Bunnings webmaster isn't very capable.

Preferential Voting in Australia

I am surprised to learn that there are Australian voters who do not know how preferential voting works. Many think that, because Fred got more first-choice votes than anyone else, that Fred should be elected.

That is how First Past the Post works. It's not the Australian Way.

Others think that, because "Labor gives its preferences to The Greens", and vice versa, that if they choose Labor 1, that if Labor doesn't win, that their vote goes to The Greens.

It doesn't work that way either.

A Great Big New Tax

This is a phrase much used by the opposition in Australia's parliament in the past weeks.

The Australian Labor Government has decided to levy a new supertax on the superprofits made by large mining companies.

There were rumours about this new tax before its announcement, and the price of shares in BHP had been moving down since the recent intra-day peak of $44.93 on 2010-04-06.

Early April I placed a conditional order to buy a parcel at $40.00, expecting it would be some time before the order filled.

Windows in the Enterprise

This document relates in particular to the school where I work, but would generally apply to any business that runs Windows in conjunction with Windows Server.

I am writing this document because of a concern I have with some free (see for the meaning of "free" as I use i here) and no-charge software. On reflection, the problems occur with pay-for software too.

Theef: BackDoor Trojan

This, Theef: BackDoor Trojan, is the title of a web document I happened on when I was investigating traffic on a network I manage.

Some computers were sending traffic across network boundaries to TCP port 2800. This struck me as curious, and so I did some investigation. The possiilities were that

  1. The traffic was innocent, harmless and useless.
  2. The traffic was innocent,and useful.
  3. Some malware is doing something bad.
    1. In the first case, I might cease logging traffic in some circumstances.

Chess Club Management

Initially, I was thinking of just the ratings of Australian chessplayers. There are some who don't trust the current measurements of players ratings simply because the process is not documented. The Australian Chess Federation managest the ratings system, and this is all the documentation publicly available"

HTML Applications

People who know me well regard me as a bit of a Linux geek I have several computers running Linux, two of them servers.

I don't willingly acquire Windows licences, but sometimes they come with computers I buy, mostly second hand. On my desk, I have three desktop computers that came with Windows XP Professional stickers attached, and in some cases, with install media.

Buggy software

I cannot believe the amount of buggy software there is around, even in mission-critical applications.

Well, I suppose I must believe it, because I see it.

Before I name names, let us consider what constitutes a bug in software. For some, it is a coding error. Whoever commissioned the software said, "It must do this," and if it in fact does do that, they would say it's not a bug. It does not matter how unreasonable "that" is.

About me, the Mainframe years.

I've been using computers since mid 1969, when I was hired by the Commonwealth Bureau o Census and Statistics in Perth, Western Australia, as a programming assistant.

In those days, our CDC 3200 with 16K 24-bit words was a mainframe. Data entry (including programs) was by punched card and paper tape, the computer could run one program at a time. Data storage was on 7-track magnetic tape, not very reliable even then. It was then and there I wrote my first computer programs, in FORTRAN and COMPASS (COMPrehensive ASSembly).

Antispam, how I do it.

I manage some servers that provide mail services. Because of the nature of the organisations I support, there are some things I can do that larger organisations cannot.

The servers I manage all run distributions of Linux, but they don't all run the same distribution.

One, for a school, runs Debian. Until recently, it was Debian Stable, but Debian has released a new "stable," so it will need to be updated sometime soonish.

On others, I use clones of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Securing your computer

I've been using computers since 1969. I have experience on Control Data and IBM (and compatible) mainframes, and on microcomputers/personal computers.

On microcomputers and personal computers, I have used CP/M, Concurrent CP/M-86, MSDOS, various releases of Windows to Windows XP Professional, OS/2 and various distributions of Linux.

I have worked for large Australian departments, software and hardware vendors, and a small school.

Free software

The term "free software" means different things to different people. To a lot of people, it might describe the software that comes on the one or more CDs that accompany their digital camera, their printer or their computer.

In reality, this is not free software at all, it comes bundled with your latest toy and its cost in included in the price of that toy. You have paid for it.

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