Wanted: Linux Systems Administrator

The Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (VPAC) is looking for a Linux systems administrator to join our systems team working on grid computing.

  • Help build a grid across Australia!
  • Relaxed work environment.
  • Melbourne CBD fringe, easy access to trains and tram.
  • Salary around $55-60K+ (package contingent on experience)
  • Fixed term contract – 12 months.
  • Closing Date: 2nd August 2007

Reporting to the ICI Operations Manager, you will be working primarily in a Linux systems administrator role with Grid toolkits such as Globus and VDT. You will be involved in a National Project to provide Grid Based Computing available across Australia. The ability to work with and support our end users (typically scientific researchers and software developers) is very important in this role. Some national and international travel will be involved.

So if you think that it sounds interesting then please and go read the job advert on the VPAC website, or at least tell a friend! 🙂

British Army to end security operations in Northern Ireland

The BBC is reporting a further step in the peace process in Northern Ireland:

The British Army’s emergency operation in Northern Ireland comes to an end at midnight on Tuesday after 38 years. Operation Banner is the Army’s longest continuous campaign in its history with more than 300,000 personnel serving and 763 directly killed by paramilitaries. A garrison of 5,000 troops will remain but security will be entirely the responsibility of the police.

Long may it stay that way!

90th Anniversary of Passchendaele

Tuesday 31st July is the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in which over half a million soldiers from both sides died.

The BBC is reporting that the last known British survivor of the trenches is revisiting the scene of the battle to pay his respects.

Harry Patch, 109, from Somerset, made the trip to Belgium to recall his part in the Battle of Passchendaele which claimed 250,000 British casualties. He also went to pay homage to the tens of thousands of German soldiers who lost their lives. […] During the fighting Mr Patch was badly wounded and three of his best friends were killed when a shell exploded just yards from where he was standing.

Half a million dead for 5 miles of ground in 99 days.

Poppy flower - CC licensed

China and the quest for (electrical) power

Back in February 2006 I blogged about a BBC news report, commenting:

To give you a feel for how much power China needs they are currently, on average, bringing on one new power station a week!

Well 18 months later the BBC now says, as part of an article about China’s attempts to cut emissions by 10% between 2005 and 2010:

However, with China now building about two new fossil fuel power stations every week, Western environmental commentators say it will be all but impossible for it to achieve that reduction.

If that is correct and their building program has doubled in 18 months and if it follows a sort of Moore’s law for power stations then we’re looking at around one new power station a day by the end of the decade.

Shame on you Kevin Andrews (Updated)

So Kevin Andrews reckons that Dr Haneef leaving a country that has treated him as shabbily as Australia is “suspicious” does he ? It couldn’t have anything to do with Dr Haneef trying to go and see his newborn baby that he was on his way to visit when he was arrested on bogus evidence; that must be just a smokescreen, Mr Andrews ?

Now he claims he has some “secret evidence” that he can’t tell us about, though he’d like to. I suppose this is the same sort of evidence that said there was WMD in Iraq and Children Overboard then..

Quit now Kevin, get the pain over with. This time you and your party have failed to create yet another scare story in the run up to an election and the voters can see right through you.

Updated: This ABC news report makes some more interesting points.

On Saturday, Mr Andrews said Mohamed Haneef had no choice but to return to India. “I have indicated that the Commonwealth has no objection to Dr Haneef leaving, indeed the effect of the visa cancellation is that he should remove himself, he should depart Australia in any event,” he said. But yesterday, the fact Dr Haneef did leave the country so swiftly was being cast by the Minister almost as a sign of guilt.

It also points out that his statement that Dr. Haneef’s baby was born a month ago was also wrong, his daughter was born just 6 days before his arrest.

Incompetence or dissembling ? You decide.

Australian Internet Censorship pilot to go ahead

So it appears the Federal governments attempts to censor the internet at ISPs is not dead after all..

Coonan said one privately funded trial had been cancelled, but the planned pilot managed by the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) will go ahead as planned. The tender for companies wishing to take part closed last week and three bids were received, according to the government.

What they are going to be testing out is..

Under the ACMA scheme, ISP-level filtering products will be tested on blocking “inappropriate and illegal content”, whether such products would clog ISPs’ networks and if such products have improved since the government last examined their capabilities in 2005-2006.

A Loony Thought on Flooding

Picking up on something that Alec wrote about flooding and now being not a good time to be in insurance, I always think that the Monster Raving Loony Party had the right idea in their 2001 UK election manifesto.

Under a Loony government any prospective home purchaser be issued with a full description of such dictionary terms as ‘floodplain’, ‘coastal erosion’ and ‘exposed headland’. This will save time explaining why they have no house anymore after nature takes charge of the environment. In addition to this policy, building on floodplains in future will be restricted to large houseboats with recoiling tethers like dog leads. These houses will be able to float up with the floodwater and land safely again in the same place when the water subsides.

Severn Suzuki: If You Don’t Know How to Fix It, Please Stop Breaking It

Via Russell Coker:

In 1992 Severn Cullis-Suzuki (David Suzuki’s daughter) who was 12 years old gave a talk to the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio on behalf of ECO (( The Environmental Childrens Organisation )). She gave a really good talk, see the below Youtube video. The best quote is “If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!”. Unfortunately they haven’t stopped breaking things yet.

You can read a transcript at the Melbourne Schools for a Sustainable Future website.

Fifteen years on it is still a powerful and (sadly) relevant speech.


Today I noticed my site getting a thorough spidering by the user agent “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; heritrix/1.12.1 +http://www.page-store.com)” and appearing to be sourced from what appears to be an Amazon Web Services IP address, (domU-12-31-37-00-02-76.usma3.compute.amazonaws.com.).

The Page-store.com web site is minimal, with just a single page and a robots.txt that forbids all crawlers. It does describe what they are trying to do though, which is to spider everything and then sell some digested form of that gathered information onto new search engines so they don’t have to do the work themselves. In their words:

Page-store positions itself as a web wholesaler, supplying page and link information to vertical search engine companies on a per-use basis. The effect is to level the playing field between vertical search and general horizontal internet search.

If nothing else it scores highly on the buzzword bingo scale.