SGI now Rackable, called SGI

So going to SGI’s website now redirects you to Rackable, which is now badged as SGI. Then if you click on the Silicon Graphics brand you’ll end up back on a page on the original SGI website! Confused ? You will be.. 🙂

SGI!? Don’t you mean Rackable Systems!? No, I mean SGI. As you recall, Rackable successfully completed a bid process to acquire the assets of Silicon Graphics/SGI. The new organization has been named, you guessed it, “SGI.”

They themselves explain it like this:

First, our corporate name will be Silicon Graphics International, but from a marketing and branding perspective, we will be referred to as SGI®. The Rackable name will become the brand for the SGI x86 cluster compute products. Rackable will join our other industry-recognized brands – such as ICE Cube, Altix, InfiniteStorage, CloudRack, MicroSlice, Origin, and VUE – to comprise the new SGI.

My brain hurts.. It also looks like they’re going to continue trying to sell the Itanic based Altix systems, which surprises me.

Time Team – Friars Wash – Post Excavation Report

Having just watched the first showing of the Time Team Friars Wash dig on the ABC I went searching for any post excavation reports and managed to find one on Scribd written by Wessex Archaeology (where W.A. seem to be putting up a number of reports) which has some interesting follow ups to what’s seen in the program, for instance:

  • It now appears there were likely three temples and an ancillary building, not the four temples talked about (and even then they’re not sure whether the circular building was a temple or a shrine).
  • The lead items thought to be “curses” (lead sheets with writing folded up and deposited at temples) turned out to be, sadly, more likely fishing weights as they were not comparable with previously found “curses”.
  • Whilst they found a lot of coins in Trench 4 (22 all up) calling them a hoard is apparently “tentative”.
  • There are apparently no “direct parallels” of the enamelled broach they found, and it could be 2nd century CE.
  • They found 7 (fragmented) pig jawbones in the sondage through the floor in Trench 1!
  • The closest parallel to the dual temple structure is at Mont de Sene in Burgundy

You can download the PDF of the report if you login to Scribd (they support OpenID, but not OpenID redirections like WP-Yaddis can do to, etc).

Bad Bus Security

Joseph Reeves has an interesting little story about how a badly designed e-commerce system results in both an obvious security flaw and a missed opportunity for better customer relations over in Oxford. This all started when the bus driver refused to accept the email displayed on a phone, but wanted a paper copy, even though he had no way of verifying either as being legit! Quite how the driver thinks that printing out a copy of an email you have makes it more legitimate than the electronic version is left as an exercise for the bemused.

Exploiting the hole in the Oxford Bus Company’s awful system is easy; print a genuine looking email that contains the details of any bus journey you want to take. The bus driver only wants to see an email and your ID, they have no access to any passenger lists; should anyone with a passenger list board the bus (some kind of ticket inspector, I guess), you can remind them that the customer is always right; furthermore, act mortified at the fact that they blame a failing of the booking processing system to register your journey as some sort of criminal action on your behalf.

Josephs suggestion of how this should work is straightforward:

Fixing this bus ticket problem would be very simple – the Oxford Bus Company just needs to generate a unique ID number that it includes in emails to customers and to provide drivers with access to a passenger database. Buses are already fitted with Internet connections to be used by passengers on the journey, so all that needs to be provided is a very simple device to the driver.

Leading to possible improvements in service, like:

A passenger boards the bus, hands over their ID and says “my number is 546672”, the driver taps this into the machine and replies “ah yes, hello Mr Reeves, I’ll let you know when we’re at Heathrow Central bus terminal”.

It may be that the Oxford Bus Company has done a risk assessment and believes that the loss due to the fraudulent use of the service is lower than the cost in equipment and time taken for the driver to validate a ticket, but I doubt it. In contrast the Melbourne SkyBus service (from memory) lets you buy online, you then have to print out a ticket which has a barcode on it which the driver scans to validate it. Of course that means that you can’t carry it around electronically (well, not easily on a phone I guess) but does have the advantage that the barcode scanners are pretty quick, much faster than having to have someone type it in (and maybe get it wrong).

Debian Gives Up on Glibc (Updated)

It appears that the Debian developers have finally gotten to the ends of their tethers trying to deal with the foibles of GLIBC and its maintainer. There’s a post on Aurélien Jarno’s blog saying:

I have just uploaded Embedded GLIBC (EGLIBC) into the archive (it is currently waiting in the NEW queue), which will soon replace the GNU C Library (GLIBC).

He gives a list of reasons for the change, all of which seem to make good sense. My concern (like many others) is that I worry about the impact if they are unable to keep compatibility with glibc based distros – though it’d be nice if they followed Debian’s lead on this (which they may do if this leads to a much easier working relationship with the maintainers – which doesn’t appear to be that hard to achieve!).

Update: If you’re curious to see what packages will be affected there is a list of the Debian packages built from the eglibc sources available.

(Via LWN)

Google Student Photography Prize

Google is running a photography competition to develop themes for iGoogle in conjunction with the Saatchi Gallery London for higher education students around the world. You’ll need to submit 5 photos to make up a theme.

36 shortlisted students will get their photos turned into iGoogle themes, 6 finalists will get exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery and the winner will get a GBP 5,000 bursary and a day with the documentary photographer Martin Parr. Entries close 31st May so if you’re interested (and eligible) you’d better get your skates on!