The scum turns out not to be scum!

Posted by under Life, on 18 January 2012 @ 8:46pm.
Thief cartoon
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Last night I came home from work as usual and as I walked down the driveway I noticed something wasn’t right. Something was missing. It took me a second to realise what it was but it was my bloody trailer! It had gone! Half inched! I didn’t even put a second more thought into it, as soon as I was in I called the police to report the theft. I used the new non-emergency line on “101”, since this wasn’t an emergency really. It’s only the 2nd time I’ve ever had to call the emergency services in any shape or form, and the last was 7 years ago when my friend Tom jumped off a short cliff edge (2 meters high) onto some rocks, landed badly and broke some bones.

I should probably mention at this point that the trailer wasn’t empty.

It contained the poles for a tent which are probably irreplaceable now due to the age of it, but it’s such a great tent it would be a shame to lose it. That’s what I was more concerned with, not the trailer. They’re easy enough to come by and for fairly cheap as well.

Anyway I called up the police station and was through to someone within 20 seconds. They took some details down and gave me a reference number. This took about 5 minutes and then it was done. I was told by the woman on the other end I’d receive a phone call in the next 24 hours for a proper statement. By this point I was happy it was getting looked into.

As a typical Facebook user I thought it might be a good idea to post there to my friends who live in the area, just asking for them to keep an eye out for it. I even posted a picture (which didn’t work for some reason, so I went back to text only). This sparked up suggestions to check eBay, gumtree and I thought of trying freecycle as well. Stolen items often seem to make their way onto those types of sites fairly quickly. I did some checking but it wasn’t there.

After a few hours my friend James suggested I contact the landlord in case it was them who had moved the trailer. I dismissed the idea as even plausible but instead thought of asking them about the recent contractors that had been renovating some of the building, just in case they had seen anything. I fired off a quick e-mail and that’s pretty much all I heard about it the rest of the night.

The next morning one of my workmates who carpools with me turned up. I told him the full story that I’m telling you now. We head to work and all sorts of scenarios are spoken about and before we know it we’re at work. As soon as I got in I told all the guys there – some knew already because of Facebook, others didn’t and were fairly shocked. “Who would want to steal a trailer?!”, I asked. “Someone who wanted to tow something I guess!”, was the response. We all laughed, it was a stupid question I suppose!

5 minutes after I sat down my e-mails came through and there was one from the landlord. It went to the tune of “We’ve received your e-mail and we’ll ask around the contractors”. Great, it’s a start at least. Nothing more was said.

About 10.30am comes around and I get another e-mail from the landlord.

“We moved your trailer”

What?! I kept reading. “We believed it belonged to a previous tenant who was evicted in the summer, so we removed it believing it to be abandoned.” OK, fair comment, but it has my number plate on it! It’s hard not to know it’s mine! Then it was pointed out that I was at work and they had nothing to compare it with. Doh!

Anyhow, the e-mail continued; “It’s still with our contractor so we will arrange to have it returned to you”. Great news! I was relieved so much. I e-mailed back saying thanks, and asking if the contents was still intact as well to which the reply was “yes”. That’s all that mattered. The poles are the bits that I want back the most otherwise our camping holiday would have been completely ruined in a sense. We rely on the large tent as our common tent for everyone to cook, eat and chat in. Without that we can’t all be in the same place socialising etc, outside gets too cold in the evenings.

Now that I know it’s safe it’s a big relief. It’s not been returned yet, they’re going to let me know when the contractor has time to return it. That way I can make sure it’s been secured and I can remove the contents. I’m not letting that happen again!

You might be asking why I’ve even bothered telling you all of this? It’s simple. Don’t take ANYTHING for granted. If a trailer is not secure, it WILL be stolen (or in my case, removed). And DON’T leave anything of value in it! That’s the mistake I made, and I almost paid for it. I’m just glad my luck was for the best here and it was someone I knew who removed it in the first place and would return it.

Now, all that said, keep safe everyone, and keep your belongings locked up.



Hard drive death and switch to new home server hardware at last

Posted by under Servers, on 3 January 2012 @ 9:57pm.

Happy new year to everyone, I hope you welcomed the year in style and with a stomach full of booze. I know I did!

This month has been an interesting one, not just with Christmas and New Year but also with hardware as well. A few weeks ago my server randomly reset during the night. I thought nothing of it and let is continue doing what it does, I never checked any logs. A few days later the same happened again so I started keeping an eye on it. Again another few days passed and it reset again, this then started to concern me so I did some chkdsk scans and everything came back clean. As I had other things on my mind I left it for a few days.

One day several days later I started to get backup failure e-mails so I went investigating. Hold on, the backup drive is missing, it’s just gone. I reset the server but it didn’t come back, so I tried a hard reset instead (full power off and on again). It came back. I decided it would be a nice idea to check the SMART stats and to my dismay it had “Raw Read Errors”. The drive was dying.

Several things can cause raw read errors but the most common are either controller failure or physical media failure. No matter which it was, the drive needed replacing. Luckily for me I had a spare 1TB drive which I hadn’t used and was just sat there waiting. While making the change I decided that perhaps now would be a good time to switch to my new home server hardware which has been gathering dust for the better part of 6 months.

The one part I hate about switching hardware is the OS re-installation and reconfiguration, but this time I decided to just switch the boot drive and see what happens. To my delight the OS started and worked just as it did on the old hardware with just a small wait for the new drivers to install. After that I put in the other drives and the server was fully operational without any reconfiguration! All I had to do was initialise the new backup drive, set up the new directory structure and off it went.

Needless to say I was very happy that I didn’t have to spend hours reconfiguring it all. So what are the new specs you might be asking? Nothing special.

AMD Phenom II 550 Dual Core CPU @ 3.10GHz
10GB DDR3 Corsair 1333MHz (2x4GB and 1x2GB)
3×1.0TB Samsung
1×1.5TB Samsung
2×2.0TB Samsung

It does allow me to use hardware virtualisation if I need to though which is what the extra memory was for originally.

Now, I better not get another disk failure as I have no more spares and they’re still not cheap enough to buy new ones!