[conspire] SVLUG downtime (or: abusing Drew Bertola's kindness for 7 months)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Sep 17 02:25:34 PDT 2006

Those of you on the svlug at lists.svlug.org mailing list will have seen
this, Saturday afternoon:

  Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 16:18:42 -0700 (PDT)
  From: Drew Bertola <drew at drewb.com>
  To: svlug at lists.svlug.org
  Reply-To: drew at drewb.com
  Subject: [svlug] SVLUG Server going down this weekend...

  Hey Folks,

  Sorry to have to do this, but I need to take the SVLUG server down at
  4:30 pm today.

  The box needs to be pulled from my cabinet this weekend to make room for
  my client's equipment, and I don't have an immediate fallback location
  where I can install it.

  I wrote to officers@ about a month ago and had only one reply (a "sorry,
  can't help" reply).

  If anyone has a _serious_ solution, please email me directly or phone me
  at 408-966-6671.


That sort of speaks for itself, but just for additional context:
SVLUG's current machine is a 2U rackmount server donated quite a few
years ago by Google and constructed & administered for quite a long time
by Marc Merlin.  In March 2006, SVLUG president J. Paul Reed, to his
great credit, got around to being concerned with _where the heck the
server is_, and found that member Drew Bertola had, for years, been
donating rackspace and bandwidth in his colo cabinet at Hurricane
Electric in Fremont.  So, Paul Reed and I made e-mail contact with Drew
(a few attempts, starting on March 3), and he eventually replied back:

  Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2006 22:13:21 -0800
  From: Drew Bertola <drew at drewb.com>
  To: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>, preed at svlug.org
  Subject: Re: Could you...

  Hey Rick and Paul,

  Rick Moen wrote:

  >Quoting J. Paul Reed (preed at svlug.org):
  >>I tried to do an apt-get install of a package, and was presented with a
  >>somewhat scary "Type out 'Yes I really want to do this'"-message, so we
  >>wanted to ensure that if something went horribly wrong, we could actually
  >>get to the console somehow so it could be fixed.
  >Hi, Drew.
  >That was mostly it, from my end - plus my wondering if you'd dropped off
  >the edge of the globe.  The only telephone number we have for you
  >(738-8337) is disconnected; I just found out today that you moved in
  >2004 from the only street address I have (330 N. Mathilda #1001), which
  >leaves e-mail, which you weren't answering until now.

  Rick, I replied to your previous email to rick at linuxmafia.com.  Didn't 
  you get it?  Let me know you got this one (Paul too for a cross-check).

  I'll in-line that previous reply here:

  Hey Rick.  Plenty to update you on (below)...

  Rick Moen wrote:

  >Hi, Drew.
  >1.  The most recent 'phone number I have for you (and the number still
  >showing in your domain records for drewb.com and thecoop.net),
  >408-738-8337, is no longer in service.  If you don't mind, what's
  >your new 'phone?
  >I ask because you (kindly) do secondary DNS for my linuxmafia.com
  >domain.  I've been worrying about you just a little, because you haven't
  >yet responded to my earlier mail.
  >1a.  Are you still at 330 N. Mathilda Ave #1001, Sunnyvale?  Just hoping
  >you're still around and OK.

  Guess my records weren't updated across the board...
  [RM: Drew's newer home address and telephone numbers snipped]

  >2.  Also, just confirming:  You're the kind soul who underwrites
  >SVLUG's hosting bill at Hurricane Electric, right?  If so, could you
  >fix the PTR record for to point to "svlug.org." instead
  >of the current "svlug.svlug.org."?

  Yes or no.  I could do it, but it's probably moot.  I need to have
  someone else start hosting the box.  I'm running out of cabinet space
  and power.  Any ideas?

  >3.  Are you willing to do secondary DNS for svlug.org and svlug.net on
  >your ns1.thecoop.net nameserver?   If so, just say yes; details to
  >be firmed up soon-ish.

  Sure.  Independently of #2 I can secondary svlug's domains.

  Life good?

(I was out of the loop about SVLUG's server, after that.)

The main thing to notice:  Drew asked SVLUG's President to please find
somewhere else to put that server in March.  March!  Seven freakin'
months later, apparently the elected officers (the sole people who
receive the "officers@" mailing list mail, these days) have been
ignoring Drew's warnings _and_ not bothering to let the membership know
there's a problem. 

So, that's why we found out about the situation only through the server
being unplugged.  Well done, guys!

I believe Alvin Oga has volunteered to pick up the machine at Hurricane
Electric tomorrow (Sunday), and host it on his network for a while --
which would mean we'd be fully back on the air after Heather Stern (and
DNS admins) adjusts the svlug.{org|net} DNS to point to the new IP (and 
Don Marti does likewise with svlug.com).

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