|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
As many of you are keenly aware, perlmonk.org, the Linux server on which jcwren offers free accounts to members of the Monastery, has been down for awhile due to hard drive errors. The machine, which normally resides a good distance from jc's house, is now back in his possession. The short version of the news is: while we have still not ascertained whether the data can be recovered, new and improved hardware has just arrived, and the goal is to have a system operational by January 31st. Contributions to defray the cost will be welcomed.
"Why", you ask, "has it taken so long?" I have heard various theories proposed, which suggest that the holidays, the hour's drive to and from the server, and jc's responsibilities at work may have had something to do with it. The actual explanation is much simpler, however. The truth of the matter is that jc is a rotten person who delights in the suffering of others, and has spent his days idly sipping mint juleps on the veranda, and painting watercolor sunsets.
In any case, upon retreiving the machine, it was found that, in addition to hard drive errors, the capacitors on the motherboard were swelling, a known failure mode of certain models (as well as the occasion of an ongoing class-action lawsuit). While this is not, at present, believed to be the cause of the errors which brought down the server, it would nonetheless be unwise to return a machine in this condition to use as a server, so new hardware was ordered, and arrived just as I was composing this. The changes are as follows:
The total cost for the hardware is $405, which jcwren has already paid. If anyone wishes to contribute to the project, and share the burden, it will be appreciated; email@example.com for Paypal, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get his mailing address.
It should be understood, particularly before you send money, that there are no guarantees about the new server. In particular, one of jc's friends allows him to hook the machine into his T1, and that arrangement could end at any time. Considering, however, that jc has hitherto provided the service for years entirely on his own, I, for one, do not have a problem with the idea of defraying the cost of a good-faith effort.
Lastly, but not... um... leastly, we do not yet know whether the data will be recoverable. I think all of us have been around computers long enough to know that we should be backing up our data on a regular basis, but like many of you, I wasn't; let's keep our fingers crossed.