My home server, which hosts trackmap.net as well as my personal website, all images on this blog, as well as my email inbox and a few other minor things, died on Boxing Day. It's been dead for seven weeks now.

I'm not blaming it for dying, really – it's been working faithfully round the clock since 2003. Five years of continuous service is not bad for a box I bought for £150, everything but a monitor included. It must have been built from the cheapest components around and never meant for anything but occasional word processing and web surfing. Instead I put it to work as an allround server and made it run a news server and SpamAssassin in 64 MB of RAM. Cruel me. It took to wheezing loudly in the final year of its life, though.

But gone is gone, which means that I was without email, which means that I was without spam. And I found that so pleasant that it took me seven weeks to gather myself together to buy a replacement. But now it's done and everything should be up and running again. I managed to restore all my data from the old machine's hard drive, which works fine if noisily. All that's lost is whatever email people have been sending me for the last seven weeks. If you have sent me mail and you read this, please resend!

The new server is a Shuttle X27, which cost me twice as much as the old one, but is four times more powerful in all relevant specs. And it's practically noiseless, at least compared to the other sources of noise in my living room – there's a fan inside for the CPU heatsink, but you have to know it's there to notice it.

My only complaint about the X27 is that is was hard to get an OS installed on it. I did not buy an optical drive for it, thinking there would be plenty of other options for getting software into it. But it stubbornly refused to recognize any USB stick as bootable, and setting the BIOS to boot from LAN had no visible effect at all. Eventually I discovered that it was willing to boot Grub from the old servers IDE disk hooked up through an external USB enclosure. Why it did that but would not boot from an ordinary USB solid-state stick is beyond me. Don't both use the same protocol on the USB level?

Anyway, all is well and I am connected again. Sorry for the interruption.


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