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Fri, 09 Dec 2011

Trying to be fair to students with a few doing damage. - 10:23
So we have been watching the traffic a bit on our student networks and have noticed that some students are using ssh tunnels to download huge amounts of data over the fat pipe the uni has. Considering we have ssh open and most other ports closed one would hope the students did not abuse this. Too much to hope for I guess.

We could block ssh entirely to the student networks however that is not a good thing as students should be able to log on and do work from remote locations.

The solution we are looking at is accounting for all student traffic on both incoming and outgoing such that ssh is blocked to all but one machine. Then on this one machine we have the netfilter patch that lets us account for traffic on the INPUT chain on a per user basis. This will mean we can set student quotas for all data, or maybe even simply subtract the ssh incoming traffic from their web quotas also.

I guess students will simply have to get used to using one machine to access the rest of the student systems, should not be hard for them and will stop the people abusing the system.

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Wed, 18 Nov 2009

I doubt even we were the first... - 16:54
I was interested to see the claim about believing they are running the first tertiary exams run on computers, I guess I am interested because in Computer Science at ANU we have been running exams for first through fourth years and for masters courses for 5 years now. Including a first year course with over 150 students in comp1110 (first year), comp3300 (third year operating systems course), comp3310 (third year computer networks course) and many others. These exams account for 50 to 70% of the assessment in these courses.

As I said I would be very surprised if we were the first to do this in Australia too.

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Thu, 01 Mar 2007

Water Damage - 21:38
So many will have heard that the ANU has been closed due to water and hail damage from the storm the other night. Around 70 buildings on campus were damaged. In the case of DCS the skylights collapsed under the weight of the ice and hence water got in on the top floor.

Thanks to the efforts of a few staff who went in and shoveled ice and water for hours that night the damage was not worse. I was in there today and had a look around, some offices are fairly bad with the ceilings caved in (water ran through the roof space a fair bit) and a lot of obvious water damage. It is amazing how centralised the serious part of the storm was, sure we got some big hail at our place 1.5 KM from ANU but it is nothing compared to what hit ANU and civic.

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Tue, 09 Aug 2005

ANU IBM Power 5 boxes for Linux on Power work - 17:05

Mikal at the rack (full size)
Tuesday last week we took delivery of 2 4 Way SMP IBM Power 5 Boxes. 1 TB of disk, 16 GB of RAM, paritionable into separate machines. This is part of the IBM Linux on Power initiative to provide university and community access to PowerPC hardware for porting Linux software to.

One partition has been set up on one of the machines and called and it will be used for CLUG hosting and information soon. Mikal (pictured) was hanging around when we started unpacking the hardware and putting in the rack so helped out.

It was also thanks to Mikal we arrived at the naming scheme for the primary power 5 boxes and the management console. The two large power 5 boxes, once online will be known as Tridge and Paulus (ANU DNS already has them registered) and the management console is known as Hugh. Tridge and Paulus are both ex DCS members (and Tridge is still a Visiting Fellow). I will leave it for other ozlabbers to explain the humour (somewhat childish maybe, but then we (DCS) have the ANU DNS names computer, box, cluster and server registered also) of the management console name also if they so choose.

Our current plan is that will be the more publicly accessible machine and more stable for world wide access. will be more restricted to ANU affiliates, staff or students and either as a whole or partitions on it will be used for research and development that may be less stable (such as kernel hacking). As we see usage patterns emerge once the machines have users we may make use of more partitions or configurations on all the machines.

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Fri, 05 Aug 2005

Those chemists, always making things 'splode - 15:19
So I looked out my office window a while ago and noticed some smoke forming, it seemed to be coming out of the Research School of Chemistry. So it was not particularly surprising a few minutes later when we were all asked to evacuate DCS due to a chemical fire in RSCHEM. The smoke was getting into our (DCS) air conditioning and was definitely changing the smell of the air.

Once we evacuated we were all told DCS had been sealed for at least 2 hours and they suggested we all go home. I wandered home (my road bike is still in my office) and I wonder if now would be a good time to hop on the mountain bike for a few hours....

DCS may be open again by 5pm, not sure yet.

Update: We were allowed in briefly around 5pm to fetch anything we needed (in my case, winter cycling tights, insulin pen, home keys, laptop, road bike, running shoes, running tights, a few other things) and in theory the building will be open for staff again by tomorrow morning. The entire building still retained the smell of the smoke that erupted from RSCHEM.

One of my house mates mentioned many other buildings around ANU were evacuated, even on the other side of campus, at one point they considered evacuating some of the halls and colleges also. Talking to someone in the building when I was picking up my stuff I learnt the Firies tried putting the fire out with foam, when that did not work they resorted to water, this has them wondering if run off from it will negatively affect Sullivans creek. I still do not know the cause or any more detailed information about the fire.

ABC has a story about the explosion in the uni science lab too which provides explosion details but not much more information.

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