Heads up, kids. NewtonTalk is moving.

Yes, it’s true. The venerable NewtonTalk mailing list is moving to a new home. I originally posted the following notice to the list, but seeing as the list will be undergoing migration to its new servers over the next week or so, it needed a more permanent home.

Hello list.

I’d like to notify everyone of some imminent changes to the NewtonTalk mailing list.

Bill Shamam and I will be migrating the NewtonTalk mailing list and website to a new server within the next several days. This move will also involve switching the mailing list to run on new software. This is a necessary change as the current list software (eCartis) has not been supported or actively developed for several years.

With any transition that involves technology, data and the aethernets, things are bound to break. We will be doing our best to keep the downtime to a mimimum, but there will be gaps in the availability of the list and the website.

Details regarding the timing of the move will be posted to the list as soon as we have more details.

During the move, you can follow updates via the NewtonTalk Twitter account:

http://twitter.com/newtontalk

Thanks in advance for your patience and support.

Grant Hutchinson
NewtonTalk List Dad & Web Custodian

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Setting up new email accounts.

I’ve started setting up email accounts for a few old school Newted members … folks who have stuck through the trials, tribulations, and other woes of this community. As soon as I have confirmation that these new accounts are working well enough, I will probably open it up to the public. Details to follow, of course.

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Taking a test drive.

Well, hi there. I’m just test driving the Newted Community’s new home on the interwebs — hosted by the good folks at Bluehost. If you can read this particular bit of text, that means that the name server updates have propagated and the Newted domains are now pointing at the new server. It’s no Cobalt Qube, but it will give The Newted Community room to stretch its legs. Stay tuned, I think this might just be the start of something good.

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A bad prognosis.

The Cobalt Qube’s hard drive was sent off to Datacent for review on December 31st. This past week I received word back that the prognosis was bad. Really bad. Unfortunately, the drive had suffered severe media damage (as illustrated in the photo below) and could not be recovered. To be honest, I didn’t have extremely high hopes for the recovery process in the first place, so I can’t say that I’m surprised by the news. However, I am more than a little disappointed.

Scratchin’ My Head

As mentioned before, I am still working on reconstructing portions of original site from what backups I do have, as well as utilizing pages captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Things are indeed moving forward … ever so slowly forward.

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Recoverability?

Well, I’ve finally done it. After several fruitless attempts to resurrect the Newted Community server, I disassembled the Cobalt Qube and extracted the bothersome hard drive. The drive will soon be winging its way to the good folks at Datacent for appraisal and ultimate recovery. Hopefully.

Cobalt Qube: Drive Extracted

The site backups and existing bits of data from the server were not as complete as I had originally thought. Yes, I do have a few significant chunks of the site available for republishing, but there are several gigabytes of personal directories and other information that remain buried on the hard drive. This is why I have decided to go ahead with the process of data recovery.

I would also like to apologize for the radio silence. To be honest, I didn’t really have any news to share. However, now that some action is being taken, status updates should start appearing on a more regular basis.

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Next steps.

Over the past few days, I have had several offers of replacement server hardware and drives. The tenacity of this community never ceases to amaze me. I appreciate the support, but currently I’m still focused on trying to resurrect the site data from the previous backup.

Most of the data appears to be intact, but whether or not it’s possible to migrate that information into a fresh Qube environment has not been determined at this point. Replacement hardware isn’t an issue. I can easily drop a new ATA drive into the Qube and reinstall a virgin operating system from the original source disc. I could even add a PCI SCSI card to support an external secondary drive. However, the previous configuration had been updated and patched and tweaked so much over the past several years, that it was only a Cobalt system on the surface.

It may be better to start from scratch.

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Offline until further notice.

I am sad to report that the Newted Community site will be offline until further notice. This includes all email accounts and web services. The eight year old Cobalt Qube 2 that served up the Newted Community site suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure sometime this weekend. Until I am able to replace the drive and restore the data to a working state, the site and its services will remain offline.

Here’s hoping that the last backup is actually restorable.

I have notified the NewtonTalk mailing list of this problem. However, I realize that not all users of the Newted Community are on the NewtonTalk list. Unfortunately, I have no way of notifying the other users, as their email addresses are stored only on the dead server.

If you have any questions, please contact me directly.

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Up. Down. Up. Down. Up.

Between the weather-related power outages, an underpowered (not necessarily uninterruptible) power supply, and an increasingly cranky server, e-mail and web services for the Newted Community have been less than reliable this week. I apologize for the unexpected downtime and I have been wishing that it was possible to see these things coming. I am trying to address the server stability by clearing out a pile of older files to give the memory swap a bit more legroom. However, I think this 9 year old Cobalt Qube may be ready for retirement. That being said, migrating existing users over to a newer server platform will be neither simple or quick. The good news is that everything appears to be running normally this morning.

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Announcing the Worldwide Newton Conference 2007

It’s been a while in coming, but the next Worldwide Newton Conference has been announced and is scheduled for July 7 – 8, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan. This is a sporadically annual event where Newton users, people interested in Newton technology and those in related fields gather for lectures, workshops, exchange of information and casual chats. This year’s conference is sponsored by the WWNC 2007 executive committee and the Worldwide Newton Association in partnership with Newton Gravity and Newton Japan. More information is available on the official WWNC site. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.

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Burp.

Apologies for the temporary glitches with e-mail access this morning. The server was apparently in need of its once a year (or so) reboot. All systems are currently go.

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