Of Hard Disks and More

Even when I am no longer burdened with the duties of editing our magazine (thanks, Tobias!), or keeping an eye on unruly wizzes (thanks, Tethys!) running MUD2 is a neverending business. First, a few months ago the MUD2 server's hard drive began acting up. Eventually I had to decide that a replacement was necessary; I also used the opportunity to upgrade the system to faster, and supposedly more reliable, SCSI hardware. I say 'supposedly' because I am still struggling with an issue that causes the system to briefly freeze during the daily backup procedure. (In case you're wondering, it's performed at 4:40 Eastern time every day, so expect some slowdowns for a 10-15 minute period around this time.)

Another Linux machine here (my main Internet server that also doubles as a test/backup system for MUD2) also required hard disk surgery; one of its hard drives began to run quite noisily. Not only was this annoying (after all, I sit right next to the darn things for many hours a day) I was also afraid that it will give up on me one day. Oddly, this drive was already a warranty replacement from HP for a drive that had a similar problem. (I guess there was a reason why HP left the hard drive manufacturing business.) In any case, I replaced this and another drive (which was running perfectly but it was almost eight years old) with a new unit. The system now works fine except that during heavy activity (like a daily backup) occasionally it locks up (I dare not say 'locked' just yet, since despite the measures I've taken it may yet do it again.) What's this with SCSI hardware these days? I never had problems like this before!

Speaking of Linux, I am happy to report that I completed the manuscript for my upcoming book on this fine operating system: The Linux Internet Server: A Solution For Your Office, to be published by Macmillan in July. As the title implies, this is a book that discusses Linux the way I use it: as a server operating system that works well alongside Windows and other computers on your network, be it a small home office solution or a larger business system. At first, writing didn't go well at all, but in the end, I think I managed to provide useful material. If you're planning to run your own MUD system using the Linux platform, this book is a must! (Well, that's the intent anyway.)

Back to MUD2 itself: as you surely know, we now offer 'pay-as-you-go' accounts as well as the ability to sign on via a Web interface (as opposed to having to send e-mail.) Both these features work very well and proved to be more popular than I thought; in fact, since the feature was introduced, the number of accounts almost doubled! Even as I am writing this, notification of a new registration just arrived in my mailbox. Of course not all new players decide to stay beyond the trial period but overall, it appears to help a lot. As for the pay-as-you-go option, it allowed many players to stay who'd otherwise have left us, because they don't play enough to justify the monthly subscription fee.

You may have noticed another new feature on our home page: an advertising banner for SETI@Home. While I certainly recommend that all MUD players participate in this exciting scientific experiment, the banner serves another purpose as well: it'll help us determine whether offering advertising space on our Web site is a viable option.

Since this issue already contains an 'anniversay interview' with me, I think that's enough of Viktor for now. In closing, let me just thank you all for making this endeavour fun even after more than two years. I am proud of MUD2.COM but I know it wouldn't exist without the support of its many dedicated players.

Viktor the arch-wizard

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Page last modified: April 25, 2003