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For 2023 (and 2024 ...) - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
Boys will be boys, saved by Ubuntu

Many things were very different in the 1960s to the way they are today. Rosey-tinted spectacles, looking back on what's perceived as a golden age, may persuade many that life simpler and better back then, and there's a saying that "School days are the happiest days of your life". Well - I've news for you; there were some rough times, and with the right attitude / approach / employment, things can only get better rather than worse.

What brings these comments on? I've spend last week, and I'm spending next week, in a highly segregated society. The workforce at the hotel is all male, the course delegates are all male and some elements remind me of my all male school days. A certain rivalry and a certain prankishness that proves, I suppose, that 'boys will be boys' and to be very happy that both Chris and Kimberly went to mixed schools. Were we just swimming with the tide when we chose the school? No - it was a conscious decision and I've see just one tiny corner of the old carpet lifted here to remind me why.


When I travel, I know what I'll do in the event of a hardware failure, or a problem with a course. The further I am from base, the more are the precautions taken ahead of time. Delegate workstations here are provided by the company organising the course, so that's really outside my area ... but I brought two rather than one laptop for my own use, backed up onto each other, and a selection of backup CDs and cables as well. "Better safe than sorry". It turns out that my backup plans are rather better than the local ones, and when the internet connections they have set up for the classroom doesn't function, I have two machines on line through which the delegates can check their email. And when one of their systems won't connect even to the classroom intranet, a data CD quickly allows the delegates access to the vital sample files we use during the course. Another machine has keyboard mapping issues, and a quick substitution for one of my own systems resolves THAT issue.


Some of my faster schoolboys, a.k.a. systems administrators, got to playing about for a few minutes during last week's course. Cross-login pranks; nothing too harmful or that detracted from the course once the ones who were newer to the subject had caught up with the exercises. Save for the fact that one, in self defence, changed all the passwords including root and put his system on an anti-intruder footing. Which made it kinda-hard for me to get beyond the login screen when I had to get the machine ready for the coming week. No easy "rebuild the machine" for me which is what I would have done with my own resources to hand.

But I am carrying an Ubuntu live CD - allows me to boot up a PC into linux without effecting the hard disc contents. And the one thing that hadn't been tightened on the rogue machine was the Bios / boot order, so I had my route in. Alas, all too quick and easy in the end ...

sudo mkdir /hard
sudo mount /dev/hda2 /hard
sudo vi /hard/etc/shadow
- delete the encoded password for root
- w! to save the changes
and reboot back to the hard drive to a system without a root password at all!
(written 2006-05-27, updated 2006-05-30)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
A162 - Web Application Deployment - Backups and File System Management
  [153] Linux - where to put swap space - (2004-12-16)
  [334] Symbolic links and hard links - (2005-06-02)
  [554] What backup is adequate? - (2006-01-04)
  [593] Finding where the disc space has gone - (2006-02-06)
  [703] Copying files and preserving ownership - (2006-04-28)
  [754] tar, jar, war, ear, sar files - (2006-06-10)
  [1013] Copy multiple files - confusing error message from cp - (2006-12-30)
  [1023] Finding public writeable things on your linux file system - (2007-01-06)
  [1288] Linux run states, shell special commands, and directory structures - (2007-08-03)
  [1439] Linux / Unix - layout of operating system files - (2007-11-20)
  [1648] The tourists guide to Linux - (2008-05-20)
  [1765] Dialects of English and Unix - (2008-08-21)
  [1801] Will your backups work if you have to restore them? - (2008-09-18)
  [1893] Some Linux and Unix tips - (2008-11-18)
  [2299] How much space does my directory take - Linux - (2009-07-20)
  [4056] An overpractical test of our backup strategy! - (2013-03-30)
  [4063] Backups by crossover between network centres - setting up automatic scp transfers - (2013-04-13)
  [4115] More or less back - what happened to our server the other day - (2013-06-14)
  [4390] Checking MySQL database backups have worked (not failed) - (2015-01-10)
  [4400] Commenting out an echo killed my bash backup script - (2015-01-19)
  [4405] Backup procedures - via backup server - (2015-01-24)
  [4481] Extracting data from backups to restore selected rows from MySQL tables - (2015-05-01)

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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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