Diana the Valkyrie

Diana the Valkyrie's Newsletter - August 2003

A hard man is good to beat


During the hottest month of the year, I decided to moved several dozen computers to the Valkyrie Data Shed. Read all about it below.

New and updated Galleries

Galleries added this month.

The Library

I've started the serialisation of "The Weapon - Oblivion".

Stories added this month.

Listen with Diana the Valkyrie

Nothing new

The Movie Theatre

Movies added this month.

Shopping Mall

Nothing new

The Server Farm

Disaster struck on July 21. My central server crashed. It turned out to be a hard disk failure.

This doesn't affect the web site directly, it's the server that I use internally for data preparation, data storage, work in progress, that sort of thing. But it meant that I had to abandon my work plan that day, drop everything, and get that server back into action.

I do have a backup server. But I thought, well, I want to fix the main one anyway, it just needs a replacement drive. So, I took out the dead drive, put in a new one (well, actually, it's a few years old), and loaded Linux. Then I restored my backup. The backup was only a few hours old, so I hadn't lost any data, isn't that lucky?


What's luck got to do with it? I do a backup every day.

But replacing the drive (and trying to rescuscitate the dead drive), reloading Linux and restoring the backup took quite a few hours. So, I'm building a new server (actually, out of bits of old servers) which will mirror the central server once per hour. So if it crashes, I won't be out of action for long.

Backup software and a new server

My credit card processing software fights with my backup software. When I'm running a long backup of a newsthumbs server (1000 gigabytes, and it takes about 10 days to complete) then I can't run my credit card processing software. The people who make the card software aren't going to fix this any time soon, I think. And the backup software I'm using (NT Backup) is the only software I've found that will work when you have 1000 gb in 32 million files.

So, I had to build another server, just to run the Ultrium II (200 gb tape drive) that I'm doing the newsthumbs backups on.

I really hate the idea of having to have a separate computer for each function.

The Valkyrie Data Shed

Big companies have Data Centers. I'm not that big, so all I want is a Data Shed. And I'm going to call it the Valkyrie Data Shed.

It's a shed in my garden. The idea is to get some of the crowd of computers out of the house. All it had when I started, was a floor, walls, ceiling and electric power.

The first problem is how to get it connected to the internet. I don't really want to run a network cable across the garden like some sort of washing line, and I don't want to dig a trench to lay it in. So, I looked into wireless bridges. I bought a couple of these, running at (they say) 54 mbps, which is pretty fast, becase my wired network is only 100 mbps. If 54mbps is what it sounds like, that means I should be able too pump 7 megabytes per second across the link, which is more than enough. In practice, you usually get less than they promise.

I set up the bridge. It was pretty easy to do, basically it's just two ordinary wireless access points, told to talk to each other. Then I moved one end of the bridge out to the shed, and woo hoo, it still worked. When I tested it, I found I could only get 2 or 3 mbps! Maybe that's enough, my link to the internet is only 2 mbps.

But I continued testing. I really want more than 2 mbps out of something that's supposed to do 54. So, I put the two ends of the bridge a few inches from each other, to eliminate the possibility that the problem might be signal strength. Imagine my surprise when the speed dropped to 1/2 mbps.

More testing revealed that I could get 2 mbps mostly, but sometimes only 1/2. I called the vendor's tech support line, and they talked me through trying various things, but nothing helped.

Then the tech support guy surprised me. "Send the units back", he said. So I told him that if I did that, I wouldn't be wanting a replacement, because I've lost confidence in this product (it's the Linksys WAP54G). Possibly it works just fine as an Access Point (it's main function), but I couldn't make it work as a bridge at a good speed.

So I got a pair of Buffalo Airstation WLA-G54. Using them back-to-back, I got about 22 megabits; with one out in the Data Shed I was getting about 13 megabits. That's good enough.

I ordered some heavy duty shelving, and took a couple of UPSes out to the shed. And I dug out some old carpeting from the attic (is everyone like me, and keeps the offcuts from carpeting the house?).

I set up an old kitchen table to act as a desk, to put the monitor and keyboard on. And a rather dusty old chair that hasn't been used for a few years. Well, I'm not expecting to spend much time out there, but I do find it a lot easier to type sitting down.

Then I bid on Ebay for a webcam. I want to be able to take a look at things out there, without having to go down to the other side of the garden. So, I'm using the same method as I use for the Bionic Arm to be able to view the shelves. I lost three auctions, so I ordered the webcam I wanted from someone who was selling at a fixed price "Buy it now". He was selling them cheaper than the highest bid in the auctions. I'm being a bit picky here, I want the Creative Webcam 3 (no longer on ordinary sale) because it uses a chip that I can run from a Linux box. I tried running webcams on Windows boxes, but after trying several different ones, I've concluded that the combination isn't stable; it might run for a week if I'm lucky before it crashes.

The webcams will be part of my security system for the Data Shed. Another part will be infra-red detectors, and a soundmaker that generates 110 decibels, which I'm told is too painful to stay near. I thought about getting a pair of Rottweilers, but they cost a lot to feed, so I'll make do with my attack duck. Plus, if you set off the alarms, a Valkyrie gallops out and beats the crap out of you.

After all the messing around with the wireless link, I decided the hell with it, I'll run a cable. And since it's just as easy to run two cables as one, I decided to run four. They go overhead, like telegraph wires, with a steel support cable, so that the occasional pigeon can perch on it without bringing the network down. I kept the wireless link, though. It'll be useful for something, you bet.

The whole thing is set up, and operational. I now have almost all the servers based in Chesham, out in the Data Shed, and it's a lot cooler in the house. But I still have one problem - I'm only just within the electrical capacity of the circuit, so I guess I'll have to upgrade that.


I ordered a couple of webcams so I can watch the inside of the Valkyrie Data Shed.

The Newsgroups

About 10 gb/day is coming in, that's about 100,000 pictures. Some time in August, I'll have to change to a new server, the old one is geting full.

Spams of the Month

I don't make these up. These are actual spams sent to me, which just strike me as funny. I don't include their contact details - go find your own spammers!

Dimensional warp Generator Needed


We need a vendor who can offer immediate supply.
I'm offering $5,000 US dollars just for referring a vender which is
(Actually RELIABLE in providing the below equipment) Contact details
of vendor required, including name and phone #. If they turn out to be
reliable in supplying the below equipment I'll immediately pay you
$5,000. We prefer to work with vendor in the Boston/New York area.

1. The mind warper generation 4 Dimensional Warp Generator # 52 4350a
series wrist watch with z80 or better memory adapter. If in stock the
AMD Dimensional Warp Generator module containing the GRC79 induction
motor, two I80200 warp stabilizers, 256GB of SRAM, and two Analog
Devices isolinear modules, This unit also has a menu driven GUI
accessible on the front panel XID display. All in 1 units would be
great if reliable models are available

2. The special 23200 or Acme 5X24 series time transducing capacitor
with built in temporal displacement. Needed with complete
jumper/auxiliary system

3. A reliable crystal Ionizor with unlimited memory backup.

4. I will also pay for Schematics, layouts, and designs directly
from the manufature which can be used to build this equipment
from readily available parts.

If your vendor turns out to be reliable, I owe you $5,000.

Email his details to me at: info@federalfundingprogram.com

Please do not reply directly back to this email as it will
only be bounced back to you.

Damn, I only have a #52 4350b

Have you ever wanted to read faster?

Only the spam.

tired of cleaning up pet hair

No, I send all pets to the "Holiday Homes for Pets Pie Company".

Get Cat Fancy and a Suspension Dimension Butterfly Cat Chair

Uh - just what I always wanted ... I guess?


We've sponsored lots of the women; Nicole Bass, Andrulla Blanchette, Sheila Burgess, Christine Envall, Marilyn Perret, Peggy Schoolcraft, Larisa Hakobyan, Steph Parks.

We're also sponsoring individual events, and funding athletes to go to events with grant dollars.

We're also doing free hosting and free bandwidth for many of our sponsored women. Bandwidth can mount up to a large bill when you're running a popular web site.

And we've sponsored Heather Foster, Kara Bohigian, Priscilla Ribic, KerryAnn Allen, Linda Cusmano and Jodi Miller. Anita Ramsey and Rhonda Dethlefs coming up.

The Clubhouse

In the Chatroom

Chatter of the month



Diana the Valkyrie2268

Alphacentaurian is still numero uno, but he's not the superposter that he was last month.

On the Message Boards

This month, we had 3325 posts to the boards.

Most posted Board of the month

Poster of the month



Boomer's sports chat 426
Diana the Valkyrie's message board 256
Female bodybuilders 203
Politics and economics 177
TomNine's Tussling Tenement, mixed wrestling sessions 171
Lift and carry 154
Mark's Mellow Mancunian Meadhouse 138
Readers and Writers 108
TwoPossums TV and Pictures 104
Scooby's Femme Fatale Forum, for mixed action 104



Diana the Valkyrie121
Boomer's board is still way out in front, despite allegations that he knows nothing about sport. Boomer got into a fracas over his posting about the NY Muscle Club.

Board access

Mavis is counting the number of times the message list is checked for each board. This gives a very different picture from the one above.

Most listed Board of the month

Most read Board of the month



Fistman's Finest photos 14842
TomNine's Tussling Tenement, mixed wrestling sessions 13246
Female bodybuilders 12214
TwoPossums TV and Pictures 10793
Scooby's Femme Fatale Forum, for mixed action 8236
Feats of strength 8010
Lift and carry 6932
Rugman's Real Encounters 6358
Biceps 6221
Wrestling 6005



The usual boards are in top place The Grinch got the stats.

Back Page

Will you be attending the Nigerian EMail Conference? It looks like a fun event.

I checked the site statistics that Sandra counts up each night.

At the end of July 2003, there were about 637,000 pictures (37 gigabytes), 106 gigabytes of video, 7200 text files (mostly stories) and a total of about 143 gigabytes. The Current Newsthumbs has 8 million pictures; there's 53 million pictures altogether in Newsthumbs.

To the Magic Carpet