Subject: archives
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 10:55:58 +1100
On Tue, Jan 06, 2009 at 02:52:32PM +1100, George Appleby wrote:
> Are the Birding-aus archives accessible?

The birding-aus archives are back on-line at:

For those into technical details the archives sit on a  server in my
UNSW office.  Unfortunately they can't be kept on one of my school
central servers which our tech staff look after.  There were on an
older machine, no longer in active use for research so it could
be left quietly holding the archives and performing a few other tasks.

Unfortunately between Christmas and new year this machine failed - most
likely a capacitor on the motherboard died.  When I returned to Sydney
yesterday I extracted the disk from the failed server and installed it
to a newer computer.  This initially gave me the archives back but then
the old disk failed when the new server was power cycled to complete
the set up.  This is a familiar story and one I tell my students - don't
assume failures are independent, the measures you take to deal with one
failure may trigger another.  If I'd been prudent I would have copied
the old disk contents immediately.

So the archive had to be restored from backups - I also tell my students
you have to verify your backups by doing trial restorations - which
of course I'd never done.  Some of the archive setup was missed by my
backup approach, so I had to use a 12 month old copy for that part -
hopefully nothing important changed in the interim.  Anyway the archive
is back in place.

For a more spectacular failure of backups, read here:

I'm out of Sydney until the end of January, so if the new setup fails
it'll unfortunately have to wait until then to get fixed.  But note
Russell has messages from the last few years at:


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The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU