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Challenges in Data Management

Fall 1992

(Editors note: This is the first in what we hope will be a series of articles where individual data managers will talk about challenges they have faced.)

Professor Gordon's Rule of Evolving Bryographic Systems

Spring 1992

While bryographic plants are typically encountered in substrata of earthy or mineral matter in concreted state, discrete substrata elements occasionally display a roughly spherical configuration which, in presence of suitable gravitational and other effects, lends itself to combined transitory and rotational motion. One notices in such cases an absence of the otherwise typical accretion of bryophyta. We therefore conclude that a rolling stone gathers no moss.

PC Shop Talk

Summer 1991


Ask Dr. Network

Spring 1991

Q: I was attending a meeting at Oregon State. They were able to arrange for us to phone into one of their computers and use telnet to get to our own computers. It made it possible for us to complete a NSF proposal on time. Can other sites could offer visiting LTER scientists an account name which they could use temporarily to communicate with their home base?

DATABITS Publication Information

Winter 1990


John Porter
Virginia Coast Reserve LTER
Dept. of Environmental Sciences
Clark Hall, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Phone: (804) 924-8999



A (humorous) Guide to Safe Computing

Winter 1990

This just came in this morning. Couldn't resist passing it on to you guys...

Guide to Safe Computing

These days, it's more important than ever to practice safe computing, since viruses are everywhere, and, unfortunately, there are some for which there are no vaccines.

While it's true that the only absolutely safe computing is no computing at all, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk. By heeding the following safety guidelines, you can drastically reduce your chances of spreading computer viruses.

Gilb's Laws Of Unreliability

Winter 1990
  1. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Corollary: At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.
  2. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  3. The only difference between the fool and the criminal who attacks a system is that the fool attacks unpredictably and on a broader front.
  4. Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.

I Learned it the Hard Way

Fall 1990

Mounting Bad File Systems -- Unix users and superusers remember to ALWAYS do a file system check fsck(8) on a partition you are intending to mount from the command line with mount(8). Mounting a corrupted file system WILL crash THE system. If possible do not fsck a file system that is mounted, if you have to, address the character device (eg. /dev/xy0a) and not the raw device (eg. /dev/rxy0a). The raw device is usually checked because it much faster.

--James Brunt, Sevilleta LTER

Review of Optical Disks

Fall 1990

At the LTER Data managers meeting in Snowbird this year the subject of the status of optical disks came up once again. Discussions from sites suggested that a number of options still exist. The optical disks from Pinnacle Micro and Alphatronics appear most useful. Both companies have versions for most types of computer systems. Disks MAY be interchangeable between the same operating systems.

Pinnacle-15265 Alton Parkway,
Irvine CA 92718
(800) 553-7070

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