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Meeting held at the house of Carolyn Baird

  1. Meeting declared open at 3.04 p.m

  2. Members Present:

    • Marc Walters
    • Ross Slade
    • Chris Baird
    • Carolyn Baird

  3. Apologies
    • Peter Longworth

  4. Minutes of May 20th, 2001 Regional Meeting: A printed copy of minutes from the previous meeting were circulated by Marc and examined by all present. Minutes accepted by Ross; seconded by Chris. Accepted unanimously.

  5. Regional Report:

    It was discovered where was a printing error in the System Administrators' Report that had removed the last line of a sentence. The last line of section 7 should read "on Telstra's latest phone bill." Accepted by Marc; 2nd'd by Ross.

    The Following documents were circulated and read by all present.

    • Copy of Telstra's September account
    • Hunter Region's current financial summary for October.
    • Financial statement for the year to date with June statement for comparison
    • Financial forecast to June 2002 with June statement forecast for comparison

  6. Business pending from previous meetings

    All problem-level reports from the previous month had been resolved.

    There is still an outstanding request to improve the Region's informational web pages, including changing some odd-ball colouring (yellow text on a white background!) and the broken state of the system status reports. There was also a suggestion to copy old postings into the news web-interface. The responsibility for this was assigned to Chris, Carolyn, and Ross.

  7. General Business

    • The Regional Committee formally invites Stephen Call from the Central Coast to attend the next monthly regional meeting, as an introduction to 'the way things are done in APANA' in aid of establishing a Central Coast region.
    • Dial-in modem bad connection report

      As per instruction from the previous committee meeting, Carolyn reported that there had been 49 bad connection attempts to the dial-in modem bank in the past month, according to information received from Telstra. Chris explained some of these would have been during the morning of the 6th of October, when the init process on Giles was somehow suspended ("SIGSTOP") and that stopped the system from answering incoming calls for several hours. Also this month saw the automatic boot-script come to life for the first time in a while, so there would have been a number of 'legitimate' non-connections from all dial-ins being busy. It was accepted by all present that there were wasn't any sign in the past month of pathological bad-dial problems. Still, the connection reports are considered a useful diagnostic tool and shall continued to be monitored.

      Report accepted by Marc; seconded by Ross.

    • Further Web site discussion

      Continuing from earlier, those present discussed improvements to the web site under the category of 'little bits and pieces', and ensuring the system status pages were functional. Chris, Carolyn and Ross to start work on these immediately.

    • A 'Mentor programme' for the APANA/Hunter community

      Marc proposed the idea of providing a means for APANA/Hunter volunteers to advertise their availability to help others with computer-related matters (creating websites on Bombadil, etc.)

      One idea was to include such a listing of volunteers as part of a regular newsletter, and to include this as a link from a prominent location on the APANA/Hunter web site. Requests could be sent directly to the hunter-support mailing list.

      Chris suggested the idea of a central co-ordinator, to receive the requests and respond to let the member know when the volunteers are available.

      Getting ahead of ourselves, the meeting considered the idea of managing a barter-trading system like LETS (

    • New policy for the System Administration team in case of system compromise.

      Chris proposed a new policy for the adminteam of 'off-system' direct mailing in case of suspicious user or outside activity. Chris explained he did not want admin messages of any attack in progress being stored in an obvious place like the mail spool on the hub machines, should they be root-compromised. This came to light while regular system maintainance discovered a user had uploaded Denial-of-Service software into their account. (However, no evidence of illegal use was found, and the adminteam decided user curiosity is not a violation of the AUP.)

      Accepted by Ross, but not ratified by another adminteam member being present. A consensus within the whole adminteam will be sought.

    • Proposal from Chris to separate the Hunter/APANA Ethernet LAN into two physical networks.

      Currently Carolyn and Chris' personal systems are connected to the same Ethernet as the APANA/Hunter hub machines, and this has caused several problems recently due the Chris' experimental machines saturating the network. Chris proposed that he provide the hardware necessary for a 'bridge' to create a separate LAN for the personal machines.

      Ross also proposed to use the opportunity to consolidate Niggle's functions into Giles. Niggle has been considered 'superfluous' by some the admin team, and has a problem with irrepairable software. The two dial-out lines would be moved over to Giles, making Giles responsible for all the modems. It was agreed by Ross and Chris that Giles could handle the extra load without decreasing reliability.

      Chris will solicit proposals from the admin team on the details of carrying out both projects.

    • Impromptu report on recent work to the News subsystem (aka the News Administrator's Report)

      Chris detailed the changes he recently made to the netnews systems on Bombadil and Kildall. Foremost was the change of making Kildall the local 'root' news-server and detailing what work was still required in the plan to move all the news function off Bombadil.

    • Carolyn's request to discuss future of the the Dingoblue link

      After several weeks of the link being ineffectual due to server quality on Dingoblue's side, and the financial burden that she has been supporting alone, Carolyn asked for discussion on the viability of continuing the Dingoblue 'backup' dial-out connection.

      The Dingoblue connection has, when working properly, given significant improvement to the quality of the network during peak usage times. However, the cost of the service, at +$400 per annum, would place a strain on the financial state of APANA/Hunter.

      "To ease his troubled conscience at being able to acquire a disproportional share of the Region's bandwidth due to his access to the Hub's Ethernet," Chris volunteered to cover the costs of continuing the Dingoblue access.

      After Carolyn provided the details and limitations of the service, it was decided to increase the usage of the link to 10 hours a night, from 5pm to 3am, to help with the late-night (but off-peak) usage.

    • Election of System Administration Team Leader.

      Ross Slade had given previous notice that he wanted to abdicate the position to Chris. From the expectant looks he was given, Chris accepted the nomination, and was elected unopposed by Ross and Marc.

  8. Meeting officially finished at 4.22pm

(completed by Chris on 28/11/01)