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Today I have to get the Institution to raise a cheque Real Soon Now so I can go back to Ionica and pick up my two printers before someone walks with them. Other than that I managed to log on from a computer in Ionica (I'm not sure, it might even had already been bought) and check my email. Seems I have to see the AO pronto about some rewiring. She tried to see me yesterday but apparently forgot I'd be at the auction all day. Hopefully I won't have to fend off too many complaints.

[15:20] Bit of a hectic morning. Got this urgent note from the AO asking to see me as soon as possible yesterday Which is a bit silly. Anyway she arrived at 9:15 just after I'd had a phone call from the librarian asking if I was ready for the meeting at 10:00. Meeting? Anyway, this meeting was to do with the rewiring of the library this summer. The AO wanted to see me about this to see if I knew about the technical specs. and similar. Well, I had to get on the phone for 30 min to try and get a handle on what I was supposed to be doing (I've not done this kind of stuff before) the old place was Cat-5 as standard when it was being built. Around comes 10:00 and I toddle off to see the librarian and someone from Estates and Building Services. We chew the fat over ethernet points and the deplorable lack of anywhere safe to put about eight grand's worth of active kit. I even rang Him just before the meeting to get a handle on what I should be after.

The upshot of the meeting is that we're not going to be putting ethernet ports where lusers off the street can plug in a laptop and we are not going to make 120 ports active in the first instance. For a start the number of hubs just wouldn't fit in the space I have to play with. As it is I'm going to have to get two 27U cabinets rather than a 37U one. But anyway, I finished that meeting, then had to troop across town (I decided to walk because it's such a smashing sunny day (wish I could wear shorts)) for a further meeting on the subject, then walk back and deal with lusers.

Luckily unix support bloke came over to share a frugal lunch and talk tech. All I have to do is try to leave by 17:30 and forget about work for the weekend. It's the aborted house call on Monday afternoon and a heavy database session on Tuesday. Oh yes, the Institution has coughed up a cheque for the printers I bid for, so I can post that off, wait a few working days and then turn up to pick them up.

[19:40] I get to wear shorts on Monday to see if they're 'acceptable'. Here's hoping I can be more comfortable at work. Have a good weekend.

29/04/1999 (Retroactive)
Was at the auction today. Funny thing was, it wasn't much foa day off in the classical sense. I was still up by 7:00 and cycling a few miles by 8:00. Got there in time to register by charging the massive crush of people surrounding what was once Ionica's main reception. My friend from unix support was there with his old boss. Both were primarily after Sun kit and some big monitors.

Anyway, the bidding started at 10:00 and we had 1821 lots to get through. Out main auctioneer was a Yorkshireman with a stunning sense of humour and he helped things go with a smile. I was there on strict instructions to purchase no more than three laptops, two laser printers and possibly two servers. All in all, no more than £10,000 including 10% buyer's fee and 17.5% VAT, which works out at around £7720. As the day progressed it turned out that unless I was willing to pay top dollar for some of this kit (which frankly wasn't up to much in the main), I was going to come away empty-handed.

The bidding carried on without pause from 10:00 to 20:00. I passed on the laptops when it became clear that people were willing to pay over £300 for something that might just run Win95 at a stretch. I and my friends were also amazed at the prices people were paying for Sun equipment. Ultra 2s went for £2100 SPARC 20s for £560 an E3000 with 5 discs for £10,250 and the E5000 for £32,000. Swinging all over the place. I wasn't going to go for anything with the money moveing like that.

In the end I bid for printers only and managed to snag two HP 4MV laser printers for a combined total of £975 after fighting it out with a beared bloke who seemed intent on buying every single printer in the auction. Needless to say, I was tired by the end and cycled home, only to get lost and to lose the nut which held my left pedal on.

Bed was a relief.

I really must get round to updating the Co-LARTers soon. Maybe that's a job for an evening sometime. I'm in negotiations to borrow a digital camera for a day or two, so that should be O.K. It's the pictures and the graphics on the entry page that are the toughest bit to do.

Today is viewing day at the auction. So I'll be gone from 11:15 to sometime around 14:00 to see what I can see. I've also been asked to do a column on Nightwing's pages, which I might do, as and when I have time.

[18:00] Here is a message I just posted to the Monastary. I'm putting it here simply because it tells you about the afternoon and is done is bricktext, most of which wasn't intentional[1].
I'm just about (tomorrow morning) to go to an auction that will clear out
the remaining assets of Ionica Ltd. (Cambridge).  Through various devious
means I've been able to get them to issue me with authorisation to bid up
to ten thousand pounds total.  All I can hope is that I'll be able to get
something worth my time and effort on this score.  At least I will be now
out of the offices for a few hours, the heat in this place is killing me.

Some of the things on offer included, SPARCs (4 and 5), SPARCstation 20s,
Ultras (2 and 4), Ultra Enterprises, Ultras with Creator 3D cards, plenty
of DDS-2 and -3 drives, plus DLTs. Disc packs (611 and 911), a few bigger
models including three or four E450s, two E3000s (and associated storage)
which looked brand new and a nice looking E5000 with 150 4Gb discs in one
nice looking cabinet.  There was also plenty of Bay and Cisco kit sitting
there asking to be taken away (7200 routers, 5500, 4000, 2000, 250 series
equipment) as well as some low-end (in comparison) HP servers with enough
disc space to satisfy the PHBs of this world.  Speaking of which, the car
park was stuffed full of BMW, Audi and other PHBmobiles.  When I actually
arrived the place was already heaving and oly through judicious use of my
Leatherman was I able to carve, plier and puncture my way through to what
must have once been some BOFH's pride and joy, the Comms Room.  If he was
to look in there now he would have had a heart attack; machines piled all
over the place, pretty much all his servers being dismantled by PHBs with
no idea about the difference between a HDD and a processor.  When I got a
look at the E5000, three suits were clustered round it trying to hammer a
tray containing eight drives back into its slot.  I nearly cried and went
over, reached through them and disengaged the locking handle which they'd
closed during their inept pounding.  It was so tempting to stand in front
of the thing until the end of the day to warn people off, but I had other
things to do.  I'd been sent to pick out a few laptops and laser printers
for the Institution as well as using up some 'slush' to bid for something
that could be used either as a backup server or be cannibalised for parts
such as processor or SCSI drives.  Rest assured, i wasn't going to go for
a Sun or something and break it up.  No there is a strictly PC orientated
feel to my Institution (at least where the Admin are concerned).  I can't
go buying anything nice, because they'll have my job.  All I can do is go
along tomorrow morning and watch as the suits buy up all the nice kit and 
cart it off to their chrome and glass office blocks and leave me to get a
few cheap things to keep things running on a shoestring budget.  If I can
swing it, I'll end up with a laser printer for my office and enough spare
parts to keep the ailing servers that run here from trashing their discs.

I'd ask you to wish me luck but you know that the suits always win in the
end, it's just a case of how much we can screw out of them for newer kit.
[1] And because I want to. It's my web page, I can do what I like.

Brought in my B5 CDs today for a bit of a break from the MP3s. Nice. Although even with these speakers I can't hear the difference between CD and MP3. She's brought in some plants for the office, which even though they're small, certainly give the place a feeling of... well, lived-in-ness. Which was lacking I think. We'll have to see whether they survive around me. IF they do, they may become BOPFH (Office Plants).

News of the day is that apparently I am supposed to be an Access Programmer. This is my main task at this time of year, beside which all other tasks are to be forgotten or relegated to the PFY's job list. I told them when I arrived that I was not a database programmer, to which the AO replied today "We know that, but you're fairly bright." I guess I'll pick enough up to cope with what they want and it's something else to put on the CV.

I'm away from here from 15:30 installing a Zip Drive in someone's home computer and Eudora on another in the house (like I probably mentioned before). Oh yes, the installation of the CD-RW yesterday afternoon went off without a hitch, I was suprised. But there's no need to jinx it I think.

[17:00] O.K. so I get a call. He's not going to be in so I can't go round to do what I need to do. Instead I'm here all afternoon. I have managed to make a small breakthrough with Access though, for which I'm slightly more please. On the plus side also is the Auction (Ionica, remember) viewing tomorrow. I feel safe enough in letting you know about it now, the ad's here and I've been given £7000 to spend on laptops, scanners, printers and servers. Not much when you consider what things cost new. But you never know. Consequently I'll be away all morning tomorrow. Expect an update sometime after 14:00.

On a final note, why am I cursed with aging secretaries who refuse to use anything but Display Write 4, smoke like chimneys and should have been shot in the arse decades ago?

Well, back to it. Sorry for the short entry on Friday but nothing really happened. No, tell a lie I did get most of a new PFY story down. This'd be PFY05, the last one I should have done at the old place to mark my leaving, but never got round to. When this is 'ready' to be unleashed on the masses I will do the usual post to the Monastary (until someone tells me to stop wasting bandwidth). I'm not sure it'll be one of the better ones because of the time that's passed, but I may find some redeeming feature.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it but this week is really busy. Today I go to install a CD-RW in town. Tuesday I make an actual house-call to install a Zip Drive and Eudora on two machines. Wednesday I go to a viewing for an auction. Ionica ( - now dead) have folded and the receivers are auctioning of the contents of the entire building. PCs, laptops, PABX equipment, HP servers, Suns (SPARCs, ULTRA2s, Creator 3D cards, E450s and an E5000 with 150 4Gb discs) and lots of other stuff are all up for grabs. Get on down!

And guess who has been asked to go on behalf of his workplace?

Link of the day: Joecartoon requires Shockwave unfortunately.

The weekend was good. Did nothing on Saturday but sleep, watch telly and amble about the place in the rain (which was great). Sunday I got to catch up on my ST: Voyager before the new series starts tonight (note to self: leave work in time).

Argh! Everything moves so slooowwwwllyyyy here. I'm trying to tidy up the Admin server by removing at least three copies of the same directories which seem to have been copied inside of themselves a few times, as well as some general housekeeping. But no, I have to wait till I've had a meeting with the AO before I can go ahead. Oh well, I suppose this means I'll have some clue as to what's what in them. At least it's Friday. I'm determined not to stay past 17:30 tonight. I'm working too damned hard. More later.

Still no luck on the driver front. The card's so old I think I'm just going to buy a new one. It's to driver a SCSI scanner that was perviously being run from a Windows98 box. I do not want a 98 box in my room, let alone in the building so I'm trying to get it to run under NT, which is at least marginally more secure.

A luser lost one of the chapters of his Ph.D today. Out of the goodness of my heart I restored a backup from the pool of tapes. I chose one at random to it's possible the one he got is a few weeks/days old. I'm not always this nice.

Still trying to send a fax back to Sharp. They keep wanting me to stick it on a phone line so they can do some tests on it. All I want is the money back.

Well, the dentist trip was a dream come true. No problems whatsoever. In fact the dentist said "Oooh, nice." when she began probing inside my mouth. To be honest I thought she'd found something expensive to do, but it seems not. I came back to work (aren't I diligent) and found my new stationery had arrived. Sometime soon I'll be getting a huge whiteboard up at the far end of the room so you can see what I'm doing for the day. If the writing's too small give me a shout.

I've been putting up some posters and cartoons around my workplace so that I feel a bit more at home. Hopefully I can get the old laser printer I bought a replacement for mended and that should give me a good Dilbert replicator. The new parallel port Zip Drive arrived for one of the people at another far-flung part of the institution so I have to go install that for them sometime this week.

Drove to a luser yesterday to install a PC for her. She'd only ever used a Mac before so there were plenty of questions relating to "What the right mouse button does."

Today is mainly sorting out the mass of documents I seem to have inherited. Oh yes, and signing my contract.

[18:55] Look, if anyone can find drvice drivers for a Symbios Logic ISA SCSI card that work for NT I'd be grateful. This is pissing me off.

Morning all. First of all, thanks to Erin who replied to my somewhat whimsical question of "How was your day?" with a pretty reasonable rant of his own about being labelled a geek by his own boss. It's time to move on, my friend. Other than that, today is a day when I'll be out and about a fair bit; delivering a computer to another part of the Institution between 10:30 and 11:30 and going to a dentist appointment at around 15:00.

I solved two problems last night and early this morning. The first was a recurring Pcounter problem which had me creating new links on 19 workstations last night. The other was the crapness of not being able to delete a printer if it's already been deleted elsewhere. But they're both solved now I think. Not having a low priority luser account to play with at the time, I simply changed the password on some poor luckless fool and used them as a test account. I'm guessing they'll try their old password for at least thirty minutes before they come and ask me what's wrong. Simple enough to fix though. Today's excuse for the luser is 'Minor magnetic problems caused by the building site's electromagnet scrambled the password file. Your password was affected because of the magnetic signature of the characters you chose.'

I think they'll buy it.

Yes, I know I haven't updated the BOFHcamCo-LARTers page yet. I'm too damned busy. At least I managed to get the data from my errant HDD though. Today I'm in blessed MP3 goodness of my own devising. Radio Jellybaby (, for the Winamp or similar enabled) is O.K. but doesn't cut it long term. I need my tunes. Sorted the monstrosity known as PCounter (printer accounting software) this morning as well as attending what's becoming known as the daily fire alarm. I'm pretty sure someone is smoking in the library (in the library for gods' sake!) and setting it off.

Nowt much else for today except that I have to deliver a CD-RW to one place in town, order and deliver a Zip drive to another and install a computer in a third place, all this week.

[11:00] Contract's arrived. Better sign it I suppose.

Was here late last night setting up the new Luggage (my PC) with its two large disks. Of course the OS I'm using won't recognise disks over 8.4Gb without special application of boot to side of figurative head. But that's sorted now. All I have to do is rescue the data from my old HDD and copy it across to the new one. Easier said than done.

This morning was spent showing the PFY how to install NT. NT being what it is, to make sure she got it right it took the best part of two hours. Other than that it's been a fairly quiet day, thank goodness.

[19:50] Quiet maybe, but stressful. All afternoon and evening I've been trying to get the data off the old HDD I brought with me from the old place. Here's the saga.

O.K. So I had a HDD I wanted to get data off. For some reason NT wouldn't allow me to get to the partitions. I made it the primary slave, the secondary master, the secondary slave, it wouldn't see it. I gave it a machine to itself, still I couldn't boot up this old version of NT. I tried a repair, it broke even more. I tried making it a slave to a working installation of NT, no joy again as before. Finally I tried a new installation, hoping to god that it wouldn't trash the other partition or the Program Files directory on the C: drive. There were a few problems during the installation: the ethernet card was something strange and needed a driver disc (I just happen to come across it in a box of 2000 or so junked disks), I boot up and the machine won't go from the log on screen to the desktop. 'Path too long' to this folder ('Desktop', if you can believe it) it says. So I'm left with a Cyan Screen of Death. Luckily as I press Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot and try something else, probably with a hammer and see that the normal menu comes up, hmmm, thinks I, maybe I'll start the Task Manager thingy. So I do, things are working, no processes running, obviously. I wonder if there's anything in the menus I can use... What's this? Start a new process? How about a 'cmd'? Bingo, I can see C:\. Quick as a flash I copy the entire partition to another computer using Map Network Drive from the remote PC. It's the D: partition I really want though; filled with Southpark movies and MP3s. I cd D:\... "access denied" Nooooooo, is the partition fecked? Hang on a mo, maybe I just set the permissions to be only people who were on the old domain? A domain it's no longer part of. I dig out of my memory the syntax for CACLS and overriding any previous permissions, give myself access to everything. *Whoosh* goes the contents of my D: partition. Map network drive... access granted! Now I sit here watching 2Gb of hard collected MP3 and Southpark stream past my eyes in a delightful movement of data across my network.

How was your day?

[14:00] I opened this page to edit at 08:12 this morning. Now look at the time. Not so much a hectic, as a full morning, this morning. Nothing much happened until 10:00 when I was about to go down to deal with the library computers. Suddenly the new LaserJet 4000N arrived and we rushed to get it unpacked and working with the DLC protocol. There was a few minutes sheer blind panic when I used a slightly too short patch cable and nearly tore the RJ-45 connector from the back of the JetDirect card when I moved the printer. It looked like I might have broken it out of the box.

Luckily, even though it's very loose it still works. So I'm not touching it again. Once that was done the new PCs arrived (one for me, one for one of the staff) and I had to hold myself back from setting mine up right away. Unfortunately I had to then go down and sort out two machines in the library. Deleting piles of shite from one PC and installing piles of shite on the other took up most of the rest of the morning. This afternoon I will be mostly setting up my new machine. The AO came in this morning and told me after yesterday to "Not do too much today". Far be it from me to disobey orders.

[15:20] What a godawful morning. I am talking basically your worst nightmare in the 'new-job-still-unsure' stakes. I win. Hands down. No contest.

First off, I've had many complaints about the printer which broke last night. As a result I was in for 8:00 this morning talking to likeminded bleary-eyed individuals on hardware support at HP. Still, the sound of the mechanical, yet smarmy sound of them managed to remove my early morning 'I-haven't-been-fucked-over' feeling fairly quickly. After 50 minutes on the phone listening to hold music and being passed around I find out the printer's warranty expired last month. Faced with the cost of callout plus VAT plus parts Vs cost of sending it off plus VAT plus parts plus benchwork costs the AO decided I should buy a new one, by tomorrow. What we need is an HP 4000N or similar. The only place that does them is charging £1121.48 all inclusive, for it to turn up in the post tomorrow. So I have weathered the screams from the AO to order one.

Once that little debacle had passed by I noticed that the server that server the printer doesn't have the softare to communicate with the APC UPS that pretends to be any good. So off I go to sunsite to ftp Netscape onto the box to go to the APC website. Part-way through the ftp session everything stops. Dead.

I don't know what's wrong. She, as a neophyte can't shed any light. The machine can't ping, can't be pinged but claims that it's sending packets. It's curious. I suspect a mangled TCP/IP stack, but no. I try umpteen other things and come up empty. I'm going mad, the lusers are asking questions about why there's no printer and why they can't log on and I can't fix it. So, I call Him.

He's cool. He calms me down a little and comes over in a borrowed car with a new network card. We dismantle the server, choke on the kilogram or so of dust inside and jam in the new adapter. After a few gags and dry heaves, the server claims it's old enough to be left in the house while mummy and daddy go to the shops. The situation appears to be status quo. Then a luser rings up, she can't print to the printer she normally prints to. I wander up there, it's another DLC printer jobby. The guy before me allocated all the printers IP numbers and then connected the server to them using MAC addresses instead.

I suspect the shares have become confused because of something I was doing earlier. Then I remember I didn't touch that one. Hmmm. I make the machine print over TCP/IP rather than this dodgy DLC protocol, still no joy. It sits in the print queue like a turd. He's still here and helps me give the printer the IP number it was probably meant to have years ago. Still nothing. I retire back to the BOFHice and collapse. He, meanwhile is glaring at the 10/100 hubs. He powercycles the main (unmanaged and unmanagable) hub and I go back up stairs. Everything is working like a dream.

Conclusion: Both the problem with the server and the problem with the printer were caused by the MAC table in the hub overflowing when deciding which frames to send to the 10 side and which to send to the 100 side. Of couse, if I'd known that at the beginning I needn't have spent my entire morning and half the working afternoon shedding hair.

And He took two of my sandwitches because he'd missed his lunch.

So how was your morning?

Welcome to the first full journal entry from the new home of the BOFHcam. I still thinnk it's fairly freaky that Jenni and I aren't at the location of our respective sites for about two weeks.

Yesterday went fairly well, with me only being slightly nervous around the new Her. I've had a bit of a brainstorm and think the best thing for Her will be to send her on an NT course as soon as possible. All I have to do is find one now. The Administration Officer (hereinafter know as the AO) came back today and asked after me. If she'd come in a few days ago I would have had a stack of complaints this high to talk to her about, but I don't now.

Today is more of the same; teaching, ordering stuff and hoping I don't mess up too much. More later when I have something to say.

[18:35] Well more of the friends came round this evening to help me tidy the place in the aftermath of Her and myself doing some this morning. Unix support guy and friends helped me sort through the last of the ~2500 floppies in the place (sign of a bad network admin, loads of floppies) and gut some old Viglens. Bummer of the day was having the main printer for the graduate students suffer a fairly major hardware fault (phoning them tomorrow morning). The room, at least is looking fairly sharp now, all I have to do now is convince the rest of the building to get Clue.

Well, that was the birthday. Fairly bad show on the presents front apart from the ones I got. From the girlfrind I got a wok set which is damned useful considering the amount of stir-frys I do. From the parents (who came to see me this weekend, took me out for a meal or two, walked around the gardens in the town and generally were nice to see) I got a Leatherman. For those of you who don't know, a Leatherman is an all burnished metal version of a pair of pliers with attitude. They're like 'swiss-army knives' for men. And from the friends I got a T-shirt which says "Only Lefthanded people are in their ringht minds." Which as everyone knows, is totally true.

Monday... Oh yes, today. Well, the backups failed on Friday so I'm currently doing them on both servers, the PFY starts today and I need to get some software ordered very quickly for some machines which will be arriving very soon. Other than that, it's a normal week here at Stress Central.

[17:00] Right! Aside from one small problem with 'cp' being verbose the BOFHcam is now officially back on the air from Frankenstein! Huzzah, hurrah and hurray. I'll be taking some images of the office so you can all see where I'm now habitating.

Hey guess what? It's my birthday tomorrow.

Other than that I've been up to my ears in linux problems. I was sure I'd been ftp'ing to Frankenstein before today, but now it appears that in.ftpd is missing and I've been unable to get anything in it's place to work. Not only that but I can't see to get the webcam to work from the right input (S-Video). Anyone with bttv experience who emails in with the right answer gets... something nice, if I can find something. The script for getting the image to the right directory is fine. I'm just getting bluescreen at the moment, which means it's going through another input. Probably an imaginary PAL connector or something.

I'm still learning the ropes right now and have to go all across town in the next week to install new machines and CD-RWs, which is going to be a bind, especially with the new PFY starting.

I've just met one of the users while I was writing this. He has to be one of the oldest people in the building, yet he's the most Clued of them all as far as I can tell. Tanj![1]

Oh well, back to it I suppose. More news on the camera as and when I have it.

[18:23] O.K. to cut a long story short, I messed up the first install, hadn't included wu_ftpd, added it by hand, fecked up the libraries for the camera stuff, decided the whole thing was screwed and reinstalled with a few more bits (including the src this time!). Now as the birthday approacheth all I need to do (ha!) is get SVGAlib working so I can go into X, run xawtv, set the right input (S-video, as I'm sure you know), initialise the scripts, reboot (for cleanliness and some other housekeeping things) and move the html across. But that's next week. Have a good weekend.

[1] One for the Niven fans among you.

Today was a much better day in terms of stress. The backup seems to have worked correctly (one's a 'suck' from all the admin machines, must remember to remind them to leave their machines on, damnit. I managed to create Frankenstein (the new BOFHcam box last night with the help of my friend from unix support. For some reason though I didn't get gcc installed, which is a bit of a bind really. Going to see if I can remedy that this morning.

All the admin people are here today to today is meet and greet day, finally. I'll also be able to order my new computer, as well as the computer for one of the people in an outlying location. Think I'll go with Dell because we seem to have an account with them. More later on the progress of Frankenstein.

O.K. luser so you were puzzled by 'administrator' being on the login screen rather than your usual username. You "don't want to learn" because you'd rather it just worked. Well I'm sorry, you're crap! Get a life and try to understand the technology you're working with at least a little. As you might have guessed I'm a little pissed off by the lusers here already. They are using crap machines, with crap configurations, mixed up user IDs, and absolutely no inclination (in fact downright hostility) towards learning how to use the system.

[13:20] Just been over to see a fellow Computer Officer's setup, his accounts (user and money) databases and other network stuff. What I need is a funky PFY who knows the ropes as well as his does. Unfortunately I don't think I have one in the first instance. With crossover cable in had I should be moving to 100Mb/sec connection to the Institution network sometime this afternoon though. Huzzah.

The biggest things I need to do here are (in no order of importance) sort out the user database for the admin network, clean up all the machines and sort out the network, install a global virus guard and teach the users to use the machines better. I guess being nice to them in the first instance will get me on their side for later. But one of them is so anti-technology it's untrue.

I've been banned by the girlfriend from working more than twelve hours a day. She laid down the law and has decided to come and get me for lunch today to make sure I get some food inside me. She's even given me a list of things I need to do:
o Find and switch on those machines		o Other things that occur to you	
o Change administration account name		o Have lunch with me
o Email old CO about backup jobs		o Don't panic
o Get computer ready for order			o Don't start anything big > 4pm
o Prepare report on need for air-conditioning	o Leave by 6pm!
I'll see what I can do, dear. You all can see what I've got to do today. I think my main task is not to try to do too much in one day. I think this is what I was doing yesterday and some of the previous days. Thanks to her as well for some much needed typo checking as well. Anyway, more later I guess. [14:30] Well, that's (probably) the backups sorted. The old CO came in and we bashed through the details until I was sure of what needed doing. Other things I have sorted now are which machines exist in the building (so many unused IP numbers!), how I upgrade the building's connection to the Institution to 100Mb/sec and finally why most of the printers don't have IP numbers. All I need to do now is figure out why one of the servers is running DLC Protocol and I'll be ready for some improvements!

Horror of horrors. Deep in one of the cupboards I found three Psion 3a PDAs. Unfortunately since their purchase in what looks like 1996 no-one thought to remove the batteries from them. Zinc-chloride batteries, left in for over two and a half years tend to, well, give up the ghost and leak. I think I've saved two of them. Well I know I've saved one because I went out and bought new batteries for it and am now using it. One was simply melted around the contacts in the battery compartment. If I get some spare time (Ha!) I'll see if it's alive.

Today is probably meet and greet day, postponed from the days when I was in but the rest of the Faculty was not in. I've forgotten how much people in places like this don't work. At least it gives me time to try to fix the servers without people complaining too much.

Must try and get in contact with my PFY today. The numbers I have here (work and home) both return "I'm sorry the number you have dialled has been disconnected".

I think the building noise outside is either going to drive me insane or I'll become partially deaf to it very soon. However, in an effort to try and get stuff done I have a To-do list which I'll be working through every day, adding to and taking away as things get done and new things crop up. I doubt it'll ever be empty.

[20:00] Well, another twelve-hour day (and not the last if I'm to guess). There's so much to do. I've done an abortive search for machines in the building, changed the web server from SAMBAR to Apache (don't ask) and moved about five hundred user profiles and accounts from one place to a better and more readily workable place. The only downside is that I can't work out the backup routine here and hence seem to have screwed it up and am currently not backing up anything. I'm hoping the old BOFH will come in and show me the ropes in this area 'cos otherwise I'm ever so slighly screwed. I'd ASCII sigh, but I don't do that in here. I need about seven or eight more twelve-hour days and I might just be on top of the crud that is the Faculty.

What are the bets I burn out before then?

No, it's real. I am here on Easter Monday. Basically I'm completely unrecovered (or completely recovered) in the fact that I wanted to come in and get stuff done. Maybe it's my panic over the amount of stuff I need to do. Or perhaps it's the fact that I want to provide the best possible service to the people here? I think not. I'm just worried by the magnitiude of the task I seem to have blagged myself into here.

Maybe it'll all just be one wonderful learning experience... I doubt I'll be here for the whole day anyway.

03/04/1999 (Special Edition!)
Just before I pop off to London I thought I better mention that the central comupting service here at the Institution was hack (again) on Thursday. As a result I've had to change all my passwords (again). Here's hoping they manage to plug all the holes soon. Apparently a student simply went back to Korea (chock full of crackers and hackers) and their department decided to leave their account open 'because they might be coming back'. 'Nuff said.

Freakyness of the day. My 'inspiration', Jenni, has gone to New Orleans for two weeks (back on April 14th apparently) to look for a new home. It seems we're connected at more than just the website level... At least while she's away I can be busy with the new job and not have to think about keeping my website up to date with hers.

02/04/1999 (Retroactive)
O.K. so I was forced not to come in today. As it was I slept in 'till gone 10:00 anyway. Have to admit I woke at 06:00 with fevered thoughts about the new job. I still keep thinking there's so much to do that I don't know about.

We got almost the entire room reorganised, I wish I'd been able to take a before and after BOFHcam shot so you could see the difference. Something that occured to me and my friend from unix support was that this will be the first summer the place has been wired and even after yesterday's gentle heat, the comms cabinets need air conditioning. Otherwise we're going to have some unhappy 3Com equipment.

As for the rest of the day, I've been dossing around the house, going to buy more books (Larry Niven's Ringworld trilogy) and watching television. Tomorrow I'm off to London for the day to go to a friend's pre-wedding bash. Will let you know if anything interesting happens.

Well here I am. First day in the new job. As soon as I got in this morning I found a letter under my door asking for help with a PC that's running low on virtual memory. I suppose I should go and look at it fairly soon. Give the right first impression and everything. I guess the rest of the morning will be the 'meet and greet' type of affair.

I didn't mention it before but there's a massive amount of building going on right outside my window, which you'll see when I get the camera up and running. That, plus the noise of the comms cabinets in the same room as me calls for some music fairly sharpish. Note to self: must download Winamp. Other than that I'm going to be spending the rest of this week and some of next getting up to speed with how everything works here. Expect to see gripes from me fairly soon...

[20:00] The old BOFH came round and showed me some of the crud that makes up the network here. There's so much to do here it's going to take me an age simply to get up to speed (let alone do any of the myriad improvements that could help it so much). I was contemplating the effort required to arrange the office in such a way that I could actually see my screen (the monitor was facing the window) and had fired off some emails to ask for some help, when in walked the girlfriend and one of our friends. Three hours later and we've get somewhere. You'll see how I've done the place when the camera comes online.

There is so much to do here. The Admin Officer came in and told me about the people who refuse to move to Office and stick with WordPerfect and (get this) DisplayWrite 4, some godsawful IBM product from way back.

Frankly, I'm too tired to write any more at the moment. If I come in tomorrow (Good Friday) I'll tell you some more. Otherwise you'll have to wait till Monday.