Last day today. Last. Day. Final. No more. Oh well. There are plenty of
things to do here so that things don't fall apart without me. It's a trial, but
at least I'm doing more that the sysadmin whose shoes I'm filling from tomorrow.
I apologise to all the new people (and the regulars) who might be coming here
from the BOFHnet link that went up yesterday; the only thing that'll be updated
for the next week or two will be this journal as the camera will be in a bag
waiting for a receptive linux box to become available.
So today is documentation and clearing up. The image will go offline sometime
around 17:00BST (16:00GMT) and I'll keep you posted when it comes back up. More
[13:00] Went to hand in my resignation letter just now and came back to find a
card on my keyboard signed by my
co-workers. It's cool, I've never had one of them before. I've arranged to buy
the camera from the Institute which should enable them to get quite a good one
in its place. The only reason I'm doing it is that I know how this one works
under linux and it doesn't seem to perform well under NT (if at all!).
Some of you may have noticed the signs saying the camera is down are already up.
Yes, I know you can still see me. I just updated too much at
Penultimate day today. So of course, the whole network (apart from my bit) goes
down just after 08:00. I'm assuming it's for maintenance, but I can't remember
a note about it. Ahh, dead on 09:33 it comes back up again... I rememebr now;
between now and gods-know-when the Joint Academic Network (JANET) will be 'prone
to interruptions' on Tuesday mornings. Why they can't do it at the weekend is a
matter best left to the BOFHs there.
I think I'm going to write one more PFY based here in this building before it
changes to the BPFYFH at the new place. I can't call him a PFY when he's in
charge, but at his age and experience, he doesn't deserve full BOFH-hood yet.
And anyway, Simon wrote much better stories than I did for the BOFH.
My paycheque for this month's work arrived this morning. As it's been a while
since I was paid by the week I cant' recall whether this lump sum is less than
what I used to get over four weeks. No actually, it's lots less! Good job I'm
moving up in the world. More later.
[12:50] Two things of note. First, and most importantly, I have been linked to
by the esteemed organ that is BOFHnet. It's
always a priviledge to be recognised by your peers (and they don't come much
more bastard-orientated). The other item of note is
Pokey the Penguin! (sic), at which I
have been experiencing the Pokey Effect (I've been reading them all and doing no
work at all). I commend both of the links to you with thanks and admiration.
Monday, bloody Monday. No really, I am awake. Site wide probe from Korean
Academic Netowrk this morning. Luckily the deny-lists from hell have kept them
out. That reminds me, I should make sure the new place has some kind of
protection. I doubt they have anything atm, and with IIS (*shudder*) and some
other flaky stuff.
The weekend was pretty good. Went to see an old friend for her birthday in
London and got back at 01:30 Sunday morning. Woke at '07:00' and pushed the
girlfriend out to do stocktaking at Dillons (UK bookshop chain). Apparently she
turned up 45 minutes late due to neither of us remembering that yesterday was
the beginning of British Summer Time.
This week I will be mostly panicking about my new job and doing documentation
for the way things are set up here. There's so much to do at the new place.
Like I might have said before, I can only hope they give me time to settle in.
I've taken out the lart tool and associated page because, frankly, they sucked.
You got a problem with that?
So I get to the new place last night at 16:46 and the custodian has gone home,
taking with him the keys to my new BOFHsuite. It's not even the end of a normal
working day (let alone a BOFH working day)! So I go looking for the Admin
Officer, who's also gone (although she has an excuse in that her kid turns out
to be ill). I trump upstairs to the Admin Office and ask where people are.
Frosty Receptionist No.1 tells me that they've been trying to get in contact
with me all afternoon. I'd heard nothing. Seems they'd been phoning The Other
Side while I'd been at my meal-in-lieu-of-a-leaving-present which went on till
15:00, and the message had simply vanished into the ether.
Peeved? Oh yes. Pissup, brewery? Not even mentioning the fact I'd dragged Him
all the way there too to get some tips before he pisses off to a ski resort for
a week. Luckily, fate willing I can get in there today if I leave at 16:00.
Passwords in a brown paper envelope stuck inside a draw, is the order of the day
apparently. Then I'll have system control and a key ot the door/building.
If I can find His home phone number I might be able to drag him in to see the
place tonight after he's finished his packing.
Today has been, and will continue to be MacOS install day. After being forced
to put the public access Macs out we now have to reinstall them all and lock
them down with some crap called 'At Ease' because tey all became infected with
an Autostart virus and the lusers dicked around with all the settings. At Ease
is proving to not put me at my ease and is, in fact, a complete pain in the
arse. But I don't mind; I leave early and come Monday it's only three days till
I'm gone. I can't say I'm completely looking forward to going, but the new
place should both stretch and improve me a lot.
The interviews were not impressive. I guess it's just the luck of the draw
whether the people on the day are better than reasonable. The fisrt bloke was
lame, the second woman was promising and the third person was simply wrong. I
won't say any more because interviewer notes are supposed to be confidential.
The worst thing was that the person I most wanted to interview (the only person
with NT4 experience and hardware knowledge beyond rudimentary) didn't answer his
invitation for interview and never answered the phone. Damn.
After the interviews we decided on the second candidate on the grounds that she
should be able to cut it, given time and room to grow. But she said she'd need
to think about it. Hopefully this is simply the overnight sleep on it type of
deal. I'd rather reopen the job than take one of the other two.
I went through to see my room again and suffered some more depression at the way
things are set up. I'm obsessive compulsive when it comes to tidyness and it's
going to take me a good long while to sort out where everything is on the new
system. To tell you the truth, the database stuff gives me the screaming
willies because I haven't done anything remotely like that since my first
degree. All I can hope is that they give me enough time to get things organised
in my head. I've been doing a text file full of things I'll need to do and I
and Him are going to go through it looking for things that might want to go in
other places. The outgoing Computer Officer says the network is stable but that
the databases stuff is stressful. Just what I wanted to hear.
Him and I are going over there late this afternoon to have a better look and
make some plans. I'm really appreciating the help He is giving me, and only
hope I don't ask too much.
Today is also helldesk and my meal-in-lieu-of-a-leaving-present from Him and
Her. Dunno what's happening this afternoon. At the moment I don't much care.
I doubt I'll be in camera range.
Interview day today. Spent the morning gluing lockdown tags to all the PCs
after I found an open case last night while showing round my friend from UNIX
support. Give them 24 hours to set and I'll have those boxes so no-one but the
admin are getting in without a hacksaw. It peeves me that people think we/I
won't notice if they remove a 64Mb DIMM and put a 32Mb DIMM in it's place. Of
course, they haven't done this yet. But it's always best to plan ahead.
I'm off at 12:30pm into town to get some food, post my long overdue thankyou
letters for Christmas and then toddle over to the new place to see what kind of
dregs I'm going to have to supervise for 25 hours out of every week. Anyway,
I'm gone. See you tomorrow.
Today is the day I finally get round to doing my thankyou letters for
Christmas. I know, I know, I shouldn't be thanking people for gifts I never
wanted but if I don't do them I won't get any birthday presents from half of
them. Long memories my relatives.
Went to the Contracts, Grants and Research Funds section of the Institution last
night (left work early, while it was still light!). Turns out my current post
(till the end of the month) is an unestablished post and
hence is dealt with in one office. When I move to the new post (which is
established) my details will be in another office. However,
to get this month's money I have to be entered into the payrool as a new number
("I am not a number...!" etc.) What they have to make sure is that when I
change over I don't have to go in again and do all the forms to sign up my bank
details. If I'm not careful I'll get a P45 prematurely.
[19:00] My friend from UNIX support in town came to see the place. So I've
been showing him all the funky stuff and making him drool. It's just a shame
I'm leaving so soon because there are all kinds of things we could do
here. I must remember to plug in those ether killers on the last
Only seven days till clearout. Don't forget, the BOFHcam site will still be
here. Pictures will be unobtainable though for a while.
 Paid for by research funds
 Paid for by the Institution
Welcome to Monday. Excellent weekend just gone. Plenty of sleep, plenty of
lazing around and plenty of s... sun. Another log of IP traffic to go through.
After we implemented the deny lists on the router (did I mention that
before?)... O.K., in case I didn't mention it previously we've decided not to
go with 10K's worth of firewall simply by implementing tcp and udp deny lists on
the router for traffic going into and coming out of the building.
This had the unfortunate effect of cutting off ICQ into and out of the
building. So far no-one's complained. We've also become aware of a number of
probes that have been ongoing, as well as plenty of traffic to unauthorised
newsservers. Can we say pr0n and warez?
Anyway, now that we also have ip accounting running, every Monday (the largest
amount of web traffic in the building happens on the weekend) I go through the
logs and find out which people have been getting 100s of megabytes of 'data'...
[13:00] Ha! I have to go to town today to hand in my moot contract for this
job. The only problem was that I'd already shreded it in the admin shredder on
accepting the new job. Went off to the admin office to get a new one. It's
silly, but I have to hand in the contract so they can raise a pay cheque for the
month I've been working here as a 'paid employee'. I then have to tender my
resignation letter fairly soon after that. Mad.
Nevermind, I interview my PFYs on Wednesday afternoon.
Put the cover back on Iceberg because, frankly, linux does not make a PII over
heat. Even at it's busiest it was cooler than an idle NT box. I won't even
compare it with a Windows9x box. Just got some of the new B5 episodic CDs and
should rip them to mp3 (for my own personal use, of course) in due course.
Anyway, nine working days until I start the new job. Just got some of the new
B5 episodic CDs and should rip them to mp3 (for my own personal use, of course)
in due course. Gah! Office 2000 is apparently 7(seven) CDs worth. That's one
CD for each of the major applications. Six hundred and forty meg of word.exe?
Let's not go there.
No Her today, she's ferrying offspring around the country for the university
half term break thingy. Did I mention I have an ftp server here...?
Left the girlfriend's place this morning and went via the soon-to-be-new place
(which, incidently, I start at on April 1st) to pick up CVs for my technician.
My technician. My technician! I'm getting a PFY. Although,
to look at some of them, they'll be older than me by quite a few years.
Eleven applicants, for a part-time technician post. I know jobs are few here,
but that's quite a lot. I'll take a look and give you a run down later. It's
definately helldesk this afternoon.
Funky Webcam site of the day is
Rafe's Internet Controlled Gadget. Control the camera! See who's been stared at! Flash the light! The fun never ends!
O.K. I've notified the Admin Officer at the new place of work of the shortlist
I'd like called to interview and I should be sitting in judgement on their poor
and blighted souls next Wednesday afternoon. What else... oh yes! If you're
reading these pages, please, email me and let me know at least more than my
immediate friends are even coming here.
Normal day today, as far as I can tell. Yesterday I spent some of the day
telling the unPH B of the building about my moving on, which he took rather well
I thought. Told the PHB of the IT section, who took it slightly less well.
Today I figure out my starting date at the new place which is probably going to
be early April (on or around the 1st of the month). As a result the bofhcam
image feed will be offline until I can move things over.
However, the Journal should continue to be updated every day or
every second day, so keep checking for info on the image feed coming back up.
It shouldn't be too hard to keep the journal going remotely; all I have to do is
ftp the journal from my new machine to the webserver when I have time! (which
could be the problem, there's going to be lots to do) And then see if I
can build a linux box out of stuff at the new place, move everything across and
power up the camera. I think the biggest problem is going to be getting the
linux box, but seeing as I'm in charge of the IT budget... it shouldn't be too
hard, I hope.
Damn, helldesk this afternoon. No, tell a lie, that's tomorrow.
Well, I went home, went to my friend's house, had a Chinese, watched telly,
watched Jedi Knight till 01:00 and went home to bed and didn't think about the
job offer much at all. Woke up and stared at the ceiling for an hour or so.
Got up and found that sitting on the mat was the welcome pack and contract for
the job I've kind of accepted but not signed for. That contract says that I
start on a certain amount and goes up this October coming not next March
1st, as I and everyone else though. This made it even more difficult to chose
as the money difference is slightly smaller. I sighed a bit and then went into
work, still not knowing what to do.
Sitting around in work I got a call from the uber-PHB over in the main building
who reamed me out over going for other interviews after 'acepting' this post.
Had a think. Sat, moaned to people, sat for a bit, extracted promises from Him
and others for help if I needed it, sat, fumed and finally, finally
decided to accept the sodding job.
It's going to be tough, and the BOFHcam will be offline for a while (but not
permanently I hope), and I hope to keep the Journal going so you'll see the
updates all together when it's up and running. Some of it will be out of date
for a while too (Co-LARTers mainly), but I think this will gve me plenty of
opportunities for some BPFYFH stories. Anyway, I won't be starting until around
April 13th anyway.
[14:40] Hmmm. Just come back from the new place. The Admin Officer there is
really helpful and has been showing me everything that goes on there. There is
a lot to do if I take the job. Part of me wants the job for the learning
experience but part of me also isn't sure I can do all the things required.
[19:50] It's been fairly hard to keep my mind on anything this afternoon so this
Journal and nothing else have been done today. I'm going to a friend's tonight
to bounce things off him. It's annoying because if the job was any worse I just
wouldn't take it. If it was a COIII like this one, I wouldn't take it. If any
of a number of other reasons, I wouldn't take it. But they're not, and so I am
stuck. I think what I'll miss the most is some of the shiny toys. Hopefully,
if I take the job, I'll have the money to get some of my own. I just dunno
Screw this, I'm going home.
Grrrr. Flat tyre (again) this morning. Abandoned the bike two miles from work
and tried to enjoy the slightly warm sun. It was O.K. but I think it's time I
got a new rear tyre.
It's Red Nose Day today, this means I
give some money on the way home but other than that business as usual. As you
can see, I got the new PFY story up last night. No reaction from the Monastary
yet, but it's early days yet. More later.
[15:00] *gibber*gibber*gibber* I've just had a phone call. I've been offered
the job. COII, £22,726 starting salary, lots more to do... Erm. Well,
I have the weekend to think about it and then I'll go in on Monday to have a
look around the place. All I did yesterday was go in, be interviewed and leave
again. Erm, yes, I'll have a look around, see what's what.
Erm. They're doing stuff like imaging old documents onto CD and jukeboxing them
and doing stuff with databases (not my strong suite), I imagine I might like
it. I just really like it here. The kit is cool, the people are... nice and
I know where everything is....
I guess we'll see. Looks like that "what if?" finally arrived.
[Thanks to mnemosyne for the usual spellchecking]
[11:00] Late entry today. Had interview at 9:30. The interview panel was seven
people on a table the size of China. I had to squint to see the people at each
X X X X X
O = Me | |
X = Them X | |
(to scale) -------------------------------------------------------------
They asked a lot of questions I've had before in other interviews. The only
ones I tripped up on were on the database programming, of which I done very
little. My voice was hoarse by the end of the interview seeing as I'd cycled
there and had a hard time finding the place. I'm not entirely sure clean jeans
and a rugby top were what they were expecting, but it certainly gave the next
candidate a shock as I walked out. I should hear from them by Saturday morning
Got into work and found that the access lists on the router are working fine.
Nine people have tried to connect to news servers outside of the city, two of
them transatlantic. It's nice to see them try though.
No boss today and tomorrow which means no helldesk this afternoon. I suppose
I'll have to do some work though. He's got a dialup so he may watch on the
camera. New webstrip at Superosity.
It's not bad. Have a look.
[22:24] Yes I know it's far too late, but I decided that there was the need for
another PFY story. So, there it is. Number four. I'm going home. Comments
will be read as and when I get in.
Suddenly realised that the letter I got on the 8th telling me to come for
interview for another COII posting was in fact refering to tomorrow. Both Him
and Her have said go to the interview (seeing as I haven't signed anything here
yet as such) and see if I can get the job. If it doesn't work out I'm fine, if
I'm offered it I have to weigh up here versus £22,726 and a lot more
responsibility. Of course, I may not be offered it, but there's no harm in
having some fun.
He's borrowed my bike to cycle into town for lunch today. It's a worrying thing
having to show someone all the little quirks and idiocyncrasies of your mode of
transport and then watch them wobble off on your pride and joy and wonder if
it'll come back in one piece. Or even at all.
The Whiteboard of Doom© continues to plague me, but this afternoon I get
to cycle the two new 72Gb autoloaders through the DDS-3, so sleep might be on
the cards. Karate tonight, helldesk tomorrow afternoon, slow week. Oh yes, try
nslookup -domain=adventure -querytype=txt - hastur.rlyeh.net
into a shell/command prompt and typing '1' at the first prompt.
[14:00] Well, He's returned and with a rear puncture to boot. The BBTFH is
looking for either a new inner or a puncture repair kit for me. Wonderful man,
so long as you stay on the right side of him. Maybe I should get a new rear
tyre. Or a new bike.
[15:30] Feck off! The spot on my forehead isn't that big.
Yesterday was a quiet day. The BOFH equivalent of the
doldrums. Today looks like beeing likewise.
We checked the IP accounting statistics and found a number of machines appeared
in the list over and over again on Saturday and Sunday and two machines in
particular totalled over 300Mb in transatlantic charges (not routed through the
webcache). I think, to lighten the day's monotony, I'll go and talk to one
person about streaming live radio from Portugal and another about leeching
binaries from a newsserver outside of the Institution.
We have to start charging for service here (did I already tell you that a few
days ago?). So I can either expect us to make money fast (£30 an hour!)
or for helldesk calls to drop through the floor.
On TV last night there was a programme called "Who Wants to be a Millionaire(?)"
hosted by Chris Tarrant. One of the questions, which enabled the contestant to
progress from £64,000 to £125,000 (dropping to £32,000 for a
wrong answer) was:
What is theoretically the minimum number of shots a tennis
player needs to play to win a set?
A: 12, B: 24, C: 36, D: 48
The contestant chose B, wrongly. But apparently the question setters thought
this had been the right answer and the contestant walked away with
£125,000. It wasn't until after the show that people started ringing in.
The channel (ITV) are calling it 'a costly mistake'.
Come on! Work it out...
Tired. Cold. Wet. Nevermind though, it's Monday (hurrah!). The Windows95
install went off with barely a hitch except for the network card which is chock
full of jumpers for setting, I/O address, IRQ, whether it's P'n'P or not
and whether the card listens to it's jumpers or not (regardless of
whether it's P'n'P jumper is set). Once everything was in place and looking
spanky I went to bed... only to turn it on in the morning to an IOS error. I
get the feeling the new HD has something wrong with it. Every time I format it
it maps 'round a few more bad clusters.
She's back from her Windows NT Core Technologies course with a certificate and
ideas. I'm sure a few hours in the company of me and Him will get her back into
our casual and slovenly ways. Other than that, todsay we find out who was
racking up our transatlantic charges these past weekends. I'm just about to
port the IP accounting data from the router to an Excel spreadsheet, sort by
'bytes' and see who our winners are. Classic thing happened on Friday after
5:00pm. So good in fact it's going to form some of the plot for the next PFY
story which should appear this week...
Karate was... tiring. And full. Must have been the biggest dojo turn out in
recent years. As a result training was... more difficult than normal. Shihan
was suitably impressive and did some weapons kata which encouraged me to go out
and buy a new Bo at some point and get back into training. As a result of a
puncture on the way home from work I had to jog with bike the 2 miles to my
house, dump the bike, grab my gi and pace myself for the 2 miles back to the
dojo in time for warmup. Finishing by 9:00pm meant that after the walk home it
was time for bed (after fixing the puncture) with no dinner.
Today is documentation day again. Also I have to turn down an interview for a
job in a Pathology department at COII (starting salary £22,726!) because
I've accepted this one. Somehow I doubt I would have got the job anyway. But
there's always the thought of "what if?".
Doesn't really matter as today is Friday and I can have a big lunch, dinner,
and evening snacky-cakes and happy tarts while I enter round three of Mortal
Comba^WWindows95: Device Annihilation.
[11:05] TCP (remember then from yesterday) have just arrived to clamp the car
which returned to park in the same place. With this vantage point I should
have prime viewing for the expressions on the numbwit's face when he/she sees
what's happened. Now available from the
BOFHGallery is a picture of the
offending car. Thanks to Keir for the
attempted image manipulation.
[11:20] Oh yeah, nearly forgot. Today is the day I lose my shell account at
Manchester University. After four years of non-standard SunOS installation and
dodgy newsfeed, they've decided to kill me off. Just wish they'd do it to the
people who left years before me too. No bother... I can still get in if I
Good Morning! Well, yesterday was good. Pete came round and did some research
for his project on network management. He's got the making's of a true BOFH if
he's willing to build his own network tools, I think. See pictures of his
training here and
here. Other than that it was a No
Boss day, guess he was bored and wanted some time to play Jedi Knight. The A3
colour printer also arrived late yesterday, so it had to be tried out.
Wonderful reproduction of colours.
[11:00] There's this car sitting in the car park area obstructing the lorries
that are coming in with deliveries and builing supplies for Phase 2 of the
Institution. I've just called Total Carpark Management (wonderful name) and
they've said it'l be clamped within ten minutes. Joy! Another joyous note is
that because She is on a course I don't have a helldesk session this week.
[14:00] Blimey, this is turing into a full day today. I'll be leaving on the
dot for once tonight so I can go home and iron my gi for a karate session
tonight with Shihan Minakami (7th Dan). The man is amazing. I'll try to give
you my impressions tomorrow.
Changed the layout of the Journal to make it a little more organised. Let me
know if you prefered the old style and I'll ignore you, as normal. Late last
night was spent trying to grok
analog, which, when
it's working, will enable me to know where each and every one of you are. I may
even open it to the public. Aren't I nice?
It's no use you disconnecting now, I know where you live...
Windy today. But, blue skies so I can't complain too much. Today is "Teach the
receptionists how to use a digital camera" day. We're changing the magnacards
here over to ones with nice little pictures on 'em. Today is also one of those
mythical days; a No Boss day. He's not in so I could spend the entire day
LARTing enemy soldiers... But as a fully underpaid-up member of the Institution
I must doe something to clear the Whiteboard of Doom©.
The cycling in the city continues to degrade on a daily basis. I find myself
shouting more and more at people to look around, signal, not to jump red lights
and to generally not cycle on the pavement. It's enough to make you wish for
Spike the Bike.
Oh yes, also made all my dates Y2K friendly.
Well, lots of things today. Lateish yesterday I was handed a
piece of paper offering me a
permanent job here at the Institution. Today I have to decide whether or not
I'll take it, write a letter back to the people involved and begin my
anti-recovery. To be honest, it's a pretty sure thing that I'll take the post
as I can't see anyone else offering me a job. Also, the people here responsible
for pushing the post through the funding barrier deserve some recognition of
their efforts. It'll give me at least two years of assured employment and
lots of nice kit to BOFH with. On the down side, I now definitely have to
start paying off my student loans.
Hey! Did you know Twin Peaks is starting on the Sci-Fi Channel tonight and
every Tuesday? This time I'm taking notes...
Today's kook of the day award goes, somewhat retro-actively from the age of the
site, to the Timecube page;
"Ignorance of 4 day harmonic cubic nature
indicts humans as unfit to live on earth."
- Gene Ray, Cubic
Happy March. We brought you "Windows 95: The Movie", a horror beyond anything
you have ever experienced before. Now feel the power of "Windows 95 II: The
Re-install", twice the horror, four times as much faffing with devices. Feel
the frustration as you can see the plot developing before your eyes and there's
nothing you can do to warn the protagonists. You'll believe a hard disc can fly
as you watch yours truly battle with the spawn of Satan, one on one, mano a
mano, in a fight to gain stability.
Yes, I had a whale of a time this weekend. No really, I did. No... don't look
at me like that. What spittle? Which corner of my mouth...? Come back, I'm
not dangerous. The doctor gave me these pills...