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31/03/1999
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 later.

[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 once.



30/03/1999
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.



29/03/1999
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?



26/03/1999
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.



25/03/1999
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. No really.

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.



24/03/1999
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.



23/03/1999
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[1] post and hence is dealt with in one office. When I move to the new post (which is established[2]) 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 day.

Only seven days till clearout. Don't forget, the BOFHcam site will still be here. Pictures will be unobtainable though for a while.

[1] Paid for by research funds
[2] Paid for by the Institution



22/03/1999
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.



19/03/1999
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...?



18/03/1999
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.



17/03/1999
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.



16/03/1999
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.



15/03/1999
[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 really.

Screw this, I'm going home.



12/03/1999
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]



11/03/1999
[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 end.
                  X            X           X            X               X
               -------------------------------------------------------------
   O = Me      |                                                           |
   X = Them  X |                                                           |
               |                                                           |
               |                                                           |
   (to scale)  -------------------------------------------------------------
                                           O                          X
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 post.

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.



10/03/1999
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 putting
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.



09/03/1999
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...



08/03/1999
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...



05/03/1999
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 wish...



04/03/1999
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. Doubleplus good!

[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...



03/03/1999
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.



02/03/1999
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



01/03/1999
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...