Menu Members Guests LTQ
BOFHcam navigation bar


1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 2024

April's Journal
June's Journal

31/05/1999 (Bank Holiday)
SETI@home units: 95 requested, 211 returned
Last day of the month. Also a bank holiday here in the UK. This means that most sane people have the day off work. But not me and my merry PFY. We're here, holding the fort against the forces of evil.

After the breakthrough with the DoD on Friday I'm in a fairly good mood. Perhaps another reason is that there is a good possibility that no data will come in today and I can spend the afternoon having some genuine slacker time.

Having just 'sorted' the last remaining filing cabinet I've found how difficult it is to throw stuff out. Even though some of this stuff dates back to the late seventies and some has no immediate relevance to the state of play here now, I can't justfy throwing it out. Well, if I'm only going to be here for two or three years I can live with it sitting there, mouldering away.

[11:45] It's the girlfriend's first Final (exam, degree, etc.) today so I'm off into town at around 12:50 to give her a good luck encouragment-type lunch date.

[18:50] Just found the most sick and wonderfully funny site on the web to date. The Parking Lot is Full. Sometimes sick, always funny (in my own opinion), I think I'll buy a t-shirt and mug.

SETI@home units: 95 requested, 114 returned
No, don't ask me. I have no idea what's up with SETI@home. Their totals appear to be screwed, completely. All we can hope is that they fix them, or reset the totals, totally.

The data books arrived last night. Seven of them all in one go. I was here till 19:30 inputting the data. I'm determined to keep as on top of this as possible. The AO and I found another few shortcomings in the last sysadmin's attempt at a database. The guy before him, well, his is pretty good (could do with a little more tweaking if I had the time and knowledge), but the most important one, well, it looks like it'a going to be a lot of work and there will be no nice forms for me to use.

Come the end of the DoD work there is a good chance the Institution will be buying a digital camera. If I can convince them to get a Kodak DC220 (which is what I had in the last place) the gallery will increase in size again and I'll be able to finish the new CO-LARTers pages.

As you may or may not have noticed, you can now see the temperature in the BOFHice on the camera., if you have a good enough resolution you might beable to see that it got up to twenty-nine degrees yesterday. Luckily I was in the sanctum and missed it. Someone email me with what's happening in your jobs, I need some light relief.

[18:05] Breakthrough with the DoD. Have almost finished data input on the first of the three and had major breakthrough type things with the other two which should make data input and stuff a whole hell of a lot easier.

Other than that I'm buying a Playstation tonight for £75 (second hand) with a few games and controllers. No sooner do I give notice of this on a newsgroup than but one of my friends rings up to tell me that he knows how to chip them and that he has a fairly large collection of games and a CD Writer...

Anyway, I'm going home. Have a good weekend.

SETI@home units: 95 requested, 81 returned
They're not able to update results as fast, now that there are so many people involved. However, Sun have decided to donate some hefty hardware to the cause, so I expect they'll get a Starfire with all the trimmings.

The girlfriend had been entering competitions fairly heftily before her exams started and now it seems this behaviour has begun to pay off. Not only did she win £50 on her premium bonds, but she's just won (this morning) a Matrox Rainbow Runner Studio setup. Of course, she can't use it herself with her 486, so I get to have it! I don't have a PC at home worthy to use it, but this is surely a reason to buy one.

No data came in yesterday after all, but I'm sure lots will come in today. Knowing the Institution's approach to work.

[14:50] Data is due to arrive in spades at 15:00. It's reached twenty-eight degrees centigrade in the BOFHice and I'm lucky I managed to convice the AO to let me wear shorts and a T-shirt to work.

SETI@home units: 95 requested, 64 returned
Damn, SETI are losing my units. I can't believe I have 31 units checked out at the moment. Must mail them to ask about the new version. I see SETI@home have pruned the top 100 table of all the stupid wazzocks who claimed to have done 800/900/1000 units when in fact all they'd been sending back was lots of empty results files. Yet still there's someone who's checked out 11 units and sent back 423.

I've just been in contact with someone who's workingin a part of the Institution I turned down a few months ago. Terrible site, terrible lusers, mixed Mac/PC environment, no proper BOFHice and no air-con for man or machine. He tells me they have (and I remember) a proactive type of PHB group who want him to "get up to speed extremely quickly" on all kinds of stuff. Stuff like custom-build Lotus Notes modules and dynamic web sites. I've offered what advice I can and hope hr weathers the storm.

Data input for the DoD starts today, and probably won't stop for about four weeks. Things get rought from hereonin. And I only just understand the first one of the three.

SETI@home units: 87 requested, 57 returned
[11:25] Well, as it turns out, I don't have to spend all day in the Sanctum, just afternoons. Which is good, really, because it's hottest in the afternoon.

We tried dd'ing the working /dev/hda to /dev/hdb (identical drive from the other machines) to try and get a working set of machines. Doesn't seem to have worked. Although, these ones I did this morning seem to have take much less time than last night...

[11:40] Nope. The one I did last night hasn't worked either. Something rotten in the state of Denmark I think.

[13:00] Well, there's something you don't see every day. A HDD that won't work if you enable LBA mode. A lot of hours stress solved by one BIOS setting. Oh well. Within twenty minutes I should be in possession of four working boxes. Then I'll mount /user from Frankenstein and figure out what I have to do next.

I bet none of you lot knew what was wrong either.

SETI@home units: 72 requested, 43 returned
Today is the first day of SanctumWatch. Yes, the new PC arrived. From this afternoon I spend as much possible time in the BOFHcave; one floor down, just me, a computer and the databases. This is because it turns out that the databases weren't just written badly, they were written badly. So I was asked what I thought I would need to make a decent go of it, and I said "A room on my own, and no users calling me."

Because they can't really stop the lusers calling me unless I'm not in the room, they've allocated me a new PC and another room so I can be legally 'away from the phone'. Luckily I have some speakers and Winamp, so I can play my music from luggage. At some point early this week I'll move the BOFHcam downstairs so you can still see me... Unless, of course, I get enough emails asking to watch the PFY (I know who you are).

Thiw weekend Cable and Clueless managed to break the connection between the institution and the reat of the world, fixed the wrong connection and then didn't manage to get it right till late last night. As a result the E450 I had running on all four processors only did one unit. What a waste. Oh well.

The Journal and stuff should still be updated during my time elsewhere.

[19:05] End of the first day. I've made some reasonable progress; fixed some bugs, started documenting the first database. Got unix support bloke here fixing my dodgy installs of RedHat.

SETI@home units: 46 requested, 29 returned
Unfortunately, one of the installations failed last night. No great loss; with the install image being over the network, it's just a case of setting it off and making sure it has enough space. With the RedHat6.0 base install being 122Mb and the drives being only 171Mb (minus the required swap partition), it's a tight squeeze. Then I've got to put the Beowulf files on top. And then do something with it. Probably SETI@home so I don't feel the machines are being wasted.

[16:30] Hmm. Not only am I being dumped upon for the databases this year. Not only that, but I've just got a call from another part of the Institution; seems I'm responsible for the NT Server they have down there. I wouldn't have been told this in the normal run of things, but it seems that the routine probes carried out by the Institution have suddenly found a gaping hole in their security. Like, NT hasn't always had gaping holes? Anyway, if they really stop their feet I'll have to go over there on Monday morning and see what I can do.

The new machines I ordered arrived yesterday. I'll be setting one of them up on Monday and moving it down to the 'database room'. Seems the AO wants me to concentrate one the mess that is the DoD without the distractions of helldesk calls and the like. The PFY is going on full-time for the duration of this trying time.

What happened was, the AO came round last evening to help me do the first of the data input and we discovered to our horror the full magnitude of the ineptitude displayed in designing and implementing the data organisation parts. At least now she knows it won't be my fault if things go pear-shaped. As a result, one of the new machines will be primarily just for me in my darkened tomb^H^H^H^Hroom to work on the databases, leaving the PFY to field the calls. So long as I can pipe down the mp3s from Luggage and I can plug in the BOFHcam somewhere, I'll be sorted. More on this on Monday.

Just went to collect two more network cards from a friend, now I can do the other two RedHat6.0 installs for Clan Macfeegle.

Quick update:
SETI@home units: 50 requested, 32 returned

SETI@home units: 30 requested, 17 returned
I had a weird dream last night.

I was a resistance fighter in the style of the Vietcong. Me and my troops were trying to break into a chainlink fenced enclosure in something between moors and light forest. At one point I was looking down the barrel of an automatic weapon (something like an AK-47) a la doom/quake etc. as I tracked the movement of the enemy on the far side of the fence. It was night.

Then we were rumbled; very thin red and green beams of light crossed and recrossed everywhere in sight. Only curiously, whenever my side shot someone, they turned into a turkey. The tide began to turn and the enemy moved towards where I was standing. I was scrunched as close to the ground as possible to saved from being turned into a turkey myself.

Then I thought I heard, in real life, someone hammered on my door, so I woke up and went to see. There was no-one there. So I went back to bed. That was 6:30am.


Anyway, today is the first day of data entry here at BOFHcentral. From 15:30 I and the AO will be entering titles and marks into the DoD. As you can see, Frankenstein is performing flawlessly thus far, and should continue to do so, without problems for the forseeable.

[20:09] Now starting construction of the MacFeegle Beowulf cluster. Four 486SX-25 Mhz/16Mb RAM/171Mb HDD/3.29 BogoMIPS. Should be fun. Watch this space.

SETI@home units: 14 requested, 9 returned
This machine is really, really ill. If I could get the new disc to boot things would be happy. But every time I try the new disc I get the error "L 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01" which is something to do with MBR being screwed. I'm still waiting for someone with a bit more knowledge to come along and give me a hand. It's not that I couldn't do it with instructions, just that I haven't done it before and it took me too damned long to install this thing last time.

Nothing much else to report atm. The building site (while something I've gotten used to) has started to emit a sub harmonic vibration which is making my head ache something rotten.

The Planner says there's nothing to do today, so I guess that means more databases. I've decided to write down what I think each query, table and report in the databases does. This might give me some clue as to what to do, come the input of information.

[17:45] This entry is being composed as I try to repair the webserver's new disc. Due to the things that need to be done I'm manning a double keyboard one of which I'm using to talk to unix support bloke, the other is console on Frankenstein, which sits, in pieces by my feet. Basically, what you'll see here is what happens to get this new disc working.
bash# mount /dev/hda1 /mnt
EX2-fs warning: mounting unchecked fs, running e2fsck is recommended
bash# /bin/e2fsck -y /dev/hda1
[e2fsck runs]
bash# /bin/e2fsck -y /dev/hda2 ; /bin/e2fsck -y /dev/hda4
[e2fsck runs, twice]
bash# mount /dev/hda1 /mnt
bash# mount /dev/hda2 /mnt/var
bash# mount /dev/hda4 /mnt/usr
bash# chroot /mnt /bin/bash
shell-init: could not get current directory:
bash# cd /mnt ; chroot /mnt /bin/bash
cd_links: could not get current directory:
bash: chroot: not found
bash# ls /mnt
cdrom    floppy
bash# /sbin/lilo -v -v -v
[cached device spam]
bash# ^D
Halting system.. All fixed :-)
Well, we'll see...

[17:52] Frankenstein lives! Living up to its name, with the replacement of the essential HDD and a bit of electricity, we're back on the air, better than ever and with 5Gb of space for MP3s.

SETI@home units: 10 requested, 5 returned
Right. So unix support bloke came over last night and helped me do a dump/restore to the new 8Gb disc I have hanging around. This is so that I can keep the system going with minimum possible downtime. Unfortunately, even though we left it doing the dump overnight and knew exactly what I needed to do in the morning, the new disc won't boot. Never mind the fact that it's 8.4Gb and the old Dell BIOS only sees it as 7501Mb. I think we missed a stage when we set the boot sector up. I'm not sure what "L 01 01 01 01 01 01 [etc.]" means. But it's not "LILO:". Just have to wait for unix bloke to log back on this morning, then I pick his brains.

I have already tried everything I can think of. Unfortunately, too much time with non-unix-type OSes has curdled my brain.

Are you part of the SETI@home project. Use up all those spare bogomips etc. with this neat little application and find ET while you're at it. Good stuff for whiling away the hours (available for Mac/Win/unix), looks cute on a Wintel desktop, runs like buggery on an E450. Speaking of which, I've managed to secure the processing power of two PII 400's, a P75, a few Ultra 2's and hopefully an E450. That should track down that pesky alien.

[13:40] Erm, mistakes. I'm not running it on Ultra 2 machines. It's on three Ultra 5 machines and an Ultra 1. All I have to do now is convince the BOFH in charge of them to run the thing on all four of the E450's processors...

BOFHcam is still running on the old IDE hard drive until I can figure out how to fix the bootsector on the new one. Testing times will be after work hours tonight, tomorrow night and for as long as it takes. Backups have been made.

[19:30] Oh yes, and another thing. I saw Cube last night. Very suspensful film. I recommend it heartily. Even though it was a low budjet film, I was hoping for a little more closure at the end. You kind of got the feeling that the place had been built by BOFHs for the really special lusers. Speaking of which, you might have seen me going wild with the digital camera this afternoon. Just getting together some pictures for the new Co-LARTers page, as and when I have the time to do some image manipulations. But anyway, good film. See it.

BOFHcam down between 19:00 and 09:20 due to swapping of IDE discs. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to have worked as the new disc won't boot. For the moment the BOFHcam is operating on the old disc. During tomorrow, BOFHcam may be prone to interruption. I'd say I'm sorry, but hey, what am I, your mother?

Well! After NTK came out on Friday my access stats went through the roof. Thanks to all of you who came here and read the "Wear a Leatherman" parody of the Mary Schmich column from the Chicago Tribune. Today is window-cleaning day, because She and I are fed up of the grime here. More later.

[17:25] Damn! Damndamndamn. Looks like the IDE disc in Frankenstein is about to lose its magic smoke. This is the second error in about a month:
hda: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error } hda: dma_intr: 
error=0x40 { UncorrectableError }, LBAsect=149006, sector=148942 end_request: 
I/O error, dev 03:01, sector 148942
I've also been phoning Dell regarding a really jittery image on my monitor. Although now I'm all for blaming the EMP coming off the generators on the building site below my window.

Friday again! Time seems to be going much faster when you've got lots to do. First off, apologies to those of you who tried the BOFHcam Show lateish last night (BST), seems a five to eight second refresh is just too fast for some people's connections etc. That's been changed to something a bit more sensible.

Things got hectic yesterday so I haven't had time to call Joe at NAI. Guess I'll try and do that next week, if he doesn't mind. I have to get the lists of people I have into the databases today, it'll make me feel better for the weekend.

THe girlfriend and one of our freinds came in breifly yesterday afternoon (you might have seen them). The friend has an interview with an Astronomy department who need an NT keeper (whip, chair, spangly shirt) and general low level unix-type-person. So in they came under the impression I could teach the 'basics' of NT in thirty minutes or so.

It probably worked.

To get an job with NT you don't need to show much knowledge in the first instance. Most computer people will happily foist you off with the NT boxen as soon as possible so they can go back to playing with the real computers. NT's hard to work with, and only sometimes will it reward loyalty. I think they'll do well once they're in the driving seat. Good luck!

Today is collect printer day and IT Committee meeting day. I'm just going to finish this, then off we go. The meeting should be O.K. so long as I get some notes down beforehand.

[18:00] Meeting was fine, bit long winded. No NTK yet, damn them. Weekend beckons, see you Monday.

All kinds of things happened yesterday. First off, the Dell Rep. for the Institution turned up. We had a chat about general this and that, including the fact that about a week from now Dell will be supplying machines with RedHat6.0 preinstalled. So there you go.

Other than that. While I was round at the girlfriend's place I was suprised to receive an email from someone at NAI, specifically NAI/Dr Solomon's UK tech support. Seems my friend Joe read the Journal, noticed my problems with Dr Sol's Management Edition on May 5th and has offered some small amount of help. Kudos to him and I'll be ringing him sometime today or tomorrow.

Sodding Weatherall Green & Smith, after they said they'd tear up my cancelled cheque to save themselves posting it back, have in fact, posted it back. I took great pleasure in tearing up the letter the envelope and the cheque as soon as I'd opened it.

Can you hear that...? That's me grinding the enamel off my teeth. Seems someone called Douglas *mumble* at the University of Middlesex had decide to send an email to about four hundred email addresses (some of which were blatantly lists) advertising an upcoming conference on the future of NATO. Given the current situation in Kosovo et al. this was rather ill advised, given the number of students (and others) with views to air on the subject.

The email was sent at 12:06 yesterday. By 8:00 this morning I was notifed that people under a managed mail domain I deal with had been spammed with over fifty messages arguing the toss over what NATO were up to. This isn't on. Given the fact that people will keep pissing on each other's shoes for as long as they can I've had to change the name of the address within the mail domain until I can guess the flames have died down.

As a result I've sent out a message to the people under the address telling them what I've done, notified the people who post to the list telling them the name has changed and emailed the person who sent out the original message with some basic pointers. I think, on the whole (given the crap I've had to deal with from the lusers) I've been rather restrained. I reproduce the message here for your edification:
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 11:28:54 +0100 (BST)
From: Me
To: Douglas
Subject: Regarding the NATO messages

Dear Douglas,

As postmaster@mumble I have had an extremely large number of complaints
regarding the recent mass of email to do with the flamewar begun by your
post to a huge disclosed list of people regarding an upcoming conference.

As a result I have had to change the name of the email list you used to stop
the mail server in central *hiccup* from overloading.  May I ask where 
you came by this email address as it is not advertised outside of this 
Institution and is not for use by people other than the administration staff 

Also, if I may make a few suggestions?

o Please do not include cough@mumble on any further 
  advertisements you send out
o Use the Bcc: (Blind Carbon Copy) field on your email software when emailing a
  large group (over 10) of addresses at once.

This second point has two positive side effects:

o No-one sees who else the email has been sent to (thus stopping people from
  seeing a large list of addresses at the top of the emails they get, and
  having to scroll through pages of useless info to get to the message text).
o People can only reply to you (because they can't see any other addresses) and
  hence 'discussions' of this current nature are avoided

I hope these suggestions are helpful.


Twat. Will people never learn to use their tools properly?

[14:50] Two things of note. One is that at least two people have emailed me asking if they can be put back on the list to see all the spam. Seems they lead very empty lives. The other is some backwards compatibilty issues to do with the refresh on the cam image. Thanks to Ross (thanks Ross!) the image should now refresh right for 4.0x stream Netscape browsers. He also spotted a tiny, tiny typo on a width=100% markup. Some people just don't get out enough.

[10:00] Nothing much yet. Spent a frustrating few minutes trying to figure out why the sexes of the people I had wasn't matching up with other information until I realised that although the new data I had recieved was sorted, it wasn't completely sorted. So I was extremely confused for a good few minutes until I spotted that his MacWhatevers and McWhocareses were all mixed up. Fired off an annoyed email and fixed the damage they'd wrought on my tables.

Managed to get a semi-firm confirmation from the PFY that she'll be on hand to do some data input and checking when the numbers come flooding in in a little under four weeks.

[11:08] Finally! The auction company has got back to me and said I can pick up the printers. Seems that sending the cheque by super-special-registered-post-with-knobs-on (£3.35 for a 1st class letter) has worked. "Oh yes," they tell me as the conversation windes up "We found the other cheque." What can you say?

Here's an email I got yesterday to do with some rather good[1] erotic stories I wrote and had accepted to go on some web sites a while back:
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 13:09:28 EDT
From: [email protected]
To: {me}
Subject: Authority Stories

I am over 18 looking for stripsearch stories or something of a cop or customs
agent.  Since there are not titles and just marked "Story01", "Story02"  etc
I do not know if you have any of that nature since the titles are not in the
Normally I'm against printing personal emails but in this case, given that the stories are only a little over 5000 words long in plantext, you would have thought they could look through them for whatever depraved and twisted storylines they were after.

[14:36] Oh yes, I saw Pi last night with unix support bloke, on DVD. It's one weird film; something between bible code conspiracy, shocker-horror and film for mathematicians. See it if you want, I can't really comment.

[1] Given the response from the people who've read them.

10/05/1999 No really. Is it just me or do excessive amounts of vanity domains just piss you off. I know mine can probably be classed as one, but things like,, and are jsut cheap excuses for putting pseudo-sentences into URLs. Please forgive my bitterness this morning; I'm just pissed off in general. Mondays normally piss me off unless something fantastic is about to happen. Nothing is today.

I've got as meeting this afternoon to talk about a webcam being set up in the building to watch the building site. Incidently there's a continuous powerful bass rumble coming from there at the moment and my head feels like it's about to explode.

I've got to order a new computer for someone. Luckily Dell are making it easier now to order on-line. Shame the minimum spec is a PII 400. I also need to do some database work. I've been able to get the PFY on a course sometime in June, so long as the Institution ponys up the cash. That should clue her up a bit.

Luckily I have a digital camera on loan from a friend for a few days so I'll be able to take the shots for the new Co-LARTers page when I have a few free moments.

[18:00] Beyond all reasonable expectations it turns out that today's been pretty much of a good day. The morning was a few helldesk calls of minor import. Managed to tidy up two machines to make my backups easier. The PFY can do them all from now on. Had to dash into town at 12:30 to cancel and raise another cheque (before 13:00) for the numbwits that are Weatherall Green & Smith (the Ionica auntioneers), they'd lost the original. Came back, dealt with the bloke who wants to mount a webcam in the building to watch the construction site next door.

It's a funky little thing. 'Bout the size of two Psion 3c PDAs with an onboard FTP 'push' server. Takes an image (once you've set up the IP with an ARP to its MAC address and sent it a cron job) and FTPs it to the machine of your choice. Rather impressive. Rather expensive too. See it at Axis Communications. Also had a meeting with the AO regarding the upcoming IT Committee meeting. We decided that I shouldn't include some of my more 'radical' plans for the future at this juncture.

Other than that, I've just finished decorating my office with GIFs from Despair Inc. (also accessible from Riche Hughes' site, you're looking for the demotivational ones) who sum up most people's office environmnents and work ethos pretty damned well.

[12:40] Slightly less hectic day today. Got a call from the Dell rep for this area who wants to come and have a look at what I've got. Seeing him on Wednesday next. Hope he doesn't laugh too much at the age of the kit here.

Got the data on the sexes of the people going into the Databases of Doom© (hereafter known simply as DoD). I also have the list of assessors going in too. However, in typical Inistitution style I don't have the initials of the assessors, just surnames. Guess I'll have to fire off another request this afternoon.

Going with unix support guy this lunchtime to see how he goes about trying to screw a mortgage out of a building society, then coming back to spend the last working afternoon of the week updating DoDs and listening to music. Oh yes, and hoping NTK arrives sometime before I go home.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention on Wednesday (or was it Thursday); I went back to the place I got the bike. They couldn't fit a panier rack either, and none of the D-lock attachments fitted either. Which was crap. I think I'm going to go to Covent Garden (London) where the main Scott showroom is and go postal.

[15:16 (lunchtime)] Bit of a full morning. Got in and worked on understanding some more of the databases. She arrived and we went down so that I could show her how to install Dr Solomon's AVTK on 18 machines (plus extra.drv), delete old files and generally keep then as neat and uncomplicated as possible. Once she was off and running I came back up and did my first real bit of database editing, changing a global field from one name to another (which seemed to include changing forms, queries and reports in one way or another). I think I've done it all. It doesn't help that one set of databases was written by one person (now departed) and the other by another (also now departed, but I think I've told you this before).

Argh, just realised that the lists of people I have hasn't included the sex/gender/whatever of any of them. Apparently I need this for some of the stats work I'm required to produce.

[12:30, completed 16:40] Late entry today because I've bene up to my armpits in work. Arrived at 8:30 and spent time cleaning up eighteen workstations and removing Dr Solomon's AVTK in preparation for using the Management Edition version. That done, She and I came back up stairs and installed the thing. So far so good. Now comes the first mistake, I tried to add the AVTK to the server without removing the stand-alone copy first. This caused some problems, so I reinstalled that and then removed it again. By now I'm getting pissed off. Finally I add it, and begin adding machines to the Anti-virus domain. Great, now it's time to install a brand new version on all the machines. I set the options, wind it up and let it go. Away it goes, copying files to the machines. Or so it says. All of the machines fail when rebooted. After two hours of puzzling (during which time He comes in from his last day at work to give me a hand) we find that the application is creating the directories it should be, in the places it should be, just not filling them with the required files. It's weird.

After a few hours we're both drained and pissed off and turn to the databases from hell. He clears up a few things. makes a few things more complicated and almost offers to come in every so often for pay to give me a hand. But no such luck. In the end, he pisses off, I install Dr Sols locally on the server and write the day off.

Right, yeah, busy. And stuff. SCSI cards, scanners, Dr Solomon's Management Edition, erm, bike shop at lunch time. More later, maybe.

[16:42] O.K., the old sysadmin's been round and revealed the full horror of the Access databases I'm going to be working with/redesigning/getting results out of fairly soon. I don't know databases very well, but they are horrible, they're big, they're nasty, they're badly designed and you still have to do a hell of a lot by hand with cut and paste, Excel and Word.

Feck! Feck! Feck! I really don't know if I'm going to be able to give them the results they want in the time frame that they will want some of this stuff. And I'm bricking it.

Another month, another page to the Journal. Those of you who say this entry at the top of April's Journal page and told me, yes, thankyou, now go away.

Some of us have to work on a bank holiday. It's not so bad I suppose, there shouldn't be too much to do, given how lazy people here are even on normal days. The PFY is away all day today (lucky) so I'm stuck here on my own. This afternoon from 14:30 I'm out of the BOFHffice while I make a house-call. I should install a SCSI card and get the scanner working today but I'd like to do it while She is here so she can learn how it's done. You never know, I might be away one time when something goes wrong. I also want to start tidying up people's computers to make backup and maintenance easier, but I can't really do that until She is here also, so she knows what I'm doing. I can't even install the global Dr Solomons' AVTK Management console... because I want her to see how that's done as well. Looks like I may have to do other things, like updating my web pages.

Wonderful, it's a bank holiday so there appears to be no builders today.

[10:50] The AO's just come in. The shorts pass muster! I even offered to iron them if she wasn't happy, but that seems to be optional. Lunchtime rays here I come! All I need now is a line-of-sight IR link and I can work from the grassy knoll...

[14:18] Nearly forgot, bought a new bike on Saturday. A Scott Tampico, 28 gears, front Rock Shox forks, oversize aluminium tubing. The only downside is that my D-lock fixture doesn't fit round the seatstay and I can't fit my Blackburn panier rack on the back. Back to the shop I go on Tuesday or Wednesday.