Menu Members Guests LTQ
BOFHcam navigation bar

BOFHJournal

1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

October's Journal
December's Journal




30/11/1999
End of the month already. While the backup on the new server appears to have 'Failed', at least its not died with a SCSI error as per the old server. Monthly backup tonight, anyway.

One of the secretaries collared me this morning and asked me why I was buying so much ink and toner when we had so much here! as she opened a metal cabinet in her room to show me a good dozen or so ink cartridges. Like, how am I supposed to know about this stuff when no-one tells me?

This afternoon is the second half of the webserver course. Yesterday was good. The guy running it, Bob, knows his stuff. Although there weren't more than twelve people there (which made it better I think) we got a lot of stuff learnt and discussed much about CGI and ssh. I'm off again at 13:00 for lunch and rewrite rules, so stare at the PFY and write to me damnit. Input is down.



29/11/1999
Well the weekend was fun. Not. I slept very badly all weekend, spent most of the time in bed or on the sofa. The girlfriend was wonderful, waiting on me hand and foot most of the time. Some time during the Saturday night/Sunday morning I woke to find I was basically running with sweat; it was pouring off of me. Not good. I assumed it was the fever breaking though. Headaches galore and lots of tissues meant this this wasn't the best weekend in a while. Not by a long way.

Thanks to those of you who sent me emails hoping I got well soon. Those of you who didn't, well, I'll see you in hell.

Dragged myself into work today to consign the old server and its malfunctioning SCSI bus to printer server + PDC duties only, and hoped against hope that the new server will manage to get over its problem with tapes formatted in another machine long enough to get a proper backup. I really, really want this place to have some decent servers before I start working on the DoD again.

Today and tomorrow afternoons I'm off on another free course (this one's to do with running Apache under non-Windows) so the PFY has been coming in at 11:00 and will be staying till 16:00. I'll be off at 13:00 and not ba back till around 08:30 tomorrow morning.



26/11/1999
I barely slept last night. Hot flushes and chills all night. Woke up this morning probably around 05:00 and had a temperature approaching the boiling point of lead.

Staggered out of bed as I was too hot and got chills standing up. Not good. Headache, dizziness, stuff like that, plus an increasing ache in most of my muscles probably caused by delayed action to the monster gym session I did in the hotel in Ireland. Stuff like that usually hits me after 24 hours, not 48 or more.

While I was in the Dell manufacturing plant (EMF I) there was some talk of a nasty bug that had wiped out a good third of the workforce (sent them home, anyway), which is why they were working 12 hour shifts. It's possible I've managed to get it.

Asking the AO to sign a form got the response "I'm ordering you to go home early today." Which frankly, I'm not going to argue with.

[12:00] I hurt even more. Dragging round a big laser printer hasn't helped my pounding head. At this rate I may need to walk home. I think I'll go at 13:00.



25/11/1999
Got up this morning and had a bard time cycling to work because of two days off. When I got in I found one of the backups hadn't been working because of SCSI errors. On further investigation it turned out that there were the wrong tapes in the the Scratch and Save sets of the GFS backup system. Not only that, But it seems that as well as DDS-2 and DDS-3 tapes formatting the DDS-2 tapes in incompatable ways, one DDS-2 drive cann't read another DDS-2 drives tapes, when formatted with ARCserve. That pisses me off.

Luckily, everything else seems to be status quo. I've just caught up on the email, bashed out a memo recommeding the purchase of a digital projector, and am about to brave news.



24/11/1999 (Junket)
Morning brought aching muscles from the gym, so I staggered downstairs (packed to go) ad had a big breakfast. Something told me food today was going to be patchy.

The Dell reps who were with us emerged slighly later than myself and the other representatives of the institution. Hard drinking all round I think. This was born out by the trip to the Dell plant (EMF I). After having our agenda rearranged again so we didn't get to to see the server plant, we were given a completely irrelavant history of Dell before an extremely good trip through the workstation plant. The tour guide was a canny lass who'd worked on the floor for a good few years. We got on. It was frustrating to see gigabytes of DIMMs sitting on tables, but the metal detectors at the doors made sure my hands were only used for gestures. If it hadn't been for the fact the every workers' eye in the place was on us as we walked around I would have still snaffled some as I realised that the VIP entrance to the plant wasn't detectored. Or maybe not.

It might have added some excitement to the otherwise dull rest of the day as we were taken through the minutiae of Dell's day-to-day operations. The only brief bit of excitement was when I took issue with the fact that although Dell will only sell Pentium III processors to the institution, there were still Pentium II machines rolling out of the building. I don't need a P-III for secretaries whose most processor-intensive operation (apart from NT) is the occasional mail-merge.

Their argument was that they were 'future proofing' and the extra £100 or so would mean the machines wouldn't need replacing as quickly. But that's bollocks because when it comes to the need to replace machines to run Windows2005, it won't matter if they're P-II or even P-IV, we'll still need to get the P-IX. What I want in the meantime is stuff that keeps my expenses down everywhere I can.

We broke for lunch in the demo room which gave me a chance to check my mail securely, take apart some big boxes of kit (including some PowerVault fibre-channel stuff) and have some top-notch cuisine. Unfortunately, the afternoon was more of the same: 30-45minute presentations and some more bickering about machine specs.

Luckily it all ended at 15:00 when we had to leave for the plane back. Into the limos we piled and off to Shannon Airport we drove.

The Duty Free section at Shannon is terrible, it must be embarassing to the people who have to work in there every day. We got on the plane as soon as possible (Fokker 50) and flew through the darkness to Dublin. Off one plane and straight onto another (BAe 146) back to Stanstead, where I rang the girlfriend to ask her and the people coming round for chinese to wait until I got home. She didn't answer so I left a message.

We drove back in another chauffered people carrier, missed the turning the first time, did a U-turn and eventually dropped people off at the doors. When I got home I found that no-one had checked the answerphone and they'd all gone to the chinese without me. Which was, given how tired I was and the pain in my left leg which I think was caused by the cabin pressure on the planes, a bit galling.

One of the crowd (who had offered to buy me and the girlfriend food as a reward for storing her stuff for a while) took me out to get some food, but I only picked at it; flying does weird things to my appetite.

I went to bed.



23/11/1999 (Junket)
This and the entry above are being on on Thursday morning when my memory's sketchy and my body aches. So if it's not a polished piece of grammatical prose, tough.

Managed to get to sleep fairly early last night so I was reasonably fresh when 06:30 rolled around. Got up, grbbed some breakfast and shuffled out to wait for the 'limo'. I say 'limo' because it wasn't actually such, it was more of a high class people carrier. Anyway, we roamed round, picking up the other people and then drove to Stanstead Airport. I was a little worried because my new debit card hadn't come through yet. Which was a bit of an arse.

The airport was dull, so I'll gloss over it. The flight on the BAE 146 was fairly uneventful, I read the whole way (S.M. Stirling, Drakon) until we landed in Dublin, where it was raining. Out onto the tarmac and into the terminal lounge where we stood for about an hour, waiting for the Dell reps and a representative of Manchester University (who was also on the junket) to meet up with us.

Once that was done we boarded a Fokker 50 (prop-driven, my first time) and climbed turbulently into the sky. Did I mention my seat on both planes had been 13D?

Anyway, airport security didn't even look twice at my Leatherman PST II, one of them even handing it back to me from the disk after I'd been through the detector.

We landed in Shannon, probably the most desolate and bleak airport in the western world and walked through a terminal building that obviously doesn't feel the need to tell people that they're welcome to Ireland. The weather didn't help, I guess.

There were two limos waiting for us (real ones this time). It was a little suprising to see that a) the rear tyres were bald on the stretched limo b) there were no seat belts for the middle passengers c) the driver seemed to have joined those people without seatbelts by not wearing his and d) undertaking on Irish roads is a common occurance.

Nevertheless, we arrived at the Dunraven Hotel in one piece and settled into the bar for a drink. I managed to extricate myself before becoming too mired in drink and took a much-needed trip to the gym, pool and steamroom. Sanity restored we met back in the bar (more drinks) before adjourning to the restaurant for a meal which must have cost in the region of £500-£600 possibly not including the wine bill. Of course, we went back to the bar afterwards.

I have to admit to leaving them to it around midnight.



22/11/1999
Blow me if it's not the day before I fly out for the Dell junket in Ireland. This means that Journal entries for Tuesday and Wednesday will appear on Thursday and should (if I don't drink too much) tell you what I did while I was there. With luck I'll come back full of freebies and cheap booze.

My parents phoned last night. They were burgled. Last pigging Monday! They only got round to phoning me to tell me the news six days after the bloody event. That's not right. Apparently there were five of them. They crow-barred open the French windows in my father's room (ground floor) and were attempting to remove his computer while two others went into the lounge. The alarm was going off so my father ran to the top of the stairs and shouted "Get out!", at which the two in the louge ran back into the my father's room and closed the door. In his pyjamas, my father ran into the room and the burglars fled from the house, wrenching the computer/monitor/printer/keyboard/mouse combination with them. There was a car outside. Trying to get five people and a computer into a car turned out to be not such an easy thing to do so they dropped the tower unit and the monitor and made off with the keyboard and mouse.

My parents found the mouse ball in the morning.

My brother runs a small software firm so was over in the morning with some spare parts and a monitor (the old one didn't survive the drop) and had the computer back up and running fairly soon. Kudos to my father for running outside in his bare feet, but there were five of them, and one of them had to have a crowbar. I *wish* they'd told me earlier.

Parents! You either love 'em or hate 'em. You still wish they'd get some Clue about how much you love them and should be informed about what's happening in their lives.

I dragged myself in this morning at some godawful early time to get the profiles and user directories of the four hundred lusers who depend on the old server for their work, over to the new shiney dual-headed beast we call Gimlet. Everything seems to have gone extremely smoothly, just need to alter the backup job now.

[11:00] Aww, fergods' sake! Just had a phone call. My parents' house had another burglary attempt last night. This time there seemed to be less of them, they tried to kick in the kitchen door (very strong) and only succeeded in cracking the wall around the door. They've called the police (much good that'll do them), and asked the people who own the house to install some proper gates (higher, lockable). Frankly I don't think they're sleeping well at night. My father is doing a late Masters degree and he's well behind because of this. Of course, like he told me during my first degree, "If you're having problems, talk to the people in charge, it's their job to help you if you have problems." I think two attempted burglaries counts as 'problems'.

[15:00] Right, I've just spent a frustrating morning trying to get the brand spanking new DDS-3 tape drive to read the DDS-2 tapes used by ARCserve on the old server. Every time it tries it, it locks up and seems to need some kind of SCSI reset before you can try again. New DDS-2 tapes work fine, the DDS-3 tape I got with it also works fine. We have all the tapes needed to do a GFS backup rotation scheme, except the sodding drive won't work with them.

For the moment we can still backup the new server from the old one. But as we bought the new server primarily because it would have a new tape drive, this is a bit off. Even formatting the tapes (in the old machine) prior to sticking them in the new server doesn't seem to have any effect. I'm loath to leave things like this while I go to ireland, but I'm not missing out because of various OS/hardware/software crapness.

[19:00] DDS technology sucks. So does Excel. I won't expound more because I need to get home. Limo from the house at 07:10 tomorrow morning. Hope you don't miss the Journal, because I don't care.



19/11/1999
Just finished lunch and still hungry.

Why does NT have to be so crap. Maybe it's something simple I'm missing. But when I want to copy a whole load of directories which have discrete and essential permissions on them from one machine to another (old server to new), I would like it if those permissions remained, instead of reseting to the permission of the parent directory. The only way I can think of of the moment to make sure things go acording to plan is to backup the directories (userspace and profiles) and then restore them to the new server. Which frankly, sucks nads.

Got a call from someone in administration. Seems there's someone coming in on Monday afternoon to do a presentation. This is Friday remember. They would like a computer connected to the web (he's not bringing one of his own), a digital projector (PC->screen type affair) and it all ready and working by the morning. Well, I was ready to tell him to go to hell, and basically asked the person who dealt with him to get him to ring me direct. So he did and explained to him, to his pissedoffedness, that the chances of this happening were slim to none. On consulting the AO, it seems we want to be known as the area where 'things happen', so I have to at least try to get things working. The PC is no trouble, I have plenty spare. It's just the projector that bothers me.

Had lunch in today. Drew plans to close the computer room on Monday morning (no I'd rather be in bed) to we can back up the userspace and profiles, restore them to the new server and then change the profiles so they look to the new machine rather than the old one. Oh yes, one small point, using ARCserve you can't create a media set with the same prefix as that used by another DC in the domain or you get an extremely unhelpful message that it was unable to create the media pools, nothing else. No explanation, nothing.

I'm off to the gym after work and there's a curry in the offing (or perhaps a chinese) sometime this weekend.

Oh yes, I'm now seriously considering expanding my home cinema setup (from a video, stereo hi-fi and a 21" telly) to include a new widescreen telly, a DVD player (not the one in my PC) and a Dolby Digital amp and speakers. As both me and the girlfriend are low on cash at the moment, it's going to happen extremely slowly, but I can confirm that I'm thinking along the lines of Sony and Yamaha for most things. If I find a place that'll pricematch I think the Sony KV32FX60 telly will be mine. Then perhaps an S725d DVD player. I can't imagine either of these will be bought until well into the new year though. There are rumours of a 36" widescreen WEGA telly coming from Sony some time in April, so I may have to look into that.

Thanks to Andrew for today's rant. I'm sure many of us have been there. Also thanks to the ever-present Erin for a well observed image.

[17:05] Thanks to all the people who've emailed me in the last hour or two with suggestions. The 'winner' is Gary with the idea of using scopy (NT Resource Kit), which preserves permissions across NTFS volumes (so long as you've got administrator priverliges). It even recurses through subdirectories. Thanks.



18/11/1999
[16:20] I have to admit to today being, on balance, a good day. First off, there's some good stuff: we installed the server, cleanly, from scratch. This means I know where _everything_ is on it. Not only that, I know why everything is there. The only downside was the operating system being NT Server. But you can't have everything without someone calling the police.

Next there was a period of 20 minutes of absolute frustration, followed by 10 seconds of total fury. Let me explain. Those of you who are unfamiliar with NT (lucky bastards) might want to know that NT provides things called 'policies' which allow Mr BOFH to stop Joe Random Luser from doing many things. You can specify machines, groups of users and specific users upon which to inflict these 'policies'. And they can be fairly strong, if you so desire. Well, seems that NT doesn't mind how you type your username at the login screen (upper-case, lower-case, mixed), you'll still get your roaming profile, your printers and all manner of user-related gubbins. However, unless the policy segment you've got has the same name (down to the very capitalisation of the letters) it won't have any effect.

Fricking marvellous. Imagine that you have wanted to stop luser1 from doing something. You create a policy for 'luser1'. If they then log in as 'Luser1' that policy will not apply. The kicker is that you can't create a policy for 'Luser1' and 'luser1' because
"That username already exists." which really takes the cake. I'm not even sure that using groups will have the right effect. If you use 'Default User' there's no plausible reason why 'luser1' will work (and be caught under that) and 'Luser1' won't, given Microsoft's slapdash approach.

While I'm on a downer, I might mention that I had to cancel my debit card on Sunday because I couldn't find it and hadn't remembered seeing it for a week. When I came in yesterday I was sorting through my 'In' tray, when out it fell. So I had to chop it up. The lesson is, don't have an 'In' tray, I think.

Anyway, once I'd cursed a blue streak over NT, it was time to go do an off-site installation. This was due to take approximately 10 minutes. I was there for two and a half hours. This was because I was being treated to a three course meal (silver service) and around a third of a bottle of fine single malt.

I pushed the bike back to the institution. It seemed safer that way.

I'd left the PFY puzzling over Cheyenne ARCserve (our previous luser admin's backup tool of choice) and it's lack of desire to create media pools. I managed to get it sorted about 10 minutes after she went home. Which was nice. At the moment the new server is dolling out Dr Solomon's products to the pleb workstations and collecting scan results. If things continue to go this well, we may be able to promote the BDC by tomorrow afternoon and give the old server a well deserved rest...

... before I slap another p100 in it and try my hand at SMP linux.



17/11/1999
./~ ... Under the boardwalk, down by the seee-eea-yeah, on a blanket with my baybe that's where I'll be ./~

Boring, boring day. Not done much at all. Tomorrow we install the new PowerEdge and made it the BDC to the secondary domain. Once that's working fine for a night we'll move the backup job to it and install the printer sharing. All that then leaves is a day of closed computer room while we shift all the roaming profiles and user directories across and put up signs telling people they can't print unless they select the new (same printer, different server) printer.

I think we'll do this in stages, just to make sure nothing goes Microsoft. It should add some spice to the PFY's week as she's been plugging through piles of paper and an Access db looking for people who aren't here any more, and then getting rid of them.

One of the lusers reached their hard printer limit today. Managed to use up 500 free sheets in record time. Suffice to say, he's now paying in advance for his pages until the next quota reset.



16/11/1999
Right, owing to the number of rants I've gotten over the lifetime of the BOFHcam I've decided to open up a 'forum' for people to air their rants. This is for people who either feel the need to rant to someone generally, or are unable to rant where they are for fear of being fired, etc. I won't publish without permission, but anything that I do you kinda don't own any more, or something.

Nothing heavy, you understand. Just need to make sure all the bases are covered.

[11:30] Right, the first two rants are now up (courtesy of Rhonda). Although these arn't strictly BOFH rants, I think she's allowed to appear here.

[14:20] The Rants are on the PFY page (best place I could think of). Sorry to all the people who emailed asking where.



15/11/1999
[17:10] My wisdom-holes are closing up fairly well now. Coupled with plenty of undemanding food over the weekend (bread, pizza etc.) and late mornings to convalesce I seem to be doing well.

Other than that it's business as usual. Thre times today i've had to correct people who insist on using the phrase 'email number' to talk about email addresses. I blame the gimp before me and his slack and lackluster performance in whipping these sheep into some kind of order.

I've been fiddling with the new server and trying to find out what happens when I install the software that the old servers have been using, but I didn't get to se installed. Some of it looks as though the luser sysadmins before me just chose the default options and said "sure!" to every ill-brained default options available. Not me, I choose 'Custom Install' every time. Even though this new server will have about roughly twenty times as much disc space (twice as fast), five times as fast processor (and two of them) and a better network card, it's going to be leaner, meaner and much less resource hungry.

Just like I like it. The less it has to do, the less chance there is of it crashing. Once I've got it being the PDC I can trash the old machine. stick in the second P100 (stop laughing at the back, there) and make it a low priority BDC.

Crumbs, it gets dark soon, nowadays.

I can't do this switch-arouund for a few weeks because of the computers being in fairly heavy use. I may just slap up a notice saying 'Computer Room closed for massive upgrading of resources, like you plebs deserve it, any of it?!' And leave it at that while I kick back and try some fun stuff.



12/11/1999
Hmmm. I have two whopping great holes in my gum. Here's how it was. If you don't get interested in this stuff, go elsewhere for the day.

Left work, had lunch in a trade show where I picked up a Java mug (the handle was crooked, how's that for symbolism?). Cycled to the dentist and waited for the girlfriend who was having three fillings. She went up to get her injections while I tried to keep my hands unclenched. I've found that if you leave you hands loose and floppy you don't tend to clench up mentally as much.

She came back downstairs and told me to go up while her injections took hold. So there I was, sitting/lying in the chair. The dentist (nice guy, plays music while he works) leans over me and says "Right, injections first." So I ask, "Will there be... any drilling?" "No," he replies. Which instantly drops my abject fear a few notches to merely petrified.

The injections go into the outside of my gum (top left and top right). It's a horrid feeling, because even though the needle is, well, needle thin, I can feel a mounting pressure which was probably the buildup of anasthetic beneath the skin. He switches sides and does the same again. The pain is only uncomfortable, like pressing a nail into your own gum, just that I can't stop it when I want.

"Right," says he "now I need to do the inside of your gum." He pauses "This will hurt a little." He's admitted it's going to hurt! Most times the dentist says "Now this, won't hurt a bit." and it does. He's said it's going to?

Expectations raised of course it does hurt, causing me to wince every one of the four times he pierced the gumline. The most freakish thing was, that for every one of the injections into my mouth, his hand shook with the pressure he was either exerting over the plunger or into my gums.

Anyway, injections over he decides to give me a bit of a scrape (no polish) while the anasthetic takes effect. This causes me a coughing fit because of the bits of tartar mixed with the vile tasting and gag-inducing amounts of anasthetic liquid that he managed to squirt down my throat or that seep from the injection sites.

He's soon finished and is pressing my gum around both candidate teeth to check for feeling. There's none. In fact my throat has begun to numb as well, causing me slight difficulty in swallowing. I tell him so. He seems suprised.

He looms over me, eclipsing the angle poise light. "Now, you shouldn't feel anything but lots of pressure now, like this," He presses hard with his thumb into my left hand wisdom tooth, I barely feel anything. "I'll just set up,"

With that he puts his hand back into my mouth, there's a quiet ratcheting sound and I feel the uncomfortable but numbed feeling as though he were pushing a gap between the right hand wisdom tooth and the next molar, he quickly switches sides and the same noise, the same feeling of spreading.

Right, I think, now it's time for the main event; lots of pain, gushing blood, pushing and turning and wrenching motions. He leans back over me with something in his hands... And shoves two cotton buds into my numb and unfeeling mouth. "Bite down gently." says he. I wrinkle my brow. Haven't we missed a step here? Teeth? Hello? I've been tricked. I didn't even have time to panic, much.

I thank him and go off to get on with my life. There's a bit of bleeding in the afternoon and evening, and I find things quite uncomfortable for a while. But it's not unbearable.

So, here I am today, being careful what I eat and making sure I don't get anything caught in the holes. Things on today's agenda include the follwing: Cursing to high heaven the makes of Pcounter For NT for making the authorisation code based on version number, NT domain name and machine name, thus meaning you can't move it from machine to machine or even change the machine's name. Fighting the urge to install something other than NT on the new dual PIII-500 server that was delivered yesterday. And finally, trying not to just sod the day, claim a painful mouth and going home early.



11/11/1999
Today is Remeberance Day. Make sure you observe your 2 minutes silence at 11:00 local time.

In other news, this site is now pretty much HTML4.0 Transitional compliant. With the exception of the co-larters page, which I'll be updating when I get the digital camera (less than two weeks away) everything should look, pretty much the same on every browser. I haven't dealt with all of the replacing <i> and <b> tags with <em> and <strong>, but that's a job for another week.

In other, other news, I'm away from 13:00 local time today to have a nervous lunch break and prepare for my top two wisdom teeth to come out at around 14:15. Those of you who actually give a damn, it'd be nice of you to spare a thought for me as I go under the hammer and chisel.

I've decided to delay the addition of the BDCs and the reinstallation of the troublesome NT server until into the beginning of December when work begins to slack off and there's less requirement for uninterrupted service. As things look, I doubt I'll be getting the new server delivered for at least two weeks anyway.

Oh yeah, I was preusing my logs this morning and noticed an access from .waikato.ac.nz, which left me feeling both honoured or worried. Simon, if you're reading this, please let me know if I'm breaking any copyrights, doing it wrong or if you actually like what I'm doing.



10/11/1999
[17:40] I dunno whethere you've noticed or not but the BOFHcam is slowly but surely become HTML4.0 Transitional compliant.

This has meant me trawling through the code, line by line, removing bad tags and badly placed tags one at a time. I'm still not finished and I've been going all day.

The reason I've been doing so is the course I went on yesterday. While I learning absolutely nothing about setting up a webserver that I didn't already know, I did manage to pick up some good pointers on HTML validity from The W3 Organisation. It's somewhere I'm sure you've all been already to make sure you're not using Netscape's broken <FORM> tag and its attributes, etc.

Anyway, so my entire day has been sorting the pages into HTML4.0 Transitional and finding new ways to do the same thing. This change should mean the pages should look the same for everyone regardless of browser (lynx and v.old versions of graphical browsers excepted).

Your comments and suggestions are... well, not appreciated, but possibly taken into account.



09/11/1999
M'on a course today, like I said.

This morning I did a big clear out of the shelves opposite the camera and threw away about 20 NT Workstation CDs, assorted gubbins and plenty of shite. The room feels much better now.

I'm not much of an obsessive-compulsive...

The Secretaries wanted the manin office moved around today (as per my mandate no tech was moved except by myself). That took two hours. As such I'm now off to laugh at a course on web servers under NT. Back tomorrow.



08/11/1999
[16:30] Today has been fairly good for a Monday. The girlfriend had to be up early to get some code sorted for a client release so for some obscure reason I was in for 08:00. Naturally the secondary NT (domain) PDC had thrown a major wobbler about its SCSI bus (and DDS-2 thereon) and filled it's metaphorical pants (system log) with error/timeout messages. One hard reboot later and we're sorted. It's doubtful there was anyone actually using it at the time, but even so, on a Monday morning I care about this >< much.

I got an email from a luser today, asking me why Word was creating a file with a name that consisted of 'a weird horizontal squiggle and a dollar sign with the rest of it being the same as the file I was working on' in the same directory as the file he was accessing. Apparently it hadn't done it before (where before equals about six months). What was it? What was it doing it? How could he stop it? (Read this with a rising tone of paranoia and panic).

Sometimes I just want to hide in a corner and hope it all goes away.

After that one of the secretary's machines decided that the PS driver for the Networked LaserJet 4000N just wasn't something it wanted to use (under Word again, how suprising) and decided that unless the user wanted variable print times (2 seconds, up to 30 min) the server, the workstation and the printer were going to require hard reboots and a switch to the PCL 6 driver. That done it decided that maybe it'd stop sulking.

The PFY is coming in late tomorrow to cover som of the afternoon shift while I'm purporting to be on a course for running a web server under Win NT (don't laugh). The course is run by someone with clue, so it might be quite interesting. I'll assume that we'll gloss over IISx and go straight on with Apache and similar 'secure' servers.

Damn, just remembered I'm having my wisdom teeth out on Thursday. Damn, damn, damn.

Homeworld really is very good. Very, very good. If I wasn't so impressed, I would have boycotted it because of Sierra's canning of the Babylon 5 sim. Apparently if you do the full install you can stick another CD in rather than the Homeworld one for the music. I think the second B5 soundtrack is required.

Oh dear. I assume many of you heard about the Tech Support guy who went ape, walked downstairs and stabbed that woman a few weeks ago. Well, looks like the reverse may have happened in this article from the BBC's web site. My thoughts go out to her family.



05/11/1999
Ahhh, there's a fundamental truth I seemed to have been missing all these years. Something revelaed to women when they gather in groups on administrative floors of office blocks and in institutions. This secret, which seeks to elevate women above me is this "Women get colds, men get the flu."

Right, so we men make more of our sysmptoms do we? All the time? I think not. I guess my aching bones, raw throat, running nose and general tiredness, coupled with the fact I've been in close proximity to two people who both came down with something incredibly similar (one of whom threw up most mornings while suffering) and had to take time off totaling one week, seems to point me towards something other than 'just a sniffle'.

Maybe I shouldn't have come in today and they could have moved their own damned office around. Serve them right if I repatched all the phones and cut off access to their email.

Mutter, mutter, mumble.

[16:40] *sneeze* *groan* Feel like crap. Just moved the AO up one floor (computer, network printer (don't ask) and telephone), to a new office. Done the whole Dance of the Seven Peripherals getting her things set up in exactly the right place. Went downstairs and slapped the patch panel into some kind of sanity. Then went and did the whole thing over again for the AO's secretary.

The one good thing that might come out of this move is that the photocopier that they want to install in my room - a public access machine in the IT Office for fricks sake! - can go where the secretary has vacated.

Commiserations to Erin on finding that his UPS seems to have wet itself overnight, leaving him to find a puddle of battery goop (probably playing hell with his discs and eating into the floor) where he works.

Also a big hello to Rhonda and Erika (not you Erika, another one in the US) who've been keeping me sane (whether they knoew it or not) with their emails today. A big gold BOFHstar to you both.

Looks like the weekend if finally here. In typical UK fashion it began pissing it down in a monsoon-type way about an hour ago, leading me to thing that I may have to swim home. Looks like the fireworks are not at the top of my agenda. I think I'll build flat-pack instead.



04/11/1999
Ill, ill, ill.

Ill.

Ill, ill, ill.

What the hell am I doing here? Maybe I'm so in need of recovery that I've become addicted to computers and the power of the network.

I've updated the LTQ pages because, frankly, lots of the bits were out of date. I'll try and get the support pages up soon. I just need some bile (not phlegm) to rise before I can face putting something you'll find funny/abusive up.

Simon P. over at Central pointed me in the direction of Quatermass, which basically does what all the people who were too lazy to write their own script themselves wanted.

While I was at Central yesterday (incidently, I couldn't reproduce that BSoD thingy) I was asked if I wanted to go on a Junket to Ireland on November 23/24, courtesy of Dell Computer Corporation. I've just gotten authorisation from the AO to say I can go.

[17:00] Mde it to the end of the day, sniffle, flu and all. I'll probably be here tomorrow because I have nothing better to do. Sad, isn't it?



03/11/1999
I feel even worse this morning. Coupled with the fact that the NT server that's getting replaced decided to pay attention to some out of date policies and lock me out of a few things till I rebooted and I've been presented with a form which I have to list two people to contact in case of accident or emergency means I'm not in great shape at 09:30.

[13:00] A morning of SP5+hotfixes installations hasn't really improved my mood overmuch. However, it is lunchtime which means a) I get to buy Homeworld and b) I get to check my balanc and see if it will survive me purchasing a DVD player.

[14:35] Ah. Have been asked to go to Central armed with a Dr Solomon's Management Console v2.0 and SP5 to see if I can destroy an NT Server in under an hour with the same BSoD as I reported a few days ago. Time limit: 1 hour.

Not really Mission: Impossible territory, is it?



02/11/1999 (Retroactive)
O.K. so I was busy.

Didn't do much yesterday; did some hotfixes, did some Serive Packs, got round to ordering the new server.

Woohoo!

Frankly, at the moment I'm just freewheeling, trying to get my pet projects finished in case something nasty comes up.

I began to get a sore throat around 14:00, which doesn't bode well given the amount of friends who've had the lurgy recently. This evening is a special Hallowe'en dinner. You pay £1 and don't have to wear a suit, rather something hallowe'eny. I printed up a 'Penny for the Guy' sign in a handwriting script and hung it round my neck. Instant Guy Fawkes.



01/11/1999
For gods' sake, it's November already! Where has the time gone?

Anyway. For a Monday things have been fairly good (i.e. I've not done much). Morning consisted of considering all the machines which failed to change their clocks over to UTC rather than BST. Stupid things.

The afternoon (while the PFY was on an Excel course) was spent in frustrated silence during the time I've been spending trying to get this bastard linux box to work with a modem.

I'm not sure if I told you that a) I got the CD-ROM working finally (it's one that gets it's data from a soundcard connector) b) tried to get sound working and lost access to the CD-ROM c) finally gained the magic incantation to get the CD-ROM working again (involving loading and then unloading another module before loading the right one).

Anyway. Another machine (a 233) became surplus to requirements this morning and has been firmly earmarked for BDC duties while I reinstall the main admin server at some point.

I've been asked to consider getting an LCD projector (the one I set up on Friday wasn't used in the end, damn him). Also just had a meeting with the AO. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "We need a new server."
Her: "Heavens, we can't afford more than 5 grand."
Me: "I think we can get one for less than 2.5 grand, if we go with the base spec."
Her: "Oh no, we need room to expand. Put some bells and whistles on it."
Me: "You mentioned a digital camera. I think we should get it."
Her: "I've allocated 3 grand for that."
Me: *sputter* "I think I can get a good one for slightly less..."

Sometimes I really love this job.