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August's Journal
October's Journal

SETI@home units: 2129 requested, 2112 returned
Had to stop eighteen machines from SETI'ing this morning. Oh well.

Annoying luserisation fo the day comes from the requirement which has been thrust upon me to deal with some external databases. Here's a selected quote from the documentation:
"Operating system: MS Windows NT 3.51 with service pack 5 (or later) or Windows 95/98"
No mention of WIndowsNT 4.0 (the standard inside many institutions such as this one). But it gets better:
"While the software is not being developed specifically to run on Apple MACs we are testing the software running on MACs using Microsoft Windows emulation software."
So, not only can they not understand that Mac is not an acronym, not only that, they're writing the software for a broken OS and testing it on a broken emulation of a broken OS.

I'm doomed. Perhaps I can fall under a bus.

SETI@home units: 2102 requested, 2085 returned
It shouldn't happen to me.

I'm just a sysadmin.

I shouldn't have to come us with some way for the personnel to read each other's eamil on purpose.

Seems the AO requires the secretaries et al. to be able to do each other's jobs, should one of them go away for a holiday (or fall under a bus). This means that email sent to their personal email address or to an alias that redirects to their mailbox should be readable by all. I guess if they use Eudora then this should be fine. Just get it to remember the password. I hate POP though, even though it does take a load off the mailserver in town.

My mind rebels against the thought of people reading each other's email (unless it's me, grepping the spool), but that's the way she wants it. As it is, most of them know each other's NT passwords. No-one believes in file security. If I can get all the work on the server (need a new server of course), no-one will need to do any of that desk hopping.

But in this place, that's just a pipe dream.

SETI@home units: 2084 requested, 2061 returned
Slack day today. Not so much in that I've not got lots to do. No, more like I'm not doing much because, frankly, I don't want to.

Things which must be done today consist of: attaching a printer to a PC and moving said system to another room. Calling Chubb (again) to ask how much more swipe cards will be. Really, honestly getting back to the HTML I'm supposed to be doing.

NTL claim they won't be rolling out cable modems in this vicinity for a good while yet. That pisses me off. Other than that, I need to have lunch and then charge some people for printer usage. If I don't I'll just get cranky.

SETI@home units: 2056 requested, 2026 returned
Today started off very bad. I was in a mood from the moment I opened my eyes. However, before I tell you how thigs got worse, then better, I have to go and finish up the new wiring for the library.

[10:00] Well, I'm one ST-SC cable short, but other than that I think I can cope till midday. I need to order three MS Office licenses. Unfortunately, the Institution has now made then Office 2000 licenses. The lusers here can barely handle Office 97 Pro, let alone Office 2000. Somehow I think we won't be 'upgrading' quite yet.

The numbering of the sockets happens today for those new installations. I've got to get an SC-ST fibre cable so that I can actually connect the new SS-II dual speed hubs in the library. Should happen tomorrow. Other than that, the secretaries are continuing to mess up my almost tidy NT domain by moving jobs and expecting me to move their documents and Eudora stuff. The resident technology phobic is still around, despite having taken early retirement, casting doubt and making problems for good hardworking BOFHs like my self and the PFY.

I've been booking myself and the PFY on as many useful courses as possible before Christmas in the event that one of us gets too drunk to care about this place after the break and tries to find another job. All those skills should come in useful.

[12:40] The technophobe has just countermanded the AO's orders for moving people around. This means that it's not possible for me to do the Eudora shuffle I was going to do. It doesn't really matter. I have everything planned for whenever it comes into effect. Must get to lunch today to pay my next rent installment and the girlfriend's credit card bill.

So much to do, so little enthusiasm.

[18:00] I can't believe just how much VLAN and truck information I've forgotten. SEtting up the two-unit SS-II 1100 stack was fairly easy given a 9-pin serial line into the back and a laptop. But could I figure out what half the stuff was for? No way. Hell, I knew more Cisco IOS11.0c than I did here. Nevertheless, forty-eight new switched ports are now open for business. I'm expecting them to start being used from Thursday (guess who has to move the machines around?).

Feck! Now I've only gone and forgotten the password for the SS3000 fibre hub. That pisses me off.

SETI@home units: 1986 requested, 1968 returned
No proper journal entry at the moment. Check back again on Monday.

[Monday] O.K., Friday was a bit of a bad day. I won't go into details. Suffice to say that I'm glad I had the weekend to go home and visit the parents.

SETI@home units: 1966 requested, 1935 returned
Kind of a weird day today. Spent the morning at home (until 10:00) waiting for the plumber with the landlord/Unix Support guy. When he arrived we found that the washing machine can't get plumbed in until the waste pipe is made legal (seems it's not 'trapped' and would both bugger the washing machine in short order and spray the contents of the sink and the washing machine all over the kitchen), which is a bit of a bind.

Anyway, once that was sorted (the plumber is ordering a part, should be in sometime early next week) we went on to look at the shower. The landlord wants the bath turned through 180 degrees and then a new shower fitting. If this is going to happen, and give some good pressure, we're going to have all the floorboards upstairs stripped (it's chipboard, so big chunks) and new pipes laid (the joists go the wrong way so it's lots of hassle). Luckily, this means there should be an opportunity to route some cat-5, cable TV and telephone cables upstairs at the same time. So it's not all bad news.

At work, the Chubb guy is here in the office at the moment installing a DOS app for me (door security) on the super-zippy 486SX-25 with an amazing 16Mb of RAM (no point in half measures). Other than that I've consulted on desk sizes for the new machines in the library (we don't know if there will be any machines or even if the desks will be done, but the librarian is adamant we do the legwork) and just spent the last two hours (it's now 18:30) going through multiple installs of the Chubb door control PC system. It's not too complicated just counterintuitive and generally crap.

All door security systems suck.

SETI@home units: 1941 requested, 1913 returned
Gah! People now demanding I update the journal rather than eat my lunch. Frankly, you all deserve to be shot.

Right. There's no news on the Chubb front, in fact it's all gone horribly quiet. This may either be a good thing or a bad thing. Yesterday I had to resort to asking people over the single IRC channel I use to DCC me disk images of DOS 6.22 so that I could get the computer the Chubb system requires working. Why, when I'd taken the time to install Windows 95 from floppy does something that runs in DOS not run in a DOS box under windows. I'm not complaining (the less windows the better, and I've never seen DOS crash).

Just installed another printer over TCP/IP rather than MAC addressing. I can't believe the previous guy did it like that. S'what you get for being a Netware 3.11 migrator I guess.

The PFY is busily adding new user accounts to the NT Server in preparation for the influx of new researchers here. Luckily the pain is somewhat lessened through the use of my patented (no, not really) adduser.cmd file and a handly little .exe called homedrv which sets a user's mapped home directory.

I think I may try and take this afternoon off (I need to use up some time) and get my hair cut. What are the chances of being required for something and not being able to?

SETI@home units: 1929 requested, 1887 returned
Whoops, nearly forgot today's journal. I also forgot yesterday's SETI count, but you don't care.

Today Chubb were supposed to come and fit the swipe card system. Unfortunately, given the fact that the equipment they were supposed to fit should have arrived weeks ago and been kept in storage by us, and we'd never seen it, they didn't manage to do much other than look at the spots where the boxes need to go, nod a bit and then go on to the next job.


In other exciting news I fiddled with some web pages, moved some printers around (thank god I sorted everything from DLC to TCP/IP) and rebooted the dumb switches which seemed to be forgetting about some of their ports.

The PFY's been away yesterday and today, she's back tomorrow. I really wish I could get my time off before the vacation year runs out, but frankly, I have to be here considering the amount of work I'm responsible for.

The Monastary's been good today, just hope the thread about "my perfect SO" does down soon, there are too many bitter people in there for it to work.

SETI@home units: 1838 requested, 1798 returned
Chubb come to fit the swipe-card reader and stuff tomorrow for the Research Room (bane of my life) to make it 24-hour access. Why it's important to give the lusers this much access to the machines while I'm not there is beyond me. Given that I have to program the cards, hand them out and generally admin the box in charge ("Requirements: DOS 6.22 or greater"), I may be able to spend a few weekends "fine tuning the settings".

The AO's back after her bad news. Suprising, I thought she might have taken more time off.

I've spent the momring with the building management people (site-wide) and one of the head network bods. We've tracked down every last fibre bundle and termination point in the place and they seem to be completely happy with the way the new cable is going in.

The weekend was good. I didn't think about work once. Saturday was a late riser morning, around mid-day we got into town and I caught up with my Stargate videos. Stargate and Babylon 5 are my only 'must watch' videos to be honest. Anything else isn't worth the money. Of course, this means that at present I have over sixty videos and nowhere to put them.

Sunday the girlfriend waited in for her new desk to arrive while me and some othere went to a free screening of Analysis This. S'a good film (De Niro, Crystal), I reccommend it. When we got back we went for a traditional pub lunch where I made the mistake of eating a 20oz steak. The first 19oz were fine. But that last mouthful (and the chips) took some packing in.

Luckily all we did in the afternoon was build more flatpack furniture. Somehow this tired me out enough that, givne I went to bed around 22:15, I was tired enough this morning to sleep through 'til 07:30. Today I hope to be doing nothing much at all (it being Monday) and trying to see if Win95 will sit on a 486 33 with 8meg and a 250Mg HDD.

SETI@home units: 1838 requested, 1798 returned
Half day today. I've had to allow the PFY to have her pick of the days remaining in this 'vacation year' so that she doesn't get pissed off. This leaves me 6.5 days to have off (not when she is) before the end of September. Frankly, I think I'm going to miss out.

The cabling guys have told me they don't need me this afternoon so I'm off to meet the landlord in the new house to assemble some furniture. Should be fun, working with my hands for once.

The AO had some bad news today, so hasn't been in. This means I've been able to slack for most of the day. It's what Fridays are all about.

Most Excellent Site of the week is A site which tells the Episode I story much better than Lucas managed to. Go there, read everything, give him your support. The man's a genius. I've submitted a story to Slashdot about it (my first) but there were 148 articles ahead of mine, so it may not make it (if at all) onto the site for a while.

SETI@home units: 1824 requested, 1784 returned
It's been a better day today. I've managed to get one of the doors that was locking itself (Thorn access door) to remain open at the right times. Put enough balls in other people's court on wiring and other matters that I managed to get back to the HTML I haven't done in I don't know how long.

I arrived this morning and had no connectivity. Fearing the worst I took a speedy trip down to our point of presence and found the network engineers with the fibre termination point dismantled and them hard at work polishing fibre for the new comms rack in the library. "Sorry mate, got in at 8:00am to minimise downtime." How nice of them, it would have been nice to have been told yesterday though. "We'll be finished by 9:20am." and true to their work, they were finished by 9:18am according to my machines. This didn't stop me from locking them into the room and listening to them trying to work the digital lock for five minutes. Teach them to bring down my network without telling me.

I'll change the locks on the comms cabinets.

There have been various little jobs today, nothing stretching. The AO and I agree that yesterday and the day before just 'weren't enjoyable' and we should try to avoid days like that again, possibly by going home if they look like they are going that way.

There's something theraputic about coding and tidying HTML. That and the Resevoir Dogs soundtrack makes for the most relaxing afternoon I've had in over three weeks.

SETI@home units: 1802 requested, 1757 returned
[18:30] Late entry today. Things seem to be getting more and more hectic here. I've had to deal with the rewiring people, a really bad messup to do with emails going out to highups in the institution and the UPS on the secondary server died last night. I've got the last running without a load at the moment to see what the problem might be. I'm guessing the sensitivity was turned up too high.

I'm really tired, things aren't going to be getting any easier until two weeks Monday. I've also got to miss out on the shareholders' meeting which pisses me off no end as I've got £666 invested in a movie which is going to go down the pan.

All in all things are difficult at the moment because I've got 101 things to do and no time to do them in. I also have to squeeze in 6.5 days leave before the end of September and still get everything done.

Somehow, I think not. I mean, hell, you've probably seen how little I was in shot today and yesterday, haven't you? What I need is for the wiring to be over, the email lists to be sorted and for someone to give me £25,000 so I can buy some decent computers and get the place running right. Someone to deal with the DoD and the fecking lusers would also be nice.

Hang on, then all I'd have to do would be here occasionally and fiddle with some HTML. I think I could handle that.

SETI@home units: 1787 requested, 1741 returned
Bugger of a day so far, but with some redeeming features. It was hell to get up this morning, which is strange, given that I went to bed around 22:00. Anyway, dragged myself in and before I could even get to my room I was told by the building people for the institution that I must be here on Thursday (the day I should be in London at a shareholders' meeting) and Friday to choose some kind of numbering scheme for the new seckets. Arse.

Anyway, here I am having a dog of a day, the merkin luser wants further Clues imparted this afternoon (including setting up his Apple laptop with dialup), I'm tempted to use a club with a nail in it. Then the phones situation reared its ugly head again. I was all for jumping from the nearest window until the BTEFH popped his head round the door. This Telecoms Engineer is the person who I dealt with at the old place. He's a Bastard, a laugh and an all round excellent person. We descended to the basement and the mutated telecoms patch panel. He and I stood for a while, contemplating the madness before he sat down and began pulling out the wires he didn't like the look off. Scribbling notes with one hand he'd Krone them out with the other.

Before long we'd got all the numbers we needed to deal with moved over... bar one. No matter where we looked and what pair we tapped it was nowhere to be found. He's gone now, but not before we wandered round all the panels in the building adding an Earth wire so that the planned Earth Recall actually worked. All I need to do now is replace all the explicitly non-Earth Recall phones the last numbwit in the job bought and people should be happy.

All I need to do now is have lunch and wait for the luser to call me.

SETI@home units: 1758 requested, 1713 returned
Moved house. You'd love the new place. It's prime for a house network. As soon as we get the phone lines sorted and the cable TV socket upstairs there's all kinds of things going to be happening. I'll start at the beginning.

Got home on Friday cycle to the new place and walk back without the bike. Do some ultra-fast packing. Managed to get all my books into two monitor boxes, get my videos into another, pack my speakers (computer) and Dolby Digital amp away and some other stuff. Pack the hi-fi away, power down the computers and wait for the girlfriend to arrive.

Help her pack, take over the first of the car loads (we tried for a small van, but they were all out, so we got a Ford Momdeo for the price of an Escort). Thereafter followed a number of car trips until we were too tired to move.

Saturday we got the last of the stuff over, defrosted the freezer (mine, no hassles) and the fridge (the houses's, leaked like a bugger) and tried to store some of the boxes neater around the house. Getting a boxed 21" Iiyama monitor up a narrow winding staircase when your arms are tired is not something I'd like to do again.

Sunday, when we managed to get up (we're sleeping on a double mattress upstairs for the moment) we sloped over to the old place and cleaned it from top to bottom. I challenge the landlord to give me anything but the full deposit back. Actually, come to think of it, there's the small knuckle-hole in one of the doors where I was over enthusuastically practicing my distancing for an oi-tzuki. But he knows about that.

I'm just off out now to make a house-call to a far flung part of the institution to deal with a printer and then I have to baby-sit a new american luser through using email and soforth. Fun, fun, fun.

SETI@home units: 1694 requested, 1651 returned
[13:00] Another one of those frenetic mornings, this morning. Earned muchos brownie points by pointing out just how little budget I've spent recently on one account (I've been too busy to push anything through). That should enable the digital camera to become a reality fairly soon.

Oh yeah, s'Friday today, innit? Result.

I've been chasing round the place trying to get phone sorted out for people, hoping that the main womain who causes a fuss won't have to have her number changed. Then realising that she's moving floors and the patch lines are in different places, so she's going to have to, which means a further call to the Telecoms Office. Cleaned a number of gunky printers (it's the heat in the fecking building) and generally tried to figure out who, in the outlying parts of the Institution, have computer systems provided by this place, so we can allocate budget to them.

Another bone in my throat at the moment are the email alises/lists for the institution, there are so many, with conflicvting and overlapping functions, as well as confusing names, differing types and list functions. I hate it all.

TO top it off, today I move house. Well, this weekend I move house, but we'd like to get as many boxes as possible over to the new place tonight. As I mentioned before, we have no furniture at the moment so all meals will be off laps until a table comes. Sleeping on a mattress and no washing machine.

That'll be fun. I won't even be able to get to my books.

SETI@home units: 1669 requested, 1625 returned
[13:00] Such a busy morning I haven't had since... well, yesterday. Already this morning I've swapped a printer out in place of an Epson, got the PFY to show the new, tall slim, attractive secretary how to use NT (I couldn't face extoling it's 'virtues', even to someone like that), redone the accounts, again and put up a job advert on the institution's website.

Oh yes, I lost a machine to the new secretary so I'm down one 8-hour-per-unit SETI cruncher. Frankly I don't really care, but it's something for the machines to do all day and night when the secretaries aren't playing hunt-the-file.

Central Computer Services sent a number of identical envelopes to me today, basically they tell me that the recent Office 97 Pro licenses I bought for the machines here can instantly be transmuted through an alchemic process into Office 2000 Professional licenses, paying only £7.00 for the honour.

Needless to say, this won't be happening.

[14:00] The PFY and I are using the Journal to recreate the jobs log, which mysteriously wasn't kept up to date while she was on holiday.

SETI@home units: 1655 requested, 1609 returned
Real dog of a day yesterday. I can't be arsed to read what I wrote yesterday so I'll tell you what happened.

Got in, had to spend about an hour trying to get the server to let go of a DDS-2 tape which we were tyuing to format for the accounts we were removing (I know I mentioned that yesterday). During that time a big wodge of Y2K issues stuff landed on my desk, there's all kinds of stuff I have to sign and deal with.

O.K. so reading down I said most of that, I'll cut short the rest of the reiteration and get onto the new rant material. Around nominal lunchtime (13:00) the Smiling Luser came in. The Anti-virus stuff didn't fix his dodgy laptop, but during that debacle I found the accounts (yes, I have to handle the accounts that I buy from. Yes, I am a sysadmin. Yes, it is my job) for the next IT Committee meeting were in a right state. The progress reports get monthly hadn't been coming in and I didn't know where I was up to. I took lunchtime to make a start on things, only to be inerrupted by the local technophobe naysayer who was complaining about two copies of files and why only one copy was updated when you editied it. There were fraught moments in one of the offices while I tried to explain the concept of filestores to the amassed group. In the end I went with the local copy and promised to delete any other copies on the server 'to prevent confusion'.

Back at the accounts I finally got them sorted around 17:00, when I ate lunch.

Today looks to be a slightly more sane day (I hope). I install a computer in someone's office, fill in a 'request for email' form for them and set up a printer. With luck I may actually be able to catch up on some news and get down to some actual work.

SETI@home units: 1610 requested, 1588 returned
Not only is SETI down, but I've had huge and irritating troubles with the secondary server, again. SCSI problems that mean when we try to do a one-off backup of accounts to be deleted (we've been cruel, oh yes) the tape drive fecked up, the HDD refused to announce it existed to the SCSI controller and then things got silly.

Thirty minutes later I'm screwing the case on for the fifth time, seems every time I try to put the case on things go wrong.

(Damnit! My upper left wisdom tooth has decided to day is a good day to tear its way through my gum. Ow.)

So there I was, fricking with the server, trying to get it to recognise a tape formatted with NT backup, or at least to say "I don't know what this shit is, tastes like chicken.", but it wouldn't, when in walks the post deliverer with a wad of Y2K Issues stuff that I (as Computer Manager) have to sign on the dotted saying "Yes, everything is going to be O.K. come the year's end". Not that it is mind. Many of the machines run NT, and I just know there's unresolved issues on that score in there somewhere. I hate paperwork with a passion I cannot fully describe.

As I was saying on the tape front, ARCserve would hang the tape drive trying to find a serial number or somesuch. In the end, the PFY and I just used another tape. She's Deleting With Extreme Enjoyment at this moment. I have high hopes for her.

Smiling Luser just came to see us with a laptop carved out of a trilobite. After bending the LCD flip screen until the randomly activated LCD squares dissapeared from the screen he proceeded to ask me to fix his Windows 3.1 problem. Seems his Word 6.0 was filling one particular document with asterisks and then freezing. I'm sticking on Dr Solomon's AVTK, if it doesn't fix it, he's on his own.

SETI@home units: 1590 requested, 1585 returned
SETI's dead again. I dunno how they keep expecting us to return units when we can't.

The girlfriend starts her new job today. As I write this she's been there about two hours. I think she's glad to get out of the house; 'stir-crazy' is not something you want your SO to become while you're sharing the same roof. She'll be late home tonight because she's decided to enrole in an A-level German class at the local college. Frankly, I think this is a good idea. Given that I have a passing familiarity with about five languages (awk, sed, perl, C, sh-script) I think it's good for her to have her own thing. I may even get round to going back to karate. Having gotten my 1st Kyu (British Shotokan) I thought I might as well keep it up.

Fairly busy weekend. We've kind of got the run of the new place now. The girlfriend and I went in on Sunday and I vacuumed the place from top to bottom, dusted the bookcase that got left (knocking the badly places shelves down in the process and cutting my leg) while she did some exercises.

We'll be 'moving in' next weekend when the girlfriend hires a van to take round the boxes of books and videos, the computers, the audio equipment and the clothes and stuff. Of course, some of the furniture won't be arriving for a month or so, (with the bed being one of the last) so we'll be sleeping on a spare mattress in the upstairs room (keeping out of the way of anything that's delivered) for about a month. Luckily, we should be paying less rent because of this.

Today has been hell already.

I came in and found the backusp had actually worked, which was a Good Thing. Unfortunately I had the sinking realisation that there's feckloads to do fairly soon. Stress levels will rise if I don't get some stuff done. Frankenstein appears to have logrotated and then lost all the logs between 22nd and 29th August. Of course, this was the Slashdot week, so I'm fairly pissed off.

I've got to clear someone's machine up this afternoon for a new member of the institution. With luck I'll find some porn in the cache for amusement purposes, otherwise today is going to be a bad day.

SETI@home units: 1580 requested, 1519 returned
I've got a bad case of Mobius Wiring. The previous incumbent in the job didn't seem to know how to allocate numbers for a structured wiring system. I won't go into the details because frankly, you don't care. Suffice to say that I've been moving through dusty corridors and little used rooms in search of termination points for most of the ground, first and second floor data points.

I spent an unproductive (from a pay/work ratio point of view) and undetermined length of time (I can't remember, I was trying not to smash my fist through the screen) drawing pretty diagrams in Excel to represent the comms rack on the first floor. Now I can send the PFY down there and co-ordiante by phone.

RIght now (12:05) the girlfriend is 'enjoying' her last day of freedom supervising (I hope) the installation of cable TV and the phone line into the new house we're renting. Of course, given that we can't move in until sometime close to the 17th, this is a bit premature. But, given how much hassle I think it's going to be, perhaps getting it done early is a Good Idea.

I was unfortunate enough to find a usenet post yesterday describing the activity known to many as 'gimping'. Those of you who know it will understand that I won't describe it here, because you may have just eaten, are about to eat, or may eat again in the near future, like tomorrow.

[16:59] Hugh has expressed a query about gimping. For your edification and complete lack of delight I will supply the Message-ID of said article. Those of you with the clue and the knowledge will know how to find it. The relevant information is <[email protected]>. I accept no responsibility etc., etc. ad nauseaum.

SETI@home units: 1448 requested, 1508 returned
O.K., O.K. full marks to Erika for pointing out that yesterday's journal should have been on a new page.

Further NT woes this morning. More SCSI errors from the secondary server. I took the thing apart this morning and blew a whole chunk of dust out of the way. I was sure I heard the patter of feet off behind the SCSI controller...

Anyway, going on the hunch that the SCSI device timeout problems were to do with a possible loose connection I jammed everything in as far as it would go. As someone told me a while ago, tape drives don't last much more than two or three years, and this one has to be at least four years old.

Some small problems on the home front. I think I told you I'm moving house soon. Well, if I didn't, I'm moving to a house recently bought by Unix support bloke. It still needs the bath turning round (long story) and cable and telephone fitted. Ah, yes, the cable and telephone. ntl are our cable suppliers. Having bought out enough small telcos recently, they now hae us firmly in their grasp. Last week we arranged to have my TV and telephone switched to the new place. After an afternoon of dithering saying they could then they couldn't fit the stuff, they agreed to do it tomorrow. They then said that the telephone and TV lines would die 'sometime on Thursday'. We intended to ring people this morning to tell them that the line would be dead by the evening, but at 07:45 the line was already dead. Thank frick that the girlfriend has a mobile.

All we're waiting for now is ntl to tell us that they can't run the cable, or that it will cost X hundred pounds. Luckily, the girlfriend will be round there tomorrow to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

Of course, given that the plumber hasn't been in contact yet and there's no furniture, we're not expecting to move in till at least 20th September. Guess I'll either be without a phone for 18 days or checking it via the answerphone facility from work.

[17:00] Bored bored bored, hot, bored bored, hot, bored.

SETI@home units: 1434 requested, 1483 returned
Today is 1/9/99, will we suffer from Date2K tomorrow?

Today I move the last of the stuff from the old office to the new. From about 11:00 today you'll have a new view from the BOFHcam. Hope you like it. Well, actually I don't give a rat's whether you 'like' it or not. I'll be in and out all day though. BOFHcam will be down for approximately ten minutes.

[16:00] Putting today's update above the rant so that people don't miss it. Well, as youi can see, I've moved into the new office. Pretty much everything is in place now. As always, when the digital camera arrives you'll see more of the place. For now you'll have to put up with the various camera angles I try out. At the moment I've had to close one blind so that you don't just see a bright window and nothing else.

I dropped a computer and a monitor (boxed) during the move, so I'll be out of camera range (unless I swivel it) seeing if it works. Going home 'early' today.

Let me tell you a little story; let me tell you about Yesterday.
Yesterday I begaan to move offices. I'm moving up one floor, to the Administration floor. No longer will the lusers ring me to ask for help, they'll stroll down the corridor and perch upon my desk until I go and plug their mouse back in. Anyway, yesterday morning, as I said, I was moving heavy bits of furniture between the floors, this was fun with only two people. The only things we haven't moved are the printer (you can see it in the BOFHcam background) and the filing cabinet (behind the BOFHcam at the moment), they get moved this morning.

Well, the custodian who was the other half of the removal team knocks off at 12:00, given that I wanted to get this over with as soon as possible, I spent lunchtime and most of the afternoon carting up all the boxed PCs, printers, miscellaneous shit and general detritus that accumulates in a BOFH's office. Around 15:00 I took a break and had lunch.

After I'd judged enough people to have gone home (around 17:30) I began ferrying the servers upstairs. First the web server for the building. Shutdown, disconnect transport, reconnect, power up, log in. Everything's fine. Next the NT server for the secondary domain. I've been having SCSI trouble with this one's tape drive for some time (See earlier entries). Shutdown, disconnect transport, reconnect, power up, log in. Again, everything's fine.

Finally, at around 18:30, with the last of the lusers gone, bar the AO who's working late (special instructions on not to do anything on her machine till the PDC's back up) I face the main admin server. Out of the two it's been the more stable; no SCSI problems, newer by a good few years than the other one and far, far more important to the running of the Institution. Shutdown, disconnect transport, reconnect, power up... no cheery 'Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to log on' message, just that fricking NT Server splash screen. I eject the tape (probably shouldn't have transported it in place), reset and watch the same thing happen. It's not 19:00, I'm tired, I do not need this.

Unis support bloke and friend come round after I plead for someone to stop me throwing the whole thing through the toughened double glazing. I make my second mistake (the first being moving the thing at all), I put the NT Server CD in and try a 'repair'. Let me tell you about NT's 'repair' options. They don't actually repair. They replace. They also complain about Service Packs. I'll skip the horrific choices I was forced to make, give the blue working screen the options presented were typically black and white (no middle ground from Microsoft).

I admit, after running the gauntlet and rebooting, the option to log in did come up. "Success!" I though, I'll post to the Monastery and tell them that NT does have a redeeming featurette. But on entering the 'Administrator' password I'm told that I'm not getting in. On a hunch I blank the password field and press enter.

In I go. This isn't good. I fire up User Manager for Domains. The machine panics and attempts to find an NT Domain to use. Given that it's the PDC, this doesn't impress me. "Sorry, I can't seem to find a PDC, any users or in fact anything arse-shaped. Don't worry though, I'm using both hands, would you like to try again?" is the basic reply to anything I try.


Wait a suicidal minute! I have backups. I also have backups of the Registry. ARCserve tape in hand I enter round three. The previous night's backup goes into the machine and I attempt to restore the Registry. Fifteen minutes later the backup rolls over and carks it, taking NT with it. So, now not only do I have a corrupt NT Server, I've just applied an indeterminate amount of another Registry on top of it. Fearing for the magic smoke, I reset... And manage to get the login screen back. Still got a passwordless 'Administrator' account. I try the backup again, trimming bits here and there.

Eight minutes later the application tells me it's 'Disconnecting from media', a good sign, then 'Backup operation has failed.' which isn't. There's nothing I can do but reboot though. So I take the rare opportunity to shut the machine down in the proscribed fashion and hope for the best.

Up it comes, slowly, slowly. I'm pacing the room, back and forth. It asks me to log in, I fear it's reverted back to it's primal stage again. Unix bloke reccommends I don't enter a password, to save time working out if it's broken still. I do, it doesn't accept it. So I put in the s0p3r s3kr3t password and the screen turns a reassuring shade of background black. I try the printers and all around the building there's a while of charging capacitors, I check the backup job for the night to come (it appear to be ready). I go to User Manager for Domains.

My god, it's full of users...