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March's Journal
May's Journal

[10:15] I now own a 1st Kyu belt. Something I should have had over two years ago. Shame really. I just home one day I feel the urge to use it again. Rang the payroll dept, they finally have my Y2K money ready for collection. I'll be going in at lunch time to collect and pay in. Naturally there's no interest payable to me for it being this late.

Went to the department store on the way in today and ordered the TVs and videos. Looking at two to three weeks on the big one, then everything will be delivered at once. Which'll be nice.

The PFY starts full-time on Monday (May 1). This is good as I've got the day off coming back from visiting my parents this weekend. Wonder what she'll do for the day. Hope she kicks back and doesn't do much. Need to make sure she adopts the right attitude.

Hmmm, just had a luser come in all of a lather. He wanted to find out where he could scan some images of Lynx helicopters. Apparently he'd been commissioned by the TA (Territorial Army, AKA 'Weekend Warriors') to take pictures, and then they'd never paid for the development. We've given in as I'l be holding the scans and the originals hostage until he promises a cut of the profits from flogging them to the dailys. If you don't know, today is the day all but 15-odd of them are being grounded until a fix for the propeller/rotor head can be found. Apparently it'll take two years, or something.

[16:00] The AO's just come in and gotten me to do some emailing on her behalf. She's completely unaware that forging mail in her name is against the AUP for the institution, it's just a neat trick I can do.

Decided to install some kind of *BSD in the remains of the day, today. Think it might be OPenBSD, because I've not tried that. Wonder if it installs via FTP from somewhere...

[11:30] Many thanks to Helen who help solve my Hide The Drives problem with NT. NT's ZAK (Zero Administration Kit) solved that little waste of seven hours of my life. Hint: If you need the ZAK, download it and rename the zak.exe to and extract the stuff you want with Winzip or similar, rather than running it, cos it does all kids of nasty things you might not have planned.

It's nice to have Clued users once in a while. Strangely enough it's an american who knows what NT is, how to drive FTP and what 'mapped drive' means. Nice and easy to set up.

Also went to the shops to check out TVs and videos. Settled on a Sony KV-32FX60 (like what I have got) and a Sony KV-29X5 (4:3 ratio). Not sure on the videos yet. Found I don't need something truly multi-standard (PAL, NTSC, SECAM, MESECAM) just something that will play NTSC as well as PAL. The 4:3 television and the videos come in well under the allocated budget, which helps as the laptops are slightly more than I had asked for at the time.

[19:35] Sometimes I have working late. No actually, I always hate working late. This time it's because I have to go to the beginning of a karate lesson at 20:00 to collect a belt I should have had over a year and a half ago. I don't actually know if I'll go to the lesson (probably not) but I want the belt at least, in case I decide to pick karate up again at a later date. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like karate, I just can't get into the the teaching style here. Anyway, time to go.

[10:20] Just had a luser come in. We had the virus software set up such that if someone put an infected floppy in a workstation the floppy would have its boot sector scanned and cleaned if necessary. Additionally, if any infected files were found they would be summarily deleted.

J Random Luser comes in complaining that his 1,500 or 15,000 words (I don't recall which) had been deleted when he'd tried to print them. And there had been something about a virus-thingy. I knew that we had this setting. I asked if he had a backup. "Well, yes, bits of it." Fuckwit. He complained that in other parts of the institution he just puts his floppies in and the "virus stuff" just cleaned his files. I asked if this had happened often. "Oh yes, every time. I've got used to it."

"My laptop is infected. But it's O.K. because everywhere I go there is virus stuff to clean the files I write on it."


"Do you have a virus scanner on your laptop?" "No, I guess I should get one eventually." Virus softwre is free within this institution, we have a site licence. Unbelievably this numbnuts has been running round with infected floppies for what could have been months all over the place, and he's never bothered to clean his machine.

As he was leaving he asked if he could tell me why his other documents weren't printing, "Something to do with letters. I'm not printing a letter, it's a paper." Had he installed Word on his laptop? No he hadn't. OK, had he heard of paper sizes? Apparently not. It was only with an effort of will that I stopped myself from using his nose to count the scan lines on my trinitron monitor.

[17:00] God I hate NT. The librarian wants people to be able to look at PowerPoint files from CD. At the moment I have PowerPoint Viewer installed. It runs. I can download files from the web to the desktop and view them. I've hidden all the drives in 'My Computer' using the policies and unfortunately this seems to have had the effect of making the drives inaccessible even using desktop shortcuts. This is 'rather annoying'. Even using TweakUI I can't get the desired effect of a) Access to the floppy and the CD-ROM from the desktop and b) No drives (except floppy and CD-ROM if I have to) visible in 'My Computer'. If anyone can find a setup which does this I'll shower kudos and stuff on you.

[11:40] Never rains, but it pours (so says the weather report for today). Got in today and had to deal with some luser printer problems. Not only that but some people had forgotten their NT login password. I now have conclusive proof that it takes four days for the average luser to forget everything useful you've taught them.

Another had come in on Monday and tried to access his Hotmail account. Being one of the people whom I despise utterly, he only had IE3 on his machine, thus Hotmail told him that you could no long access stuff unless you had IE5.5. Naturally he downloaded and installed in on his Window95 box and then had Problems. It's taken me three hours to clear off most of the crud (including OE5) and seven minutes to install Netscape.

I'm also being ragged on to buy some kit. Before the end of the week I need to buy a) three laptops with ethernet, b) an LCD projector, c) two high-quality tape recorders and microphones, d) two multi-standard video player and e) a _large_ 4:3 TV and a 100Hz Sony Wega 32" widescreen (like wot I have got).

The hardware store I was buying secure cables from (for locking down the library PCs) has sent me the outstanding cable on the order I put together. Unfortunately I went and collected it last week. So I have a spare, I think. I need to buy some more anyway, so perhaps I'll tell them.

Quid pro quo though, the accounts clerk's just come in and noted that we've paid for the extra RAM twice. She's going to bother them for a cheque. Which should be fun as they're bastard suppliers.

[13:30] Hmmm, Carphone Warehouse have bought out Tandy (UK). All the Tandy stores are closing. Or so I've been told by the Tandy closest to us. Bit of an arse as I need to order some PZM flat mikes from them. I've managed to find a Tandy that has some in stock. Just hope the salesdronen on the other end pulled up the right model when she said she had them in stock. £40 for a mike, it should be the right one.

[18:30] The PFY bought the microphones on her way home, which is good. I also ordered the laptops we needed. The rest of the day has been spent banging my head against the wall that is frigging ppp and dialup with linux. How can something so simple under Windows take over seven man days of effort and be no closer to resolution. I've been communicating with some friendly souls on a newgroup, but I get the feeling they're as mystified as me. I think I can claim to be something of a pppd configuration expert, apart from the fact that it DOESN'T SODDING WORK YET.

Home. Try again tomorrow afternoon.

24/04/2000 (Bank Holiday Edition)
[11:00] Bank Holidays are great. They allow you to take the day off, and not to feel in the least bit guilty that no-one is getting their backups done. Then again, I wouldn't feel guilty anyway.

This is another entry from home as today I am a free man. Can't decide whether to go cycling, spend the day in the cinema or just laze about the house and do very little. We had some friends over yesterday for Easter Sunday; plenty of chocolate, not much movement. I may have found a buyer for my mini hifi system (which I'll be getting rid of when it comes to getting my new amp and speakers. One of the people we knowfrom next door are in the market for a hifi. Come the beginning of May I hope to be a few hundred up and have a nice clean space on my shelves for speakers.

Obviously there's not much more I can put in today's journal entry apart from the fact that I'll be taking another crack at PAP authentication from work tomorrow and setting up the three new PCs that finally got delivered on Thursday. Now that we know what we're doing to lock them down, it should be a cinch to get them up and running in about 30 minutes each.

I've been presusing my web logs and looking at the referer URLs I have. Following them back is an... education some times. There are some weird and strange people charging for webcam access out there. I'm just glad I do it for free and that the original purpose of this site was parody, or I'd be classed in the same 'whacko' bracket as some of the people I've seen these past few days. If you've founf a webcam site where the journal sucks, the sentiment is cloying or the whole place simply sucks bull gonads through a drinking straw, email me with the URL and we can all have a laugh.

[11:40] Day off work today. Went to listen to speakers yesterday afternoon. Damned if it didn't start raining as soon as I got out of the door. Still, while the Kef Cresta setup was good (apart from distorting at Too Loud volumes which I'd never attempt in a residential conurbation) the B&W speakers I tried next were... I dunno, much cleaner sounding. Plus, with aluminium tweeter cones and kevlar (in case someone shoots them) mids they look cooler too. With the B&W setup it's stands front and back, rather than floorstanders at the front with the Kefs. The price isn't that mad either. Especially as there is no chance in hell I'll be buying them from the high street. There are plenty of places that'll do them cheaper. I just have to consider the warranty stuff.

For all you non-audio/home cinema-philes I'll move on to something else. The girlfriend won Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri this morning. Well, it arrived this morning by post. She enters competitions. Not more than, say, nine a week. This one was a win from Kelloggs. Given that it'll only run on my machine, I still have to finish Homeworld (finished Mech Warrior 3 this morning), Homeworld (I'm on the last mission), finish Tiberian Sun (half of GDI, all of Nod), install Firestorm for Tiberian Sun and then install Opposing Force for Half-Life, it may take a while before we get sucked into AC.

Went for a curry last night and then saw Three Kings. Strange film in places. Weird cinematography. Had a nosebleed in the curry house (different nostril to the one which beld the night before last, oddly enough). I'm wondering if it's something to do with the pain in the left side of my jaw which started when I was blowing my nose towards the end of the cold I've just had. When I bend over the pressure increased at a point in my jaw. Pressing in certain places seems to relieve the pressure. I'm wondering if I've gotten some kind of blockage that will clear in time.

Anyway, there's more speakers to listen to today. The Kefs again and some Acoustic Energy systems (never heard of them, myself) which need to be turned up to 11. It's doubtful I'll be in on Monday either. There'll still be a journal entry though.

[11:50] Oh, yes. While I was pottering around in a TV shop I overheard a clueless salesdrone (junior) completely failing to describe the benefits of widescreen and 50 vs 100hz technology. After he'd wandered off to get some brochures to fob some guy off with I ambled up, asked if there was anything he wanted to know and then proceeded to spend 40 minutes (during which time another woman wandered over and took on information too) explaining TVs, DVDs and sound standards. By the end of it they were looking much more Clued. It was quite Recovery-inducing; explaining non IT stuff to two people who needed to know (and knew they needed to know) to stop from blowing thewir money on crap goods. The guy asked for my phone number. I asked if they had email, they did. I gave them one of my aliases that can't be linked back to me in any way. Damned if I didn't mind them emailing me for advice. My main repeated phrase was "Buy some magazines and either learn the stuff yourself or get your children to. You will save money that way."

I also ran into one of the sysadmins from my old workplace, he was meeting my old BOFH in a bookshop, so I tagged along and we had a chat, chewed over old times and I related the fact that the job he'd vacated to come and be my boss (which was the job I'd originally gone for on coming to the city) still had all the same root passwords set. Won't tell you how I know this. He looked happy at the revalation...

[11:20] PAP Authentication under linux and FreeBSD is the work of the devil. I mean, if I can get it working under windows in under five minutes but after three days I'm no closer to getting it working for linux, there's something wrong. Either that or I'm missing something fundamental. This is probably the case.

PAP doesn't seem to present a login: or password: prompt, and doesn't ask you if you want to start ppp. How the hell am I supposed to construct a chat script to work with something sitting there waiting for me to say something?

Well at least this afternoon I get to go and listen to some speakers and amplifiers. Let you know some basic opinions tomorrow.

[16:30] Finally got Dell to deliver the PCs to the right place. Hopefully they'll arrive tomorrow. Got the serial card delivered and stuck it in. Of course it doesn't work, there was still an error somewhere. Decided it might be useful to go at lease something stopping anyone from getting access via the modem line so I spent a few hours puzzling through PAP authentication.

Strangely enough I've got it working fine with Windows, but Linux refuses to play ball, and I think I've done something screwy to the modem. Either way I'm having real trouble getting the 'spare' modem to dial up properly. Chat scripts really do suck majorly. I don't know if the mode is broken or the chat scripts/pap authentication on the server are wrong. Frankly it all sucks at the moment.

[16:10] Crap day. Wasted day. Came in, got the 2.2.14 kernel working prefectly on the RedHat 5.2 box. The spent the rest of the day trying to work out why the modem on the server was saying that the connection wasn't 8-bit clean. The spare board I found seems to be a parallel port and a nine ping serial. Can't use either.

Annoyed. I also had to lug down some heavy boxes for one of the secretaries who's also working here at the moment.

[17:30] Going home. Back tomorrow. Unless I find something more interesting to do. Like breathing.

[10:20] Seems the PFY isn't in today, and I thought she was. Perhaps I'd forgotten. I had to change the backup tapes myself. I'll do something suitably BOFHworthy if she was meant to be in. Wish I could remember.

Fun weekend, plenty of walking and a pub lunch on Sunday. We had guests over for the weekend. One was at a saxaphone repair workshop for the weekend the other wandered round town with us and brought a ton of comic books. Oh yeah, on the Saturday I went to a Quaker wedding. They are good Recovery. For those of you who don't know the score. You wander in in what ever is comfortable clothes and sit in silence having a thing about anything you want. After a while the bride and groom come in and sit down. When they're ready they both stand up and say their vows to each other, then sit down again. More silence. If anyone wants to say anything, they can stand up and say it. After a while two of the Elders shake hands and the thing is over. You then watch the happy couple sign their scroll and everyone else who was there at the time does the same thing as proof of the event.

Everyone then goes and eats at a 'Bring and Share' affair. All very nice. No singing, lots of silence and time to just slow down.

Just had a package. My mum has sent two eggs through the post to me at work for me and the girlfriend. That's nice. Today will be fixing the two machines in the building that insist on having IRQ problems. As near as I could make out from the event logs when I checked them for the first time a few months ago they've never been right. ANother thing the old sysadmin missed.

[11:45] Just been on the phone with the people from salaries. Apparently there's a 'good chance' my Y2pigginK bonus will be dispatched in cheque form some time in the week of April 25. I fucking hope so. Not being in the last three payslips has made me want to rend someone limb from limb. Luckily I've decided not to get my amp and speakers until the end of April anyway. With regards to that I've booked two audio appointments on Thursday and Friday of this week. I'll be taking in a few DVDs and seeing if I can tear some cones. If anyone has any opinions on the Kef Cresta speaker range I'd appreciate them via the usual address.

[16:00] Over lunch I went to a few hi-fi shops and am now confused as to whether I get the Kef Crestas, the Sony VE705s or some Celestrions. Going to work on IP forwarding to take my mind off it all.

[18:40] Bah, seems the 2.0.36 kernel isn't too happy with IP forwarding so I've decided to see if I can upgrade to 2.2.14 safely. Either way I can still reinstall 2.0.36 again if things go pear-shaped.

[11:40] This week really is 'printers from hell' week. Another inkjet went wrong, nut as soon as I got to it it worked prefectly. One of the big laserjets went screwy and began eating paper sideways and lastly the machine and I had to attack it with a hammer. Not pretty.

O.K. I didn't. I would have done though, if I'd been in possession of an implement at the time. Last night, at around 19:00, while I was here getting a kernel compiled and changing over the domain controllers security turned up and asked if my alarm was going off. Obviously not as I was distinctly not hearing anything. Back on the radio it turns out that the research room alarm is going off. We troop down three flights of stairs and I beging to hear the sounder going off. We get to the door and can hear someone on a mobile complaining about how they're locked in and the alarm's going off. Naturally the mag lock has engaged and it's gripping the lock's angle-shaped retaining thingy slightly more than it's supposed to. After I've kicked some Nike shaped dents in the door and waggled the key in the lock a few times, in conjunction with the door code, the thing opens. The guy had been sitting stock still (so obviously not looking at porn) in front of a computer and for some reason the clock on the alarm had become one hour fast. I check the one on my room when I got back upstairs and found that was also one hour fast. I think (as they were just checked) the alarms had gone forward a few weeks later than BST was recognised. As it was, the Thursday day was set to lock/alarm at 20:00 rather than the normal 22:00. This meant that at 19:00 it'd engaged. I powered the unit off for the night and called ADT who sent someone round this morning just now.

The things are set properly now and I've had a crash course in setting lock and unlock times on the timers. It was funny to hear the guy squeaking away on his phone though... "Help, help. I've been trapped in a computer room and all the lights are off. I think they've forgotten about me!" Brought back my early gaming days.

[14:00] New Tale from the Front from Joe detailing what support of any kind can do to someone's irony quotient. I feel your pain, my friend. There's also a new image in the current and still quite empty gallery. In case you want to see just how exciting this job can get sometimes.

[14:25] Bugger me. JenniCAM is four years old today. Got pointed at this little fact by Mike, who saw it on Slashdot. Looks like she's been /.'ed into oblivion. Well, Jenni, congratulations on being around and providing stuff for people to look at. Hope things work out for you.

[15:20] Long morning. Got in and did some stuff with the spare computer until the meeting I had at 10:00 to dicuss the new A/V and IT equipment I'll be buying for the place. Two hours later I'm back out and in need of a drink. But no, I have to spend forty-five minutes tearing a LaserJet 4MV to shreds and gently teasing out two stickly labels that had come off their backing and gotten futzed up in the workings. It was hot, it was damned annoying. I could have shoved the whole thing down the woman's throat, only the paper tray would have dropped out and hit my foot.

ONce I'd finished my herculean effort I came back downstairs to consider the massive amount of purchasing and fact-finding I've been landed with. Don't get me wrong, I like buying kit, just the time it takes bites monkeys.

I've now spent over an hour making a vanilla install of Windows 98 vaguely secure and up to date. Once I've got the software, I'll have to see if it's possible to stop the machine detecting the on-board video card and then failing to install it properly. If I have a second card in, try to get it through your cpu that this means I don't want the other one detected.

[17:10] Moved a little more of the server stuff across today, printers and the 'special shares' went without a hitch. I've decided that tonight is the 'move the user directories and roaming profiles' day. Cue a few careful commands with scopy.exe and a scratch pad.

Today has been mainly a holding action against boredom. I've gotten the 'borken' modem from my old place working after fiddling about with the rattling innards. It was broken, just not irreperably. I've also gotten an old hub working again, as well as my old 486 from home running RedHat 5.2 (nice and easy to set up and make into a port forwarder). I'm having a spot of bother recompiling the kernel and it's killing me sitting for hours at a time waiting for it to get through the make dep ; make ; make clean ; make install, to the point where it says "make[1]: as86: Command not found." and then drops out of the compile.

I'm staying late tonight, so I should have at least one or two more tries at it. With a working modem, a dial-in server, a hub and a spare machine to go with a potentially working dial-up server/gateway/port forwarder I could be up and running in a while. Or not.

[10:00] VirusScan engines updated happily. Now I have the fun of installing the new server. On the cycle ride yesterday I got a broken modem from the old workplace. Might see if I can use it to set up the home network in work so I have the resources to hand.

[14:40] The morning's been spent setting up the replacement PDC for the administrative domain. It's actually something of a pleasure to install a 'clean' NT Server and put everything where I want it to go. To apply the patches for all the applications and have it sit there, solid as a rock. Now all I have to do is convince NAI to allow me to get version 2.5 of the Management Edition software to ftp down and I can finish installing the networked printers, finish up the backup patching and finish moving things to a more stable footing. Perhaps then I'll feel better about taking more days off...

[15:00] Just got back from explaining POP and IMAP again to someone using the long arms/binoculars metaphor. Hmmm, just realised I'm going to have to stay late at least one night this week to move over everyone's profiles, user directories and shares. Although we can get the printers and special shares moved any time so long as we unmap them first from the old points. I'm going to take some time over this as I want ti all to go smoothly abd by the numbers.

The girlfriend informs me that one of my presents from her that hadn't arrived yesterday has arrived at her workplace. So hopefully I'll be getting it/them tonight.

[20:45] Bugger me if all my remaining presents didn't all arrive today. Got home and the girlfriend had wrapped them all. Four DVDs and seven books to go with the other two DVDs I got yesterday. All in all it's turned out to be a damned good haul. Far better than I've had in many a year. I think the girlfriend is to blame for co-ordinating all the people who couldn't get presents to me themselves and getting them in their stead. She's probably worth hanging on to in the long term. I can't really thank anyone other than my parents (who read this journal occasionally and don't fully approve of the language) here, but nevermind. Grandmother's present, posted last Tuesday with a second class stamp is still AWOL.

I don't think I mentioned that there was an advertisment go out for a BBC documentary on webcams and the people who appear on them. I wrote to the researcher and became something of a resource on what exactly 'chat rooms' are and aren't. It also became quickly apparent that having a BBC film crew in the building here would probably get me fired. Ah well, such is the price of obscurity. I don't see Jenni having these problems. It's a shame, because I could probably set up cameras at home and upload the images to a webserver in work... only I'm in work all day, so it'd be a pretty boring pair of served images. What's that, I hear you say, "watching you sitting staring to the left of camera one is boring anyway". Yeah? SO what would you do if you had a webcam?

10/04/2000 (Off work Birthday Edition)
[16:55] Having been away all weekend and driven over 600 miles (well, the girlfriend did at any rate), we were understandably a bit tired on Sunday night. Luckily we had today off as well. Woke late for a Monday (08:03) and spent the next ten minutes fighting off the instinct to get up, dress and go to work. Around nine the girlfriend started thowing presents at me. Books, DVDs and a Saitek Cyborg 3D joystick which you can make left handed from the girlfriend. Apparently there's some more stuff on order from internet stores so I get to have another gift session or two over the coming days.

After setting up the joystick (still haven't used it yet) we decided to go for a cycle ride. Cycling in the sun is Recovery. We cycled about 20 miles, had a pub lunch, wandered round a town and got a train back. All in all a good day.

The PFY emailed me this morning. She knows me too well; the subject was "Everything is under control" and the main message of the body went along the lines of 'don't come in, you're not needed, have a day off, did I mention we don't need you?'. Naturally the server we're replacing in the next few days had frozen up over the weekend. It had pinged O.K. so I think the explorer.exe shell had died leaving the underlying services running. This is why she hadn't been innundated with "I can't log in!" emails this morning. Back to it tomorrow, anyway.

We're going out for a meal tonight, then the birthday is over for another year. Oh yeah, the girlfriend's machine keeled over in a semi-permanent fashion this morning. Might see if there are any spares at work I can swap in for a while.

[10:30] Feck, the fecking fecker's fecking fecked. Stupid, STUPID 'Dennis' the friendly and quavering voiced, doddery-handed electrician powered off the entire house this morning at 09:57. He'd rung the bells of all the flats (we live in a collective of two floor appartments) at 09:00 and, having got no reply from us (I was in the shower, the girlfriend never hears the buzzer) had assumed there was no-one in. When he got round to our meter (he was replacing everyones meters) he just flicked off the power. Naturally I was logged in (Win98) and was installing an application on the girlfriend's tempramental 486 (Win95).

I dashed out and politely asked him why he hadn't knocked. He took one look at me and asked if I'd had a computer on. Is it that obvious? Given this man works with electricity and could happily cut off the power for 'as long as was required to fix the problem, mate' I remained calm and asked him to put the power back on for ten minutes so I could power up everything, check things and power down in a controlled manner. He brought the power on three times in under two seconds. I nearly screamed. Luckily nothing seems to have fried.

Work's done now, with luck this shouldn't happen again. Except for when the city's dodgey mains goes wonky again. Still felling ill, but the mucus is beginning to thicken. Isn't that waht you wanted to read?

[11:20] There's a job. It's in Dublin, Ireland. The job is: Set up NT4 and get things working neatly. Set up linux, slowly move things across. Reformat the NT machines as games machines/linux boxes/anything else. Expand and improve. Slap in some increases in bandwidth, some routers and switches and garnish with a little web design and commerce. The person who's looking for a PFY would like them to start... hell, he'd love them to start Monday. I've said I can't start for at least 8-10 months. I have things to do here which need to be done. Not to mention the fact the girlfriend would have to find and get a new job (she's only been working for eight months), we'd have to shift a shitload of stuff across the Irish Sea, find a new place to live and say goodbye to some close friends.

Other than that I'd be on the boat right now. As it is, we're going over in May to explore the place and see what it's like. If it looks good and in eight months there's still a vancancy... well, who knows?

[13:00] Full of cold. New server arrived this morning as I was groping my way in. Dell's new PowerEdge2400 is really taking the piss with it's OpenManage CD and boot discs stuff. Loading a small Windows95 interface with IE to create CDs may be cute to the average luser, but it just gets in the way for me. I've been running diagnostics all morning (2:32:34 thus far) because when the thing arrived the box was covered in tears and there was a hole in the bottom. Getting the sides off the thing required forceful use of a Leatherman and some elbow grease. As I'm not in work tomorrow or Monday it'll be Tuesday before the beast takes up the running from the old server. I think it'll last till then.

Went to the hardware shop last night and opened an account. Unfortunately some of the kit I wanted had been sold, so I got what I could and stuck the rest on order. Good thing is that you get a 10% discount for having an account with them.

Used the kit I bought this morning to release two of the locked down machines into the wild. I'd like to be here to see how they get on and close any of the holes I might have missed. I guess I'll have to leave that to the PFY to do. I've filled her with essential Clue (really crammed it in with a stick) so that it leaks out over Friday and Monday (my birthday).

This afternoon will be consisting of hot drinks, television and food. I may update the journal from home, I'll post something tomorrow and Monday. Won't be much though. Camera II will also be down for the duration as I don't trust FreeBSD not to crap out, and I won't be there to powercycle it.

Erm, what else, what else? Yeah, well done to Ailbhe for getting a job interview. Hope things go well. Let me know, please? Weather's good here at the moment, I'll take my time getting home. Anyone want to tell me what they're doing for the weekend and on my birthday?

[09:20] [muttercompromisingmyhardlineimagemutter] I've given in to pressure from the girlfriend and some emails from people (you know who you are) and, as you may have noticed, placed a Hunger Site link at the top of the Journal. For those of you who don't know what it is, click on the link and find out.

If you don't like where it is, suggest a better location, or even do a new gif for me to use. Something roughly the same size or smaller, that fits with the colour scheme hereabouts, and says what it is. I don't expect any of you lazy good-for-nothings will actually do anything, but asking for something fills up today's entry.

Given that I'm ill (have been since Monday; sore throat, pain in chest, now have streaming nose) it's only because the new server arrives today that I've actually bothered to come in. Once it's in place the only thing left that I don't know about the installation history of is the web server, which doesn't really matter.

[13:00] Bah, no printer collection or delivery of new server. How the hell am I supposed to remain productive this afternoon with nothing to do but read news and talk on-line? Ordered three more PCs (saved three hundred pounds on the order). Must leave early today and go buy the first of the DIY security measures I'm getting to make sure no-one walks off with the kit. Lunch time now, though.

[16:30] Going home now, via the hardware shop. Have a streaming cold. No pigging server here, but someone came to pick up the printer at least.

[10:40] O.K. that's just plain fucking weird. I've been out on a luser mission and come back to find that the PFY got a call for me from my old workplace for me. I ring them back. It's Her on the other end (see the Co-LARTers, if I haven't updated it yet). Seems about 30 minutes ago she got a call from the 'police'. Seems they wanted to know the location of a mental patient bearing my name (truncated first name and everything) who was missing from his home (or a mental home, not sure which). She didn't know anything about it and rang me as soon as she got off the phone. It's a little late for April Fools, so I'm wondering what's happening.

The mission I was on was the Mac printer problem. To cut a long story short, I couldn't find an on-line source of Mac-serial printers so I borrowed one that was sitting spare that wasn't ours. Theoretically I have to give it back come Septemberish, but then, the person who needs it is also leaving then, too. The next person gets a PC.

[12:00] We just had a meeting of all the administrative staff on this level. Seems there have been tribunals and the like concerning someone we work with here. Can't say any more, this could be used as evidence...

[12:20] New addition to the LARTs in action directory, now accessible from the "LART!" page on the main menu. Listen to what happens when you don't do regular backups.

[10:40] Why do Mondays always have to be really bloody wet? It's damned annoying and shouldn't be allowed. Fun and games already today at BOFHcentral. The guys from ADT have come in to fit some new security and intruder systems. Only some of the places that were specified can't be used due to certain things like complete walls being not built yet, or just plain missing.

Because I'm the 'person who deals with flashing lights' and stuff, this is therefore my domain and it's been dumped into my lap. I've fobbed off as much as I can on the librarian (the stuff is going in the library after all) and retired to my office to wait for the bedamned printer which still hasn't turned up yet. Never order from Getech, ever. This is a public service annnouncement.

Booked April 7 and April 10 (my birthday) off work. Makes this week only four days long which is nice. Suppose this means I should actually do something for the remaining time. More news on my female friend in the shite job. I'll post the details (suitably anonymised) when I get permission to do so.

[11:50] Hmmm, sore throat. No printer either yet. I think I'll let the PFY tear some chunks of the salesdrone.

[13:00] O.K., news. My friend has a family friend who runs a restaurant in the city. Because it's a very popular and very busy restaurant she has started going there and helping out as a waitress on a Saturday and occasionally a Friday evening. To her it's like a social evening with her good friends where she can talk and laugh and meet new people, and especially develop her spoken English skills. She usually gets home by about midnight, so as you can imagine she has a lazy day on Sunday.

You may wondering why I've told you this. Well since the atmosphere has become very bad in her workplace, she was spoken to on Tuesday last week by her boss, "I'm telling you that you must give up your weekend restaurant job. Why are you working weekends do you need more money?"

She replied "What job? Can you please show me which user is waiting for me? All I'm doing is installs and menial tasks."

To which he replied "You are late for your English lessons and you have not done your English homework, which is suffering. We are getting you very expensive lessons which you waste half an hour of by being late. We must pay for this time and you wasted half an hour of the very valuable time of the teacher."

She replied "Today is Tuesday, I did not work last night. I was sick on the way home from work, I had to stop and my friends called an ambulance. I made an effort to come to work today and I am sorry the traffic was bad and I did not have a mobile to call you. I couldn't really fly or walk from where I was."

His reply called into question her illness. Bastard.

This discussion became quickly circular in went on this way for about another 10 minutes.

I might add that the expensive "senior lecturer" she has tutoring her in English is apparently a very good friend of this boss and his wife...

[13:20] Want to hear a BOFHly person in action? Don't mind about really profane language? Can download wav files with impunity? Then get the actual recording of a BT (British Telecom) telesales person receiving the raw end of someone's tongue and managing to keep their composure. "This conversation may be recorded for training purposes" has never been more chilling. Ex-directory means ex-directory.

[16:35] Now I'm just raving angry. The printer has finally arrived. Even after I screamed and made sure it was one that would come with a Mac-serial round DIN connector, it's come with USB and parallel. I've had a bit of a scream, you might have seen me wandering round the room with a hammer... I called someone else and found that in point of fact, Epson and HP don't make printers with the Mac-serial interface on the back any more. I wish someone had told me this three weeks ago. Still, at this rate I may be able to get the Mac user to move to PC.

I rang Getech back and was very restrained on the phone. The salesdrone was as confused as normal and I rang off after making him promise not to send an invoice and to get someone to collect the printer.

I ranted and raved a bit once I'd got off the phone and now have a big throbbing pain behind my right eye.