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31/01/2000
[09:00] Had haggis on Saturday night. Have to say that it was really rather good. Also took one of the laptops home to play with and started the bones of the next PFY story.

Shit, shit shit. It's the PFY's birthday today, and I forgot... But apparently it's O.K. as she wasn't expecting anyone to have remembered. Consequently she was happy to hear me wish her a happy birthday as she walked in the door. Points saved.

Already sent an email LART this morning. Someone emailed about 500 people to get them to complain about the Clause 28 thing going round in the news at the moment. I don't disagree with the sentiment, but the aliases they used are for administrative use only, and it's slapped wrists for anyone else who uses them for non-administrative stuff. I love the smell of email-LART in the morning, smells like victory.

[15:40] Just come back from a meeting with some people about a Managed Cluster System. This system would allow me to ghost the machines easily, meaning I wouldn't have to worry about the shite people were installing. I'd be able to follow the Institution's guidlines on restricting access to authorised users.

Getting back, the librarian informs me that she doesn't want people to have to log in to do 'quick checks' on book in this or any of the other libraries. As far as she knows, no other library in the institution does authentication to the desktop and she's not going to break the mould. Nevermind the fact that in a few months I get the feeling that there is going to be a crackdown on authentication issues and some people are going to have to really redesign their systems.

No, she wants me to install NT on the machines and have some way of locking down that OS so that they don't install all kinds shite and break the stuff I do have installed.

[16:20] She's going to talk to the Cluster Service people directly so we can find out if this thing is going to work at all. The problem is, is that I went and asked people what the best way to do this would be. I now have to toe the party line on using authentication and such like, when all the other people who didn't and haven't done authentication simply keep their mouths shut. Part of me hopes they all get caught and have to redo their systems to keep the persona non gratis types off our machines.

I dunno. I just wanted to save myself some time and effort with installs and system maintenance, while at the same time keeping the machines clean and tidy, offering the lusers access to their files stored centralled at Central and to keep up with printer accounting and the requirement I'm sure we're going to have to follow (and if we aren't ever forced to, we should be).

[16:45] She's just been in now and told me she's trying to phone the people, and seems a little more amenable. There is hope.

Saw Sleepy Hollow last night. I have to say it was a bit crap. Depp was too foppish for my liking and fainted far too often. The plot was ropey in places, there were far too many continuity errors (look at the skull's teeth), Ricci failed to impress (even with a heaving bosom) and there was a certain dissonance between scenes that grated.

Not only that, but the cinema was half empty and there was some greasy guy who insisted on sitting right next to me and made me feel uncomfortable. So that didn't help.

28/01/2000
[12:50] Well, I survived karate last night. Just. It was tiring and quite fun to go up against similar 1st Kyu and black belt karateka who had been in continual training for a few years/months. We did a lot of basics and some sparring, which was nice. Ju Ippon tends to wake you up to the fact that you're not as good as you once were. Of course, my forearms now hurt (I'm like Buffy though in one respect; I doin't bruise much).

Hey! it's Friday again already. Where are the days going? This morning I didn't follow the instructions pointed out by Joe at NAI concerning a SuperDAT upgrade of my VirusScan software, consequently I ended up having my newest DATs over written with 4031 versions. Luckily I had the originals (and NT being NT for once I didn't have to reboot after rolling out the changes four times with the Management Console). I did have to shutdown five workstations from the office though, and there were people on them, so that was O.K.

27/01/2000
[12:40] I'm going to atempt to go to Karate again tonight. It's a general session starting at 20:00, so I'll be here till late, which is good as I have laptops to install. The AO saw me last night, she needed some help printing out a job description. She seems quite interested in going for the job, which is bad as she may go and we'd get someone who didn't know how things worked.

She also asked me to do a new wish list as the one I had had stuff which is far too cheap. She wants stuff in the £100,000 range. I have to have this done by 14:00 today.

[18:20] We're going to be spending a really obscene amount of money if we can get authorisation from the Powers that Be. I won't tell you how much, or on what because I want to a) make sure we don't get burgled and I want you to suggest things I might have missed in the spec.'ing spree.

I've been dealing with the same one laptop all afternoon today. Either all the modems I have dealt with this week are defective, or the line out of the building has something really wrong with it. I tried the free ISP I use at home as a test account for net connectivity and couldn't ever get a link. Hamster at Ftech gave me access to one of the spare dialups they have there (thanks Hamster!) and I managed to get one or two decent links at 45,333kb/sec. This shows the modems aren't at fault. I think I might take one of the laptops home this weekend (one of the small, expensive ones, rather than the clunky Celerons I'm now dealing with) and see if that improves matters.

Karate at 20:00 tonight. I'll be leaving around 19:30 to make sure I can pay my joining fees and talk to the man who buys belts to order me a 1st Kyu belt (something I've been missing since I moved from Manchester). This is a 'general' session, so hopefully I'll be able to ease myself back in and loosen up enough to do some decent basics, kata and kumite.

Well done to Ailbhe who got the job she wanted. No more Tech Support!

Can the people who are looking for http://bofhcam.org/journal/october.html stop doing so, please? This page doesn't exist yet for this year. Get a life and stop filling my logs with crap. It's http://bofhcam.org/journal/1999/october.html so wake up and get a life.

26/01/2000
[16:10] Looks like my entries are going to be afternoons mostly, unless I pull my finger out and do something in the morning. One thing I hate is lusers who contact my lusers and tell them things which are wrong. I then have two layers of shite to back through before I can attempt to impart Clue of resonable enough strength to deal with the likes of brains which can't grasp that a URL is not a "web number".

The number of laptops in the building has now risen by another seven. It's not that I don't like laptops (and these ones are superspecial), it's just that I wish the AO had gone laptop-crazy over a longer period of time. Like perhaps two months, not three days.

Still, I get to stop doing the DoD for a bit. Although the PFY is doing the lion's share, it's nice not to have to think about it at all some times. All the time.

25/01/2000
[12:35] I sing the praises of the PFY. She's an Access demon. If she ever leaves (and I won't be letting her go without a fight), she'll get an excellent reference from me. She's solved almost all the problems associated with the DoD and the input of all manner of shite^Wdata. Once we have three slightly different databases copied from this original design we can start on the statistics stuff, and possibly even do some linking between Access and Excel... *shiver*.

[15:30] My payslip's arrived for January. There's no Y2K bonus on it. This is not good. Indeed, it is bad. I am annoyed. I've already fired off an email asking why it's not on there. Perhaps the AO just missed the boat on getting it included. There's no real problem, I'll just get it next month. I doubt I'll be getting my DVD player before then, anyway, given the unknown delivery date of my TV.

[17:20] Two more of the laptops arrived today. Unfortunately I forgot to get 95 on them, so they have 98. I've debated reinstalling them, but Dell's website isn't giving out files at the moment, which is a bind. I've already installed the PC (yesterday) and that's in place. Oooh, hello, two more laptops have arrived. These ones do have 95 on them. I'll deal with them tomorrow, I'm trying to get home earlier today. I wonder if the CD's will have the drivers for everything on them.

24/01/2000
[17:45] Another quick day. Luckily the PFY is making great leaps with the DoD. With luck I won't have to do anything apart from supervise and do some serious thinking come problem time.

I found a RealStream for Radio 1 (UK national radio station) finally. I've been too busy to do so before today. So that was good. Makes a change from the mp3s I have, even if it is at 20.0kb/sec. Good to hear the radio I normally miss during the day.

I've been pissing about with Dr Solomon's VirusScan again today. One of the NT machines wouldn't see any of the local workgroups or domains so I spent the entire afternoon pissing about with 3Com NIC drivers in an effort to solve what was probably a Service Pack 5/Y2K/old NIC drivers/hotfixes fubar.

One of the major lusers has been demanding the digitisation of another 250 35mm slides. He already has 1,500 bodged into a bloaty, badly designed FileMaker Pro DoD, which we have to maintain and serve from a flakey NT box. I spent the morning costing it up and getting in contact with all kinds of people to get the best deal possible as it might turn out that I have to buy a slide digitiser myself and do it in my CFT. Somehow I don't think that'll happen.

The new workstation and two more of the flashy laptops arrived today. I've set up the workstation; Dell's automated install scripting is nice, unfortunately I then have to uninstall all the IE integration cruft, remove the Netware stuff and put on the TCP/IP stuff, which means putting Service Pack 5 and the hotfix mix I've created. So in the end I'm only saving about 30 min. Which I guess is O.K.

If, like me, you were initially confused by today's User Friendly cartoon. You might benefit from knowing that 'Depends' is a make of American adult "daiper" or incontinence pants. So now you know.

21/01/2000
[16:00] Fill in form, waste some time, gasp at the lack of a results table yet. Friday again. And I survived. Which is nice. I suppose.

The AO came in with some higher-ups and looked at the laptop which arrived yesterday and said, "Yessss, buy two more please." So that's another 4K spent. I looked at the spreadsheet I keep of the money I spend (I'm my own budgitarian), it says I've spent over £33,000 since Novermber 1 last year. Which is also nice, in it's own way.

The PFY and I have come to a little impasse with the DoD. She's fairly confident we'll either find the solution next week, or what we want to do is impossible with Access. I like her attitude.

I'm still listening to Blue Jam recordings. If you don't remember me mentioning them last year, tough. I've had lots more responses on the new PFY story, thanks people. Too many to mention, and as no-one sticks out as having a particularly mentionable message, I won't mention what people said. If you want a mention, say something worth repeating. I can't call them the BOFH stories because Simon owns the copyright on that. Which is the reason I called them the PFY stories in the first place. I suppose I could call them the BPFYFH as I still feel like a PFY in a BOFH's job.

[16:20] i've had about an equal number fo emails saying that the PFY stories are both a) like the original BOFH stories in their style and b) like the later BOFH stories in their style. So which is it?

[18:30] Yes, I know it'sa late on a Firday, but I'm a sysadmin, what are you going to do? Anywa, I was perusing the pay scales web pages for the institution. While I was hired on a payscale and get an autopayrise come April 1st (the day I started last year), it seems the pay scales have shifted upwards and the pay I'm now getting is not even on there. The pay I was going to get come April is now just below what my grade is now. This has the effect that come April I'll be on a grand more than I thought I would be. Bonus!

20/01/2000
[18:20] Busy day today. Feckloads to do. I've done most of it. We had a virus outbreak come to light this morning so I spent most of the morning making sure everyone's machines had the up-to-date AV stuff on them.

The LCD projector was used in anger today. No casualities.

I tried my hand at some of the DoD reconstruction this afternoon and had to stop after an hour whne I realised that I wasn't going anywhere. Need to leave it to the PFY I think.

The expensive laptop arrived this afternoon. Dell Latitude LS H400ST. Nice shiny toy. I've got it all set up like I want it, so all that remains is the act of giving it to some luser who'll feck it out until he leaves the institution and I get it back again.

Built-in modem and ethernet, external CD-Rom and Floppy. Wonderful thing *drool*

19/01/2000
[14:41] Well, you've been reading the new PFY, but no-one's (apart from Gareth) has commented on it. Come one people, I need to know what people like to read, or not. The morning's been fairly quiet. No luser requests of note, I've been watching the PFY slow unpick and restitch the DoD into something that doesn't give the operator heart palpatations when using them.

I've just been back to have a look at anacam. She's one weird person with a lot of time on her hands. Given that I'm holding down a full-time job (not like Jenni, either) I think this site is good enough for the time I have.

Lunchtime was fun. No really. I went from the top to bottom the building looking for where all the phone lines terminate in our supposedly 'structured wiring' system. I now have a spreadsheet which I intend to back up, twice.

Late lunch now consists of a baguette.

Simon (not The One True BOFH) contacted me asking if he can mirror the PFY stories on his site. The answer was of course yes. Simon wrote the TCP Towers tales, made mythical by the Monastary FAQ. It's a distinct honour to be picked up for 'syndication' by him. Have you read the new BOFH stories in The Register?

18/01/2000
[13:20] All morning I've been moving people's machines and phones all morning. Which was fun. Really. I've also been thinking about the DoD redesigns. I was cleaning my teeth last night and had to get the girlfriend to write down my mumbles from behind a mouthful of froth in case I forgot them by the time I'd finished brushing. And they were good ideas too. Quality plans. Which is a change.

The high point of the day was finally getting on the phone to Our Man At Dell. An hour later, after some consultation with the AO and I've purchased over £10,000 worth of kit. Mostly laptops. Some PCMCIA cards and a PC for good luck. The PC has a 500Mhz PIII in it. I think that'll be going into mine as soon as it arrives. No-one needs 500Mhz just for NT and Office97.

[13:50] I'm now having to restrain myself from buying a DVD player online. I can't decide between the Sony DVP-525 and the 725. If anyone has any opinions I'm going to wait till tomorrow lunchtime before ordering. Oh yeah, Mike is thanking all the people who followed my link of January 13. Those of you who haven't read it, give it a try.

[16:40] Bugger me with a wet herring if I haven't got my arse in gear and finished a new PFY story. Opinions please.

17/01/2000
[13:20] Just finishing assigning the PFY to work on changing the format of the DoD to match that of the first one ever written (the well-styled one). At the moment she seems to be enjoying it. It won't last. I've moved the camera because I felt like a change.

They're moving offices around again today, which is causing no end of hassles. Luckily I'm, well out of it. I just unplug them and plug them back in again when everything's done. I went up to help someone with a Mac PowerBook just now. Seems if you fiddle with the memory settings you can get Word to load. If you don't, or you power-cycle it things then cease to work until you've fiddled with the memory settings again. It doesn't matter what you fiddle, so long as you do.

Stupid thing. Anyway, I think this problem has been caused by 'user error'. it was given to someone who is in error. The new Mac they have has just had its screen replaced. The comment from the technician on the form was 'Did someone slam this in a train door?'.

[13:30-16:00] Network outage caused by dodgy Cable and Clueless ATM kit in London. Luckily the whole time I've been moving kit for people in another of the great office moves this season. So you haven't really missed me.

[18:00] Results of my trip to the store on Saturday have yielded the removal of my JVC TV next Saturday and the refunding of £35 to my account and the promise of the delivery of a KV32FX60 television as soon as they have one in stock. Which could take a while. Doesn't matter, I can wait.

15/01/2000 (Special Pissed-off Edition)
[12:00] Fucking fucknugget cyclists who insist on cycling the wrong way down one-way streets piss me off. LEARN TO FOLLOW THE HIGHWAY CODE YOU DUMB ARSEHOLES. You might just save your life, or mine.

Give me strength.

I'm in briefly to collect my TV stuff so I can go and get it changed at the store this afternoon. The girlfriend's waiting for me in town so, adios.

14/01/2000
[15:20] "Oi, update your journal, I'm bored."

O.K. Today is Friday, the temperature in the office is a steady 20 degrees centigrade. This morning I have mostly been doing nothing, apart from rediscovering the weird world of one of my favourite on-line cartoons. Yes, the link to Pokey the Penguin is back. Follow it, 'get' the point, 'waste' a whole day reading the old strips. Frankly I don't give a rat's ass if you don't understand it. I think they're hysterical. Favourite strips (names) posted to me, if you can be arsed.

Other than that I've been talking on line about this and that. I think perhaps I spend too much time on-line, but it hasn't affected my work output (such as it is) yet, and the PFY hasn't complained. I've got her well trained to do all the tasks that I find annoying, except the fact that I have to make 'decisions' and write memos. God! Is there no relief from this hellish torture?

I've had no reply from the two people I really wanted emails from this week. The first I was hoping for was from the telecoms office, about a number which has gone AWOL, when it was allocated to someone back in September. The other email was supposed to come from the people who organise the Managed Cluster Service with whom I wish to strike up a meeting and drag the Librarian along to so she can stop chewing on my flipping ear about installing 30 NT workstations and some nasty CD-serving Pile-O-Crap(tm).

After a leisurely lunch (except for the part where I freeze vital parts of my reproductive anatomy off cycling into town) I've come back and am Pokeyorizing some more, while I try to find out if I can legitimately buy an allenkey set for the office and use it to fix my bike.

What else, what else? Ah yes. The girlfriend (she who crashed her bike a few days past) and I are going new bike hunting on Saturday, which should be fun as I trip the salesdrones up into showing that they don't know their bottom-bracket from their headset. Arseholes.

Is that good enough, Gabe?

13/01/2000
[16:00] O.K. first off, a quick plug for my friend Mike's article, email him, he'd like some constructive criticism, or any criticism, or anything, let him know what you think (and I have it on good authority that he's... no, actually, nevermind).

Today has been fairly pants otherwise. I've been given all manner of proprietory data which I have to squash and bash and squish into an Access DoD. Not only that, but I have to feckin' send out request letters (in actual envelopes) to get people to sign off on forms so I can get to further data (which will make more work for me). This isn't the job of a sysadmin, especially not a BOFH. I've a good mind to send some mail from some people to some other people, naming names and prices on equipment that's now not currently within the institution's jurisdiction.

The TV continues to give below average results, picture-wise, but I don't care any more. The database the PFY wrote is being tweaked on the job now. The forms people filled in to provide information for input have been 'creatively' completed. Although even the word completed is a misnomer.

I can't believe they put on a Boyzone concert rather than Stargate and Total Recall, last night. How crap is that? Still, I installed Tiberian Sun and played a few missions until around midnight.

12/01/2000
[13:00] Well, last night was eventful. As I was leaving work at 18:10, the phone finally rang, it was the retail store. Turns out they will swap my JVC for the Sony that I want and refund the difference, delivering the new TV when they get some in stock, whenever that is. So that's good.

I left work in a good mood and went to the pool. Locking my bike up outside I was aproached by two policemen who asked if I'd like £20 to appear in an identity parade. Apparently this is common practice; to trawl the streets outside the police station looking for people to fill up the numbers. I wandered ovcer and was turned down for wearing jeans. Such is life.

Went swimming with the girlfriend who got pissed off at the laneing rules for swimmers, so we went on the flumes. Good Recovery right there. Having your innards rise up as you drop away from the entrance and a face-full of water does wonders for your mental health.

We left and cycled home. About half way back the girlfriend came off her bike after hitting the curb of a traffic island. The driver who stopped to help claimed she'd flown over the fairly high bollards at quite a height. Luckily all she suffered were some grazes. The bike (a racer of some age) suffered more damage. The front forks are, frankly, fucked. I had to wheel the bike two miles, keeping the front tire off the ground the whole way. Which was nice.

This morning I was at a meeting until 11:45, which was also nice as I was out of the building. Me and seven other people bitching about NT and its massive network broadcast problems. I've come back to the innane workings of my section of hell to deal with new cluster woes, Apple Powerbook adapters and the DoD.

11/01/2000
[17:00] Damn, still no call from the store. I'll wait till half past, then ring them. See what they have to say for themselves. Today has been fairly good. The PFY has exhibited immense clue in creating a a DoD for one of the secretaries I really have to make sure she doesn't leave for a full-time job somewhere else at the end of February because there's a good chance she could be the person to make the DoD manageable.

I've bought a £2,000 laptop, ordered some phone line work, wandered about the place looking busy (while not being) and done some HTML. All in all, if I can manage to get some job from the retail store, this could be a good day. I found out you can buy the service manual for most televisions nowadays (including the one for mine at £9.09 - weird price). So if I'm stuck with it, I might just be able to make things a little better for myself in the long term.

10/01/2000
[08:40] The TV arrived at 08:20 on Saturday morning. After discarding the box it came in to get it up the first flight of stairs, the two moving guys managed to get 59.5kg of JVC television up the narrow 180 degree turn up to the second floor of the apartment. Once there, they left it to me and the girlfriend to wait for it to warm up to room temperature (having been on the delivery truck all night) and assemble the stand.

This is where the problems started. We got the stand assembled without any problems but the glass shelf would not fit into the provided stays and hooks. This pissed me off, so I rang the store and customer/technical services, who said they'd ring back. They didn't. In the meantime, as I was picking up all the refuse from the unpacking, I found a little bag with replacement stays (ones which allowed the shelf to sit correctly. On the front was a sticker with a cross next to the parts we needed to replace and a tick next to the ones enclosed. This is fairly self-explanitory, but of you're eager and technically astute, you might just use the parts provided and assume that the right ones would have been swapped in.

Anyway, we hoped they wouldn't call back now, so as not to look stupid, and turned the TV on. It was kinda cool watching it find the five terrestrial channels and the cable signal. The picture was bright and clear. Unfortunately, with both the cable box and a small external aerial (so that we can record cable and watch one of the five terrestrial channels or vice versa), the signal from the video recorder was totally mangled. Only by removing the terrestrial aerial were we able to play back a video.

This leads me on to my final point. 'Top of the range' televisions nowadays tend to be 100Hz. Briefly, most TVs are 50Hz, in very simple terms this means that the picture is being refreshed twice as fast, apparently giving you a flicker-free picture. This is great if the signal you're getting is digital and of high quality, it means DVD playback (where the throughput is in the Mbit range) is very sharp. However, for normal cable viewing (where the signal is nowhere near as strong or as high bandwidth) this can lead to problems. As a result many 100Hz televisions have the option to disable the 100Hz (or 100Hz processing) and be fairly close to a 50Hz screen. This means that the TV isn't trying to create the images between the images being broadcast, and the picture is just fine.

My television (despite being told it was 'just as good as the Sony KV32FD1') does not do this, or allow it to be done. So I'm stuck at 100Hz. I can reduce the 100Hz processing, but not turn it off. As a result I went back to the store on Saturday and tried to get them to take it back. After standing round for close on 45 minutes I was seen by the manager. I told him I'd taken the TV on the advice that it did something that I wanted, and it didn't. He told me it was not company policy to take back goods in working order (which it is). The company does not give refunds, it does do replacements, but the thing isn't broken.

With luck he should be ringing me at work today to discuss it some more. I might be able to wrangle him into doing an exchange for the TV I did want (the Sony KV32FX60). However, the reason I didn't get it in the first place is that no-one has any in stock. Sony aren't making them right at the moment, but should be soon. I'll happily wait, without a widescreen television until the Sony is back in stock, I just want shot of this one.

The choices I would like are a) Get my money back, and I wait for someone to get in the Sony, b) Get the paperwork changed to a preordered Sony, and the difference refunded (meanwhile I either have the JVC or they take it back, I don't care), c) I go in and have a look at the Sony KV32FX20 (the 50Hz version of the FX60) and I settle on that instead. The bottom line is, I'm not keeping this TV, so long as I get the one I want eventually, for the price it's at, I can wait.

In other news, I buy the institution four laptops today. Which is nice.

[18:pp] Or not. Seem the main person I talk to at Dell isn't in this week and person I have been talking to doesn't know their stuff and is going to charge us about £300 more than I think we need to pay. Oh, and it's five now, not four.

There's a new addition to the Institution. He was going to be arriving in October 1999 and has just turned up now. As a result we don't have everything he needs, so muggins has to go and sort out a phone line and a computer for him. Stupid twat. As a result I have to get a laptop ordered tomorrow (regardless of price) and get the telecomms people out as soon as possible to patch back in a line we've been missing for I don't know how long. All so we don't look bad.

Oh yeah, the store rang back finally. It seems there are two managers and they hadn't talked. This one assumed I wanted to just get my money back and so was prepared to say "No, that's not company policy." I can live with them taking it back, giving me the Sony when it's in stock and then refunding me the difference. He didn't know about that, so I'm getting rung back tomorrow. All in all a frustrating day.

07/01/2000
[16:30] End of the first week. It's only been four days but I'm still shagged out. The TV arrives tomorrow. I've heard of two bad reviews for it now, which doesn't make me feel especially good. But hey, it should be better than anything I've had before, anyway. Sitting about seven feet back from the screen will help with any problems too, I think. I wish I had a DVD player to test out how it looked with them.

Just found out today that when the PFY finishes her Masters (she's part-time) she'll be looking for another job. This is a bit shit as I'd just got her pretty much up to speed with what I'm doing here. There's a chance she may want to work here full time, but I don't know if there's a job for her (not my area) and what the pay would be like.

Tidied up the machines' locations in the office today, everything looks a little more organised and out of the prying eyes of lusers. I have another stable and secure box for logins and some more disk space, I think the PFY and I are going to learn Samba.

I'm going home now, it's 16:30, everyone else is. I'm going to see if I can find a magazine that has a review of the television. Final thoughts of the working week: need to buy four laptops which "Run Windows NT and Office nice and fast and have modems." Sometimes I like my job.

06/01/2000
[15:30] Well, I did something with today, actually two things. The first thing was that I managed to get round the fact that one UPS serves all four of the servers in here that I share the room with. APC, those nice people with the non-standard serial cables don't build in the ability to power down more than the machine with the cable connected to it. This is a bit silly as there are enough sockets on the back to connect four machine (no monitor). Therefore in the event of power loss, you've got one machine that'll shutdown gracefully, and three that will come to an unexpected halt in 45 minutes. Luckily I have some brains. Not much, but enough.

First of all you alter the UPS service under NT to run as Administrator, rather than System. This is O.K. as as far as I know there are no security holes in this. Then you make sure you've got shutdown.exe from the NT Resource Kit. Write yourself two .cmd files which fire off shutdown.exe with a few carefully chosen arguments (make sure you specify the full path to the .exe) and ensure that all the machines you want to shutdown have the same administrator password. This last bit is a bit of a security hole, but as it's a fiendishly nasty password and no-one comes into the room but me and the PFY, I think it's okay.

Fire up PowerChute and set the UPS event handlers to fire off the .cmd for shutdown should the battery drop to a danger level, test it. At this point you need to make sure you've written the cancel-shutdown .cmd file and have it to hand, or things could get embarassing. And there you go. Multiple shutdowns from one UPS.

I doubt I'm the first person to think of this. But hey, for a Thursday, it's not bad.

My other funky thing was adding a small amount of stuff to one of the DoD. Nothing spectacular, just saved myself hours of pain later, I wonder if I'll go to hell...

[16:22] Oh shit, yeah, congrats to the people/person at apostols.org who got a picture of the bofhcam at 01/01/2000 00:00:02. I guess you were hoping to find me non-Y2K complaint or something. Can you send me a copy please?

05/01/2000
[13:20] Strange days indeed. Thanks to the people who suggested ways to work with UTOMP.exe, wish I'd asked before I'd gone ahead. On the whole though it did give me an excuse to do a clean install and clear out all manner of shite.

My order of Pcounter (printer accounting s/w for NT) has been chasing itself today. I ordered the license from central on 25/11/1999, I was told to submit the domain name and machine name to produce a registration number, which I did. Christmas came and went and I was told my 'urgent' request for a license had been bumped up a few notches in the backlog (we all know what that means). So I waited till the new year and the internal post brought me an application form for the software I'd just ordered, plus the license (minus registration code).

A short call later and it turns out they're waiting for serial numbers from A.N.D. Technologies (authors of Pcounter), so I don't have to fill in the boxes again.

NT Replication is a real arse.

04/01/2000
[10:20] Today has been a fairly good day already. My Windowsian Crapsody thing has been accepted into alt.humo(u)r.best-of-usenet, there have been no Y2K-related incidents, and the printer accounting software appears not to have fallen over.

Wot I Did on My Holidays:
Well, the girlfriend and I travelled to Wiltshire for Christmas to stay with her family. I watched them open their presents, and got a few from them as well. After suffering small children to come to me we journeyed North, to Leeds and my parents. There we had a proper bed (not a blow-up matress, even it if was comfortable), some more good food and plenty of presents. Notable presents were a South park Season 1 script book, trainer/boot type things, plenty of books and some chocolate. Oh yeah, and a Dilbert mug. As my dad is a Baptist minister (don't ask) he was working on Christmas Day (which is why I was in Wiltshire), so for us December 27 was celebration day. On my mum's birthday (December 30) we journeyed home and I went into work to fix someone's NT box that hadn't digested Service Pack 5 too well. Following that the two of us went to the landlord's parent's house where we spent many hours clearing out the upper floor (built over ten years ago and still not finished) of wood, plasterboard and general crap and installing party kit for a new year bash.

On December 31, in keeping with my bonus of £250, I came into work and set off an early backup job. I also discovered that my Analog cron job still wasn't running. This annoyed me. Luckily I was out of the place in a few hours and ready to party.

I have to admit to being quite unrecovered at the party. We set up a combat pit with three PCs in it, installed Diablo, Ultimate Doom, some other stuff, plugged in a hub and got TCP/IP and IPX running. And I enjoyed it. Is this so wrong?

The party was good, we ate lots, drank lots, ran out into the street come the new year and danced about at a junction, then went home and slept till the afternoon. We went back (the girlfriend and I) and partied some more at the house before going home again. And that's about it, until January 3, when I came in and earned the last of my bonus, switching everything on, putting a little slip that said "Y2K O.K." on every machine and then setting the backup jobs running.
And that's everything. Total Y2K casualities: 2. The girlfriend's PC which has an Award BIOS V4.50G (circa 1994-5), which I fixed with the Phoenix/Award 'official' Y2K fudge, and one of the public access PCs, which just didn't boot up again. The BIOS is fine, I think the HDD just died. Fairly uneventful really. I took the digital camera home, and never used it (sorry). I have a new tale from the front from Pieter and I've had my Windowsian Crapsody forwarded to a.h.b-o-u (which I think I mentioned). All I have to do now is survive the short week where people will be asking me for all the things I put off last year. Like the DoD, and stuff.

Oh yeah. I bought a television.

[18:07] Well, there's one resolution already broken. Not being in work after 18:00. It was a stupid resolution anyway. I've tried to upgrade a server from single to multiprocessor under NT. It didn't work. It spectaculary didn't work. But that's O.K., because it wasn't doing anything. I'm also reinstalling the workstation that didn't like to boot. I tried repairing the installation, but you know NT. Or maybe you don't, lucky buggers.

03/01/2000
[12:41] Just spent the morning checking all the machines for any Y2K problems. Now I'm off to see if I can find a nice cheap Sony KV32FX60 telly. Tell you more about stuff tomorrow.