[11:10] Quick rush this morning. First the guy came in to collect the PCs we're
giving away free, so that involved lots of lifting and carrying. Once they'd
gone I had to shift two more PC/printer/monitor combinations in quick succession.
Admittedly this means we have a little more room in the place, but it's sad to
see virgin machines leaving the nest to be tainted and sullied by the world at
large. Still, I get to order some more soon.
[11:55] Should have done it months ago. But I've shut down my last ftp server on
boxes where this is an option. Moved the update of the journal and stuff to
scripted scp. Finally. Of course there are some boxes that can't have it shut
down on. I'm working on ways to secure them utterly.
[13:40] Hurrah! My amplifier's back from the repair shop. They want to
soak-test it for the minor fault I sent in for, but are happy if I collect it
this afternoon. I may go home early. See if I can convince someone to push the
bike while I carry the box. After that it's time to test the DVD Platinum DVD I
got in the states, and all the others I've been racking up in anticipation. Did
I mention my The Princess Bride has shipped from DVD Boxoffice?
[16:20] Begun download for RedHat-7.0 the first .iso file. I'll come back on
Monday and find it stopped about 45k before completion.
[14:50] Managed to sell a few PCs of the institution's today. Unfortunately I
don't get to keep the money. Still, it can go towards getting a fairly good one
to experiment with Windows 2000 on. A few more days and we may have enough room
in some of the other rooms to have room to swing some felines. We have PCs
coming out of our ears at the moment. We have to be careful that I don't sell
one of the new ones at a cut-price discount.
I guess I should set up some more machines at some point. Luckily the ghost
image takes all the effort out of it. It's just a shame the client service
executable has such a crappy memory leak in it.
This new scanner we have here kicks butt compared to the old one. OCR is a
breeze compared to the hand-crank-and-pray way we used to do it. Really really
need to get rid of these PCs.
[17:40] Any BOFHs in the Netherlands, there's someone who's being thrown out of
the US on this 'time's up you're out' deal. She's Clued and probably could do
with a job. If you read a.s.r you'll know who. If you have any jobs for Clued
sysadmins and stuff, give her a shout, or mumble something at me. Thanks.
[16:35] Today has been a clearout day. We must have dumped at least one metric
buttload of crap from the cupboards and shelves. Not only that, but as the AO
has said there's no more room in the building to have as a test lab we've dumped
an empty cupboard and stuck in another table. This gives us some room to fiddle
about with PCs with odd configurations and stuff like that. Things on the cards
are Windows 2000, MeetingMaker (shudder), Samba servers and stuff I haven't
thought of yet.
[12:15] Just sent out an email to people who are 'eligible' for PCs and printers
to come and collect them as I'm not shipping them out to them. I've also stated
that once the PCs leave here this office has nothing to do with them, we just own
them. This means the local sysadmins will have to ask me for the administrator
passwords and then look after them themselves. I know a few places where this
isn't going to go down too well. Frankly I don't care, I just Ghost the machines
and send them out. Let them deal with them.
The AO has pointed out some shared calendaring software which he used to used at
the place he worked before he was assimilated here. I've had a look at it. It's
monsterous. You could run IBM, Microsoft and three governments with it. I've
downloaded the trial version but don't have any machines I'm willing to sacrifice
to it at present. Even if I did, I'd not have the room to play with them. I've
asked for a brief meeting with the AO to discuss using one of the 'scarce
resource' spare rooms as a test lab. I may also mention that the servers are
getting more and more full of dust and fluff from the floors here. Varnished
cork floors, can you believe that, for a room with the servers in and sitting on
that same floor?
Sometimes I think I stay here just so it doesn't all go horribly wrong. Plus
there's no-one who can run things right but me around here.
[17:00] Just spent the afternoon fdisking twelve old PCs and crapping all over
the NTFS partition with a DOS primary partition, then formatting that. When we
sell these things no-one's going to benefit from 'free software'. Now all I have
to do is mention that even I don't know which ones have 2Gb drives and which have
1Gb ones. Caveat Emptor I guess.
[18:00] Damnit, if the secretaries haven't typed up, checked and printed the
brochures with the same goddamn wrong bloody email address as I told them they
weren't this time last year. Do they listen? Do they think to ask
me if they've gotten this piddling little thing right? No, goddamnit it.
They may make this place look like it crawled out of something's arse and rotted
in the corner, but I'm damned if they'll make it look like this office doesn't
have the Clue to make the 'right' email addresses active. If anyone asks, it's
nothing to do with me. I Was Not Consulted.
[11:00] Just sent my my email letter declining the offer of the job. Took me
most of the time I was at my parents' this weekend to get it right. And it still
wasn't when I sent it. I won't cite the reasons and such, as I don't want to.
It would have been a big change and might have increased my skills and stuff, but
if I can get a job like that now, what's to stop me getting a job like that that
I do feel good about in a year or less? I'll have more experience and I'll be
truly ready to leave here.
[11:20] I went and told the AO about my not leaving. He was properly gratified
and decided that getting loads of new projects was the best way to get me to
stay. Naturally I didn't disabuse him of this offer. I've mentioned linux
intergration and the inevitable rise of Windows 2000. So new kit on the horizon
at any rate. Still no reply from the person who offered me the job. Hope they
don't call out a hit squad to blackball me throughout the institution.
Naturally I'm having problems with NT user creation and batch files. I've dumped
it on the Technician as she likes that kind of thing. Must set up some more
machines for dumping out to people so we have some space for the kit I want to
buy. Must learn some more useful linux stuff too. Teach the Technician to
install RedHat at the very least.
[11:55] Reply concerning my turned down offer. Obviously doesn't believe that I
am turning down the offer for the reasons I gave, but mentioning that if there's
ever a post with them again and I want to apply they'll be happy to look at my
application form. Which is kind of nice. Still, it's all over now.
[11:00] Back from interview. I don't know. The place is huge (it's got an
engineering background). The computing staff is fourteen strong. I'd be working
with every flavour of linux and unix under the sun (as well as creeping NT
syndrome). The interview went well, although my lack of solid non-Windows
operating systems might have been a sticking point. Also the fact that I
probably couldn't start for about two-and-a-half months probably won't have gone
I don't know, I'm not a big one for moving around. I like to stick in place.
But I'd also like to get into other stuff. The interview had seven people in it.
They asked some standard questions and I gave some intelligent answers. The
dress code can be relaxed (luckily), I'm not sure how possible it would be to run
the BOFHcam there; they're VPN'ed to hell and back and firewalled in places too.
I don't think that matters... if they offer me the job... I don't think I'll take
it. The feeling wasn't right. The grouping of people, the nazi networking, and
something else not quite right meant that I don't think I'd fit in there...
I've been the boss for too long not to get my own way, and with fourteen other
people and a committee to report to and awkward questions to have to answer if I
want to do anything fun, I think I can do without a move for the moment. I don't
think the change of scenery and improved learning areas can make up for the loss
of a free network connection, the BOFHcam, and the ability to fuck about with
machines and not do much work when there's not much to do. Does this sound like
the right decision?
I don't think I'm being greedy. I'm still happyish here. I just wish there was
more officially to do than roll out and keep NT systems running. Maybe I'll set
up some more stuff here and increase my chance of getting a good job elsewhere.
I think I want a job where I'm in a small group of like-minded sysadmins where
either I'm in the same institution, just a different section, or somewhere
different. I think the amount of effort I've put into the BOFHcam means it's
going to be part of the reason of chosing or refusing a job.
I was quite amazed that the girlfriend agrees with this analysis. Don't take a
job if it's only "O.K." but doesn't let me run the site. I thought I was being
stupid. The place was... too big. I'm not sure I could have adjusted my
mentality to fit the space. What I'd really like is a small office of about
seven or so people and me who support lots of stuff, but keep themselves to
themselves and deal with people via email. Either that or a games company where
people write games, shoot Nerf and don't care what's on the network unless it
increases the ping for their Unreal Tournament sessions.
Reasons I didn't like the place:
- Too big
- Too many users
- Lack of control over the network (lots of divergent groups)
- Lack of free connection through modem
- No way to run BOFHcam
- Working under a boss
- I don't know, a feeling of being a small fish in a big tank
- Ephemeral 'wrongness' where basically, I wouldn't be, the One.
[15:40] Simon T.'s emailed me. For the present there are to be no "BOFH in a
Nutshell" T-shirts. There are reasons for this. With luck and time, this
[15:45] I'm going to see my parents this weekend in Leeds. My mum rang the
girlfriend a few days ago to ask for all my current favourite foods and drinks.
I love going home to be spoilt and see the folks.
[16:55] They're only gone and offered me the job. Arse. I've put them off until
[16:20] NT meeting all morning. Don't know if I told you but I'm on the NT
working party for the Institution. This means I get to take time out from what I
do here to bitch about NT with other people, and come up with some suggestions as
to how to deal with NT and now WIndows 2000 in the least painful way possible.
It's looking more and more likely that if I remain here for more than a year I'm
going to have to install Windows 2000 throughout (Professional==NT Workstation,
Server/Advanced Server==NT Server). The upgrading Vs clean installation of
a new server configuration is a tough one. When you install the new Windows OS
you have to deal with MIcrosoft's DNS requirements, Active Directory System and
all manner of interrelated crap. Something I don't want to touch really.
I'm not in tomorrow morning either. So you'll have to satisfy yourself with
camera II and the back of the PFY's head. A quick reminder again. Copyleft have
three of my T-shirt designs again and are doing "Things" with them. More
information as it becomes available. I was contacted by one of the authors of
"Windows NT User Administration" who wanted the T-shirt design for his co-author
for his birthday. Maybe I'll get his address and send him a colour laserprint of
[17:30] Gym tonight. Get to do the new routine, should be a bit more taxing.
Don't know what to wear for the interview tomorrow. I'm carrying on to work
afterwards so I'm not wearing a suit (nasty thing). I think I'll wear clean
jeans and a rugby to or something. Not sure a BOFH T-shirt would go down well.
[14:10] Amazing what effect bad weather has on you. Even though things have been
going wrong again today. The fact that the sun is actually visible some of the
time means I've been happier. Still no sign of my amplifier coming back from the
shop. My TV still hums. My copy of The Princess Bride is still 'on order' and
I've just preordered Gladiator. Eventually something will happen.
[16:20] Also found out that the year planner we ordered had been mis-labeled by
the people who sent it out. So we have a shite one I can't write in, rather than
one which actuallyas some resonably sized spaces. Still Copyleft have three of
my designs now. So there's a chance there will be good new shortly.
[17:00] Hmm, Jenni's changed her site design. Quandry time. Do I copy it? At
the present time her new beta version is up at
http://www.jennicam.org/j2kr/index.html. Your opinions welcome.
[15:15] Crap day today. Got soaked cycling in to work. This was because a) I
went to bed late last night and hence got up equally late, and b) the weather's
been sodding awful for days. Soaked in work I sat there and steamed until I put
on my spare T-shirt (for the gym tonight) and borrowed a heater from one of the
Other than that today has been a big day for stupid sodding NT and its bastard
applications such as Norton "used to be a dream application" Ghost and Microsoft
"always crashing for some unknown reason" Word 97. Norton Ghost's client agent
seems to have a slow and steady memory leak and Word is just Word. It seems that
if you don't reboot an NT machine running Service Pack 6a (possibly any service
pack) after a week or so, the thing runs out of memory if the client is running.
I really don't want to go to the gym this evening. In fact today is a day I'd
happily be working elsewhere. NT being its usual impenetrable self, things going
wrong and people not turning up for a demonstration of stuff. I can't help it if
Word keeps crashing, it's shoddy code and Service Pack 6a isn't worth the space
it occupies on my servers.
[11:30] Monday again. Still not much contact from Copyleft. We've been in
discussions but I guess they're damned busy at the moment. I was furtling
through the logs for the bofhcam.org site this weekend and noticed that a) the
logs weren't rotating and b) some people had been going where they weren't
wanted. Two minutes later and I'd fixed some RedHat brokeness and updated my
httpd.conf to stop any more prying eyes. Jeez, keep your browsers to yourself.
Just delivered a new PC out into the wild. It's sad to see them go out there,
where they can be sullied and crashed and have non-standard software installed on
them. But you have to learn to let go.
[17:30] Hurrah. Managed to track down both Gill Sans MT and ITC Garamond. This
means the actual T-shirts (when they happen) will use the actual fonts as used by
O'Reilly. This is good news for the pedantic of you out there.
[14:45] Great; Friday. Not only is the PFY not here (slack day all round). The
new PCs have arrived (easy installs with Ghost make it look like I'm working
hard), the second camera is now working perfectly, the web server of Ingvar's has
been patched and is also working perfectly, I've found a page on repairing
Wildfires (even though mine's beyond repair) and I'm converting another Windows95
machine to the slightly less deplorable Windows NT SP5+hotfixes.
So it's a fairly good day all round, really. Thanks to Mark for the URL, thanks
to Ingvar for the web server (tiny thing; only 19930 bytes compiled). I'm in and
out of the office all this afternoon doing the upgrade and poking holes in the
broken Nerf gun for the rest. Gym tonight, followed by pizza from the delivery
place. Tomorrow we're out at a convention committee meeting, Discworld 2002. I
recommend you come to it. Have a look at http://www.dwcon.org/.
[16:30] Woohoo, the new Wildfire's arrived. Boy does it make a lot of noise
while it pounds whatever you're aiming at with a stream of foam darts. I lost
one dart for ten minutes until I found it in the output bin for the laser printer
lodged in the corner. The things ricochet.
Bit peeved with the camera on the BOFHcam II server. I thought that when I moved
the camera to a platform other than FreeBSD I'd have no problems, but the stuff I
use on camera one seems to work fine. It can't be the driver modules as they
work fine under xawtv, it's odd. The picture appears to be missing some scan
lines, as though chunks are overlapping and thus leaving a blank bit at the
[18:30] Ah. A new version of xawtv and some fiddling with the superior way of
taking shots (finally a .rc file for settings rather than having to recompile
the source every time I made a change) and we're ready to go. The only thing I
need now is my friend Ingvar's superior ihhtpd to recognise and supply the right
mimetype stuff. With luck this should happen tomorrow. I'm going home to put
dents in the walls with my Nerf.
[12:50] BP issue an apology
for the current panic-induced petrol crisis. Nice. The accounts database thingy
has been up the spout again this morning, as I learn that one of the accounts I
paid for an Office 97 Professional license out of doesn't exist any more as it
was a typo. Now I have to cancel the purchase order and do another one. Luckily
this isn't anything really bad as we're always a few licenses behind in buying. I
can live with this one not getting back to me this instant.
Still waiting for my new Nerf Wildfire to arrive. I've decided to hold of on
dissecting the broken one until the new one arrives. That way if something goes
wrong somewhere I can still send this one back. When/if the new one does arrive
I can cannibalise the broken one for spares. I've read enough reviews which say
the pumping handle can get broken if you're a little too... enthusiastic. Extra
darts either way.
I had The Princess Bride on order from DVD
Boxoffice in Canada (good prices, free delivery) and they said they had it in
stock. Unfortunately it now appears to be on back order. Gits. Why didn't the
tell me that at the time?
Delivering one of the many PCs I've had sitting in the office for months this
afternoon. Between 14:00 and 15:00 I won't be here.
Or at least, I thought so.
[11:30] Hey, great news for me at least. Thinkgeek have said they'll send me a
replacement Wildfire without me needing to send back the broken one. I even
offered .jpg proof that it wasn't working but they declined. I may order from
[13:35] I want to meet this guy. Read his entire site. Then you'll want to meet
him too. Benjy Feen, he's broadcasting
on the station I've been listening for.
[15:35] Been working on the accounts database thing and trying to figure out how
I can get the same information I had with the old system out of the new system.
The desk has begun to suffer from paper overload again. I'm half-tempted to bin
the lot and wait for new memos to arrive in priority order.
[11:50] Grah! My Nerf Wildfire arrives quickly from Thinkgeek and what do I find
when I open the pristine transport packaging and the box? The thing's broken.
The air resevoir indicator has a chunk missing from it, the while thing rattles
and I can see a spring and some pieces of plastic lying about. I pumped the
handle once. Nothing happened except there was a ping and another piece of
plastic joined the collection visible through the transparent section. Not good.
I've emailed the customer support person to see what happens. I really hope I
don't have to send it back to them as that'll take forever. Still I can't prove
it unless they're holding it. For gods' sake, it was still covered in
lubricating oil, and I haden't even opened the bag with the darts in. I may ask
Copyleft if they'll start seling Nerf weaponry. That and Koosh stuff.
I got my first ever purchase order done with the new accounting system. I don't
take back any of my misgivings as yet. It still took me two hours.
[16:30] I could've done another purchase order this afternoon, but the system
doesn't like the codes it's given me to work with (don't ask). I've been in
contact with Copyleft and stuff, made some suggestions which might get things
running. I've got a 'fitness assessment' at 18:00 at the gym I go to regularly
which means I have to leave reasonalby on time for once.
[16:40] Friday friday friday. Friday friday friday friday. Yay. Gym tonight.
Party this weekend. I've been fiddling with the second camera and moving it to
the linux box that runs the dhcp server and samba. I'm that fed up with FreeBSD
freezing all the time that I'm going to move the modem over to it as well and
then reinstalled FreeBSD with the latest version. As I don't want to have my
connection out of action I'm going to move everyting across while I do it.
No I don't trust any operating system during an OS upgrade. Not one.
Not much else happening today. No word on the T-shirts at the moment. Thanks to
Ingvar for the minimal httpd. Just what I needed.
[13:35] Broke the new just now to the AO that I'm seeking other employment.
Nothing urgent, but just that he should be wary in case I hand in my three months
notice. The thing is, while I like this place in turns a lot and slightly less
it's become a little routine for me. I deal with NT all day, I solve a few
people's problems, I fiddle with some PCs, maybe order another one and a printer.
The colour laser's here, the scanner's here, the new servers work perfectly (for
NT, anyway), the new network's in place, the phone system is sorted, the new PCs
in the library and the research room are set, it's just a case of day-to-day
operations, backups and making the web site for this section of the institution a
little less embarassing.
All the new kit is here. There's nothing exciting per se to do here
any more. The only things stopping me going elsewhere are a) whether the new job
is under too many people, b) whether it's got more than Wintel, c) whether I'm
working with Clued people who 'get' the BOFH ethos and d) I can run the bofhcam.
If these aren't satisfied, I ain't moving. I really would like to keep the
bofhcam. It's made me a lot of friends.
[10:45] There are some... problems with copyright over these T-shirts, I think.
I've emailed Simon to make sure it's O.K. to have the design which uses the word
BOFH printed by Copyleft. His reply hasn't filled me with confidence. Naturally
I can't say anything here.
I'm almost completely sure there's no problem with the other images being on my
site and Copyleft selling them as T-shirts. BOFHcam.org is not commercial in
any way, the designs don't have the word BOFH on them, everything would be done
I had a brief panic over the use of Windows NT on a design or two. But I've seen
a number of pages (some in Yahoo's store) which use the word Microsoft and/or
Windows. So I can't imagine Microsoft would have a leg to stand on if they took
issue with my designs. If they haven't enforced it with them, they can't expect
to enforce it with me.
I really want this to go ahead. I just need Simon to say everything's O.K.
[12:45] Permission to run BOFHcam.org comes from Simon so long as I placed the
disclaimer on the disclaimer page as you might have seen and "so long as [I]
remain a non-commercial site - i.e. [I'm] not advertising or selling things." Am
I going to be breaking this second part by telling people you can get them from
Copyleft? I'd appreciate your opinions via email.
[18:40] Got my New York pictures up in the gallery now. As per usual I take no
responsibility for how good they are or not. I do like the one which shows just
how crap American standards of spelling are, though.
[09:50] Got in at 08:00 and tried to get things working by taking an image from
one of the other machines. The image came off with no problems. It was when I
ghosted it back that the four machines who were receiving it complained that the
image had a corrupt data run again. I really really don't want this to be a case
of bad sectors on the server's SCSI disk. Perhaps I should ghost the entire
server disk and keep a cold spare.
[16:45] Reghosted the four machines with a slightly older image and did the
changes by hand, didn't take long to do that. That image went on with no
complaints whatsoever. Odd. Been in some more dicussions with Copyleft and
cleaning up some PCs for sale this afternoon. The PFY's been in the background
on camera II doing some Databases of Doom work for next year. I'm going to be
leaving early (before 17:30) for once to partially make up for yesterday.
Theoretically I should have left at 14:00 to make up really. But that would be
[17:20] Completely crap day. Got in and the office was freezing. Realised at
the gym last night that I had to reghost ten machines, and spent most of the
morning fighting with mandatory profiles and policies. After fighting with the
librarian about "unscheduled unavailability of essential library machines", by
which she meant the one person who wanted to check their email I've resigned
myself to doing the reghosting in about ten minutes when everyone's logged off
and they don't pull the bandwidth.
I've had printers go wrong, ink run low and the godawful accounting abortion
system for the institution still doesn't work anywhere near good enough to get
anything done. We've got orders piling up and if things aren't fixed by the time
something really important comes up I'm going to order on paper and simply enter
them at some point in the future when things 'work'. I can't believe the people
at the top decided to go with this crappy stuff. The consultants need to be shot
and then beat over the head with a broken steel bottle of liquid nitrogen, and
then shot again, in the gonads. Then the painful stuff starts.
I was enjoying my job until recently. Still no word on the T-shirts. I'll keep
you posted. When I know, you'll know.
[20:20] Fucking Ghost. Why the hell are the ghost images corrupt? Is it
something to do with the hubs? Or the switches? Damnit, I've stayed late to get
this done and all I have to show for it is an email to the librarian apologising
for more downtime tomorrow. This can't be right. Really don't want to have to
shift these machines nearer the server network-wise. Argh. What the hell is
wrong? The PC I'm taking the image from boots fine. Next step is to try taking
the image from another machine. See how that works. Fucknuggets.
[18:00] Back at work today. The sleeping at the right time seems to have done
the trick jetlag-wise. Big news of the day is that copyleft.net
has agreed that they'd like to print and distribute my O'Really T-shirts. Not
only that, but NTK featured them in their top story, which is cool. O'Reilly
have said that if I don't use the term "O'Reilly" on the site or on the T-shirts
I'm not breaking any rules or laws. If I keep bofhcam.org non-commercial by
selling the T-shirts through copyleft I think I can satisfy Simon T's rules too.
I must ask copyleft to contact Simon with regard to using the BOFH term on what
would be a T-shirt they were selling. I do know that they do at least one
T-shirt with the word BOFH on it. I'll have to work out things are going to work
in full with them anyway.
In other news I've been rolling out some new machines with the Ghost partial
setup I told you about last week. It's great that it's Friday, nice feeling to
have such a short working week.
[19:45] Although still being here at 19:45 doesn't seem like a great idea does
[13:50] Oh yeah, forgot to mention. I admitted Richard into the sanctum today to
buy the remainder of the US dollars we hadn't spent in New York. He was suitably
in awe of my and looked quite gobsmacked at the "original O'Really posters" I had
on the wall.
[16:10] Back from delivering a PC. Gods but some of the Computer Managers out
there have it easy. Fully furnished offices, air conditioning for gods' sake.
And a seperate room for the servers, space for testbed machines, the works.
Bastards. Still, I wouldn't have his job, having to deal with more people, more
chances to be hacked (more Clued users), more people to report to.