[15:40] Last day of the month, and a Friday as well. It doesn't get much better
than this. Except I'm stil all bunged up in the sinus area. We watched two
Farscapes last night and Small Soldiers as well as eating a ton of pizza and
chinese. I like these Thursdays, we get to use my kit, have friends over and at
the end of the evening it's not far to get to bed.
This morning we went to the hardware (non-electrical) shop and bought some more
security cables as well as some big chunks of metal to secure the flatscreens for
the library that we have. They've been in the secure cupboard here for a good
few months now while I refused to have them installed until there was some way to
tie them down. Now I've gotten shot of them there's some room for new toys,
which is nice.
This afternoon I've been doing loads of printing for someone. Not a really a
problem as the printer's underused, but still, used 500 pages worth of toner.
[18:00] While I'm waiting for the girlfriend to finish work (and I'm not going to
the gym) I've had a poke about the web and come up with Chuckie Egg for Windows
and Waitallday. Enjoy.
[13:00] Right. So now that everything has recovered from the powercut this
morning at about 08:16 I can settle down to some actual work. Naturally the
servers were fine when I got in at 08:41, but rather than trust my shutdown
scripts I powered them down safely, blind. I also took the opportunity to
install the new UPS we just got which I hadn't scheduled some downtime to fit it
in. Naturally the power came back while I was doing this, so we weren't back up
straight away. Now the load's shared and the monitors are powered too. Which is
[16:15] Excitingly, my friend at NAI has sent me a solution to a problem with
the new NetShield and the Management Agent for Management Edition. As a result
I'm upgrading all the images I have (Ghost). It makes for a better afternoon
than staring at the walls.
[15:10] Long morning this morning. Spent it trying to validate the entire page
for HTML4.01/Transitional and realised that not even O'Reilly's pages are fully
compliant. Other than that I've run round the building trying to find out
whether the hordes of visitors we had over the summer have removed any of the
A/V kit on their way out. I know for a fact that some of the wall sockets for
speaker connects have been broken by some of the people we had in the place. I
leave it to other people to extract monies from the organisers.
We had a new user come in for the first time this afternoon. Happily he'd be
pre-cowed by the sysadmins at his previous place of work, was used to using Pine
(via telnet, unfortunately) and could deal with NT4.
[12:20] Just about to go for lunch. The PFY's back today. Just gotten her up
to speed on what's been happening, had a nice chat with the boss about stuff
(holidays, etc.), finished configuring a PC for sending out and then tried to
catch up on mail and news.
My next Farscape box set DVD package has arrived as well. Which is nice.
[15:45] It's actually rather surreal. The box has a picture of Scorpius sitting
in front of a drumkit. Weird.
[17:30] Not been doing much this afternoon. Reading news, catching up on my high
BBS messages and telling people that the O'Really stuff is back up. I was
supposed to go to the gym this evening, but I forgot my stuff. What I'm really
waiting for is my subwoofer to come into the shop so I can take an afternoon off
work to a) go and audition it and, b) look at speaker stands for work (the reason
I'll give for taking time out of the office). The second's a valid reason,
really. So no feeling guilty.
[18:00] As linked to by The Register today you, too, can have a laugh at this
person purporting to be an IT consultant.
[28/08/2001 09:10] Ooops, forgot to do this yesterday. Anyway, nice quiet day.
I didn't get up until some terrible hour of the morning, like 11:00. While
pottering around I decided to see what was on at the cinema. Planet of the Apes
was on, so I cycled over there and spent some hours in cool air-conditioned
comfort laughing my arse off. Terrible, terrible film. Still, enjoyable all
Before that though I thought I should pop into work to make sure some things had
happened like they were supposed to. As I was there I thought I'd pop in the
right backup tapes at the same time. So that was nice as it means there's less
hassle with wrongly-labeled tapes for a week.
The girlfriend (who's been in Wales for the long weekend) has brought one of her
brothers back for five weeks to work in another section of the Institution before
he goes to University. While I'm not especially happy, I guess I can deal with
26/08/2001 (Special Sunday Celebratory Edition)
[19:30] Well, bugger me if Tim O'Reilly hasn't been and gone and emailed me to
say that O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. are happy with me putting my parody home
page and CSS-enabled pages back up again. It's all been classed as parody. This
is great. I think it allows the designs to be viewed in the surroundings in
which them were meant to be viewed. Much in the same way that children are best
viewed by going round to someone else's house to see theirs. Then you go home.
Before Copyleft are going to do the last of the current crop of designs ("Why
You Can't Find Your Unix System Administrator" and "Practical Unix Terrorism") I
need to do one more so they can be released separately as well as a fourth
Tomorrow's a Bank Holiday, so I doubt I'll be going in, even if it means the
backups won't be done. I like linux, it allows me to do stuff like update this
Journal and put the new pages back again, without needing console access.
[09:55] Full of cold but not feeling actually too bad. This is
suprising. I'm going to fix someone's problems, order some toner and document
the stunning bit of Ghosting I just did this morning.
[10:15] Problems solved I think I'm going to go home soon.
[11:15] Oh look, I've still not gone home yet. Still someone's returned a PC and
printer, so that's helpful.
[12:40] Annoyingly I'm still still here. For some reason I'm installing Windows
2000. This can't be right. I should stop.
[16:00] I appear to have developed a stinking cold in one nostril. The
left on to be precise. My left eye is watering, also. Strangely also the left
hand side of the back of my throat is raw too. Very odd.
More fun and games with images this morning. MiKTeX (LaTeX for Windows) wouldn't
install without some newer versions of some DLLs. I gave in and installed
Office 2000 (including IE5, which obviously replaces tons of DLLs) which seemed
to do the trick. All I really need to do now is wait for the PFY to come back.
Then we can close the room with the PCs we want to Ghost in, remove the virus
stuff from the PDC, add it to the main anti-virus domain and apply the new
NetShield stuff. Once that's done we can apply Virus Scan to the master image,
remove the relevant files and copy the finished image to the server. Once that's
done we can Ghost the new image to the machines and apply the AV settings the one
time it's needed.
[16:10] Oh yes. Finally managed to submit my Tax Return 2000-2001. I thought it
would just be a case of filling it in and submitting it. But no, you have to
register with the Government Gateway and had a PIN sent out by post before you
can register to be able to submit your tax return online. Slightly odd. Still
it's done now. I don't owe them too much, and it'll come out of my PAYE, which
will help. Next year's will be a bit higher.
[16:48] This cold's really taking hold now. I dink I'bm aboud do go hobe. Hobe
do be in domorrowe.
[12:30] Today I started on the other of the two images I need to push out soon.
Again I start by pushing out to one machine the last good image I had, then
building on that. Of course Ghost's multicast function is useful, unless you
have people who need the bandwidth.
[15:35] I've been reading all afternoon. It's much more exciting than staring
at the screen. John Steakley's Armour, in case you were wondering.
Other things you might like to know today are 3D Pong
and this page, which isn't very exciting.
But that's all you're getting.
[12:15] Nothing is ever easy here. I've finally got lots to do, but it's all
happened all at once. Not only that but some of it is problematic. I shifted
the first of the secondary servers over to being clients of the main Dr Solomon's
Management Console. That all went swimmingly. I then moved one of the machines
I'm reghosting over to VirusScan 4.5.1. This too went well. I then had to start
fucking about with Norton Ghost again. Why is it I can't use the Console on one
machine to allow the clients to join an NT domain not associated with it? It's
[12:50] Hum, I may well just have beaten the system...
[13:25] There was an updated Ngserver.exe on Symantec's site. The instructions
with it didn't help, but the running of that executable on the PDC for the domain
I wanted the machines to join (ignoring the errors) created the Ngserver user
account I think is required to allow machines to join the domain. I installed
the executable with "ngserver -install" then did "ngserver -uninstall". This
removed the useless NGdatabase service which was installed, but incomplete, but
left the NGserver user in the User database for the domain. I'm just trying
things again now, to see if it's worked.
[16:20] Right, theoretically I'm ready to dump out this new image to the masses
of machines in the library when the new benching's made up. All I need to do
then is log in to each one run a .reg file and log out. This should be helpful,
compared to what I had to do last time.
[11:00] Went to a wedding this weekend. Traveling through London outside of
rush hour was nicer than normal. We headed for the girlfriend's old haunts. We
stayed in a B&B which was nice, the shower was good and the breakfasts were to
die for, it being a farm. Two sausages, rashers of back bacon as long as your
arm, scrambled egg and beans. Cereal and toast too, if you wanted. The wedding
was... a wedding, the reception was good, with nice food and short speeches. I
was sitting with some friends of the girlfriend and had a good chat with the
boyfriend of a girl who went to school with my girlfriend. A meeting of minds
with regard to weddings, and the male opinions on commitment, etc.
We came home on Sunday, picked up some items for Monday evening en route
(more on that later) and crashed out with a Chinese that I had to go out in the
rain to pick up.
This morning one of the DAT drives was again saying it'd had loads of errors
(slow-flashing green light), so I cleaned it again, twice. Didn't claim it had
failed, at least. Before I could even log in, check email, etc. The head
Librarian was complaining that she couldn't get to her email. Having gotten in
at 07:10 won't have helped. I wasn't here to help then. Anyway, it turned out
to be a shortcut the PFY hadn't updated when she'd moved the user from Eudora 3
The most important thing I have to do today is copy someone's bookmarks from the
old machine they used to the new one. And attend a piss-up this evening.
Some people in Central have added a linux image to the spare partition which
the current Windows 2000 image has begging, and they're celebrating the roll-out.
[16:50] I've spent the entire day arguing the toss with people on the one BBS I
use frequently. Some people can be such quents, sometimes. Got a phonecall from
my parents at Manchester Airport. They're off to Berlin, Romania and points East
for the next few weeks. I've also been sent a Word document (I ask people not
to do this), with some vague instruction on putting it "on the Webb,". I have no
idea what this means, but rather than wait for the sparks to pass through the
quartz and fire up the brain of the person who sent it, I've looked at it,
converted it to text, put it into valid HTML and linked it somewhere it probably
should go. I'll get complaints later if someone thinks I've done it wrong.
[12:10] It's a Friday. I celebrated this by doing the enforced moving of
fourteen PCs from one room to another, all on my own, in a room with a glass
roof, on a hot day. I've snagged one to dump the old image onto it for that type
of machine, update and reghost it. It's as good a time as any.
I'm not here this afternoon from 13:00ish. The girlfriend and I are going back
to her parents' neck of the woods for the marriage of one of the girlfriend's old
school friends. This means I have to wear A Suit. I hope it rains. Then I'll
merely boil, rather than cook during the day. There's no way I'm wearing it more
than the necessary time.
Although now I think about it, I've forgotten my shoes. Good job my trainers are
black, and in a reasonable state of repair. Anyway, more printer problems, then
a hurried lunch, then I'm out of here until Monday. At which point I do the
same thing again for another week.
[13:00] So another day, another laptop Ghosted. Shame multicasting floods the
network so much. The 10MB/sec printers really can't cope. This morning I also
typed an entire delivery pizza menu into an email to six people for the Farscape
session we're having this evening. Some people will be eating Chinese as normal
but I think I want something different this evening.
[15:30] I'll have one of these, please.
And perhaps a second one, for the right hand side of the desk.
[11:45] It's really quite hot here this morning. As in 'very'. As a result the
fact that I'm setting up a Gateway machine with NT/Office 2000/Mulberry isn't the
funnest thing in the world. Neither is the fact that they're moving round one of
the offices and expecting me to stand around once I've moved the computer
equipment until they're ready for it to be moved back and connected up again.
[15:55] Still too hot. I've fixed one person's problem, helped some other people
with their copy (making sure they say the right things about me) and am now
Ghosting some more laptops. Still once I've done one, I've done them all. Must
remember to do the BIOS updates. Not doing much this evening except trying to
fill in my tax return for last year.
[11:40] Thanks to Joe, as per normal, for his astute help with the migration of
antivirus stuff in the coming weeks. This morning I am starting putting Windows
2000 on the laptops. There are a lot of laptops and a copy of Ghost, so it's not
a hard job, just one which means that occasionally people's print jobs take a
[16:30] So, more Ghosting this afternoon, preceeded by BIOS updates. There's
something cool about flash updating a BIOS and suddenly the machine can do more
than it could before, without changing any hardware. Even with a switched
100MB/sec network this multicast is casuing problems with my communications with
the linux boxes. I don't even want to know what's happening to the Windows
servers. I'm just not touching them for the moment.
[17:15] I've just asked Sevenoaks to get a Rel Q150 in for me. There's precious
little on the web about it but all the reviews I've read say it's pretty good.
Plus it's not too large either.
[18:40] So bored. I'm waiting to go to the gym with the girlfriend but I think
I'll go home instead.
[09:45] Things to really annoy you if you haven't seen Final Fantasy: The Spirits
Within. 1) The lip sync/movement isn't quite right. You can stop noticing it,
but it can be annoying. 2) The characters don't breath. It's really fricking
annoying when you spend 5 minutes just looking to see if any of them are actually
breathing or not, and ignoring most of what's happening in the film.
Aside from that there was the fact that the damned thing had not plot to speak of
at all. Sure, the animation was great almost everywhere but with no plot (and
incomprehensible points in places) it wasn't a good film. Swordfish (which I
also saw this weekend) was fun, vacuous for sure, but fun. Dropping
techno-phrases into the mix didn't help though.
[10:15] Other than that it was a quiet weekend. I watched too much television
and ate too much chocolate. There's no PFY here for the next two weeks, so I
either get to do lots of work and not have to show her what I'm doing (because
she need to see what I'm doing to learn, if I'm not letting her do it herself
(the best way)), or I slack given that there's no-one here to watch me.
[11:46] Now someone's mentioned it, Never mind how unrealistic the cryptobabble
was, did you see how neat the patch panel in the bank was? That's just not
happening this side of reality.
[17:40] So all afternoon I've been going round making all the machines eat the
NT4.0 SRP and the most recent JVM (3802). It's not a difficult job but on the
slower machines it can be a bit mind-numbing. All I have to do now are the two
main servers. I may drop them while someone's printing something out. Or do
them early tomorrow.
[13:25] No rain today, as yet. Last night we had a wildcat convocation to watch
some Farscape. We managed to squeeze in five episodes (including the three part
one from season two) before people headed home.
Today I've tried to get my head around moving Management Console "Management
Servers" from their own antivirus domain to another. I know this is going to
cause serious trouble somewhere along the line, but I'm not entirely
sure where. Add in the fact that I'll be doing this at the same time as I roll
out a new image to the twenty machines it's the NT PDC for and there are some
Given that the PFY's now going away for two weeks I think I'll not do anything
hugely time-consuming (like rolling out the images) or requiring more than me to
implement. This means I'm left with a new webserver to set up, and a few
remaining machines to update the software on. Could be a nice relaxing few
[14:40] Meeting at 15:00->end of the working day (about 15:30). This isn't far
away so I'll leave at about 14:50. Will tidy up before I go. Have a good
weekend I'm hoping a) someone from Copyleft will email me soon, b) someone from
O'Reilly will email me, and c) to go to the cinema at least once this weekend.
[12:50] Arse, rain. Right on lunchtime.
[17:20] Went out for late lunch after working on AV stuff all morning. Got
caught up proof-reading Unix documentation for Unix-Support boss until rain died
down, came back after 17:00 (doors autolocked, forgot card), blagged way in with
mixture of charm, and careful use of screwdriver, now off home to watch Farscape
and eat even more Chinese (or pizza). A good day all round, after all.
[14:15] SHLWAPI.dll sucks. This is a dynamic linked library used by things like
Eudora, Microsoft Office 2000, Internet Explorer and McAfee Virus Scan 4.5.1. I
won't say any more. Mainly because you don't really care.
Today I've been doing as little as possible, trying to catch up on News and doing
the occasional install of Virus Scan (which involves a visit to the console of
each machine). If my neck's better soon I may even start going to the gym again,
to fight off the fact I'm sitting on my arse a lot more again.
Has anyone been emailing Copyleft recently? If so, have you been getting
responses? 'Cause I haven't.
[14:45] Today I came in semi-early in an effort to catch up on all the stuff I
haven't done because I've been off for 'too long'. This morning I decided to do
some more Virus Scan upgrades. Naturally the boxes were the slowest in the
place so a) took forever, b) required multiple reboots, and c) one of them died
on its arse with a corrupt WINNT\System32 directory. I re-Ghosted it, then
thought "Sod it, I'll update the image and farm it out to the other three
machines." Good job there are only four of them, and they're fairly underused.
So for the rest of the morning I was making sure the other three machines worked
correctly with VS4.5.1 and at the same time putting new Netscape, Acrobat Reader,
PuTTY, Mulberry and Service Pack 6a and the Rollup on the one with the virgin
image. Right at this moment I'm installing the AV stuff on that machine, then I
make sure it's bedded in, clear the logs, do other prep stuff for Ghosting it and
then do the deed. Once that's done I'll send it to the other three and do
nothing else for the rest of the day.
While all this has been going on I've also been negotiating more mailbox quota
for a big member of the Institution. This was difficult as there are all kinds
of political hoops to jump through. I think I've solved it though. Sometimes I
hate the DPA1998 with a passion.
I also had to cancel a lunch date (TANSTAAFL) because I thought I'd need to be
here over the break to get stuff done. Then I realised that this isn't my life
and sometimes getting vitamin D via sunlight is a good thing, so I went to the
semi-daily BOF. That helped.
[19:15] And this afternoon^Wevening I appear to be mostly making mistakes in how
I roll out more anti-virus updates. I've made a real botch of it thus far, and
McAfee isn't helping by being slightly bug-infested in places. With luck I'll
fix enough of it to keep the machines stable. I hate unstable NT machines; once
they've BSoD'ed once, they'll do it again and again until you give in and
[19:30] Depending on your mood and inclination, you might be interested to know
that I've just found a Sheryl Crow CD in a room which used to contain a visiting
US personage. I'm now playtesting it. Because I want to. She also wails, which
is good at this time of day, on this kind of day.
[12:20] And so to today (no entries for the weekend, as normal). The weekend
went as Friday, with more food, more sleeping and more gentle socialising. On
the Saturday night, some of us took a trip to Bury St. Edmunds a few miles away
for a hot meal at a Pizza Express. The weater was by turns hot and very very
One of the people there was Gabe. Gabe's from Germany, speaks perfect English
and is a BOFH. He also reads my Journal (hi Gabe!) and appears to have it
committed to memory with one reading. As a result he can tell me what I was
doing months ago, with freakish accuracy.
When we got home on Sunday afternoon I had a shower. At some point during that
or the subsequent drying session I managed to probably trap a nerve in my neck
and get a case of torticollis. This made sleeping last night quite difficult.
Given that we'd had someone to bring our stuff to CCDE and back we invited the
driver (Mike) and another person who camped and lives very close by ('fanf',
for those of you who know him) for Chinese. Once Mike'd gone home we watched
Dogma on the special edition version I got a while ago.
This morning I got a lift to work to check the backups, swap the tapes and help
someone with a bit of documentation before I demonstrated my stunning inability
to move my head at all. I then walked to the doctors' surgery, was diagnosed
and came home. Which is where I type this from now. The rest of the day I may
deign to take some Ibuprofen and sit around a lot. The last of the Star Trek:
Voyager episodes are on this evening. With luck people will come round here to
watch them, otherwise I'll have to get on my bike and ache all the way round to
someone else's house to be sociable.
[12:10 - 06/08/2001] Friday was much of a muchness in terms of Thursday, only
the entire thing was spent in a field in Suffolk. Woke early (as you do in
tents) eat, sat around being lazy, talked to people, ate some more, got a tan,
kept under cover when it rain (a lot), had a barbeque, roasted marshmallows and
went to bed again.
[12:00 - 06/08/2001] So we had the day off today. I got up late for me (08:00)
and pack what remained to be packed. We got some more food from the local
Co-op (not that we needed to) and waited for the transport to arrive. In the
meantime we had an unexpected visit from some of the girlfriend's relatives
over from Cypus for a bit. As they were here (at home) the transport arrived.
There's something about ex-military vehicles which is great. This one was a
lightweight Series 3 Land Rover. For dropping out of planes. I rode with the
tent and stuff while the girlfriend took the train, with her bike.
We got to the CCDE around 16:00. I set up the tent and much socialising was
done. You don't want to read about it to be honest. So that's it.
[09:35] Another day another month. Or something. Code Red paranoia is gripping
the BBC today and it's annoying as they're uninformed and watering the
information down to make it more understandable to the masses, and diluting the
message into incomprehensibility.
[11:10] Oh, forgot to mention; this is Friday for me. I'm having some actual
holiday time tomorrow and Friday. I may not come in on Monday either. Not sure
yet. The girlfriend and I are going camping with other likeminded individuals
in Woolpit under the banner of the Clarecraft Discworld Event. It's an annual
thing where people get together, Terry Pratchett turns up, some more excitable
people do overly fanboyish things and the rest of us talk tech on the grass in
the sun (and possibly rain).
[12:00] I did the last of the machines which will be getting Office 2000 this
morning. Now all we have to do is upgrade a dozen or so people's Eudora (to
v5.1, separating program files from data finally), PuTTY directory, Acrobat
Reader, Netscape and Mulberry (an IMAP client, now with added SSL). Once that's
done we can move on to pressing a few keys, clicking the mouse a few times and
upgrading everyone's antivirus stuff, too. Once that's done it's just the
unregular nightmare which is creating new Ghost images for the library machines
and the research area.
[15:15] Thanks to Mark for the typo checking. Appreciate it. It's too hot.
Actually, tonight we'll do the main domain's antivirus stuff, that should be fun
as the machines are all fairly fast. We'll change the reboot warning to 1 minute
and then make sure everyone's gone home.
[18:50] First round of antivirus updates went according to prophesy; some good,
some bad, some worse. All done now though, for the moment. We've got one
slightly ill box with a loadwc.exe error I'm going to fix next week and that's
about it. The PFY can email me tomorrow if there are any problems in the
I'll probably update this on Monday or Tuesday of next week, so for the moment
I'll leave you with this chart
to laugh at.