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28/02/2001
[09:25] HUZ-fucking-ZAH, holy flurking snit! Sony rang this morning about two minutes ago. It was the guy who'd rung home while I was away on holiday. They're going to replace my amplifier. It'll be an STR-DB940, but frankly I wouldn't have cared if it had been an 840. They're going to get an amplifier in and then swap it out with the one I have. I just need to get my 930 back from the place it's being repaired at the moment. Within a week this could be all sorted. Finally!

[13:55] Just found an excellent virtual desktop application for Windows. I've been looking one for years. May I advise ZDDesk. A free application from Ziff-Davis. It's really rather good. And the memory footprint isn't that bad either.

27/02/2001
[12:30] O.K. first things first. The holiday pictures are up in the gallery. I'm still working on the updates for the co-larters/O'Really section. Just wait a day or two on those. Right, yesterday.

Got in in the morning and didn't do any of the important things I needed to do. Instead I uploaded the Journal for the week and found out what the PFY had been doing. There were the usual things to do with printers not picking up paper and servers with glitches. Heh, the PFY rebooted the main server this morning by accident. I was so asleep I didn't care.

Anyway, the day was fairly packed and I ended up talking to the AO about the PFY's job a bit and ordering some licenses. Nothing big, but time-consuming.

At 16:00 I went to see a semi-corporate outfit associated with the Institution to see if I could get them on the straight and narrow. When I arrived the person I was there to see wasn't ready yet so I was sitting opposite the principle secretary when she got a phone call from MIT. They were sending her a file and it was in PDF format. She didn't know what to do with it so I got up asked her if she knew the administrator password (she did, it was blank, I wasn't suprised the place is a little badly run at the moment) and then installed Acrobat Reader from my filestore here at work. Instant kudos points. So I sit down with the guy who's asked for help and we discuss getting all the machines reinstalled, a server, switching to anything but Outlook Express (he shared my horror even though he ain't no techie) and getting some better network provision. I'll be upgrading them to 100Mb/sec and doing some stuff with the 12 ISDN lines they have in there. Eventually they want something like an OC-3 or an STM-1, something beefyish to do video conferencing with the States. Instant CV points and all kinds of stuff. We had to work out how to get me doing work there without impinging on my time here. As a result there was a meeting this morning. More on that later.

So I'm going to reinstall the machines with NT with a proper set of service packs and hot fixes, some centralised antivirus stuff and lock them down so that people can't install shitloads of crap again, like people have done. There will be no IE4/5 and no Outlook Express. There will be Netscape and Eudora (better than OE at least) and there will be an NT Server, also 'packed and 'fixed and like any NT machines I set up, it will not crash more than once a year. And there will be backups. Yea! Backups of great regularity and completeness. And someone will change the tapes daily, yea, even when I am not there. And so the place will run and I will have earned my money and there will be happiness and workfullness across the office. Lo! There will be somewhere set aside for a techie when he arrives from the Outside. Indeed, I have bagsied a corner of the office for them and the machines they will need. There will be no access to the server except by that person. Even, and let me make this perfectly clear, if there is a wailing and knashing of teeth in the darkness when someone wants access to someone else's files. This is what shares are for. And scratch filespace to which people will have access. And I will look upon it, and I will see that it is good.

Here endeth the lesson.

So this morning I did some stuff, sorted a few printers and had a meeting with the AO and the guy I'd met from the place last night. We talked over when I'd be able to do this stuff that needs doing and in the end it was decided I'd be doing it on the weekends. Naturally this means where I work can't get paid for what I'm doing. Yeah, I'm a consultant and getting paid for it through an agency.

Ingvar the Grey is getting interviewed for a post near me this lunchtime. With luck he'll be at the lunchtime thing I'm off to right now, and get the job as well. He's looking to move in with our Belgian friend if it all works out.

[17:40] Just added the new design on Copyleft to the O'Really area as well as putting up the photos in the gallery from the holiday. I should mention something about the new version of the PUT design soon. Perhaps tomorrow. Time to go to the gym.

26/02/2001
[15:35] Better dash off a bit of a entry for today. It's been busy. Important things you might want to know include no word on the amplifer, it's back in the repair shop after the people it was demonstrated to with one of my speakers didn't hear anything. I've called Sevenoaks Leeds now, they've promised to take on the challenge if nothing happens this time around. I just feel really apathetic and annoyed about that. Other things include doing lots of BOFHcam updates which aren't live yet, and fiddling with the pictures for the gallery. Those should go up tomorrow. Other than that I've not done the ordering I was supposed to do which was essential, had a meeting with the AO about the PFY's job and am off to the consultancy thing in about twenty minutes. I should be back before the end of the day though.

Tell you what, I'll do a better review of today tomorrow. How's that sound?

23/02/2001 - Holiday
[19:22] Departure lounges are the same the world over. Actually no, the lounge at Luxor in Egypt sucked utterly, this one is merely bad. Anyway, we're here and it's only through a Zen-like adherance to a clear mind that I'm not now incarcerated pending trial for multiple homicides because of members of the public.

Morning broke as usual with the boy dropping the toilet seat. From there it was a case of rise or face the rest of the family clan in only a pair of shorts as they packed for departure. To save their blushes I got up.

from 08:00 until 10:00 we packed and checked up. Once out we dumped all the luggage in a holding room until the afternoon. Everyone bar the girlfriend and I went into town to see things for the last time. We both raided the ;library' and read books all day in the shade by the pool. I ended up with a Tom Clancy ('Ruthless.com') which reassured me that he's not gotten any better since I read his last effort. I then tried a book called 'Vast' by some woman but was defreated before I'd gotten half way through. The girlfriend admitted it wasn't an easy book to read either. I switched to 'North by Java Head' or something by the old standby Alistair MacClean. ALways to be relied upon in times of trial. I would have prefered 'HMS Ulysses' to be honest, but that wasn't around.

We bought some bread and stuff just as the others arrived back from town. It was about 16:30. At 17:05 we looked for a taxi an was told you couldn't actually book them, you had to ring them when you wanted them. We waited a while and then asked for two. Splitting the party we drove to the airport. Our driver felt the need to harass every other driver in the fast lane who didn't get out of our way and I don't think her speed dropped below 130kph excpt when she was about 2m from the car in front who didn't notice her screaming up behind him. She was one of those drivers who brake three seconds after your body's prepared itself for the sensible expected braking time.

At the airport we hung around, queued and then checked in. Once we'd done that we wandered through and straight into the boarding queue by the gate.

[26/02/2001 - 00:06] I've just finished saying goodbye to friends who'd come over today, and now am completing this journal update. The plane ride was uneventful. I went up to toe cockpit again (can't get ehough of that) and we landed around 24/02/2001 00:30. Once we'd gotten our bags the girlfriend and I took the Gatwick Express to Victoria while the four others drove to Paddington and dropped one of the party. They were then due to pick us up and we'd drive to our house for the night. The car wouldn't start so the girlfriend and I stood in Victoria station for an hour while the RAC went out to the Long Stay car park at Gatwick to start the car. The came and picked us up and we drop home. Arrived at about 05:30, put some washing on, I checked my email but didn't delete anything because I wasn't sure my brain would notice if I'd marked anything important for deletion, and then we went to bed.

And that's it. Later in the morning the parents and boy went home. We did some washing and tried to get some more sleep. Come Monday I'll try to get this journal update in, do the photos and see if I can't get back up to speed with work.

22/02/2001 - Holiday
[20:45] Aristippus of the Cyrenians was a follower of Socrates and advocated that the avoidance of trouble was the highest available good. I think this man would make a good patron saint for BOFHs.

[23/02/2001 - 08:50] Yeah, the rest of the day. Once we'd gone and bought the morning bread (the girlfriend and I) the rest of the group went off in the car somewhere. I don't know where they went as we had some time to ourselves.

We went for a walk and ended up in town near the bus station street. After some thought we eneded up on a bus to Puerto Cruz at the north end of Tenerife. Travel time was 90 minutes. If any of you have a map of Tenerife handy Puerto Cruz is up at the top, on the left. The ride was non-stop (directo) and fairly comfortable. Shockingly (for the weather) as we climbed up and back down clouds began to appear.

Cumulonimbus! Tragedy! Heth-eth-eth.

By the time we got into Puerto Cruz it was 100% cloud cover and about 20 degrees. In England it would have been raining. From the bus station we walked down to the sea and along. The place is much less commercialised than Los Christianos and Playa de Las Americas and actually has natives living and going into the shops there. This was refreshing and reassuring. We wandered some more, walked into the sea a little and realised that there wasn't much else to do there. Given that there were only two more busses that day at 15:20 and 17:40 we opted for the earlier one. We found somewhere that didn't look to bad and had lunch before tracking down the bus station and queuing for a seat on the bus.

The ride home and walk back up to the complex were uneventful. We sat on the sun loungers in the balcony until the others returned and then didn't do much until I threw everyone eout so I could go to bed.

I can feel myself wanting to go home and read the couple of hundred emails I know are waiting for me. I know on Monday I have to think about a DeskJet that isn't sucking paper any more, a PFY who needs reassuring that she doesn't need to find a better job and that I need to get some notes together on a bit of consultancy I'm doing. Then there's the status of the network while I've been away, the servers, the public machines and the BOFHcam to bring up to date. There's the O'reallys to sort out, Copyleft to talk to and some web pages to write. There's eight hours of Buffy, Angel, Dark Angel and Stargate SG-1 to watch as well as new Star Trek: Voyager. I hate holidays, everything stacks up so you have shit-loads to do when you get back.

21/02/2001 - Holiday
[22/02/2001 - 07:55] Another morning, another breakfast. We piled into the car and headed to the Parque las Aguilas (Park of Eagles) which was basically a cross between a zoo and a wildlife park. The aninimals were in pretty good conditions compared to some I've seen. I think there are some photos in the gallery containing green. Saw some orang-utans, monkeys, falcons and eagles. We ate there before friving to Loro Parque/Aquapark to drop off the boy and the girlfriend. Much as I would have liked to have gone there myself and seen the slide and the masses of semi-naked women there was going to be a lot of water reflecting sunlight, a lot of white paint and I would be without my glasses. Total migrane hell.

The three of us remaining in the car drove back to the complex where I decided I wasn't going to spend the rest of the day in doors. I left the place and looked for something to walk to. There was a hill seperating Los Christianos from Playa de Las Americanas. I decided to climb that. I trogged through town and lost myself in the native section bwfore finding a path up to the summit. The view from the top was fairly good but it hadn't taken me more than about an hour and a half to get up there. I looked about for somewhere else to walk to. As I stood on the top I could see the mountain on which the complex was built in the lower slopes of. At the top were stacks of antennae serving telecommuncations and the ILS for the airport a few miles away. I thought I'd go and climb that. So I did.

I walked back through the town, along the sea front and up to the base of the mountain where it touched the sea. There were some parasailers floating above the cliffs I was intending to climb so I wandered up to ome guy with a pack on his pack and got to talking with him as we climbed up the rocks. Thirty or so minutes of climbing later and we'd reached the top. I was miles from the actual peak and about a kilometer below it. He set up his sail and let me finish his water before I turned 180 degrees from the sea and started walking. There were plenty of paths to begin with but they quickly petered out and vanished in the first hour. For another hour I walked over the rough ground watching out for cacti and rocks until I hit the jeep trail which took you up to the towers. I could see it was overly windy so I left it and climbed straight up the side of the mountain, losing sight of the trail almost immediately. It was hot, and I had no water. Real smart.

Towards the top it was more of a scramble than a walk, but in the end I reached the unmanned stations. This was a bummer as I was hoping for someone with some water I could snag. I looked out at the view and realised I hadn't got the camera with me. It was 16:45, I should be heading back. I knew that going the way I'd come would lead to me becoming a red paste on the ground at the base of one of the cliffs I'd climbed so I follwed the jeep trail back but jogged most of the way. Sandles are great for hot weather, but not the best footwear for climbing and jogging on rocky paths.

At one point I came off the trail and threaded down the side of the mountain to cut off a huge chunk of windy routing, I actually passed someone for the first time in about four hours. The watch said descent took about an hour. After a further twenty minutes I was back in the complex. I had a bath once I'd figured out the jacuzzi, but wasn't too impressed.

The rest of the evening was pretty normal. I had a sleep, there was food, the father picked up the mother from the airport in the hire car and described how he hadn't been taken in by the hard sell on timeshares he'd had to endure this afternoon while I was out walking (a drawback to the cheapness of the holiday). In the end we wound up watching VH-1 and then went to bed.

20/02/2001 - Holiday
[20:51] Woke early this morning so we could get to Teide before the crowds. Tenerife's hihest peak as well as an active volcano I'll leave you to put it into Google and see what you get out. The guide book said to arrive early to avoid waiting an hour and a half to get up there in the cable car. We arrived at 09:45 and had to rush to get a car which was waiting for people to fill it up. After having driven up from sea level to 3250m or so above we'd passed through the coronal forest and across the crater of the massive volcano which created Tenerife. The volcanic plains were like something you'd expect the Mars Explorer to have to drive across (without the road of course). As it was there was no queue so up we went.

As we were getting into the car we were stopped for the second time on our holiday and had our pictures taken so they could sell it to us later. I managed not to be in the shot again. The first time had been on the catamaran.

Up in the cable car we arrived eight minutes later. At 10:00 the air was cold and thin at 3550m above seal level. This was the highest I'd been outside of a plane. We walked around the terminal cone one way, and then about thirty minutes later, back past the cable car station and the other way. It was only when we tried to ascent to the actual crater that we realised you needed to have a permit signed and obtained in Santa Cruz before you could do so. Bastards don't mention this in the guide book. It cost us about £12 to get up the thing and then we can't go the whole way.

After about two hours at the top with pictures taken we got the car back down again. There was a massive queue at the bottom. We drove off feeling smug and stopped once or twice in the desolation to look at the different rock formations and geological oddities which were all over the massive crater floor. A further stop at the tourist centre and then for lunch and we drove out and down the side of the crater back to Los Christianos.

Some people went swimming, I took the opportunity to finish reading 'The Diamond Age' (Neal Stephenson) and then sat about. We did bugger all really, nice and relaxing. What a holiday is all about sometimes.

19/02/2001 - Holiday
[21:26] The boy got up early again this morning and did his usual dropping of the toilet lid once he'd used the facilities. He's a useful alarm clock if you happen to oversleep.

We pottered about the place for some of the morning, then got the free bus into town. We got cornered by some old hag of a scam artist who tried to get us to go along to a timeshare hard sell. No thanks. From leaving her we walked through the town to the Cultural Centre which also housed the tourist information place as well. We needed a travel agency because the mother was going back to England for two days to take part in some meeting. So we found one and stood outside for fifteen minutes while she booked her flights.

Orver lunch in some square somewhere in Los Christianos I rang the landlord back in England to send an email to Copyleft asking them to hold in the PUT design until I got back for various reasons. Being an international call I kept it short and apologised via SMS later on. We recieved an SMS later from the Belgian who'd had his DVD player delivered to his workplace by the PFY who'd realised that he was on the way home for her. He also passed on a message from her telling me to stop worrying about work and have some fun. She knows me too well. Pah.

We walked back to the complex rather than waiting for the bus again. The rest of the day was fairly unexciting; the girlfriend and I went for a walk behind the complex at the base of the large hill we were on the slope of, then shopped for more food. I made the evening meal while the father went and hired a car for three days and then drove the mother to the airport. After dinner I read. I'm getting into this relaxation thing.

18/02/2001 - Holiday
[20:06] Another night of broken sleep. This time is was the mother getting up at 04:00 for a drink of water. Can't blame her really, it's hot here.

We got up and moved about the place until midday when we wandered down to the hotel next to ours for a coach to Playa de las Americas harbour. Once there we stood in the full glare of the sun for about half an hour while we waited for the catamaran we were going to be riding on came back into port. We were going whale and dolphin spotting. During the wait I felt the call of nature but found that the toilets were pay to get in. I borrowed the 50 pesetas and once I'd used it wedged the door open for the next person. I can see no problem with stopping someone from profiting from my and others' bladder needs.

We boarded the boat and went out under power into the Altantic. Taking a course down the coast for about thirty minutes we moored off a bay playing host to a nudist beach. Unfortunately we didn't get close enough to see anything. Some of us still took the chance to dive off the boat and swim around while lunch was served. The water was at about twenty degrees and pretty perfect given the air temperature.

Back on the boat after about fifteen minutes we stayed around while the crew gave us a talk on whales and dolphins before moving off on a variable course as the lookout had his binoculars up watching for things. To be honest they may have been porpoises I don't know the difference, either way after about twenty minutes we spotted some and I got a few pictures. They looked pretty great shadowing the twin hulls for minutes at a time and were in quite a large group. The catamaran had the usual netting between the hulls but were always full of people so I stood on the braces at the front of the boat. This drew a few 'Titanic' jokes from the rest of my group. Yeah. Original.

Once we'd seen the dolphins we went hunting for whales. Pilot whales in fact. These were a little tricker to find, but find them we did; after about another ten minutes we came across a pod of about seven. They're not much bigger than dolphins to be honest, dorsal fin was though. We had less time with them than with the dolphins before then sounded and vanished.

We turned for shore and came back in to dock. Total trip time was about three hours. Back on the bus and back to the complex some people shopped for the evening meal. Once back I cooked up six omlettes with cheese and ham. No-one appears to be dead yet. I nearly killed and ate the youngest this evening though. This was because just after we'd gotten a call from Reception to find out if we were on fire or not (smoke detector and me not turning on the extractor fan) he managed to relock the electronic safe and forget the 6-digit key code. Normal hotel safe; mains powered, keypad, RS-232 interface hidden away. No-one saw what he did but when I tried the codes he said he thought he'd entered they didn't work. After the third attempt the LED changed to a thirty minute countdown. At this point we called Reception.

Twenty minutes later a guy from the safe company was with us. He plugged something into the port and fiddled for ten minutes with no luck. The clock ran out and displayyed "Err 02" which didn't seem to improve matters. He left and came back with a large heavy suitcase. He shooed us out of the room in bad English and closed the door.

A few minutes later we could hear drilling. It had a 'deep' quality to it. The sound you get when thick metal is involved. The drilling stopped, the door opened and he'd gotten the safe door open. There were a few metal splinters on the floor. I couldn't see what he'd done. He left.

Great day.

17/02/2001 - Holiday
[22:45] The place is self-catering. This means you eat out or buy from a supermarket. The girlfriend and mother weont out this morning to get some essentials for breakfast. I stayed in "bed". The youngest, sleeping in the other room and is an early riser and the television is in our sleeping area. There was no way he was watching Pokemon at 06:30, especially as I had a bad night. So I told him to keep out in no uncertain terms.

After breakfast the girlfriend and I went for a walk and came across a better supermarket with a wider range of products than I'd eventually dragged myself out of bed to eat. We went from there down the hill/slope/mountain and wandered round looking for a swimming costume for her. Tourist and tacky shops abounded, but we found a one good enough to fit.

Back up the hill to the complex we found everyone else by the pool, lay about for a bit while listening to the 'welcome', booked on some tours and then got the free bus back down into the town again together. Dropped off we wandered along the sea front until we found a decent enough place to eat lunch.

Food and hot sun made us sleepy so we took a walk around the harbour and back before retracing our path to the bus point. Back at the apartment everyone flopped out. I had some interrupted dozing while the girlfriend and the mother did some more shopping, swim a little and deposited the boy in front of a kids film somewhere else in the complex.

Come evening we went to a sit-down barbeque and ate entrecote (huge beef steak) and drank lots of free wine/beer. Eventually it was too late to keep our eyes open and we headed back. Might try some of the melon schnapps the girlfriend bought at the supermaket before I head for bed.

16/02/2001 - Holiday
[22:08] Had a hard time waking up this morning. The girlfriend was up all night with something possibly associated with the peppers we had or sweet and sour sauce, or maybe the beansprouts. What ever it was she wasn't a happy bunny for about three hours. Praying to the porcelain god, if you get my drift.

So we get a taxi to the train station, a train to Victoria and then the Gatwick Express to the airport again. On arriving we had to sit about for a good hour before the girlfriend's parents, one of her brothers (the youngest) and her dad's cousin (removed once) turned up en masse. Now I'm not one for group/family holidays, but the girlfriend managed to convince me otherwise based on the cheapness.

So the plane's delayed by forty-five minutes which is O.K. I guess, but still a pain. The flight to Tenerife took four hours and was not toe most comfortable. Monarch was the airline we were on and charges you for everything except the obligatory meal. This includes the headset for listening to the old and outdated music and 'comedy'. The food was uniformly awful too.

Four hours of crampedness later and we're in Tenerife. We walk for half a mile through the airport to get to the baggage claim and wait for another another half an hour before the bags come along. Eventually they do and we exit stage left. There's someone waiting for us by the doors with a sign with the family name on it. At this point a woman with a clipboard tells us we're not in 'The Beverly Hills Club' we're in 'Hollywood Mirage' instead. But this isn't supposed to matter, as it meant to be 'better'.

So we ride the minibus to Los Christianos with another family who we don't talk to because they look odd. It's an odd journey of about 5km in the dark to the Hollywood Mirage complex. The place is basically a large amount of apartments arranged in rises around a pool or two. There are some photos in the gallery, or will be in a while. The whole place is white painted stone suites of rooms which are self-catering with oven, microwave etc., etc. All the blocks are named after old film stars like Clark Gable, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe. We're located in James Dean room 4404 across from Grace Kelly. Once we've checked in and and I've realised that the guy with our bags isn't stealing them but taking them to our room, not a confused tourist or some thieving Spaniard we head for the room.

Point of information: there are six of us, two couples (one married) a young boy and a woman. As the accommadation was free no expense has been spared; neither it seems were the brains. We're expected to be a husband and wife and four children. As a result there's a master bedroom (nice) with en suite bathroom, a bedroom with two single beds in it, and the main living area with a sofa with a single bed under it.

Naturally the parents get the bedroom. Because the youngest needs to be in bed before everyone else he needs to be in the bedroom. Because it'd be silly for me and the girlfriend to be seperated the cousin gets the other bed. This leaves me and the girlfriend out in the living room.

This is not what I was expecting. It's like a tourist/hotel colony. Insular, commercialised. I think we can make a good time of it though.

My Belgian friend turned up at work during the day for his DVD player I'd arranged to have delivered there. It didn't arrive. He and the PFY have agreed to keep in contact via email regarding it. SMSes are much cheaper than telephone calls.

I'd resisted checking my email at the airport (Gatwick), but I'm not sure I can go all week. The AO is going to be talking to the PFY some time in the following week about upgrading her post. It won't be to the level I've been thinking would be commensurate to her skills so I have to make sure I talk to her on the Monday I get back and reassure her that I'm still working to get what we both think she needs.

I'm going for a walk to clear some of the cobwebs internally I've got at the moment, maybe take some photos with the camera from work and show you what the place looks like. I mentioned it's all white painted stone. During daylight it's going to be a) impossible to see clearly without sunglasses (which I don't have) and b) heaving with people.

15/02/2001
[09:15] At 19:01 last night the power sagged to 114.4V causing all kinds of problems. Naturally the servers were safe. Funnily enough the test server for Windows 2000 Advanced Server (currently running RedHat 6.2) didn't reboot either. The BOFHcam servers did, with the primary rebooting cleanly and Apache coming back up. The camera didn't but that was fixed with a quick replugging of the keyboard, mouse and power cycling the camera. I had to bounce the machine too for some reason to get the graphics card to cough into life.

The second machine didn't fair so well. It failed on fsck and was sitting at the maintenance prompt waiting for me to run it manually. I did, started X, bumped the camera and all was well. Or well enough to be going on with. The dual-processor FreeBSD box didn't fall over either, which was nice. Perhaps the PSUs in servers really are a bit better?

Anyway, today is my last day in work until 26/02/2001. The things I have to do today (didn't I mention I'm going to the Canary Islands for a week?) include some more work on getting the PFY's job upgraded, a list of things for her to do next week, deliver a PC, and lock down all the machines for unattended running. If there's a power cut next week I won't be able to fix it.

I expect that three of the four O'Really designs will come out next week. One of them doesn't have a page on this site yet. I'll do that today if I have time. Or I'll do it today/tomorrow morning before we get on the plane. I'll be keeping a journal on compressed vegetable matter and typing it in on the Sunday and Monday.

I've just spoken with one of the Oberadministrators who has given me some inside track information in the PFY job thing, that should help. I've also just had to dash down and try and fix a weird PowerPoint bug at the same time as I should have been loading a PC into a car and delivering it.

Either way, I have to go, now for about thirty minutes.

[17:00] Well, that wasn't the most fun in the world. The user decided that he couldn't have Windows NT4.0 because he has a ton of USB devices. While he tried not to take it out on me I had to kill him and stuff his body into the wheeliebin below his window. On coming back the day just go busier. I'll gloss over all the crap I've had to do today. Suffice to say we've had another DeskJet decide that sucking paper isn't what it does, it'll just suck instead.

In other news I may be doing a spot of consultancy with some join-institutional stuff which should lead to a heap-big pipe between the UK and the US. Which should be nice. I get to spec. their kit, tell them what to do and what not to do and generally mould a department. Anyway.

This is the last entry until Monday 26/02/2001. Email me with rants or something. Otherwise it'll just be BUGTRAQs and nothing else. And that'll suck. Oh, yeah, if the T-shirts go up on Copyleft, tell me what you think.

14/02/2001
[15:25] Managed to get the Office stuff done yesterday by downloading the stuff I needed to my home machine and then scp'ing it here. About one hundred times faster. Anyway, all over now.

I got plenty of good opinions from people about the Practical Unix Terrorism design and one exhortation to contact the person who drew the original sketch I use on the design. Even though I said that profits go to the Open Source Community she decided on the whole not to allow me to have copyright on the design. Given the content of the email I can agree with her opinions, but not her decision. Still, I don't want to get Copyleft into trouble. They were getting cold feet about it anyway. I've picked out some other images that might work instead and sent them off.

Today I have been mostly installing OpenSSH in place of SSH on all of my machines. In some places I went for the "get the source of openssl and openssh and compile and install myself" in others I've found that the RedHat RPMs actually work so long as you get them all. Why they felt the need to seperate the client from the server is beyond me. Unless they thought some people wouldn't be clever enough to turn off the sshd if it started. Anyway, I've done everything except one machine and one machine which isn't going to be around much longer.

13/02/2001
[12:20] I need to get this new machine installed with Service Release 1a of Office 2000 before Thursday morning. At this rate I may not manage. Damned thing. To stop myself from going mad I installed RedHat 6.2 on the PowerEdge 1400. Nice. Installed a KDE workstation in less than 30 minutes. Once I'd closed all the obvious holes disabled all the daemons that didn't need to be running and downloaded a copy of ssh it was time to see how well it did. Blow me if it wasn't a tad faster than any other machine I've ever installed Linux on. It was rather nice to have a dual PIII-800 breezing through stuff. I even took the time to run XF86Setup and wring something passable out of the 4Mb ATI Rage XL.

The main thing I did yesterday wasn't even work related. Copyleft are ready to do the next set of O'Really T-shirts. Only they're worried about the design on the Practical Unix Terrorism one. I guess I can understand that, it's not a very subtle picture. Anyway, to test the waters I posted a message to the Monastary and The Other Place. The replies were almost all positive, and the negative ones were clear, cogent reasons why they were negative. Anyway, I got two emails of major note. One was from someone who owned one of the original Practical Unix Terrorism T-shirts, from way back when it was one of the unoffical designs worn at SummerCon IV in America. Apparently r00t/CDC/l0ck wore them. Far be it from me to ignore the people who caused me get into the designing phase in the first place, so I've asked to be put in contact to ask for permission to do that design. The second email of note was from someone who asked if I'd talked to the person who originally drew the sketch which makes up the image on the design. This hadn't occured to me, so I've sent off an email asking if she's willing to have her drawing used to raise money for the Open Source community (specifically FreeBSD who get donations for each T-shirt purchased from Copyleft).

If I don't hear anything in a week I'll assume everything's O.K. given I've made the effort to try and obtain permission, or something. Either way, given the fact that profit is going to a good cause I think it's worth it. Let me know to the usual address what you think of the design and any implications you can think of, thanks.

[17:15] Our networks sucks. It sucks so much there's no analogy you can think of that would do it justice. Still, the fact that I can download what I need via the cable modem at home makes things a little better. Perhaps I should get work to pay for it given it's saving their bacon with regard to downloading patches and the like over the last few days. Networks should be shot. Or at least asked what the hell the problem is with our segment.

The word from Copyleft is that the first three (Assembling Etherkillers, Windows NT's Infernal FS, and LART Pocket Reference) will be photographed today and tomorrow, so they'll be on the site shortly thereafter. Practical Unix Terrorism will follow in a handful of days pending details mentioned earlier.

12/02/2001
[14:55] Hmm. Rainy day. Ruddy pissing it down. I was going to go into town today and a) return Mech Warrior 4 (which sucks) and b) pay in some money from buying a DVD player for someone else. Naturally this didn't happen.

The weekend was good. We travelled to Twyford and Wokingham for some partying and had some time to meet up with some old friends. I didn't drink any of the 95 degree alcohol, honest, none at all. No. The girlfriend and I left early on Sunday morning so we could get back and do something useful with the day at home.

This morning the PFY and I battled with HP DeskJets and Microsoft Office 2000. The thing is, we were going to give this person Office 97, but no, when he was in America he had Office 2000, so he needs that here to, no matter that they're the same. Anyway, he also wants Outlook 2000. So we slap that on there, then try to minimise the damage to NT4 by removing Internet Explorer 5.5. Naturally Outlook now throws its toys out of the cot and refuses to play. At the same time we've uninstalled Outlook Express (helpfull installed by the IE5.5 installer in Office 2000 in addition to IE5.5 itself). Numerous reboots later and we have no IE and no OE. We do a repair on Outlook 2000 as suggested by the application when we uninstalled the others, and it still doesn't work. After a few more permutations we bite the bullet and uninstall Office 2000 completely. We reinstall Office again, and after a few tweaks Outlook 2000 runs properly. Whoever decided that for Outlook 2000 to run you need Outlook Express 4.01 or greater installed needs shooting twice, in the head, with a dart gun, with exploding tips, which explode after ten minutes.

I still needs to deal with another printer upstairs which HP says they don't provide drivers for NT4 for, any more. Never mind the fact that the NT4 install CD has them on there.

09/02/2001
[14:40] Those of you who care to note might wish to note that today is the BOFHcam's second birthday. Two years ago today I was sitting in front of a computer in my first ever real job with my manager sitting to my right. I had taken a camera from the numbskulls over the road and set it up with the express purpose of creating something to poke fun at the JenniCAM. Since then I've tried to keep up with her site changes and tried to put my own spin on the pages she put up. Unfortunately she's a 'professional' web developer and I'm a sysadmin. She also doesn't have a job other than creating web pages. This, coupled with the fact that her new design sucks and isn't accessible via lynx (uses frames) has meant that my site is now static in design, unless something exciting happens.

In a way this means I'm no longer parodying Jenni's site. Which, in a way was the whole reason the site was here in the first place. I can never really tell how many people come here and keep coming back, I mean, I'm not the most amazing thing on the web by any stretch of the imagination. The high points over the last two years have been pretty fun though. Slashdot, the Windowsian Crapsody filk and now the O'Reallys have meant that the place isn't stale, but to be honest the only thing which is truly fluid is the Journal. And that's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

[16:20] Sorry, just had Ingvar "the Grey" come to visit and pick up some Bablyon 5 videos. He's buying my set off me. He's applying for a job with the Institution, if they can get their fingers out and look at his application. It'd be kind of cool to have him working nearby.

As I was saying when I was in ruminative mode, the BOFHcam's moved on since JenniCAM, but is it now just some site with a design stolen from someone else? Who can say? Does anyone care? Well I do, a little. Anyway, happy birthday to me. And it's Friday too, what good luck.

08/02/2001
[13:00] So a new Windows NT vulnerability comes out. I take the decision to make sure everyone is upto Service Pack 6a and the latest hotfixes, including this morning's. Naturally, because the place is still stingy on the money for new eqipment front I've been spending tens of minutes in front of old machines watching SP6a install, reboot install the hotfixes, reboot and wander on to the next one. The only machines we have to do now are the administrative machines, the servers and all the machines which are in a Ghost domain. Those will be done when we can get time to create an image, and there's no-one using the boxes. Or perhaps if there is someone using the boxes.

While I was out of the office the person who's swapping a Macintosh for a PC came in, but I wasn't there. With luck she'll come back tomorrow after 15:00, or tomorrow. The reason she'll have to come back after three is that today is IT Committee day. I have to show people what I'm spending stuff on, and why I need some more money. With luck that shouldn't take long, unless they start asking why I feel the need to move us to Office 2000 and Eudora 5.0.2 this summer. Well fans, it's like this: if I don't we'll be left behind by the rest of the insititution and there will be a wailing and a knashing of teeth in the darkness.

Look, you'll have to take my word for it. It's either that, or Windows 2000, Office 2000 and Eudora 5.0.2 all at once next summer. Take your pick. So, I eat now, do some more machines while people are at lunch, then go to the meeting, come back, deliver the machines and copy over some PDFs and bookmarks, then pull out the Macintosh. Then it's back to more upgrades. We'll do the servers one at a time this evening.

[13:55] Hey great, one of the users told me that 'some time last week' there was water dripping on the monitor and the box. Yeah great, tell me after the fact won't you? She moved it, without turning it off, or logging out. Nice one.

[18:30] Had my one-meeting-every-four-months meeting today. Just had time to do a few more Service Pack 6a + hotfixes applications and move that PC in to replace the Macontosh. The user thought she was getting sound as well. We have a PC here with sound. As she's not too objectionable we're willing to swap out the Zip drive and the HDD and give her the other one. It's a Dell so it's all built in. I've also just 'upgraded' three of the four servers to the same SP stuff. Nerve-wracking, even when I know they're solid installs.

07/02/2001
[14:00] Two things I should note before I forget. One is that I go away on holiday on 16/02/2001 for a week. should be back on 24/02/2001. This a brief bit of recovery with the girlfriend in the Canaries. The second thing is that the site is two whole years old and seems to still be going. Which is odd, in a nice kind of way.

I've filled in a complaints form on Sony's web site again. I doubt it'll do any good, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something. Other things wot I done today include figuring out (or starting to) what Microsoft's Intellimirror does, or tries to, and finding out that our favourite toner people are charging much more than a less friendly and pushy place. I'd really like to stick with the place we deal with, but the savings are... huge.

With luck the person who's due to swap out their Macintosh for a PC should come and see us today and I can cut back the number of Apples in the building to one. And I'm not responsible for that, or shouldn't be, if I had anything to do with it. Gym tonight, then Stargate.

06/02/2001
[15:20] Went to a seminar on ADS this morning and sorted out a few issues. This was a bit worrying as some of the things that were sorted were problematic. All the software we ordered has finally arrived so we've stuck EndNote 4 on the machine that needs it and begun the race to keep up to date with Office 2000. I'm glad we're waiting so long before we actually move the place to Windows 2000, it'll mean the bugs we see appearing every day should have slowed from a torrent to a more managable steady trickle of hotfixes required. With luck the 'Intellimirror' stuff should make the shuffling out of Service Packs and the like a bit easier. But I doubt it will.

Cycled back into town for lunch today in blue skies and balmy breezes and began to feel a few drips on my neck. I sped up. By the time I arrived at the place of lunch (at full speed) the sky was black (it's only a 5 min cycle ride). Had I not gotten undercover within five seconds I would have been soaked to the skin by the lake which poured from the sky. Lunch was good as we had a good old bitch about the state of a firewall (as it were) that stops work from happening rather that helping it. The thing blocks 22 and allows 21 and 23. Probably not the smartest thing in the world. By the time lunch was over the sky was blue again, although when I got back to work it was raining again.

At present I'm dowloading SR-1a and SP-2 for Office 2000. I really hope by the time we have to roll it out things are more settled.

05/02/2001
[12:00] Midday already, nice one. Still waiting for a) software to arrive, b) our test server to arrive, c) call from Sevenoaks to tell me what's happening with my amplifier and d) the end of the day so I can go to a Sun Users Group meeting with people who know far more about Suns and Unix than I do, but i) don't all know this and ii) probably wouldnt' care either as there's free food and the chance to talk shop.

Need to order some more ink and toner soon. I can't believe HP have hiked the prices on everything so much in the last few months. They're losing custom all over as far as I can tell and seem to be raising the prices to cope, as a result they're driving more people off. Those of you who're locked in (with a building full of HP printing products are therefore screwed, and mightily pissed off.

I went to dump a monitor box in the room where the monitor is being used. I knocked on the door and then tried it. Locked. The guy inside who works there came to the door and unlocked it. Straight away I saw porn on the screen. I pretended not to see it and asked if he had room for the box (Iiyama, useful if the thing breaks and needs to be sent back). He said no. I wisely left him to it and found somewhere else.

So long as he doesn't get my keyboard sticky I'm O.K. with that. Having the door locked too is good. Means I won't walk in and have to Make A Policy Decision. I really hate having to do that.

[16:45] Bugger all happened this afternoon. We had our regular friendly probing which showed me I need to deal with the Fiery printserver at some point as it's still showing it's arse to the world and saying "Here I am, I'm free!". I've got a contact number at Minolta now so I may find out how to change the settings I need to change.

02/02/2001
[14:15] Ran Analog on 2000's stats yesterday. It only took about 1003 minutes. No big deal. I had to comment out the Analog cron job I had set running a midnight. Anyway, all done now.

Naturally as it's Friday I've tried to do as little work as possible. This is fairly easy. I'm still peeved about my amplifier and that gives me something to ruminate on. I went to Sevenoaks last night and arrived at 17:02 having asked them to hook it up to the same speakers I have at home (B&W 601's, 602's and a CC6). After waiting in the shop for over an hour because the guy I was going to be dealing with was stuck in a demonstration session with another customer we connected it up to a 601 and a CC6. There was the hum, loud as anything. The people in the shop weren't impressed. Neither was I. But I'm tired now. Tired of the whole thing. With luck one of them will be taking it back to the Sony Authorised Repairer People on Monday with a B&W speaker and making the technicians listen to it. We think perhaps last time they turned off the front panel (which causes the hum in the first place) for some reason and so couldn't hear it. I await a call on Monday. If there's no joy after this I call Sevenoaks Leeds and start on them.

01/02/2001
[16:45] Went to listen to my amplifier back from another repair place this evening. Still hums. I think it's a bit quieter so I'm going in again this evening to listen to it with an identical set of speakers on it. If it's good enough I'll take it home and sigh a bit.

Today we took a user through the first course of Macintosh to Windows conversion. She didn't seem too put out by the experience. Other than that I set up the machine she was testing out on and wrote some more documentation in support of getting my PFY upgraded to something better than what she's on at the moment.

I ran the new version of Analog (4.14) on the logs for 1999 yesterday. Started it running at 12:01 and at 22:58 or something it finished. Either way it took 656 minutes and 30 seconds to finish. I started it on 2000's logs nice and early this morning. It should finish in better time I think. Unless the fact that I was more popular in 2000 means it takes longer. There was 86Mb of logs (mostly uncompressed) for 1999. Anyway, time to go and get depressed at the fact that an expensive amplifier still doesn't remain silent when nothing is being put through it.