[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.
[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
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.
[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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
[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
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.
[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.
[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
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
[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.
[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.
[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
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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.