[10:00] Yay, new Axis camera has arrived. Did I mention I had lunch with
Shaun and the head DBA for Play.com yesterday. If not then, well, I did. It
was a whole load of fun as he's vaguely mad, but in a good way. Liked him a
Best of luck to Elaine who's got important things to do this morning. Hope it
all goes well. Ghosting at the moment, all kinds of things happening
simultaniously here. It's great. Thai at lunch today, so I didn't have to
make a packed lunch this morning. This meant I was able to get up later, which
was helpful as I woke at least twice last night. I really need to get my sleep
sorted out as it's not helpful for work, to say nothing for my social life.
[12:30] New camera now all set up and stuff, just need to wait for the DNS
propogation thing to happen. I'll let you know on Monday. Off for a Thai now.
[17:20] A quiet afternoon. Prepared some machines, took down one of the
oldest in the building for either binning or retasking as a linux box and had a
quick flip through NTK. Now I'm just off home to do some serious relaxing and
tidy the house a bit.
[10:30] Came in lateish this morning and found that the computer room had
already been blocked off. I entered and got to watch a couple of guys
using a cutting torch to slice away those really thick steel supports. I made
sure not to watch too closely so I still have my sight. I've blocked off the
comms cabinet so hopefully there won't be too much smoke sucked in. The
temperature in there is a full ten degrees lower than in the other cabinet and
everything so consolidated in there now. It's marvellous. I'm
thinking of ordering another Axis camera to watch developments in the room
while we're upstairs.
[15:10] So I'm installing a new machine and have had to resort to copying the
msblast.exe patch to a floppy to patch it before installing everything else so
that I can create a new image with the new GX270 machines. Oh, and the steels
in the computer room have been cut back, hot desks aplenty.
[17:20] It's a three-stage process of ghosting right now. Do the base install,
ghost that for the building (with sysprep). Then install Office, patch that,
Virus Scan, patch that, then take another image. Then it's on with Roxio,
patch that and reghost again. The last two images are for external machines.
I had a few problems with the ghost disk (of which I only had one), but luckily
I'd had the presence of mind to create a disk image of the floppy so a quick
dd later and I have a working floppy again. Smart. Thursday tonight, so off
soon. Hope climbing goes well for those who go.
[15:20] Oh yeah, we got the building back online at 11:40 this morning. The
cabinet looks well funky and I'm about to take some pictures and drop them on
the gallery. They should be there
We rolled in the new cabinet yesterday and nearly busted a gut getting it up
to the first floor. Luckily it all went smoothly, especially the part when I
realised it might not fit in the corner of the room under the air intakes, which
it did, by 1.2 inches. The guy from the networks place helped me rerack and
connect everything up. Cable ties are God's own invention and enable you to
make things really, really neat. Once we get the four cable management 1U
inserts it's going to be wonderful in there. Anyway, since then I've been
tidying up a little, moving newly delivered PC boxes around and generally
thinking about the amounts of crap that're going to be in the air when the
cutting torch people arrive tomorrow. I've kept hold of the cardboard stuff
so I can rewrap it while the cutting torches fill the air with burnt paint,
metal and quite probalby wood and varnished cork. I may take photos.
Intending to go climbing this evening.
[17:45] But failing.
[11:30] On the dot of 08:30 we dropped the connection to the building and
started removing all active kit from the comms cabinet which also serves as our
point of presence. The next hour or so we spent removing all the patch panels,
the fibre enclosures and the power racks too. Once it was empty, which wasn't
an easy task we removed the cabinet and began to tidy the cables which have to
stay in place while the benching below where the cabinet stood is removed.
Unfortunately there are some really messy cabling issues (cables going the long
way around in places and getting in the way) which we're dealing with as they
happen. The electrician is also here removing power sockets and redundant
patch points, although we've told him to keep some in place after all.
As of ten minutes ago the benching and angle-grinding people came in and started
creating lots of sparks and splinters of wood everywhere. The metal supports
which a) need to be cut back in place and b) need to be removed where the
benching is being cut back for the new cabinet are proving to be extremely
tough going and I think we're going to fall behind where we planned to be at
the end of the day. It may be a case of switching to cutting-torch in places.
Not that you'll read this until a few days from now but, more later.
[15:00] The benching we needed removing has been removed. There's
still some (I think) old pyro cables there which could be whipped out and some
old mineral (junction) boxes which could be removed, but we're on for a
reconnect tomorrow morning if all goes well. The new rack's here, it's just a
case of getting it up to the first floor and ready to install. There's still
the issue of the badly wired (routed) sockets on the first and second floor
which come back to this cabinet, but I think we can deal with them. Oddly, the
radiator people have blocked in one of the cables which runs the IR sensors in
the room. It's going to have to be disconnected so that we can re-run it
through the new ducting in a week or so.
My bike's rear tyre had a slow puncture it in at lunch time so I thought "sod
it" and dropped it in somewhere to have the tyre and inner replaced. It's
twenty quid, but it's better than faffing around again when I could be
doing something else. The tyre's got a bit of a hole in it, but I think some
rubber vulcanising solution and sitting in front of the telly tonight squeezing
it together will give me a spare tyre for next time.
Oh, and it looks like it's going to be cutting torches all the way here now.
The grinding away of the most important support's been done, but it ate about
five disks in the process. And we have about twenty more supports to be done.
I don't know what this is going to do to a) the underside of the wooden benches
and b) the varnished cork floor, but it's a good job we're getting carpet tiles
after all this is done.
[19:30] So I get an automated email telling me my web server (work) has the
Nachi 'white' worm. I repair the puncture on my bike (having been far, far too
busy to repair it over the weekend) and cycle in. No sign of infection, still
patched up to date, still has A/V up to date. No idea what's wrong. Still, it
meant I got my bike tyre fixed, I changed the backup tapes and I get to do
today's entry and get it up in time for those of you to read it before tomorrow
at 08:30 when we drop the building off the network for a few days.
The weekend was bloody excellent. Elaine came down to see me again and on the
Friday we just chilled out, I think I managed to actually get some decent sleep
for the first time in a few months. Saturday morning we waited for pickup from
Cormac, Steph and Keith and headed out to go karting. Apart from a rather
nasty crash with Steph (sorry Steph!) and clattering the inside of my right
knee against the steering column (bruise now coming up) we had to bloody good
fifteen minute sessions. Indoor track and really rather hot. We decamped to
a pub just down the road afterwards for some much-needed food.
Sunday was spent regretting the fact we couldn't go climbing owing to feeling
rather bruised from Saturday. So we went shopping instead. I needed some
food and Elaine needed some new clothes to enjoy the sun in so we had a bit of
a trip follows by the purchasing of food from Asda. As the weather was so nice
we headed out to a park for the afternoon and watched people go by with a
picnic for a while. Rather relaxing. DVDs filled up the evening.
Today we decided to take things easy and ended up in the cinema watching
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life which was complete bunk from beginning
to end. And it wasn't even about her breasts any more! Most disappointing.
Still a nice way to pas a few hours though. The trains are in such a state
that we considered whether she'd get home at a sensible time this evening but
decided in the end that it'd be more sensible if she at least tried to get
home today. Once packed off on the train I headed home to repair the massive
slash in my tyre (damned drunks dropping bottles in the gutters), cycled to
work, checked the machine, changed the tapes and wrote this entry. Now I'm off
home again. Those of you who read this before Wednesday/Thursday, have a good
evening. Everyone else, hope you had a nice beginning to the week... I expect
my week's going to be rather complicated starting tomorrow morning.
[09:00] I'm getting peeved about my sleep patterns at the moment. Still, I
imagine they're eminently solvable. Just take a bit of effort I expect. I got
in stupidly early this morning and did some cross-patching such that when we
lose network connectivity on Tuesday morning everyone in the building should
still be able to get to the servers to do work. Having internal DNS now will
hopefully ameliorate the effects to simply no email and no web access for
everyone. I must put up some notices to this effect today.
Oooh, oooh, karting tomorrow with Elaine and others. It's going to be
excellent! There's a pub lunch in the offing afterwards as well. Oh, and it's
a bank holiday here in England on Monday, so no journal for you until, well,
Wednesday or Thursday at this rate. How will you cope? Probably really easily
I'd expect. Go and do something else.
[09:20] Oh yes, I have a network engineer coming in at 13:30 today (right in
the middle of lunch) to make sure he knows what he's doing on Tuesday. Still,
it's better than them arriving on Tuesday and going, "Hmmm."
[16:20] Right, so the networking is going to be much more difficult than anyone
previously thought, but that's O.K. And it's going to involve dropping the
phones to certain people as well, but that's O.K. And there's going to be an
unholy mess come Tuesday morning at 08:30 when I and the networking engineers
get down to it, but that's O.K. too, because it has to be. I'm about ready to
go home right about now. There's a machine which refuses to work on the
network downstairs and I was about to reghost it up here, only it's started
working again. Saved me some effort, but I don't know why.
[17:50] So anyway, see you on Tuesday.
[09:40] Hmmm, puncture to rear tyre on the way in this morning. Still it meant
I got to take a wonderful few pictures of a butterfly on the walk in. I've
locked my bike safely in town and will pick it up on the way out this evening.
I slept really badly last night and seem to have wrenched my left shoulder
really badly. Rather annoying, really. Oh, and it's Microsoft Hotfix Thursday
again. Joy. You won't see much of me today, I'm going to be patching machines.
[15:15] Done with the patching. Time for lunch. I think I'll watch some DVDs.
[13:00] Gosh, busy morning. Having a paper To Do list really helps you get
through the things to do. Of course it's not exhaustive, but I'm getting
things done anyway. This lunchtime I'm getting to set up my wireless LAN in
the building opposite so that when I take down the building on Tuesday morning
next week I'll still have access for the day or two it'll take to get
the benching removed and the kit all connected back up again. What? It's my
job to remain in contact. Plus I means I can chat to those people I don't want
to stop talking to. It's only for a day or two, and I'll still update my
journal so you'll have more to read when you are able to get back to the site
[14:35] Just spent an hour getting wireless set up between this building and
the next. I think it's working, but it's damned flaky. Oh well, better than
nothing. Lunch time now.
[15:30] Mmmm, cherry tomatoes.
[17:00] Right, PDFs done, heading to London for some climbing action.
[12:35] The new worm (W32/Nachi.worm, NAI definition) is rife in my
organisation. I can tell because I plugged in a laptop and only connected the
network card when I was updating the A/V and then when I was installing the
MS03-026 patch and it still got infected. Only took thirty seconds to clean it
again though, but that's fairly impressive. There must be a shitload of
infected machines around at the moment.
[14:05] So there's a new Sobig variant out (Sobig.f, NAI designation) and the
DAT to cover it isn't available yet. Marvellous.
[16:10] O.K. it's out now and most of my machines are up to date now. I dunno
it must be silly season for viruses and stuff at the moment because it's not
been this bad in a long time. I've got a stack more laptops to update some
time soon, but I can do most of them with a Ghost image, I think.
[17:25] All machines updated to the most current DAT and nothing more I can do
for the moment so I'm off home to go climbing and try and have something
sensible to eat for once.
[12:40] Nice morning thus far. Everything's still running well (apart from the
occasional tape error on the backup servers, in hand). Looking forward to
getting my hair cut this evening.
[12:50] So Elaine finished her degree coursework and got it all in this Friday
just gone so she came down to see me and have a bit of an unwind. It was great
weather and a real opportunity to just chill out and relax after and odd and
[16:40] I've ordered four more new PCs (Dell Optiplex GX260) for people here
and outside of the building. I can't believe I'm giving this kind of kit to
other people rather than using it myself, but this is the job. Things have
been kind of quiet today, email's been patchy at best, but I've gotten things
done and it's been a nice introduction to the week. I'm looking to go karting
next weekend (the bank holiday weekend) and you might want to bear in mind
that this site will be off-line (building connection being dropped) between
some time on the Monday and Wednesday (or Thursday, but I hope not). I'm
hoping to drop the connections on the Monday, and whip out all the kit I
actually want to save (with help) and watch the desk being cut, angle-ground
and then cutting-torched away on the Tuesday. The new floor-standing (rather
than desk-standing) rack should then go in as soon as possible and the
essential patch panels and fibre cables reinstalled as soon as possible
I've got the rest of this week to get a wireless LAN access point set up in the
building opposite and a laptop configured to use it here so I can still talk to
people while the rest of the building's on internal connectivity only. I like
technology when it does what you want.
[12:40] Friday. It's been a very strange week what with the worm and taking
time off and the worry over all kinds of things. Many of those worries go away
by necessity today. This evening should be a much happier time for all
concerned. Or a time to decompress a little anyway.
Last night was good. I spent some time people-watching on the grass in the
middle of town before heading home with a friend. The usual crowd came over
and we ate some food while watching Phone Booth which is really quite good
considering it was filled in just ten days. Well I liked it anyway. One person
left early, but I think it was due to other things rather than the film. I
bought the first mini box-set of Relic Hunter from him for half price after he
watched the first episode and realised just how bad it is. Personally I have
no problem with Tia Carrere, but you pays your money, youy takes your choice.
Off for a Thai now, and then patching some much less important boxes which I
seem to have missed. Looking forward to this evening rather a lot.
[14:20] Mmmm, Thai rules.
[17:40] A productive afternoon patching a few machines which probably weren't
vulnerable but are now fully up-to-date. In effect I've secured the entire
building and basically I've got nothing to do for the rest of the day. For
sure there's a lot of things still need doing, but actually there's nothing I
can sensibly do right now. I think I'm going to go home and get things ready
for a nice relaxing weekend.
[15:00] So I got up at some horrible hour of the morning (not having slept too
well anyway) and got on a train home again. At the station (journey going
without too much incident) I cycled straight to work to do a post mortem on
Tuesday's outbreak. I'm really bugged that the few machines I'd been intending
to patch that morning actually got infected literally thirty or so minutes
before I was due to secure them. Hopefully it won't happen again. I've
discovered the vector of infection/worming into the building and I'm pretty
sure now (at 15:00) the building is locked down tight. I've changed some of
the settings so that machines are complete gits when it comes to viruses now.
There's no chance of cleaning, if it's infected it's gone. It's why
I do backups. There is no appeal.
I wish we didn't have any NT4 in the building any more but for reasons I won't
go into it's necessary. Not for long though, really. Honest.
[15:20] It's a normal Thursday this evening. I have to admit my mind's on
other things at the moment. I'm lucky things have settled down here so I don't
have more than one important thing on my mind at once. I'm kind of limited in
what I can do from here, but all my thoughts are going towards helping someone
who could do with support right now.
[14/08/2003 - 12:15] Back at work, more information on Tuesday, Wednesday soon.
Just applying large antivirus enema to the network.
[14:55] So I finished patching machines at around 14:30 and was out of the door
in time to catch a train at around 15:00. Left my bike at the station (which
turned out to be a good thing). Once in Leeds I met the rest of the family and we
drove out to a place near Pickering where the caravan is stored now. We put
tents up for me and the brother and settled down to some food. I flaked out
quite quickly after the day's activities.
Wednesday was spent waking up early (again, I've not slept properly in months
now), breakfast, packing the tents and then driving to the remains of a Roman
set of camps and forts for a nice walk in the countryside. A leisurely picnic
in the sun followed by a drive to Whitby, through Whitby when it turned out to
be packed and on to Robin Hood's Bay and then a walk by the shore was next.
We had ice-cream in the narrow streets and walked up the steep roads back to
the car park. My brother driving, I in the passenger street and our parents in
the back (something it's taken 27 years to achieve) we headed back to the
caravan for dinner before heading back home to Leeds. I checked my email from
home before again crashing out again (too much sun this time, I think).
[14:10] I was supposed to be on a train at 12:15. Unfortunately we had an
outbreak of the MS03-026 DCOMRPC worm affect some machines which hadn't been
patched yet. I blame myself really. The thing is, the A/V protection that
would have protected us was due to be installed at 13:30 and the worm hit at
about 09:42. This is annoying. I've modified the A/V settings for the future
and been frantically containing and patching machines all morning. I'm hot,
tired and concerned about more important things and people than my own work at
the moment. When you read this you'll know that I'm thinking of you and I
hope everything comes together in the next few days.
Anyway. I have to go and catch a train and spend some time with my parents,
although I'm going to be thinking about someone else and this place the whole
time. Everything's going to be alright, I know it is. It just takes a bit of
time an effort.
[10:55] Damn it's hot here. It looks like the PFY left the fan on the servers
on all weekend, which probably saved their lives. The UPSen temperatures are
sensible at a mere 33 degrees centigrade. I've got a todo list a mile long
today, including replacing a few machines which really need to have been done
three years ago. Once I've done all that I have to embark on the sheer
unadulterated pleasure that is my work email which I've barely registered yet.
[15:00] I've found the pilot episode of MacGyver as an AVI! Guess what I'll be
doing this afternoon. Also rediscovered the joys of 'talk'. Thank you to the
writers of 4.2BSD way back when.
[16:55] So because one of the secretaries doesn't trust users who browse our
web site to see deadlines we have, she got the PFY to put these deadlines in
all kinds of different places, rather than on the front page or on a deadlines
page. This means that when a change comes down I have to trawl through
fourteen or so pages doing the same change to all the pages.
[18:05] Something just exploded on the building site next door. Or at least I
think it did; there's no smoke and nothing to suggest it, but the noise was
tremendous and rather impressive. Still, no worries.
[11/08/2003 - 10:50] A nice lazy day in the shade and out of the sun. Went
food shopping, that's about it. Marvellous.
[11/08/2003 - 10:45] Damned hot on the train. Travel north was good though.
[09:45] O.K., it's too hot already. I'm moving a whole slew of machines from
Dr Solomon's Management Console to ePO this morning (don't ask why it's taken
so long). This necessitates me running up and down stairs a good few times.
Needless to say I could do them all at once but I don't trust any software so
I'm doing one first, seeing how that goes, then the rest. More information when
I have it.
Oh yes, I'm off to see Room 101 this evening. Dunno who's on it yet, or where,
or when. Still, it'll be a laugh. I also won't be in on Thursday or Friday.
There's a slim chance I'll be doing Journal updates remotely, but I don't know
[11:50] Well the management stuff replacement seemed to go O.K. once I'd added
a few more applications to the 'allowed applications' list for the restricted
user who logs in automatically. Someone's asked me to send them an email full
of URLs but I don't have their email address. I imagine I'll get something
[12:45] Email address found and reply received. I think I've impressed someone.
I've organised a fan to cool my UPSen and servers as I think 44.5 degrees
centigrade is a little too hot for them. I may leave the fan on all night.
[14:10] It's now officially Too Hot. I can deal with cold, heat is another
matter. And in two hours or so I'm going to go on purpose to the train station
and get a train to London. I think I'm insane.
[14:45] Parts of the city now losing power. I'm going to head off at just gone
four and hope things hold together in my absence.
[16:00] It's hot and train tracks are starting to buckle. I'm going to to see
I can find a seat on the train that has some shade and try and get an early
ride so I actually get there in daylight. If I'm not on before Monday everyone
have a wonderful remainder of the week and look after your machines.
[10:20] There was just enough wind last night to actually get the kite up for a
bit, even if I was lectured on which way to face to 'get the wind' by a couple
of itinerants. Went home, had an absolutely wonderful pizza with a sour cream
dip and watched some more of my Babylon 5 episodes. Owing to one thing and
another I've managed to spin them out for quite a while now. Still have to
wait until November for the next series.
We're pondering new backup software for the reinstallation of the main servers.
The contenders seem to be, Backup Exec, Retrospect and ARCserve (which we've
been using for ages). If anyone has any terribly important words to say on
this topic then feel free to email me, otherwise don't.
[15:10] A friend from the Netherlands has prolonged his visit to the UK (was
over for the CCDE) and is currently staying with someone I know in town. I've
invited him over to see where I work (if he's bored) using the power of the
[09:55] The beard came off this morning. It was fairly long but this is just
not the week to try growing it given the temperatures we're due. It's
already toast outside.
I was accosted before I even got into the office this morning. The asbestos
people and a cabling engineer were here needing direction when I arrived.
Removal is now taking place and the cables which are dead have been removed.
We almost removed the cables to the PIRs sensors but didn't.
The weekend wasn't so bad, plenty relaxing in fact. I didn't get to go up north
but I had a great time visiting friends with a new baby and doing some hedge
shearing and hold the baby. Not only that but I managed to stop him crying too,
even if it was just because he farted. Oh, I went to see Hulk on Friday. It's
an O.K. film even if it does depart from the canon fairly substantially in
places and is a bit overlong. Still, worth seeing. On Saturday I was so wiped
out by the day's work I was picked up from their place (rather than cycling
back) and driven to the cinema to see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It
had so many plot holes that I was almost put off liking it. But in the end I
think it was an O.K. film. It's a shame James Cameron wasn't involved. The
idea that a major plot point happened no matter what was kind of at odds with
the common phrase throughout the three films "no fate but what we make for
ourselves". Still, lots of shooty-bangs and things like that.
[10:45] Trying to work out what time I can take off at the moment. I want to
get out of town on Thursday afternoon. It's looking promising at the moment
but it leaves the place kind of undermanned. I think they'll cope.
[15:10] Lunch was good, plenty of females on display on the grass where I ate
my lunch with two friends. I'm booking time off as you read this and
everything should be fine by close of play today. I'm off to see a recording of
Room 101 on Wednesday and then you won't see me again until Monday, all being
[17:20] One of the machines in the building has a bad block somewhere on it
that's being tickled every time we do a virus scan in the mornings. Hopefully
it'll cause the machine to topple over at some point so we have a valid reason
for taking it away from the user (who won't let us near it) and putting a new
hard drive in it. Ghosting shouldn't take more than about ten minutes, plus
post configuration should make it about half an hour. Simple. Now all we need
to do is wait for the box to die. I had a new user (come September) come in
and demand a new PC for when he arrives. He wants an LCD (I think not) and Zip
drive (no worries). I'm a big fan of recycling machines so he'll get something
fairly decent (a 733MHz PIII) but nothing new, we don't need to push the boat
out. He seems disappointed with Windows 2000 (rather than XP). Well frankly I
know he doesn't need XP because I know exactly what he's going to be
doing with it. If he was doing anything surprising I'd have no problem, but
Other than that I'm updating a few machines then going home. If it was windy
I'd go and fly my kite for a bit. But it's not. Which is annoying. I think
it's time for some DVD watching this evening, been a while since I did that.
[18:25] 100 percent cloud cover here. It's going to be a humid evening.
[11:20] Friday, and a new month. This is good. Well it's not great as a whole
load of stuff has gone out of my account direct debit-wise, but still. There's
the Clarecraft Discworld Event thing happening this weekend which I'm not at
for various reasons. Hope everyone has a good time. It's currently wet so I
don't feel too bad about missing it.
Just rolled out the Patch 2 for ePO and made sure everything is still secure
and locked down. It is. I've passed on a set of better instructions to Central
who may or may not use it to distribute to my peers. I hope they do, it's a
nice set of information.
[12:30] I think I'm about to grow a beard. This is because I've been too lazy
to shave. I'm not seeing anyone this weekend so I've no reason to shave then
either (I'm told it might be interesting to one or two people). Let's see how
long it lasts.