[12:25] Well blow me if there isn't a bomb scare in town at the moment. There
are apparently two bombs set to go off at 14:00 today. I'll be in town at that
time having a Thai as per usual. I'll take my camera in case something happens.
If it turns out to be those bloody animal rights people I'm going to get
exceedingly angry and see what can be done about getting them shut down. If
it's normal terrorist (what a world) then there's nothing really to be done and
that's that. I had an early meeting this morning which reaped a lot of very
useful information. I'll have a think about it all, do the forms and stuff
required and carry on again on Monday. Elaine's due this evening and eleven of
us are off to Old Orleans this evening to have some good food, drink and
Saturday is intended to be a lazy morning, meeting up with Andy who's over
from the US again and then some more relaxation and talking about recent
developments with Elaine. Sunday will consist mainly of being relaxed and warm.
[14:25] No boom today.
[16:21] I hate trains, they suck so much. Why can we not have anything that
runs on time for more than a few hours at a time? This means Elaine and I have
to get a taxi from the station to our evening appointment rather than a nice
walk through the night (and it's a lovely night here at the moment).
[11:40] Backups seemed to be fine, nicely enough. A few silly mistakes on my
part, but it looks like we're up and running. The next thing to do is get the
Roaming Profiles, Home and the general shares moved from non-RAID machines to
this new one.
I'm off to look at a house for the second time with Shaun and a camera for
picture taking, in a few minutes. Those of you who have the password can look
at it on the gallery when I get back and upload the new ones.
[16:50] Well, a freaky day today. The viewing went O.K. and I'm damned glad I
had Shaun there to point out all the things I missed. Still, the way things
have gone this afternoon I feel a little rushed. I think I've done the right
[16:50] Today I've been adding the new DC to the domain and sorting out all the
silly little hacks you have to do to make it behave in a heterogeneous
environment like this one. At the moment I'm just waiting on a reply from
Central on how to get rid of that stupid 5774 Event ID which always gets me
when I'm installing and configuring DNS.
I shifted all the five FSMO roles with no problem whatsoever and I've installed
the backup software and all the updates etc. with no problems whatsoever, even
if Computer Associates' regsitration and licensing procedures are completely
Climbing last night was an experience. First time climbing with someone I've
not seen in a while. Fairly odd and not really comfortable. Still, sometimes
you just have to keep trying even when it's not the best thing in the world.
Currently the best thing in the world is Elaine, because of the support and
stuff she's giving me. Luckily I'm giving some back so it's rather well
balanced. Sometimes things are nice like that, even in the middle of a time in
life when a lot of things seem extremely uncertain.
I'm debating going climbing in London this evening. I'm really not sure I want
to, but if I don't it's wasting money. Maybe I should cancel my direct debit
membership there until things settle down a bit.
[19:00] I got busy with the new server and getting backup jobs running again.
So I missed all the trains that were worth getting. I think I'll go home and
actually have some tea for once. Hopefully there won't be too many problems
with the backups in the morning. I think I'll leave a message for the PFY
letting her know that a) I'll be in late and, b) she should check the backups
and make modifications where necessary.
[15:50] Finally installing the PowerEdge 2400 this afternoon. We're using the
Dell OpenManage installation CD with a slipstreamed Service Pack 3 CD. There
was a minor issue with the version of the PERC2/Si driver, but that seems to
have been resolved. We're joining it to the workgroup for the moment and
patching it up to the nines. Once everything's installed we'll join it to the
domain and start migrating people across to it.
House prices, mortgages and things like that have been bothering me today.
Everything's so expensive and complicated and entwined with my life and the
things I have to do to ensure I continue to function within it. I'm glad that
I have Elaine and my parents and my other friends to fall back on when things
get a little hard. I'm especially glad I have Elaine, without whom I think I'd
have fallen back into depression again a long time ago.
[15:45] Monday. The laptop we wanted returned was done so while both the PFY
and I were at lunch, which neatly avoided the confrontation I'm sure we would
have had to deal with. We wanted to start the Windows 2000 Advanced Server
install this morning but the CD we wanted was AWOL. I have no idea where it is.
I've got an ISO downloading (I consider it legitimate given that I own the
license and media, I've just lost it) and should be up and running again in a
[16:00] I went to see a house over lunch (with the idea of buying it). It's
nice but I'm not entirely sure I can afford the full asking price. I'll have
to see what the mortgage people say.
[16:10] It's been a stupid, depressing, horrible day today. And it may get
worse before it gets better. I'm trying to get this entry written before that
happens. Aside from pretty much nothing happening today (which is depressing in
and of itself) I've got problems with everyone's 'new' Eudora 6.0.1
installations. It seems that on download of new email the application locks up
for at least twenty seconds before putting the email into the IN box. I have
no idea why. I can't find any reason for it. The old version 5.2.1 which I
had to upgrade from owing to a security vulnerability didn't have this problem
so I don't think it's an issue with storing the Eudora data on the server rather
than on the local hard drive. Maybe I'll do some investigation over the
To top it off there's a user who's had one of our laptops in their
possession for a while now and has apparently stopped using it because it's
'broken'. This isn't good on it's own but they refuse to take the time to
bring it back, citing being too busy or it being too hard. The thing is also
out of insurance and frankly there are other people who'd like to use it. I've
sent plenty of emails and have resorted to sending rather strongly-worded ones
saying we Really Need It Back, Now. I've now been accused of being threatening
and obstructive. Whenever this user comes into the office with a problem when
they're in the building they're short-tempered and brusque, it's hard not to
respond in the same manner when you're faced with that. Maybe I'm not trying
hard enough, we are (this office) a service (organisation) after all. The user
is always right, even when they're annoying.
Ah well, in no more than half an hour it won't matter until Monday at which
point hopefully I'll have had a nice weekend (no Elaine though this weekend so
it won't be that nice) and I'll be able to face this user without wanting to
make their knees bend in the other direction.
[13:40] My day consisted of getting up at 08:25 because I was knackered after
three hours of bouldering last night at The Castle. I was rather impressed,
even if my hands weren't. They're not in a good way these days. I'm wondering
what to do to help them toughen up and stop peeling so much. I've started
doing fifty pressups and situps in the morning to get myself back into a shape
that I'm happy with. I then went for a shower, dried using a white towel and
looked in the mirror to contemplate a shave. I didn't in the end.
I headed downstairs and made some lunch, dropped it into my rucksack, had a
quick drink of orange juice, put on my iPod and left the house.
My bike is starting to really need some attention now. I think the front
bearings are going, or need oiling. My rear gears are quite badly fucked.
The ride to work was normal. It was spitting though and I don't have my
waterproof back from Keith yet (I left it in his Discovery at the weekend). I
got to work and wandered upstairs. After some settling in one of the
custodians asked me if I could get an LCD projector fixed after the end of
term. The power switch is really beginning to sounds a little suspect. A
little while later I started to think about upgrading the firmware in the
server we're about to move from NT4 to W2K. Fed up of waiting for someone at
Dell to get back to me with the most recent versions for all the bits of
hardware inside the box I spent a few hours looking around and comparing version
numbers. In the end I downloaded some files with likely-looking numbers
attached and put them on floppies. I Upgraded the machine.
Everything worked, amazingly! I'll let the machine sit happily at its new
firmware level until Monday and then reinstall it with W2K. Once that's done
we can copy users' files and stuff onto it and have a better level of safety
for files and things again. Having files on a backed up but non-RAID5 volume
Tonight is standard Thursday: so we're up for watching X-Men: 2 and Dirty Harry
(don't ask). Should be a lot of fun. I'm not sure what I'm going to do this
afernoon until then. I'm sure I'll think of something. I've been looking at
houses again and it looks like the most sensible thing to do is buy a house on
my own for the moment. Unfortunately I can't afford something quite as good as
I'd like on my own, but it makes things a lot more sensible in other ways. I'll
start doing some serious research with the gratefully accepted help of Shaun
later on this month.
It looks like it's going to rain quite heavily this afternoon and me without a
waterproof. Good job the house will be warm, dry and full of fresh clothing
when I get there this evening.
[14:30] Another fruitless morning. I really need some information from Dell
but they're not getting back to me no matter how hard I prod them. I'll try
again in a bit.
[16:50] I've managed to work out some information from Dell's
overloaded-with-information download site. I think I have the version
information for the bits I need before I upgrade to Windows 2000. Now all I
need to do is move the backup job to another machine and do the actual install.
I'm also not sure whether to go to London to climb this evening. Climbing on
my own tends to be a little depressing and I'm not sure I can justify the
expense of getting down there if I'm not going to enjoy it.
[10:35] Well, Room 101 was a bit of a disappointment, barely any shots of me,
and the conversations with the audience weren't used. Shame really. The PFY's
off today looking after her baby so it's just me today.
[10:55] I'm debating climbing in London versus subjecting myself to almost four
hours of The Two Towers this evening.
[16:55] What a complete waste of a day. I've done nothing constructive except
have a conversation which did very little except maybe leave me feeling perhaps
a bit less confused about things. I want to rebuild a friendship, or maybe
start a new one with someone I used to know, but only for the right and
possible reasons, not for the wrong or impossible ones. Until I can do that
one hundred percent I can't and won't try to have it. There's still niggly
things in my head that are getting in the way of the happiness I want.
I'm so extremely lucky to have someone very special in my life who is giving me
the chance to work things out in my own time, and it would be the best thing in
the world to present her with the complete person I know I can be. I'm trying
my hardest, but it's taking too long.
At least I know that I've come a long way since this time last year. Who knows
what the next year will bring in my development. I dearly hope to share my
improvements with her.
[18:25] Aren't some people wonderful. You should really hang on to those people
who shine through their actions, thoughts and deeds. They are the people to
whom you can become closest. Nothing is perfect in this life. No one person is
the perfect person for you and it takes effort to maintain a relationship. I
never really got that before I don't think (or I don't remember). I'll
do better this time.
[17:50] I knew I'd forgotten to do something today. Thing is this window's
been obscured by my DVD player which has been playing the scratched disk from my
second Babylon 5 Season 3 box set. Seems no-one's been sent a copy without at
least one disk being loose and scratched to buggery. I've played my scratched
disk from beginning to end today and it seems to be O.K. so I'm not going to
ask for a second replacement. It just doesn't seem worth it as the next one
to arrive may be worse.
A stunning weekend was had, with Elaine and I and Keith heading to Peterborough
to see Andrea (no Ellie unfortunately) and see Jasper Carrot and Phil Cool.
Although both of them looked tired and there was no new material it was great to
see them on stage and have the social event. After the show we all headed to
see a blues band (one guy) who turned out to be someone Elaine knew in from a
good few years ago from a band one of her ex-boyfriends was in. Small world.
Saturday was spent wandering around the market in Peterborough where I bought
some honey as well as us gorging ourselves on ostrich burgers, pork, crackling
and stuffing from a spit-roast pig and chocolate-covered waffles. Extremely
fattening, but very very nice. After all was done three of us headed to
Peterborough's climbing wall for a few hours before we drove home and had a nice
relaxing evening. I think I left my waterproof and honey in Keith's car so a)
I'm going to get wet going home this evening and, b) I'm down a pot of honey
for the moment.
Elaine stayed over last night and headed home very very early this morning on
the train after which I went home and then fell asleep for an hour, leaving me
an hour late for work. Luckily the PFY was late too so that was O.K. I'm so
tired now that I'm going to go home, watch Stargate SG-1 and the Room 101 at
21:00 on BBC2 (which you'll see me in the audience for) and the go to bed.
[12:10] Elaine arrived last night as we were watching The 9th Gate. What an odd
film. It really could have done with finishing in a much more safisfactory
way. But never mind. Getting up this morning was a real difficulty. Aside
from having someone else warm in the bed I had a monster stomachache. I think
it was the cheese on the pizza I had last night. Or the fact that I was so
hungry that I ate a nine inch pizza in less than five minutes.
Off to lunch now with her outdoors and a few others. There'll be a little work
done this afternoon then I'm off early to see Phil and Jasper.
[15:00] Afternoon a write-off. So I'm off.
[15:55] Whew, what a day. From the get-go I've been fiddling with HFNetChkPro
(which still doesn't register when patches have been pushed out) and feeling
pleased that the two servers I rebooted overnight were actually alive when I
got in at 07:30 this morning. It's the first time I've done that in a while.
I was so tired this morning after climbing last night in the freezing cold that
I really didn't want to get out of bed but the idea of sloping in later on to
find that people had been doing things without a server to back them up got me
out of bed, into the shower, dressed and to work in time to find out everything
had been fine anyway.
I got an email from our intrusion detection people today saying some of my
machines had been heavily probed over the last twenty-four hours. I run a
pretty tight ship here so I don't know as there's any chance of being broken
into. It was worrying to know that people on China Telecom are looking at me
from across the way and probing my ports, as it were. I wonder if the BOFHcam
caught their attention, or the O'Really designs.
Anyway, the main thrust of today's efforts have been directed (successfully I
believe at this point) towards a secure and SEcure remote up/download mechanism
for my Windows servers. With the aid of Michael Johnson's
OpenSSH for Windows (which
uses a minimal Cygwin installation) and the helpful people on the
SSH-l list I believe I now
have a) a secure Windows server and, b) an SFTP-only access method for
all users in the domain. Of course, it required a shed-load of work at the
back end to get my fairly vanilla server to the stage where I'd be happy to let
any user and their dog access it, but I think I have it at the stage where this
is 99% certain. I'd say 100% but this is Windows and it's me who configured
It's time to write the documentation and tell the users that the service exists
now. I've already taken some screen shots with my favourite application
(WinSCP) and just have to do the
web page they're going to go on.
[17:35] It's the end of a long day, I've done a lot today and I'm fairly happy
with the results. Time will tell whether I'm about to be cracked to hell and
back, we'll just have to see. As it is Elaine arrives tonight during the usual
Thursday: activities. We're off to see Jasper Carrot supported by Phil Cool
tomorrow in Peterborough (bit of a drive!) but it'll be good to get out and see
some people. Anyway, time to start closing things down for the day.
[11:50] Microsoft Patch day, plus a Eudora vulnerability I need to address.
I'm a bit busy at the moment.
[15:45] So I think I've got everything I can scheduled for tonight. There
should be some rebootings happening over night which should mean we're all
secure by the morning.
[16:20] I was going to write some more here but I got caught up in providing
SCP/SFTP access to a Windows NT4 server for the users. Don't ask me why. I'm
not sure I'm going to turn it on.
[11:10] Idiots. Stupid idiots. So an email goes out saying they'll sound the
fire alarm to mark the two minutes silence at 11:00. I don't think this is
particularly a problem, until 11:00 when it goes off a) late and b) for more
than a few seconds (in fact two and a half minutes). People are confused,
there's lots of chatter, there is absolutely no silence. How're we supposed to
remember the sacrifice and bloodshed of the past when there's an ultra-loud
three-tone warble in our ears.
[15:30] Got some keys cut (finally) at lunch time and ended up looking at
DVD players and LCD televisions. Met up with Julian and wandered around while
he bought another of those radio TV transmitters for home use so you can pipe
your antennae, cable or DVD output to TVs all over the house. If there was
more than just me in the building I'd probably do it. But for the moment
there isn't. Plus I'm trying to save money at the moment.
[11:10] Damnit! My Babylon 5 Series 3 box set has arrived, and two of the
discs were loose so they're scratched to buggery. Can't the manufactures and
packers at the plant learn to press them in firmly before wrapping them? As it
is I have to post it back to Jersey (Jersey for heaven's sake!) recorded
delivery before Play will send out another one. I'm annoyed.
You might have seen (had you been looking) myself and Elaine here on BOFHcam
yesterday (Sunday) afternoon as we waited to have a PC and a 19" rack picked up
by Neal and Will. We popped in, I showed her around and we generally tried to
keep warm as the temperature dropped more quickly than the setting sun.
[16:00] According to the news articles I've been reading it looks like there
are very few people with a copy of the new Babylon 5 box set who don't have one
or two scratched discs.
[17:50] I've done bugger all today. What a waste of time. I needn't have
come in to be honest. Yesterday better be an improvement or I'm just going to
write off the whole week. Luckily Thursday evening is going to be wonderful
because Elaine's turning up, so that's O.K. We're off to see Phil Cool and
Jasper Carrot on Friday so she's taking the day off. Marvellous.
[14:50] I can't believe the gall of some people. They come in asking for
obscure operations in Microsoft Word and still can't be arsed to bring in the
laptop we've been waiting for for months. And they say it's "broken". How the
bloody hell are we supposed to fix it or give it to someone else if it's just
sitting at home? Stupid woman just stands there demanding more without giving
anything back. I know we're a service but there has to be some 'give' to match
Other than that I've been working on trying to get a duff direct debit
cancelled with my bank. It's never been collected on so although my internet
banking lists it as 'active' it's actually not, but it is 'registered' so it
can't be deleted until the company who set it up take something out on it,
which they won't as they and I set up another one because the first one (that
one) never took. The helpdesk woman seemed to be reading from a script and
wouldn't tell me anything I could do to remedy the situation. It looks like
it's going to sit there until I close my bank account now. In fact if I move
my account it may even move with the others.
After my transatlantic telephone call to Shavlik yesterday I was submitting
logs this morning but still have no joy from those on the other side of the
Atlantic. Still, the job I manually frobbed the registry for yesterday appears
to have worked a treat and deleted itself, which is nice.
[18:20] Hmm, even though I've updated the IE version of a few machines so that
they're using Task Scheduler instead of AT they're still not reporting back to
the HFNetChkPro server. And this is with the reboot job thingy as well. Oh
well, I'll take another look on Monday. At the moment I'm about to reboot the
building (all the W2K machines) to install the last of the important fixes but
I'm waiting on the AO to go home first. This'll also get round all the
machines asking for an update of Office 2000 from the Intellimirror point at
the wrong time, too.
I'm off to see The Matrix: Revolutions this evening, but not until 23:30. It's
a good job I don't live more than two minutes walk from the cinema or I'd be
shattered by the time I got home. Elaine's due in town in a few hours (hence
why I'm still at work) and we're off to a party on Saturday which should be
interesting to say the least.
[19:40] I've not worked this late in ages. It's great for getting things done.
Rebooting fifty machines and having them contact a single machine for Office
2000 can do horrible things to your network. I'm sure it's what caused some
applications to go screwy for a few minutes there. Still, all over now.
[13:10] I've spent the morning looking at HFNetChkPro and getting peeved at its
inability to reschedule/modify or otherwise delete jobs on client machines.
I'm due to ring Shavlik directly this afternoon and open up a support call with
[13:20] In an effort to fix a mistake I made in not having the Scheduler
service running when the machines reboot a job set for this morning didn't run.
This has left things up in the air a bit so I've been trying to get the job
cancelled, only HFNetChkPro won't/doesn't send cancel commands to the client
machines to delete those at commands sent out. This is annoying. I decided to
reschedule it for tomorrow but owing to the way Shavlik work I can't even use
WinAT as the command line is too long. In the end I went in to each of the
(luckily only) fifteen machines and hacked the registry to change it to
tomorrow morning at the same time. With luck and a following wind everything
should be OK tomorrow morning. Gah. I only hope AT deletes the job on
[11:15] Apparently the film The Matrix: Revolutions opens today. Someone's
booking tickets for a group of us to see it on Friday at some unsociable hour
of the night. At least there'll be a chance of there being no homeless drunks
in it like there was in the showing of Bad Boys II I went to see last night.
Not only were they loud, they were smoking drinking and walking around. Had I
actually been bothered I could have caused them problems, but the film was so
entertaining I didn't want to miss any going to find someone to eject them from
the screen. If you like action and stuff you'll like Bad Boys II. Oh, and
there's almost a plot.
This morning I've only just managed to finish emailing right this minute. It's
been non-stop and I'm missed out on a maintenance window, when I was going to
reboot some machines. Still I can always stay late one evening and do it then.
Anyone in the UK who wants to see me looking mildly stunned can tune in on
Monday 17 November to see me in the audience for Room 101 on BBC2. The guest is
Linda Smith. Both of the people who hopefully make it into the final cut of
the show are friends of mine. No, that's not Elaine sitting next to me.
[17:20] I'm off to see the fireworks this evening rather than going climbing.
Socialising will be great. I may see some people I've not seen in ages. Part
of me wants to go climbing but the chances of getting hit by a rocket on the
train or in London are significant so, frankly, I won't. I'm also booked to
see the Matrix film thing on Friday night at 23:30 or something. That should
be a nice distracting couple of hours. It'll be easier than getting down to a
UCI cinema anyway, even if they are better. First impressions are that it's
really not lived up to the potential it had, but never mind.
Between now and the fireworks I'm off to meet someone and find out some
distressing news. I hope there's a light at the end of the tunnel for those
concerned. I'd say more, but it's private. Suffice to say it's not been a fun
time for other people.
[11:40] I've been getting lost in a maze of Windows 2000 ADS intricacies, all
alike and all very vital in some way. We're looking to reinstall the first
Windows 2000 server we did (in a little while) and the Global Catalog (sic) and
all the FSMO roles need moving as well as making sure the DNS is up to date,
Aside from a little confusion in the AD-intergrated _underscore domains
(specifically gc._msdcs.[...] not having two entries for the two GCs we have
now) everything seems to be fine at the moment. Part of me likes fiddling
about with this stuff, the rest of me is mildly scared I'm going to cock
something up quite badly.
[12:10] Still, this is how you learn and I'm nothing if not wanting to learn
at the moment. Life has become a little more interesting at the moment with
the news last night that my rent's going up by £100 in January. This is
not entirely unexpected but renders me a bit more out of pocket per month than
I would be otherwise. Luckily my Student Loan repayments stop in April (some
£73) so with those, and a bit of belt-tightening and the money from my
T-shirts I should be back to the same place again. Not great really as I
should be stacking cash away to help me buy a house, but the other options
aren't really great, even if they're doable.
[12:40] I think I'll start looking for a house, find out what my mortgage
options are in terms of prices. If nothing else I can learn how to actually
buy a house.
[14:45] Another month came to an end and with it the last month when I have to
(hopefully) do Windows updates by hand. We'll be rolling it out on a few
machines first of all (three workstations to be exact) to make sure they don't
go tits-up and then we'll begin scheduling updates overnight on a rolling
The weekend was pretty good when we decided not to actually do any climbing
and instead just have a nice relaxing time. We popped out to see the Alien
Director's Cut (given it's 25th Anniversary) and had the enjoyment of seeing
it in glorious 70mm projection, something I would have never have seen at any
other time owing to my age. Oddly it was certificated as a 15. Other than
that I let Elaine sleep for most of Sunday and caught up with some reading.
Given how much we try to cram into weekends it was actually nice to take some
time to take time for once.
I still need to get some quotes for Norton Ghost 2003 (Enterprise?) before we
go ahead and buy it from someone. Maybe this time we'll get the right number
of licenses first time.
[15:15] OK so it's not Norton Ghost 2003, it's Symantec Ghost 7.5 Corporate
Edition. Only version 8.0 is due out soon. Do I wait or do I not?