[11:30] Bloody Dell. Got around to looking for the RAID enabler kit for the
PowerEdge 2500 we have here and ran Parts. Apparently they don't do the thing
any more and rather than paying about £150 for a small kit I'll need to
pay about £650-odd for a whole new RAID subsystem. Bollocks to that.
I went searching on Dell's DellTalk forum and found a recent (February)
reference to the part number on the US site. For information it's
and until I hear otherwise from Dell I'm going to be asking for one to be
shipped over from the US if neccessary.
[16:40] I've taken the first Ghost image of the last cluster of machines to be
Ghosted from NT4 to W2K. It used the Ghost virtual partition thing that I
haven't seen in action before but looks kind of useful. Not sure how that's
going to pan out when it comes to deployment. Anyway, I've got lots to think
about with regard to Default User (Network) profiles, printers and GPOs. With
luck the PFY will do the user administration stuff and leave me to do the
There's a good offer coming up for new machines from Dell which we may take
advantage of in a while, have to look at that next week. For the moment I'm
off for a long weekend (bank holiday on Monday) so I'll be meeting Elaine in a
few hours and then trying to forget about work for a few days.
[10:55] You'll be pleased to know I both did some shopping, had a decent dinner
and cleared all the washing up. Oddly though I woke up at around 05:00 and
could only doze for the rest of the time I was in bed. Still, I had two ideas
which might make the moving of the Ghost server we have from one machine to
another less traumatic.
[12:25] Just had a user come in with a laptop which needed MS Office installing
to find that it needed loads doing to it. I was a bit loathe to stick it on
the network but found it has ZoneAlarm Pro so was fairly sure it was OK. An
hour of Office install, patching, Norton suite patching (virus definitions last
updated in August of 2003) and Windows XP patching has left it in a slightly
saner state, but it still takes an age to start up once in Windows.
[15:50] A badly-worded email from Central had me in a fluster for a few
minutes just now. Seems a machine inside the network has had its MS-SQL server
compromised and they were looking for other instances and one of my machines
(the only one which runs MS-SQL, for ePO purposes) was in there. For a second
it looked like my machine was compromised but I've verified that not
only am I up to date with patches, I'm also uncompromised (touch wood).
[09:10] Right, so the machines downstairs are hopefully obeying the
Power Management settings they should be and the SCP has started and is
currently 30% done. I've been in too long already.
I went to London to climb last night. My hands now ache, but through dint of
starting to climb a lot more the rest of my body is now a lot happier. By the
time Elaine and I go on the weekend I should be starting on this year's drive
to improve myself a bit. If nothing else I can lose the little bit of excess
I have and generally feel a bit fitter.
[11:20] Online shared calendar software is annoying. If nothing else because
I can't really justify a linux box with Apache just to run something like
Chronos. I think we're going to
have to go with Meeting Maker as I
think I mentioned a few months ago. We've played with it before but now I
think it's time to really make the effort and get something sorted.
[11:50] I have to wait for all the Ghost images to copy off one of the servers
before I can reboot it to clean it up from the mess that MM just made of it.
Well, it was my mistake but the instructions were a bit odd and I'd rather
start from scratch. Reminds me, I should go and pick up my printouts.
[17:15] Right, a fairly productive afternoon so I'm off home to realise I don't
have anything to eat in the house and I've got tons of washing up to do.
[10:50] So here I am, ready to sent 1.5GB of FileMaker Pro database to
somewhere else in the UK and I've managed to convince them to use SSH protocols
to get it done (although it looks like they're already pretty
security-orientated already, to be honest) and I can't start a shell at the
far end. Never mind the fact they block ICMP at their border router for all
their machines, making diagnosis difficult, but I think they've allocated me
a bad shell in an effort to restrict my access to the machine at the far end.
If I'm right then I'm trying to issue commands to /bin/false, which isn't
going to work.
[12:30] Whoever decided that Windows 2000's power management settings were
per user per machine needs to be shot, twice, in the hands and never allowed to
even dictate code to someone else, ever again. Or policy. I'm off to earn a
bit of money in a psychology experiement. Back at 14:00.
[14:40] Nice easy £7 made looking at weird pictures for twenty minutes or
so. Still no further with this power management thing. I think we're going to
have to come in early one morning, make the restricted user a domain admin,
get the stuff done and then change them back again. We'll then include the
fix in the next image.
[15:10] Turns out I was given a test user account and it's got no home
directory. This is being footled now and I'll get an email telling me it's all
[16:45] Or in fact, tomorrow. In other news it turns out one of our people has
RSI and has been on a Dragon NaturallySpeaking course. Great, wonderful. Only
the course admin has told them that they need a P4 3.0GHz machine with a gig of
RAM to run the as-yet unpurchased software on. Somehow, I think not. I think
I'll go climbing.
[11:35] An OK weekend as far as it went. No Elaine so not as good as it could
have been. I was up at 07:00 on Saturday morning to get over to Bristol for a
Discworld committee meeting. That went OK and I was back home by about 20:30.
Pretty much the whole day gone, really. Sunday I was determined to get
something done about my degrading fitness so I was up and about nice and early
and on the train to London for some climbing by about 11:00. I felt quite
embarassed by how much skill and strength I've lost on the Wall to be honest.
Although I was there for about three hours I was complete pooped by the end of
it and only climbing the occassional 5B. This isn't great. I expect to return
there a lot more in the coming months and should be back up to regular 5Cs in
a few weeks. My hands should start toughening up a bit again soon too.
This morning I really wasn't looking forward to. A meeting at 09:30 on the
progress of the computer office on projects when I was on the course last week
gave me no time to really prepare for it. Still, it seemed to come off alright
so I think I handled it quite well. At present I need to roll out a trial of
Meeting Maker before the end of May as well as do some strategic planning.
It's a wonderful day outside and I've found I can take next Monday off (bank
holiday). Hurrah for three day weekends with Elaine.
[14:45] It's blazingly hot here and I've not been outside for lunch. There
were plenty of left-over sandwiches from meetings though, so I've eaten. I was
setting up a laptop and projector for someone and it took
longer than it should. As a result I'm going home at 16:00, which is
[13:40] Bit of a confusing morning to be honest. Aside from not getting to bed
until quite late owing to watching the last of the West Wing episodes and then
starting The Matrix: Revolutions, we were doing LDAP, NIS and NIS+ this morning
and frankly I'm not entirely sure I know much about any of them now. Still,
that's over with now and it's time to move on to JumpStart™...
[17:05] All in all an OK course. Far too rushed in places leading to a feeling
of missing out on certain key concepts, but overall, not bad. Share the
JumpStart lab failed utterly but at least I have a better grasp of vi (even
for the command line!) and I'm much more certain about things should I go
messing with them later on.
[10:50] This morning I mounted a directory over /etc, which was fun. Luckily
after the machine hung and the fsck ran it seemed to be fine. I watched some
more West Wing DVDs last night. It's great to go through them at the rate I
am, gives a real sense of progression. No climbing this week on account of
Cormac being disabled in the shoulder area.
[15:20] Roles, Rights and Profiles. All very cool, but a little
over-complicated. My brain hurts again though. On the up side I went to
work for lunch and picked up my two DVDs from Amazon (Babylon 5: S4 and The
Matrix: Revolutions). I'll watch one tonight (if people let) me, and the
other as soon as I've finished the West Wing ones.
[10:40] This morning we've been working on ufsdump and restore. Exciting.
I spent far too long watching season three of The West Wing on DVD last night
and as a result really didn't get up too early this morning. Still, I was on
time and everything's working fine at the moment. Today's one of the days
when there's no-one at work (PFY day at home). There doesn't seem to have
been any problems thus far (email-wise) so I'm knocking on wood that things'll
stay that way.
[11:30] It appears I'm so feared that I have secretaries emailing me when they
forget to use BCC: to send an email to a 'secret' alias. This is when I'm not
on the alias and might never have known had they not told me about it. In
other news I just blew away my root filesystem and restored it from backup
using ufsdump/ufsrestore, a CD and incomplete notes on the fact that
/etc/vfstab (holding the location of the slice with the backup on, no tape
devices spare for the course) was, of course, missing due to a newfs on
c0t0d0s0. All good fun.
[11:40] Ooops, the guy next to me has a corrupted ufsdump of his / filesystem,
so here's buggered. Silly arse didn't check it first.
[14:50] Lunch was good, went outside for once and met up with Mel. Came back
and we started on SA-299. A speedy glossing over of the interfaces section
wasn't what I was after but I think I got everything that he was talking
[16:10] Great, finish with prex and TNF symbols. What a way to totally screw
with my head before I go home for the day. I think it's time for more West
[09:10] Quiet night last night. Cormac and Steph brought back my tent from
Derbyshire where it had absolutely chucked it down, so we put it up in the
garage and they got to meet my parents who've been here since Sunday evening.
For the rest of the evening I read one of my new books, called Elaine who was
in Birmingham for the day (poor lass) and then went to bed.
Today is day two of the course and we're just about to start.
[12:50] We're tearing through the course at a tremendous rate. Luckily
everyone seems to be keeping up fairly well. For those of you at home
following in your own books, since yesterday morning we've done the first ten
modules of Sun's SA-239 Intermediate System Administration for Solaris™ 9
Operating Environment. We expect to have finished it, and SA-299 (Advanced)
by Friday afternoon. Now it's time for lunch.
[16:15] The wonders of Security, Printing and Process Control were revealed to
us this afternoon. More Brain Ache. Time for home.
[11:35] On the Solaris Administration Course at the moment. More later.
[13:10] My machine was used as an example of why not to install without swap.
Sure, you can install Solaris 9 OK, but trying to install CD 2 won't work
because the whole thing's written in Java and Sun seem to try and push a whole
load of stuff in to memory which doesn't work if you've got no swap. Still,
it's all part of the learning experience and I don't normally take lunch
[19/04/2004 - 09:40] Elaine and I woke early and finished the packing. Around
ten we headed out to the station and took an uneventful journey to Bath Spa.
After walking through town, stopping off for some lunch and up the hill to the
hotel we checked in and announced to the bride that we were ready to help with
anything she needed. After a while she came over to escape from the rush and
learnt about the evening's practice session at the church just down the hill.
The practice went off without a hitch and we were soon sent off for the rest of
the evening. Not really knowing Bath that well and being rather hungery we
settled on a Burger King (posh!) before heading home to watch static-filled
television and get an early night.
[13:20] Today is the last day of this week for me. Two four day weeks back to
back is really rather nice. Didn't sleep too well last night unfortunately
but having the water board come round to install a water meter
(no more £40/month water bills for me) at 08:00 got me out of bed and
functioning. I was in work by 10:00 and getting things done. All the patches
rolled out to all the machines early this morning except to one machine which
has been complaining of a dodgy set of blocks on its hard drive for months now.
I decided now was the time to replace the disk and spend some time upgrading
the Dell GX110 image for the building and that's filled up the morning.
[16:30] Right, as soon as this last set of printers has been firmware updated
I'm off to pick up my morning suit for the wedding this weekend. I'm not in
tomorrow so will do Friday's entry on Monday, and probably something about the
weekend as well.
[12:20] Slightly late in this morning due to an appointment which taught me
some useful things.
[14:05] Then I realised today was (Microsoft) Patch Wednesday and got
sidetracked into making sure all the patching was ready to go tonight during
lights-out. Downloads from MS are taking a dog's age hence me not finishing
the journal entry until now.
[14:20] Right, I do believe that I've scheduled patching for the two main
servers, all the workstation and all the terminals in the library. All I have
to do is come in tomorrow and rescan everything and see what I missed.
[14:50] Elaine's turned up in the office, we're working on her CV for a bit
before she pops out to some agencies.
[17:10] I've just ordered my first DVDs of this year. Should have been the
West Wing Series 1-3 box set but I decided on Babylon 5: Series 4 and the last
[12:05] All quiet on the Western Front this morning. Although I got a bad
night's sleep I was in bright an early this morning to find one of the backups
had failed for no readily ascertainable reason, but other than that that
everything is fine.
When I got home yesterday Elaine and I had some more bacon for breakfast (at
lunchtime) before Cormac and Steph took us out to kite fly for the afternoon.
There are some shots of this
in the gallery along with two
collections showing the fun and frolics everyone had at
the Good Friday Picnic
and my birthday/housewarming.
I intend to spend the rest of the day getting some printers to work, looking at
buying some new printer accounting software for the new server and basically
trying to stay awake.
[11:35] This morning I've left Elaine in bed (asleep I hope) while I come in to
check the machines, put in the backup tapes and findn out whether the stupid
things I did to the ADS replication scheme on Thursday night have had any
lasting problems. I'm such a tit sometimes. Anyway, everything seems fine,
I'm going to change the tapes and get out of here until tomorrow morning.
[13/04/2004 - 11:25] I don't recall much of Sunday. Oh no, I do. We got up
late (go figure) and Jon and Donna came over. Veg had stayed the night too.
Anyway, Jon and Donna came over just after my belated birthday breakfast and
after dragging me away from Knight Rider (it was a KARR episode!) we went for a
walk up the river and back before visiting Keith who was making a table out of
bits of a futon.
He and Ritu were busy with a bit of hammer action so we headed home and Elaine
made an absolutely delicious roast chicken dinner, with potatoes and parsnips
and bread sauce and stuffing. After watching Red Dwarf Andrea decided it was
time to head home and said her farewells. I don't think it was long after that
that we headed to bed ourselves. This lazing around really does tire you out.
[12/04/2004 - 11:20] Saturday was even more lazy than Friday, and also my
birthday. Twenty eight. That can't be right. I'm supposed to be young.
People who're twenty eight are adults. I'm not an adult. I mean, sure, I own
a house now. And I've had a job for more than five years. I have a
(hopefully!) long-term partner and I pay my bills but still, an adult. No grey
hair yet, which is a surprise. Anyway, we got up late and after opening cards
and such Andrea drove us all in to town to do some shopping. I bought Gideon
and Jenny (the people who're getting married next weekend) a wedding present
while Elaine went off to get 'some things done'. Once we'd all met up again
we headed to Tesco to get food for the party. Food purchased we drove home and
really made sure the house was ready to be invaded.
Just after five people started to arrive. Some friends I hadn't seen in a
while, some I'd seen the previous weekend. It was great to see so many people
enjoying themselves in my house. There was plenty of pizza, chinese and snacks
and an absolutely wonderful cake and biscuits made by Helen. By 01:00 in the
morning though I at least was starting to flag and the party wound down so
some people could drive home and I could get to bed. I'd like to thank
everyone who made the effort to come, it was wonderful.
[12/04/2004 - 11:05] Elaine arrived on Thursday night and we had a quiet night
in with a few other people, then went to bed knackered. Friday was all about
preparing for the weekend. In the morning we cleared up the last of the mess,
put away the breakables and then waited for people to arrive. Once Andrea had
turned up and we ascertained that no-one else would be coming to the house we
headed in to town to do some shopping in Sainsburys and then walked over to the
river to begin the semi-annual Good Friday Picnic. After waiting for almost
an hour (which didn't matter because the sun was nice) people began to arrive
and the eating of the food and the general lazing around began. When an
aerobie made an appearance we had a go until someone threw it into the bushes.
Sterling efforts by yours truly and Julian got it out again though. As the
temperature began to drop we headed home with the decision to go and see Shaun
of the Dead. This turned out to be a 'good decision'. It's a hilarious film
in my opinion.
[11:25] A suffusion of yellow. For those
of you who don't understand this you may need to read this
and this too
This morning I've been investigating the possibility of moving Ghost Console
and HFNetChkPro to another machine. This needs to be done so that we can
reinstall the server they're on at the moment with a RAID key and reinstall the
operating system. Additionally this will give me the opportunity to find out
what happens when you remove a Windows 2000 Server from a domain.
[12:25] As it is it's time to try removing a disk from the 2000 installation to
make sure everything works the same way.
[16:25] Rebuild went perfectly. Move of HFNetChkPro seems to have gone
smoothly too. Luckily we've only pushed out one image with the current Ghost
server so it's not going to be too much hassle to redo those machines with the
new PubKey.crt thingy we have to fiddle with. That's something for after
Easter I think, though.
This weekend I'm planning to have a picnic (weather permitting), a birthday and
a housewarming, all within forty-eight hours. Here's hoping...
[14:20] I've been installing a server with Windows 2000 Advanced Server this
morning to join it to the domain. Everything seems to be happening
automagically (ADS voodoo) so I've left it to settle down for a little while
so I can play with the IKEA Kitchen Designer
which is giving me lots of ideas for how I'd like my kitchen when I eventually
have some money.
[17:25] While cleaning off unwanted bits of software from the new server I
received some slightly worrying news. Hope it all works out. The software
is fine, by the way. A new, and slightly less buggy version of HP Web
JetAdmin. Next up is moving printing across so that I can down the other
server without worrying that someone's not going to be able to print.
[10:10] I see that The Register
have changed their design. I also note that this time yesterday they started
selling another of my designs. I wish they'd mentioned it so I could make a
few changes to the site and perhaps take a look at it before they did. Oh
well, no great loss.
All the new machines seem to have rebooted happily and installed the patch I
scheduled last night. Which is nice. Today I'm going to be playing with the
currently redundant server and finding out what happens when RAID Goes Wrong.
[10:30] I've just read an interesting article on what Google is doing
which leads me to worry that perhaps in a few years it won't be SkyNet but
GoogleNet that takes over the world.
[15:05] I whipped one of the disks out of the server that's pending a
reinstallation and rebooted it (no hotswap so I had to down it first, not a
full test). The alarm was suitably annoying and attention-grabbing. Dell's
Array Manager duly reported the missing disk and the degraded status of the
RAID5 array. We did some file copying, etc. and then downed the machine and
inserted the same disk. The machine still complained on boot, but for
different and valid reasons, as you'd expect. Once we'd booted and silenced
the alarm I showed the PFY how to rebuild onto the 'new' disk. I'm going to
take her through it once more later on and then I'll be happy that I can leave
her in charge of them in the event of a disk failure. Of course, a RAID
controller failure is just going to piss us off royally.
[15:35] Started at the RAID rebuild is now at 90%. Even at 100 rebuild rate
I fear how long a larger (and in-use) array would take to rebuild.
[10:00] Another absolutely stunning weekend. Elaine was in fact early by
almost an hour due to stealthy manipulations of the national rail network and
my bus to the station arrived a few minutes after she did. What was even more
useful was that I pulled in next to the return bus, so there was no waiting
around. It was a good start to the weekend. We returned home and decided to
watch Amadeus on DVD, something neither of us have watched in a while. Owing
to its extreme length we stopped about half way through and went to bed.
Saturday we got up at a sensible time and were on the way in to town for 11:00.
We even caught a bus as soon as we left the house. The most important things
on our list to buy were shoes for me, shoes for Elaine, a top for Elaine and a
white shirt for me. All for the wedding the weekend after next. While it
wasn't easy we did return from town with everything except shoes for Elaine,
which I count as a major victory. We spent some time dealing with stuff which
had cropped up before deciding to make our way to Keith's for his Murder Party.
I was dressed as a tennis coach (white socks too, was sure I was going to be
lynched on the way over) named Tim Himen ("with an 'i'") and Elaine as an
archeologist called 'Diana Jones' (pron. 'De-anna'). Pretty much everyone
barring a few significant people were there (shame) and a great time was had by
all. Elaine and I had a great time and left around 23:20 and happily cadged a
lift home with Dunk and Liz. I believe we went to bed straight away, I can't
Sunday was all about relaxation, some really nice chipolatas and the remainder
of Amadeus. We declined an offer of a fryup and some more company as we'd
already eaten and needed to get some stuff done. Lots of relaxation and then I
saw Elaine on to the bus for the station. I had to stay behind to wait for
Linda to bring around the mattress for the absolutely stunning futon she's
generously given me. It'll come in very useful next weekend at my
birthday/housewarming/easter party thing.
This morning I've brought the PFY up to date on what happened on Friday
work-wise. I'll be ordering a new floppy drive for the server that does the
Ghost boot disks now (at least until we install another server for it to go on)
so I don't have to sit in front of a machine dd'ing all afternoon.
[16:50] This afternoon the PFY and I did a dry run on one machine of the
Ghosting process to take machines from NT4 to W2K. While that went according
to plan there were a few hitches when we did the live rollout to fifteen
machines. This was because of dodgy Dell cases, BIOS upgrades which we forgot
to do and forgetting we only had a 10Mb/sec network to the cluster we were
Still, once everything was sorted it was just a case of pushing the buttons and
watching the image roll out. It was a pleasure to replace NT4 even with W2K.
The scheduling is set for the reboots, the antivirus software rolled out
perfectly (even if I did reboot everything slightly sooner than I should have)
and we even have nice backdrops on the desktop now. I think it's time to go
home to be honest, before I break something. As it is I've scheduled an
HFNetChkPro install for 21:00, but that should be fine.
[17:10] This has particularly impressed me today. Transformers
are now becoming possible.
[12:40] People are idiots. And so am I. Norton/Symantec are as well. First
off I find that the reason I'm getting 'failures' for my Ghostings is because
of a barely documented feature (in the readme.txt only) which explains that if
you create a Ghost image with a boot partition it'll claim it's failed on
rollout, even though it hasn't. On top of that I was trying to ghost back an
image I'd created previously, rather than the one I'd been repeatedly creating
anew because of useful changes I'd been making.
I finally got Ghost doing what I wanted and felt fairly good until I tried to
check the state of A/V DAT files on one of the servers and ePO wouldn't start.
Not only that but on reboot I couldn't even log in to the server any more.
This obviously wasn't good. Having no idea what to do I rang Central who have
a bit more experience with unhappy servers. Luckily they were able to point me
at the right place where it seems that a Ghost (undocumented) feature of
specifying a user account for joining machines to the ADS is that it's denied
Domain Controller logon rights. This is fine if you use an account you don't
use for anything other than that. Perhaps stupidly I used an account which we
do use fairly frequently. This meant that any services designed to interact
with the desktop/machine using those credentials wouldn't run, as well as that
account not being able to log on to the servers. That's fixed now.
Finally I tried to do a favour for the custodians by advertising a TV to give
away. Everyone calls me, probably due to one bit of information I forgot to
remove from the news message I posted. What was even more annoying was that
all the people who rang up were foreign and I couldn't understand them.
[12:45] I'm in a mood now, even though I've accomplished something this
morning. Maybe I need food. Oh, and the backup tapes were confusing too.
[13:35] It's sad when it gets this bad
[16:45] I'm very much looking forward to Elaine coming this weekend. It's been
a hard week and sharing time with her is something we don't get to do too
often at the moment. Here's hoping.
[12:20] There's no funky April Fools Day stuff to be found here, I'm too
annoyed with Perl, and my bloody old installation of RedHat to have the time to
do what other sites do. I can't upgrade perl for some reason, the Movabletype
site is down, the MySQL installation failed abysmally and basically it's really
Climbing was pretty OK last night. Did some good routes and didn't manage to
injure myself, which is always a bonus. Having a kebab on the way home and
then watching Tremors was just a bit extra.
Elaine's microphone for Skype justice arrived this morning too.
[12:55] Very soon I'm going to reinstall this box. This will mean that the
site is down for a little while (hopefully less than a day). I'll try and give
a bit of warning beforehand. Once the reinstall is done there'll be much more
opportunity for making changes, improving the site and allowing more to happen.
Not sure when yet, but it's going to have to happen soonish.
[17:45] I've come on a lot with Ghost this afternoon. Unfortunately I've not
been able to get machines to join the domain yet. I think it's just a case of
creating a user with the permission to fiddle about with a machine and get it
to join the domain. I thought I'd got it set up, but this was the same problem
with Ghost 6.03. Bums. I think I'll go home.