[08:45] Climbing last night was bloody excellent. Met up with Keith and Gary
(who'd never climbed before) and did a whole load of fairly technical 6A routes
and trusted my life to an Autobelayer for the first time. Damned things, I'll
never get used to them. After the climbing we adjurned to a nearby pub for
food and Leffe beer which I had to admit I could probably get used to. Shame
they only sell it in half-pint configurations.
The trains home on the other hand were most amusing. The state of mind I was
in I didn't give two hoots that three trains were cancelled and retasked as
one "stops at every blade of grass" service upon which everyone was crammed.
I simply smiled at everyone I saw and very quickly many other people were
smiling too, even though it'd gone 01:00 before we completed the journey.
I'm on training today to begin my takeover of one of the major projects that
my team leader is leaving me the reins to when she leaves at Easter. That's
going to be fun. Actually it probably will be and will mean some
major CV points either way. Of course I have far, far less experience of
what's going on underneath the hood, especially when it's tied in with the
load balancers we have here, but I'm sure eventually I'll get my head around
it and feel like I'm actually doing some good again. It's been a few years
since I've felt like I was making a difference in what I do and who I am.
[12:45] PeopleSoft training makes my brain hurt. I really feel like my
ignorance boundries have been pushed back. There's so much more I didn't
realised I didn't know. And now I know. Still, free lunch (TANSTAAFL).
[12:20] I had a quiet weekend. Saturday I went into town and spent most of
the day reading in a coffee shop and watching the world go by. Peoplewatching
is an interesting passtime and I recommend it. Also, sitting in a coffee shop
for long enough you get to migrate to the really comfy seats eventually.
Sunday I cleaned the house and went out for a meal with friends for the
Chinese New Year. Happy Year of the Dog. It hasn't been a particularly good
2006 thus far so I'm going to take the opportunity to begin a new year from
now instead and see if I can make a better bash at at.
Most of the last few days has been spent looking at myself with a view to
trying to find out who and what I am now, as a single person approaching
thirty. It's a very confusing process and not particularly fun, however I
don't think it's terribly easy for anyone. How have I defined myself
previously? How 'should' I define myself in the future? Who do I want to be?
What would I like out of life? What am I prepared to do to become who I feel
I should be and do the things I want to do? How have past events and
relationships molded and affected me and, in a future where I'm lucky enough
to be with someone who cares for me, how might I do my part in helping that
relationship work? I don't actually know any of the answers at the moment
(quite academic in some cases anyway) and it's all rather scary and big and
just a little bit frightening.
Thinking more, rather than envy those people who seem to have worked out what
they're doing I get the feeling that pretty much everyone is still trying to
find their way through life, they're just better at showing what they want to
show to the rest of the world, or simply haven't encountered the abyssal plain
of uncertainty and the breadth of options both open and seemingly closed to us
all that exist to all human beings living in the world.
Sometimes, when I'm alone on The Wall high above the ground (especially without
a rope), or with friends - either way concentrating on something worthwhile and
fun - it all goes away and I'm content. The rest of the time I can't keep
from my head the feeling that life is much bigger than we can comprehend (and
possibly hope to deal with) and it's only through just chilling out, enjoying
what we have and have made for ourselves, the friends we've made and the
experiences we've collected that life becomes fun. Forgetting about the
complexities of life for a while or possibly sharing your worries and
fears with someone close who can help you make sense of them are just some of
the ways that you can create your path through the world without being
overwhelmed. Friends are important, I hope to keep hold of my more special
ones and watch the relationships with them deepen and change for the better
over time as well as creating new friendships in places I didn't think to look
For the moment I have absolutely no idea where I go next. But perhaps that's
the best starting point of all.
[10:25] We racked up the new NetApp filers this morning. Plenty of fun with
different sized screws, cage nuts and shelves. The kit's in there now and the
consultant's just turned up to show us where everything plugs in.
There was a leaving do last night in the pub around the corner so I ended up
going out and having spending some time there before heading home to a quiet
and cold house. Still, this morning's shower was one of the best I've had in
a while (don't ask me why) so I came in in a fairly good mood this morning.
Time to listen to the NetApp guy...
[16:10] Lots of stuff sorted with regard to the NetApp installation, except
whether we bond/team/aggregate the two Gbit interfaces in the back of it and
not use jumbo frames, or use one for a storage network with jumbo frames and
put the other one on the 'other' network for access by non-servers that need
access. Then there's the stuff to do with volume creation and other things we
haven't quite thought of yet. Naturally I'm looking forward to the wiring up
and powering on... but it seems I won't be here for it as my parents have
booked me for a family holiday the weekend after next and some of the following
week when the installation is taking place. Drat.
This weekend I will be getting the thin client I had trouble getting to do
XDMCP requests back to set up in the lounge. I've managed to get it working
now. With the always-on RHEL 4 NAT box I have upstairs this should give me an
easy-to-access, quick-start X desktop with connection that's silent and has a
tiny footprint. Luckily I have an LCD screen 'spare' that I can press into
use too. Maybe I can keep busy this weekend rather than bouncing around an
[27/01/2006 - 10:00] New cassette fitted to bike, skipping on higher gears
reduced but not zero. Curry out last night with the climbing club. Life
[15:25] The talk seemed to go fairly well. I went off into a room this morning
and ran through it twice beforehand and managed to get it down to eleven
minutes and eighteen seconds (I was aiming for ten). We went in to do the
actual thing around 12:30 and it all went surprisingly well. None of us
waffled, there were no hanging sentences or general confusion and the overall
opinion seems to be that our presentation was one of the best to date. Which
I went into town to pay in my remortgage overpayment cheque and get my bike
fixed overnight but the repair shop was already full for today. I'm going to
have to get in really early tomorrow and see if I can beat the crowds.
Off climbing again this evening, if someone's willing to drive. Feeling quite
full of energy, probably due to just having had lunch.
[16:40] We did another run-through of the presentation this morning. Happily
it only took fifty-five minutes rather than the seventy it took last time. I
think we can all shave off a couple of minutes (I know there's on slide I can
drop completely) and get it under the forty-odd minutes we're aiming for.
Climbing last night was interesting. I went in the car with our youngest
participant and kept her amused on the way there. Climbing started off OK,
although a miscommunication lead to a momentary bit of strife that brought me
down a bit. In the end I seconded someone's roof route unclipping as I went
and keeping off the rope as much as feasible given the angles, etc. That left
me shaking and rather pumped, something I've not been for a while after having
I met Elaine in town at lunch time to get my Council Tax discount sorted.
Hopefully it's all done now and I've not caused her any hassle. I guess there
won't be many occasions when I see her now except when I'm in and she picks up
the last of her stuff, or when we both go climbing at the same time. By
definition not going out with someone means not see each them as much (if at
all), and while I miss that and talking to her in the evenings, it's how things
go. She's making new friends and having a good time though, which is good. I
am off to the gym this evening. I'm starting to feel a bit better about how
my body is behaving now posture-wise and how I'm finding climbing. Not only
that but all this exercise means I can go back to eating what I want, when I
want (taking healthy eating into account) without worrying about turning the
[17:25] I got a call this morning from my new lender's solicitors to tell me
that the remortgage was going through and I'd be getting paperwork to that
effect shortly. They also told me that I could go ahead and cancel the direct
debit to my old lender if I wanted. It occured to me at that point that I
could probably also recall the payment of my last mortgage amount to my old
lender before it went out, rather than waiting for them to get my money and
then send it back again. So I did.
Now all I need to do is wait for the excess remortgage money to arrive as a
cheque to me, pay it in and use that and this month's mortgage money to repay
the complete excess money to the new lender and get my payments back down to
where I thought they'd be originally. If that makes sense. It does to me.
The weekend was as I expected. Saturday I went out and did some essentials
shopping (bin liners, etc.) then everything's a bit of a blur. I'm sure some
other stuff happened... oh I know; I went to Tesco and picked up some food,
then went home to chill out for a bit and try and fit my new bike chain. This
I did with the help of Elaine who came around towards evening to do some more
packing. I made a reasonably good roast dinner and fed us both.
Sunday was more about chilling until Elaine came over to pick up her stuff. As
she was doing some more packing Cormac and Steph came over to pick up some new
episodes of programmes I had and then left so James could arrive to drive off
with a car full of Elaine's posessions. Around 20:00 I cycled out to go to a
gig at a bar across town. Small, intimate, only around fifty people it was an
excellent end to the weekend. The only downside being the new chain on my
bike which refuses to do anything than slip when in the higher gears. I think
I need a new rear cassette. Elaine's had a go at me, again, about using other
gears but I have been using pretty much all of them (except the silly
hill-climbing ones) for the past year or so.
This afternoon we did the first run-through of the talk for Wednesday. We need
to cut quite a lot out if we're going to get in under the firty-five minutes
we've been allocated. A seventy minute talk on systems administration is going
to wear down even the most interested parties I think.
Climbing this evening, I could do with a bit of a workout I think, feeling a
little frustrated and in need of something to wear me out a bit. I'll try
pushing myself a bit. If nothing else it'll mean I sleep well for once.
Tomorrow we go through the talk again with someone else listening, just to
point out any particular problems with it. I just wish my bike was being a bit
better behaved, it nearly killed me this morning.
[16:30] Today has been a bit crap to be honest. Sure, I got enough sleep but
I'm just struck with a malaise that threatens to reduce me to apathy and leave
me slumped in my chair being extremely unproductive.
I'm giving part of a talk next Wednesday lunch time where those attending would
a) rather be somewhere else and, b) probably really don't care about what I'm
going to be telling them. I've tried hard to make it interesting, but when
your assigned subjects are Kickstart and Jumpstart, the UPS system and the
Operations Group wiki it's not going to be the easiest job in the world.
I've cobbled something together to say and show while trying to reorganise
some of the fun things that fell through a few days ago. Not quite sure if
that's worked as yet though. However it is a friend's birthday curry this
evening so I get to have a fairly decent meal, although I should try not to
spend too much given all my other expenses at the moment. This weekend I
intend to try and strip my bike down and clean all the crap off it as well as
fitting the new chain. I might even try to do some house cleaning. Sunday
evening I've got a gig to go to in town which I'll take my camera along to.
Not sure if I'll get any decent shots but it's worth a go.
Oh, I went to a CAMRA Winter Beerfest at lunchtime today. Obtained the
obligatory glass tankard and tried one of the ciders. Not bad, not great, but
not bad. Shame I'm not a beer person really. Then again if I'd had much more
I wouldn't have got the first pass of my talk done this afternoon. With some
cider inside of me at least I got it finished with a modicum of good humour
rather than putting my head through the LCD or shattering my keyboard.
[17:40] Unfortunately some of the fun things I had planned for the future seem
to have fallen through for the moment. I'm hopeful they may be ressurected in
the future but for now I'll be getting on with other things. In the meantime
I've got a load of holiday stuff to get organised, the financial hell of
January to get over with and then to make a start on February and hopefully
a bit more in the way of normality to my life. Still no sign of my
CompactFlash card yet although I was away from home last night having 'popped'
down to see Andy in London for the evening and attend a recording of Clive
Anderson's Chat Room.
It was fairly funny, nothing special and was most notable for Andy having to
run over a mile because he turned the wrong way out of the Tube station and
ended up nearly missing the door time. Well, that and the fact that people
dropped plastic glasses, got up and left and generally didn't seem to get that
they were attending a recording of a radio show.
After the show we headed back to his place, stopping off at a Chinese take away
to stop from folding in two. I have to admit that the food was some of the
best I've ever had, and not all that expensive either. If I remembered the
name I'd tell you it. But I don't. Something like 'Good Earth' I think.
Nicely laid out inside too. If you go there you'll understand what I mean. I
managed to get the first allowed train back (stupid ticketing system) and was
in work for a reasonable time this morning.
Aside from an informative lunch with Shaun today has been about fighting with
and coming to understand the service processor on the Sun V20z and trying to
work out why the installation of Solaris I've installed doesn't seem to want to
do anything with the serial port... as yet. I think maybe I need to poke and
prod a little more. At least it can see all its storage now thanks to that
[15:55] Last night someone came around to take some photographs of me for a
calendar twelve or so of us have decided to pose for. The whole thing was
over fairly quickly and I think we got some good shots. I'm not particularly
pleased with how I look in any of them (I thought the gym had done more for me)
but I'm sure one of them will be acceptable.
I transfered a couple of thousand Euros to a bank account in Spain yesterday as
deposit for the villa a group of us are renting for my 30th birthday in April
this year. This morning I looked online and noticed that not only had the
money come out, it wasn't at the exchange rate I'd figured (it was lower, hence
costing more pounds), the transfer fee was twice what I'd been told and there
was an extra "agent fee" which is apparently payable to stop the recipient
being charged to receive the money. All in all I was paying about fifty-five
pounds more than I thought I should be. A few calls to the bank sorted it,
mostly. It's still costing me four times what I thought it would to get some
money into the Euro Zone. Sometimes I really wish we were in it too.
Other than that I've been struggling with the V20z some more. I left it (I
thought) resyncing its RAID 1 set over night but came in this morning to find
that it didn't seem to have got anywhere. The serial console also appears to
be playing up too, I'm not sure why. It'll probably be fine under Solaris, but
the BIOS and the Solaris installer don't seem to be doing too well with it.
Anyway, once I'd got the mirror 'working' I started the installer and tried to
partition, slice and dice the resulting virtual disk. For some reason the
new operating system seemed to think that the volume was only 4.34GB in size,
which isn't big enough for a Solaris 10 install unless you fiddle. It should
have been approximately 68GB. Turns out the documentation that came with the
machine was only partially correct. It stated that Solaris 9 needed and ITU
floppy disk (Install-Time Update) for the 'sd' driver. What it didn't say is
that Solaris 10 also needs its own version of same. Once I'd downloaded and
utilised it as part of the install process things seemed to go a whole lot
more smoothly. Right now I'm up to about CD3 and have seen a few problems with
the lack of Xorg X server and fonts. Hopefully this won't matter. I wish I
could do the whole thing from my chair rather than having to walk to the server
room every time. Once I've got this sorted I'm going to consider how to add
Solars/x86_64 stuff to our current Jumpstart setup.
In my free moments I'm also writing my part of a talk I'm giving next Wednesday
lunch time. Apparently I have to try and make Kick/Jumpstart, our UPS
monitoring/management/notification/control system and the internal wiki we have
here interesting to other people. Now I find this shit fascinating, but I
strongly doubt some of our developers, DBAs and applications specialists are
really going to want to listen to even strongly glossed over information on
these subjects when they could be (if it wasn't semi-compulsory to attend)
somewhere else enjoying their lunch. Still, them's the breaks.
Off to London for the evening. Back tomorrow.
[17:05] Most of the day has been spent fighting with the Sun V20z. For some
obscure reason the Solaris 10 CD seems to think there's only 4330MB free on the
two disk RAID 1 array of 68GB that the chassis contains. I've decided this is
probably due to the fact that the mirror hadn't fully synchronised before I
started the install. I'm going to leave it overnight to make sure it's ready
to go tomorrow morning. If it's not I'll have another think then.
Canon got back in contact with me today to say that a) they're pretty sure my
£100 cashback is probably still being processed and b) there are no more
256MB CF cards... so I'll have to have a 512MB one instead. The bastards.
Well, I'll believe it when I see it. Nice though.
Climbing last night was fun. I did a route I consider to be a good indicator
of how near the top of my game I am twice without any real problems, which was
good. Surprising in fact. We had two newbies with us too which meant I was in
teaching mode a little too. That was a lot of fun as the people were eager to
learn and picked things up quickly. I'm off to the gym in a few minutes having
just taken a few shots of the absolutely spectacular sunset I was alerted to a
little while ago. After that I'm getting my photo taken for a calendar.
[13:00] OK, kind of a full few days really. Friday I managed to probably get
everything sorted such that the remortgage is going to happen on the 23rd as it
has to, went to the gym and generally collapsed. Elaine was due to come and do
some more packing on the Saturday morning so I went out early to give her the
house and took my camera into town for the day. The fruits of my labour can
be seen at http://gallery.bofhcam.org/c828224.html
where you can see my two favourites:
among many others (although I did try to cull viciously). When I got home
Elaine hadn't made it over so I did some tidying, washing up, washing, general
clear up and downloaded my photos before she turned up to do some more sorting.
After a while Cormac and Steph turned up to drive us all to the cinema to
see Jarhead. After grabbing James from his house we got there just as the
adverts were finishing.
After the film most of us went for a sit down Chinese meal before heading to
our respective houses for the night. Sunday I relaxed, got some reading done
and generally chilled out for a bit. Elaine came over for some more things
and we chatted for a little while. I sorted some things for next Wednesday,
said hi to some people online and eventually made myself an Ultimate Pork
Chippolata (Sainsbury's) baguette with plenty of greens for tea before
attempting to watch The 6th Day without switching off in disgust. Elaine had
said she might come back late to pick up some stuff, but didn't turn up in the
end so at the end of the film I went to bed.
This morning I was up in time to find out that the roofing guy was going to be
late. This gave me time to read some more of the book I have on the go at the
moment. When he turned up we took a look in the loft where he explained that
the new insulation I'd put in (even though I'd not packed it in where the roof
met the loft floor) didn't leave enough gap and that was probably the cause of
the dampness in there. Basically, air not being able to circulate properly.
He did find a crack in the felt in the guttering over the damp patch in my
bedroom and some suspect mastic work around some cables going into the house
and a window, but he reckons he can fix them all for a one-off charge. More
than I expected for the size of the job he mentioned, but far less than I was
worried a big job would be. Even so, this is going to be a hellishly expensive
month all told.
[17:25] This day has flown by. I think is probably due to fighting with the
V20z in an effort to get it to output to the serial console during the BIOS
sequence. Aside from setting things up in the BIOS and checking J19 wasn't
closed you also have to change the setting on the front panel under
the SP menu. Oddly though, even with that set up the response to keypresses
and screen updates take an absolute age. Still, it shouldn't be an issue in
the normal day-to-day running of things. Off home now. Climbing tonight.
[10:25] Some good news first. The solicitors for my new lender rang me
yesterday afternoon (at home) so I returned their call this morning. Initially
they said that my buildings insurance people hadn't added my new lender's
'interest' to the schedule so I re-rang the insurance people and asked for
another fax to be sent. A few seconds later the solicitors rang back
again and said they did have one after all. It seems now that everything is
sorted for the twenty-second which is when my current lender's redepmtion
penalty period ends (and I go onto the Standard Variable Rate). All I need to
do now is the money shuffle when the last payment to my current lender is
returned and the extra monies from the new lender hit my account.
The other news is that Elaine began to move out last night, which is one of the
reasons I didn't have a standard Thursday: evening; it would have been too
complicated. Last night was the first night she slept in her new house.
[10:45] Of course, nothing good last forever. I'd been contacted by the new
lender's solicitors again. Seems that because the twenty-second is a
Sunday they can't complete the remortgage that day as no-one works on
a Sunday. They have to recontact my current lender, get a new redemption
statement, talk to the new lender, etc., etc. ad nauseam. I hate it
when things get complicated.
[11:45] This morning I noticed that there were what looked like paint streaks
in the corner of the master bedroom (which I haven't been in much recently).
Great, it seems like perhaps the front guttering or the roof is leaking and
allowing water seepage. Just another cost to add to what is turning out to be
an expensive month. I've managed to get someone to come out and look at it
first thing on Monday morning so they should be able to tell me if anything's
gone horribly wrong or not. I'm mostly worried that it's at the join between
where the two halves of the house meet and it's actually a major structural
My new mortgage lender contacted me this morning to say that they're going to
waive the need for documents saying my (mythical) extension had planning
approval, etc. This is a good thing and probably thanks to my super financial
advisor. The revised mortgage offer for the extra £2000 came in this
morning too so I've signed and sent that off. In case I didn't mention this,
it seems that the mortgage redemption statement prepared by my current lender
doesn't include the last payment due on the day I intend to move to the new
lender (thus serving out the penalty period but not incurring any costs at the
Standard Variable Rate). This means that I asked the new lender for less than
I needed. The last payment's still going to go out to my current lender, but
then they'll send me a cheque (hopefully quite quickly) for the same amount.
Stupid, huh? I'm so going to be chasing them for that as soon as I think they
have my direct debit. At the same time my new lender will have put an extra
2K (they'll only give me £2000 more, no less) into my bank account, less
the stuff needed to cover the mortgage underpayment (so about 1.3K). Once the
cheque comes back from my current lender I'll send a cheque to my new lender
with the full £2000 repayment, to bring me back to the original
remortgage amount. Make sense?
It certainly looks like I'm going to need to raid my savings a bit to deal with
paying for the camera (still no cashback yet), the remortgage costs, the
potential roofing/guttering costs and generally living for the next month. I
wish things weren't so complicated sometimes. This, coupled with the other
things that're happening at the moment are contributing to a very full life.
Luckily there's one or two fun things coming up soon, I hope.
Today I'm hoping to do a Solaris 10 install which will necessitate being in the
server room for an extended period due to needing to set up some RAID stuff
[16:00] Off for football at 16:30 today. That's going to be interesting.
More, if I survive, tomorrow. Got some very interesting news today which
could be quite exciting in a few months time. We'll have to see.
[15:40] Argh! This fucking remortgage is going to kill me. Because I
explained (out of interest exhibited by the man at the shape of the house) to
the surveyor that the house was made up of two extensions (40 years ago) he'd
put in his survey that an extension had been added to the property. As a
result the lender's solicitors have been asked by the lender to get all the
building approval and worthiness stuff from me and the council to say that the
extension is approved and stuff... before they'll do the remortgage.
Bastards! I've been ringing people all day trying to get it undone. It seems
as if it's thought that I was the person who added the extension in the two
years I've been here. With luck this should be sorted tomorrow, but I doubt
it. I've also had to get my buildings insurance people to fax a copy of my
buildings insurance schedule to the lender's solicitors too, "showing their
interest in it". Whatever the fuck that means.
All in all one very pissed off person today. It's only chatting to people
that's kept me sane. Climbing tonight with a new climbing partner should be a
bit of relaxation, I hope.
In other news I've been completely unable to start installing ziggy, the
testbed Solaris/x86 V20z box today. Maybe I'll get to do that tomorrow. Ha.
[17:25] Just got back from NetApp HQ in Middlesex. Quite an interesting day
but not much opportunity to do much practically with the kit. Hopefully when
it arrives we'll all get a chance to play with things before they go into
service. I'm now fully cognisant of flex cloning, snapshotting and what
happens when you start messing around with oplocks when you're mixing Unix and
NTFS-style permissions as well as the best way to deal with someone totally
trashing the OnTap operating system stuff on /vol0 and all the manual
configuration files therein/on.
I should really head off to the gym but someone's come online I want to chat to
so I'll go in a bit.
[06:35] Woke up at around 03:30 and couldn't get back to sleep so decided,
eventually, to just come in to work and get on with something constructive.
Thus far I've got tons done and have prepared the way for the co-worker who
deals with the backup system, which appears to have gone wrong again over the
weekend. Not that I'm sure of that, I can just see red flashing lights in the
server room where I don't think there should be any.
The weekend went fairly well. Elaine came back to the house on Saturday
morning around about the time I was tidying in preparation for people to come
over for an afternoon's hammering out of details for my 30th birthday holiday
in Spain. Around 13:00 people began showing up and, after some searching and
discussion we ended up with a villa (which I've emailed to book) and someone
(Keith) to work out what trains or planes people might want to catch to get
there. In celebration in having managed to pin down almost everyone and
everything to do with the holiday to the points they could be we walked into
town to a Japanese restaurant for some food before heading home to relax for
the remainder of the evening.
Sunday was mainly about going out with Gareth to test Canon lenses on my 350D.
We headed over to a park with some water around about 14:00 and took a good
few comparative shots with the 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 lenses before we lost the
light and the weather closed in a bit more. Back home we downloaded them and
spent a good while trying to work out what differences, if any, there were
between the shots. To be honest I'm not sure I really see any great
differences except in the physicality of the lenses. The f/1.4 is far better
built, feels better to use... but has a price three times that of the
f/1.8. I'm debating just waiting a few months to absorb the camera and
remortgage costs and then go with the more expensive lense which, in the end
will serve me better, last longer (I imagine), hold its value more and work
with more camera bodies if I ever upgrade. Until then I'll save and learn to
use the 18-55mm and the more manual aspects of photography.
[16:25] I've been helping the newest member of the team move into the office
today. Once our ostensible line manager came in and said she was OK with the
location of the desks we got to work and got rid of a lot of extra furniture,
streamlining the office quite a bit. He's now in place (you can see his desk on
Camera II) and we've got the Big Brother monitor sitting on a filing cabinet
looking a bit more purposeful and taking up far less space.
Bit low on achievements this afternoon. I'm still waiting for someone at
Central to tell me precisely how I'm supposed to retrieve two SSL certificates
from Thawte without a password (and then no request code). Hopefully they'll
let me know before the end of tomorrow so I can come in early on Wednesday when
the current certificates run out and install the new ones. I'm not in tomorrow
on account of going to NetApp in Uxbridge, Middlesex to play with the kit we're
going to be buying soon.
Climbing tonight, if I can stay awake long enough.
[16:55] I've made some real progress with linux/Samba/Windows ADS/Kerberos
today. I can't say I one hundred percent understand exactly what it is that's
happening and why my PAM modifications work (who truly understands PAM anyway?)
but you can log in to the linux box as any Windows ADS user and it'll create a
home directory for you. This is via SSH. Of course when you come in via SSH
you have to enter your name as 'domain/username' (where I've specified '/' as
the winbind separator) rather than just 'username'. I wish I knew what I had
to alter (in krb.conf?) to be able to drop the 'domain/' bit. If anyone
knows please pipe up. I've added the mkdir PAM stuff to pam.d/login and
pam.d/ssh but not pam.d/samba as yet. I may do that on Monday. I hope I can
get this coherent and sorted as it's actually something that's required by the
Web Team here, rather than just a toy thing. It's actually nice to be required
to learn something new about Samba rather than just picking at it for my own
I should head off to the gym and then go and do some washing and washing up
before the weekend. Saturday is hopefully the day people come over and we pin
down what's happening on my 30th birthday holiday in April and Sunday I would
like to be testing the f/1.4 and f/1.8 50mm Canon lenses back to back to see
whether an amateur photographer myself is actually going to notice the
difference (and hence pay the many more pounds required for the f/1.4).
[17:25] More documentation concerning my remortgage turned up last night. I
brought it in this morning along with all the things I needed to photocopy etc.
to prove that I am who I say I am and I live in the house that I'm trying to
remortage and that, unsurprisingly I'm not involved in organised crime and am
not involved in money laundering. Photocopies done and form filled in, checked
and rechecked I posted it off to my independent financial advisor in the hope
they'll catch anything I've missed and also do the certification of the
necessary proof-of-identity stuff.
The rest of the day has been spent learning about Sun LOM (Lights Out
Management) cards as we're going to start connecting all fifty-odd machines up
via that interface too in the next few weeks. I've had some interesting
conversations about future events both in and especially out of work, with luck
and a following wind they'll come to pass. One interesting thing is that the
Networks group is being split (all two people) and we're getting one of them as
part of the Unix Support team which is going to be pretty cool and very useful
when it comes to getting things done.
Tonight is the first Thursday: of the new year. I'm hoping we get some wine
this evening and I can get nicely toasted while shouting "There can be only
one!" at the television.
Just been discussing with the Networks guy who'll be moving in with us on
Monday. We're pretty sure the person who's away this week is going to be okay
with everything that's happening, but we're not entirely sure how the room is
going to be arranged to deal with another desk and a few more computers.
[13:25] We both managed to oversleep this morning so I got to work some time
after nine. I wasn't actually sleeping properly past - I assume - 06:30 but I
was dozing at least and waiting to hear the radio, which I never did. It
doesn't really matter for me. My colleague is always in well before 08:00 and
my ostensible line manager doesn't usually get in until around about 10:30 most
days which means I'm nicely bracketed.
I made a huge Geomag construction last night which I intend to take a
photograph of as soon as I get home tonight. Rather than end up repeating the
same designs (which aren't particularly fun to build) I'll keep a record of
them all when I remember so as to build up a corpus of what I've achieved. I
also watched Speed (uncut!) last night on Sky One and ate far too much pig
When I got in this morning I was just in time to see the Sun engineer leaving
having fitted the replacement PSU to the machine I made go pop. The first one
we got sent didn't actually work. Hmm, thanks to William who's just pointed
out that until today all dates in the BOFHcam Journal (non-LJ) were incorrect.
I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do for the rest of the day. I have
found that EditPad Lite (the software I use as a replacement for Notepad in
Windows) actually has a linux version, so I'll try that and see if it's as
useful. Other than that I may chat with some friends about what they did over
Christmas and what their plans are for the new year. Hopefully one or two may
I'm not entirely sure what's happening about normal climbing stuff this
evening. I would really like to go but Cormac doesn't have a car at the
moment and I've heard nothing from James as yet. Hopefully something'll be
[15:00] OK, I'm off climbing this evening with someone I haven't climbed with
for many years, and two people I've never climbed with before. In sadder news
I've just read this article
on trying to close down the poppy/opium/heroin trade in Afghanistan and wonder
just what the hell we're actually playing at these days? I've not read Simon
Jenkins before, he seems to make a fair amount of sense in the main. We're not
sending enough troops to do what is expected of them and it's not even getting
to the root cause of the real problem, which is that the farmers are poor and
no-one'll pay them as much to grow anything else. What might help is proper
economic aid with the potential to help farmers replant with other produce and
the legalisation of certain applications of opium derivatives to give the
farmers another way to sell their crops.
[11:45] OK, so the photos I took are up in the gallery now as the
New Year's Eve
collection. I know that many of the shots are over exposed, have harsh flash
shadowing and are probably badly framed, but it was my first real excursion with
the camera and I'm sure I'll get better. I've already worked out that I could
have gone to f/3.5 (the limit for the lens I have) and probably ditched the
flash and just had some nicely lit shots. That would have required more skill
than I had with the camera at the time though. Still, never mind. Lots to
learn, lenses to save for (do I get the 50mm f/1.4 or the f/1.8?) and probably a
My Geomag purchase arrived this morning at work. Four hundred pieces of extra
magnetic fun for me to add to the sixy-two I already have. Perhaps a full
Buckminster-Fullersphere here I come!
Today we have a Sun engineer here fixing the blow PSU in the server which
frightened me and the UPS yesterday, I've be bringing up the other systems which
didn't need to to be frobbed back into life this morning as well as updating my
journal (do any of you still read it on bofhcam.org or are you all LiveJournal
readers now?) with 2006 links.
[11:30] Just popped in to work briefly (two hours plus now) to power on all of
the machines in the machine room here at work. We had a power cut on December
31st at around 20:50. I got a call from our Operations Manager on the 1st
asking if I could come in today and see what could be done. Naturally I said
yes and it's been a fairly easy job. The one surprise was when I powered the
most important V1280 back on and there was a loud bang and the UPS went back on
to bypass again. Scared the living crap out of me. It turn out to be one of
the power supplies (of which there are four) giving up the ghost in a
spectacular fashion. We'll get that replaced tomorrow I think. Other than that
it was a fairly uneventful poweron procedure. A couple of minor backup and
Perl-related issues which I've either solved or left in a state such that the
person responsible can solve them tomorrow.
The New Year's Eve party at Keith's was excellent for the most part. I had a
ton of fun, dark just enough and only made a fool of myself (in my own eyes) a
few times. It was also an opportunity for me to try out my new Canon EOS 350D
for the first time in anger. As I only had one 256MB CF card someone lent me
theirs for the evening (which was very nice of them) and I borrowed a
Master/Slave setup of Speedlite flashes from someone else. If I'd had the 50mm
f/1.4 lens I probably wouldn't have needed it, but that's a little way down the
line expenses-wise. I bought the 350D because before the 31st of December you
get £100 cash back if it's bought with a Mastercard. I have James to
thank for that. We dashed out on the 30th to Jessops and got one on almost the
spur of the moment. Not that I've not been thinking about it for the past few