[14:35] Hurrah! I have a freshly installed workstation. And it's all shiny
and new and running much better versions of everything. And the webcam works
better and everything! It's wicked. Sound, lights, working USB and
altogether less worry about things going wrong. Not that they won't go wrong,
but probably les often. Hey, k3b might even work without me having to loop
back in through SSH as root to get it to run.
I guess I should actually do some work now, but I'm too excited with all the
new bells and whistles I've got to play with. I should really give a bit of
publicity to tvtime which is a
very slick and professional bit of software which also (in conjunction with
camE) is what is bringing you the
new and visually improved BOFHcam. Not only that but I think I can get the
second camera running too, even if it's on another machine.
Other than that I've got a nice place booked for dinner this evening, the gym
is being refurbished so I'm going swimming instead and I have clementines to
eat. Life, right at this moment, is good.
[16:40] Today I have been mostly working out how to set up my Bt848 webcam
under RHEL5 and my goodness it seems to have gone quite well eventually.
After some real difficulties trying to get xawtv to work I eventually found
tvtime (which gives an astonishingly good image) and camE, which I ended up,
after some huge faff, installing from Dag/RPMforge's repository of greatness.
This, coupled with the fact that RedHat seem to have included the bttv modules
in the vanilla kernels for RHEL5 means that there's no reason why I need hang
around on RHEL3 with poor media support and next to no chance of running dual
So, I've backed up everything I can think of (more organised than last time
when my hard drive began to fail) and have been racking my brains for things I
might have missed. Tomorrow I'll be offline (and so will the webcam) until I
have the system reinstalled and then everything should be an awful lot shinier
(and the webcam image may be better too). I'm sure I'm going to have missed
something but what can you do, really? Yes I know, be more careful in what
you back up, but I'm sure I've got everything...
Should head off now and go shopping for the weekend, etc. Also, it's
[17:00] Today I have been mostly fiddling with RHEL5 and helping a colleague
upgrade. Of course, I should be doing so too but I'm not sure that my
Bt848-based capture card will work in the Optiplex GX745 that's sitting here.
Probably something to do with PCI Vs PCI Express (PCIe) vs PCI-X. Computers
are stupid and poo sometimes, it has to be said. I may need to use the other
GX280 instead. Before that there's the small task of making sure I can
compile and install the bttv kernel module on a linux 2.6 kernel.
Other than that... let's see, I went to the gym last night even though I
didn't want to all that much. I decided it's time to do a bit more calorie
burning rather than muscle building. This lead to a 6km run and then a 2km
row on the ergo before I did a bit of light weights work. This had the result
of tiring me out utterly. So much so that although I was able to go home, do
a huge pile of washing up and make some dinner, once I'd finished a
scrumptious munching of said dinner I nearly fell asleep watching one of the
new DVDs I bought a few months ago (which only arrived while I was in Greece).
Even so, I still didn't sleep all the way through again, which is annoying.
Still, more exercise tonight as I'm climbing. Speaking of which I should
probably head off now and get ready.
[16:10] Had really a rather fabulous weekend all things considered. Saturday
was "my" day. This meant I had to make all the decisions and decide what we
were suppose to be doing. As a result we got up late and had bacon sandwiches
and then prolonged the relaxing morning a little more. After that we cycled
into town and bought picnic food before heading down to the river. There we
hired a punt and headed off out of town. The weather was absolutely perfect
so we stopped out on a meadow and had a picnic with pork pies, buns, sliced
meat, champagne and strawberries as well as some very nice fruit juice. After
that repast we went back with the current, seeing some lovely things on the
way back in. Following that we popped into Sainsburys for some more drink
before going into private gardens to see a performance of Shakespeare's A
Winter's Tale. After that all that remained was a trip to a Vietnamese
restaurant for a lovely, but small meal (incredible that we were able to go
without booking in advance!). Simply satisfactorily full rather than stuffed
we headed home and ended the day on a high. I'm very very pleased with how
such an off-the-cuff'ed planned day came together so perfectly. It's nice to
know that I can do something so nice when I try.
Sunday was Jenny's day. This meant getting up late, again, then more bacon
sandwiches before jumping on a train with our bikes. I didn't look at the
departure board or ask where we were going so it was a surprise when we
eventually got off at Ipswich. We were to cycle home via quiet highways and
byways (something I love to do). Again the weather was excellent so we did
so, stopping off "along the way" in a place called Sudbury which gave us the
chance to have a small but lovely pub lunch with two of Jenny's friends. That
then allowed us to play board games for a short time out on the grass before
eating icecream and drinking lots and lots of liquid. The remaining cycle was
curtailed only by the onset of hunger and the close proximity of a train
station which could get us home (we still did 55 miles all told though!).
Happily the evening meal location was right next door to the station in the
shape of an all you can eat Chinese buffet place. I don't think the
proprietors made a profit from us that evening. Being quite tired we headed
home a few stones heavier each and ended the day happily, again!
Monday, although a bank holiday in the UK, was something of a work day for me
seeing as I spent at least three or four hours of it trying to cut my hedge
into some sort of publically acceptable state. I have to wonder who actually
likes leylandii. The weather was great again though so not only was I able to
do that but we could also get out in the sun, go for a cycle to Jenny's place
and get some of her room in order for her upcoming departure but also read
some more too. I've missed reading for long periods of time and it's always
great to be able to stick my nose in a book for a few hours and become
absorbed in a story again. Oh, we also got to have pizza and watch a film,
which can't be bad. Especially when there's also beer and ice cream. Anyway,
Monday was a lot more low-key than the two preceding days but nevertheless a
nice way to end the bank holiday weekend. Over the three days there were a
few moments when I felt a little sad about things, but on the whole a great
number of wonderful memories were created and I'm very very glad it all went
Today work has been dull and frustrating with various technical issues to do
with iowait, disk usage on the SAN and some lying utilities (I'm sure they're
lying) leading the whole office on some wild goose chases. I could really do
with a) eating a lot of chocolate and, b) not eating a lot of chocolate and
going to the gym this evening. I feel kind of out of shape at the moment and
some photos I saw of myself recently don't really make me feel to pleased.
Still, all I need to do is exercise more, eat less crap and not snack between
meals and things should come right eventually. As it is I expect to move up a
gear with my climbing and running come the beginning of October. Gym tonight
[16:15] More dullness today. The actual highlight was the missing RAID cards
arriving and me getting to fit them to the three servers, set up RAID1 on them
and then repackage them for transport to the company who'll install the
firewall software on them.
I think that's it. Other than some planning for tomorrow's activities, which
should be rather fun if the weather comes good. Oh and last night's Thursday:
was attended by eleven people. Other than some people standing on the sofa
(which really bugs me) I think it was a fab evening given the films we
watched and the lovely snacks Helen and James brought over.
I should head off now, get to the gym and then get on with enjoying the long
weekend. See you Tuesday.
[17:35] Basically another day of doing very little other than keeping things
running, going for a run and having arguments with people about terms of
address. Oh and sending people films through the post.
Oh, we're watching Black Sheep and perhaps Smokin' Aces tonight. Which should
be good. I'm still famished but I think that eating less and exercising more
should mean that I don't have another climbing experience as embarassingly
bad as last night again for a while. Jenny (with her new stuff) and I went
and found a whole load of new route... and they weren't terribly fun for
someone who hasn't climbed in three weeks or so. We didn't have the world's
best session, it has to be said. I look forward to losing some weight,
getting stronger again and getting to London a bit more often in the next few
[16:40] Argh, so hungry! Must not snack. It's bad enough that I'm feeling
hungry all the time since I got back from Greece and started eating sensibly
again, but today it's someone's birthday so people keep walking past my office
eating slices of cake and biscuits and doughnuts. I will be strong. I will
Today has been dull as ditchwater in terms of work. In fact the highlight has
been the torrential downpour outside the window. That and watching a DivX I
happened upon over lunch. Still, Jenny has shiny new climbing gear and we
hope to go climbing this evening despite the bad weather. What I really
fancy right now is some of the curry and rice we had last night. That was
fabulous. Stopping myself eating before I was full then was difficult too.
Especially as I'd been to the gym for what turned out to be another very hard
session. I hate feeling this unfit. It depresses (small D) me. I much
prefer being able to run for 6km without feeling too bad, climb for an
evening without feeling knackered (we'll find out tonight) and do a gym
session without aching the next day. Still, if I go on like this I think I
should be back up to snuff fairly soon. But is this my life, to have to keep
exercising every day just to keep from becoming tubby? Not that I mind...
[16:25] Happily my mother's back was a lot better this morning and after
breakfast I bid both of them a fond goodbye and headed to work via town to see
if I could buy something for Jenny. Unfortunately I couldn't find quite what
I wanted so I ended up going to Field & Trek over lunch where not only did I
get my ten percent BMC discount but also watched the assistant fail to ring up
one of my purchases which meant that everything that I bought was a lot
cheaper than I'd expected. Which was nice. Normally I'd have told them
they'd not scanned one of my items but given their register system was
screwed, I'd had to run across the road in the rain to get some cash out and
there was a queue behind me I just let it go for once.
Otherwise today has been fairly quiet. Nothing else much to report. I didn't
go for a run seeing as I went to town and I'm off to the gym momentarily. I'm
hungry all the time at the moment. Probably something to do with reducing my
rations to more sensible amounts and doing more exercise. Hopefully this'll
have the effect of taking some of the mild excess I've built up over the last
few months off a little.
[16:50] Saturday was fun. There was a wedding. Even though there was
obviously a lot of money floating around the ceremony was quiet, short and
sweet. The reception was fairly understated (held in the orchard of the
bride's family home) even though the food was top notch. Unfortunately, even
though I was in linen shirt and trousers I still overheated terribly (possibly
something to do with dancing ever ceilidh dance) and developed some kind of
nasty headache which meant that I missed Keith and Cat's housewarming. Still,
life goes on.
On Sunday my parents arrived from one of the grand tours of the UK and we had
a relaxing afternoon (other than my mother pulling her back badly getting off
my sofa) and then a lovely evening meal with Jenny at a local pub.
Unfortunately even with my parents in my bed and me on the futon my mother had
a terrible night's sleep. I also had a terrible night's sleep and appear to
be being bitten by something(s). Even following a run (which nearly killed
me) and a shower. I intend to boilwash my clothes and my bed linen tonight in
the hopes that that'll help.
Today I have discovered that the three new PowerEdge 1950 boxes we have for
new firewall setup have arrived with plain old SAS cards, not RAID versions of
same. This is frustrating. It appears that they weren't ordered with same,
even though I specified them on the specifications I passed on. Now I have to
wait for them to arrive as another order. With luck that was placed today.
Tonight I get a home-cooked meal courtesy of my lovely parents. I should go
home soon and make sure my mother's still in one piece. More running tomorrow
and gym too. After Friday's semi-successful attempt I really, really need to
get back into the swing of things. Did I mention I'd put on some weight
during my holiday?
[16:50] Hello everyone, welcome back. Not that you've been away; I have. Did
you notice? I think so. Or not. Maybe you did and you're just not saying.
It's OK, you don't have to say anything. It can be our little secret.
Anyway, yes, I've been in Greece. Just under two weeks of really fabulous
times. I would have kept a journal as I've done before on other trips (like
my sailing thingy last year) but as I had company and, to be honest, didn't
want to squander any of my time writing things down I'm going to have to give
you a summary of the fun we had here and now in this entry. I'll try to make
it a little interesting and more than simply an aide memoire but it's not
going to make scintillating reading. Even if the trip itself was.
Jenny and I took a coach from the centre of town to Birmingham (not a
completely dull trip as you might suppose, probably due to the company) and
flew (yes, I know, carbon footprints and all that) to Kalamata (where the
olives come from. Jenny and I hate olives). The flight had been very late
for various reasons not adequately explained (we reckon they just wouldn't
tell us there was something serious broken on it). This meant the chances of
us being able to collect our hire car were slim. However the nice Greek lady
at Hertz Kalamata Airport stayed open an extra hour to allow us to collect it.
This was fantastic as it meant we could drive to our first night hotel rather
than take a taxi there and back to get the car in the morning. In the pitch
darkness, on mountain roads, in an unfamiliar car, on the other side of the
road we set off.
Everything was fine, Jenny drove brilliantly and we found the place easily.
After celebrating in the best manner possible we went to sleep in a cool, air
conditioned room. In the morning we ate hugely at breakfast. So hugely in
fact that I felt a bit ill for a while afterwards. Luckily this went away and
we were able to abuse the facilities until checkout time. The drive to our
first long-term accommodation didn't take more than half an hour. Up on a
hill, overlooking a narrow but long beach we had a great view of Koroni just
around the coast. The place was Greek-basic but perfectly lovely.
The next few days were all about relaxing, swimming before breakfast, doing
something in the afternoon after reading or sleeping through the heat of the
midday sun and then going out for a lovely, lovely meal in the evening before
bed. The weather was fantastic the whole time with clouds only on the Monday
(rumour had it there could have been rain in Athens). We took some trips in
the car to Koroni and so forth (some good shots of the castle and churches
there will follow soon) and basically 'chilled' (heat allowing) out. One of
the best days was a drive through Kalamata to Stoupa on the 'finger' of the
Peloponnese opposite ours. Driving up and around the mountains was apparently
a lot of fun and not very stressful for Jenny. I wish I'd had more driving
experience so that I could have taken my turn, but I think we did little
enough driving that it wasn't a problem.
On the Saturday morning we packed up and drove to Kalamata to take a bus to
Athens. Aside from the sheer length of the journey and the fact that the
toilet onboard was filled with mops and buckets (i.e. not in use) it was an
uneventful and enjoyable way to see a lot of Greek countryside (note: all
Greek countryside looks the same, only the contours differ). A taxi from the
bus station to our hotel (five star no less, laa-de-dah) was interesting due
to the soldier sitting in the front seat who paid far less for his journey
than we did, I think. Also for the police car which pulled us over to get
change for some large Euro notes. The hotel was fabulous and very worth the
money I'd paid for one night. We thoroughly abused the facilities before
putting on some half-way decent (actually we looked pretty darned great)
clothes and making our way across Athens by foot and metro to the Acropolis
area to stare up and around at the ancient ruins laid out around us. The
Greeks really are very lucky to have so much 'history' so close to them. Of
course it means that any civil or structural works will be plagued by
archeological finds! After a wander we headed thence to the area in and
around Plaka to be convinced to eat at one of a thousand eating
establishments. Full, hot and tired we made our way back to the hotel.
Sunday we abused the facilities some more including a huge breakfast before
checking out on the dot of midday. Leaving our bags with the hotel we
wandered into the National Archaeological Museum which was less than two
minutes away. After getting dizzy looking at so much history we had a snack
in a cafe just outside the entrance and wandered through the park opposite
the hotel before collecting our bags and catching a metro to Piraeus and the
Although we'd wanted a 'slow' ferry to Hydra we ended up on a "Flying Dolphin"
(hydrofoil) which was probably better as we got to the island in plenty of
time. Despite the door saying we weren't allowed outside we both spent the
whole trip on the deck at the back of the speeding ship getting mildly damp
from salty sea spray.
Hydra is a lovely island and although the area around the harbour is very
commercialised this drops off to nothing almost immediately. In fact Hydra is
one of the places Greeks come on holiday. I may not have mentioned that both
places we chose to be had little to no other English-speaking people. It was
wonderful. So yes, Hydra was our other destination and a small six-room
guest house a little way back from the harbour. Clean, spartan (ho ho) and
basic it was all that we needed.
Hydra was all about walking, drinking cool drinks in the shade and taking
trips to a beach around the island's coast (where we hired a sea kayak and
discovered the world's largest super-yacht (AKA a djinn palace) in the next
bay. We also managed to get a 'slow' ferry to Spetses where we spent the day
walking and exploring as much as we could in the time we had, as well as a
swim in the sea off a rock cove. Also, more drinks and ice cream.
My overriding memories of that time are meals in real Greek tavernas
surrounded by Greeks and listening to live Greek music (especially on the last
night), walks in the sun and shade through the streets of the town and other
such nice things.
When we left we took a "Flying Cat" (a catamaran) back to Piraeus and a bus to
the airport where we spent the last of our Euros (I know, we didn't need to
on a McDonalds (how gauche!). The flight home was with BA and left a little
late so while the seats were very comfortable and the food edible, we landed
a little late and had to wait over an hour for our bags to come off the
carousel owing to staff shortages. Staff shortages? So, why not employ more
staff? Anyway, we missed two coaches home but were lucky enough to
get on a nearly empty one at 22:40. This saw us home a little after 01:00
Yes, this means I came into work the same day as I got home from holiday. I
know. Still, it does mean that I can start next week with a reasonable-sized
inbox and no worries about things having fallen over in the meantime.
Speaking of falling over, my DECT phone gave up the ghost because I turned it
off at the mains while I went away. I didn't mean to but I thought it was
something else. When I tried to turn it on this morning it looks like the
power adapter has gone, or something in the base unit. Good job I've got a
In other news: only 1,308 emails to wade through this morning, a load of
washing done already, three servers racked and ready for prepping before I
box them up to be sent away to have firewall software installed on them and
my Amazon order from the US arrived while I was away, so on the whole I'm more
happy than sad.
I still wish I was on holiday. Photos to follow shortly. Probably over the
weekend when I get time. Although I'm at a wedding and a
housewarming over the weekend. One of which is going to be a bit odd, but I'm
sure it'll be fine. Oh, and my parents will be staying Sunday and Monday
nights which'll also be nice.
I should head to Tesco and get some food back in the house. Can I be bothered
to go to the gym after that? Who can say.
[15:30] They say "always end on a song". Well, I'm going away for two weeks
to Greece on Sunday so there's an ending (or a pause at any rate). It's not a
song I'm ending on but more an accounting for my actions and behaviour with
people and one or two persons in particular that I'm doing at the moment.
I've been very remiss in my handling of some friends, old and new, over the
past few months for reasons both obvious, obscure and just plain personal. I
need to be a lot better at things and I'm hoping that with the turn around in
my fortunes over the next two months my head'll be back on more of an even
keel. I've been quite selfish and self-absorbed (something I thought I'd
mostly kicked after my first girlfriend left) and what's more I've been able
to see it, but its felt like (not the right thing but the) easiest thing to do
in the rarified circumstances I placed my own good self in.
Well now, finally the chickens I've been juggling are beginning to come home
to roost and I need to clean up my act. Luckily at least one of the people
affected has the patience of a saint and is a nice person to boot. Even so
I've pushed them quite a bit further than even they expected they could be
pushed. I really need to go back to being the nicer person I know I am.
Between now and being so I'm going to have to disappoint at least one other
person and tidy up some other aspects of my life... but I think at the end of
it all I'll be back to being a) a little bit less happy with my own personal
satisfaction and fulfillment but, b) a hell of a lot happier about my impact
on other people's lives.
In other news, I cleanly updated the SP and BIOS on the last of our Sun Fire
V20z servers this morning (the live load balancer), had a lovely cycle through
town and have cleared my email inbox down to a startling 28 messages. As a
result I'm going to go home via Sainsburys very shortly and have a great night
out before a day of shopping and a garden party tomorrow and then an early
coach to Birmingham Inhternational for my flight to Greece.
I'll be back some time around about 16th/17th August. Not sure I'll keep a
journal as things are liable to be quite hectic, but there should be photos
and a roundup of what went on at the very least. See you soon.
Sorry there's no song.
[11:15] Over the last day and a bit I've been dipping in and out of an old
journal written by a freelance writer moonlighting as a
video store clerk.
It's quite interesting. Other than that I've decided to come into work in
sandals this morning. Obviously this means that its become overcast now.
This therefore doesn't bode well for this evening's barbeque.
[16:25] Bums to this, I'm bored witless. Home time and preparation for my
barbeque, even if it isn't sunny.
[16:15] August, how did that happen? Time certainly does fly when you're
having fun. And I've been having fun. Make no mistake about it. I will
admit that the overwhelming experience of the year to date has been positive.
Still, not long now. Anyway, on with today's trials and tribulations...
First up is the mystery of the completely confused Sun Fire V20z service
processor which refused to do anything other than being in a snit and continue
to reboot itself. One wonders if it wouldn't have been better to simply let
it be for a little while and then approach it with fresh eyes. As it was it
took myself and my line manager to bully the thing into accepting a new
firmware image and an IP on the same network as the NSV server (my linux box).
It all seems fine now, but I'm glad it was the failover load balancer and not
the live one (which I'll be doing on Friday!). Still, I'm pretty sure I know
what I did wrong. Pretty sure, anyway.
Other than that I've been working on graphing something, fiddling with the
load balancers and generally nattering to people about stuff. Last night was
lovely as I ended up going for dinner at Jenny's, a cycle and a walk out in
the country and then back to her house for dessert before going home. I'm
pleased to say that after the excellent climbing session on Monday I appear to
have been pretty spot on with my application of relaxation and exercise in
getting over this cold in short order. Of course it's not gone yet, but it's
hopefully very much on the way out.
Tonight I need to go into town to get some shoes which aren't Gore-Tex lined
or designed for strenuous activity. No, these will be smart-casual shoes (my
first pair, fear my lack of wardrobe!) such that I can wear them with trousers
(!) and soforth.
Try not to faint. I know, it's the heat.