[17:05] Argh! I've developed a seething hatred of Sun Fire V20z front panel
operation. It's so incredibly obtuse and broken and... argh! I am so
annoyed. And this is after having had a good day installing the new x4200 M2
servers around the city at the other two locations, making it back in time to
get my lunchtime burrito and also getting to my hair cut on time. Not only
that but I've managed to update one of the V20z servers' SP and BIOS
eventually via NFS and the stupid Java application you have to use. Damnit,
now I don't know if I've buggered up one of the live load balancers or not. I
wish we'd set up service processor IP access to these boxes before now.
Oh well, I don't care until tomorrow morning. Off for a cycle and a walk in
the sun I think.
[15:00] Coming up to the end of another month. Fewer and fewer weeks
remaining until it's time to start thinking again. Again. It's not a
surprise; it's not like I didn't know about it.
Friday evening was good. Not only did Jenny's boat bump, I also got some
excellent shots which I've put online for the crew to download. We headed off
to a barbeque afterwards where I got to meet a fair number of people in a
rather lovely house. Amusingly the bookshelves were almost book for book the
same as mine. Saturday was mainly about relaxing, hoping that Cormac would
show up with the hedge trimmers (he didn't) and going to see Transformers at
the cinema. Either I'm getting too old or some of the scenes in that film
were far too fast. Perhaps it was to hide ropey CG. But I doubt it.
Sunday was even more relaxed with not getting out of bed before midday. After
going into town for a map of the Peleponese which we didn't find I went home
to order one online. I think I read for the remainder of the day while being
mildly peeved about the cold I was developing.
Given the cold's onslaught I didn't sleep especially well last night and have
been drinking like a fish today in an effort to try and shove it through my
system as quickly as possible before I head off to Greece next Sunday. This
means I'm pissing like a racehorse which is extremely irritating. Hopefully I
should still be able to climb this evening, but I'm not running this week in
the hope that stressing my system less will give it more strength to get
better. I have five days.
Today I have been doing things with Nessus and generally catching up on things
and stuff. Also preparing for tomorrow's move of two x4200 servers to the
other two server rooms in the city. I should get on with things, really.
[16:25] A very windy day here today. Still, no rain as yet. I've been doing
bits and bobs, odds and sods and not much of anything today. I did cycle to
see Jenny at lunch but didn't stay long in the end. I'm a little bit tired
from reading too much of my book when I went to bed last night. Already tired
I should have just switched the light off, but the book was interesting so I
decided to finish it. Didn't take long and I think I'm the better for doing
so as it meant my head was settled when I finally turned the light off.
I'm off to watch more rowing this evening once I've been to the gym and
cleaned myself up. Little bits of fun here and there this evening. I'll fill
you in on Monday. In the meantime there's a hedge to hopefully trim (or at
least start), a film to watch and some fun to be had. Have a good weekend.
[17:10] Jenny's team did very well last night, and I think I got some
reasonable photos too. Once I've taken some more tomorrow (can't go tonight,
for the usual reason) I'll stick them online somewhere so they're available.
I nearly lost my voice shouting encouragement on the two and bit kilometres
up stream. Still, tons of fun.
Today I've mainly been fiddling with Rackmonkey and getting to know the server
racks here in excruciating detail. Also installing incorrect UPS software on
various machines and having to fix that. Otherwise I did my 6km at lunch time
and now feel truly, truly ravenous. Pizza shortly, I think. Although I must
go via Tesco for some Gu too.
[17:50] We actually had a nice evening's weather yesterday. Taking advantage
of this meant going down to the river to see people doing things in boats.
Which was quite amusing. Jenny's doing things in boats for the remainder of
the week so I'll be off down there tonight and Friday to see what I can see
with my camera. However, she wasn't doing anything boat-related last night so
we watched other people, enjoyed the weather and then went home via a Tesco.
Somebody then probably got into trouble with her team-mates by not going out
for a curry with them later. I blame the beer. I'm very glad I had a run and
stuff at lunchtime.
I have to admit, the book I bought recently seems to be having a talismanic
effect even before I've read much of it yet. Certainly things are better than
Anyway, I woke this morning feeling more rested and certainly happier than
I've been in a while. This was fortuitious as the fourth x4200 M2 was still
misbehaving when I got in. After getting very little joy from either our
supplier or Sun I took it upon myself to compare BIOSes and discovered that
that one server had a very slightly different build of the same BIOS!
Flashing it and the SP firmware on the machine didn't seem to fix the RAM
reporting issue until I decided to flash all the other machines to the newest
revision also. At the point at which I plugged the troublesome server back in
to flash its RAID hardware also I discovered that it was now reporting the
correct amount of RAM. Go figure. So now I've flashed all the other servers'
SP, BIOS and RAID hardware and everything seems to be fine. I've also
kickstarted the now-untroublesome server and handed it over to the DBAs for
The rest of the day has been spent doing a crash course in postgresql so that
I could get a copy of Rackmonkey working. Was that ever more
trouble than it should have been. Still, I know the developer so I've passed
on my comments and he seems pleased to have received them. I'm off now to get
my camera and take some pictures... if it's not raining too heavily.
[17:15] Managed not to achieve something last night, which was frustrating.
Still, if I actually think about it, in the grand scheme of things it's not
really that important. In other news I've ascertained that there is
definitely something amiss with the fourth server. Swapping all the RAM from
another server removes the DIMMs Manufacturer Mismatch errors but the box
still only reports 15.5GB. I think "this warning message is seen with all
supported Qimonda DIMMs and is caused by the presence of a new JEDEC
manufacturer's code. The new code is the result of Infineon spinning off its
DRAM unit into a new company named Qimonda. The server BIOS has not yet been
updated to recognize the new manufacturer's code." Therefore there are
probably Qimonda DIMMs in this box. We've called the supplier to see what
they can do about the other issue.
Other than that I went for a run today and managed to get my running partner
under the magical 30 minute barrier for 6km. Next up is 29min30sec. We also
went out and got Mexican burritos for lunch, which was fab. I'm off now to
eat my own weight in some kind of food because I'm famished. Back tomorrow.
[16:55] I'm having an issue with the last of the x4200 M2 servers. It's
reporting 156.5GB of RAM, rather than 16.0GB. This is irritating. Especially
as taking out half the memory reports 7.5GB. And then putting the half which
was taken out in place of the half remaining still reports 7.5GB. I
don't know what is wrong. Whether or not the machine is actually having an
issue with some of the DIMMs or simply that there's a BIOS setting somewhere
which is reserving 0.5GB.
I have to leave at 17:10 today so I'll quickly tell you about the weekend.
Saturday I got to see Jenny just before she got her Ph.D awarded. I then went
to Ellie's barbeque on my bike and had a rather nice relaxed time. I got to
cycle Cat home too, at around midnight on account of Keith being too drunk to
cycle safely. Sunday was spent in the houe, playing games, relaxing and doing
house work. Oh, and cycling to the cinema to find out that the place was sold
out for viewings of Transformers.
Oh yes, and on Friday I and Jenny and her parents went to the Duxford air
museum thingy (somewhere I've only been once before) and had a lovely time
looking at planes and things. It rained, heavily (as I think you might
remember if you were trapped in it) but it didn't put too much of a dampener
on the day (ho ho). We also went for a pub meal down by the river, which was
Sorry this is rushed, must get on.
[16:50] Managed to go climbing last night at the last minute when Jenny
offered to take me. We had a pretty good time until I think I ran out of good
mood. Shortly after that we decided to go home. Jenny continues to come on
in fairly good leaps and bounds (no pun intended). Given I was feeling a bit
down She (wo)manfully decided to stay the night and look after me, which was
Today has been another really productive day. I've got a bombproof kickstart
+ post install configuration setup for the Sun Fire x4200 M2 servers which is
right now being chewed on by the second box of the four I've got to play with.
The development box has already been handed over for the DBAs to play with.
In a few minutes I'll get to see if the second box has built correctly. If it
has I'm going to go home a happy bunny.
I'm not in tomorrow on account of showing Jenny and her parents around an air
museum for the day, which is going to be excellent, I think. Thursday tonight
so lots of nice company, food and DVDs to be had. Just wish the book I'd
ordered a few weeks ago would arrive...
[17:00] Today I have been mostly doing lots of fun things with brand new Sun
Fire x4200 M2 servers. They're so great. Really. Really great. I love
them. Also, all the hard slog I put in on Sun's v20z model is paying
dividends. So it's all good, really. Really.
Other than that I ran again today (did I mention I ran yesterday too?) and
went to the gym last night. I'm really starting to feel that slightly hungry
all the time and a little bit fitter feeling I remember from a few months ago.
It's great. Oh yes, and Jenny came over because her rowing was cancelled.
Late though, so I had plenty of time to do houseworky things for the evening.
More exciting x4200 shenanigans tomorrow! Also: Congratulations to Dunk who
hasn't been made redundant after all. Or was, but now isn't again.
[16:55] So last night a few of us went driving. We meant to go climbing but
exploding caravans meant that we didn't get more than ten miles out of town
before we had to queue for over 45 minutes before turning off and going cross
country to find a) another wall (that I used to go to, which wouldn't let us
climb) and b) our way home. The whole day was a bit of a washout really, for
some people. Having Jenny come over later on, peeved at her Netball captain
was a plus for us both considering the day each of us had had.
This morning I cycled in in brilliant sunshine and it looks like I
may get to cycle to the gym in the same weather. During the day however we've
been dumped on multiple times by torrential downpours. This included one when
I and the Networks guy were out doing our second 6km of the week. Still, we
also discovered that a favourite Mexican eatery is doing a mobile kitchen just
down the road from us every Tuesday, so we may very well be going there this
time next week.
I'm off gymwards now, then home to get cleaned up. With luck I won't get
rained on (too many times).
[17:20] Headed into London on Friday for climbing with Jenny who'd had a beast
of a day queuing for her visa for America for most of it. As a result, even
though she'd suggested it, she didn't do terribly much climbing and after
making sure I'd stay to get my money's work, went home. This put me in a bit
of a slump so I didn't stay more than another hour or so before heading home
and getting in late.
Saturday we drove to Oxford to celebrate a 1st birthday party (AKA a posh
shindig organised by the grandparents) at Mansfield College. That was rather
nice but seeing as I only knew Jenny and Alex I wandered into town a few hours
before it finished and installed myself in a book shop to read one of the few
Christopher Brookmyres I still didn't own. And then bought it when Jenny and
Alex came to find me after the party finished.
Once we'd driven home we ended up going out to a semi-local Japanese place for
some sushi and noodles. That was fabulous. Having come home and generally
feeling rather full and hot (it was very muggy here over the weekend) we
headed to bed fairly quickly and tried to sleep some.
Sunday - we'd promised ourselves - was to be a day of rest. As a result we
didn't really stir much before ten and after that it was just for Jenny and I
to head out to Tesco (closed) and Asda (open!) to get some of the bulkier
items I'd not been able to transport home on my bike last week. We also
popped into TK Maxx (don't ask) to get some very nice cutlery to replace the
horrible blue-handled stuff I've been using for years. That was a lovely
present from Jenny, which was exceedingly nice and very unexpected (even
though she'd told me she'd get me some a few months ago).
Most of the rest of the day was spent dozing and/or reading, as far as I can
recall before I was dragged out of the house to see the new Harry Potter
flick. It wasn't dull, but it really wasn't anything to get excited about. I
got the feeling that the book too had been something of a windup for the last
two books in the series in terms of plot. Still, the day wasn't a complete
loss as I got to make panini for two beautiful girls and have a lovely time
generally in the outdoors, and stuff.
This morning the weather was fairly OK and in the spirit of having a 'fit'
week I brought my running stuff to work so I could go out with Ben over lunch.
I think I'll try to do the 6km route he's been doing every day this week (and
perhaps next week, etc.) and see how my energy levels and fitness are
affected. Couple that with climbing this evening, gym tomorrow, maybe a
cycle ride or something on Wednesday and lots of walking on Friday and... well
I might just be dead by the weekend.
[14:30] Well, I'm getting to leave early today as I was in earlier than normal
and I need to get to the station to buy a train ticket and discount card
thingy so I can get to London. I'm climbing for the first time in a long time
at The Castle again. I know it's hellishly expensive, but it's a great indoor
wall and the opportunity to go outside hasn't really presented itself this
year (at least not when I'm going to be able to take up someone's offer of
Resultingly today has been mostly about doing things which won't get in the
way of a prompt departure around 15:45. Last night we watched one of the most
awful films I think it has been my misfortune to experience. How Helen Hunt,
Samuel L. Jackson, David Caruso, and Nicholas Cage managed to combine their
talents to only come up with something like that I will never understand.
Suffice it to say that we poured scorn mercilessly upon Kiss of Death
for what seemed like far longer than the scheduled 96 minutes of running time.
I suppose it was keeping with the best traditions of Thursday: 'entertainment'
but that was very nearly beyond the pale... Anyway, I couldn't sleep after
everyone'd gone home so around midnight I came back downstairs and watched an
episode of BSG which turned out to be one of the overly poignant ones which
meant I got to go to to sleep pondering.
Sleep wasn't good again, I have no idea why. Here's hoping tonight is a
little better. Maybe some frantic exercise will see me right. I should get
on so I can get off on time. Have a pleasant weekend.
[17:15] Well I didn't get to go for a run last night. What I did instead was
really, really good. I think it comes under the description "fab". I burned
the pizza though. Still, aside from being completely famished for the rest of
the evening I think the day went very, very well.
Unfortunately sleep was... odd. I ended up being too hot I think. The window
was open but I was probably under too much duvet. Felt kind of logey this
morning. Still, work today has been light (I think the whole week will be)
and I've been able to get my head around some subtle and intricate issues
which I can take a stab at getting started tomorrow. Mainly documenting the
Nessus procedures I do. Tonight is Thursday: as per so I should probably head
home while it's not raining quite so hard.
[16:05] A general feeling of malaise last night pervaded through until 09:00
this morning when I arrived at work. Not even forty minutes of hard run on
the treadmill and some rather killer situps managed to shift it. Adding in a
short cycle and a reasonable walk along the river seemed to do much to shift
it. In fact, not even eating the Gu pud type I finally rediscovered yesterday
at Tesco seemed to shift the grayness.
Still, things are looking up today. The duck and apple pate I've been eating
is fabulous (it's the small things sometimes), work has been very easy (even
our operations manager has been saying things like "it's totally dead around
here today") and the online conversations I've been having have been sparkling
and witty (no comment). As it is I don't think anyone here would mind if I
left a little earlier this evening to get home in time to do some important
things before going for a run (if I still have the energy). For now, it's
time to do some server room tidying!
[16:20] Last night I dashed from work to see Die Hard 4.0. There were four
other people in the cinema and two of them chose to sit one seat away from me.
I mean really, were they going to be scared and wanted some company? The film
was funny, atrocious, amusing and excellent escapism. I loved the bit where
Willis looked at the devastation caused by his run in with the
still-not-actually-in-service F-35 and paused to laugh to himself and how he
wasn't dead yet given the unlikely sequence of events that'd taken place.
Very much a nod to the "Yes, this is totally silly" commentators in the
audience. Following the film I toddled off to Tesco and managed to transport
pretty much everything I needed (that was available) home using two panniers,
a rucksack and my handlebars. My reward for this feat of balance was a rump
steak baguette and a large glass of milk while I watched some more Battlestar
For various reasons I didn't get to bed until very late and slept very oddly.
Happily I wasn't terribly tired this morning which is good as we've been busy
tracking down issues with one of our services and the use of IE. Eventually
we've been able to ascertain that the problem is to do with their
implementation of the gzip code for decrypting gzipped pages, etc. as it comes
down over HTTP/HTTPS. This has involved some meetings and a lot of running
between offices. As it is we now have a 'cause' and a way to 'fix' it. But
we still don't know what solution to go for considering the knock-on effects
the change we might implement could have.
Rather than think about it, I'm going to go to the gym and then have a cycle
[16:50] I had a wicked weekend. Friday was wicked, Saturday was wicked and
Sunday, well, it was the wickedest. On Friday, aside from having a really
great idea which failed utterly and left me having to listen to Jethro Tull
for forty minutes... and then having a poo session at the gym which started
with an hour's hard run on the treadmill in an effort to shake off some of the
anger I was feeling, well, the remainder of the day went quite well. I'll
admit I'm not entirely sure what else went on, but I think it was good. It
probably involved me going over to Jenny's by bike and then something else
which completely escapes me. I do know that on Saturday we went to the French
market and had some nice food before some other stuff. We ended up going for
dinner in town which was fabulous and meant we got mildly squiffy on wine in
the restaurant. Getting home and going to bed is something I don't really
recall terribly clearly. Therefore we obviously went cycling on Sunday as the
weather had remained excellent. Going via Cormac and Steph's we got to chat
to them for a little while before cycling on and making it to an endpoint
containing ice cream and cold drinks. There was even a brass band. Being
tired and able to make adult decisions we took the train home and after a stop
off at Jenny's house came back to mine around about six in the evening where I
actually did some gardening (cut the lawn and trimmed the bushes a little).
The grass looks a lot better when its been trimmed. I think the rest
of the evening had a lot of fun in it even though we'd missed out on going to
the cinema with everyone else. I was absolutely shattered and famished so
probably wouldn't have made it across town anyway.
The weather's continued in a pleasant vein today which seems to have lead to
very little work and an awful lot of chatting happening today. Seriously, I
can't think of anyone here who's done a lot of work today. Proper work, I
mean. I'm off to the cinema (free ticket) and then Tesco to get some goodies
so I should go soon. Hopefully, after doing chocolate delivery duty at lunch
time I may even reap a small reward this evening.
[16:30] If I hear another bar of Jethro Tull before I die I swear I will
commit bloody violence against the nearest person I don't care about. The
story is long and a tedious so I won't tell you it. Suffice it to say,
Otherwise today has been a terribly dull day. For everyone. No-one in the
office has done any work to be honest. I resorted to getting DVD playing
working on my second linux box here and watching it as I tried to do some more
documentation. It kind of worked. I think I'm going to go to the gym now and
work of some of this frustration and so forth. Thank goodness it's Friday and
I can (potentially) have some fun for the next two days.
Dull, dull, dull. Oh, last night was good, we saw the newest Wallace & Gromit
animation and The Dark Crystal. Odd how a childhood classic can be rewatched
in light of innuendo and taken in a completely different manner.
[17:25] I've got a new bike pump from Wiggle. Only I didn't need to because
oiling my old one with some light bike oil seems to have lubricted it a treat.
Silly. Oh well, you can't have too many pumps (current count is three, don't
Documenting what I do with Nessus within the Institution is proving to be
harder to pin down than I thought. I know what I do, and what order I do
things in, but actually getting it down on paper and having it make sense and
be consistent is proving to be... harder than I expected. Of course, I have
no idea why. I will soldier on. In other news I'm lacking the DVD box set I
ordered recently, this just means I'll have to continue watching them on DivX
The weather here is still abysmal. It's really horrible. Not good for
anything outdoors other than getting wet. Still, home time is here again and
I should get home and prepare for the evening's fun and jolity and quite
possibly some more orange duck from the delivery chinese/thai/indian place.
You know they gave us free wine last week for placing their biggest ever phone
order? How cool. Anyway, I should go.
[17:00] A much better day in terms of fristrating friends today. Also I've
been part of the team which has solved some of the issues surrounding DNS
lookups and Apache connected with our new HR system. Strike one up for people
who do lookups for every access and base directory access permissions on those
Otherwise the weather continues to oscillate between brilliant sunshine and
torrential downpours. It really is very odd. Happily I was able to replace
the inner tube on my newer cycle this morning so could pedal in without
feeling like the rear was slipping out sideways. I don't know what it was,
perhaps lower tyre pressure or simply less familiar tread patterns on wet
road. Anyroad, I'm back in the saddle now (two puns in one sentence) although
my punk siezed this morning so I've splashed out and ordered a new one.
Hopefully I'm off climbing this evening but it all depends on the state of the
A14. I should head home and get some food inside me beforehand to ensure
moods are kept high.
[16:40] Sometimes I truly despair at the sexual health naïveté of some of my
friends. It's incredible the kinds of things they get up to without using
any kinds of precautions or even engaging in a bit of gentle investigation
before going about doing fun things. Not only that, but doing it (pun
intended) repeatedly over the course of many weeks and months. It makes me
feel very sad, and angry. And then I have to restrain some of that anger and
frustration when I try to impress upon them the sheer mind-numbing idiocity of
their actions. And then stop myself from apologising when they complain I'm
being too 'harsh' or 'forceful'. I wonder sometimes just how educated people
can be quite so bloody clueless.
Otherwise I've had a pretty good 24+ hours since my last update. A quiet
evening was upturned by Jenny coming over, which was nice. The day has been
fairly uneventful with a good few things being achieved and me not managing to
break anything. Oh yes, last night as I cycled home in the torrential rain I
achieved a front wheel puncture from a piece of stone incredibly. This then
required me to walk all the way home in said rain carrying my bike so as not
to damage the now flat tyre. Luckily, even though I have puncture repair
kits and a spare inner tube I still opted to use my old bike rather than deal
with the puncture last night. I may do something about it tonight, if only
swapping the spare tube into the tyre and getting it back on the bike again.
Otherwise I think I will watch more Battlestar Galactica (season 2) than man
was meant to wot of and then go to bed.
[13:25] OK, paintballing with stupid chavvy people you don't know who're
stupid and cheating isn't completely fun. Don't get me wrong, It turns out
I'm really not a very good paintballing person (for example, in game one I was
out with a shot to the head in under 30 seconds, before I'd even fired a shot)
but otherwise we had a pretty good time. Jenny didn't make it, nor to Steph's
birthday thingy at my house on account of being tired and a little off her
game. In her place Phil was a sterling replacement and even managed to get us
(the red team) a flag in one of the games. The end result of the fab day's
paintballing was three very painful hits to the head, one to the shoulder and
three to the softer parts of my legs. All have bruised quite spectacularly,
which is a testament to the force of the impacts as I don't normally mark that
easily. The weather held off just enough that we didn't get completely soaked
and everyone there seemed to have an excellent time. I can see how it would
be very easy to rack up a huge bill for paint very quickly if you were a bad
shot or trigger happy. I restricted myself to seven hundred rounds. Cormac
managed to work his way through fifteen hundred.
After coming back from paintball and getting cleaned up Jenny came over and we
settled in for the evening with film, food and fun in the shape of Cormac's
obsession with Geomag. Which lead on to Sunday. Given the early morningness
of Saturday I slept in late on Sunday before Jenny and I took a wander around
town to find some things to purchase. Although we didn't actually get most of
what we wanted we did end up with cookies and a good amount of walking done.
Being able to settle in for the evening with a huge amount of roasted
vegetables, some pan-fried chicken in honey and ice cream for dessert whilest
watching Deja Vu was a nice way to end the day.
I'm pretty sure bed was fairly early but I didn't feel too good this morning.
It may have been something to do with the fairly large (for me) amounts of
beer we both drank last night. This may be a terrible admission but I think
(other than when I've become throwing up drunk (two occasions only in my
life)) my first proper hangover. Mild headache and lethargy. Still, it went
away after breakfast.
Today we've been battling with the annoyance of a spurious redirect which is
tied in with Apache, our Zeus loadbalancers and a 3rd party module which deals
with web authentication. Right now we don't seem to have much of an idea as
to why what is happening is happening. Here's hoping we do soon.