[16:45] Time has just flown by today, which is nice. I managed to forget my
clean clothes for after my run so ended up making my run to home and back to
collect some. Turns out to be around about 6km round trip, I think.
Work today has been replacing the chassis (everything but the HDD) of the
machine we display the Hobbit/Big Brother monitoring on after some kind of
thermal event over night, rebuilding some initrds for machines which we're
thinking of moving over to RHEL SCSI RDAC stuff rather than, well, not using
RDAC and some further tidying up of the decomissioning stuff.
Last night was fun with some sitting around catching up with people and then
a late night burger and chips with Kris. We were both pretty pooped by the
day so were in bed pretty soon after getting home. I've not got any rowing
planned for tomorrow but aren't sure if I want to do parkrun tomorrow so soon
after getting back into running following my knee issues. We'll see. Maybe I
will go and do an honest-to-goodness erg instead to give Kris some time alone
on a Saturday morning. Sunday I should be in a boat.
I have my evaluation on Monday, apparently. I'm pretty pleased I've been
keeping a logbook these last few months as it'll give me more to talk about
than the last one or two I've had. In other news, we've paid for the flowers,
the remainder of the wedding venue and food and hopefully put off the pushy
kitchen saleswoman/designer until the new year. Oh, and hurrah! Kris has a
job teaching at Dartmouth for a semester next year, which means I'll get to
visit her and see where she got her degree. That should be all kinds of fun.
Don't forget the clocks go back on Sunday if you're in the UK.
[17:15] Well the socks seemed to do the job. In fact either the weather was
particularly warm or they're even better than I thought. Either way we had a
rather nice outing in the pitch blackness with me back from the other end of
the boat to the bow (on bow side) again.
Working on decomissioning a box today. We've finally created a checklist of
all the things we're supposed to do to remove one from all the systems here
now and followed it through. Have also watched an Oracle Serengeti install,
patched, patched patched and read some interesting documents on deployment
recommendations for Oracle Server.
Now it's time to go and eat crepes, but not too many as I'm also going to have
dinner with Kris at GBK too once she gets back from London.
[17:10] I wimped out of going to erg last night. Theoretically I was looking
after a very tired Kris who appeared to have been wiped out by the previous
day's travel to and from Oxford for the stuff she was doing. In the end we
spent some time together, ordered Chinese food and I took an antihistamine to
help with the itching bite on my neck. It's the latter which probably lead to
me going out like a light at 22:15 and feeling especially dozy this morning.
We still managed to do a little bit of wedding planning before I went to work
as well as putting the bins out and generally being a couple in surburbia.
Today I have mostly been going to a meeting to discuss RPM updates I'm allowed
to apply to six servers, the RPMs I'm allowed to remove and when I was allowed
to do it (turns out it was right then). Other than that there were the usual
firewall rule updates and general things that I do to make the lights stay on
(or off, depending on circumstances).
Definitely rowing tonight. I even have new socks.
[16:55] Mostly tidy up stuff today. Emails, thoughts, plans, patching a load
balancer here and there and adding new rules to them too. Oh, I also stopped
monitoring a database which had been left around for no reason and was told
that the new service we're adopting isn't going to be configured the way I was
told it was going to be... but that the work I'd done probably wasn't a waste
of time, which was nice.
I appear to have been stung or bitten right on the hollow of my throat as I
went for my run at lunchtime yesterday. It still itches now, but I don't seem
to be dying or swelling up in any major way so I guess I just have to wait for
it to go away. I just wish I knew what it was that I'd blundered into.
I'm trying to decide if I want to go and erg this evening. I really should.
But it's raining and Kris could do with some looking after. In fact we both
could. I think a bit of time to ourselves would do us the world of good right
[14:45] Shaun and Fran's wedding was fun. Plenty to be interested in and to
think about with regard to our own wedding (in a month's time). The bride
and groom looked very happy and we were very happy to be there.
Over the weekend I rowed twice. Once in a 4+ and once in an 8+. Both outings
weren't too bad (the Sunday 4+ being the better of the two) and neither
involved rain. In fact the Sunday outing was in brilliant autumnal sunshine
(so cold). The rest of both weekend days were spent either cycling to kitchen
and food shops or at home doing housework and generally catching up on stuff.
Kris is in Oxford today (or by now is on the bus home) and I should be going
into town shortly to install a machine having done its partner this morning
and fixed a few issues with the kickstart procedure at the same time. I might
erg tonight, I might not. The lunchtime run was good so I might just leave it
at that for today.
[11:50] Half day today on account of Shaun getting married. Amazingly, last
night we managed to not only get me a shirt and tie for today's wedding but
also a shirt and three matching ties for myself and my two groomsmen for
our wedding. I'm not proud enough to say that TJ Maxx really is good
for cheap deals on previously expensive things. I'm a little concerned about
the shape of the collars on the shirt for the wedding but I'm reliably
informed that this is what collars are doing these days.
I'm off at 12:30 today to get my hair cut, then home for lunch and to wait for
a taxi which should already have a Cormac and Steph in it. Hopefully the hair
thing will go OK as it's the last one before I appear in a bazillion and one
wedding photos with a girl who always looks as pretty as a picture.
[16:55] So last night I went rowing in an 8+. Not only was I rowing on stroke
side rather than bow side but rather than being at bow I was actually stroke
for the boat. On top of that it was a night outing. Practically pitch dark.
Despite all of those handicaps the outing went really quite well, even with an
artificially low stroke rate of 12-16 strokes per minute. I quite enjoyed
myself, truth be told. I wasn't even terribly cold either, which was nice.
Part of this was probably down to not getting splashed at all (being 'in
front' of everyone).
Anyway, today I actually seem to have managed to arrange a meeting (technical)
with someone who's lead sysadmin for the service we adopted recently. This
should allow me to get their servers patched (or at least tidied up a bit)
within the next two weeks or so. I hope. Much of the rest of the day has
been spend discussing RHEL6 with people online and rolling out an improved
LSI RAID monitoring script to all the servers with that style of hardware in
it. It all seems to have gone well so I'm just waiting for a server to break
to test the error conditions.
Off to get a shirt and tie for a wedding tomorrow (not mine). Then home for
housework and sausages.
[16:55] It's going to be cold in the boat tonight. Cold, and if I sit behind
the wrong people, wet. That won't be good. I think this will be the first
outing of the season where I consider not wearing shorts (but instead put on
something longer rather than nothing at all, of course) and possibly even wear
something heavier on my top half too. It'll be nice to get out in an 8+
again. I just hope that we manage to get a nice set boat or it's going to be
a painful and annoying outing.
Today I have mainly been setting up a whole new kickstart structure for the
new project I'm about to be installing machines for. It's an Oracle-based
thing and should be rather interesting. I mean, not so much for me, I'll only
be doing the install and then kibitzing over the shoulders of the guy doing
the install of the userland software, but it's something else I get to learn
about and I've also got the opportunity to roll out some streamlined kickstart
and monitoring stuff which I rarely get to innovate on because of how
infrequently we reprep machines. I'm pretty sure everything's ready to go.
So all I need to do is a test install or two to make sure there aren't any
typos or bugs and away we go.
I was late in to work this morning on account of the guy we've had out to do
repairs to our bathroom, who we selected as a potential kitchen fitter,
turning up just after 08:00 without confirming he'd be coming the day before.
A small oversight and not really anything to worry about in the grand scheme
of things but it did mean we were able to get through a good few bits of
planning and discussion as well as ascertaining that the woman who'd come out
to measure up had got a few measurements completely wrong. Cue him going away
to talk to her some more. Although before he went I was able to show him the
grout in the bathroom which has been on my mind for the last few months and
get confirmation (finally!) that I was in fact right and it is failing. He's
decided to rip out all of the grout on the wall the failing bits are on and
completely redo it. This is awesome.
Otherwise today has been about catching up on some technology developments,
patching boxes (which seems to be all I do sometimes), arranging meetings
where I'll discuss more patching and going for a pretty good 6km+ run at lunch
time with pretty much zero discomfort anywhere (even the top of my foot). I
certainly don't think I'm completely healed. Nor do I think there's no chance
of the injury ever coming back again. I would like to think that I've taken
a good few steps (no pun intended) towards changing my running style to lessen
the chance of the same injury reoccuring, though.
Right, I think that's it for now. Nothing more to say other than there's
nothing quite like being able to decide on the spur of the moment not to cook
one evening and instead have Chinese food delivered and have it on your plate
before you've even finished doing the home made (20 minute) rice.
[16:55] Mostly today I have been patching tomcat5 and hoping for the best with
regard to what did and didn't get overwritten. It turns out I needn't have
worried as most of the machines I was patching tomcat5 on are either not
running it or are running tomcat6 instead. I wish someone had told me earlier
so I hadn't held off doing it for so long. Anyway, I now have a list of what
machines are running what. Normally I'd know this kind of thing but I was
bypassed when it came to the installation of tomcat(5 and 6) and no-one ever
got around to telling me what the final layout of services was. Still, now I
Otherwise today has gone far too slowly as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully
Kris and I will have a lovely evening at home tonight (I may or may not go to
the boat house depending on how things go when I get home). Oh, and I managed
to get my work Skype's sound going again, which is useful. I should head home
and see if Kris' new mobile is as shiny as it looked in the shop yesterday.
[16:50] Hurrah for awesome stag weekends! For lo, it came to pass that on
Saturday friends descended on my home town and took me to a place where there
was quad biking and clay pigeon shooting and outdoor track karting. And there
was much excitment and excellence and I discovered a surprising talent for
shooting things with a shotgun (missing only one of ten targets in the mini
competition at the end of the session) and other people proved to be rather
impressive in karts (although I was only a second slower than the fastest
person's lap). And following said activities there was relaxation and
showering to remove mud before going to a Chinese restaurant where the food
was also the toppermost of notches. And the saki, it did flow quite freely
(even the 82% stuff). I'm afraid that even on my stag night I didn't stay out
much past 23:30 and was in bed (with my lovely fiancee) before 01:00. Others
did stay out a good bit longer, I'm told.
Sunday was more about going for walks in the sun, copious amounts of tea,
bacon and chatting. Once everyone had gone home I settled in to have a quiet
and relaxing afternoon with a film or two while I waited for Kris to come back
from her second day of yoga teacher training. By the time she got home I had
had time to realise that the weekend hand indeed been truly fantastic and that
I was extremely grateful to have brilliant friends who were able to join me in
celebrating the end of my batchelor life. We even got a much-missed addition
to the wedding guest list!
Although I was a little the worse for wear on Sunday morning I felt fine by
this morning and aside from a bruise on my right knee from the steering column
of my kart I appear to have come through the weekend unscathed. In fact I
felt good enough to bump up my lunchtime kilometreage to my usual distance
today with pretty much no ill effects (other than that new niggle in the
tendons on the top of my right foot).
Today's work has been mainly trying to diagnose why one of the main DB boxes
decided to reboot mid-morning, getting some more web applications moved off a
box which should have been decomissioned over two years ago, installing new
Thawte SSL certificates (and remembering to add in the intermediate
certificates straight away too this time) and getting a few more users' CVS
repoisitories reconfigured correctly.
Kris dropped her phone this morning and it broke so we're off to Tesco after
work to get her a new one. Speaking of which I should probably finish up and
get out of here so I can meet her on time.
[16:05] Mostly today has been quiet and uneventful. Even the changing over of
the DIMMs this morning and my 4km run at lunchtime went off without any kind
of hitch or highlight (other than my knee still not hurting which means I'm up
to 6km runs next week!).
wasn't working and got that fixed and did a few minor patches to a few
machines just to keep from faling asleep.
Apparently there's some fun and games planned for this weekend. I'm sure I'll
have something fun to tell you about on Monday, if I survive. Shame about the
rowing on Sunday morning, but I think it's for the best. Kris has the first
two sessions of her yoga teacher training on Saturday and Sunday so I look
forward to hearing how they go. She's in London again today giving a talk at
SOAS so I hope that went OK.
Right, I'd best be off to Tesco before it rains and the light goes completely.
Have a good one and I'll see you on Monday.
[16:40] Another day, another previous evening where I didn't manage to make it
to the boat house after all. I feel bad, but obviously not bad enough to have
gone. There's always tomorrow. Anyway, today I was in work at a moderately
early hour to bring down a server and reseat DIMMs. As the ECC errors had
already gone away (at least for the moment) it seemed like a bit of a waste of
time but as I'd arranged the downtime I thought I should go through with it
anyway. Happily, both the system_stop.sh and system_start.sh scripts worked
almost perfectly and I didn't seem to need to give a blood sacrifice to get
things done or anything. Which was nice. By the time I got up to the office
from the server room the RAM I'd forced out of our vendor had arrived so I've
got to come in at the same time tomorrow to do the same thing, only with two
new sticks of RAM. Happily I know which ones I need to replace so it's all
Otherwise today has been a day of patching machines, patching tomcat5 on
sacrificial machines in preparation for being allowed to do it on the live
boxes, discovering further issues with commandline clients of my CVS/SVN
service which I thought would be a nice easy transition and is proving not to
be unless the clients are Windows based and GUIed and tracking down disk
filling issues (turned out to be a runaway tomcat (that I hadn't patched yet)
We're all (those who're coming) out for a Thursday this week. Some drinkies,
some food, some more drinkies and then a cycle home. I hope the weather
doesn't get too nasty. Also, hmmm, must remember to go and buy lots of bacon
and other breakfast (meat) products for the weekend. That may put paid to
going to the boat house tomorrow evening too.
[18:00] I learned something very useful today. You can install herd (Sun's
diagnostics swiss army knife) on a box after you've had ECC errors and then
feed it the physical addresses coughed up by the OS's EDAC modules and it'll
give you which DIMM pairs are at fault. Very useful when Sun's sending you
out new DIMMs and you aren't sure which ones you have to replace. As it is
the box is going down for a DIMM reseating tomorrow morning before 09:00 but
I'll be asking for more downtime to do the RAM swap on the Friday morning at
Otherwise today I made my calves hurt a bit more by going for another run. No
pain in my knee again (which is good) but there's a weird ache in the tendons
across the top of my right foot (you know the ones which attach to your toes)
which is probably down to the probably slightly unnatural way I'm running at
the moment as I try to learn a new technique which doesn't cripple me in the
long term. The CVS/SVN switchover didn't go exactly according to plan today
as I didn't factor in a few changes of user (running the services) and the
fact that CVS stores a lot of path information in the checked out/sandbox
copies of its repositories. Cue me going around a number of users' machines
and manually frobbing CVS/Root multiple times. Hopefully I won't have to do
it more than once per person (and there aren't that many people). Subversion
appears to be fine because of the way it's run out of an apache configuration
with directory aliases.
Otherwise I've been patching boxes, sending emails about email bounce
addresses and generally Getting Stuff Done. I should head home now as it's
late and perhaps even go and do a bit of an erg as I haven't been to the
boathouse this week and this evening's outing was cancelled.
[17:10] It all got really busy towards the end of the day today. Patching,
bug fixing, configuration file typo checking and helping other sysadmins track
down missing files which had been backed up (we hope) and had then vanished.
Honestly, I'm about ready to go home.
Kris came back from London completely shattered yesterday. The cold she has
has really knocked the stuffing out of her. That's why I'm here though, to
take care of her just as much as I can. As a result (at her urging) we had
delivery pizza last night (and therefore for lunch today) and watched fun
things on television before catching and early bed. I should go home and see
how she's doing really.
Before I go though I should mention that we're starting to think about the
whole kitchen redoing thing, have had almost everyone pay for their hotel
rooms for the wedding and got another chunk of Kris' stuff put away. So,
things are reasonably good right now. I just have to work out if I'm going to
go and erg this evening.
[17:00] Another one of those busy weekends. Oddly though it was almost 100%
good from beginning to end. It started with going to Tesco on Friday which is
always good as it means we don't have to do it over the weekend. Ran into
Jenny while we were in there which was a surprise (in both the fact it has
taken this long and that it happened). Still, there we go.
Anyway, both weekend mornings were mainly about rowing. Saturday morning I
was out in a 4+. We had a reasonable time but I don't think we work too well
as a crew. Perhaps with a few more outings in that particular selection of
people, but I don't think it would work. Sunday morning I was in an 8+ with a
good few high quality veterans and the boat felt pretty sweet and balanced.
Kris and I made excellent progress on getting things squared away at home.
When Kris wasn't yoga'ing she was making delicious soup, clearing up stuff
both in the house and in the garage (which we tidied significantly) and
getting together piles of things to take to the charity shops. I'm pleased to
say that the two Ikea Benno DVD towers were built and despite one of them
being damanged (not my fault this time!) they were both attached to the sides
of their respective Pax wardrobes where they look pretty dammed good if I do
say so myself.
We also went for a bit of a cycle, went to the hardware store for some screws,
organised a replacement wedding 'cake', dealt with a few logistical details
for this and that and even sat on the sofa for a few minutes here and there
over the course of the weekend and caught up on some television.
Today Kris has been in London doing some things connected with an installation
at the Tate, I have been mostly doing bug patching (by rolling out a new
version) of the application I upgraded last week, turning off unnecessary
tomcat5 and postgres services on servers and the usual Monday 'stuff'.
Oh! Important news in that I went for my first run since I injured my right
knee at the London Rat Race two weekends ago. It can't have been more than
4km but I managed it at a gentle pace without any pain, twinges or even
tickles. I also tried to run on my mid-sole as much as I can which I figure
is a) going to be much better for my knee(s) and, b) give me calves the size
of houses within a very short period of time. That or shin splints. I'm not
[16:30] Today I have been mostly patching machines, doing more bug-finding on
the application I just rolled out an upgrade for, relishing my last weekday of
not running (in that I can't wait to start running again next week when I hope
I don't find my injury hasn't healed yet), shutting down unused
postgresql/tomcat5 instances (and then having to start them back up again) and
joining an E.ON thinktank kind of thing and working my way up the leaderboard.
I'm off to Tesco with Kris after work as we've both got fairly full weekends
ahead of us. Last night was a bit odd for various reasons when we thought
no-one was going to come over and then they did and we were in the middle of
other stuff and couldn't host. This has shown that it's probably time I
rethought how to advertise Thursdays. I'll think about it over the weekend
while I'm rowing and cycling and such.
[17:10] Today I have been mostly doing not quite so much. Initially in the
morning there was a bit of a scramble to get some downtime on the application
I updated yesterday. There were some issues with the database modification
SQL scripts (not my fault) so they had to be fixed, some tables dropped and
the SQL re-run. That actually didn't take more than five minutes but it was
good to get it out of the way cleanly.
Since then I've been... honestly I have no idea what I've been doing otherwise
today. I know I've been doing something but I seem to have neglected
to write it down in my notebook for once. I know I did some rsync stuff for
the move of the CVS/SVN services next week, but everything else seems to be a
blank. Maybe it's all the sugar I'm consuming at the moment left over from
the snack attack.
Bookshelf building tonight. It's time.
[16:50] Well we have a new item of furniture (as yet unbuilt). Fun and games
getting to Ikea, and me, the bookcase and Kris home again with two bikes. We
did it though. Teamwork came into play with Kris getting the Burger King
evening repast for the train and making sure she was on the same train as I
was going to catch. Pretty amazing of her, really. Perhaps not the most
dateful date ever, but I'm certain we'll have a better one very soon. Maybe
even this weekend. Dates are important, I think.
Today I have mainly been troubleshooting MySQL configurations, setting up
rysnc cronjobs (which I must remember to disable next Wednesday) and
struggling to deal with problematic SQL scripts which work fine on test
databases but not on live ones when they're run in conjunction with
application upgrades. The rest of the upgrade went flawlessly (apart from
some bad programming on the developers' part which they will need to address
some time soon) so getting in for 07:45 this morning wasn't in any way a waste
Speaking of time, it's almost time for me to go home and spend
precisely two hours blitzing the house tidy with Kris before we
collapse for the evening and perchance find ourselves watching a whole pile of
quality TV with Italian sausage-based pasta. I might even build a bookcase.
[15:50] Today I have been mostly been working on updates, RVM, replacing the
RAM in a server and trying not to eat any of the
huge amount of
snacks which my team leader brought in to the office. I'm sure he's just
trying to make everyone the same size. Having them right in front of my desk
really doesn't help. I think I'm going to move them right after I publish
this entry. Right after I have another rocky road cluster... or two.
All going according to plan I intend to go home at 16:00 today, change bikes,
pick up my wallet, railcard, a book and the Ikea discount card and take a
train to an Ikea which has the bookshelf we want still in stock (apparently
they're being discontinued in the veneer we want). This should see me home
some time around about 21:30 this evening. Hopefully, that is. Kris and
I are also going to try for a dangerous mid-travel meeting so she can help me
home with the thing I'm getting. All being well we'll have a new item of
furniture before the end of the day!
[17:25] Rather than cause myself more injury I bowed out of both doing parkrun
and rowing this weekend. Well on Saturday anyway. On Sunday morning I did go
and do a 10km erg which seemed to indicate that the motion of rowing doesn't
(or at least doesn't now at this stage of my recovery) cause me any pain or
Anyway, as Kris was in Oxford the whole day on Saturday I spent most of the
morning cleaning and tidying what I could of the house. I felt quite a lot
better for it afterwards. Adding two loads of washing and going to Tesco on
top of that simply made me feel pretty pleased about the day. What time I
didn't spend doing stuff I spent watching a little bit of television and
cleaning my bike. Just before Kris came home I did get to make the
unfortunate confirmation that we need to mostly dismantle the wardrobe in our
room to move it across the floor about nine inches so as to fit a Benno DVD
tower down the side of it. It'll require taking the doors off, the door rails
and then removing the fastenings between each frame that makes up the unit as
a whole. Not to mention taking everything out of each frame (although we
might leave the shelves in). Still, I think it'll all be OK as we've plenty
of cross-bracing in now to stop a repeat of the big issue we had with the
other one. We just need a reason to do it now. Probably the day we get the
stuff from Ikea.
Sunday, after the erging I came home and happily spent much of the afternoon
and evening watching TV with Kris. Of course I managed to precipitate an
argument (100% my fault for bringing it up) but awesomeness on both sides
solved the problem before bed time.
Today has been pretty good as Mondays go. Woke up to find Kris beside me
(always amazing), got to work and dried out quickly (raining again), got a
rapid response from Sun after the server which wasn't memory erroring any more
started doing so again, worked out which server I was going to migrate our
CVS/Subversion repositories to and probably did 99% of the work required to
move it all over. All I have to do now is send out the email telling people
when the move will happen. Turn off the services on the old box, rsync all
the repositories across and then turn on the services on the new one. That
and find out when I'll be allowed to do it. Once I have it's just a short two
week wait after that until I can turn off another RHEL3 server! Oh, and I
think I've managed to solve my RVM issues too. Turns out that two days after
installing it I'm helping the author troubleshoot and bugfix it. And now I
think I have a working solution I can install on the right server so
that the developer who needs it can use a more recent version of Ruby to write
his code. Not that I don't think that RPM'ing off the version on RHEL5 and
putting on a new version that way wouldn't work just as well. I just think it
might be more sensible to leave the system one in place.
Right, time to go. Perhaps erg training tonight, perhaps not.
[16:45] Today I have mostly been battling with a potentially really useful bit
of software called RVM. It's for managing multiple copies of Ruby on the same
server (along with their attendant gems). It could be really, really good if
I can work out all of its little foibles. Being on IRC with the slightly
distracted author of said utility has been fairly good, but I can't help
thinking he's just a bit too busy with his day job to be fully focused on the
issues that people are innudating him with (like me).
In other news Kris and I have had the first rough plans of the new kitchen
sent to us, a few more RSVPs have arrived, I've tried wearing my wedding ring
in the evening at home to start getting used to it and it's still
raining. Oh, and I went to the doctor about my knee and should be getting a
physio referral (NHS) in a few weeks. By that time it might have fixed itself
and I could have paid £50 for private physio, but I think if I can save
the money and use the advice the GP gave me in the meantime it might be a
As a result, this weekend I won't be rowing, attending parkrun or aything else
like that. However I will be trying to remember to do some strengthening
exercises and generally trying not to eat too much. If all seems well enough
I might do some long cycle rides to keep from going totally insane. Kris is
off in Oxford on Saturday and involved in yoga all of Sunday so I'll be a
brief batchelor again.