[16:30] Well, that's it. Nothing else to do today. To be honest there's not
been a lot to do all day anyway. With not being here for the next two weeks
its pretty much been me doing makework rather than starting something new. I
have a list of things I want to get in to on my return, so that should keep me
nice and busy once I'm back (and Kris isn't here). In fact I intend to try
and make some big strides in my work shortly. There's probably quite a bit I
can do if I get myself involved in a few things a bit more aggressively than I
have been recently. Especially if I miss out the middleman in some
situations. Also there's the SAN course coming up which I need to get
organised for too.
Right now though, I'm off home. To pack. Kris will be back from Warwick late
this evening and then, well, photos to follow. Until then have a great time
doing whatever it is you do when you're not reading this.
[17:50] Today, in an effort to stave off feeling fifth-wheelish again I
decided to learn about KVM. It turns out that pretty much all of it is the
same as Xen except that proper external-connectivity networking is broken out
of the box. Therefore with the help of someone else I tracked down the bit of
the RHEL6 manual which tells you how to fix this brokenness so that I could
get off and running. As a proof of concept I got both RHEL6 Workstation and
Windows 7 Professional running on the same RHEL6 KVM hypervisor at the same
time which I thought was at least worthy of some interest from a few people.
Still, now I know it can be done and done easily there's scope for getting
perhaps just a standalone hypervisor so that running RHEL6 and Windows 7 can
be done without a full-blown OS being needed underneath (by which I mean
rather than Windows 7 on RHEL6 doing the apparently more favoured here
"hypervisor with both OSes being guests" thing).
I also went for a run today. Oddly hard this time, which was annoying. So I
only did 6km rather than push it. Especially as my back twinged a little too
towards the end. I don't think it was down to last night's pitch black rowing
outing, but you never know. Anyway, no more rowing for a little while now.
Kris made it safely to Warwick for her talk/seminar/presentation thingy, so
that's all on course. I should go home, do a bit of tidying and packing and
then head out to the pub where a few friends will be gathering this evening.
I have to say, whether or not it was necessary for me to be there, whether or
not I would have contributed or not I think I should have been asked to go to
the meeting which took place today. It would have been nice to have been
kept in the loop as to what's going on here so I can contribute everything I'm
capable of, I think.
[17:00] Last night Kris and I met in town, had a drink and then cycled over to
see our wedding photographer who clued us into the excessive price markup that
wedding photographers usually do for producing wedding albums. We had a good
dig through the options and a look at photos and we're pretty sure we're ready
for him to put something together for us to look at. At this point it'll
probably be easiest for him to mock stuff up and then send us PDFs to look
through until we're happy.
Rather than go home and make dinner we then went out to our closest favourite
Chinese restaurant and had some lovely comfort food before cycling home. Did
I mention that I got my third rear wheel puncture in as many weeks two nights
ago? Well I did, so I'm still on my old, crappy bike. This is annoying.
Also annoying is that I don't have anything to do at the moment. Well, very
little and I'm doing that quickly and efficiently when it happens. I'm also
not really getting much in the way of support from various areas so sometimes
I could probably go an entire day without talking to anyone. This is good in
a way as it means I don't ask what I can only assume are stupid questions (or
at least, that's how they seem to be getting treated) but not so great in
others as I don't feel like I'm getting used to my full potential. I'll admit
that there are times when the idea of moving and having to start again does
hold a bit more appeal than at others.
And now, home. To let someone pick up their car cycle rack and then head to
rowing, in a four, in the rain.
[16:55] In work early today to do a machine update and reboot. Unfortunately
it has been so long since this particular machine was rebooted that a whole
load of services were restarted when it came back up again. Also a very
useful service was removed but I managed to replace it again without anyone
noticing. Which was good.
I then met Kris in town and we had our appointment with the travel nurse who
filled me with Polio, Tetanus, Diptheria, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. Currently
my left arm is fine, but my right shoulder is a bit sore and stiff. Hopefully
this will be all gone by tomorrow evening's outing.
I'm off into town shortly to meet Kris who bought us some supplies from Boots
only to get home and find that some of the boxes of pills were pre-emptied.
We'll go straight from there to see our wedding photographer and talk about
albums and photobooks and our photos being used in his new book on photography
and then go home and have duck fajitas, or similar. There's a lot of packing
to do between now and Thursday when Kris is off to Warwick to give a talk. I
have been informed that the bed is actually buried under clothing at the
moment. If we don't manage to clear it before bed time I think we might just
go ahead and nest.
[16:40] So Kris and had Friday off. Off from everything, pretty much. We
stayed in bed late (awesome), went into town for breakfast (wonderful),
wandered around and randomly tried on clothes here and there (fun) and did a
good bit of preparation for our upcoming trip (useful). We managed to get an
appointment to see a travel nurse and then booked an appointment with one at
our surgery for tomorrow. This is good as I can offset the time I'll be there
by coming in early tomorrow morning to do some server patching.
Kris is horrendously busy at the moment. Literally a day after we get back
from our trip she has to leave for the US. This is because she's been given
two interviews and the only sensible time to have them is before she starts
doing her teaching at the place she's going to be for the spring.
Unfortunately this means she's going to be away for just a little over
thirteen weeks. Obviously this is deeply non-optimal. It is what it is,
however. And what that is is necessary. Because of all of this she's having
to cram a whole load of stuff she was going to do when we got back into this
week and it's going to be pretty tight.
What didn't help was that she had yoga teacher training this weekend so both
of those days were out for doing all the things she needs to still do. I was
rowing both mornings (racing on Sunday morning, which went quite well even if
I was only in an eight rather than an eight and a four like last time). Plus
she's away from Thursday until late on Friday because she's giving a talk in
Warwick. But that was why we had Friday off; so we'd actually see each other
before we pretty much meet to go to the airport! It's not quite that bad
because we'll see each other every evening between now and then, but there's
going to be so much happening this week it'll be pretty much bed time before
we're both able to stop and spend some time with the other person.
So, that's pretty much what's happening with us at the moment. Today I've
collected some useful bits and bobs from Cormac on the way back from a 6K run
which again felt suspiciously fast, patched a few machines and arranged to
patch another tomorrow, caught up on a few technical developments and again
pondered my employment here and discovered something which I hope to follow up
on before going home this evening. Consequently, I might be a little late
[17:30] I forgot my lights today. It should mean I left work early so it was
still light, but I haven't. This means I'll have to walk bits of the route
Also annoying is that I've barely done any work today. I got a few SSL
certificates done and fought the urge to swear at a someone because they seem
to be actively blocking my desire to learn more by just not including me on
stuff. Frankly, sometimes I think getting a new job wouldn't be a bad idea.
I love it here but it's much better when there's actually things to do; I'm
having things demanded of me and there are deadlines.
Anyway, I have tomorrow off to do fun things with Kris, and I don't have my
lights so I should probably leave now. See you on Monday after a weekend of
rowing and hopefully relaxation for me.
[16:50] Kris got another job interview through last night. Which is
brilliant! Along with the first one it does, however, mean that she has to
leave for the US two days after we get back from honeymoon. And then she's
away from home for 13 weeks and 2 days.
Quite a long time.
I'm so proud of her though. For being offered this teaching job at basically
one of the top universities (don't concern yourself with college Vs university
differences) in the US. For being offered interviews for tenure-track jobs at
two very good universities in the US and for managing to juggle everything
neatly and tidily so that it all works out for her. While it almost certainly
means Big Changes are coming (an early candidate for Understatement of the
Year, that), this is how it has to be because I have IT skills rather than Art
Historian skills so my chances of getting a job where she is offered one are
much, much higher than her getting one where we are right now. I find myself
hating where we are now because of that and what it'll mean in upheaval for us
What I do know is that we're going to figure out all of this stuff together so
that we can always help each other with the hundreds of things we'll be
required to do to end up in the same place at the same time permanently. It's
going to be an interesting year. Just like last year was and for broadly
Oh, I did some work today. I noticed that some web servers were down last
night right as I was going to bed. It was something like 23:00 or so. I was
tired so I noted it and went to bed after firing off an email to say I'd be in
earlyish this morning to bring them back up again. I probably should have
brought them up there and then but I was so tired I didn't have the energy to
do what was required. So, I got in early this morning, brought them up and
have spent the day trying to figure out what might have been the problem. I
think I have it pinned down to some kind of denial of service attack (or not
so much an attack as just lots of requests without thinking about the
consequences) so I'll be watching it again this evening in case the same thing
happens again. This means checking before I go out this evening and then now
and again before I go to bed. Ran at lunch. It was a rather hard 6K at
probably a faster pace than I was intending. It's funny how that happens.
More work this afternoon but currently not as much as I'd like. I have to
admit to feeling a little underused and like my skills are atrophying
somewhat. I have the capacity to learn far more than I currently know, it's
just that right now I don't think there's reason for me to be doing so... so
I'm not pushing myself or being pushed to increase my skillset. I think
something's coming soon that I can get my teeth into, but it's not here at the
moment. This gives me more time than I'd like to think about other stuff.
And finally, I'm rowing this evening. That's it. I'll go home shortly, kiss
my wife, do the washing up and head out. Why is it I feel so mentally tired
at the moment?
[17:05] Mostly today I have been emailing Sun/Oracle about the machine I was
dealing with over the weekend, patching machines and emailing important emails
to an important person. I also went for an 8K run which was suspiciously easy
which means I was either going far more slowly than normal or having Monday
off was far more beneficial than I thought.
We had the boiler at home serviced today. A little more than I was expecting
but it's good to know that I'm keeping to the letter of the new insurance I
bought recently. Also, new graphite gasket! Whatever that is.
Oh, and I spent a surprisingly large amount of time spring cleaning my desk
area. An imperial buttload of paper and other misc. crap binned and/or
shredded and now things look a lot more... professional. Yes, you might have
also noticed that I've taken down all the comic strips and posts around here
too. I just felt it was time. Tomorrow I might bring a few things home, too.
Like this 1TB portable HDD. Not tonight though, I'm off to Tesco with my
girl. Ahh the romance of it all.
Speaking of romance. Pizzas and TV last night. Didn't quite manage to get
everything we wanted done, but there's a lot to be said to snuggling up with
delivery food when one person has jet lag, the other person is shattered.
[16:25] Kris got home from NY at around 13:10 today and I was there to meet
her having decided that greeting my wife was more important than going for a
run. I'd have to say that I was completely right about that in retrospect.
She's rather tired but in good spirits considering the successes she had over
the last five days or so. We'll be spending a quiet night in tonight with
some kind of delivery food, a sofa and plenty of chatting. What happens once
we've been on our honeymoon is something I'll talk about another time.
Saturday and Sunday were quite different in some ways. Saturday morning's
outing was abysmal as far as I was concerned. We had a new person in the boat
and he was really quite disruptive even though he was probably trying not to
be. I have no idea why he was selected as he really needs to be a bit more
experienced. Anyway, once that debacle was over with I went home, grabbed the
pizza I'd had delivered free the night before (with one I paid for) and went
to work to do the downtime stuff I'd planned. Between 11:50 and (wait for it)
19:30 I stripped down, rebuilt, firmware upgraded and SunVTSed an X4600 M2
server and discovered that there is something wrong with the Hypertransport
interconnects... but I don't know what. It wasn't a very exciting afternoon
and evening, except that when I finally found a point at which I could go home
(and continue working from there until around 21:00) I discovered I had a flat
tyre and therefore had to walk home with my bike over my shoulder to save the
tyre from getting deformed or split. I now have a bruise on one shoulder from
a brake cable guide. Not a great day all told. I did manage to email Kris
two photos of the snowdrops in the garden, though.
Sunday morning's outing was much much better. Not amazing, but I think the
boat was a lot more sat and generally happier. For some reason I'm not in the
4+ for the racing this coming weekend. I'm in the 8+, but not the 4+ I was in
last time. I have to wonder if I'm not keeping my place in the boat in the
long term. Right now I'm not sure how I feel about that given it a) saves me
money but, b) may indicate that the coach believes other people are better or
stronger rowers than I am. More on that in the future. The rest of the day I
took as well-deserved rest and recouperation, even though I did tidy a bit
here and there. I probably should have done some laundry, but I just didn't
have it in me.
I think I'll try and go home early and see my wife.
[17:25] A big day for Egypt. Congratulations to them. Now the real work will
begin. Good luck.
The real work happening here today centered around working out what was
causing the high amount of network connections we were still suffering which
started yesterday. We discovered in the course of trying to install the
extremely annoying extra software we'd gained an evaluation license for that
it was all down to Samba trying to make connections to mounts on a server
which wasn't currently in service. After unmounting those stale mounts it
looks like all the stupid UDP connections have vanished, which is nice.
That kind of left a void in the rest of the day as there wasn't much else to
do and because I'd put off the patching I'd been due to do this morning. As a
result I decided to go for a 10K run at lunch time. Which was nice.
This afternoon I've mainly been preparing for tomorrow. After rowing, I'll be
coming into work and doing an SP/BIOS update on another X4600 M2 (the first
one which has been randomly rebooting), taking out all of the processor cards,
dusting it and then running SunVTS for the afternoon. It could be a pretty
boring afternoon, but luckily I have access to things to watch on the net and
the ability to use a vKVM to watch the diagnostics from not in the server
room. I'll also be patching the server I was going to do this morning, too.
Hopefully I'll get out of here well before the end of a normal working day
tomrrow. Rowing both mornings is going to make me pretty tired for the rest
of the weekend as it is. Coming in and concentrating really isn't going to be
[17:35] Annoyance abounds today. Some caused by someone I work with getting
frustrated and therefore not clear in his communications and then blaming me
for things he didn't clearly detail and the rest caused by something somewhere
eating up all of the connections pool on our firewalls no matter what we put
the limit up to. I've managed to install some software that'll actually allow
us to see where these connections are going from/to, but I've been stymied by
the licensing pages which require the Networks guy to be here to tell me what
to put in the boxes.
Rowing last night was so-so. I thought the boat felt sluggish and sticky as
though we weren't putting the power down at the same time and we had a new guy
in the boat who caused some real balance issues. Of course, as per usual I
was in at bow which meant I got to see everything going on. Useful, I guess.
I'm off out for dinner with Kate this evening. I really don't feel in the
mood for it tonight but it'll be great once I'm there as we've a lot to catch
[17:25] First full day with Kris away. I dealt with it by getting up later
than usual due to last night's erg session at the boat house followed by a
nice big meal and going to bed a little later than I should have done. This
therefore necessitated doing my morning exercises a little more rapidly than
usual and then making lunch and getting out of the door in seconds flat.
Mostly today I have been discovering why the email notifications I set up for
certain CVS repositories weren't working (and now are) and going for an 8km
runs while hoping that it won't tire me out for the evening's row.
I hope Kris has had a good day in New York. She met for one pre-interview
interview today (actually, owing to time zones she's doing that right now
actually) so I hope that all goes well. I'm sure I'll find out by email
either tonight or when I get up tomorrow morning. Speaking of which I'm after
an application for KDE (3) which'll display a chosen timezone's clock (but
not by using the clock on the KDE bar at the bottom, I want to keep that on
my timezone). At the moment I have KDE World Clock, but that requires me to
put a mouse over New York (marked with a flag, at least) every time I want to
check, rather than just having a window with it in.
Hmm, getting a bit late now and I need to get home, have a snack and be out of
the house again rather quickly.
[16:45] Kris left for New York this morning. She was out of the door for
around 06:15 so I got to work a little after 07:00. The firmware upgrade on
the APC UPS here went perfectly, which was useful. Since the huge leap up a
few years ago I think things have become a whole lot more reliable in that
regard. This is good when you're talking about something that can shut down
your entire server room. Hopefully this new firmware won't feel that one
subnet doesn't deserve to be told that it's back off battery and getting mains
Otherwise very little has happened today. I'm going to be going to Tesco this
evening and then depending on how I feel either going to the boat house to do
an erg of some kind or going and staying home and just chilling out and maybe
watching a film or something. As I check my watch I think Kris is about half
way through her flight. I hope it's all going well.
[17:05] Amazingly, every single one of the transportation links Kris and I
took this last weekend worked perfectly. Cycles to the station, trains north,
car further north and east, car back, trains south and cycles home. I have to
say that that kind of thing makes a weekend like what we had quite a bit more
bearable. We also had seats on every train, good books, food and a laptop
showing downloaded television. Frankly I really can't complain. Of course,
it was lovely to see the family (parents and brother) as well as my single
remaining grand parent and to give the second half of our Christmas present
(a wedding photo for the frame we'd bought) and receive our wedding present in
Today I've mostly been doing printouts for Kris for her trip to New York for
the remainder of this week. She's off to a conference to give a presentation
and do some pre-interview interview type things. As I've said previously,
this could mean the beginning of big changes in both our lives depending on
how things go. I know she's awesome, but now it's just a case of seeing if
everyone else sees the same great things (or different) that I do.
[14:45] I don't know if it's good or not but the race I'm missing this weekend
has been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions being anticipated
tomorrow. This is bad in that the boat doesn't get to race, but good as it
means I'm not missing a race and therefore will have a chance to remain in the
boat when I come back. Or at least I hope so.
Quiet day today, which is good it being a Friday for which I'm only really
here for three quarters of. Also good because the long day yesterday
(culminating in celebrating Chinese New Year with everyone at a restaurant)
left me feeling a little tired this morning. I didn't even run at lunch time
today (although I was thinking about it a lot). Work has consisted of wiping
a 1TB RAID1 array, perl module maintenance and monitoring the server I fiddled
with yesterday. Some soft CPU lockups going on that I'm not quite sure about
yet but I'll have another look at that on Monday.
And that's it, I'm off home shortly and then we're away to see my parents, my
brother, his house, my grandparent, give a wedding photo, repair a computer,
have Waitrose Chinese food and come home again on Sunday. In approximately
that order. There'll be trains, automobiles but no planes at this point.
[17:05] Another night of decent sleep, which is good. A shame I had to be up
about and out of the house before 06:30 though. It was cool though, the
weather was fine, the traffic practically zero and the work once I got to the
server room went flawlessly without even an fsck on the array required after
reboot. I headed into work, did the morning (including a well-deserved egg
and bacon baguette mid-morning), did the lunchtime run I would have done
yesterday if I hadn't been recovering still and then did the afternoon's stuff
Last night I was out with the boat, but on the bank for once. Interesting to
be a bank party at night as I've not done it before. Equally interesting to
see the kind of speed the boat gets a) without me in it and, b) from the bank
on a bike. Next time I think I'll run alongside instead but I had to be able
to get ahead and warn of any (badly or not at all) lit boats that might get in
As it's the Chinese New Year today Kris and I and a few others are off to our
usual Chinese restaurant of choice to celebrate it. No sake this time (it is
Japanese after all) and fewer people, but it should still be fun. Plus Kris
and I are having drinks beforehand. Speaking of which I should get out of
here so I can get there in time.
[16:35] Well, I'm feeling a whole lot better today, which is good. I wasn't
100% when I woke up this morning but compared to yesterday and the fact that I
had what felt like a whole uninterrupted night's sleep meant that I was far
more able to face the day. I didn't run at lunch time today (no sense in
pushing it straight away) but, as I needed to cycle into town to drop off a
system board and a can of compressed air for tomorrow's early morning server
work, at least I got out of my chair during the course of today.
In another bit of excellent news Kris and I got the house and contents
insurance sorted last night. It now covers everything we have properly
(thank heavens for "unlimited" cover, no need to tot lots of things up) and a
few new clauses which will almost certainly never prove useful, but give a bit
more peace of mind. Not to mention that the price is only around two pounds
per month more than it was before with my last insurers and is about two
hundred pounds a year cheaper than the same insurers were going to be this
year (before factoring in getting extra cover for Kris' stuff). So, a win
there, I think.
As I'm not in the boat for the race at Peterborough this weekend I'm not in
the boat this evening. However I have volunteered to be the bank party so I
still have to get myself and my bike down to the boat house for 18:30 this
evening. I don't have to hang around afterwards though, which means I can get
back in plenty of time for dinner and downloaded TV, hurrah!
[17:00] I have no idea what I had or have or am getting over but it made me
feel rotten all of yesterday evening and throughout the night. I'm pretty
sure I woke every ten minutes throughout the night because I was either too
hot or too cold by turns. Having watched far too much CSI before bed my
dreams were all about trying to track down why I was too hot and/or too cold
and zooming and enhancing until, like a fractal, more detail was revealed. I
have to say it got pretty old, pretty quickly. Amazingly though I wasn't
completely shattered when I finally got out of bed this morning. I put this
down to sharing a bed with Kris, who's wonderful, amazing and lovely and
looked after me superbly for the whole evening once I'd made it home with
Cormac who was back from his holiday and with me to collect his car from where
it'd been parked in our driveway for a week.
Today I have arranged to be in work (town server room) for before 07:00 on
Thursday morning (essential server work to try and stop random reboots on a
production DB box), read through two different insurance policy booklets and
tried to just feel better. I do, somewhat. There's just this slight feeling
of blerg, thick-headedness and stomach oddness which I still haven't managed
to completely shake yet. I'm still in the dark as to what exactly caused this
but my money's on the black grapes we got from Tesco. We'll see.
Right now I'm just glad I don't have to go rowing tomorrow evening (there's a
race this weekend which I can't make) and all I need to do is pedal down to
the boat house this evening and pick up a wedding photo print which is going
in a frame for my grandmother.