Menu Members Guests LTQ
BOFHcam navigation bar

BOFHJournal

1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

January's Journal
March's Journal


25/02/2011
[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.

24/02/2011
[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.

Apparently not.

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.

23/02/2011
[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.

22/02/2011
[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.

21/02/2011
[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 home.

17/02/2011
[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 home. Annoying.

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.

16/02/2011
[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 both.

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 similar reasons.

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?

15/02/2011
[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.

14/02/2011
[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.

11/02/2011
[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 favourite.

10/02/2011
[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 up on.

09/02/2011
[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.

08/02/2011
[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 power.

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.

07/02/2011
[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 return.

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.

04/02/2011
[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.

03/02/2011
[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 too.

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 the way.

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.

02/02/2011
[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!

01/02/2011
[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.