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August's Journal
October's Journal

[17:35] Well, the 2K test wasn't as bad as I feared it would be to do... perhaps because I didn't try as hard as perhaps I should have. In any event, I was fine afterwards, but had a less than impressive (but only nine seconds off my PB) time to show for it. As such I still had enough energy to do a reasonable weights session afterwards. A sure sign that I could have gone harder. Next time, when it means something a little more important. I tried to get a reasonably early night, and was rewarded with not feeling too bad this morning when I dragged myself out of bed for morning exercises. I could/should have gone for a session at the boat house, but I figured less than 14 hours after a 2K and weights I should probably take it a smidgen easier. I've got an outing tonight anyway.

Work today has actually been productive. I've managed to stop at least three different servers complaining about issues they were having, and even a few little problems that weren't immediately obvious have also potentially been fixed too. Although most of them were on that server that I had to graft a new /usr/bin onto so there's no guarantee there's not a lot more broken there, somewhere.

I think I'm approaching readiness with regard to the applications the developer, DBA, and I will be rolling out on Friday. There was a complicated issue with URL paths and rewriting and Tomcat contexts and things this morning, but after it confused my very knowledgable team leader for a while (too, thank goodness) he managed to work out what was going on, and so now I know too. I can't claim I know exactly what's going on, but I think I have a handle on things such that I can at least work out what things to pull and prod if necessary. There are still a few tiny things to do here and there, but I think otherwise I've got my arms around the issue, as it were.

[17:00] I've got my postponed 2K erg test this evening, in about an hour. I'm really not looking forward to it. It's going to be painful, and not particularly good. However, I will endeavour to do my best. We'll see.

Over the weekend I had fewer outings than I expected (one, versus four). But that was OK, especially as I got to have a 10K run on Sunday morning instead (even if I got up early when I didn't have to). After the run I headed on down to London and met Rachel for a relaxing time, which included a nice hotel visit to use the pool and other facilities. I came back this morning and actually didn't have a load of things exploding. My team leader also seemed to be in a reasonable mood given all the things that'd gone on, and the mistakes I'd made. I've actually also made some real progress on the thing which needs to be in place for this coming Friday. I think I might have everything I can get ready ready by the time the external developer arrives. Of course there'll aways be a few things I haven't quite figured out, or have forgotten to do, but they should be fixable fairly quickly I'd have thought given that I should be pretty au fait with the whole setup by then, as well as having my team leader on hand in case I don't know something. Anyway that's Friday, and I've got a shopping list of things to do before then. I've written them down so I don't have to think about them any more today. Chances are I won't have much brain left by the time I get home this evening post-erg...

[17:55] And the short week from hell continues. This time (although the other times have been too) down to mistakes on my part. A whole short cascade of them, really. Perhaps it's karma (like my sunglasses and accidents in America) due to choices I've made in the past. Who knows. To cut a long story short though, I was patching against the recent bash vunlerability and managed to completely hose the box running Oracle VM Manager due to just glazing over when I should have been concentrating on what was right there in front of me on the screen. Cue an entire lunchtime and chunk of the afternoon trying desperately to salavage the OS and the application installation. Right now I have both running again, but I really don't trust either of them as far as I can spit.

After last night's outing and the previous days of exercise I ached horribly this morning. Hopefully the cycle and tonight's row will stretch me out a bit. I've got rowing both mornings this weekend before I head down to London to see Rachel. Then I won't be back until lunchtime on Monday (which is why I've detailed today's excitement in an email to everyone else in the team so they know the score). Hopefully I'll return to find everything's still at least not fallen over, and I can get on with the work I should have been doing on Resin for next Friday. After that (next Friday) I can think about the backup and reinstall of the OS and the software stack on the ill-fated server.

For now though, I'm getting out of here before I do any more damage.

[17:35] Today has been a tough one. And it's not even over yet. Last night's first weights session of the season was extremely tiring. I'm sure I came close to straining my hamstrings at one point, but apparently didn't. However, I was shattered by the time I got home. So obviously I stayed up until gone midnight posting my photos online (see them here if you want. Then I went to bed and managed to drag myself out of it at 06:40 so as to get to the boat house and finish a single 6K UT2 erg by 07:30. I know I used to be a whole lot fitter than I am right now as the single UT2 erg damn near killed me. Shower and a slow slow cycle to work followed. Over a second breakfast of protein shake and a bacon baguette I managed to run the wrong update on one of our system monitoring and control servers and had to spend the remainder of the morning watching/helping my coworker fix the mess I'd made. Thankfully it only seems to be one monitoring service which is unhappy, and we seem to have 90% of it working again (well, 100%, but it keeps emailing us errors). However, in the meantime I was presented with a sticky problem to do with resin (ho ho), a Tomcat-alike servlet engine, which I have to have up and running and configured for quite an important service by a week on Friday, and my updated Firefox (31, RHEL6) suddenly deciding that my Oracle VM Manager's SSL certificate (self-signed) was no longer valid. As this runs with WebLogic underneath I was desperately not looking forward to getting stuck into that. And indeed, it cost me the rest of the day trying to make it work with a proper, signed certificate. Especially because of keystores, certificate formats, and the chaining we have to do given the certificates we get. Suffice it to say I think I now have it working, but I'm not totally convinced I know why. In any event, I wrote everything that worked down and have put the text file in all the obvious places people might look when wanting to do the same thing again in the future. Chances are it'll probably be me, so that should be nice for me, at least.

And now it is well past when I wanted to leave. I'm rowing this evening, so as long as I get to the boat house for about 18:00 I should be fine, but that means I should probably go now. Friday tomorrow, thank goodness. For day two of a three day week I already feel like I've run out of energy and enthusiasm.

[16:50] Well, I'm back. I didn't die, but I did have three car-related incidents, one of which was an accident and probably my fault, another a close call, and the last something a piece of something on the freeway at night that I couldn't have avoided without causing an accident. Suffice it to say, having a total damage waiver with no deductions was a very good idea. I'll definitely be using the company I bought the rental through, and the rental company itself. Thus far (and I don't expect any further contact with them) I've had zero hassle. The trip otherwise was really good. I took a lot of photos and, I think, used most of the time well to do lots of fun things (touristing, cycle touring across the Golden Gate Bridge, road cycling, mountain biking, trail running, beach running, seeing lots of cool things, and hanging out with lots of friends new and even newer). I've still got to put the photos up somewhere, I'll try and do that before the end of the week, also I may put up a potted history of what went on most days whilest I was there, but it won't be much more than an aide memoire for me, so you might want to gloss over it when I do. I intended to do the same for my trip to Bhutan, but never got around to it, so the same might happen this time. In any event, I had a great time, the weather was amazing (hot even for LA; the locals were complaining), and I'm very glad I went, even with the car issues.

Obviously, my first day back at work it absolutely bucketed down on the cycle in, but since I've been here catching up on email and the like the weather has been lovely. I think my feet are just about dry now that it's close to going home time.

Monday evening and Tuesday morning Rachel came to welcome me back, which was lovely of her. She even did some food shopping so we had something to eat. Yesterday after she'd gone I did pop to Tesco and get some essentials for the week, and also mowed the lawn, which was looking a little wild. I also probably stayed up a little too late, and suffered for it this morning when I dragged myself out to do morning exercises. I made it in the end, more as a punishment for not doing my start of season 2K Test at the boat house, but instead going for a nice 10.7K run. This means I still have the test to do on Monday evening, when perhaps I'll be a little more awake, and have remembered how to row...

[16:45] Right, I'm done. That's it. I've made it through the week and today intact. Now I get to go home and begin packing. I'm off for the next two and a bit weeks. I'm heading to California to see people, do fun things, and very carefully drive down the coast from San Francisco to LA, trying to look at the scenery without going over the edge of the cliff. There'll be Alcatraz visiting, touristic type stuff, lots of driving, trail running, sailing, mountain biking, and probably a bit more driving down to San Diego and back before I fly home from Los Angeles. Two people are very generously putting me up/putting up with me in the two major cities I'll be staying in, which has made accommodation planning so much easier. The driving I think will be OK given how wide the roads are and the routes I'm taking for the most part. All that remains is for me to get to the airports and back in both countries.

Nothing really has happened today work-wise. Silly to start anything the day I'm about to leave. I did a gentle 6K run at lunch time, which was going to be with other people until it turned out they'd be doing something more akin to a slow jog as far as I was concerned. I think I've printed out all the maps and directions I need, got a US sat. nav. from a friend, and washed all the clothes I could possibly use.

I think that's it, basically. Have a good few weeks, and safe driving willing I'll see you when I get back, with photos and a summary of what I did on my holidays.

[17:05] All in all a successful day today. After last night's rowing club squad meeting and AGM (which I'll admit I ducked out of just before the end so I could get home and have something to eat) I was up with the mist this morning to be in work to reboot a server and drain its power such that a false positive voltage warning would clear. Happily that went perfectly, so I was in my chair by around 07:30, having been at the other server room just before 07:00. Then there was a morning of catching up on emails, doing some logistics, and worrying that I might not have done enough planning and preparation for my soon-to-be-happening vacation. I think I'm going to be OK, but I should probably do a bit of reading up on things to do where I'm going. Over lunch I went into town with Cormac, originally to get some foreign money for the trip, but in the end decided it would be a better exchange rate to get it out of an ATM over there on the credit card and then immediately pay it off via internet banking. I think that's going to work better.

Anyway, this afternoon I've been reinstalling a server as a newer version of RHEL, and 64-bit rather than 32-bit. This'll be for our new DNS software, which I'm sort of leading the project on somewhat, and should be happening at the tail end of September-ish. Now that that's done and the server seems happy and stuff I'm going to head off and do my 2x 8min AT ergs, sweat a lot, shower, then go home and start putting things in piles.

[18:25] I'm not going to go into just how long I and an Oracle engineer spent flashing and reflashing an x4140 ILOM (and BIOS) to try and get it to work. Suffice it to say that it didn't. Even with the BIOS set to optimal defaults and the HBA removed. Even when going through the unofficial (but suggested) firmware upgrade sequence. The server's up and running, but it's not in any particularly supported state. The ILOM updates fine, it seems to be the BIOS that just doesn't want to. Anyway, that took up all of the morning and my lunch time. So I went for a fast 8K run as soon as I got back. There was the usual pain, but delayed about 500m into the run, sadly. After that went away I decided to push a little harder to see if that kind of exertion would lead to it coming back. Apparently it didn't. I'm still not as fast as I was over 15K back in February, but I think I could get there again with a little more time.

Nothing much else has happened today. Other than compiling a few Apache modules and getting ready for tomorrow morning's early start (reboot and "flea power" drain of a server to clear a voltage warning) I've mainly been just keeping things ticking over.

Last night was dinner club with Kate. We're both about to go our separate ways for a few weeks, so it was nice to catch up beforehand. Tonight it's the boat club's season start squad meeting, followed by the AGM. After that I'm going to go home, put some washing on and eat everything in the house.

[16:45] A sort of satisfying, sort of not kind of day. Most of it has been spent working with an engineer (on site) to get the server I changed the RAID battery in working again. This seems to have necessitated a motherboard swap. Which went perfectly well. Only then we made the mistake of trying to bring the ILOM/BIOS up to date. Long-time readers of this journal will already be shaking their heads and sighing. Yes, it went wrong. Only after he'd left for the day (to come back with more information and another motherboard to replace the one we'd apparently semi-bricked) was I able to flash downgrade the ILOM and get the server working again. I have some more information now which we might try to utilise tomorrow, or we might just keep it on the old, outdated ILOM/BIOS revision and just let it go to its grave in the next few years. I guess we'll see.

Bits of me ache in a less-than-pleasant way today. I'm mildly concerned about tomorrow's run at present. It's my usual injury site that's causing me some consternation. Tonight's 2x 6K UT2 ergs should be fine though. Speaking of exercise, I was pointed at tapiriik today, which seems pretty awesome. I'm now almost fully synced across the three major web sites I use for tracking my fitness, etc. Far nicer than having to upload everything three times. There are some issues with the number of activities I'm trying to get across from one site to another, but hopefully that'll happen over time.

Did I mention I had a driving refresher lesson (and first time in an automatic) last night? The weather was awful, but I had a perfectly fine time, did some motorway driving as well as back roads, roundabouts, etc. Seems I'm a great driver, who just needs to make sure he knows which lane to be in when entering roundabouts. So, that bodes well for my vacation.

[16:30] And we're into September. I say it far too often these days, but the year really is slipping by awfully quickly. Luckily I think I'm getting a fair amount out of the time, as it goes. For example, this weekend I spent Saturday running (pain free) with Rachel before sending her on her way to Tanzania for a few weeks. Then heading to the boat house to just miss the end of the barbeque (so instead working with Keith to decide what jobs needed doing on the Sunday 'boat house maintenance day'). The evening was mostly about trying to make up for the previous week or two's bad nights of sleep. Sunday morning saw me still not feeling totally like I'd had a great night's sleep. Still, I'd had enough that I could get down to the boat house for around nine and then spend the whole day until around six in the evening working on all kinds of things, and directing people to do all kinds of things to make the boat house ready for the new season. If nothing else we've certainly thrown away a considerable amount of stuff we almost certainly didn't need. Sadly, I didn't manage to get someone to weed around the outside of the building, but I can't have everything. I went home quite tired at the end of the day.

This morning I was still feeling the effects of Saturday's run. That is to say that I'd felt tension in my right hip and leg for the whole run (only 8K or so) and was still noticing it somewhat, even when doing morning exercises. By the time I got to lunchtime and the 6K of sprintervals I was going to force myself to do my first 30 paces caused me to pull up short for a few moments to try and banish the return of the old - very painful - glute/hamstring injury. I managed to, but only completed an 8K steady run in a rather lacklustre time. At least the pain didn't continue. I don't know why I was so tired, given I didn't do any exercise yesterday. Maybe that was the problem!

Work-wise I headed over to the old server room this morning to swap four DIMMs in one server, and a RAID card battery in another. Guess which one resulted in a non-booting (not even POSTing) server? The former. Did you guess correctly? I've no idea why, but not even the ILOM/SP fires up, which is a bit disconcerting. So, I've got an engineer coming out tomorrow with a new motherboard.

And now, it's time for me to go home and prepare myself for a driving refresher lesson. I haven't driven in a few years (since I took a lesson to refresh before the last time I was planning on going out of the country), and never an automatic, so I figured it might be a good idea before I go on holiday.