30/06/1999 (What-I-did-on-my-holiday Edition)
Wednesday was vist-the-relative day. The girlfriend is going to be going to
Merkia with on of her grandmothers for a month fairly soon, so she thought it
nice to visit the other one to soften the blow of not going with her instead.
We extricated the car from the mire which was the approach road/track and drove
over the windiest and up-and-downiest roads on the face of the planet to Colwyn
Bay. Once there we took tea, browsed second-hand bookshops for sci-fi books and
took a trip to Llandudno pier. Leaving at around 18:00 we headed back. I think
that was the night we watched a large amount of Red Dwarf on video.
29/06/1999 (What-I-did-on-my-holiday Edition)
Tuesday was hot. It was hot and sunny, even at 07:00. We got up - at this
insane hour for a holiday - so we could get a lift into Aberystwth. Once there
we spent a lazy morning wandering around before the tourists got there and
spoilt the tranquility before moving on to Bourth (or however it's spelt) where
we found the beach and promptly jumped in the sea. I haven't been in the sea
for years, it was quite an experience having cold water lap up over your
Back on the beach we sunbathed and found to our horror that welsh sun ins't like
sun elsewhere, it burns you, even when you think you're O.K. She and I burnt on
our backs and decide to call it a day, even while the sun was still up.
We caught the train back to the middle of nowhere and spent the evening applying
coold cream to each others backs, and other affected parts.
28/06/1999 (What-I-did-on-my-holiday Edition)
The next five days worth of entries are what I did on my holiday as recovery
from the job. Hopefully they'll answer all your questions related to things
like did I tan, did I burn, did I get my end away and did I find a cyber cafe to
log on from to check mail? Anyway, here goes.
We got up on the Monday and tried to hire a car (having found that it was in
fact cheaper to hire a car for the week than to get trains everywhere) and found
that having four points on your license (hers, not mine, I don't have one) and
being a student (she's not any more, but she forgot) means you can't hire a car
for a week. Luckily unix support bloke was around to remind the girlfriend that
she was in fact no longer a student. Suitably molified by this, the hire
company allowed us to take away a small red Toyota. We debated taking my bike
(fairly decent mountain bike) and found that if you took off both wheels and
the saddle, it fit, just.
Having a long way to go, we set off fairly quickly and made our way to Wales,
land of sheep, mountains and clean air. Arriving in the valleys we found to my
delight that cell phone reception is non-existant and there was no way I was
going to be called with work problems.
Getting to the girlfriend's aunt's house was fairly tricky, with the trail
leading up there being kind of muddy. The house/cottage was rural, miles from
anywhere and devoid of television reception. When we arrived there was no-one
there, so I climbed the mountain behind it. I must have gone at least four
hundred metres vertically. The view was spectacular, the air clear and there
were no computers. That evening we relaxed in an oversoft bed and wondered what
the weather would be like on Tuesday.
There will be no updates to the BOFHJournal
between the 28th of June and the 4th July. Normal service will resume on Monday
7th July. I'm on holiday. The PFY isn't, so you can always watch her (and
email me if she does something wrong). Depending on how I feel when I get
back, I will either fill in the blanks, or give a big entry on Monday 7th July.
Email in the meantime telling me what you did during the week. Hard luck
stories will be accepted and laughed at as I sit in the sun. Suffer, mortals.
[email protected] units: 500 requested, 482 returned
The PFY's back. She's full of knowledge and stuff. Luckily this means I can
delegate more tasks to her.
The AO came round late yesterday and asked me to go through the final stages of
the data input and calculations that we did last Friday. I could have told her
where the hole was that caused the errors in the datasheet, but as it was mainly
her fault that the bad data I input wasn't caught, I had to let her reach the
This morning (because from now on the PFY's on half-days again) is preparation
day for my absence next week. The PFY is going round all the machines checking
their graphics and NIC drivers to ensure, in the case of a tragic crash, that
she can rebuild a machine from scratch and get it going again. Having all
documents and the lusers' Eudorka directories backed up means that a
catastrophic crash is actually an opportunity to re-install someone's machine
like I like it.
I'm also really pissed off with this graphics card thing. Ever sice I got it
and (I think) upgraded to Service Pack 5, it's been losing gifs under Netscape.
My guess is that it's not caching them correctly, which is a pain. Any
suggestions on how to fix this would be useful.
[14:55] Leaving prompt at 16:30 today. Now's your last chance to email me with
[email protected] units: 490 requested, 476 returned
Hum. When I got in this morning I was sad to see that the number of units being
processed had gone down markedly. However, I'm now happy to report (for those
of you who care) that I've found a version of [email protected] that runs as a command
line under Windows. Hopefully this should cut back on
processor usage and get me back on track. I tried putting a version on
Frankenstein, but every one I had core dumped.
There's been no further developments on either of the two big issues yesterday
(the data and the nosebleed). All I can hope is that things remain like that.
Given the fact my paycheque clears at the end of this week, I think it's high
time I purchased a computer. Sometime over the next week while I'm on holiday
(did I mention I'm having next week off?)...
O.K., due to pressing needs this week (the PFY being on a course) I wasn't able
to take my first real holiday in five years until a week after I'd finished the
data processing. Now that this week has almost finished I can reveal that from
the 27th of June to the 4th of July I will be Away From the Keyboard. Don't
worry though, I'll either give you a bumper 5th of July entry, or do some
retroactive entries. The PFY will be here for you to oogle at (I know who you
Today I am going to attempt to do as little work as possible.
[email protected] units: 480 requested, 473 returned
The data I've been working on, slaving over, double- and triple-checking. The
data I went to a stuffed shirts dinner last night to celebrate having turned
out correctly and being over, has been brought to our attention as having a
major mistake in it.
When the Admin Officer and I looked over the data ourselves we found a second,
undiscovered error. I'll not go into the hows and whys of the matter, suffice
to say that it was Her and my fault in equal measure and we're facing the
of anger together.
The chief called us into his room and spoke in a Calm Reasoned Voice while his
skin colour was something approaching alabaster. I felt ten years old again.
Of course, everyone else is being supportive and understanding. The amount of
hours I put in, followed by the PFY's checking and the AO's final checking at
01:00 on the day of release shows how much we put into something I shouldn't
have been involved with in the first place except as a technical consultant.
Damage recovery procedures are now in operation.
And today was going to be a relaxing day.
[18:30] For the last 20 min I've had a monster of a nosebleed. Can't really
cycle home while it's gushing like this. I guess it's too much Karate not
enough practice at blocking...
21-22/06/1999 (Amalgamated Edition)
[email protected] units: 469 requested, 465 returned
I think I told you all I was having the day off yesterday. If I didn't, then
tough, I did. Woke deliciously late (08:00) and actually breathed during
breakfast. I had to get into town for 10:00 to install this PC I've been
When I managed to drag myself into town, having reassured myself that the PFY
hadn't burnt the backup tapes, by phone, She was there with her car and the
box. I had been hoping to meet the girlfriend at 11:00 to do some lazy window
shopping, but the luser was so unclued about NT (having previously been on a
monochrome Toshiba laptop) that I had to spend time getting him past the 'too
scared to move the mouse' stage.
Not that the Institution's network administrator was any good. He'd lost the
email detailing the MAC address of the box so he'd not set up the DHCP
allocation or taken the port security off the patched in point. A quick phone
call seemed to knock the cobwebs out.
The rest of yesterday was spent watching television (I'd forgotten I had one)
and walking about in the sun.
Today (, tomorrow and Thursday) looks like being quite some fun. The PFY is on
an NT course and from then on goes back on half-days. This should enable me to
get a goodly amount of slacking done in the lazy, hazy afternoons. Truth be
told, there's a lot I want to do, nevermind need to do. I'm still not totally
au fait with this 'manager' thing so working on my own for a while might a)
enable me to get some work done without having to worry about what to give the
PFY to do and b) remind me how much I do need Her to do the work I don't
want/have time to do.
Tonight is the celebratory formal dinner for the completion of the data work for
this year. Black Tie, wine, good food and lots and lots of much older people
than myself talking about highbrow concepts and boring topics of dinner
conversation. If it wasn't free and probably involved sherry or port or
somesuch at a later point in the evening I'd have said no. As it is, I worked
damned hard for this 'perk' and if it wasn't going to be obvious I'd steal a
few bottles and have it away on my heels before the conversation put me to
I dunno. Maybe I'll move the camera to somewhere nearer for a while.
[email protected] units: 451 requested, 444 returned
Ha! It's always the same. I get cut a break (Monday off) and then realise I
can't take advantage of it. No, on Monday I'm delivering a PC to someone in an
outlying part of the Institution, something that has to be done by car. I guess
if this can be done early in the working day I can simply go home after that.
Damn, I just realised that fifteen minutes of pre-emptive work has been for
nothing because I got the year wrong. Do I bother to print out the data sheets
again because they have 1998 rather than 1999 on them? Have to see what the AO
says I guess.
Tonight I get to see some of the shining examples of humanity that are a.f.p
regulars. I've even got three of them using my floor for a bed tonight. Other
than that, it's been fairly quiet day so far.
[email protected] units: 434 requested, 427 returned
Today is the first morning when I don't have to do something with the DoD.
Unfortunately, some of this afternoon and much of tomorrow will be taken up
with the final round of DoD work. Luckily everything has to be finished
by tomorrow at around 15:00. So one way or another I'll be shot of that part of
it by then.
Of course, after all of that there's still the further statistics, the analysis
of this year's data input and the rewriting of the databases to help avoid this
kind of stress next year. Of course, it's not actually the databases that
caused the problems in the main. It was the lack of decently integrated
statistics and reporting which gave me the headaches.
Yes, there are things I could do to make it more streamlined, but in the end
there's still going to be lots of stuff to be done by hand.
Like I said, there's not much to do on the DoD this morning except practice for
the stuff required this afternoon and tomorrow. I haven't thought about
anything but the DoD for so long that I neither have the desire or mindset to do
anything but the DoD or slack for a while. Thing is, there is lots to be done;
the web pages need updating, the admin machines need tidying up, the network as
a whole needs cleaning up, I've got a machine to roll out on Monday and we're
still having some unexplained problems with ARCserve.
The fun never ends.
Something I spotted online:
WASHINGTON, DC--Citing a variety of vague misgivings he "can't quite explain,"
President Clinton vetoed Monday H.R. 1556, a bill that would have provided tax
breaks to corporations that offer maternity-leave packages to female employees.
"I don't know, it's just sort of hard to put into words," Clinton said following
the veto. "It's weird, but something about this bill just didn't seem right. I
know I should be, but for some reason, I'm just not into it."
That's the most powerful man in the world, that is.
[14:05] My eyes hurt. I'm assuming it's because even though I don't suffer
from hay fever, this area has been getting pollen counts of 900+ when 100 is
considered 'High' on weather reports. The blame is apparently being put un
eight warm summers which has lead to the grasses shooting forth. I can't fault
them there, my front gravel patch at home's been infested.
Database corrections happen tonight between the hours of 17:00 and 18:00. Joy.
[19:10] Despite starting thirty minutes early we've (the AO and me) only just
finished going through the data forms that the othere see. But
it's now so close to being finished from a this-has-to-be-done-sharpish point of
view that I can smell the acrid odour of files being backed up for the long
Naturally in a few days I'll have to start picking apart the last few weeks'
experiences and redesigning the DoD to be a little more simple to use (I'm not
doing this data next time, I have whole new DoD to design!). But, until then,
as a reward for services rendered above and well beyond the call of duty, job
description or sanity, I've been awarded Monday off.
This isn't bad, considering Mondays round here. Anyway m'off to watch The
[email protected] units: 421 requested, 414 returned
O.K. Hopefully this entry will be a little more consious. On Monday evening I
went to the Ball. I was quite tired from the day's session of data input so I
wasn't especially happy to go to an allnighter. The thing was pretty O.K., the
stand-up acts were good, food was excellent.
At 06:00 Tuesday I and a few others did the boating down the river (up stream
actually) to have breakfast by the river. Unfortunatley I was seriously tired
by this point and had managed to cut the palm of my hand fairly deeply so I
wasn't in the best mood for this, either.
By the time we got back to the centre of town at 09:30 I was on my second wind
and decided that rather than go home, crash out and have to face going into
work (I had to go into work as things needed
to be done on the DoD) I would go in straight away and see if I couldn't get
home by 12:00 or something.
As it turned out there was masses to do and I didn't get home till gone 16:00.
I crashed out and watched a bit of TV. Within five minutes I felt dizzy and
went to bed. I didn't wake up 'till the girlfriend let herself in and made me
eat something at around 19:45. Straight after that I lapsed back into u
The AO had told me catagorically that she didn't want me back in work until
10:00 today. The deadline for the stuff I was rushing through yesterday was
10:00 today. So I was in by 09:30, just in case something required my
I have more stuff to do today, which includes extending the functionality of the
previous incumbent's frankly piss-poor attempt at a database, to help with the
statistics I have to produce. This is slightly less frantic, but needs
to be done.
Doctor! I need recovery!
[18:21] Well, apart from the corrections after the evaluation meeting tomorrow
I'm all done on the DoD! There's some stats still to be done and the
corrections will need to be done fairly quickly, but the massive, massive bulk
of things are done, finished, ended. Huzzah!
Naturally, this isn't the time to stop and do nothing for a while, I have
shit-loads to do now these DoD are over...
[email protected] units: 396 requested, 390 returned
[16:09] Got back from Ball at 09:30. Tired; no sleep, came straight into work
from Ball; lots of DoD work to do. Late entry in Journal, sorry. Going home.
In from 10:00 tomorrow morning with more to do.
[email protected] units: 398 requested, 398 returned
[15:40] Monday morning saw the arrival of the main bulk of the data. A good
few thousand discrete data items to be input, checked and printed for second
checking. My eyes hurt.
The end is in sight though. The final databooks are been tracked down by my
trained team of datahounds. They are manning (hounding?) the telephones,
causing untold numbers of people to scrabble in their drawers and come up with
flimsy excuses as to why the data isn't here with me. Deadline
isn't Friday as I thought, but Wednesday, at 10:00. This isn't good. It means
I get the corrections back and have to produce the new stuff within 36 hours.
The main reason I'm not happy is that I'm going to what might possibly be my
very last May Ball. This is a University thing that the girlfriend is dragging
me along to tonight. At a cost of £149.00 we will be wined (I don't drink
wine), dined (I don't like some of what's on the menu) and treated (along with
about 1000 other people) to amusements, music, attractions, live acts and
general drunken debauchery from 20:00 until around 03:00. Then, the people who
have coughed up the cash (me, her, some others) are boated down the river for
what is going to be (or I'm going to raise some cane) a spanking good breakfast,
before being boated back.
As a result, I'm hoing to leave here by 18:00 at the latest and try to drag
myself in (after being up till 06:00) for 14:00 to get this stuff checked for
the final time.
I doubt you'll see much of me on camera until Wednesday morning. This isn't my
job, but I'm damned if someone's going to fuck it up at this stage.
[email protected] units: 378 requested, 378 returned
I'm annoyed that I can't run SETI on the big machines any more. I'm dropping
away down the tables now. At least it's Friday though.
I'm not going to comment on that article on RedHat going public. I'm not even
going to provide a link to it. If you're that interested, try Slashdot or
Data entry is stepping up a gear here, with more and more pouring in. It's one
of the most boring jobs in the world, if it wasn't for the music in my head, I'd
dum, de-dum de-dum, laa laa, dum dum
In other news, the person I borrowed the digital camera from has removed it from
my possession because I held onto it to long. There's a good possibility he'll
email me the pictures though. So that's O.K.
I'm running low on comments from you people out there who read this. I get my
usual posts from Erin and Co., but it's time the people who just lurk made
themselves known. Tell me what's happening. Get a namecheck, complain,
[13:20] Nice one. Jack's the winner of a plastic chimpanzee nightlight for the
first person to respond to my plea. Something I forgot to mention, which you
might have seen on the camera at around 10:00, was two blokes and me discussing
big sheets of white paper with black lines on. What we were doing was not the
Institution's attempt at the World's Largest Paper Aeroplane, but the plans for
the ethernetting of a big chunk of the building I'm in. The people above want
119 ethernet points and 6 phone points and it's up to me and these blokes to get
the thing done.
Now, I know for a fact that there will not be one hundred and ninteen people in
the building at once who will want to plug in laptops, let alone have ethernet
capabilities. We'll put aside the headache in working out how to assign IP
numbers while they're connected and move on to the fact that I've stipulated
that there will not be (for alt least two years) more than forty-eight ports
required to be active at any one time. This eases up my options a tad by
allowing me to shoehorn a 37U and 27U set of racks into a dark, dank and damp
room, rather than something more. I have stated categorically that until the
place is damp-coursed, replastered and generally 'made good' there's no active
kit going withing sparking distance of the place.
Easy options based on money and time come down to Cat-5E or Cat-6 throughout,
two 3Com SSII 1100's with a matrix cable and a 100Mb/sec fibre module to slot in
the back of one of them. This means I have forty-eight 10Mb/sec full-duplex
ports and two 100Mb/sec. The matrix arrangement allows me to stick another two
1100's in, should the need arise, and then I can always use one of the 100Mb/sec
coppers from the front if suddenly everyone gets connected.
Comments (no suggestions, this has been approved and is now set in plastic, if
not stone) welcome. Flames not so welcome.
Weird, I can smell cooked potato.
[17:20] Something of interest to people is
The Rapidly Changing Face of Computing
Technology Journal Best to have RealAudio.
[email protected] units: 371 requested, 371 returned
Today is one of those weird, nothing to do but idle around days. I've done
nothing this morening but some trivial corrections on last night's data entry
(was leaving at 18:00, early for me, when the AO handed me two thick data books,
luckily there was very little data in 'em). Other than that I've been advising
someone on RAID5 controllers and keeping up on the Monastary.
Yes, yes, I know quite a few of you want a new PFY story. As soon as the
data entry is over I will do one. Just think of this time as more chance to
build up content.
Bit of a shock yesterday when it was announced that SETI have been sending out
the same units over and over again since May 24. Someone mentioned that
according to them, only 115 discrete units have been sent out. I find this
number a little incredible. Other people have countered that the problem is
that with over 500,000 people now involved, with the average
number of machines per person being two, there are simply not enough dayta units
available to satisfy everyone, so the same ones are sometimes sent out again.
I hope that's right.
Anyway, not much else to report just yet.
[email protected] units: 365 requested, 365 returned
Well, someone appears to have semi-sorted the [email protected] counters. However, now
that I'm without the Suns to do the bulk of the processing I'm going to be much
slower through the units.
On the subject of the Suns. I had a friendly sysadmin in another part of the
Institution running [email protected] after hours when no-one else was using the
machines. These machines are horribly over powered for the taks they're being
asked to perform, yet yesterday my friend was told to remove
the tasks and was told he had "too much time on his hands." He was then
considered an untrusted user and (remember he's the sysadmin here) then had the
root password changed on him. Hello? Had root removed from his possession?
How's the man supposed to work? In cases like this (small network) you only
need one person with root and he does the jobs. Hell, this other person broke
Instutution rules by giving a shell access to himself while he was in another
country so that he could get to data. Not that that's specifically a bad thing,
it just caused headaches for me and my firewall.
At the time I was instituting a fairly hefty firewall type affair with the Cisco
7200 router and was not best pleased to have to go and deal with this. We only
actually found out because various things happened in a certain order.
Anyway, I and my old boss (Him) have emailed his higher-ups and asked that this
be considered something of a dumb thing to do. From the emails I've received
this issue will be sorted by Thursday. Whenther I get SETI running again on the
big machines is another matter.
[email protected] units: 95 requested, 355 returned
[15:15] Late entry today. Not really through over work, more through just not
getting round to it. Got the PFY to do the first bit of checking on the second
database. Over two hundred data items with only two mistakes. Not too bad
Only one databook today, plus the ones I didn't do yesterday due to the
shortcomings of this particular DoD. I have to be finished by 18:00 today as
I've got a formal dinner with the girlfriend this evening. Suits! I hate
[email protected] units: 95 requested, 340 returned
Spent the weekend sleeping, buying and playing R-Type (I and II) for the
Playstation (Retro city) and really, really spring cleaning unix support
bloke's house so that when the assessors come round they'll give him a good
enough money to enable his second mortgage to cover the mortgage of the house
I and the girlfriend want to rent from him.
Oh yes, we went to see the house/flat/apartment that unix support bloke is
angling for. It's a first and second floor set of rooms. Basically, you go in
the front door, the entrance hall does a quick right turn and you have the
bathroom on the left (bath/shower, toilet, sink). Opposite the entrance to the
bathroom are the stairs (180 degree spiral, solid, cupboard underneath), which
I'll get to in a moment. With the bathroom door on your left, walk forward two
steps turn left and then one step. To your right is the door to the
kitchen/dining room. To your front, three steps, is a bedroom. The room is
approx. 4 metres square. Window next to door leading to false balcony.
Going into the kitchen/diner area you have to your right a fitted kitchen
(horse-shoe shape), then half a wall, then a long thin room (2 metres by 5
metres) with the same door to a false balcony.
Upstairs. Now upstairs is something special. Top of the stairs is a small
landing with a fire exit and a walk in wardrobe at the head of the stairs. Turn
to your left and take a step and you're into the main room. The description
lists it (as far as I can remember) as roughly 6 metres by 5.5 metres. Sloping
walls (roof) start about 1 metre up the walls. Twin skylights. It's an
A/V-phile's dream. In fact the estate agent said the last person in the place
had it as a bachelor-pad. You could tell he'd had four big speakers and
a sub, we were informed he'd had a wide-screen television and some serious audio
equipment in place. Damnit if I'm not going to use the room as it looks like it
wants to be used. A couple of comfy sofas, foot stools (of course I'll need a
bigger television and some beefy speakers and things'll be excellent) and a DVD
Went to the first of a number of meetings to do with the data I'm working with,
this morning. Everything seemed to go O.K. People that they are, they weren't
blown away by the fancy graphs but I don't mind, that wasn't the hardest part.
Today I start on the second set of data (the big one).
[17:55] Due to excessive numbnutterage above and beyond the call of duty I've
had to take [email protected] off all the Sun boxen I was running it on, pending someone
getting a clue as to what effects it distinctly wasn't having on other
people's work. And the fact that running something between the hours of 18:00
and 08:00 does not take 'processing power' away from other people during
the working day. Jeez.
[email protected] units: 95 requested, 294 returned
Friday! FridayFridayFriday! Thanks goodness. It's not that I don't enjoy the
work. Hell, I'm learning so much about Access and Excel (*grind teeth*) that
it's muchos plus points on the old CV as and when I come to update it. No, the
problem is that it's energy-sapping, bone-wearying, mind-numbing work that
has to be done correctly or people get bad things happening to them.
Now, I'm all behind people having bad things happen to them, even if it can be
traced back to me. But in this case, the data I'm dealing with impacts on
people's lives permanently... Which is kinda cool, in a way. But in the end
it's got to be done right. Which means checking, checking, then more checking.
Luckily, as the girlfriend has finished her exams now she's offered to come and
help this afternoon "at some point", so things may go more quickly. According
to the AO, I'm pretty much (from what she said) four-ninths of the way through
the databases for this year.
Not encouraging, but at least it's progress.
Soptted something on the BBC website yesterday: "Global warming - is the Sun to
blame?". What do you think? Our lines are open.
The Dr. Laurence Godfrey
trial finally caught
my eye so I thought you could see just what's happening. Personally, I think
he's a troll, in the truest sense of the word.
[email protected] units: 95 requested, 272 returned
I hate ARCserve. I really do. Dodgy piece of
'adapted-from-the-Netware-version' crap. Myabe if I'd ben shown how to use it
by the previous incumbent I wouldn't be having all this trouble now. But I've
just wasted a morning trying (with the help of the PFY, who's coming on in leaps
and bounds) to figure out why the GFS backup wasn't taking the right tapes and
We think we've sorted it now, but just as we're starting to get a handle on it,
the most important batch of data to date comes in. And it turns out that unless
I've missed something, even the database I thought was cool and fine and dandy,
is also missing some vital functionality.
This is an arse as it means that I'm going to miss seeing the girlfriend before
her final exam, and probably the celebrations afterwards. This annoys me
immensely. One plus is that I've got two ways to do the final part of the
statistics that I wasn't even required to do. One way is all funky and really
rather impressive and makes me thing Excel has some hidden depths, the other is
easier, takes less time for me (an Excel-neophyte) and strikes me as being just
as descriptive for the recipients, given what they require.
All I have to do now is decide which I do first; input the final data (upon
which no statistics depend) or finish the statistics and then input the marks.
Either way, I'll miss the celebrations.
[20:30] Welcome to another evening with the DoD. Although I managed to get the
essential data into the database and munge up some stats, I then thought it
prudent to get the PFY to check my input skills. Lo and behold there were a
number of serious errors (not many, just annoying ones) which required fixing,
this then gad the knock-on effect of fucking up all my statistics. So, I do the
fixes, recompile the statistics and then realise that although She had managed
to do most of the checking, I hadn't given her all of the data books. So that
meant I had to trawl my way through a few hundred data items, checking them off
against another sheet and then going back to the Sanctum do the corrections, do
the corrected statistics and then come back up here, check some other stuff and
[email protected] units: 95 requested, 254 returned
It was pissing down when I woke up this morning. I'd already woken during the
night to hear the sound of a thousand clogged tap-dancers doing the Mazurka on
the roof. I rolled over and watched the vertical river outside. GIven the lack
of choice, I got up.
Cycling in was fun. No really. Because I've been unable to fit a pannier rack
to my new bike I was consequently soaked by the time I got to work (a mere 5 min
by bike). Luckily I had the foresight to pack a towel.
The last set of data for the easiest of the DoD comes in tomorrow morning. They
expect me to turn out the databooks by the following morning,
plus the reams and reams of statistics that look like a bugger
to calculate. The old sysadmin has told me catagorically that he's not coming
over any more. Apparently , it only took him a few hours to get up to speed,
and anyway he's far too busy. Basically, "go fuck yourself I'm working". Which
is fair enough, I suppose, he's left this job, it's up to me to carry the can.
Just this can's been fiddled with by two people.
I only wish someone had told me everything about this particular part of the job
before I signed on. It's not that I can't do it, it's just that it pisses me
off; this isn't a sysadmin's job. It's a data entry weenie's job. I'm having
to let all kinds of stuff slide until this is over, and I haven't even got to
the tough 'here is the raw data, we need it back in 2 hours in shiney tables'
I know I'm griping to the converted, but it helps for me to get this down. This
afternoon is thusly dedicated to statistics and the use of Excel in all its
myriad and arcane methods.
Oh yes, according to an out-of-date [email protected] page, the account I'm using is 3rd
or 4th (depending on which stats (argh, stats) table you look at) best in the
United Kingdom. Isn't that nice.
(Just had a visit from the AO. Wonderful human being that she is she's told
people that I may or may not get the statistics done this year because
I'm new to the game and have come in at a difficult time. So they may have to
do without. Whew! The pressure's off, but I still want to get them done.)
[20:00] I'm tired. I've just worked from 14:00 to 20:00 without a break on
these damned statistics. I know I don't have to, y'know, do them. I
could just say "Sorry, they're just too damned hard for me this year." and take
it easier (just data to enter). But Noooo, I have to burn myself out because
I'm damned if this thing's going to beat me. I've done a lot of finiky stuff
today, and solved a few mysteries, but the weirdest stuff is tomorrow, once I've
rounded off the data entry for the first database.
Did I mention that I can't spend too much time on this first database as the
data for the second and third ones has already started to come in.
[email protected] units: 95 requested, 224 returned
I'm running of things for the PFY to do while I'm working on these DoD. I've
started a file called 'after the databases' which contains all the things I
think of that I can't start now because they'd take too much time away from the
The girlfriend's first exam seemed to go reasonably well. Apparently one of
the question's subjects wasn't covered in the lecture course. Dunno what's
going to happen about that.
I input another few hundred data bits yesterday, fnished early and knocked off,
fully intending to get home in time to watch Voyager. Damned if I didn't
download a trial copy of Diskeeper4.0 and spend the evening speeding up my
drives with some well needed defragmentation. Missed the beginning of Voyager,
but was filled in by my friend.
Factoid #543: A pregnant goldfish is called a twit (and also a twat,
[10:40] Hmmm, just checked 'dmesg' apparently Frankenstein had 'Warning: unable
to find swap-space signature' twice in its last bootup. A quick
'/sbin/swapoff -a ; /sbin/mkswap /dev/hda3 ; /sbin/swapon -a' and everything
seems fine. Just hope /etc/fstab wasn't lying and I've made / swap...
[19:10] No sooner do I think I'm on top of the Access part of the DoD than the
Excel part rears its ugly head. Yes, they want statistics. Statistics by the
bucket load. Statistics of this by that, this by the other and that by the
other, given this. I hate this. Not only that but even though the DoD were
badly written, they are nothing as compared to the horror of exporting sorted
tables btween Access and Excel, doing =SUM(Xnn:Xnn) and the like. It may be
easy to you, but it's as finiky as hell.
And I hate it.