Last day of the month. Printers arrived this morning. The LaserJet 1100 is quite
nice. I may get one myself one day. I've educated the PFY again in the ways of
circumventing Dell's morass of post NT-installed applications (such as IE4 and
Microsoft Wallet). I've actually volunteered to take a printer round to one of
the outlying parts of the institution this afternoon. With luck, I can go on from
there to the hifi, shop, buy the amplifiers and speakers and head on home. I may
even play a game on the computer when I get there. This is by way of being a
calendar event, given the hours I've been putting in, and the way I've been
feeling about computers recently.
I've just been copied in on a memo which has offered PCs and printers to a section
of the Institution to which PCs and printers should already have been made
available. Because some sections are too lazy, tightfisted or low on finds to
have done the decent thing, the PCs will be coming out of our budget and muggins
here will be setting them up. "Don't worry" says the AO, it'll only be fifteen or
[12:00] DoD usage time creeps ever closer. We're one PC short, but we'll be
getting a nice new printer for people to print out the checking stuff that goes
on each year. No sign of data monkeys yet. I really do not want to be the
person doing the input again. Especially with double the data this year.
More machine arrived today. Including the two laptops still requiring Windows 98
that gives me five machines, with another on order. Still, it beats working on
Some time this week I'll need to order the DVD players and the amplifier/speaker
sets for the place. I'm not ordering anything until I get the cheque from
Accounts, because we're ordering from Techtronics and I have to pay for them off
of my own debit card.
And that's not happening without money in the bank.
Had some friends round last night to watch stuff. That was fun.
[10:30] Gah. I was under the mistaken assumption that we didn't observe Bank
Holidays here. So I've arrived to find that most people aren't in today. Apart
from passing up the chance to go to a barbeque yesterday (staying over until this
morning) because I wanted a weekend at home for once, I've come in for no real
good reason. As a result I'll be taking the afternoon off.
The last of my DVDs (from DVD Boxoffice) arrived on Saturday, so I was a happy
bunny. Spent most of the weekend watching the extras on Ghostbusters and The
Abyss. I also did a lot of housework (without the woman to get in the way),
including fixing a lot of broken lights and getting some sand for my speaker
stands. Did you know that it's almost impossible to buy sand in less than 25kg
lots? I found that out on Saturday and so, on Sunday, went to B&Q with a 55litre
rucksack and my bike and bought an etched glass light fitting and 25kg of 'silver
sand'. I think everyone should be forced to cycle three miles with 25kg of sand
on their back at some point in their lives. It's a liberating experience. The
thrill of feeling the seat post sinking into the tubing, the excitement of your
new centre of gravity, the crushing weight on your lower back as the sand shifts
to form one big lump over your hips, the zip and whizz of high-speed traffic
assuming you're as nimble as any other cyclist on the road. It's a blast. Still
my speakers aren't going anywhere now.
I dumped the remaining 9kg in the bushes of the Guy Who Parks Repeatedly In The
Drop Off Point. Hope it kills his plants.
[09:30] Right. I've not said anything these past couple of days, but I felt that
it was time I contacted Simon Travaglia directly and asked if the use of terms he
owns the tradename on was O.K. There followed a lengthy discussion between him
and myself, culminating in some quite witty quotes on the nature of Windows,
children and the future of humanity. It seems that nowadays the use of the words
'BOFH' and 'PFY', while having passed into the sysdmins' vernacular, are still
the property of Simon. Naturally he isn't to be begrudged this, after all, he
put in all the creative effort all those years ago (and now much more recently in
The Register) to create the legend. He took advice from those beings, to whom in
some ways, the BOFH himself could never be as corrupt and devious;
As a result, the more sharp-eyed of you (who also don't link straight to this
URL) might have noticed a few small changes to the main page's small print.
Also, I'd like to direct people to the disclaimer
and read the new addition. This is important. I'm obliged to mention it, make
sure it's prominent and let people know it's there. Don't let me down, kids.
Another condition is that this site is non-profit making. I have no problem with
this. Down with all capitalist pig-dogs! This site will remain the domain of
the People's Republic of BOFH(tm)! Long Live the Rebootion!
About the only thing I've gained from this site's existence is a whole host of
great friends, some essential advice, some frightening rants, a chance to vent my
spleen daily, and a free webcam from bofhcam.org's owner, Erin.
The TV repair bloke will be ringing between 11:00 and 15:00 today, and giving me
20 minutes to get home to wait for him. After that I'll be going to buy some
more RAM, then spending some quality time checking out surround (not Digital)
amps and speakers for the Institution. Call it two hours, max.
My DVDs still haven't arrived. I have no idea how long they're going to take.
With luck some of them will have arrived by the time I get home tonight,
or tomorrow morning.
We went to the new gym last night. I see why it's so expensive. You're paying
for a complete fitness assessment every six weeks, a tailored programme and a
great set of machines/weights. I think the guy who did my programme was a
little pissed off that I was doing more weight and feeling more comfortable that
he was. The sauna/steam room/jacuzzi isn't bad either.
Someone may be coming round this evening to buy my old (but still in perfect
nick) Aiwa hifi. It's the NSX-999 Mk II. The one with the beefed up amplifier
and better speakers than the old NSX-999. It's probably better than the current
NSX-S999, which is in silver, rather than black, anyway.
Two new images in the galley as well. Just so you know the gallery's for more
than just pictures of me, you know. Anything roughly rectangular in jpg format
(that I deem worth) can be posted there. Email it.
Anyway, excitement over. This site now operates with the knowledge and tacit
approval of Simon T. That's great. Maybe one day I'll talk to Jenni too...
[16:55] Just got back from cycling through a lake with holes in it. The TV
technicians 'couldn't hear the hum', the bastards. I left there, bought some RAM
and then wandered in to town to buy some light bulbs. That done I went to the
hifi shop to find out about amp and speakers for the place. Seems I can do the
two rooms that require stuff for £900 all in, which is good. Of course,
the speaker brackets and cable runs will cost a tad more. But that doesn't
matter. Oh, yes, the first set of DVDs has arrived; Galaxy Quest (dts), Contact
and The Abyss (2 disc set). Well, that's me set for the weekend.
[15:20] Something in the offing.
Health & Safety was a damp squib of a thing from my point of view. Five minutes
of nondescript questions and a cursory glance round the office. About the worst
thing was one of the people asking why the server's monitors were on cardboard
keyboard boxes. How exciting?
Erm, what else? Nothing really. Well... no, nothing. Doesn't matter. Worked
out that we'd paid for the last lot of RAM we bought twice, so I'm off there
tomorrow to get 2*128Mb more with a credit note. Not entirely sure where I'll
put it, but it's good to have. Perhaps the web server, that's only got 64Mb in
it. Not that it's overstressed, as far as I can tell. Hell, it'd benefit more
from a processor upgrade.
The bofhcam II machine is really annoying. Crashed again. If I power it off
between reboots, though, it doesn't pagefault while in kernel boot. Weird. I
still think I'm going to replace the FreeBSD box with something linux-based. No,
scratch that, I'll just stick the camera on another box and keep the FreeBSD
thing for the modem. Decisions, decisions.
[17:55] Sorry this one's been so late, there's been lots of little jobs to do.
Anyway, there's a Helth and Safety audit tomorrow morning so I've had to tidy
the place up, coil all the wires, replace the floor tiles and generally make the
place safe for PHBs. Of course, in the following days things will revert back
to their 'organic' state.
Managed to convert two people by force of will from Macintosh to Windows NT.
It's the lesser of the two evils in my opinion. At least I can admin them
remotely, and I know something about what's happening internally. Also moved one
sacrificial machine up to Service Pack 6a+three hotfixes. Depending on how it
fairs over the next week will decide whether I upgrade the machines here. I
think the servers will go last, or at least on a Friday.
According to the girlfriend (who's on lates tonight) my DVDs hadn't arrived this
morning when she left for work. On the up side though, went to the gym last
night and had a fitness assessment. According to the People That Know I have 0%
excess body fat and check out as 0.2kg under my ideal weight. I'll happy make
that up with muscle.
Damn, just started raining. Other than that I may be changing the hostname of
one of the RedHat 5.2 boxes here this week. I've had people sayd things from
"It's dead easy, just change this" to "changing hostnames is Bad Voodoo,
nothing will work right after you do it". Which is nice.
[09:30] The Dell representative came round yesterday afternoon. The new
roving one to complement the new guy I have on the end of the phone. He's
tall. As in at least six feet ten inches tall. Anyone who has to bend to
fit under a door frame gets some respect from me. Shame he's a complete
gimboid when it comes to being a sales representative. I scared him by
asking about RAMBUS and the Xeon problems, got him to find me some data on
the Dell NX1 (never heard of it? You're probably not supposed to), and how
Dell we going to match up against the SunRay 1. All good stuff.
This morning is the probe talk (11-12, with me taking lunch afterwards) and
then I get to order 17 Office 97 licenses, 1 NT Server license and 5 NT
CALs. Naturally, this is going to cost a bit in the pocket department.
[16:00] The new phone Dell guy seems to be reasonably on the ball. Saved me
about £100 per box out of the three I've just ordered. There's hope
for him yet. The PFY's paycheque just arrived (mine seems to be missing at
the moment). She's not been recognised as working full-time, or for the
overtime she put in this month. I've given her leave to prod bottom with
the old fools at Central.
I've been told that changing a machine's host name (RH/linux) is bad voodoo.
I've got a list of the files that need changing. Can anyone send me what
they think the list is and I'll double check. Thanks in advance to anyone
who actually bothers to read the Journal and replies.
[10:35] Health & Safety people are here today. I've been unable to remove
the floor of the lift to cut short their visit due to lack of blow torch.
So this means that I'm going to be browbeaten for not having tested each and
every machine/server/laptop that's connected to the mains and putting little
"tested xx/xx/xxx" stickers on everything. I've also not been keeping an
inventory of the machines I've been buying. The A/V equipment which I also
have to keep is semi up-to-date, but not the machines one. I'll get the PFY
on to it later this week. Also in the works are a load of PC and PC/printer
combinations which I'll need to get out to people fairly soon.
Everything is copeable with at the moment, but I get the feeling
it's all going to go a bit Pete Tong at a moment's notice. In fact, arse,
I need to ring two people and can only remember one of them. Not good, as
it's to do with a swipe card security system that needs installing.
[17:10] All manner of small jobs done today. Best thing is that one of the
masses brought in some chocolates for the help the PFY and I gave in making
sure her big document came out O.K. I don't think she's noticed that I set
the Mr T. generator off on her concluding chapter.
I didn't tell you about the weekend, did I? Well, we drove 860 miles, saw a
play (which I didn't really enjoy; 1h45m for the first act, 40m for the
second, 45m break), ate some food and stuff which we didn't pay for and
slept in an assortment of beds. The girlfriend did all the driving, which
was nice, but we were both knackered this morning.
[13:40] Immense NT Working Party meeting this morning. Discussed all kinds
of things that don't matter to you. Took 2.5 hours anyway. I have another
meeting this afternoon, and possibly one before I go home too. With luck
this won't happen.
We're away this weekend visiting the girlfriend's parents, stay in a Travel
Lodge (part of the Little Chef chain, apparently) and do lots of driving.
As someone who never driven in this country (only in a left-hand drive
Israeli jeep in the desert) I get to catch up on my reading. Which is nice.
[17:00] Meeting wasn't as bad as I thought. Mainly because I managed to
get them to approve £25K of new PCs for one of the work rooms. This
dopes mean lots of work, but I can spend some of the money on a copy of
Ghost (or similar) and use the summer to get some good stuff going. It will
also leave me with eighteen p100 machines with nothing to do. Can we say
possible MOSIX/Beowulf cluster? Probably not. Still, it's good to have
something to work towards.
[13:10] Subwoofers are expensive, aren't they? In other news, I have a new
pet fuckwit. This morning he copied a few files from floppy to his
filespace on the server. They were infected with one of the WM/Cap viruses.
You know, the nasty little macro viruses that fuck about with your global
NORMAL.DOT under Word. Anyway, I send him the standard "you need to check
all the machines you sue the file on, and your floppies too" and get this...
set of sentences back:
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:05:41 +0100 (BST)
From: "I.Y. Fuckwit"
Subject: Re: Virus
Many thanks for your message. I have frequently been informed by the
Anti_Virus software in the GRR that files I copy from my disks have the
'WM/Cap' virus. This is news to me, as both my computer at home (I have a
good virus protection system, thank you very much) and the GRR ones have
always operated flawlessly. If this is a virus, it has no visible
attributes other than the fact that it causes Anti-Virus software to
operate and rather imaginatively christen this non-existent 'virus'
WM-Cap. Perhaps it is a function of our virtual world that we now have
virtual computer viruses, with the very word 'virus' in this case
indicating an absence, rather than a presence. Who knows.
I will continue to be vigilant for viruses.
I. Yama. Fuckwit
I dunno what you say to someone like that. Well, I do, but I don't want to
have to pay the glaziers, or for their hearing aid afterwards. Maybe if I
kill them, dismember the body, drop the parts in acid, bury the barrels in
quicklime and hide the hole in the woods...
Argh! Arghargharghargh! How can one person harbour so much dumbassedness?
Naturally I've replied. I won't post it here because it's got a lot of
location-specific stuff in it. Unfortunately none of it is to do with their
bodily orrifices and chainsaws. Although the first two drafts were tending
that way. The effort I sent is good enough to slice steel, and calls into
question more than you might imagine in a 'polite email'. I really hope
they reply with something just as... bad. Then I can take it to the
virus-panicky AO, and have them banned from computer use in that area.
Naturally, I'm drafting a new AUP as you read this.
[15:40] Which will be based on something approaching the reasonbly good one
at TCD's Maths
[18:10] Suddenly I'm overcome with an immense lethergy when confonted with
another email which says "X is on a temporary post with us and therfore is
treated as a Y for whom we supply a computer and printer. Z have written
the letter to say they can't provide. Please could you contact X and
Suddenly I'm tired of working here. But there's nothing I can do right now.
Sometimes I wish I could get a job in a unix shop where Nerf guns were de
[11:05] Got home last night and noticed that the people who live across
from us haven't picked up their post in weeks. I think there's no-one
living there at the moment. I knocked on the door of the people who live
next door to us. No answer. Right.
I've had the speakers long enough for them to get worked in. Time to really
test them. Started off with some Apollo 440 (Lost In Space) at
level 2. Not as much bass as my Aiwa NSX-999 MkII, but given that those
speakers live on the floor, it's not suprising. Then again, the subwoofer
units on my new speakers aren't as beefy as those on the Aiwa's. I guess
I'll need a seperate sub to provide some basis for the music. Anyway, I
moved on to some Jamiruquai and some Jazz. Both sounded good, even at 3.5
(which, frankly, began to make the floor shake).
[11:25] Enough about that anyway. I've been distracted by the amazing
project at Stinkymeat.net. Just go
there. And start from Day 1. Other sites of note today are those at
Exploding Dog and
Robot Stories. Meeting set for
10:00 has been moved to 15:30. Oh, and Dell have decided to change all
their sales representatives around. So, instead of the slightly clued guy
I knew and got on with, I have a new guy who I have to train up again.
[15:15] Meeting cancelled until possibly Friday, when I have two other
[13:00] Naturally, now I need a sub. After pushing the speaker home on the
bike (wasn't that fun?) I powered up the beast that is the amplifier, added
the centre and tried the THX sound from the beginning of Aliens.
Thing is, there's the LFE channel flashing away on the amplifier's LCD
screen telling me what kinds of rumbles and stuff I'm missing. Maybe when I
sell the old Aiwa mini hifi I'll get one. Then my evil plan will be
Stuff today: cancelled probe talk. Boo. Moved another user over to SSH for
mail reading. Yaay. Far too hot. Boo. Lunch is imminent. Yaay. Other
than that, the PFY seems to be killing herself to get the DoD working and
looking very professional. Which is nice. I'm off to see if I can spend
the rest of the afternoon off-site (no chance) and if not, go home early and
have a shower. Back later.
[16:30] I've given in to temptation and ordered some DVDs from Amazon.
Don't tell me you could have gotten Galaxy Quest (DTS), The Abyss (SE) and
Contact to the UK from the USA for less than $72.72. I've also turned off
1-Click(sm) ordering because I don't have a lot of money. Frankly, I don't
have much money at all after saving for the speakers and stuff. Still, when
the new paycheque comes in I may go with the sub. Or pay some bills, one of
The PFY is doing wonderful work. I keep saying it, but she's great. With
luck we'll get through this year and by next year, either I'll be gone,
she'll be gone and everything will be automated, or we'll still both be here
and everthing will be cool. I should get up to speed. In case she falls
under a bus or something. All we have to cope with now is the stats. I say
'all' but there's feckloads, really.
[11:20] O.K. I'm officially knackered. We did some much walking and
travelling this last weekend I'm already wiped out, and it's not even
Monday lunchtime. The heat and humidity isn't helping much.
The weekend was spent seeing the city and stuff. Our hosts live in the
Temple Bar district of the city (overlooking Meeting Square in fact) and
have a great view. A brief list of the things we did this weekend include:
seeing the Viking exhibition, shopping, eating Belgian chocolate (brought by
Tom, thanks, listening to music, seeing the city on foot, pubs, plenty of
dinners out, working canal locks, buying more Nerf guns and lugging them
back to England, fairly crap hotel rooms abouve nightclubs plus windows next
to air-conditionser fans on the roof and a plethora of other stuff. We had
a good time though. I'm just really knackered. Oh, my speaker arrived on
Friday here at work. The PFY will be coming in by car tomorrow so I can
take it home then. Finally.
It's hot and humid today, there's been strife with the new alarm systems in
the library, lots of finiky things that aren't my responsibility and
spreadsheet stuff I've palmed off on the PFY (she's a wonder, sometimes). I
think I'll be going home early this week. More later, meeting now.
[18:26] Many meetings later and I have my first ever IT agenda. Am I proud?
Am I happy to have produced over forty pages of dead tree for someone's
disinterested consumption on Friday afternoon? Bollocks. Huge sweaty,
dangly, fetid donkey bollocks. No, I'm not. I'm a techie, I hate meetings.
I hate having to discuss (and for that matter make) 'policy'. You
use the machines, I maintain the machines, I buy new machines and keen shit
on the occasions that either I or You (the users) demand it. I will do
stuff to ensure that my machines remain in good working order and you can
send you friends the attachments you need to send. Leave me the hell alone.
You give me headaches.
But no, I must talk, and discuss, and (FFS!) minute and agenda itemise why
I spent money on such things as toner and RAM. This is not my job, this
are not my beautiful house, these are not my beautiful children. Letting
the days go by? I'd rather let the blood run free.
Not to mention it's been over 28 degrees centigrade in the Office all day,
and it's just going to get hotter. Can I wear shorts? No, fuck off, not
until at least the middle of June. June? JUNE!? It's practically goddamn
Chirstmas by the middle of June, given the temperature changes here. Words
fail my tired and dehydrated mind. Never mind the fact the talk on probes
I was going to tomorrow has been cancelled and I'm going out to reinstall
stuff I took off by accident last week.
The girlfriend's just arrived with short (praise the gods) so I can go home
in some semi-sane state. She pushes the bikes, I carry the centre speaker.
Recovery, thy name is dts surround.
12/05/2000 - Retroactive
We got up early and went to Dublin by train and plane. I'm so tired after
the weekend that I'm not really going to write much about it except to say
that the flight there was uneventful and we met up with Tom and Colm and
saw some of the city. More in Monday's entry, but not much.
[12:00] Meeting as soon as this update is up. Me and the PFY get to tell
the AO all the things that need doing/have been done/need more money
throwing at. After that I go into town to swap phones with someone (the
girlfriend's and the landlords) so that we have a dual-band handset for
Dublin this weekend. I'll be back in the afternoon though. Did the last of
the laptops this morning. Something that should have been done two days ago
if it hadn't been for Microsoft's yoyo net connection.
[18:00] Had a meeting at 12:00 which was rushed and left me with shitloads
to do. These things included ringing round people for social-type
information (I'm a technical person, not a secretary), doing the minutes for
the bi-annual IT Committee meeting (I hate meetings, I really hate having to
do the agenda, I really hate the fact I may have to be the minute-taker as
well) and all manner of uther piddly-shit stuff that I self-respecting tech
person should not have to suffer with. But, given my age and relative
experience I figure it's brownie points on the CV for some later date. I
went to lunch.
After lunch was the technical presentation of the new institution-wide
accounting system. Due to start at 14:30 we didn't get down to the
transparencies until twenty minutes had passed. This was owing to the fact
that the people we're getting the system from hadn't been talking to their
tech people and specifications had been getting changed without our sayso.
Needless to say, a room full of sysadmins, faced with the news that what we
wanted wasn't now what we were getting was a bit... annoying. We let him
keep his shirt so long as he got back to us when he'd fixed the problems.
As it is the new system requires an imperial butt-load of Clue to drive
with any semblance of skill and runs on only the smallest subset of
Java Initiator, OS and web browser. Having an Oracle back end doesn't help
much either. We grumbled our way through the thing to the end, then tore
more strips off them lengthways. I got into a conversation with some
BOF-types after the meeting to discuss firewalls and concluded that unless
you were very careful you'd end up with a network that was crunchy on the
outside and chewy on the inside because the lusers would imagine they were
fully protected by the firewall, not realising that if one machine was
compromised inside the firewall, all the others would be easy meat. Such is
Of course, on my return to the office there were 1001 things to do as well
as the draft agenda for the AO to look over on Monday. I've allocated IPs,
phoned the people who needed phoning, given the PFY jobs for tomorrow,
planned world domination, made appointments to install software in remote
parts of the institution on Monday and basically tied up the entirety of
next week already.
Oh, and the hifi shop rang, they can deliver my centre speaker to work
tomorrow. Naturally I'm not here. But at least I can take it home on
I think I'll go home and pack. It's time to leave the country for a while.
[15:35] Yeah yeah, sometimes I actually work for a living. This is why the
Journal is occasionally done later. Right.
Today. Well, got in, tried to do another of the Windows98 laptops Windows
Update things. Would you believe I lost connectivity to
windowsupdate.microsoft.com again. It's been patchy all day, annoyingly
enough. The one site I rarely visit, and on the few occasions I need to do
something with it, it's about as patchy as a patchy thing at beta release
We had a member of one of the outlying parts of the institution come in
today. She doesn't know how to deal with attachments in Pine and how to get
them to a LAN-attached Windows 95 box. I got the PFY to knock up a crib
sheet, with screen shots and everything, to cover NT and Windows 9x. This
was yesterday. When she came in, the PFY took her through it. She swore
things were different on her version of Pine. Given that I use the same
version I had to correct her. A few times. By the end I had her thinking
everything she knew was wrong. Weird Al would have been proud.
Given my fanatical devotion to 'tidy computers' and not having shite
installed on your machine I broke down and offered to go over this lunchtime
and see what I could do. Turned up to find a P200MMX with a 14" monitor
running at 640x480 with an imperial buttload of IE4 add-ons which she never
used. TweakUI and some judicious use of Add/Remove programs and her machine
started up in half the time it used to, her browser actually got to pages
and there was less chance someone would be sniffing her unix accounts
because of a PuTTY ssh connection. I felt pleased. The local sysadmin
needs to be shot in the head with a crossbow though; there was no antivirus
software on her machine at all. I would have installed something, but I
didn't have the CD with me and network connectivity from her machine sucked
coconuts through a keyhole.
Left just now and have come back to find that, if you don't stress
windowsupdate.microsoft.com with 16Mb downloads, but break the thing up into
5-7Mb chunks (rebooting between each set, naturally) it doesn't seem to barf
instantly. Slack. Very slack.
This isn't good. My centre speaker hasn't arrived. If you recall, I rang
the hifi shop the day the other stuff arrived and was told that the courier
simply hadn't picked it up from the shop. I've just rung back and been told
that the stuff was ordered from B&W 'to order' so they shipped it as it a
arrived. I've now been rung back and told that the earliest they get them
from B&W will be Thursday, meaning they'll ship it out Thursday.
Unfortunately I'm in Dublin on Friday, so there's no use them sending it off
until Monday. So I have to go a week without a centre speaker. I'm
considering getting them to refund me the price and buying it from the
sister shop here.
Bunch of arse.
[12:50] Of course, when you buy your speakers cheap in a package, getting a
refund on one part of it means that the money you'll get back is nowhere
near enough to get the same model in your town. Arseholes. I've now got
them to deliver it a week today because a) It won't arrive in Leeds
until Thursday, b) I'm away Friday to Sunday, c) they don't want it to sit
in ParcelForce's depot over the weekend as sometimes things go missing from
there on weekends. Consequently they'll be sending it out on Monday (as it
should have been today) to arrive on the Tuesday. That is, if it arrives in
Leeds on Thursday or Friday. I guess waiting that long means it gives B&W
time to deliver the speaker between now and Monday morning. Feck.
[15:20] The party was good. Having to leave my speakers in their boxes was
hard though. While we were getting the party host his birthday present in
Milton Keynes I happened upon the next season of Stargate SG-1 on video. As
I was proceeding towards the till I noticed DVDs bearing the title Stargate
SG-1 also. Whoa. Drop the videos, pick up the DVDs. Purchase, wait a day
until I get home again.
Unfortunately the DVDs I'd been expecting from the States failed to appear
due to the shop they'd intended to go to having shut down. So I bought
South Park: BLU at the same time as the SG-1 ones.
Spent Sunday bemoaning the lack of central speaker while I set up the rest
of them. After screwing up the courage to read the Sony STR-DB930 manual,
which appeared to be longer than my Master's thesis, I powered everything on
having spent a few minutes stripping and preparing speaker cables.
*thunk* Went the power across the amp. Within minutes I was fiddling with
the settings on the front. Learning more in a few minutes with a DVD than
with the manual after ten I pushed the amp back into the recess vacated by
my mounting collection of DVDs. Hmm, that's not far enough back. Why has
it stopped? Ah. Seems that a Sony amplifier won't fit in a Sony widescreen
TV's cabinet. A few seconds spent kicking out the back partition gave me
increased air-flow (those amplifiers run hot!) and space to push
the monster back so I can close the door. Not that I'd have it off standby
and not have the door open. Apart from the heat it pumps out, I'd get sick
of using the Remote Commander(tm) and want to resort to "kneeling before my
god" to fiddle with stuff.
Random rant for the day: Stargate DVDs that aren't in the sound format they
claim to be in.
[12:00] Argh! Waited in this morning for my speakers and amplifer to
arrive. Which they duly did. All five packages. Of course, there should
have been six. The docket said five, so at least it wasn't lost en route.
The only reason I'm not going ballistic is that I'm away this weekend and so
I'm not missing out just yet. Thing is, I don't want to have to take more
time out of my leave to wait for it to come (unless I can demand it arrives
before 09:00), so I might have to get it delivered to work. This of course
means that I have to get it home from work, but I think I can manage that
within a day or two.
While I was sitting at home I connected and sent a tour de force email on
attachments, viruses and 'being aware'. I've no idea how it was received,
but there's every chance it might inject some basic Clue.
Other events that happened while I was at home included the PFY and a
secretary putting the custodian's PC in place. He's never used a keyboard
before, let alone a mouse, from the sound of things. Turns out he's a
'shotgun typist' rather than a 'key line scanner'. Used one finger on one
hand too, really retro. Given his machine is a p100 with 16Mb running NT4.0
I think he and it will get along swimmingly...
[16:30] Rang the hifi shop, organised delivery of speaker to work on Tuesday
because it's dangerous to leave the speaker in the courier warehouse over
the weekend (apparently). The PFY has agreed to drive me home on the
lunchtime with it so I don't have to wheel it home on my bike. Nice lady.
Have a good weekend people.
[14:00] So, were you dumb enough to have your users running Outlook? Even
though the previous guy here had people running Eudora I'd gotten an
EXTRA.DAT from my pal Joe at [mumble] $ANTIVIRUS_COMPANY and had it deployed
before Central had put out the alert. "Busy us? Why would that be?" was
Joe's aggrieved comment at the end of his helpful email. Today is the day
all the people who got stung by Melissa and swore they'd do something (and
didn't) got their just deserts. Move to another mail client guys, this is
just going to get more common.
Anyway, been installing a laptop and documenting the proceedure all morning
here at BOFHcentral. This is so the PFY can do the other two with minimal
input from me. Even I, with my fanatical devotion to the Pop^Wart of
keeping machines tidy internally begin to get bored of installing and fixing
up another laptop. Again.
Wish it was tomorrow, then I'd be playing with my speakers and amp. I hope
to gods they arrive, otherwise I'm going to be really irritable. Must
remember speaker cable, speaker cable, speaker cable.
We have four desktop machines in the building still running Windows95
(never mind the laptops, they'll be happier on Windows9x), I really need to
get them running NT (as no-one understands Unix).
Oooh, crumbs; www.apache.org got hacked. There was a misconfiguration
between the ftp server, the web server, the bug tracking system, etc...
Someone got root. How embarassing. Don't worry though guys, the platform is
secure, this was just a load of tiny misconfigurations. Luckily the people
who got in were white hats. Check BUGTRAQ soonish for the lowdown.
[17:10] Fuckit. What a day. It all went off when ILOVEYOU was announce.
Since then Joe's given me the newer of the two EXTRA.DAT to install.
Unfortunately, although I have three Management Edition consoles here
(serving my three major NT domains) the second of the two dat files was
incompatible with version 2.0, consequently I've had to do some quick
upgrading to version 2.5 with all the problems with machines not letting go
of the 'Upgrades' hidden share. As a result I now have a MEUPGD1$ share,
rather than a MEUPGD$. I had to wait until I'd gotten all the machines in
the antivirus domain running the version 2.5 Management Edition agents
before I was allowed to delete the old directories. Dunno why, I'm assuming
some service or something was looking at it all the time. Annoying.
As Central continues to react sloth-like to ILOVEYOU, I've got Joe
(whattaguy) reinstalling NT so he can check the veracity of
my "You need ME2.5 to make the dat file work in a deployed manner" bug. If
I ever grow up, I want to be like him.
[12:00] Found I need roughly 20m of speaker cable. It's actually 18m, but I
know I'm going to make some kind of mistake somewhere and end up with a
useless bit I can't use. I assume you cut the longest bits first, to make
sure you have enough and then work down to the smaller ones. Anyway, I've
forgotten my damned card today, so I can't buy the cable anyway. I might
wait until Friday when I've actually had the stuff delivered and I can
There's a meeting this afternoon at 15:30 on the subject of the Databases of
Doom. This year we've been a bit more organised, what with making the PFY
do all the legwork in getting them prepared. All we need now is a few final
details, someone to input all the data when it comes in and then me and the
PFY do the onerous statistical analyses.
[18:00] O.K., here's how it's been. We've applied for a mail account from
Central for the Custodian. This is so he can get with the Times and talk
room bookings with the room booking secretary. I've cobbled together a p100
16Mb Dell and slapped a copy of NT on it. It runs, just. No-one in their
right minds would want to nick it, it looks right crufty. Anyway, I got the
poor dear to fill in an application form and posted it off. Normally stuff
like this takes in the requin of ten days to get actioned, and then another
three for the paperwork to come back. So anyway, I checked the on-line
email directory this morning (having sent the application form off yesterday
by internal mail). There's a person with the right name and initials
already in the mix. What's this? They can't have done it by now, can they?
I check the mail last read: 06:08:30. Damned odd. I call the Custodian and
ask if he'd had an account set up previously that he'd never used.
It's at this point that I contact Central and ask what the hell is going on.
Help Desk doesn't seem to know and it's only after a few confused mails from
both sides that it turns out that when an account is created, the "Mail last
read:" field is set to when the account is created. In this case, when the
batched creation script fired at about 06:00 this morning. Problem solved I
now wait for the line-noise password to come via internal mail and then I
can shove another heat engine out of my office and into someone elses.
During all this strife I've been at a meeting to do with the DoD. Seems the
Powers That Be want changes this year. This is by way of being an event to
carve on stone tablets. Naturally this means that Things Need To Be
Changed. Which is annoying. The PFY and I have also been saddled with some
of the data input after all the protests we put up. Luckily it's not the
biggest part, and we can split it between the two of us, rather than me
doing it all, like last year. On the downside, the statistics are supposed
to be a reall bugger this year. Typical. I wonder if I can leave
now, rather than in eight to ten months time, when I might decide to get the
[11:30] Nothing much happening this morning. I do have to go and buy some
padlocks this afternoon so that I can lock down the custodian's 'new'
computer which he'll be getting. I've tried to get the slowest and
cruftiest machine in the building that will semi-sensibly run Windows NT and
a monitor that no-one in their right minds would want to steal, and it seems
to have worked.
Will be going briefly into town to pick up some more Cobra security cables
and some more keyed alike padlocks to go with them. Dunno when yet.
[16:00] It's weird having the PFY here in the afternoons. Just got back
from buying the security cables (there were no padlocks) and found here in
the room. It was like "why are you still here?". I now have to maintain
the illusion that I work all afternoon as well. Not good. Still it gave me
time to get a decent digital interconnect cable for my eagerly anticipated
amplifier (between amp and DVD player). I've been advised that it's
probably better to get the DVD player to output whatever bitstream it's
currently dealing with DD/dts/etc. and let the amp (which is designed
to decode) do the legwork, rather than the DVD player. I need to go home
and get busy with a tape measure so I'm ready, come Friday night. The
annoying thing is that I've got a party that weekend so I can't play until
some time on Sunday. The consolation is that the party is being held by the
people who've just come back from America with suitcases full of Region 1
DVDs. With luck I'll be paying for something approaching twenty-five Region
1 DVDs at $9.99 each.
[19:30] Well, it's been a rum weekend and no mistake. Here's what went down.
We left late on Friday to go visit my parents in Leeds. It's only about
three hours on the train. Unfortunately we'd tried to be smart and booked
tickets on-line. You know how much of a bad idea this can be. Although
we'd booked over two weeks ago, the tickets still hadn't come through the
post to us. Naturally, they couldn't do anything until 24 hours before the
journey. We rang and were told that they'd fax the ticket authourisations
through to our departure station. Naturally, when we got to the station (in
plenty of time) the authourisations weren't there. There ensued a rapid
number of phone calls to Virgin (fuckwits) which culminated in them giving
us the tickets and sorting out if we'd actually paid for them at a later
The journey was uneventful except for the three lager-louts (no more than 16
years of age), one of whom had no ticket and was forced off the train in the
middle of nowhere. Most amusing.
Saturday was fun. I've been considering getting some decent speakers and an
amp to finish my home cinema system. I took the time to go into town to
compare prices and ended up getting the stuff within twenty minutes of being
in town. I don't know how many of you are speaker/amp people but what I
ended up with was this. A Sony STR-DB930 (Dolby Digital/dts etc.), a pair
of B&W Series 2 602 fronts, a pair of B&W Series 2 601 rears and some low
and high Atacama stands. I'm fairly sure a total price of £1000 is
pretty good. If anyone can confirm or deny this, it'd be appreciated.
I'm getting it delivered on Friday, which will necessitate another
at least morning off. Still, it gives me until then to buy the speaker cables
and interconnects between the DVD player and the amp. Do you need to have
a separate cable for dts from player to amp than for the five discrete cables
for Dolby Digital? Looks like it's time to read that section of the manual
at long last...
The Yorkshire Dales are Recovery. We went to Kettlewell on the Sunday and
did some Quality Walking. The scenery is beautiful. For some strange reason
there was a huge number of dead rabbits around the place. We weren't sure
whether to blame foxes, mixamatosis or hyper-accurate farmers. I also picked
up a Leatherman Tool Adapter. Damned useful piece of kit, even if it "doesn't
fit properly" in my opinion. I've got the 'Tool' or the original PST.
Today I checked in with the PFY this morning by phone, dealt with some email
(no replies, just reading) then spent the rest of the morning wandering
through Roundhay Park. The place is amazing, it goes on for miles in
directions you hadn't considered. And there's a lake, and the remains of a
fortified gatehouse and everything. More Recovery.
We've just arrived home, found out the toilet was unflushed (no solid matter),
opened our post, listened to the answerphone messages and shopped for the rest
of the week. We've got about three hours of video to watch, Voyager on the
telly at 20:00 and a reasonably early night to have for work tomorrow.