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[10:25] Happy birthday to my ex-girlfriend who is twenty-five today. Hope she has a wonderful day.

Came in this morning to find that one of the secretaries who works on another machine late in the evenings had had another crash. Lost her work again and was in a Bad Mood. The Badly Written Note of the Secretary was under my door and the door of my Admin Officer. I made sure to see him before she did and we're hoping to have a meeting this afternoon at 14:30. Not really what I need at the moment, but still. I don't know what's up with her machine. It might be the documents she's writing, or the installation of Office 2000 or NT. It might be the fact that HP printer drivers have been know to do all kinds of strange things to PCs before now. What I do know is that it's not my fault.

Stupid machines.

[12:40] About to go for lunch, boring morning. The PFY's been unable to get the digital camera we have here under NT working. Neither of us knows why.

[15:35] Listening to 147lockdown.mp3 at the moment. It's a good tune, even if you forget about the fact it used to be the theme music to the Snooker on BBC2 way back when. Chilled.

[11:25] Colder this morning. I think the wind's shifted.

[11:45] Today I'm working on polishing my shell scripting talents. It's always good to learn something extra. There'll be another job I can do along at some point and decent CV-filler is an excellent idea. I suppose I should learn awk and perhaps sed as well. Just wish there was a need to do so.

[09:55] Was here for pre-08:00 again. No laughing at the back.

[10:15] Will try and book some driving lessons today. Probably ten hours of lessons initially. It's a lovely day outside. Don't know what I'm doing this evening. I should probably look at my bills and actually cook a meal for the first time in a while. We were climbing again last night. I think I need an evening off to recover as I think I've overstretched some muscles.

Tonight's probably an opportune evening to take off as my 3Com XJACK PCMCIA network card arrived late/early this morning. It should have been here on 11/06/2002, but then was rescheduled for 23/06/2002 and then 08/07/2002. So it turning up today is actually better than I was currently expecting.

[11:15] Joined a union this morning. Seems like sensible thing to do, should have really done it years ago. Comes straight out of my salary at £10.50 a month. Not cheap, but probably worth it. I can save that a week by doing some other things, like buying my own harness and joining the climbing place. If I go ten or more times a month I'll save that tenner back.

[14:40] Driving lessons (two hours at a time) booked for 01/07/2002, 02/07/2002, 08/07/2002, 11/07/2002 and 15/07/2002. 08:00 start. I'll see where I am after that. I'm also giving blood for the first time on Monday 1 July. That should be an experience. In fact Monday is shaping up to be a busy day all in all.

[16:10] Well that OpenSSH vulnerability was a bit of a storm in a teacup. I hope Theo has some bandages for the huge gaping hole in his foot.

[08:10] So I submitted my passport renewal application yesterday lunchtime. I paid the extra £4 for it to come back a bit quicker. Don't know as I need it, but it'll be nice to have the option to go on holiday at some point.

Went climbing last night and met up with (what do I call her?) her and someone else. Frankly I had an amazing night on the wall; did things I haven't ever managed before. They were impressed, hell I was. Nothing more. Headed back to my place afterwards to watch the season finale of Enterprise with a Chinese takeout. We met someone else, met another friend who needed some comforting and we all spent a few hours not thinking about anything but helping her feel better. They left, I went to bed.

Today is driving theory test day. I need to do some last-minute practice and then head over for an 11:45 registration. Hopefully it won't take too long, I can get the result and head over to spend a nice lunchtime with my peers.

[09:25] Climbing again this evening, hopefully.

[14:10] Turned up to the theory test centre for 11:20, started the test at, 11:25, finished the test at 11:33. Including the practice session. Result: full marks and a poxy little certificate I'll need to hang on to and take to my practical test, whenever that is. Still, one down.

[15:15] Nice payslip arrives. Huge amount of money about to go out again come the beginning of the month.

[10:20] Got my application form for renewing my passport this morning, on the way into work. Should be able to submit that at lunch time when I go to make an appointment for my driving theory test. I think that's going to be a doddle as I've been running through all the questions and very rarely get one wrong. It's the practical lessons that are going to a) eat up some money and, b) be difficult in the first instances. Still, it's a skill I should have.

Tell you what, though. I really need a new job. There's not much left here now and I need somewhere that gives me a challenge. I think having to work would give me less time to dwell on stuff and greater confidence. I'm on the hunt now but for the moment I'd like it to be within the Institution, for reasons of keeping things less complicated for a bit.

[14:05] Just booked my driving theory test for tomorrow at 12:00. Yes it's fast but I think I'm enjoying having to deal with many Changes at the moment (not all of them obviously). I'm doing it and I think I'm going to try to go with them again. It may be the making of the me I've been wanting to be for the last few years. Oh yes, I booked it because my provisional license had arrived. But you'd figured that out.

[11:15] Last night was really rather good. Much better than I thought it would be. I think part of it was the fact people turned up and didn't make an issue of everything. Another was the excellent films we watched. I'd managed to snag a copy of Real Genius, a film I hadn't seen in a good few years, and also the old favourite Grosse Pointe Blank. I ended up staying awake until 03:20 talking to a friend who stayed over. Made some decisions which I should try and stick to for the moment.

Last driving simulator hour today. I don't think I'll do any more until I get my provisional license in, unless it's not here by Wednesday of next week. In which case I'll do another hour, to keep the stuff fresh. I want to get out in a real car and actually get some physical feedback on what I'm doing.

[16:15] Reading about Microsoft's Software Update Service this afternoon. It requires IIS5 or more. This is a problem. I am working on a solution. I'm also going climbing this evening as well as going to help some people with their problems. I would like to repay people for the help they're giving me. I'm up and down at the moment.

[09:20] A new Office 2000 patch. It's just going into the Office 2000 administrative installation on the 2000 servers which seem to be behaving at the moment, I'll head round the machines on NT4.0 (everything else other than two testbed machines) and install it. Shouldn't take too long and it'll keep me busy. Next driving simulator at 12:00-13:00 today. Must remember.

[14:15] So I went, remembered how to start and pull away but came a bit unstuck on hill starts (uphill). The simulator has some really odd failure modes which don't reward careful drivers who return the controls to safe before the beginning of the next exercise. I'm wasting minutes every time I do what I think you should do anyway before sitting back (like setting the handbrake, changing to neutral and turning off the ignition).

[15:25] Fun and games with ePolicy Orchestrator this afternoon, aside from updating MSSDE 1.0 to Service Pack 4 I've also installed the 2.5 update and the 2.5 Service Pack 1 update to the base ePO installation. Then there was the fun of convincing machines which had the agent from the last time I installed ePO that they should use the new agent from the new ePO server (which still has the same name). I think everything's sorted now. Just waiting to see if the AutoUpdates are getting pushed out O.K.

[10:17] Climbing last night was good. Came back, had people over to eat Chinese and watch some Family Guy episodes. They left and I pottered about before facing up to bed.

Today I'm killing time this morning before my driving simulator thing at 13:00. I'll do something more constructive this afternoon, I hope. At least the weather's nice. Although it'd be nice to have lunch with someone. I'm off to see Spider-Man this evening. That should prove distracting.

The PFY's getting the flu, oddly. I hope he lasts until the end of the DoD period. I can order him to have some time off then.

[14:55] The simulator was odd. The demonstrations and the time taken over spelling things out really used up the time (1 hour). Still at the end of it I could nine times out of ten start the car, select first gear and pull away without stalling. The accelerator is a weird pedal, very sensitive. And the clutch. I really hope you don't have to push it in all the way all the time, it seems like a very large movement compared to the accelerator's. Other than that, I'm probably on track. Bought a copy of the Highway Code and booked two more sessions tomorrow and Friday.

Posted off my provisional license application yesterday. As soon as that's back I can start booking lessons on the road.

[11:20] Said goodbye to my mum this morning. She's gone home. From tonight I'm on my own. Going climbing this evening. Hopefully get back nice and late, turn the radio on in the bedroom and listen to Radio 4 until I fall alseep (it's on a timer set for 00:30).

Central are working on my ongoing Windows 2000 DNS issues. They've replicated what I do and finally gotten the same A record registration error I see. It's to do with authoritative control over zones, etc. I'm sure we'll get it eventually. Until then I've stuck the RegisterDnsARecords 0 registry entry back in on the two machines running Windows 2000 Advanced Server here.

At 12:20 I'm off to meet someone who's going to help me buy a mobile phone. It's about time I had one. I just need something that's functional without being a brick and doesn't cost the Earth per month. Also getting some new passport photos taken for a new passport (the old one expires on 3 July) and to send off for my Provisional License.

[17:00] I now have a mobile phone. It's not great, but it works. I bought the handset outright and now just pay for calls that I make (I don't think I pay for calls to my voicemail though). Should be fairly cheap, I hope. I'm going climbing this evening, I go home, get ready and then go out.

[10:45] I split with my girlfriend on Friday, early in the morning. By 10:04 I was on a train to Leeds to see my parents for the weekend. Please don't send emails concerning this subject as it's fairly private. I only write this here so that you may understand why I may change in tone, etc. from now on. Any emails sent may or may not be read, and none will be replied to. Thankyou for any concern or wishes you send my way, if you want to do anything, send magic brain-O-vibes to her to let her know that one day things may work again between us again, from scratch.

I'll try not to mention it again here.

In other news, the place didn't fall apart without me but I have a mountain of email and a Windows 2000 setup that's totally fucked. More work on that today.

[11:30] My Administrative Officer here is a really nice person. He's understood completely how I'm feeling at the moment and is prepared to make allowances. He now also knows that I'm after another job at some point in the future, so it won't be as much of a suprise if and when I find somewhere that'll take me with my current skillset.

[14:00] I've just booked my first hour in the BSM simulator. That's on Wednesday at 13:00. Should be a lot of fun, so long as I don't crash the program.

[15/06/2002 - 07:35] I hurt.

[07:40] Yes, I was here at 06:30. No, don't ask why.

[08:15] O.K. I'm installing Windows 2000 Advanced Server on the two machines from yesterday. The girlfriend and friends set of really early for Thorpe Park this morning and rather than try and go back to sleep, I came in instead. Getting a lot done, which is a change.

[09:00] I'm guessing that the reason I'm not being presented with the "Do you want to make this Windows 2000 Advanced Server a Root Server? (i.e. the first DNS on the network)" question is that initially I'm not setting up my machines correctly to look for another DNS elsewhere (possibly outside the subnet I'm in). If I do that then perhaps it'll realise it needs to ask.

[16:35] Came back from seeing someone about a job, which didn't work out. Went via Central's tech support unit where I got to use a spare box to do some test installs which helped me figure out (what I think) the solution to the Windows 2000 DNS problem is.

Once back here I did some quick installs and it seemed to work. Only after an hour of happiness it looks like the errors are back again. I have no idea why.

[18:05] Sod it, home time. It's going to rain too. Wish I'd gone to Thorpe Park with the girlfriend.

[11:40] The last few weeks I've been feeling in a rut at work. I'm not learning anything new, I'm not implementing anything much at all and the whole place isn't coming apart. We have almost perfect status quo here. And it's driving me mad. I've procrastinated so much over anything really big like a migration to Windows 2000 because I firmly believe that the technology isn't mature for the desktop yet (Service Pack 3 is what I'm waiting for). I know more than enough to roll it out, it'll just mean so much more work than I'm doing at the moment and, frankly, I've done so little recently that doing anything at all is getting hard to do. I remember this feeling from my Masters degree where it was six months of nothing followed by a real struggle to get started. I did, and I passed, but it was hard.

I want a new job, one where I'm required to learn to actually get by. Here I can do whatever I want and it's more than enough. I need someone to require something other than a Windows box that doesn't crash randomly. All I do there is Ghost it again and copy their files back.

I thought doing nothing at work was what I wanted. It's not, I want to be excited by what I do, I want to know more and I don't want to feel like an idiot when people are discussing stuff in the pub at lunchtime. I guess I could learn some more Perl, or do something funky with linux, but the two boxes I have to play with here are doing fairly useful things and I don't want to break them. I think I'll find another box from somewhere and start doing something with it.

I'm on the lookout for a new job at the moment, but I want to move internally, within the Institution as I like it here. I expect things will brighten up for me here eventually. I just need to get myself into a project or something.

So a machine kept crashing on boot this morning, looks like McAfee's AV Console causing problems again. Couldn't fix it, so I Ghosted it and will keep it here for a day to see what happens.

[18:15] Working on Windows 2000's excuse for a DNS this afternoon. It's hard. I have two DCs. Machine 1 was the first server in the entire Windows 2000 infrastructure. Machine 2 is the only other Windows 2000 server in the building.

Machine 1 was happily providing DNS to two Windows 2000 Professional machines, but with all kinds of hacks to get around the fact that at one time I tried to install the DNS as a root server because I didn't know any different. Every time I uninstalled and tried to reinstall later I wasn't presented with the option to make the DNS installation _not_ a root server (that page of the wizard never appeared again as a friend will testify). As the machine now thought it was an authorative server for it would keep trying to register the A record in the DNS, and failing. Naturally, I'm not authorative for the domain.

I set the registry setting to RegisterDnsARecord 0 (don't) and added the global catalogue A record under for the IP of Machine 1 by hand and everything was fine. No more errors appeared.

Fast forward to today, thinking about adding a second Windows 2000 server (Machine 2) I decided to sort out the DNS. Having been on a W2K course and seen that it was possible to have an MS DNS and have it not complain about registering A records I decided to uninstall and reinstall the DNS on Machine 1 again. On reinstall I was still not presented with the option to make my machine NOT a root server so I uninstalled again and went hunting through the registry for the option. I couldn't find it but obviously made a mistake somewhere as the next time I tried to install DNS on Machine 1 I was presented with loads of errors and it wouldn't install.

I installed Machine 2 with W2K Adv. Server, set up DNS on it in the hope I'd be able to install DNS correctly on it. I would then migrate everything across to it, including the special stuff that Machine 1 might have on it as the first machine in the Forest/Site/Domain/etc. and then reinstall Machine 1 and add DNS to a fresh install.

For some really odd reason, when I installed DNS on Machine 2 I wasn't given the option of not making the DNS on it a root server either! Any ideas why?

At present I have Machine 1 as a DC and the GC server (I assume, as I haven't demoted it or anything yet) and Machine 2 as another DC with a full copy of the ADS on it, as you'd expect, it is also providing DNS for the _underscore domains. These are all set up as Standard Primary zones. Machines 1 and 2 and the two Professional machines all look to this DNS as their primary source.

I want to fix DNS.

This involves either: It never rains, but it pours.

[09:55] Nothing much happening today. Feels like a nice day.

[10:50] WAP11 arrives on time, all present and correct. Ten days plus the weekend until the XJACKs arrive.

[15:00] Fiddling with ePO, NetShield and VirusScan again today. Specifically the Alert Manager stuff. I really can't see what's making the Alert Manager on the single Windows 2000 server stop from publishing itself to the Active Directory. I also can't see how to stop it publishing itself if I actually don't want it to do so.

[16:30] Trawling.

[09:20] Fun thing of the morning.

[11:35] Woohoo! JMS himself has stated that Babylon 5 will be coming out on DVD in a boxed set format this autumn! Here's the information from the great man himself, direct from Google Groups.

[15:10] Apparently my WAP11 Access Point is due to be delivered today. It's not here yet. Also there's an ETA of 21 June for the 3Com cards. We'll see how likely that is come the day.

[15:50] Alison at WStore has been knocking herself out today trying to find out where my WAP11 actually is. It's not on delivery, it's due tomorrow, not today. Not that it really matters with the cards not due until the end of the month. Still, it bodes well for future orders.

The PFY has finished using the first of the Databases of Doom, so he gets to sit down for a few minutes before he carries on with the other three.
[10:50] Gained permission from the person with the most money sense in the house last night to buy the wireless LAN kit I want (the 3Com XJACK and the WAP11). Only now I'm not sure I should do it right now. Although I think the price is the best I'm going to find.

[14:25] Blow me, we won a World Cup game against Argentina. Well I never.

[15:15] Ordered the wireless kit. Was a bit happy to see that the stuff was due to be delivered in two days. Somehow it wasn't to be that easy. A friend contacted me to ask me to order a second 3Com XJACK card so I rang up to see if I could get it added onto the order. Things got a bit more complicated due to money issues and stuff but I think it's all sorted. I'm just waiting for them to ring me back to tell me it's O.K. They also told me none of the stuff is in stock after all, which is annoying even though this is what I was lead to believe in the first place.

[17:15] They haven't rung me back, but some fiddling with their web site shows that the order's been updated (replaced, actually) and the stuff is still allegedly in stock. It's not, but I'd like to dream.

[11:40] I've opened an account on WStore as it appears to have wonderfully low prices. Not that anything I want is in stock, but that doesn't matter at the moment.

Someone's suggested paintball sometime soon. That'd be cool.

[16:25] Just updated my SSH2 keys. The fun never ends. Oh, forgot to mention that on the way back from lunch (where I had an interesting talk on relocation of harware assets) I cycled over what looked like a large bit of gravel which stick in the treads of my off-road tyres. It turned out to be the rather dirty head of a cable tack. You know; the things you use to tack cat-5 to the skirting board/wall with. A 1cm pin with a U-shaped moulded plastic head. I didn't realise this until I'd yanked it out. Much hissing ensued. I've arranged a lift home with the bike. Just have to fix it before tomorrow morning. This is annoying as I'm busy this evening. And it's the rear wheel.

[09:40] Back to work today and one of the people who do the administrative side of the DoD has decided that like a small child, if he does a really bad job of the washing up no-one will ask him to do it again. Consequently the secretaries and the PFY are having to do the job for him. Personally I'll give them all the help they need as I know how hard the job can be.

I intended to go climbing this evening.

[16:25] Komplett are still lovely people. I asked them about stocking the 3Com and Linksys gear I want and they've already gotten the XJACK card up. The Linksys is going to be a bit harder apparently. I then need them to drop the price a bit.

[17:25] More house news. If I didn't mention that our vendor has found a house to buy and that house's owners are moving to rented accommadation then you know now. Apparently the paperwork to allow our solicitors to start the searches was received last week. They expect everything will be back next week. We then go in to have a meeting. Oddly, they haven't received a copy of our mortgage offer yet, from Virgin. We're going with a Virgin One mortgage, by the way. That page has Flash on it, sorry.

[17:45] Just had to eat humble pie due to a mistake I made a few months ago when a machine needed reinstalling and I didn't take a copy of the Netscape bookmarks before I reghosted it. Today is the first time the person's needed to use them and they're not there. I've been made to feel bad.

[05/06/2002 - 09:30] Excellent day. Yesterday I spent the afternoon over at somewhere else fiddling with MySQL and Perl. Entertaining and totally work-free. Came home, went over to watch Enterprise with someone and then Coupling. Went to bed late.

We got up early and drove with a friend who'd stayed over to watch her compete in the Hammer at Bedford (Big2002). Some fairly good names were competing but we left after the Hammer and the 100m sprints had completed. Ended up back in town just in time for another barbeque round at a friends and then back home again. Nothing too strenuous, although working in front of a very hot barbeque was a little hard and I ended up with a bit of a red face.

[09:00] I'm in work on the first bank holiday of the Queen's Jubilee. Don't ask why. I do have tomorrow off though. There basically needs to be coverage here every day this week and unfortunately this means the PFY and I only get one day off each. I've chosen tomorrow so I can go to a barbeque and split the week up a tiny bit. I don't imagine I'll be doing much today as a) it's too hot already in here, b) by wrists hurt, and c) I really don't want to.

[12:20] This morning I have mostly read one of my Sharpe (Bernard Cornwell) books (Sharpe's Revenge, if you're interested) and researched prices for 802.11b networking kit. That's wireless, in case you're not up on the terms. For the base station I'm looking at the Netgear ME102, the 3Com Access Point 2000 and the LinkSys WAP11. For the PCMCIA card (don't need the workstations on wireless at the moment (this is for home)) I can't see anything better than the 3Com XJACK 802.11b card. You've got to love that hide-away antenna.

[14:45] Nothing happened here over lunch, which was leisurely, long and food-filled, so I'm off to 'help' people with Perl and not do much. I am still in work, just elsewhere in the Institution.