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[08:40] Another month ends. I'm worried. I have some small pain in my right wrist. It started two days ago when I was using the non-natural keyboard on the course. When I was fiddling with the innards of my PC it got even worse for a moment. I so don't want RSI or similar. I'm hoping that using my normal keyboard again, being in the position I normally sit in and not using the mouse much will cause it to settle down again. You know that once it's flared up it's unlikely that it'll settle down again.

I'm not here this afternoon as we're having the wooden exterior of our place painted by the site maintenance people. Someone has to be there to give them access as the doors and windows need to be open and we're also on the first and second floors of the (I don't know what you'd call it really) mini-complex.

[11:55] Just moved the two machines we use for the DoD to their right room. We have also gained a filing cabinet and an industrial shredder from a building next door which is getting demolished soon. I took a quick pass through the place myself and ended up with a nice load of very long cat-5E leads and some extension flexes. Always useful.

[11:20] Windows 2000's attempt at DNS really is terrible. And when you have more than one domain controller things get really odd. I thought Active Directory-intergrated DNS would be quite useful (if you're going to be using ADS at all, you may as well go the whole hog) but no, it's crap, it's useless and propagating mistakes seems to happen much faster than propagating the stuff you do want to go to the other machines.

It's my father's birthday today. So happy birthday and I'll try and ring this evening. Hope you put the present to good use!

[12:55] Another morning's worth of fun and games. More on GPOs, the dllcache and all that malarky. Ended up playing Pinball for much of the time as we went over a lot of stuff I've done before. I'm not sure how we're going to spin this out to three days, but I'm not really complaining as I'm really, really tired at the moment.

The tiredness may be something to do with the fact that I went climbing last night, had a massive curry/naan/rice combination afterwards, listened to the Prodigy all the way back home and went to bed really late. Or perhaps not, I don't really know. I just hope we finish early again today so I can go home and get some sleep.

Anyway, lunch over. Back to Pinball^Wwork. Oh, did I mention we have no external network connectivity, so there's no chance of any other fun while we are learning?

[11:15] On course today. Learning the wonderfulness of Windows 2000 DNS and the like. Gosh-durn it's so exciting! Must go back to it as there's no time for breaks here at party-central.

[13:30] And so I return from lunch, to excitement and ADS. Can it get any more fulfilling? I think not.

[08:50] Did something really dumb yesterday. I decided to look at the access statistics for last week and thought there was something wrong with one of the .gz files so I did some stuff and ended up losing the first week of this year and last week's logs. No, I don't know exactly how. Blame ineptitude and tired eyes and brain. Still, it's only logs.

Happy news of the week is that on Saturday morning we were called by the estate agents handling the sale of the house we're after. Seems the vendor has found somewhere to move to. And the people selling that property are moving to rented accommdation. Which is a Good Thing in no small part. Hopefully this means things will start to move fairly quickly. This is almost the best result we could have hoped for. All we need is for things to work out soon. Have to say I'm both excited again and a little worried about things, like the mortgage we're going to have hanging over our heads for the next 23+ years.

Anyway, this week I'm on a three-day course to help remind me exactly how and why we need to be careful with the configuration of the token Windows 2000 DNS. This means I have to re-arrange the visit from the external painter who's due to redo all exterior-facing wood some time this week or next.

[11:05] What I forgot to mention is that this means that I'll be doing my journal updates remotely and probably not that frequently. Hopefully with some information on the house, how T-shirt sales at The Register and what the course is like though. Just to keep you enthralled.

[11:40] A bit of fun to read (until the last postscript) about the Flat Earth Society.

[17:10] Right, that's it for today. Off on the course tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. Keep an eye on the PFY and email me if you think of anything interesting, like why my Alert Manager is still having problems publishing to the ADS.

[08:45] No, "I ull be morstly eatin'" is not a typo. If you've ever seen The Fast Show you'll know that it's a phonetic version of what Jesse sometimes says. I'm sure if you hunt on Google for "The Fast Show Jesse sounds" you'll find something that confirms roughly what I'm saying. I regret that correspondence is now closed.

In early this morning to do a quick update on fifteen machines.

[09:15] Which is now done. Also done a 2000 box as well. Back to laptops and stuff today, I think.

[09:55] Listening to The Crypto Song at the moment. Short, but sweet.

[16:30] More machines reGhosted with the new Windows hotfix in place. Not taking as long, which is nice. I'm about to head off for the weekend, have a curry and see a film and then relax.

[12:55] Just as I've started to make some progess on new NT and 2000 images Microsoft bring out another fairly vital hotfix. Time to start again, I guess.

[13:25] This week I ull be morstly eatin' "Invisible sea shanty" sandwiches (Fresh Crayfish & Cocktail sauce with iceberg lettuce). No, I don't know why they have that name. The vendor didn't know either.

[15:35] Many thanks to Amanda who's helping me track down all the broken links on this site, hopefully by the time you read this I'll have squashed them all.

[11:15] Climbing was O.K. yesterday, having not climbed for a while my hands were a little out of practice and I didn't do too well. Still, not bad. Nice food at a friend's house afterwards, thanks for hosting again Andy. This morning I've put in a fix for the medium term for the menu.html problems some people have been running into and also replaced a file which vanished when I re-copied everything over during the big update at the beginning of this week.

[09:20] 20,722 pages served yesterday. Which is nice. There was a weird problem with one of the gifs on the front page wich manifested itself when you went to but not which is odd. It turned out to be a case-sensitivity issue, but not really. Doesn't matter anyway. Those of you who came here before yesterday may notice that I've removed the front page now. You go straight to the menu. This has caused a few search engines to throw a fit. Most notably the InternetSeer. I think it'll all work out. If anyone comes across any requests to menu.html then please send a quick email telling me which page it was on. Thanks.

This morning I'm going to have a look at someone's perl, explain to someone about Windows 2000's DNS and how to use as little of it as possible yet still retain the ADS stuff and have things work, mostly. I also need to get my hair cut, meet people for lunch to explain remote hotfix installation and ePolicy Orchestrator and go climbing this evening.

[14:45] So I did indeed spend the entire morning looking at perl and MySQL and stuff like that and it was fun and I learnt a lot. This afternoon I need to get my head together and decide what I need to do. I think I may end up writing something on the DNS thingy.

[15:55] Well, I think that went rather well. Just under an hour to write something which should stand someone in reasonable stead. I can always give addenda should they need any more help.

[17:25] The PFY's just printed out over 4000 sheets of incorectly dated sheets of Important Paper for this year's DoD. Even now he's working out what he can use the really useless paper for and making the year field a variable you can set once and it's reflected everywhere else in all the queries and reports.

Time to go climbing.

[09:35] Decided to remove the front splash page from the site this morning. It just doesn't do anything for the site any more (if at all). I should really get around to doing a redesign at some point. I say this every few months or so, but I still do believe that it needs doing.

[09:40] And there we go. The Register announces the fact that they're now printing my designs. Which is nice. I expect I'll be mildly slashdotted in a few minutes as people click through. As you're passing down the wire be sure and say hello.

[12:35] Looks like seven T-shirts sold already. Go on, buy one for yourself, and one for a friend.

[12:55] Upgrading machines from Office 97 to Office 2000 is annoying. Other than that it turns out that the BBC are stopping the Ogg Vorbis broadcasting of their radio stations (notably Radio 1). This is annoying as I'll have to go back to the SureStream RealPlayer version. This isn't good. I doubt we'll be able to stop it, but a number of us are complaining as well as we can to the BBC about it.

Another barbeque tonight and a wedding on the weekend (not mine).

[15:50] Friday afternoon slackering happening. Just set up the two machines for this year's Databases of Doom, which I think the PFY has under control. Other than that my desk it reasonably clear, there's nothing terribly outstanding to be done and frankly, we could go home right now. Only we won't, in case something happens.

[17:35] Congratulations to Joe, my friend at NAI whose birthday it is today. Now go home.

[10:25] Dragged myself into work for 09:45 this morning. I must be mad considering I didn't get home until 03:00 this morning. No-one saw fit to mention that the film's two hours forty-five minutes long. The good thing was it wasn't so bad. It wasn't as epic as I was hoping, and there were some really oedipal double-entendre scenes which had the audience in stitches, but nothing sucked, and there was minimal annoying characterage. Natalie Portman was so gorgeous in that film it's untrue. All I can say is nipples. No more spoilers, sorry.

[14:50] Yeah great, the new Internet Explore cumulative patch doesn't. Typical. Still, doesn't really matter to me as the only machines which use IE inside the building are in my room and I control them. Hopefully Microsoft will reissue the patch in a few days with the fixes properly applied.

[15:25] The Radio DJ (Chris Moyles) is right. When the sun comes out, attractive women appear from nowhere and walk about wearing next to nothing. It is an odd phenomenon, but not one I'm complaining about.

[12:10] Off to see Attack of the Clones this evening. Actually tomorrow morning at 12:05. As a result I may be late in to work tomorrow morning. Something like 10:00 rather than 08:00.

This morning we reghosted some machines and all but two of the twenty went off without a hitch. The remaining two didn't take too long to fix. The new image coupled with the login file with sets some registry settings means that (I think) we're cooking on gas as far as functionality balanced against security goes.

The rest of the morning has been spent fighting with Office 2000, Windows 2000 and the GPO application publication stuff. Stupid things. I applied some more Office 2000 administrative updates to the installation I have on the testbed server and tried to redeploy a few days ago. I thought it'd worked but it seems that the client machines (while picking up the updates) broke in some weird and secret way. I couldn't fix them because they were unable to see the installation point on the server, even thought they'd just gotten their updates from it the day before. I had to mapp a drive to the directory, manually install Office again over the top, then manually uninstall it before I could apply the GPO version of Office again. I'm running extensive install/uninstall tests now.

I'm just glad we hadn't moved to Windows 2000 on the desktop yet or this would have been very much worse than a few hours worth of puzzle with the option to go and have lunch. Which is what I'm going to do now.

[16:50] Spent the entire afternoon talking to someone about how to make Windows 2000 less crap. Active Directory, printers, group policy objects, organisational units, security, DNS, not needing dynamic DNS, Office 2000, publishing it, patching it, roaming profiles, antivirus procedures, ePolicy Orchestrator and everything that entails, including SQL security and NTLM Authentication.

And now my throat hurts. Haven't spoken so much in one go in quite some time.

[11:00] Climbing this evening. The word on the house is that the vendor probably hasn't found anywhere to move to yet so is stalling their solicitors from letting us carry out the searches. We really, really want this to go through. Maybe if I go around there and stare in her window for a few days without a break she'll get the message.

My PC is too loud. I think I need a new PSU as the one in the case at the moment is really too loud. Enermax seem to do "Silent", "Silent plus" and "Whisper" models. I think the Whisper's the one I want. As soon as I have the money and no big committments I think I may do it.

[14:15] Have to say, I'm rather impressed with If those are in-game graphics and it's not turn-based, etc. then I think it may be quite nice. I'll keep an eye on it.

[11:40] Surprise film of the year thus far is Dog Soldiers. I won't say much more except that it's gory in places and very funny in others. A Must Watch if you like B-movie action films with a small bit of horror.

As I suspected, our vendor (for the new house) still hasn't found anywhere yet. Lazy woman, it's not that hard to find somehere nice. We managed it in under three months and she's got a lot more money to play with.

[16:35] Great clearout today. Managed to sell a few old printers and am removing an old HP JetDirect printserver which isn't any use to anyone any more. This should allow me to close port 9100 on our gateway box at home and have the laser printer inside our LAN on the network in its own right. Much nicer.

[13:15] There's nothing quite like last night's pizza to give you the sustenance you crave of a lunch time. Especially when you haven't had any breakfast.

I've been hunting around for a tape recorder for someone this morning. No luck so far. Wnen he goes to India he's going to be sans recording equipment. Normally we have three for loan and in the three and half years I've been here we've never had more than one out at once. Now all three are. Suprising, but not really anything you care about.

[13:30] Well there's a turn up for the books. One of the people with one of our tape recorders has brought it back. This means I get to look like a miracle-worker to the person who was sweating blood trying to track one down.

[15:20] Working on getting McAfee NetShield 4.5.0 to update to Service Pack 1 using a remote FTP site. Unfortunately McAfee assumed that the FTP server would be case insensitive so the fact that my server (elsewhere in the Institution) is a Lunix box is causing problems as the files which come out of the download from NAI (self-extracting archive) are in the wrong case in many places. This is a stupid oversight. I and the FTP site maintainer are even now trying to work out the required case to have them download using NetShield's internal FTP client.

[12:25] And indeed the site's DNS has propagated and all is well. I feel pretty good about it. This morning I've been updating the master NT4.0 image and making sure my neeto-keen registry hacks make sure that no-one without a good bit of NT knowledge can piss about with the machines once the image is in place. Then I'm off to lunch.

[14:30] This afternoon we'll set up the login batch file all the users will be running from now on, but won't activate it yet. I'll be perusing the site of today, the essential World Rock Paper Scissors Society page and making sure I'm up to date on the latest developments.

[10:55] I've decided to embrace the future while sticking with the past by buying both a USB Zip250 and a Parallel Port version. There's no telling how long we're going to be sticking with NT4.0 here, and it doesn't like USB.

I think my bottom wisdom teeth are coming through. This is bad as they're growing at right-angles to my gums (the crowns are aimed at the next teeth forward from them). It's a hospital trip for sure. Lots of hacking of gums and probably removal of jawbone chunks. I'm really hoping the teeth decide to go away for a bit. I can't be doing with them at the moment.

[14:15] Working on a new version of the NT4.0 image for the users downstairs at the moment. I've relented and given them an FTP client (as a few of the machines people want to get files from don't offer interactive shells, only really tightly locked down things) and WinZip because I'm fed up of doing operations up here for the few users who get files on floppies or via email.

[15:55] Setting up Apache2 virtual hosting at the moment which is proving to be simple, yet a bit annoying. I dumped in the requisite VirtualHost lines and had a fiddle and now it's all working. Come tomorrow morning when the DNS comes in line with how things are we'll be up and running.

[08:55] Came in far too early this morning due to a number of reasons. The guy below us seems to get up at 06:30, this means his radio turns on then, too loudly. As a result I was awake, so I had a shower. I then realised I needed to do some reboot-causing updates to a number of machines in the building, so I got in just before 08:00 and fired it off. I'm pretty sure everything's gone according to plan. I intend to wander around the building today, looking at all the machines that were affected to make sure they're alive and well.

Someone's just pointed this out to me. Those of you who aren't au fait with Chris Morris' work will either love or loathe this. Either way, you should see it at least once.

[16:20] Meeting this afternoon. Seems to have gone O.K. I wasn't pulled up on anything and we appear to have enough money to do what we need. Which is good.

[07/05/2002 - 08:40] Came in to check the backup tapes and put in Monday's (having lost the coin-toss with the PFY on Thursday) and realised that on Friday I'd put the right tapes in the wrong machines. Consequently the backups have failed. No real worries, I put in the right tapes for Monday, I think.

The rest of the day was spent transfering my MP3s from one machine to another and then going to another barbeque. Oh, two of my friends got married this weekend just passed. The groom looked fairly calm and the bride looked stunning. Congratulations to Jon and Donna, now currently enjoying the sun in Turkey somewhere on a watersports holiday/honeymoon.

The barbeque was good, lots of food eaten, eyebrows singed by the monsterous heat from the coals. I think we bent the metal with the ferocious temperature it got up to. For a £90 piece of metal I would have thought it might have been a little stronger. Still, it's holding up well to repeated use.

[10:00] Jackhammers in my ear for the last hour. If it keeps up I'm going home at lunch time. There's a wedding in Reading this weekend, we're off there late this afternoon and home to arrived in time for the party this evening.

Just upgraded a machine running SQL Server 7.0 to Service Pack 4. Things seemed to go O.K., apart from a few problems with the ePolicy Orchestrator service which didn't seem to want to talk to it again until after a reboot, nevermind the fact that all the services had been stopped while the update took place. No worries though.

[13:05] Just upgraded all of my 3Com 1100 and 3300 switches to firmware 2.69 to fox some data corruption issues. You probably haven't noticed them yourself, if you have them. Unless you're running something that uses IPX (like Netware) you're not going to notice except maybe by seeing a slight performance hit. But then how many of you are running your switches at over 60% usage?

Speaking of firmware and BIOSes, I updated the BIOS on my PC again last night. Seems to have given it a small kick up the bottom when booting, which is nice. I don't think it's possessed though.

[12:40] The barbeque last night was great. Even though we were in a sheltered corner I think the wind found us. The actual implement was huge. You could have cooked for an entire football team on it. We dumped on three (initially) 'burn the bag and then spread the coals' packets of stuff and then lit them. Within minutes we had a tornado of fire rising up as the hot wind basically did the job for us. Most excellent.

Food was great, plenty of meat, bread, sauces. Ended up talking (as per usual) about sex, computers and prices for same. Funny how that happens.

I'm suddenly struck by the fact that all of my machines are still NT4, I'm still using the old antivirus distribution software and there are no real plans to do any upgrades this summer. Is this a bad thing? I'm not sure. The thing is, the longer I wait the more it's going to be a little silly not to move to Windows XP. Not that I think I will. I'll just go with 2000 and SP3 + stuff.

[16:35] Just read a review of Star Wars Episode II. Off the back of it it's possible that I might love it.

[09:20] Another month begins. The Radio 1 (BBC Radio 1) Ogg stream appears to be pure white noise at the moment. I think their plug's fallen out again. I have to admit, it's growing on me. I think it helps me concentrate.

[12:30] Static caused by upgrading to Winamp 2.80 and various settings getting futzed. Setting up a laptop with LCD projector over lunch them heading into town to get an internal two-pin SP/DIF and an external RCA->3.5mm mono cable for the PC. Then it's time to trash the test install and go ahead with the one I want to keep.

[17:05] Cables, bought, not going to be trying them this evening as I've got a barbeque to go to. Weird weather at the moment, it was pissing down this time yesterday and quite cold.