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October's Journal
December's Journal

[15:50] This entry was listed as 14:20 initially, then I had a visitor from another section of the Institution with some niggling NT 4 and Oracle problems which I was forced to solve in short order. I love it when I can help people with stuff. Makes me look good. Must stop and write up the email so he can pass on the information.

[16:30] Gosh. Nothing like writing documentation in a fun and irreverant style to find that you're energised for the first time in ages about something involving work. Shame it wasn't my work, per se. Still it's more of my stuff 'published'. Here's hoping people notice that I'm doing good stuff.

[12:15] Nothing much to say this morning, had a meeting about redesigning one of my computer rooms. Found asbestos in the benching, "I did not inhale."

Not much else, about to embark on a voyage of discover into the reasons why Mulberry (IMAP client) is failing when in SIMAP mode with SSL or TLS. That should use up a few hours of the day. Also have to prime the PFY on anything that might go wrong over the next two weeks and how she (and when she's not here the grunts) can deal with it successfully.

[17:15] Dealing with The Register with regard to T-shirts at the moment. Some good news and some bad news. It's likely there'll be no new designs from them before the new year, but then a lot should come out quite quickly. More on that when it happens. Sales figures are apparently 'good' and they're putting paid to the idea that black T-shirts sell better than white. Apparently sales are even on a white design and a black design that went up at the same time.

[10:25] One of the interesting things from yesterday has already become a moot idea. O'Reilly wouldn't swing with it. This is a shame, but understandable. It would have gotten a bit more publicity to the O'Really name, but it's not to be now.

[11:50] Maybe now, at 11:50, I can get some work done.

[12:30] Seems not. Shame. Unless you count endless discussions about stuff as work. I guess it is. Off to lunch, new laces to buy, then shifting the last person in the department off using their local drive for email, applications and documents and onto the server. This will really improve things when we move the administrative staff to W2K.

[14:50] On Time. Time is a weird and wonderful thing. It feels elastic, is invisible, and strong enough to outlast everything. When we run out of matter and energy, to some approximation time will still continue to pass. You can't beat it, it'll always get you in the end. Time is what we use to harm, to heal and to categorise. You can compartmentalise time, measure it to the limits of human ingenuity and even forget about it completely, but it'll always be there. To be honest you don't use time, it's just there and you simply allow it to stop you doing everything at once. You don't even need to worry that you've not been doing anything to keep it going, it's resolute, unstoppable, cruel and kind.

But time has no favourites, does no favours and holds no grudges. It's just there, you can't do anything about it. Don't even try. Time doesn't heal all wounds, it doesn't even wound all heels. It just continues to continue, neither mindful nor ignorant of what unfolds within its frame. You can experience the end of a life, the birth of a new one and the death of memories and creation of new thoughts in the blink of an eye. Time has no meaning to those who do not need it, but is essential to the way we live our lives. The marching of the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and centuries have shaped how all life has functioned on this planet. But these neat little packages of time are meaningless; Xylijzitskt of the planet Rukewqqin doesn't use three sixty-second minutes to help boil his gifrvuyt. No, he uses something else entirely. Yet the passage of time is essential to how the universe progresses.

And so to the reason for this vague and meandering aside. One can learn wonderful things and terrible things over the course of an hour, as I did today. Words, spoken over the course of minutes can change your perceptions of your own private universe (created over time, changed by the passage of same) utterly. Joy, a cessation of pain for a few brief minutes is a tremendous feeling. To be allowed into someone's confidence, to share the happiness of someone else, their worries, fears and rapture. And suddenly, later, a few words can cause you to be frozen with pain and shock, feelings of betrayal and upset uppermost, fighting to find some strength to deal with the facts as they are presented to you, baldy and sometimes incompletely. Minutes, possibly even seconds can be the only measurement by which you may separate good from bad. We use time (both intentionally and without option) to dull all memories, both good and bad, so that only an average of them remains. Half-remembered pleasures, vague feelings of happiness without reason, so that all is greater than neutral.

But time is one of the dimensions, it is both measurable and immeasurable. Anything you use to grasp it is only within your frame of reference. Only accepted standards can bridge the gap between you and I, the seconds which pass without your intervention, the minutes which seem to go on for hours.

I'm told that time is what I require to heal. How exactly this is supposed to happen I do not know. Time seems to stretch and contract without my control now. Maybe it always did and I didn't care. More likely is that time has remained constant and my perceptions of it have become skewed. I am out of sync with every thing and every one. Time and its passing is what brought me the happiness I felt for so long, and then the utter depression which followed. And only the passage of time can help me work out how to continue from here, today, now.

Luckily there's still plenty of time left.

[14:00] Today suddenly became a lot more interesting at lunch time. But only potentially so. More on that later, if anything comes of it. Still rolling out Windows machines with the new image on, at the moment. Not terribly exciting. Still, it gives the place a bit more controllability.

[16:50] Another machine down, another user moved to using their network drive for all email and documents. Two to go. I enjoy this being busy thing, it's been a long time since I've had so much to do. Also helped someone shrug off the RPC-2 bindings of computer DVD playback. Just doing my part.

[18:50] One advantage to being in lateish is that the network is fairly nippy this time of night. Getting high-bandwidth stuff done is fairly painless, which is nice. Wish I could be climbing, but I can't afford too many trips at the moment.

[11:40] Saw Die Another Day this weekend just gone. Very loud, especially at the beginning. Good though. Saw the Harry Potter too, last night.

[12:55] Gosh, this morning's gone really quickly. I think it's because I spent some of the morning at the Council Tax offices getting stuff sorted. I hate dealing with bills when someone else is at fault and they have overly complicated matters.

[16:05] I've not managed to do any work today, oddly. It's been rather... strained in places. Unfortunate states of affairs have come to pass, and it's gotten really foggy outside. Frankly I think I'm going to get out of here as soon as I can and go climbing. That should settle my head a bit. If nothing else I'll have the iPod to listen to and a good book.

I'll make a start on the week tomorrow. Sadly enough I'm on holiday for two weeks come the afternoon of 2 December. As per usual I'll be keeping a paper diary and taking photos, so expect a write-up when I get back. This time last year I was about to head off to Egypt with my then-girlfriend. What a difference a year makes. Who knows what'll be happening this time next year...

[12:40] Another Friday. Don't know what I'm doing this evening. Probably nothing. Feels a bit tough at the moment. Still, tomorrow should be cool. Hopefully things'll be better later and I won't feel so lonely when I'm not doing stuff with others.

Am experimenting with Ghost and SysPrep at the moment. Hopefully results will be positive. Also having a problem with Mulberry (an IMAP client). Really hoping it's not something to do with the operating system.

[16:40] As it is I've managed to salvage the day (I think) by mastering the Sysprepedness factor. I think this whole thing may actually work in the end. Not only that but I've managed to get in some late-breaking registry tweaks into the master image for the Optiplex GX110 before it started getting used a lot.

[14:10] Another non-entity of a morning. Not done much apart from sort out some home insurance and do some fun things with Windows 2000 Resource Kit. I'm about to be trained in the use of an Evac+chair(TM, or something) to help getting disabled people out of the building in the event of fire.

[15:15] I'm now certified to throw people down the stairs in the event of a fire in the building. This can only be a good thing.

[17:15] SIDs are my bane at the moment. I'm convinced that my cloning scheme is going to fall apart unless I start using SysPrep fairly sharpish. Doesn't really cause a lot of problems I don't think. We'll see what happens with the next machine. I have a good few machines which can be taken out of circulation for a day or so to be futzed with. Off now to go have a curry.

[13:00] Written shorthand, today's date is palindromic. Truly amazing. Really. The morning's been spent in a meeting, giving empty apologies to users who are basically gits and trying to catch up on email (work and personal). There's a technical presentation this afternoon. I should be back after it, though.

[15:50] And I'm back. Not so much interesting as reassuring. Now I have to do some work before I go home. Otherwise today's been a bit of a non-entity.

[17:50] Some work done, some problems solved, some other ones generated. I'm learning as I go along.

[12:55] Coming of age today. My Young Person's Rail Card runs out as of this evening. This means I have to get another one, but I can't travel before 10:00 without incurring the full charge for train tickets. This is fairly annoying.

This morning I've been installing more machines to the Active Directory and coming across silly little registry hacks I need to incorporate into the master images next time.

[11:10] So I saw my parents this weekend, which was great. Should do that more often. Saw my brother too, and ended up fixing my dad's computer which we upset a little.

[11:15] One of my friend's cars caught fire this morning at 10:00. He drove back from Birmingham yesterday with no problems. Drove in to work at 9:00 this morning with no problems. At 10:00 reception rang him to say his car was on fire. The entire engine compartment is toast, seems there was a 'pop' three-foot high flames and lots of smoke. The fire people say there was probably an electrical fault which caused the noise insulation inside the compartment to ignite. From there it just grew. Real shame. Still, he got some good digital camera pictures up on the web within the hour so we could all see.

His car's a diesel, but the other cars around were petrol. If the fire crews had still been on holiday, or slower than five minutes to arrive and another one to put the flames out, there might have been a serious problem.

[12:20] Off to lunch now, meeting after lunch. Back later.

[17:00] Fun afternoon ghosting images and worrying about SIDs in Windows 2000. We'll see what happens tomorrow when I add the first new machines to the Domain.

[09:55] Another late night, but I think I managed to deal with it quite well this morning. Watched The Castle, Tron and Last Action Hero last night.

Off to see my parents for the first time in five months, today. I'll get to drive the car as well, which I'm a little nervous about as I haven't driven since my test (which I passed, must remember that). The car I'll be driving will be a lot bigger, heavier and more powerful. I'll have to start off on some quiet roads, rather than central Leeds.

I'll be leaving Leeds on Sunday morning, heading back home then on to London to go climbing for the afternoon. Busy life, hopefully it won't leave me absolutely cream-crackered for Monday.

[13:30] In an effort to take a screen-break for a few minutes I've tidied the office and moved some of the spare machines still sitting in here out of the way to give the place a bit more of a feeling of space. I think it's worked, it's also gotten me out of my chair for a while and exercising more than just my fingers and eyes. Blink rate went back up again. All I need to do now is start creating "Master Image GX110" for the W2K shuffle.

[15:00] That's up and running (installing), I have a laptop due back before 16:00 then I'm out of here for the weekend.

[15:50] Well, it's been a day and a half and no mistake. This morning I barely woke in time to get in for a sensible hour. Stayed up too late again last night. I really should get more sleep. Seriously. Anyway, got in, tried to keep awake while finishing someone's W2K install and then came bang up against an ugly permissions-type thing concerning folder redirection of the My Documents shortcut. Suffice to say it took up a lot of time before I figured out it was to do with ownership and exclusivity, rather than permissions. It all seems to be sorted now, so if anyone else comes up against something like what I've vaguely described ask me for details.

Oh, my beanbags are in, only one and a half months after I ordered and paid for them. I hate Argos.

So, I was setting up this machine and I've begun to worry that I've missed some essential parts out of this whole configuring the ADS and the servers and clients properly and securely. With luck whatever I've missed I'll be able to configure centrally later on. Isn't that supposed to be one of Windows 2000's strengths?

Thursday anyway, leaving earlyish to get beanbags, then going home. With luck it'll be Tron (20th Anniversary Edition) and something else.

[16:35] So anyway, I think I need to go and pick up those beanbags.

[12:45] Nearly time for lunch. I got to bed at 02:30 this morning, another late return from the climbing wall in London. Had an excellent evening. Climbing with a new friend who's damaged the tendons in his righ hand means that he's climbing one-handed at the moment. I joined him in solidarity. Bouldering and rope climbing without one hand really improves your balance.

This morning I've had a few meetings, my new DVDs have arrived and this afternoon I'm starting to move machines to Windows 2000. Really I am this time.

[16:20] I hate mice which appear to work perfectly, but have some kind of weird fault that is totally impossible to diagnose and basically mean they need to be binned. Wasted literally tens of minutes of time on the sodding things.

[17:00] What I'm after is a Group Policy option for W2K which makes all users or machines empty IE's Temporary Internet Files on logout or IE close. Now though I have to go and collect my bike and go home.

[08:40] Well, 28 Days Later. Certainly a film I'm glad I saw, but it's a bit raw in places. I have to admit that I closed my eyes at one point. But only for a second. It's the bit with the thumbs. You'll know it.

Today I'm trying to make a start on moving machines to Windows 2000. I think I'll start with some base images and take it from there.

[12:40] Emergency laptop updation takes priority over Windows 2000 imaging this morning. Hopefully I'll get something done before I head off for climbing this evening.

[14:40] Sorry about not being in for long today. Monday has been a very busy day in my life. Here's a quick rundown. Had someone come to pick up their work PC which they'd brought round to play LAN games on on Friday, only it wouldn't boot, then went to town to find out where my two new beanbags were (still no sign of them, and I've been charged for them too), then to the opticians where I had to manually pay for my next set of contact lenses because the bank hadn't accepted the direct debit authorisation, then to the bank to pay in some money and ask for the previous-but-one statement to be sent to me again because they seem to have lost it when I moved house and then finally I gave blood. Once I'd done all that I went in to work for forty minutes, dealt with a few problems and went to a meeting.

Now I'm at home waiting for NTL to come round and install digital cable because it's finally cheaper than the analogue service I'm currently on. Tonight I go to see 28 Days Later, and then I think I'll go to bed.

[18:00] Came in to work for about 15:30 after the NTL guy had been. Everything seems all set up, looks like I've got RGB to the TV and it's SCART all the way through (no poxy composite any more). Wonderful picture and almost all the channels are in widescreen now, which is also nice.

[11:45] Argos appear to have sent my two new beanbags to... The Courier Zone. I don't know that I'll ever see them. Argos, the gits, charged me for them the day after I ordered them on 24/10/2002.

If anyone has a working Ghost boot disk for an Optiplex GX260 I will pay cold hard cash. I'm getting annoyed now. It's this bastard Intel PRO 1000/MT (or similar) that Dell have gone to rather than a 3Com.

[15:50] And I've done it. All off my own bat (thanks to Grant for getting some useful advice in just too late). This is marvellous. Sometimes I really think I'm good at this job. If anyone wants a copy of the disk I can do a dd of it to an .img file.

[16:05] Oh, and thanks to Erin too. Sorry, too late.

I think I'm going home. Have a nice evening and weekend. With luck it won't rain too much tomorrow. On Sunday I should be climbing, we shall see.

[09:20] So I went to the Microsoft Security Seminar yesterday. It was manned by humans, which was a good start. I asked some questions which got reasonable answers, which was also helpful. Suprisingly I was the person who provided the least sarcastic answer to "What's the quickest way to secure an IIS installation?" Amid cries of "Unplug it." and "take out the network cable." I actually recommended running IISlockdown. The answer he was after was apparently to move the Inetpub directory off C:, but no-one mentioned it, so I got the mouse. I think I'll sell it.

[12:40] Setting up another machine. There's something fantastically soothing about doing a Windows installation and patch from scratch. Am I odd? Or at least odder than normal?

[16:10] Damn, jsut reminded that there was an episode of Faking It on Channel 4 last night. It was the longboard surfer one that I applied for. Wish I'd gotten it.

[11:30] So I went climbing last night, went to the pub afterwards and didn't get home until 02:00 this morning. Consequently I'm quite tired. This morning I tried to do the very simple task of installing an IDE/ATAPI Zip drive in a machine and it's all gone wrong.

I'm at a security talk all afternoon and then at a vendor exhibition for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I doubt you'll see much of me today.

[12:10] Zip installation has gone very very wrong. Why is nothing ever simple nowadays? I'm very close to reinstalling the OS and starting from scratch. Good job I have Ghost to take most of the edge off it.

[11:10] BOFHcam II is currently showing the building site. If people complain I'll pull it back to stare at me again. I have another webcam set up, but that one's for office use only. So you don't get to see it.

Climbing this evening, luckily. I'm starting to get withdrawl symptoms again.

[14:10] I wish my job was more important, that it was useful for something other than maintaining the status quo. I want to develop systems, bigger systems than the occasional Windows 2000 server, and I want it to mean something. I need a new job, and I need it soon.

[14:15] Of course, it's up to someone else to tell me that The Register have done two more of my T-shirts and they've been up since Monday.

[09:30] The housewarming (second edition) was much smaller than I hoped it would be, turns out that a lot of people were ill, or had other stuff on. It didn't matter, some people turned up, a good time was had by those who could make it and we tried to make an impression on the Pringles mountain I have at home. We didn't do very well.

Sunday I went climbing again. My climbing partner (like me) stayed up far too late on Saturday night and (not like me) was late turning up for the trip to London. That didn't matter as we got there in plenty of time to do a good afternoon's climbing. I managed to do a tricky one-hold problem for the second time on the bouldering wall and met up with some new people, which was cool.

This morning it was a little tough to get up, I think I need to start getting more sleep but something keeps driving me to stay up late. I'm setting up another new machine this morning and trying to convince more people to come climbing.

[15:20] So LISA 2002 is on at the moment in Philadelphia and William has emailed me to tell me that he's seen someone wearing one of my T-shirts around the place. This is a reminder to anyone who sees anyone wearing one to drop me a line and say which one and where.

[17:20] Tomorrow they install a tower crane on the building site opposite. I'm turning camera II round to stare at it when I get in tomorrow. Or maybe tonight as I'll not remember in the morning.

[09:20] November then. Recently I've thought more about the beginning of each month than I used to. I also spend time thinking back to what was happening at the beginning of the previous year's month. Maybe I shouldn't. Time seems very elastic at the moment. Years can seem like just a few months, a few hours can seem like most of a day.

Today I set up a machine, see what else needs doing and work out how to keep things together for another dozen hours or so. This weekend is the second housewarming to which a much smaller number of people will be turning up. I hope it's as good as the first one. I imagine it will be, everyone coming is cool.

[12:35] A few more minutes and I can have last night's pizza for lunch. Marvellous.

[14:45] Raining. Great. Just what a Friday afternoon needs. No, really.

[15:36] You've all seen it already, but Googlism is fun.