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July's Journal
September's Journal

[10:00] Yay, new Axis camera has arrived. Did I mention I had lunch with Shaun and the head DBA for yesterday. If not then, well, I did. It was a whole load of fun as he's vaguely mad, but in a good way. Liked him a lot.

Best of luck to Elaine who's got important things to do this morning. Hope it all goes well. Ghosting at the moment, all kinds of things happening simultaniously here. It's great. Thai at lunch today, so I didn't have to make a packed lunch this morning. This meant I was able to get up later, which was helpful as I woke at least twice last night. I really need to get my sleep sorted out as it's not helpful for work, to say nothing for my social life.

[12:30] New camera now all set up and stuff, just need to wait for the DNS propogation thing to happen. I'll let you know on Monday. Off for a Thai now.

[17:20] A quiet afternoon. Prepared some machines, took down one of the oldest in the building for either binning or retasking as a linux box and had a quick flip through NTK. Now I'm just off home to do some serious relaxing and tidy the house a bit.

[10:30] Came in lateish this morning and found that the computer room had already been blocked off. I entered and got to watch a couple of guys using a cutting torch to slice away those really thick steel supports. I made sure not to watch too closely so I still have my sight. I've blocked off the comms cabinet so hopefully there won't be too much smoke sucked in. The temperature in there is a full ten degrees lower than in the other cabinet and everything so consolidated in there now. It's marvellous. I'm thinking of ordering another Axis camera to watch developments in the room while we're upstairs.

[15:10] So I'm installing a new machine and have had to resort to copying the msblast.exe patch to a floppy to patch it before installing everything else so that I can create a new image with the new GX270 machines. Oh, and the steels in the computer room have been cut back, hot desks aplenty.

[17:20] It's a three-stage process of ghosting right now. Do the base install, ghost that for the building (with sysprep). Then install Office, patch that, Virus Scan, patch that, then take another image. Then it's on with Roxio, patch that and reghost again. The last two images are for external machines.

I had a few problems with the ghost disk (of which I only had one), but luckily I'd had the presence of mind to create a disk image of the floppy so a quick dd later and I have a working floppy again. Smart. Thursday tonight, so off soon. Hope climbing goes well for those who go.

[15:20] Oh yeah, we got the building back online at 11:40 this morning. The cabinet looks well funky and I'm about to take some pictures and drop them on the gallery. They should be there by 16:00.

We rolled in the new cabinet yesterday and nearly busted a gut getting it up to the first floor. Luckily it all went smoothly, especially the part when I realised it might not fit in the corner of the room under the air intakes, which it did, by 1.2 inches. The guy from the networks place helped me rerack and connect everything up. Cable ties are God's own invention and enable you to make things really, really neat. Once we get the four cable management 1U inserts it's going to be wonderful in there. Anyway, since then I've been tidying up a little, moving newly delivered PC boxes around and generally thinking about the amounts of crap that're going to be in the air when the cutting torch people arrive tomorrow. I've kept hold of the cardboard stuff so I can rewrap it while the cutting torches fill the air with burnt paint, metal and quite probalby wood and varnished cork. I may take photos.

Intending to go climbing this evening.

[17:45] But failing.

[11:30] On the dot of 08:30 we dropped the connection to the building and started removing all active kit from the comms cabinet which also serves as our point of presence. The next hour or so we spent removing all the patch panels, the fibre enclosures and the power racks too. Once it was empty, which wasn't an easy task we removed the cabinet and began to tidy the cables which have to stay in place while the benching below where the cabinet stood is removed.

Unfortunately there are some really messy cabling issues (cables going the long way around in places and getting in the way) which we're dealing with as they happen. The electrician is also here removing power sockets and redundant patch points, although we've told him to keep some in place after all.

As of ten minutes ago the benching and angle-grinding people came in and started creating lots of sparks and splinters of wood everywhere. The metal supports which a) need to be cut back in place and b) need to be removed where the benching is being cut back for the new cabinet are proving to be extremely tough going and I think we're going to fall behind where we planned to be at the end of the day. It may be a case of switching to cutting-torch in places.

Not that you'll read this until a few days from now but, more later.

[15:00] The benching we needed removing has been removed. There's still some (I think) old pyro cables there which could be whipped out and some old mineral (junction) boxes which could be removed, but we're on for a reconnect tomorrow morning if all goes well. The new rack's here, it's just a case of getting it up to the first floor and ready to install. There's still the issue of the badly wired (routed) sockets on the first and second floor which come back to this cabinet, but I think we can deal with them. Oddly, the radiator people have blocked in one of the cables which runs the IR sensors in the room. It's going to have to be disconnected so that we can re-run it through the new ducting in a week or so.

My bike's rear tyre had a slow puncture it in at lunch time so I thought "sod it" and dropped it in somewhere to have the tyre and inner replaced. It's twenty quid, but it's better than faffing around again when I could be doing something else. The tyre's got a bit of a hole in it, but I think some rubber vulcanising solution and sitting in front of the telly tonight squeezing it together will give me a spare tyre for next time.

Oh, and it looks like it's going to be cutting torches all the way here now. The grinding away of the most important support's been done, but it ate about five disks in the process. And we have about twenty more supports to be done. I don't know what this is going to do to a) the underside of the wooden benches and b) the varnished cork floor, but it's a good job we're getting carpet tiles after all this is done.

[19:30] So I get an automated email telling me my web server (work) has the Nachi 'white' worm. I repair the puncture on my bike (having been far, far too busy to repair it over the weekend) and cycle in. No sign of infection, still patched up to date, still has A/V up to date. No idea what's wrong. Still, it meant I got my bike tyre fixed, I changed the backup tapes and I get to do today's entry and get it up in time for those of you to read it before tomorrow at 08:30 when we drop the building off the network for a few days.

The weekend was bloody excellent. Elaine came down to see me again and on the Friday we just chilled out, I think I managed to actually get some decent sleep for the first time in a few months. Saturday morning we waited for pickup from Cormac, Steph and Keith and headed out to go karting. Apart from a rather nasty crash with Steph (sorry Steph!) and clattering the inside of my right knee against the steering column (bruise now coming up) we had to bloody good fifteen minute sessions. Indoor track and really rather hot. We decamped to a pub just down the road afterwards for some much-needed food.

Sunday was spent regretting the fact we couldn't go climbing owing to feeling rather bruised from Saturday. So we went shopping instead. I needed some food and Elaine needed some new clothes to enjoy the sun in so we had a bit of a trip follows by the purchasing of food from Asda. As the weather was so nice we headed out to a park for the afternoon and watched people go by with a picnic for a while. Rather relaxing. DVDs filled up the evening.

Today we decided to take things easy and ended up in the cinema watching Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life which was complete bunk from beginning to end. And it wasn't even about her breasts any more! Most disappointing. Still a nice way to pas a few hours though. The trains are in such a state that we considered whether she'd get home at a sensible time this evening but decided in the end that it'd be more sensible if she at least tried to get home today. Once packed off on the train I headed home to repair the massive slash in my tyre (damned drunks dropping bottles in the gutters), cycled to work, checked the machine, changed the tapes and wrote this entry. Now I'm off home again. Those of you who read this before Wednesday/Thursday, have a good evening. Everyone else, hope you had a nice beginning to the week... I expect my week's going to be rather complicated starting tomorrow morning.

[09:00] I'm getting peeved about my sleep patterns at the moment. Still, I imagine they're eminently solvable. Just take a bit of effort I expect. I got in stupidly early this morning and did some cross-patching such that when we lose network connectivity on Tuesday morning everyone in the building should still be able to get to the servers to do work. Having internal DNS now will hopefully ameliorate the effects to simply no email and no web access for everyone. I must put up some notices to this effect today.

Oooh, oooh, karting tomorrow with Elaine and others. It's going to be excellent! There's a pub lunch in the offing afterwards as well. Oh, and it's a bank holiday here in England on Monday, so no journal for you until, well, Wednesday or Thursday at this rate. How will you cope? Probably really easily I'd expect. Go and do something else.

[09:20] Oh yes, I have a network engineer coming in at 13:30 today (right in the middle of lunch) to make sure he knows what he's doing on Tuesday. Still, it's better than them arriving on Tuesday and going, "Hmmm."

[16:20] Right, so the networking is going to be much more difficult than anyone previously thought, but that's O.K. And it's going to involve dropping the phones to certain people as well, but that's O.K. And there's going to be an unholy mess come Tuesday morning at 08:30 when I and the networking engineers get down to it, but that's O.K. too, because it has to be. I'm about ready to go home right about now. There's a machine which refuses to work on the network downstairs and I was about to reghost it up here, only it's started working again. Saved me some effort, but I don't know why.

[17:50] So anyway, see you on Tuesday.

[09:40] Hmmm, puncture to rear tyre on the way in this morning. Still it meant I got to take a wonderful few pictures of a butterfly on the walk in. I've locked my bike safely in town and will pick it up on the way out this evening.

I slept really badly last night and seem to have wrenched my left shoulder really badly. Rather annoying, really. Oh, and it's Microsoft Hotfix Thursday again. Joy. You won't see much of me today, I'm going to be patching machines.

[15:15] Done with the patching. Time for lunch. I think I'll watch some DVDs.

[13:00] Gosh, busy morning. Having a paper To Do list really helps you get through the things to do. Of course it's not exhaustive, but I'm getting things done anyway. This lunchtime I'm getting to set up my wireless LAN in the building opposite so that when I take down the building on Tuesday morning next week I'll still have access for the day or two it'll take to get the benching removed and the kit all connected back up again. What? It's my job to remain in contact. Plus I means I can chat to those people I don't want to stop talking to. It's only for a day or two, and I'll still update my journal so you'll have more to read when you are able to get back to the site again.

[14:35] Just spent an hour getting wireless set up between this building and the next. I think it's working, but it's damned flaky. Oh well, better than nothing. Lunch time now.

[15:30] Mmmm, cherry tomatoes.

[17:00] Right, PDFs done, heading to London for some climbing action.

[12:35] The new worm (W32/Nachi.worm, NAI definition) is rife in my organisation. I can tell because I plugged in a laptop and only connected the network card when I was updating the A/V and then when I was installing the MS03-026 patch and it still got infected. Only took thirty seconds to clean it again though, but that's fairly impressive. There must be a shitload of infected machines around at the moment.

[14:05] So there's a new Sobig variant out (Sobig.f, NAI designation) and the DAT to cover it isn't available yet. Marvellous.

[16:10] O.K. it's out now and most of my machines are up to date now. I dunno it must be silly season for viruses and stuff at the moment because it's not been this bad in a long time. I've got a stack more laptops to update some time soon, but I can do most of them with a Ghost image, I think.

[17:25] All machines updated to the most current DAT and nothing more I can do for the moment so I'm off home to go climbing and try and have something sensible to eat for once.

[12:40] Nice morning thus far. Everything's still running well (apart from the occasional tape error on the backup servers, in hand). Looking forward to getting my hair cut this evening.

[12:50] So Elaine finished her degree coursework and got it all in this Friday just gone so she came down to see me and have a bit of an unwind. It was great weather and a real opportunity to just chill out and relax after and odd and frenetic week.

[16:40] I've ordered four more new PCs (Dell Optiplex GX260) for people here and outside of the building. I can't believe I'm giving this kind of kit to other people rather than using it myself, but this is the job. Things have been kind of quiet today, email's been patchy at best, but I've gotten things done and it's been a nice introduction to the week. I'm looking to go karting next weekend (the bank holiday weekend) and you might want to bear in mind that this site will be off-line (building connection being dropped) between some time on the Monday and Wednesday (or Thursday, but I hope not). I'm hoping to drop the connections on the Monday, and whip out all the kit I actually want to save (with help) and watch the desk being cut, angle-ground and then cutting-torched away on the Tuesday. The new floor-standing (rather than desk-standing) rack should then go in as soon as possible and the essential patch panels and fibre cables reinstalled as soon as possible thereafter.

I've got the rest of this week to get a wireless LAN access point set up in the building opposite and a laptop configured to use it here so I can still talk to people while the rest of the building's on internal connectivity only. I like technology when it does what you want.

[12:40] Friday. It's been a very strange week what with the worm and taking time off and the worry over all kinds of things. Many of those worries go away by necessity today. This evening should be a much happier time for all concerned. Or a time to decompress a little anyway.

Last night was good. I spent some time people-watching on the grass in the middle of town before heading home with a friend. The usual crowd came over and we ate some food while watching Phone Booth which is really quite good considering it was filled in just ten days. Well I liked it anyway. One person left early, but I think it was due to other things rather than the film. I bought the first mini box-set of Relic Hunter from him for half price after he watched the first episode and realised just how bad it is. Personally I have no problem with Tia Carrere, but you pays your money, youy takes your choice.

Off for a Thai now, and then patching some much less important boxes which I seem to have missed. Looking forward to this evening rather a lot.

[14:20] Mmmm, Thai rules.

[17:40] A productive afternoon patching a few machines which probably weren't vulnerable but are now fully up-to-date. In effect I've secured the entire building and basically I've got nothing to do for the rest of the day. For sure there's a lot of things still need doing, but actually there's nothing I can sensibly do right now. I think I'm going to go home and get things ready for a nice relaxing weekend.

[15:00] So I got up at some horrible hour of the morning (not having slept too well anyway) and got on a train home again. At the station (journey going without too much incident) I cycled straight to work to do a post mortem on Tuesday's outbreak. I'm really bugged that the few machines I'd been intending to patch that morning actually got infected literally thirty or so minutes before I was due to secure them. Hopefully it won't happen again. I've discovered the vector of infection/worming into the building and I'm pretty sure now (at 15:00) the building is locked down tight. I've changed some of the settings so that machines are complete gits when it comes to viruses now. There's no chance of cleaning, if it's infected it's gone. It's why I do backups. There is no appeal.

I wish we didn't have any NT4 in the building any more but for reasons I won't go into it's necessary. Not for long though, really. Honest.

[15:20] It's a normal Thursday this evening. I have to admit my mind's on other things at the moment. I'm lucky things have settled down here so I don't have more than one important thing on my mind at once. I'm kind of limited in what I can do from here, but all my thoughts are going towards helping someone who could do with support right now.

[14/08/2003 - 12:15] Back at work, more information on Tuesday, Wednesday soon. Just applying large antivirus enema to the network.

[14:55] So I finished patching machines at around 14:30 and was out of the door in time to catch a train at around 15:00. Left my bike at the station (which turned out to be a good thing). Once in Leeds I met the rest of the family and we drove out to a place near Pickering where the caravan is stored now. We put tents up for me and the brother and settled down to some food. I flaked out quite quickly after the day's activities.

Wednesday was spent waking up early (again, I've not slept properly in months now), breakfast, packing the tents and then driving to the remains of a Roman set of camps and forts for a nice walk in the countryside. A leisurely picnic in the sun followed by a drive to Whitby, through Whitby when it turned out to be packed and on to Robin Hood's Bay and then a walk by the shore was next.

We had ice-cream in the narrow streets and walked up the steep roads back to the car park. My brother driving, I in the passenger street and our parents in the back (something it's taken 27 years to achieve) we headed back to the caravan for dinner before heading back home to Leeds. I checked my email from home before again crashing out again (too much sun this time, I think).

[14:10] I was supposed to be on a train at 12:15. Unfortunately we had an outbreak of the MS03-026 DCOMRPC worm affect some machines which hadn't been patched yet. I blame myself really. The thing is, the A/V protection that would have protected us was due to be installed at 13:30 and the worm hit at about 09:42. This is annoying. I've modified the A/V settings for the future and been frantically containing and patching machines all morning. I'm hot, tired and concerned about more important things and people than my own work at the moment. When you read this you'll know that I'm thinking of you and I hope everything comes together in the next few days.

Anyway. I have to go and catch a train and spend some time with my parents, although I'm going to be thinking about someone else and this place the whole time. Everything's going to be alright, I know it is. It just takes a bit of time an effort.

[10:55] Damn it's hot here. It looks like the PFY left the fan on the servers on all weekend, which probably saved their lives. The UPSen temperatures are sensible at a mere 33 degrees centigrade. I've got a todo list a mile long today, including replacing a few machines which really need to have been done three years ago. Once I've done all that I have to embark on the sheer unadulterated pleasure that is my work email which I've barely registered yet.

[15:00] I've found the pilot episode of MacGyver as an AVI! Guess what I'll be doing this afternoon. Also rediscovered the joys of 'talk'. Thank you to the writers of 4.2BSD way back when.

[16:55] So because one of the secretaries doesn't trust users who browse our web site to see deadlines we have, she got the PFY to put these deadlines in all kinds of different places, rather than on the front page or on a deadlines page. This means that when a change comes down I have to trawl through fourteen or so pages doing the same change to all the pages.

[18:05] Something just exploded on the building site next door. Or at least I think it did; there's no smoke and nothing to suggest it, but the noise was tremendous and rather impressive. Still, no worries.

[11/08/2003 - 10:50] A nice lazy day in the shade and out of the sun. Went food shopping, that's about it. Marvellous.

[11/08/2003 - 10:45] Damned hot on the train. Travel north was good though.

[09:45] O.K., it's too hot already. I'm moving a whole slew of machines from Dr Solomon's Management Console to ePO this morning (don't ask why it's taken so long). This necessitates me running up and down stairs a good few times. Needless to say I could do them all at once but I don't trust any software so I'm doing one first, seeing how that goes, then the rest. More information when I have it.

Oh yes, I'm off to see Room 101 this evening. Dunno who's on it yet, or where, or when. Still, it'll be a laugh. I also won't be in on Thursday or Friday. There's a slim chance I'll be doing Journal updates remotely, but I don't know yet.

[11:50] Well the management stuff replacement seemed to go O.K. once I'd added a few more applications to the 'allowed applications' list for the restricted user who logs in automatically. Someone's asked me to send them an email full of URLs but I don't have their email address. I imagine I'll get something from someone.

[12:45] Email address found and reply received. I think I've impressed someone. I've organised a fan to cool my UPSen and servers as I think 44.5 degrees centigrade is a little too hot for them. I may leave the fan on all night.

[14:10] It's now officially Too Hot. I can deal with cold, heat is another matter. And in two hours or so I'm going to go on purpose to the train station and get a train to London. I think I'm insane.

[14:45] Parts of the city now losing power. I'm going to head off at just gone four and hope things hold together in my absence.

[16:00] It's hot and train tracks are starting to buckle. I'm going to to see I can find a seat on the train that has some shade and try and get an early ride so I actually get there in daylight. If I'm not on before Monday everyone have a wonderful remainder of the week and look after your machines.

[10:20] There was just enough wind last night to actually get the kite up for a bit, even if I was lectured on which way to face to 'get the wind' by a couple of itinerants. Went home, had an absolutely wonderful pizza with a sour cream dip and watched some more of my Babylon 5 episodes. Owing to one thing and another I've managed to spin them out for quite a while now. Still have to wait until November for the next series.

We're pondering new backup software for the reinstallation of the main servers. The contenders seem to be, Backup Exec, Retrospect and ARCserve (which we've been using for ages). If anyone has any terribly important words to say on this topic then feel free to email me, otherwise don't.

[15:10] A friend from the Netherlands has prolonged his visit to the UK (was over for the CCDE) and is currently staying with someone I know in town. I've invited him over to see where I work (if he's bored) using the power of the internet.

[09:55] The beard came off this morning. It was fairly long but this is just not the week to try growing it given the temperatures we're due. It's already toast outside.

I was accosted before I even got into the office this morning. The asbestos people and a cabling engineer were here needing direction when I arrived. Removal is now taking place and the cables which are dead have been removed. We almost removed the cables to the PIRs sensors but didn't.

The weekend wasn't so bad, plenty relaxing in fact. I didn't get to go up north but I had a great time visiting friends with a new baby and doing some hedge shearing and hold the baby. Not only that but I managed to stop him crying too, even if it was just because he farted. Oh, I went to see Hulk on Friday. It's an O.K. film even if it does depart from the canon fairly substantially in places and is a bit overlong. Still, worth seeing. On Saturday I was so wiped out by the day's work I was picked up from their place (rather than cycling back) and driven to the cinema to see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It had so many plot holes that I was almost put off liking it. But in the end I think it was an O.K. film. It's a shame James Cameron wasn't involved. The idea that a major plot point happened no matter what was kind of at odds with the common phrase throughout the three films "no fate but what we make for ourselves". Still, lots of shooty-bangs and things like that.

[10:45] Trying to work out what time I can take off at the moment. I want to get out of town on Thursday afternoon. It's looking promising at the moment but it leaves the place kind of undermanned. I think they'll cope.

[15:10] Lunch was good, plenty of females on display on the grass where I ate my lunch with two friends. I'm booking time off as you read this and everything should be fine by close of play today. I'm off to see a recording of Room 101 on Wednesday and then you won't see me again until Monday, all being well.

[17:20] One of the machines in the building has a bad block somewhere on it that's being tickled every time we do a virus scan in the mornings. Hopefully it'll cause the machine to topple over at some point so we have a valid reason for taking it away from the user (who won't let us near it) and putting a new hard drive in it. Ghosting shouldn't take more than about ten minutes, plus post configuration should make it about half an hour. Simple. Now all we need to do is wait for the box to die. I had a new user (come September) come in and demand a new PC for when he arrives. He wants an LCD (I think not) and Zip drive (no worries). I'm a big fan of recycling machines so he'll get something fairly decent (a 733MHz PIII) but nothing new, we don't need to push the boat out. He seems disappointed with Windows 2000 (rather than XP). Well frankly I know he doesn't need XP because I know exactly what he's going to be doing with it. If he was doing anything surprising I'd have no problem, but he's not.

Other than that I'm updating a few machines then going home. If it was windy I'd go and fly my kite for a bit. But it's not. Which is annoying. I think it's time for some DVD watching this evening, been a while since I did that.

[18:25] 100 percent cloud cover here. It's going to be a humid evening.

[11:20] Friday, and a new month. This is good. Well it's not great as a whole load of stuff has gone out of my account direct debit-wise, but still. There's the Clarecraft Discworld Event thing happening this weekend which I'm not at for various reasons. Hope everyone has a good time. It's currently wet so I don't feel too bad about missing it.

Just rolled out the Patch 2 for ePO and made sure everything is still secure and locked down. It is. I've passed on a set of better instructions to Central who may or may not use it to distribute to my peers. I hope they do, it's a nice set of information.

[12:30] I think I'm about to grow a beard. This is because I've been too lazy to shave. I'm not seeing anyone this weekend so I've no reason to shave then either (I'm told it might be interesting to one or two people). Let's see how long it lasts.