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November's Journal
January's Journal

[03/01/2004 - 17:50] We got up this morning and Elaine headed in to work. Unsurprisingly there were only one or two other people in so by the time I turned up, having packed my bags and taken a bus in to town we could leave for about 14:30. Unfortunately the trains were packed, full of screaming children, blocked and stinking toilets and rather cold in places. By the time we got to my place we were tired, drained and nto really up to walking all the way across town to Keith's New Year Party. We had some food, thawed out a little and stuck to each other on the futon at home. In its own way, very wonderful. Jooles Holland's Hootenany provided entertainment over the new year mark and then we were stuck to our (warm) seats watching the Top 100 TV Treats of 2003. Some time around about 03:20 we went to bed.

[I'll do the 2004 entries on Monday when I'm in work and have better access to things.]

[03/01/2004 - 17:20] Spent another lazy morning in bed but then took it upon myself to get myself into town so I could meet Elaine for lunch. When we met I took us to get some food, only to find she'd already eaten. It didn't matter because it was so bitterly cold we needed something else to keep us warm.

Once she'd gone back to work I wandered into Waterstone's and ended up reading a translation of Battle Royale in the cafe there. It's not like Borders and I didn't feel welcome doing it, but it was better than being outside.

I don't think I mentioned that yesterday one of the PCs in Elaine's office got a virus (a trojan byte-verify one). Not all the machines in the office are able to access the web freely, most are firewalled. You'd imagine that those that were allowed unfettered access would be secured. Nope. W2K with SP2 and no further hotfixes other than the Blaster one, I think. Criminal.

Anyway, we headed home together and had a nice relaxing evening in.

[15:10] Although I woke at 07:00 this morning I managed to get back to sleep while Elaine went to work. After some really odd dreams I woke again at 12:20. Since then I've had some chocolate, done some emailing and started watching Superman III on the television.

[21:55] Another wonderfully lazy morning today. I don't think we've risen before 11:00 any day this holiday. Although Nick arrived at 10:00 we didn't show our heads until gone 11:00. Anyway this morning we got up, had a wonderful lunch of salmon and then took some time to get my mum's new digital camera interfaced with her PC. Once that was done we took a train to Sheffield or tried to because the trains were delayed, again.

We're home now though, have watched Top Gear and are just about to deal with Elaine going to work between now and the lunch time of the 31st.

[21:40 - 28/12/2003] Stunning day today. Nick (Rory's housemate and business partner arrived today around 10:00. He took Rory, Elaine and I out into the Dales to Simon's Seat. As we arrived the weather seemed to be fairly good but as we climbed higher towards the top the snow started to come down, the temperature dropped and we wrapped up warmly in things such as the new fleece Elaine bought me. I took some photos which should be up on Fotopic within a few days, probably in the new year.

We spent about four hours out on the hill and it was nice to come back to the car at the end. Before we headed home though we drove to see the Strid (a narrowing of the river) and admire the power of nature in action. By the time we were on our way home we were tired, slightly damp (sweat, Gortex is great) and looking forward to a bath and a good meal. You don't really want to know about meals and stuff like that so I'll tell you what I got for Christmas instead. In no particular order I got a fleece jumper (crew neck), a popcorn maker, a Brita water filter, a hand food mixer, a DVD and assorted chocolates. All in all a marvellous amount, made all the better by some of them coming from Elaine.

[17:35] There's something odd happening with one of the machines at work at the moment. Lots of traffic on TCP port 2. Anyone know anything about that? The good people at CERT have let me know (even during the festive period) what was going on so I've been able to do some investigations even from here, even with Windows 2000. I can't see anything odd, even though it looks like some kind of Nachi infection thingy. I can't do much more than prod from here though so it won't be until January 2nd before I can do anything serious. I've asked for blocks to be put in in the mean time and I'll go back to having fun and stuff with the rest of the family.

Rory (my brother) arrived this afternoon after being collected from Bradford. Elaine got to meet Dylan (Rory's cat) and see the house, etc. Things are going wonderfully at the moment. Here's hoping the next seven days go just as well. Hope your festive period is work-free and locked down. I wish mine was! It'll probably just have been some weird traffic from a machine that has a hole in it, and nothing to worry about at this end. More when I have it myself.

[12:20] Happy Christmas, and stuff. There's been a minor problem with the formatting of the Journal for the last month (if not more) which I'm going through fixing while Elaine's in the shower. Nothing you need to worry yourselves about. As if you were. Hope everyone's having a nice day thus far. Personally I've only just woken up and am feeling rather mellow at the moment. The parents and the grandmother are at church at the moment and are due back in the next hour or so.

[12:30] Well it's been a productive morning here in Leeds. Aside from getting up a criminally later 09:30 I've set up a church hall for sound, including rewiring the amplifier and speakers. I've also lugged some tables and chairs around, dealt with generic presents for all the old people who're going to be fed tomorrow and laid out crackers, napkins, cutlery and crackers. About the only things left to do today are help around the house and pick Elaine up from the train station when she arrives some time this afternoon. Only then can Christmas really begin.

There's a small chance I'll do some kind of entry tomorrow (sad, I know) but if I don't then all the standard greetings and stuff to you The Reader. Don't forget to email me what you get for Christmas so I can go oooh, and aaaah and stuff.

[11:00] Right, well I've had a lazy morning in bed, have started to pack and have some weird train journey ahead of me as none of the train timetables I'm looking at online seem to say the same thing. Still, there's no rush to get North. I'm annoyed because my Tungsten ultra-slim keyboard doesn't work any more and it cost quite a lot of money. I wonder if there's anything I can do to have it repaired. The PFY's in work until midday today doing hopefully very little at all. I'm off to finish packing, have some food and wander off to the station. More laterish.

[22:50] The train to Leeds was packed. I got on at the smoking carriage and had to get out of there as quickly as possible to avoid throwing up. In the end I stood up from damn near Stevenage to Peterborough. Still, I had a seat from then on. I've been helping get the house ready for Christmas this evening as well as making sure Elaine was OK (she was out with her workmates and I forgot). She arrives tomorrow morning or early afternoon with any luck.

[11:55] Well it looks like this is the last day I'll be at work this side of Christmas. This is a good thing as I've been getting headaches much more frequently in the last few days. I went in to the estate agents this morning and confirmed that the vendor and myself both want to get the contracts exchanged and stuff for a move in date of some time towards the end of January. The chances of this are pretty slim but it would really make my life a hell of a lot easier with regard to moving out of my current rental property.

One of the quotes for the repair/replacement of the garage roof has apparently been done but hadn't arrived by the time I left for work this morning. Either it'll be there tonight when I get home, be delivered tomorrow morning or I won't see it until I get home again some time after Christmas. There's not really anything I can do before the New Year, but it'd be good to know that I can do something when I come back.

With regard to the shoddy survey I had and the complaints I've put in motion I rang my mortgage company and made sure that my complaint had arrived (which it had). Apparently I'm due a response within 48 hours and a reply within ten days (i.e. after Christmas). This doesn't affect the house purchase so I'm not terribly bothered, but it would have been nice to get value for money on the survey which is why I'm aiming to get a refund.

New DAT update which I'm aiming to have done by 13:00 today building-wide. In other news I'm off to see the last of the Lord of the Rings films this evening as well as packing for tomorrow's trip up to Leeds to stay with my parents for Christmas.

I showed round a prospective replacement tenant for my current abode on Saturday. With luck she'll have the flexibility to adapt to the moving deadline of a contract exchange on a house. If she doesn't you may see some really stressed writing from me in the next month as I try to figure out where to live in the time between having to clear out of one place and moving into what will hopefully be my house.

[12:20] Fotopic is going from strength to strength at the moment. If you don't have a free (or even a paid for) gallery yet I recommend you do so. Fotopic is great. Trust the Fotopic. Fotopic is your friend.

[13:25] In preparation for the four hours I'm going to be spending in the cinema watching Return of the King tonight I will not be drinking anything today other than the glass of milk I had this morning.

[14:35] Yesterday afternoon and just now I've spent a few minutes tracking down a man one of my friends met on the tube on the weekend but neglected to get contact details for. It's amazing what the web will turn up with just a little bit of effort. Good luck Andrea.

[16:00] Right, I'm off to give blood, then relax in a pub until the film starts. I'll hopefully be doing the occasional entry from wherever I am in the country between now and the new year. Email me with what you got for Christmas.

[11:30] With no PFY today I'm feeling quite like not doing very much at all. Part of this is probably due to the fact I forwent breakfast again. I slept really well last night, apart from at around 07:15 this morning when I had the oddest dream about some weirdly furry brown triangular-headed (I could only see his head) alien in a sewer talking about US politics. He was talking to camera and either ignoring or not noticing the huge beast who peered in to the shot from the right and then proceeded to pick him up and eat him feet first. It turned out to be Ralph Nader doing a really long monologue on US politics.

But there you go.

In the end I got up and decided to spend a few minutes clearing the front area of the house of the majority of the larger weeds and clumps of grass and then doing some sweeping. The place looked a lot better for it, to say the least. I really should put some effort in to cleaning the house tonight as a prospective tenant is coming around to look at it. I certainly hope the house purchase goes pretty much to schedule (keeping to it one hundred percent is impossible, of course) so that I can keep my landlady as happy as possible.

[14:00] Time to go to my meeting. Back on Monday. Have a nice weekend.

[14:15] I had some excellent news this morning unconnected with the house buy. Good to know. Took my bike in to the shop this morning too and collected it at 13:00. New front top chain ring, new chain, new rear cassette. Nice to be riding on something that doesn't creak and groan any more.

It's the office Christmas lunch today and as everyone bar me is female I again elected not to go. This means this afternoon is going to be a) very quiet and b) will mean I can go home early without too much guilt. Of course at the moment I'm watching S.W.A.T., we'll see what happens after that.

[16:10] I spent much of last night at Shaun's house looking over the survey I got in the post and working out what to do next. In case it's not blindingly obvious to people by now, I'm buying a house. I have the searches under way with a very very good solicitor and the mortgage application is well on the way etc., etc. Anyway, the survey's turned out to be not very well done in places. Nothing that'll affect the purchase of the house, that's to do with a bit of the survey that actually was done reasonably well, it's just large chunks of the rest of it that leaves a lot to be desired. I'm pursuing a refund for the cost of the survey with my mortgage provider and the surveyors, we'll see how that goes.

In a moment free of telephone calls and letter writing I got the last of the users moved from the old server to the new one. I think everything's gone OK (no-one's complained about anything yet, anyway).

[15:35] Well thus far everything seems to have gone perfectly well with the move of the first of the two big OUs and the master shares directory. All GPOs seem to be in effect and the movement of mapped drives seems stable.

I got a survey through the post this morning which I'll be taking to Shaun's this evening to look through. More on that another time.

[15:45] I'm not entirely sure what I can do with the remainder of the day, to be honest. I was expcting to have some issues to deal with with regards to the stuff we did last night, but nothing's come up. I think I'll be here a little late this evening moving across the last twenty or so users, alter the backup job again and then set up the three mini machines with LCD screen that the library want installed. They've been here a while, but we've not really had the time to get a decent install on them which is properly locked down. I'm looking to do that in the remainder of this week, I think.

[16:40] A Most Excellent use for XUL is This Amazon Search Engine. Give it a whirl. You'll need a Mozilla/Gecko-based browser though.

[11:45] I've finally caught up on my email and reduced my inbox to a more than managable thirty-eight messages. Now that that's done I can get on with planning tonight's move of home directories and the master shares directory to a machine that I'd feel happier about if something went wrong (RAID5 and on a UPS). Hopefully I can get it all done before I need to be home to host this evening's social stuff.

[16:10] I've been worrying about this big double transfer this evening. There were going to be three, but we're holding off on about one point five gig of directories because overlaps with certain users who're going to be around at the wrong moment. It's going to mean a bit of GPO fiddling but I think the gradual move is going to be best. I must remember to alter the backup job to take account of the moves otherwise the tape's not going to be big enough.

[17:35] I've got two jobs poised to be fired off and I can't do them because one user is getting in the way and messing up everything. I'm so tempted to just tell them to bloody go home so I can to.

[13:40] I've just popped in to work to make sure things are running smoothly here and that nothing's too out of whack. Frankly things look O.K. which is nice for once. I've uninstalled some software on one of the servers which was making things go a bit odd on the portscanning side of things. I don't really know what iGateway/iPortal/iTechnology is but I'm almost one hundred percent certain it doesn't impact on my server doing its backup job every night and just provides another port for crackers to worry at my machine with/through. I really don't like open ports when they're not required.

Last night was excellent with a good number of people showing up for once. We had the usual pizzas, mulled wine (which went very much to my head before I managed to eat something), plenty of mince pies and some very nice brandy butter which I'll be having again this weekend when Elaine arrives.

It was a shame that more people couldn't come, but there's not really room for that many more people in the current house. There are one or two people it would have been nice to see but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon as I don't think it's time yet. Other people I just don't think really want to come back. Anyway, the evening still has some legs in it yet. I hope.

I've got one more present to get this afternoon and then I think I'm done for this year (apart from paying other people for presents that were bought for me!). I'll start wrapping this afternoon and put them in a neat pile somewhere so that I can look at them for a while and feel smug.

I think everything's done here, so I'm off back out. See you on Monday.

[16:40] Sorry about the time of this entry. I've been away from a computer all day and have only just managed to sit down. So, here's how the day's panned out this far. We got up at around 08:00 and headed into town for Elaine to go to work. Once I'd left her there I wandered down to the train station for the trip back down south. For once I decided to use an unused portion of a ticket from a while ago and was vaguely worried that I'd be caught by the ticket inspector for some reason. Luckily he passed it without a problem.

Back in town I had a whoie pile of post to deal with, including some forms to fill in and send off to keep things moving on some scores. All in a good cause. Once that was done I cycled south to attend to some other matters and noticed the terrible state my bike's in now. It's unforgivable how bad it is now and normally I wouldn't have let it get like it has, but I've been busy with things recently and money's been a factor too. On my way back into town again I popped into some cycle shops and got some quotes for replacement and labour. In conjunction with Elaine I decided to buy onlne and have someone competent put the stuff on there during the week to keep the price down to something managable.

Finally I went into Sainsbury's and bought some mince pies and brandy butter for tonight's Christmas Thursday: (mulled wine a potential guest too). Now I'm back at the house and hoping to get it nice and warm by the time people start to turn up. I'm probably going into work tomorrow for a few hours to make sure everything's alright with the open ports, etc. Then I'm going shopping for the last of my presents and waiting for Elaine to arrive for a very, very relaxing weekend. Odd that the last week has been more tiring in some ways than being at work.

[15:30] I think I'm finally beginning to relax here now. While there a few things on my mind with regard to open ports on some of the servers and a few emails I have to reply to when I get back, there shouldn't be any big problems especially as for once Microsoft don't think there's anything that needs patching this month. That's a blatant lie obviously, but I can live with it for once. Especially as I'm not there at work at the moment to make things work.

With luck I can pop in on Friday and spend a few minutes getting a few things in order for the weekend. I really don't want to get caught there for the day, though. The PFY and I will be doing a lot of data movement on Monday of next week (necessitating staying late, or telling people to log off) and then we have to get three machines out as soon as possible (well one, and some Ghosting) to save from being shouted at.

Tonight Elaine and I will be off to see "Sexie" at the Arena and I imagine I'll give some kind of odd review tomorrow when I get home. I'm heading off down south again tomorrow morning to keep up to date with the things I'm doing down there at the moment. With luck I can get there around midday, get home, do some shopping for my last Christmas present, buy some mince pies and mulled wine and get the house nice and warm for the evening's Thursday: stuff.

I hate not knowing why some ports are open on a machine, especially when I'm not there to investigate. Bah. Still, I'll be in there by Friday morning.

[10:20] Today I don't intend to stay in the house all day as I did yesterday. I'm going to have some breakfast for once, then head out into town with my climbing gear and see if I can't a) do some shopping (two more Christmas presents to get) and b) do some bouldering at the Edge.

It's brass moneky weather up here at the moment, I'm not sure how it compares to the weather further south. It's certainly got a different quality to it that I can remember when I lived here and was exposed to it all the time. I do like it, but I've grown used to the way things work lower down the British Isles. Maybe one day I'll move back here, but not yet.

Tomorrow evening is Edie Izzard at the Sheffield Hallam Arena. I have no idea how good the seats are that I've got, but it'll be the first thing of this type I've ever been to so I'm sure it'll be an experience either way.

[11:10] First day on holiday and the first thing I've done is get the PC I prepared for Elaine's sister up and running with a decent network connection so I can make sure everything is going OK back at work. So that might be a little against the spirit of being on holiday, but it makes me feel more relaxed. So there.

Writing in vi for journal entries is a little odd too. Maybe I should work on the keymappings so that backspace or delete do what they're supposed to.

[13:50] Some excellent shots of Elaine and I and the rest of the crowd at a recent visit to an Old Orleans in Cambridge. In fact, some are so good we might even get some prints. Fotopic's great. Why not head over there and get a gallery there now? Yes, that's a blatant plug. What of it?

[12:00] Tidying up, getting things ready for going away. Thanks to Alex for letting me know that JenniCAM is shutting down. Who knew? I'm not sure what to do about that. Maybe I'll redesign the site some time in the new year as my source of parody is not even different to me but doesn't actually exist any more. Maybe it's time to make the site look a little more adult. If that were really possible I'd have done it already, but it's worth a try as there all kinds of stuff on here that a) no-one really looks at any more and, b) isn't really any good and never has been. Yes, I think in the new year I'll take a good long look at things here and do some fiddling.

Either way, I'm off out in a little while and, while the journal will be getting updated while I'm away, you won't see me on the camera. You'll probably see the PFY though. If you're good.

[12:10] This morning has gone so very quickly. I've not really had time to do anything other than admire how tidy the office is. I'm off to pick up a large plasticised poster in a few minutes and then to help a few fellow technical types with some Oracle and Java stuff. Anything that's a break from the norm and gets me some alternate platform experience is fine by me. There's no evening thingy happening this week as I have something else planned for once as a bit of a break from all the late nights I've been putting in this week.

[12:20] Anyway, time to go off and do things. Tomorrow I reintroduce myself to Windows' DFS implementation. And may God have mercy on my soul.

[17:35] I'm working my way through sessions blindly trying to find the one that has the files I need to restore. I think I've found it, 23 sessions in. I had a rough idea of where it was, but it's taken a while of starting jobs and then killing them again when the files weren't the right ones. Now I have the right one I've got to restore about a gigabyte of data to get to the two 2MB files I need to restore. Still it's all automated from here on in.

Also on todays's agenda was getting a foolproof way of remapping a bespoke drive for a whole load of users without having to go to each person and doing it by hand. From the looks of things it's going to be easiest to use a two line batch file and put it in the GPO for that OU. In other news, the home directory switch we did seems to have had the right effect. Which is nice. I'm still holding off doing the two major OUs with actual users-we-care-about in. I think I'll do that the week after next after I've had a holiday, and stuff.

[13:10] I think I have some potential solutions to the stupid problems of yesterday. It's as I suspected and it's the 'Offline Files' and synchronisation that's causing the problems. I'm experimenting at the moment with a test OU and a sacrificial user. With plenty of time for the GPOs to spread the wealth around I'm taking things slowly.

[15:25] It looks hopeful for the GPO changes I've made. We'll leave things overnight and see what happens.

[19:15] I've moved a few people and things look... promising. I've held off doing anything else until I'm sure what I've done looks like it's O.K. I'll quickly mention the stupidity of deleting the GPO rather than the link I'd established and the rapid regeneration from memory of what was in said object. Suffice it to say I think things are working properly again now. The changes I intended to limit I've put in place globally and with luck they won't adversely affect anything. I'll let tomorrow take place before I do anything else. Maybe tomorrow evening I'll do some more user accounts. As it is I'm going home 'early' and will be relaxing at home shortly.

[09:50] It's raining here. A lot. I really didn't want to get up this morning. While I don't feel too bad I'm a little stressed over things I've got to do at the moment outside of work. I'm sure it'll all work out fine to be honest. Most of it is out of my hands anyway. I need to find out some information this morning and then head in to town with it.

[13:00] Information gathered. A cheque sent off and a meeting arranged for 14:00 today. I've also done some good old hex editing to get a logon banner with paragraph markers in it. Take that Microsoft!

An excellent weekend was had by all as far as I can tell here. When Elaine turned up (bloody trains) we hightailed it to the place we were supposed to meet people and were in time to get on the end of the second cocktail order going to the bar. By the time we settled down for food we were two drinks in and feeling great. The food wasn't too shabby but the company was excellent. I've not enjoyed myself with the group here that much for a very long time. Saturday was also good with a lazy start turning into a breakfast of bacon baguettes and hot drinks in town with Meri and Andy (and Andrea), over from the US for a few days. We spent some time relaxing as a group before going to Julian's for even more lazing around and eating chocolate. In the end we wandered home as Andy and Meri were leaving town so as to have some time to ourselves. Saturday night through to Sunday afternoon was quiet, enjoyable and an opportunity to just be together for a while (even if we did go to Asda for some food for the week). I'm already looking forward to next weekend when I'm off to Sheffield.

Oh, and I'm taking next week off, but should still be doing my journal wherever I am. It might not be very exciting though. Although I will be seeing Eddie Izzard that week.

[18:55] I sweat and slave over a bloody script which copies over all the users in an ADS OU and then their roaming profile (keeping the ownership information intact) and bloody W2K has hard links to the users' recent files which includes the full UNC path (\\server\share$\path-to-file) rather than something sensible like U:\ (the letter chosen for the mapped drive).

[21:30] Your eyes don't deceive you. I am still here, I'm very annoyed. I can't believe how crap Windows 2000 is when it comes to moving files around. There's nothing more I can do here, now that I've repaired the inadvertent damage I caused in doing what I thought was the right thing. I think I've managed to move everyone's roaming profile directories at the very least to the new server. Although that was the easy part it's better than nothing. Tomorrow is going to consist of some investigations on how other people may have managed to do this seemingly simple fact without going bloody insane.

Although I'm not the only person with a headache I hope someone else's gets better soon.