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April's Journal
June's Journal

[16:05] Because I can:, so there. Go on, do me proud.

We rescued the Sun E3500 and associated A1000 from one of the other server rooms this morning and transported two new servers (rack mount rather than floor-standing) there at the same time. The taxi driver on the way there was a lovely beautiful woman and the the guy who brought us back was a fat, annoying man who considered us all to be postgraduates and fancied himself as a computer know-it-all. Telling him it was a 6CPU, 12GB SPARC II processor-based box used for Oracle database work using an external SCSI-attached A1000 RAID array seemed to shut him up.

Loathe as I am to talk about work colleages there's someone here who's done something stupid and is compounding it by not knowing what the hell he's going on about and making all kinds mistakes and Not Listening To Me. It's... infuriating. Anyway, no more.

The PowerEdge 2500 I picked up yesterday I now have an add-in RAID card for... only the SCSI cable from the hard drive enclosure now doesn't reach to it from where it was previously attached to the motherboard. This is annoying as I don't have a longer cable and neither, it seems, does anyone else. I will have a go at solving this conundrum when I return from my cycle ride across the UK...

... Which, incidently, I start tomorrow. TOMORROW! Where has time time gone? It wasn't so long ago I didn't think I'd make it to now (in all kinds of senses of the words) still, here we are. I need to pack tonight, or tomorrow morning and maybe even tidy the house a bit. It's a shame I haven't had time to watch the new (finales of) Heroes and NCIS, but they can wait. That's the beauty of recorded TV.

So, no journal next week (not that you care), but probably some photos and some kind of writeup on my return around 4 June. Everyone have a rather lovely weekend and think of me pedalling every day.

[16:10] So today has been another lovely day. Which is nice, if a little sad considering I've been indoors all day. Not so last night when I was a the Beer Festival with Andrea, Keith, Kat and Sam. Andrea and I wandered down there for 17:00 and everyone else turned up some time around seven or later. Plenty of cider and white beer for me, also some hog roast and even some Thai green curry and rice. Not much to tell other than a lovely warm and pleasant evening, tons of fun chat and a generous lift home from Sam for Andrea and I at the end of the night. I tried to keep my eyes open past 23:30 but both girls outlasted me (I don't normally drink, OK?) so went to bed to let them gossip all night.

I think it's fab how much everyone likes Sam. Definitely a great addition to the group and certainly someone I hope is around for a long time.

Today I've been updating more disaster recovery documentation, updating the actual files which're used in the DR situations and trying to get developers not to litter the live servers with development Resin applications. Also collecting an old Dell PowerEdge 2500 with a chunk of good RAM and some disks but no hardware RAID unfortunately. Oh well, I think I can fix that with an add-in card tomorrow.

Anyway, right about nowish (20 minutes or so) I'm off for a drink and then pancakes and Pirates 3. Which I'm expecting to be fun fluff.

[16:40] Fantastic weather here today. Didn't go for a cycle last night after all owing to Jenny's knee being swollen for no readily apparent reason. We picked up the bikes (spanking new and working properly now in Jennys' case) and then went home, before popping out to one of the greens for some reading and relaxing.

Jenny'd left something at her house so I cycle-sprinted over there and back while she got pizzas and we munched and chatted until it got dark. At which point; bed. Got up this morning without any excitement and headed in to work in the brilliant sunshine. I've been 'on call' for the two companies that are here today troubleshooting our new HR saoftware project (the software company and the load and volume testing company I've talked about before). Other than some chat about infrastructure I've not been called on all day. Which is nice.

Spent some time outside over lunch thinking about some things and then came back and laid out some truths to someone. It went as well as could be expected given the gist of what I said, hopefully things aren't unsalvagable.

Other than that I'm off to a Beer Festival this evening where I hope there will be cider, perry and hog roast. Also two friends, one early one late. I better go.

[16:40] Went into town with both bikes this morning (mine and Jenny's) so that they could be made ready for the cycle. Cycling with two bikes isn't as hard as you might think (if you were). Guy there was happy to see me and we chatted about my new bike a bit before I walked to work in the blazing sunshine. Lovely walk actually, I need to do it in reverse in a little while.

I've spent the day juggling social things, doiung Nessus scans of recently patched Solaris 10 boxen and generally catching up on a few things. Climbing last night was... OK, I guess. I think I'm either getting weaker or heavier. I think heavier due to muscle mass and not strong enough to lift it at the same time. Time to keep the weights down and increase the repetitions I think!

I'm feeling a bit peeved about the house at the moment. It's a bit grubby in places, there's no food in and it feels more like a place I go to rather than my house at the moment. This isn't going to be helped by being away for another week shortly. I think in not to large amount of time I'm going to spend some time bringing it back up to scratch and even investigating kitchen planning again. If nothing else, giving it a spring clean and washing some of the walls of smudges and smears and foot marks (like in the entrance hall).

Given the temperature I'm a little worried about the cracks in the rear of the house again. Hopefully they won't get any worse this year. Other than that I think I just need to start being a little more house proud and spending some time and money on it rather than galavanting around. Bets on whether I actually do anything quickly? Yeah, thought so.

Anyway, must be off. Bikes to collect, girl to meet and cycle to do. Also, maybe a drink. I really need to sort some other things out socially as it may be possible I'm headed for some major issues shortly unless I clean things up a tad. Still, we'll see. Time to walk to the bike shop.

[17:00] So, where've I been since Wednesday? I've been in Devon. Pretty close to Wellington's Monument. Mostly I've been out walking on parts of Exmoor. The weather has ranged from shocking to really rather pleasant and everything in between. The travel down there was flawless, even passing through London. Things were up and down once I was there. There's an issue I hope can be addressed fairly rapidly which is some cause for concern but on the other hand a trip to Dunster and a visit to some public gardens perked me up no end. Fabulous, beautiful and rather fun.

Otherwise a ton of walking, some excellent Cornish pasties (well there had to be) and some early night and late mornings. Some interesting people met, including Jenny's parents and sister.

The trip home was spoilt by a one hour wait at Broxbourne while overhead power lines were fixed. Also extreme tiredness. However I was able to cycle home on Jenny's bike (having left my spare one there for her to use, which she didn't in the end, today) and get to bed fairly early.

Today has been about tuning Nessus and Windows servers so as not to down them when doing a simple scan. Hopefully things are in place now and all I need to do is work out a way to script scans out of hours. As for right now, I'm off to do some climbing!

[10:20] All five machines that needed rebooting have been rebooted. Everything looks like it's OK. Hobbit (Big Brother) has cleared itself up and I even got to reboot one of the other machines that'd been annoying me as well, so it's all to the good. Getting up early after last night's fun wasn't enjoyable though. Still, an interesting evening was had by all even if it wasn't as logistically complicated as I'd hoped for (don't ask).

A text this morning has put a damper on what was already possibly going to be a less than completely exciting trip for the remainder of the week. Still, I figure lowering expectations is pretty much what my life is about these days. At least at this point in things. It's not the first time. In other news I have a lunch date which could be interesting, so long as the weather doesn't take a turn for the worse. It hasn't rained yet, and I hopefully it will continue to hold off... well, for the rest of the week!

In other news, a Nessus run against a single Windows 2003 server with five concurrent scans appears to completely hose the box. Floored it utterly. I'm trying again doing one scan at a time. It looks like Dell's OMSA (for Windows) is at fault. Something to do with the fact that it opens a ton of ports for various purposes and Nessus tickles them all, repeatedly, I imagine.

[16:55] Lunch was interesting, if a little stilted. Not sure that'll happen again any time soon. Happily though it turns out over 1400 people are using the Dell PERC Big Brother/Hobbit script I wrote (and updated again in January of this year). Which is nice. Less happily is the fact that I managed to delete the entire set of scans of Windows, linux and Solaris boxen I'd painstakingly constructed recently. I was able to reconstruct it fairly easily and learn a vaulable lesson about what is and isn't good about the Nessus GUI.

I think it's time to go now. I have a train to catch. Back on Monday.

[17:05] Huh? What? Damnit. Sorry, nothing to report today. All quiet on the Western Front. Busy day tomorrow though!

[17:25] Hurm. Quiet weekend. I actually played some FarCry, something I've not done (other than a little while ago) for ages. Stuff I was hoping would happen didn't, but that was pretty much expected to be honest. I'm trying not to hope that things turn around later on this week. I think it's probably better if I don't expect anything and see what happens then. Of course, I'll still have to be the one who makes something happen, but... ach too complicated to explain. Everything's fine, just frustrating given what I want to be happening. In other news I have my very first pair of padded cycling shorts (feels like I'm wearing some kind of nappy) which I haven't tried yet although I'm sure it'll be comfort itself. I've not work lycra in a good few years and I'm pleased to say I don't look entirely hideous. The material still remains a privilege, not a right.

I've been updating RHEL4 boxen in anticipation of Wednesday morning's mass reboot to new kernels today. Also scanning the entire linux server farm with Nessus in its new "non-networking-killing" configuration. It's going to be a hectic day as I'm off for the rest week from Wednesday evening. I need to reboot three machines in a certain sequence, then another two straight after that. The rest of the day will probably be spent troubleshooting OMSA and the bespoke applications on the boxen after they've come back up. Along with that I imagine I'll need to write some fresh emails to some people I've been talking to, and work out when the hell I'm going to do the other work I've been needing to do for the past few weeks.

Oh, I went to do a psychology experiment at lunch time. I'd have been paid more, but I finished the tests far faster than the person was expecting so I only got the money commensurate with my time, rather than the expected full amount. If I'd known that I would have taken more time over things!

Hum, not the best journal entry in a while. I'm probably a bit distracted at the moment. I blame the weather and stuff. Off climbing now.

[16:30] The rain's been hammering down all day here. Luckily not as I was on my way in and hopefully no on my way to the gym this evening, but otherwise, well there's been a lot. Makes a welcome change for the vegetation around here I think. It'd started to brown every so slightly. So, great for the plants, not so good for me if I get soaked leaving work.

Work has been eventful today. We solved the mystery of the Nessus portscans which killed the network. More details if anyone's interested. Otherwise I seriously doubt you care so much. Other than that I've been looking at the consolidation of some documentation into fewer pages on the Wiki, making things a tad easier to find in the event we need to invoke Disaster Recovery, or other things in extremis.

Not sure what's happening this weekend. I just hope it's nice, and relaxing and has some fun in it somewhere. The more the better given how I'm feeling at the moment. Anyway, gym now, then shower, then relaxing.

[17:25] Hey, I did things today. Got the new disk array powered and noticed by the machine it's connected to, got Nessus screwing over the local network again (need to look into that) and got a machine talking to its monitors again after thinking it'd just lost all idea of what refresh rates are. So not too shabby on that score.

Jenny on the other hand may not be quite over her illness and has been put back on antibiotics again for a few days. Here's hoping they definitely do the trick before we both go nuts. Me more than her in some ways. Otherwise I had issues with my home desktop PC this morning after downloading a photo for someone else from my camera. Seems there's an issue with svchost.exe pegging the CPU at 99-100% if certain conditions are met. Hopefully I got it sorted before I left for work. Can't have anything interfering with my FarCry play now, can I?

Usual other fun conversations with people online today. However I'm feeling a little flat today for various reasons so they didn't have the same vim and vigour as yesterday. Maybe tomorrow will be better. I should head home now and get the place ready for the invading masses, although I don't think there'll be many tonight.

[17:25] Bah, it's raining. Still, I managed to get out and cycle five miles each way to a lunch meeting with Jenny at the other end of town. I swear I'm getting faster. Either way I think I'm in target to be ready to carry two panniers full of kit across the country and a third of the way back again. At least without dying when I do it. I also got to fit a handlebar bag for Jenny which should fit all of our on-the-move things like wallet, camera, snacks, etc.

I've added another diskpack to our much beloved V120 which already has a D1000 attached. The addition of an A1000 means it has something like 32 disks associated with it now. This means we can have a ton of fun with Solaris 10 and ZFS when we get around to doing something with it.

Otherwise I've been pootling along and getting things done today. Had some interesting conversations online as I made the effort to chat to a few people I've not been keeping up with recent. Speaking of interesting contacts with people, I had a bit of a surprise last night. Wasn't expecting that at all.

I should head off for climbing.

[16:50] So it was a bank holiday weekend. Most of it was spent being rather relaxed and sedentary. Jenny's pretty much better now, just a little tired still, probably from not having eaten much in the last week. Friday night I went over to help prepare some food and keep company. Saturday I felt the tinges of cabin fever so much I went for a seven or eight mile run just to stay sane. Of course this caused my right knee to go silly again, which was annoying. I really must remember that anything over six miles is a no-no.

The rest of Saturday was fairly quiet, although I do remember that I was feeling pretty restless and generally down for most of it. I seriously considered heading home on Sunday and having some alone time to get myself back into some vague approximation of a smiling person but I seemed to come right again on my own. However things seemed to take an upturn on Sunday and we ended up taking a car drive to Tesco to get some supplies and ingredients for a carrot cake. That was amusing (the drive, not the cake-making).

Towards the end of the day we decamped to my house for the evening and had a nice simple meal of Indian food followed by a fairly early bed for all involved. This meant that there was plenty of time on Monday for a) talks to be written, b) computer games to be played for the first time in a long time and c) Other. Other was good.

The weather, which had been uniformly overcast or raining for most of the weekend (great for running) cleared late in the evening allowing us to go for a walk before Jenny headed home and I caught up on housework, television (something I barely turn on these days) and those friend online and off with whom I should be keeping more in contact. Apologies to all, but especially recently to Sam. Sorry girl.

Today it has been so hot and stuffy in the office I've achieved very little. My head has been so full of clather and fug that I've basically only managed to sort out a working Kickstart USB key again and updated the Kickstart area for RHEL4 U5. Well that and some documentation, and updating the load balancers for recent Solaris 10 patches, helping my mother with weird Firefox interactions, dealing with bad backup scripts and generally trying to get my head into a state where I can get my teeth into something... substantial here at work.

I think I'll go to the gym and try again tomorrow.

[16:40] A day of mini minor achievements. Sort of. I've also racked up another eight miles going to and from Jenny's house (via town for supplies). She's on the mend now I think, just tired and hungry. With luck I can get her out for a short walk around the park some time over the weekend.

I'm off home very shortly to tidy up the remains of last night's Thursday (small, perfectly formed; Serenity and two episodes of Neverwhere), have a general clean up and then head on over to eat mangoes and things. Also apples.

Work was mainly updating documentation, reparenting wiki pages and patching servers. Next week will be more of the same followed by some disk pack juggling.

I had an interesting conversation with someone today online. It's nice when you meet someone who has the potential to help you out in interesting ways. I shall have to keep an eye on that. In other news another good friend seems to be getting over her recent unhappiness well. Which is also nice, if a little envy-making. I should go, things to do this evening. Have a great bank holiday weekend and I'll be back on Tuesday.

[17:35] When I left this morning Jenny was without pain for the first time in days. This was good. When I arrived at lunch time she'd been asleep all morning and was groggy for most of the time I was there, which was a little sad as I don't get to see her again until the same time tomorrow. Still, with luck she'll be very much more on the mend by then and there'll be a chance we can do something a little more energetic than watch DVDs and natter. Not that it hasn't been fun to have a captive audience.

Today has been a complete non-event, workwise. I mean, I've had a damned good look at what's happening with regard to the update of RedHat 4 to Update 5, but other than that I've been pretty much unable to get anything done. Dunno why. I'm damned sure I'll get something done tomorrow. Not that I was going to be here tomorrow, I was going to be in Gothenburg living it large. Plenty of time for that later in the year though I guess. Well, not too much later, but there you go.

Despite having pasta for lunch I'm frantically hungry at the moment. Really famished. I wonder if it's the fact I'm cycling seven miles every lunch time at high speed...? Pizza hopefully this evening, and something shooty-bang on DVD. I'm in the mood for something active.

[17:00] Jenny's still ill. In fact I don't think she's a whole lot better today than yesterday. Still no more vomiting (which is a good thing) but aches and pains in the back and abdomen. I popped over for lunch and got her to move downstairs for a while which seemed to neither harm no help, but at least it was a change of scenery.

I'll pop back over there again this evening with more dinner of some kind and keep her company a bit more. The Sweden trip is now very much off the cards which means she won't get to give her talk at the psychology conference and I won't get to go out and see something of Sweden. Still, chances are we'll go over at some other point in the few months we have left. I mean, I bought a guide book and everything.

Today's achievement of note was getting some log rotation working with Zeus' ZXTM virtual servers logs. We were very close to filling a file system until I got that in place. Of course the way I set it up meant that we instantly lost about 25G of logs (oops) but no-one looks at them anyway really. Sometimes I wonder why we have logging turned on at all. Anyway, it's there now.

I am so so tired at the moment. Two nights of being woken at 02:30-03:00 must be a very gentle version of having a small baby to care for. Still, it seems like I'm doing some good by being there for her so I'm not really that bothered by doing so. I should head home, get some fresh clothes on and grab something for dinner. It's another fabulous evening after another wonderful day, so maybe I'll sit in a garden and read a book.

[12:20] So I woke this morning about five minutes before Jenny rang, from 3m below me in the spare room. She'd had some sleep and was generally feeling in pain but not terribly so. Given one of her housemates is working from home today I've taken the opportunity to come into work for the day, although I am just about to head into town to pick up some cocodamol from Boots and deliver that.

Work seems to be going well. The load balancing software company sent me an email yesterday saying, basically "Either Sun need to fix their SNMP stuff or Microsoft need to fix theirs." Great. Anyway, sun's shining. I'm off to get some drugs.