Life update

I’ve been rather bad at updating this journal for quite a while now. Mostly not being able to get the energy up to do so really.

Anyway, what have I been doing lately?

I think you could round up my experience at work as being a couple of bad months. Basically, during May a server failed and had to be recovered every week for the first three weeks. On the fourth week I thought things were getting better until the Tuesday when I was notified that one of the machine on our network was scanning other machines. Let’s put it this way… the rabbit hole was very deep. It turns out that the hackers had been in our systems for about six months undetected. The repercussions of this fact are continuing as I’m having to rebuild every single UNIX and Linux machine in the Department from scratch (as there’s no way of telling what’s been tampered with). It also means that I’ve had to lock down the firewall to the point where basically only mail and web traffic (and essential services within the Oxford University network) are being permitted outbound and even fewer inbound. This has mean that the version of Bullet has currently disappeared, which may turn out ot be permanent.

Those of you who read this and have used Bullet in the past or still want to can access my “back-up” Bullet via ssh and telnet to with the same demo or guest usernames.

As for non-work related activities, there have been very few due to the pressures of work (and initially the 3 days almost continuous work with about 6 hours’ sleep). I have been to the cinema with Grim and Holly to see “The Happening,” which is really dire.

This last weekend I decided to add high definition to my satellite feed. However I wasn’t going to pay Mr. Murdoch an extortionate amount of money (both up front and as an extra subscription) for the privilege, however. So, I bought a FreesatHD box for ~£150 and then spent another £30 buying cable, some F type connectors and a switch box so as to share the current Sky dish between the two decoder boxes. Job done! I may splash out on a quad LNB for the dish and get an installer to install a nice four port wall plate, however, as this would make the whole job far neater and will allow the installation of up to two satellite PVRs sometime in the future. This will cost another £180 (according to a quote I obtained today).

As for satellite HD quality. Well, not bad, though if you’re close enough to the screen to see the a lot of the detail to start to see quite a few compression artifacts, especially around sharp lines. It’s a sort of speckled halo effect. Low contrast areas also show “moving blocks” artifacts. Still, the TV does handle 1080i rather well, de-interlacing it to 1080p without showing any artifacts there.

And so, that pretty well wraps up this giant posting…. I wonder when I’ll next write an update.

P.S. I forgot to mention Lindsey’s birthday party on the 7th June…. this hacker business has really fried my brain.