Fussin’ wussin’flippin’ software!

Today at work we recieved two Infortrend SCSI/SATA RAID arrays. They came with no documentation other than a CDROM and a quick install guide.

OK, I thought, they’ll have the documentation on the CD as many things do these days (including some laptops whos manuals on the CD start by saying “Warning: Before you unpack the computer…”) so I popped it into Euclid’s DVD-ROM drive.

I found three PDF files on there along with installation programs, so I took a look at the PDFs. One was for the advertising blurb, another for the quick install guide and the last was the packing list!

Right, this is going nowhere fast. I’ll try installing the software on Euclid before I try on the server system I’m going to be putting these devices on. After all the server is in use at the moment serving other disks and I don’t want to disturb it. Not only this but I need to find out how to configure the boxes to use other SCSI IDs before I fit them. And maybe, once the software’s installed there might actually be some documentation.

So, I run the install script for Solaris. It starts a JAVA install program and I follow the instructions…

At the end of the install my window manager crashes and other things start going loopy. I manage to log out and get back in with a working X session only to discover that init is taking 100% CPU, so I warn everyone and do a reboot.

The system doesn’t come up properly.. It just constantly looping between starting up the ethernet interface, fsck’ing /, complaining that /proc can’t be mounted and /var/run already is mounted and finally that the kernel doesn’t support overlapping swap partitions on c0t0d0s1. The system is hosed.

Tomorrow I’m going to have to try to recover the machine by booting off CDROM otherwise I’m just going to have to rebuild the machine from scratch and hope that /usr/users hasn’t been wiped.



Just as I was putting the rubbish out just now an owl flew ove. This is the very first owl I’ve seen in the wild (as opposed to a wild owl).

I’m just surrounded by wildlife around here.

The aftermath

Thank-you to all those who came to my BBQ. It was rather exhausting for me but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, especially the kids.

In the end I didn’t allow the weather to spoil the day. I set the BBQ up in the garage and, after an initial fire fright, it worked well. I had the big front door open by about 10 degrees and the side door open fully. In this way the side door acted as a chimney and all the smoke went outside.

Thankfully, dispite the rain being torrential for much of the day it finally dried up around 6 pm so Christopher and Tanaqui could play outside, herding the adults and making them pretend to be farm animals. reverendgrim made an excellent Golum the Sheep, the scariest sheep ever in existance.

So, we get to today. It’s the aftermath. There’s lots of stuff to be cleared up before the house is in a normal state ready for the week ahead. Thankfully, due to the copious use of disposable cutlery and plates there’s not a huge amount of washing up to do. However, I think the Dyson’s going to be in much use today.

After doing a quick survey of the food stocks I have discovered that I will need to go shopping for the weekly stuff as everything that’s left is either perished (because it was left out of the fridge) or perishable to the extent that it will need eating today, if at all. So I will be trundling into Sainsbury’s again the afternoon.

Anyway, time to go and get on with it, I s’pose.

BBQ day

Well, it’s the day of the BBQ. I’ve been doing some clearing up and cleaning and have just had some breakfast.

Graham, Rachel and Christopher are due to arrive at about 10 but the rain has already arrived.

The Hartlands are going to be using my place as a park&ride car park this morning. It’s far cheaper to do this than use the city council ones as you pay both for the car park and individually for each person on the bus. This makes the council park & ride scheme more expensive than parking in town if you have more than two people in a car, which is ridiculous.

Anyway, I’d better get on with more organisation. After clearing up the front bedroom I have to do the Dysoning before going off to Sainsbury’s to get the food and drink and stuff. It looks like it might be a Bar and Grill event rather than a Barbeque. Oh well.


OK, in the last week I’ve done stuff. Not that earth shattering or cosmologically significant maybe but stuff all the same.

Last weekend I visited Rachel, Graham and not so little Christopher down in Yately. T’was a fun weekend and included eating, drinking, walking along canal paths and firing rockets.

Since then it’s been a matter of getting the house ready for tomorrow’s BBQ plus an unusual work week.

At work this week is unusual in that the first two days were the graduate mini-conference, where the first and second year PhD/DPhil students have to give talks using powerpoint or equivalent and the second years have to also give a poster presentation. Much techno-hand-holding is involved with this, especially when half the students turn up with powerpoint files made on a newer version than the laptop in the lecture theatre is capable of running. (And, of course, lots of things break when you try to run the presentation on the older version.) Add to this the replacement laptop deciding that it was going to sulk when it saw the lecture theatre mouse and you can see the fun I had.

Wednesday was a sort of normallish day other than catching up with the stuff I didn’t do on Monday and Tuesday.

Yesterday was the IT Support Staff Conference, held just over the road in Keble College. It’s a good thing that it was just over the road too as during the morning workshop I got called out ‘cos “the network’s stopped working.”

As it turned out, after half an hour working out what was going wrong, I found that one of the professors had brought his laptop in and plugged it into the network and was blythly writing stuff in word while his pox ridden machine was spamming the network causing the 3Com switches to lock up. Once I banned his laptop everything was fine. I asked him when he last ran Windows update, the answer came back “Oh, since I got the machine? Never.” and then when asked about the virus software “Oh, I think I updated it quite recently, only a couple of months ago.” This is when we batter our users over the head with multiple e-mails and face-to-face sessions telling them to run Windows Update at least weekly and update the virus definitions preferably daily. Grrrr….. Oh, and the professor also started to complain about needing the machine when he goes on some trip to Eastern Europe over the weekend and why couldn’t we fix the machine now. Grrrrr!

Anyway, today I’m having to restore a laptop for another lecturer who’s off into the wilds this weekend who’s laptop has had the hard disk replaced. The disk’s been on the fritz for ages and I’ve told him that he needed it replaced multiple times in the last couple of months, so he calls out Dell 2 days before he leaves!

Right, I’m going to take a deep breath now and calm down.

Oh, and aboutn the BBQ.. of course, the weather forecast for tomorrow is for torential rain and gales to arrive at about midday tomorrow, possibly blowing through by 7pm. Typical, eh?

This evening is the undergrad leaving do so I’ve been volunteered to do pictures for that, so I have my cameras with me. Wish me luck.


After yet another reload of Windows on my laptop I finally solved the WiFi problems…

I misread a ‘b’ as ‘6’ in the WEP string… Doh!

Of course, it does beg the question, “Why did the WiFi utility tell me the link was up and running if the WEP key was wrong?”

Oh well.

Laptop wierdness.

OK.. how’s this for something strange…

Under Windows the wireless LAN driver can see the access point, register with it using WAP, thinks it’s sending packet but doesn’t and doesn’t receive any packets. It can see the MAC address of the AP and the signal strength etc. This is after wiping the Windows partition and reinstalling with a clean install.

Under Linux the same NDIS driver (from the same install source) loads using ndiswrapper and everything just works as it should.

Erm, what on earth can I be missing which is preventing it all working under Windows? I haven’t a clue!

If it weren’t for the Linux side of things working perfectly I would think that there was possibly a hardware fault with the receiver or antenna, so it must be software. However, this is a totally clean install of Windows with a clean install of the driver so it shouldn’t be a software problem.

Well, well, well…

I never thought I’d see, or rather hear this.

I was flicking around the music channels on Sky and happened by Kerrang. After listening for a couple of seconds to the song I thought I recognised the theme, but it definitely wasn’t from any heavy rock song… I was sure I was wrong, it couldn’t be.. it’s not Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man” which my mum plays on her old Neil Diamond Greatest Hits cassette. But it was!

Yes, a band called “Him” have done a cover of this Neil Diamond song from the late 60’s. Of course, they’re dressed it up a little in rock clothes, but not much. It just seemed a bit inconguous that a band who’s lead singer seems to model himself on Marilyn Manson would be doing a lightly made over cover of such an “easy listening” song.

Well, well. I’m sure we’ll get a Bing Crosby ballad made over as an urban beat soon. Anyone for Eminem singing “White Christmas?” Or maybe a rap take on “Inch Worm?”