Well, wasn’t that a barrel of laughs?

Today I spent at home trying desparately to shake a bad sinus headache caused by the cold I’m also trying to shake.

I got very little sleep overnight due to this headache so I took the day off. Lemsip Max Strength has helped with dampening the cold symptoms but even the highest paracetamol dosage included in the powders did nothing to help with the headache.

After an afternoon nap I did finally manage to shake the headache, thank goodness. I just hope that it doesn’t re-appear. Unfortunately, the cold’s going into the coughing stage now, so I wonder if I’ll manage to sleep much tonight.

Anyway, the new series of Coupling is about to start so I’ll sign off. I wonder how good it’ll be without Geoff.


Well, it started Friday night with a trip to Reading to meet up with Grim, Holly and Matt to see a film, any old film.. it just happened to be “The Day After Tomorrow.” Before that, however, we had a very pleasant meal in Yellow River Cafe.

As for the film.. very silly, scientifically speaking, but still quite fun. It was good to see Denis Quaid in a proper starring role again. (Oh and did you notice that the person playing the female scientist of asian decent was the actress who played the original lieutenant commander in the pilot tv-movie of Babylon 5 “The Gathering”? I thought you didn’t.)

Yesterday and today have mostly been spent trying to shake off this horrid cold and do the housebound things I’ve been meaning to do for ages. These included replacing the motherborad, processor and memory of my old server (Celeron 300A, ABit BX6 motherboard, PC100 memory) with the left-overs from my big machine’s upgrades (Athlon XP 1800 , Jetway KT133 motherboard and DDR2700 memory). This I did yesterday afternoon. The slowest part of the machine now is the hard disk which is a 7 year old 6GB Seagate drive. It’ll do as a SMB-to-NFS gateway and possibly even a web server which can run Gallery at some point. You never know.

Today’s task was to wipe the hard disk on my old laptop, re-install the OS from the supplied recovery disk, update windows so it’s up to date and load useful stuff such as OpenOffice.org and ZoneAlarm on it. It’s now ready for sale to Rachel, the ex-4th year undergraduate.

Anyway, this evening I find myself sitting on the settee with a headache mostly dulled by Lemsip and a partly runny nose. Maybe by tomorrow it will be on its way out. At least the sore throat has gone totally so I can swallow.

Apparently I’m…

You are an SRDF–Sober Rational Destructive Follower. This makes you a font of knowledge. You are cool, analytical, intelligent and completely unfunny. Sometimes you slice through conversation with a cutting observation that causes silence and sidelong glances. You make a strong and lasting impression on everyone you meet, the quality of which depends more on their personality than yours.

You may feel persecuted, as you can become a target for fun. Still, you are focused enough on your work and secure enough in your abilities not to worry overly.

You are productive and invaluable to those you work for. You are loyal, steadfast, and conscientious. Your grooming is impeccable. You are in good shape.

You are kind of a tool, but you get things done. You are probably a week away from snapping.


I think I’m coming down with a cold.

At almost precisely 4:30pm this afternoon I noticed a sore throat coming on. This evening it’s got steadily worse and I can feel it spreading up the back of my nose.

Boo! Hiss!

Solaris: too many failure modes at boot time.

The problems I had with Euclid last night re-enforced my opinions of Solaris’s boot process. It’s got too many things it depends upon which can become damaged or corrupted too easily which can prevent a sysadmin from booting the machine to the point where the system can be recovered.

The problem with Euclid was that the software install had broken /etc/inittab. This caused init to go into a loop and never allow the system to present a shell. The only way to recover the system was to boot off either the network or an installation CD and getting to the point where the filesystems can be mounted and then repairs enacted.

Now, in the days of SunOS 4.1.x the only things required to get to a shell prompt where the sysadmin could start to rebuild the machine to the point where it’s usable again was the boot block, /vmunix and /sbin directory. Even if only /sbin/init and /sbin/sh worked it was enough. (Yes, I’ve recovered a couple of systems when all that was available was this sort of environment after the root disk got errors on it. I had to use ifconfig, mount, echo, cat, ftp and ln to get a server running well enough to serve NFS disks while we awaited an engineer with a replacement part once.)

Solaris, however, needs loads of configuration files in /etc to be not only present but also syntactically correct. Lots of the initial boot process needs shell scripts to run before you can even get near a shell prompt. Add to this the frailty of the whole device driver system and you can see that recovering a Solaris system into a minimal rescue mode is all but impossible unless a large number of things are OK. This, I feel, is Solaris’ reliability achilles heel.

Now, I agree it’s not only Solaris which has this problem. More and more Linux is showing the same problem and Windows has always been flakey on booting.

Oh well, I’ve got this off my chest now. It seems systems are becoming more and more vulnerable to this sort of thing.