Category Archives: Work

When in doubt read the manual

I think I’m so used to working with ancient hardware that runs on cryptic incantations and relies on knowledge that was lost to the ages before I was born that I sometimes forget that it doesn’t always have to be like this.

DST change today, realised the new Cisco SPA525g2 phones don’t have a proper DST rule in place. After googling unsucessfully for a few minutes I remembered that these are relatively new phones. The manual might actually be useful. And it was.

So the proper DST code for Mountain Time is:


On Exchange

From here.

If the same method that exchange/outlook uses to store email were used in the real world as a paper filing system: Every document is translated into Greek, and the original is burned. Then they are all glued together into one solid block and stuffed into a magic box with a tiny slot, through which you can talk to a little gnome who somehow gets each message for you as needed. Sometimes the gnome gets confused and it takes hours (sometimes days) for him to sort things out; meanwhile he can’t find your documents until he is totally finished becoming unconfused again. As an added bonus the gnome costs several thousand dollars and when he dies every few years you need to buy a new gnome. Oh and if the first box gets (arbitrarily) full you have to buy another special gnomebox, which of course costs $$$

Flying North


We land in Rankin Inlet. We’re given the option to stay on the plane or head across the tarmac to the terminal. However, they’re offloading cargo which means the cargo door on the side of this 737-200 is going to be open for a while.. We decide to head to the terminal. I put on my toque and coat. Pull up my hoodie and pull on my gloves.  I pick up my laptop bag and tell myself I’ve seen this cold before.

I step off the plane and my breath is immediately stolen from me. -37, before accounting for the wind chill, is worse than I remember. I spend the entire 30 second walk gasping for air. I feel like I’m suffocating. I wonder if I should have stayed on the plane.


I didn’t find the translation book my mother asked for in the terminal, though we waited around for much longer than the 15 minutes we were told on the plane. Unfortunately, it does come time for us to get back on our way. I bundle up again and prepare to be assaulted. It doesn’t seem as bad as I leave the terminal. The wind is to my back. As I round the tail of the plane and turn into the wind so I can get up the stairs, the biting cold tears into the only exposed flesh on my body., my cheeks, nose, and eyes. The kid in the terminal wearing ski goggles had the right idea. I get stuck on the stairs for an excruciating 30 extra seconds as people file onto the plane and find their seats. I turn to deb as I get inside the fusilage and her face is bright red. I imagine mine is much the same.

I also imagine it’s going to be colder in Iqaluit

Was building a few machines yesterday

And it looks like I got the new release of xp, which is XP SP2C.  I should have realised something was awry when I notice that it was a new sticker style for the license key, but I didn’t clue in.

So when I tried to install the OS with one of the older discs I have around the office it took the key no problem.  However on the first boot, XP required immediate activation.  Further to that, when stepping through the activation wizard, no Installation ID was generated.

This is because I used a SP2C cd key with a original SP2 disc.  Installing with a SP2C disc solves this problem.  A quick search on google and the MS KB didn’t really give me any hints, so I figured I’d post about it here.

I’ve managed to blow through almost another month without posting

Go me!

Life in general has been pretty damn busy. I spent a few days being frustratedby my guitar and then went out and purchased an Epiphone Gothic SG825. It’s been a treat to play an instrument that I don’t constantly have to fight with to keep it in tune. At this point, I can’t play a damn thing. But I’ve been trying for spending 30 min doing fretting exercises 2-3 times a week. That’s all I’ve really had time to do so far, once other things settle down I should be able to spend more time figuring out better exercises and things to practice.

Excepting last week which got mucked up by a work-trip down to Canmore I’ve been doing pretty damn good about getting to the gym in the mornings. I can’t say as I’ve made much progress in terms of strength but I can’t really have expected to anyways. The big accomplishment so far has been to be regular about working about and not pussying out during the workouts and cutting things short. I gained a few pounds over the last week so the 10lbs I’d lost in the first 2 months of moving out have all but disappeared. I’m not terribly chapped by it though. I know it’s going to be a bit of a battle to cut the fat I’m carrying.

The apartment has been coming together really well. I’ve got a lamp to hang somehow from a concrete ceiling in the bedroom and a speaker cable to pin up so we stop tripping on it, but after that we’ll be mostly ready for our housewarming parties finally. Bit of cleaning to do, some research into how to make the chocolate fountain go, and a lot of trying not to stress out over what people think of the place.

A little over a week ago I bought a slow cooker so Friday I took a page from the cookbook that came with it and made “Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic”. It proved to be rather tasty. The leftovers from that chicken as well as a roast chicken purchased earlier that week became soup this weekend, which shall be dinner tonight. While cleaning Saturday we also made a couple cups of rice so we can make fried rice Tuesday night. I’m so domestic it hurts.

That’s all for now, I guess we’ll see how long it takes for me to post again.

Nope, Not Dead

Just stupid busy.

I’ve been fighting with server bitchyness the last week or so now.  Apoc seems to have a memory issue somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it yet.  I’m not sure if it’s hardware or an issue with the new Xen kernel I’m running from etch.  Eventually I will get this resolved. I still need to move the jabber server off the VM server and onto the new seraph.  Need to get another disk in seraph and mirror them too. So much stuff to do.

I spent yesterday layed out in bed with a fucked up back.  It still hurts this morning but I’m hoping I’ll survive the day.  I guess maybe it’s time that I actually see somebody about that.

Today was much like the motherfucking Titanic

The day started off pretty well. Much pomp and circumstance when the first appointment of the day went well. I was Shrub, standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a Mission Accomplished sign hanging behind me. I hopped into the Davemobile and headed off to appointment number two all smiles, singing to “These Eyes” courtesy of k-rock.

Night falls upon the glorius vessel that I named November 8th and I coast through dark waters, running about 3 different upgrades at once. Parralelism is great to save time, but it sucks when something fails and leaves you in the lurch.

And we get scuttled by a motherfucking iceberg. There’s ice on the deck and we’re taking on water. A large chunk of data just dissapeared into the ether, and now my confidence is shot for the day. I need to get this back, I need to make this better. There is a gaping hole in the side of my boat and I need to make it better.


We snag the machine and set up an interim solution. A small chunk of my boat snaps off but the piece I’m on levels out. We run the fuck away and try and get on with the day. Nothing we can do till we get to the dry dock. Third appointment is short and sweet, surgical even. And then onwards to the 4th. While sweating bullets here, we realise the boat is lifting again. The boss called. Another machine. Another client. Smells like hard drive failure. My little piece of boat is almost completely vertical. I’m standing on top of if trying to figure out when to jump, and from what side. I need to get off early enough to not be sucked down, but not so early I die on impact. I need an exit strategy, I need to jump off the right side of the ship so I don’t hit the propeller on the way down.

I update the print drivers on this workstation so I can setup remote printing from the Terminal Server. Run a test page, it all looks good. I install the same set on the server. Run a test page. The print spooler on the workstation shits a brick. I’ve hit the propller.

But I’ve only clipped my ankle. My fall is completely uncontrolled and I’m flipping around.  Ripping keys out of the registry left and right, getting this god forsaken driver out so I can rescue the print spooler.  I grab the bottom of my coat and spread it like a flying squirrel suit. I managed to right myself and splash down feet first into the ocean.  With a bit of a hack reminiscent of the flying squirrel suit, I manage to get it to print remotely. I start swimming away from the day… er … boat. I have no lifeboats.  I have two machines to recover data from.

I can’t see the shore.

Looks like I’m swimming all night.

Emergency Stop!

Or how I learned to stop worrying and fucking google it.

Retrospect is a strange piece of software that I can only imagine was designed for industrial applications.  I make this guess based on the idea that it has an Emergency Stop button much like the ones near machinery that has the ability to chop body parts off.

494 The Emergency Stop button in all it’s unlabeled glory.  I wouldn’t have even know it existed/what it does if it hadn’t already been pushed on the machine I was attempting to make work.

497 The nice warning you get when you press the magic button. I’m sure that whoever pressed the button before me saw this message.  Why they might ignore it, I’m not too sure.

500 And now, the magic button in the pressed state.  Notice the phrase “Execution is Deferred” in the lower left. Intuitive!

I’m still not sure that I get why they would do this, but at least now the defined backups should actually run at the times specified.