Older blog entries for Al (starting at number 85)

In 1998, as a VAX/VMS user, I was horrified when Compaq bought DEC and all the resources and support that DEC and their WWW site provided vanished behind a huge Compaq logo. Times changed at Compaq though and in the last 18 months I have grown to like the more open Compaq that has embraced Open Source. I realised today as I spoke with support engineers about a problem with the kernel module that supports the SNMP server agents that I would miss the support and the technology if/when I have to start buying HP PCs with which I do not have such a pleasant history.

To contrast: I'm getting increasingly frustrated by the terrible service levels offered by the domain registrars. At first everyone left Network Solutions because of their terrible customer service, but slowly all their competitors are starting to follow their lead. I have so many outstanding domain transfers with all registrars it's stupid and it's a farce. Amid all of this though Nominet still shines out as an example of how it should work.

Finally, as so many have already done, I should like to express my condolences to the people of New York and Washington and the families of those that are missing.

After spending Friday dealing with hateful and corrupt (in more ways than one) Outlook mail files I swore I would avoid using PCs this weekend... managed BBQs and pizza instead... tomorrow back to .pst files.

Disproved the myth that there is no such thing as a free lunch by having one. Someone else paid for dinner too.

Back to work. Boo. Starting the process of migrating all the sendmail installs to exim. It's amazingly simple to do... why I put up with the issues with sendmail for so long is a mystery to me.

I finally completed my OU assignment. That's it for normal assignments for this year but I have one final mega-assessment due in October.

Finally got around to reading Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone in preparation of the film later this year. It's an excellent book, I was about to buy the others when someone leant me Them: Adventures with Extremists which is rather odd but strangely compelling.

26 Aug 2001 (updated 26 Aug 2001 at 23:15 UTC) »

Back from Edinburgh. Had an amazing week.

Saw loads of really good shows (will try and dig out some links tomorrow) and did lots of walking and eating and watching. My knees suffered somewhat (seats rarely made for people 6 foot 3 :/) frankly it was worse than being on a plane.

Many new books and CDs too. Madness. Caught up with Mr W, though Mr B is still on his hols.

Need sleep, right now.

I wonder if me and Bryce could do a show... It has been suggested... I should talk to him and Alan :)

Pissed off with Amazon. That's the second time I've ordered books early in the week expecting them to be delivered in time for me to go on holiday and they've taken 4+ days to deliver something that's "usually ships within 24 hours". Gits.

The train up from Bristol was delayed slightly but I discovered the relative pleasures of travelling first class and so a extra hour on the train didn't bother me hugely (I got more free drinks). Arriving in Edinburgh was a joy. The bus to the campus wasn't bad and the rooms are fine. Pub in the evening.

Woo. Friday evening at last. The last couple of days have dragged somewhat - probably something to do with impending holiday :)

Most of my time in the last 24 hours has been spent trawling through documentation for the 9110 trying to work out how to make it work as an modem for my laptop. I figure I can't go on holiday without a network connection. Anyway turns out that if you set the baud rate of the cable to 56K at both ends and various bits of ritual sacrifice you can now get it to dial in at 9600 (the max for data calls on all but the Orange GSM network).

Lots of packing to to do. Tomorrow morning at 10:40 I get the Virgin Train to Edinburgh for a week. Superb!

I always find it hard to focus at work when I'm about to have a few days holiday! This is made even harder by the boss being away as well.

Sendmail is a pain in the neck. Sendmail in a Cobalt Raq is even more of a pain as I can't be dealing with the stupid frontend but the admin tools kept overwriting my changes. Anyway this machine we're co-locating came to us with some interesting sendmail configs. I shoud have checked it for open relay but it seems I forgot. MAPS didn't. I remember now why all the other machines are moving to exim.

Lots of holiday planning. I'm off for 10 days at the Edinburgh Fringe as of Saturday morning and to use up my holiday days I've just booked another short holiday to harass Bryce in NC.

Meanwhile my brother is off to Canada for two months traveling in the Rockies so we had a sort of farewall meal at a restaurant near my parents place.

12 Aug 2001 (updated 12 Aug 2001 at 01:48 UTC) »

Today is Mr B's birthday and so we (the usual group) head down to the bowling alley for a few games... interupted several times by obvious faults in the game control software... "What can you expect, it runs on NT!" said the manager... amazing! We got some extra free games out of that.

Dinner at TGI Fridays (a US themed restaurant near the bowling place) which was a lot of fun but rather loud. It's the first time I've been to that one in Bristol (there are two) since the incident with Alan and Bryce... hopefully the poor girl didn't lose her hearing... I would feel most bad.

Afterwards we saw The Parole Officer which was very funny indeed. I doubt it will make it to the US though.

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