Recent blog entries for orlando

well, started my new job. second day in i'm told fairly large redundancies are imminent. lovely. apparently my position is not on the list of those deemed expendable, but still doesn't make for a very comfortable atmos. much of the day spent trying to fix a problem with one of the servers, turned out to be upper case 'C' instead of lower in one of the jserve configs.

read advogato on the way home most of the time, print it at work and then scan through it on the tube. noticed that gman's entries end up being dribbled down the side of the page one word at a time. recon it's the < div > tags you're adding. just thought I'd mention it. then again, maybe it's netscape's fault for not printing properly. could of course find a way of bunging the whole lot onto the palm, which would also save on paper. how about adding advogato to avantgo? must look into it...


well, happy 2001 and all that. last year was pretty good on a personal level, crap on a professional level. hoping things will be much better this year. new year celebrations were nicely sedate, spent the time with my so and parents.

quick plug to get rid of some crap lying about the flat : if anyone wants an Abit BH6 motherboard and is prepared to collect said item from my flat (battersea, london) then it's yours. the catch? knackered bios. yes i know that makes the thing pretty useless, that's why i bought a replacement (long story as to why it happened, suffice to say i was careless with the upgrade util and i needed a working board quickly). anyhoo, i'm sure it's of use to someone who either knows where to get a replacement bios chip, or is confident enough to risk hotswapping one out of a working machine. email me if you're interested (orlando at mindless dot com).

8 more days to go before the new job. spending the time documenting all that's up here (pointing at noggin). pretty sure the department will implode soon after i leave. i'll be the last of the original team to go, 8 people since i started over 20 months ago. sniff.

off now to figure out what happened to all those emails i sent yesterday, cos they sure as hell aren't in my inbox...

i've done it at last, well, almost. they are sending me the official offer today, should get it tomorrow, which means i will be able to hand in my notice before the end of the week. i feel a weight has been lifted off my sholders. nervous certainly, but i think i've made the right decision. the job is almost completely what i want, in other words loads of apache, solaris, load balancing, configuration, fault finding etc, not emailing and sitting in meetings all day.

and in other news, not very much. bought my brother a light box which was anything but after i'd lugged it all the way back to the office. i have yet to get it home. thinking now that i don't really need to as i'll have to bring it back again to send it over to him.

nick left yesterday. after having talked about it for over two months it's still odd to see an empty desk where there used to be a big pile of crap. great guy, shame he's gone so far away (half way round the planet far away). we never really had the time to get to know eachother properly, the problem of knowing someone thru work first i suppose. that and i have yet to beat him at yak-paddle (don't ask). i felt honoured to inherit his starwars lego, though i have yet to retrieve the speeder bike pilot from under his desk draws.

must go home. she must be wonrdering what the hell i'm doing here at 7pm.


Very interested in the current thread on software reliability, something i've been pondering over for a while now. not much to say about it that others haven't already said. for me the sad thing is that so few people (particularly in the commercial arena) put quality so low down on their list of priorities, and seem to get away with it because low quality has now become the norm. i had a picture tacked to my fridge for a long while of the mechanism inside an old safe. what appealed to me about it was that aswell as designing and making a functional mechanism, the makers had gone to the trouble of engraving the parts with incredibly intricate designs, designs that unless you took the thing to pieces you wouldn't normally see. this meant pride to me. pride in your work. pride knowing that you've done something well.
i'm not saying that the coders (sysadmins, etc) today necessarily take any less pride in what they do, but that they so often don't have a choice. and that this lack of choice is imposed on them by a system that is more interested in making obscene amounts of money than making products that work.

folks here may also be interested in this, an excellent article that apeared on /. a while back about the people who code software for the space shuttle.

and in other news, i've had a job offer! picked out of nine candidates apparently. saw the company for a second time yesterday, met with two system architechts. tried my best to answer their questions, but came away feeling like i hadn't really impressed them, so the offer this morning was a very nice surprise. i now have the weekend to think about it. my feeling at the moment is yes.

got to fly, the palm is chirping at me. "Outage scheduled". OS patches on a solaris box, i have to make sure the web stuff comes back up again. then meeting S at the gym. should be home for 9 if we're lucky.


22:34 - posting this thru a shiney new installation of kde2 on my fbsd box. liked kde1, love kde2. perfect for the home setup, S uses it instead of 95 without any hassle which is cool. i think blackbox would phase her a little, so i keep that for the more intense, minimalist moments. awaiting delivery of the new computer desk on sat which will be a blessing after sitting infront of this horrible little thing.
now for m18, hoping it's going to be a little more stable under fbsd than NT (he says cursing as netscape i will not admit that IE is better, it's the pricipal!).
audio bliss courtesy of buena vista social club.

Various random happenings this week : (1) walking to work this morning past Chelsea Baracks a helicopter landed in the parade ground about ten meters away from us. not something you see every day. really pissed off a bunch of guys who had spent what looked like the last few hours sweeping all the autumn leaves into big piles. (2) found out that a guy i've been working with over the last few weeks is a master chef winner! now there's a thing. (3) found out that someone else i've been working with is closely related to the writer of the Dr Seuss books. now that's cool :)


off to france this afternoon for a meeting in the paris office. spending more time over there than here.

this week's random happening : walked past bob geldof last night just outside my flat :) he was wearing the most amazing burgundy red velvet full length coat.

interview with very interesting media company went well last week. position is web master for their apache servers. the work itself sounds challenging, much performance tuning/monitoring, building watchdog systems etc. OSS friendly too which apeals to me. as always now comes the wait, the worst part. haven't totally made up my mind yet if i will accept or not, but i figure such mullings as wasted until i get an offer, or not as the case may be.

nick is ill at home, michelle almost collapsed this morning for lack of insulin, simon still looks like someone is stabbing him periodically, and my eye is infected. they are at this moment painting a large red X on the front doors of the office. difficult as it's a revolving one...

bliss - shiny new E420 all to myself. getting it configured as a redundancy server for our main intranet site. going to be fun. going to be getting dirt under the fingernails. got most of it figured out except the mechanism to swap servers. looking at Apache:redundancy for it in favour of shelling out for some hardware.
other than that, didn't get the job, most pissed off. aparently not enough solaris sysadmin experience. getting to think i'm caught in the classic catch-22, can't get the experience cos I aint got the experience. still, soldier on.

it's been an interesting coupla weeks. first apachecon here in london. excellent, really good to spend some time with people who are interested in all the good things and to get away from all the negativity here at work. a lot of good stuff, particularly gstein's talk on dav and mod_dav. i'm expecting the momentum to build behind it over the next year or so, there is so much potential in it. having worked with it a little for a staging server in the last few months i thought i had it sussed, but greg suggested all sorts of possibilities i had never concidered. the subversion work looks particularly interesting. i still think OS level support would be very good for it, saving the need to build support directly into applications. IE5 goes some of the way, but stops short. it's going to be interesting to see if nautilus adopts any of it.

i was in Cannes at the beginning of this week for an other conference, this time on Vignette's V5 (content management system). couldn't have been more different from apachecon. very different people, motives, location. still not sure of the company as a whole, though it's looking more and more likely that they are the only ones who can provide what we need, short of getting a large number of people in to do a custom system. of course the latter would be more fun, but unfortunately i'm not making the decisions.

off to france again tomorrow morning, though purley leisure this time, seeing S's parents. bought some very foul smelling cheese from the covent garden dairy for them. fantastic place if you ever get the chance.

still to hear anything about the job. agencies are scum. they don't care. i hate them all.

a good mate left our wonderful organisation today. damn fine guy, shame to have lost him. here's to you, and thanks for the root account ;)

listening to spinner a lot recently. pretty impressed. saves having to either bring in a bunch of cds or mess about with mp3s. also exposing me to a load of new music which i otherwise never get. just found out fatboy slim is releasing a new album shortly, bliss :)

going home now.



long time no post, over a month. been busy with a bunch of things, particularly the job and finding another. the former is coming together at last after banging my head against brick walls for the last 6 months or so. my new boss is such a breath of fresh air after the crap i've had to deal with. understands OSS, laid back, and he listens to me. unfortunately i've already made my mind up to leave the place, they've done too much damage already for me to stay. did first and second interviews for a very promising looking position. laid back atmosphere, exactly the sort of work i want, no team to lead. haven't heard back as yet. very frustrating, making it difficult to plan stuff. i've just booked a conference in the south of france at the end of the month knowing there is a possibility I'll be leaving two weeks later. what can you do? ;)

apachecon on monday :) looking forward to it, both for the actual event and for the fact it will give me three days of peace from the office. the last one (Orlando) was fantastic. not so exotic this time, in fact I can walk there from my flat in less than an hour.

working at home today on automating some stats for out intranet. the powers that be have pissed around for so long (not) deciding on a stats package i've gone ahead and put webalizer in instead. works a treat, simple, easily scripted, fast, no faffing with some poxy gui and crap NT ported app that dumps core every five minutes (webtrends..). if anyone has any good experiences with a heavy weight stats package (30+ sites) please let me know.

listening a lot to badly drawn boy, and i bought it before he won the prize too.

entertaining some friends for dinner tomorrow night, still haven't decided what to cook. other than that it should be a nice quiet weekend.

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