Fri, 18 Dec 2009

Last day of work for 2009 // at 20:00

An interesting year at work; I can hardly remember any of January to May — the normal, five day a week part of the year. Instead its been Monday to Wednesday at home looking after Cam, then Thursday and Friday in the office. Wednesday was my nominal "work-at-home" day to bring my hours up to three days a week, but in reality it was two whole days on site and the remaining seven and half hours of work spread out between Friday evening and Thursday morning, as and when a small boy and life allowed. I wouldn't have missed it for the world and would qite happily become a stay-at-home dad if finances allowed!

Up through the Lemon-scented gums

How much was accomplished? I'm really not sure. With no real deadlines, targets or goals there are no real measurements. Slower than I hoped, harder than I expected. Some things are much easier at home uninterrupted, some things harder on the end of the not-always-useful remote-access to the office. Depressing to go in on a Thursday and find that because I had been away, work I'd expected to occur had not happened.

Oh well, 2009 is over now, I'm on leave for a month. An entire month!

Next year could be interesting, it'll be a nasty shock to the system to go back to five days a week at work — I think I could be quite happy with four, or even three, days working. Sadly, management and finances disagree, so five days a week it'll be.

The best part of it all? For FOUR WHOLE WEEKS I DO NOT have to touch Lotus Notes — at all — in any way, shape or form!

Fri, 11 Dec 2009

A Christmas function // at 17:00

“Assemble at 11:50 for the noon bus” we were exhorted, “Be on time!” I had my reservations about catching the bus to the function, being reliant on the corporate transport meant being held hostage if it rained or turned out to be a dud or I simply got bored and wanted to escape….

Will I or won't I? Around in my head all morning, but finally I decided that yes I'd be the good corporate boy and catch the corporate transport to the corporate Christmas function.

So out we all trooped and then stood around and waited from 11:55 to 12:15 for the supposed 12:00 bus, more and more people passing in their cars, managers' cars, on-call cars. Finally at quarter past I gave up, went back to the office, got my bike shoes and helmet, went and unlocked the bike and rode the eight and a half kilometres to Jells park. I'd managed to lock the bike up and got half way through my first beer at around 12:35 before the bus finally turned up!

The function itself? Who are all these people? We're spread out over three buildings and I've no idea what entire sections do, let alone who individual staff are.

Catered barbecue and drinks in a marquee, good food — they learnt their lesson from a few years' back — Alan's farewell speeches and presentation, lucky door prizes, and so it went.

Left around 15:50 and was back at my desk by 16:25, the only hassles on the way back being riding up Ferntree Gully road after a large lunch, and the four or five carloads of ITS staff who thought they were being friendly by tooting on the horn — deafening loud blasts indistinguishable from the bogans' prelude to a screamed “GERROFFDAFUGGINROAD!”

Sun, 06 Dec 2009

Shifter woes, part #3 // at 18:00

Continued from part #2.

Back from the dead — it lives!

Last of the 8-speed thumbshifers

After a long, leisurely, walk over to Carnegie this morning with the pram and Jo's bike we picked up a newly revitalised Norky bike. Dropped her Norco Magnum off for a service and to sort out the gears and picked up the grandfather's axe that is my Java1.

A bit of a comedown in the world, the only replacement 8-speed Shimano shifters left are Altus; LX, XT and XTR are all 9- or 10-speed nowadays. The thirteen year-old XT shifters had performed wonderfully, well past their expected life, so anything now is a blessing! According to the mechanic “The XT and XTR shifters that year — 1996 — were a real problem, very fragile, amazing they lasted this long at all” I seem to always hear this, or something similar, about my gears, or my wheels, or my forks, or something. I'm never sure whether its true or whether its just the mechanic genes at work — always wanting to sound knowledgable about — and slightly disparaging about — the equipment that I have got.

Yada yada, Norky bike needs new chain, new cassette, new sprockets... a set of new sprockets costs as much as a new crankset so they'd probably advise that instead... only the frame remains.

Surprisingly cheap for the work, and what a pleasure to have gears again! Single-speeds may be all the rage, but only on bikes designed for it please.

Coffee and cake and then some lunch at Rita's to celebrate the reanimation, then back home for another thirteen years' life in the second set of shifters... I hope.

1. I'm fairly confidant that the only original parts now are the frame, XTR brakes, headstem, handlebars and bar-ends. All else has been repaired, replaced or swapped over the years.


Tue, 01 Dec 2009

Storage; never enough // at 16:00

Disk space, ugh. The desktop is full, the laptop is full, the desk is covered in a pile of old hard-disks of various sizes in various states of repair.

  • Two 200G 3.5” IDE drives in fafnir in a RAID mirror
  • A 1T 3.5” SATA drive in the DViCO media box
  • A 100G 2½” SATA drive in the laptop1
  • 40G 1.8” drive in the iPod
  • 20G 2½” IDE drive in the X-Drive II card reader
  • 20G 2½” IDE drive in the old X-Box
  • 8G USB stick

Then piled up on my desk, a collection of 3.5” drives; 400G SATA, 2.5G PATA, 200G PATA, 80G PATA, 40G PATA. All up, I think that's not quite a terabyte, none of it really usable, and all of it a PITA2.

The DViCO media box has the most storage; but it isn't on the network. Must get around to it….

The laptop was about the last of the systems using IDE drives rather than SATA, annoyingly, the drives are far more expensive and much harder to find — $140 for 250G IDE vs $70 for 500G SATA! Except that it isn't! See 1 below. Last time I believe what the vendor tells me or what diagnostic software says, next time I'll simply unscrew the cover in the first place and check it myself.

The desktop PC is a small form-factor Shuttle X51, there's only room inside for a single 3.5” drive so I squeezed in a second one in behind the floppy drive blanking plate to let me have a RAID1 mirror. Sadly this system is definitely parallel IDE, so there'll be no easy upgrade to a pair of 1TB SATA drives.

So what is it to be? Do I buy an external drive and hang it off the desktop, or do I go for a smallish domestic NAS? Do I bite the bullet and buy a new PC with room for SATA drives? Build or buy? Too many options, and never enough money….


1. Aargh! For a month or more I'd laboured under the misapprehension that it was a PATA drive, even to the point of ordering in a new — and expensive — 250G replacement. Only when I got around to unscrewing the cover and taking the old drive out did I discover that it really was a SATA drive!

2. Pain in the Ass: An American term, something to do with causing discomfit to donkeys.

Made with PyBlosxom