Work Journal For Week of January 24, 2000

Last Update: Sunday, January 30, 2000 05:08 PM


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I didn't write anything up yesterday as I thought I felt a bug of some kind attacking me, so I had a good supper and then went straight to bed. This seems to have worked as I felt fine this morning.

Last night at work they started rolling out Windows 2000 in the IS department. This meant that today I had lots of software to install and a few missed computers to upgrade to Win2k. The rollout didn't go well either as there were several server problems. We use a utility that someone in the Edmonton office wrote which copies all profiles, local data, plus drive mappings, and some software configuration files to one of several data servers. One or more of these servers went down for about an hour, which out everything on hold. There have also been DHCP server problems, but no one seems to know why, but they often run out of IP addresses ( the server people say that the address scope should provide enough addresses ) when doing the rollout at night. There have also been sporadic problems with saturating the network infrastructure, which slows down production considerably.

From these problems I would think that anyone who is going to try to do a large rollout should have a good feel for what their servers and infrastructure which will be used for the rollout can handle. It would be a shame to do all the testing etc. required then have your rollout schedule shot all to pieces by your plans overloading some of your system. Because of some of the problems that have been encountered at Telus, management is considering doing the rollout during weekends instead of doing some each night.



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I didn't get home from work till midnight so not much time for a post tonight (this morning???). I did write up a story at at work and emailed it to myself so I could post it, but my e-mail seems to be not working at the moment so I will have to post it later.



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I got a hold of the story of my adventure in overtime I wrote last night at work. I have posted it below:

All the best laid plans go out the window when you have ambitions to keep the overtime to a minimum. I am working tonight to get a two PCs and a laptop at work upgraded to Windows 2000. Based on my experience in the office Tower I generally work in I figured 2 1/2 hours tops. Oh how wrong I was. First I am working in another building and tying into the resources at the Tower. This works, but several other people are using these same resources, thus my progress will be slowed. Then the ladies who use the two PCs are not letting me start work right away as they have more work to do. This is fine as I find that there is no dongle to go with the PC Card in the laptop. In an effort to save time I walk back to the Tower find a dongle and return. As I setup the laptop the ladies call it a day so I can work on their PCs. I login and start the backups on both PCs and then get back to the laptop. The laptop is a bust as the dongle I went to get is broken. While I am busily working the helpdesk night shift is playing Nerf football. Maybe I should call the helpdesk and ask for help which would disturb their fun. Maybe not, my side is winning and I have money on the game. One PC cannot be upgraded as it does not meet the minimum spec of 200 Mhz Pentium processor, 96 Mb of RAM and 2.5 Gig harddrive. While the other PC was ghosting I hiked back to the tower with the laptop in hopes of finding a functioning dongle. In hopes of saving time I setup the laptop to Ghost in the lab by my office in the Tower, but then the boot disk I have been using for laptops does not like the Xircom PC Card in this laptop. So I have to dig out another boot disk. I finally get it working and head back to the other office building to check on the PC. There I find the PC is not finished as I had hoped, but instead has stopped ghosting in the final stages of the job. I start over again and Ghost tells me it is going to take 2 1/2 hours to complete. This is not acceptable so I shut off the PC, run to another PC, make another boot disk to connect to a server in Edmonton and start over again. Right now Ghost says that it will take another 44 minutes to complete the job which will be a total job time of approx 70 minutes. Nice how working across a a few hundred kilometers is faster than a few blocks. I check on the PC again and now there is 35 more minutes to go and the overall time is closer to 80 minutes. 

There is a bomb threat check list pined to the wall of the cubicle I am in.: 

Questions to ask: 

What time will the bomb explode? 

Where is the bomb located? 

What does it look like? 

Where are you calling from? 

Why did you place the bomb? 

What is you name? 

The comment fields asks - Exact wording of the threat. date, time duration of the call, recipients name phone number. 

Identifying Characteristics: 

Identity: female male adult juvenile 

Accent: English French other 

Voice: loud soft nasal slurred lisp 

Manner: calm angry rational emotional 

language: excellent good stutter poor foul 

Background noises: quiet, voices, traffic, airplanes, music, factory machines, office machines, other 

It is 8:48 pm and Ghost reports another 15 minutes to go. I was hoping to be at home having a late supper of left over pizza by now, but no such luck. It's going to be a while before I get home as when ghost is done I still have to restore the backed-up data and install an application or two. Then head back to the tower check on the laptop and see if the EDS guys need any help. 

Oh ya back to my well laid plans which went down the toilet. My current theory is if you have to do a job you are familiar with, to do in non familiar surroundings, double your usual estimate for the job, and you will be close to the actual time the job will take. 

The big electronic message board in the helpdesk area says that the DHCP server is not leasing Ip addresses and had to be rebooted. This seems to be a regular thing on the nights that Win2k is being rolled out.

Ah the status bar in Ghost is almost at the 100% mark, I may have to go back to work. Yup ghost is finished, time to reboot type PC. Chkdsk is running, next step is sysprep. I type in the unique name for the PC and the administrator password and sysprep changes the SID in the registry and adds the computer to the domain, then the PC reboots. Now I login as labguy and restore the profiles, data etc. The restore is done and now I have Remedy installing via an SMS package. Well time to blow this Popsicle stand and head back to the Tower. Now I'll email this to myself, clean it up and post on my web site later tomorrow.



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Well I got comments that yesterdays post about my trials and tribulations at work was interesting. If the right situation presents itself again I will do another in the future. Most work days are not good material for a days posting.

Today after work I went to the pub where people from one of my previous jobs hang out and did a little visiting. I have been keeping tabs on what has been happening there as under the right circumstances I would like to work there again. It was interesting to hear other peoples take on what is happen there, and compare it with my usual sources of information.



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I seems when I rolled this site over to the current week I forgot to update my index page. I am usually very diligent about checking my links etc. when a new week starts. I'll try to do better tomorrow when I set things up for the start of a new week.

Having a lazy today. I went for a short walk and picked up a copy of the Saturday paper. Read the career section to see what types of jobs are available and ran a backup of my data.

I would like to invest in a tape backup solution for my home network, to provide me with larger backup capacity than a CD-R. I have done a bit of research but I think I need to revisit what my requirements are again so I can make a better choice.

Research into tape drives is a little confusing in regards to what software is packaged with various drives. For example some of the Seagate products I looked at. The vendor says Windows 9.x/ NT  and Novell backup software is included, while Seagate says the software included is for Microsoft products only. I work with Novell servers so getting the Novell version of the backup software is somewhat important to me. Then there is the SCSI vs. IDE debate, which interface should I go with. IDE will certainly do the job for me, but SCSI would provide better performance but would also mean I need to pick up a SCSI adapter.



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I had to finish off a cover letter to send to Husky Oil here in Calgary today. It has been sitting open in Word all week and not progressing one bit. I attempted to do something a little different from my usual cover letters, in an attempt to distinguish mine a bit more from the mass of applicants I am sure they get. I am not sure if I succeeded or not, but if it at least gets my resume past the Human Resources department and onto the desk of someone in the IT department it will have done it's job.


Copyright 1999, 2000 John Doucette. All Rights Reserved


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