Journal For Week of July 03, 2000

Last Update: Monday, July 10, 2000 06:11 AM


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Monday July 3, 2000 

Ah it's holiday Monday and the business news reminds me that we are now half way through the year 2000. I am not sure where the time has gone, or if I have made good use of it. Oh well! enough reflection, time to move on.

My neck still has a bit of a kink in it, but I have a mostly full range of motion again and only minor discomfort.

Seems I miss read the compatibility documentation for the tape drive I bought. Netware 5 nor any other version or NetWare does not natively support it. But it is apparently supported under NetWare 5 if I use Backup Exec as the backup software. So I have downloaded a 60 day evaluation copy of Backup Exec.

Well now I've blown it. I should have made a copy of the c:\nwserver folder on the DOS partition of my server before I installed Backup Exec. Been too long since I have done this kind of work. Now my server will not come up at all and my feeble attempts to resurrect it so far have failed. Time to break out the install CD.

So I boot up the server to DOS and rename the old versions of autoexec.bat and config.sys to re-enable CD Rom support. Then I found that with my CD ROM and Tape drive both being on the secondary IDE channel, that the CD is not recognized. I moved the CD to the primary channel and the CD drive was found. Could this have been part of my troubles? Time will tell.

This may well have turned into a very instructive accident. During the install of NetWare 5.0 I couldn't recall how large the sys volume had been previously so I set it at 1 Gig. Later in the GUI part of the install, the installer asks for the partition and volume settings to be confirmed. At that point I could see that my old data partition was still there with the correct volume name. Could it be that I will not loose any of the data? We'll know soon enough. There also was another Gig of unused space which the installer allowed me to add to the sys volume, very nice feature.

Very nice indeed! My data volume is intact, and all my devices including the tape drive are listed as available devices. So much for the documentation I spent most of yesterday digging up and reading.

SBCON sees the tape drive, I can retention the tape from within SBON, but I can't do a backup, I believe because the media is not formatted. So far I cannot see how to format the tape within sbcon. I chose rename media from the menu, name the tape "tape01" and let it trundle away. Tried another backup and it worked this time.

Update: I selected the entire server to be backed up and almost two hours later it is done. It is not quiet a true backup as I did not run the verify process. I made a quick scan of the log file, and except for a few skipped files everything looks good. SBCON is not all that intuitive to use, and I am not yet sure if NDS was backed up. I wanted to do a test file restore and am running into one of the big inadequacies of Sbcon. I cannot browse a backup and select the files I want to restore. Sbcon requires that I specify that I type in the full path and file name I want to restore. From what the help file says it looks like I also need to specify what I do not want to restore. In short Sbcon does the job in a pinch but is not what you would want to have to rely on in a business setting.

As a test I renamed a file and setup Sbcon to restore the file. I could have put in the file name and path incorrectly and will never know till Sbcon finishes reading the tape header to locate the file I want to restore. 

For all I know all that could be happening is the tape is rewinding. There have been no writes to the hard drive, and nothing new has shown up in the activity log since I started the file restore. At least this drive is quieter than my old external Colorado 120 Mb drive. I can remember when that drive was a great sneaker net for transporting data to and from work. Now a Zip drive is almost as big capacity wise and much quieter. I see another problem with Sbcon. I cannot scroll through the activity log. I could probably track down the file and open it in notepad, but I shouldn't have to go that route to check my logs.

Well the restore started twenty minutes ago and still just the sound of what to me sounds like a tape rewinding and no disk activity. Time to go do some shopping and check back later. 

The bloody restore locked up the server tighter than a drum, but a reboot got everything back up and running. Decided to give Backup Exec another try so I applied support Pack 5 again. Then installed Backup Exec again only to have it blow up in my face once again. Not a big set back as this time I was not about to be totally burned a second time. Prior to the install I made a copy of the nwserver directory on the DOS partition. So a quick deltree then xcopy to restore c:\nwserver to pre Backup Exec install condition, run server.exe and I was back at the races.

I'll have to check, but maybe Backup Exec does not like SP5. I may roll back SP5 and try SP4 or even go back to SP2. But that is a project for another day.

Joke of the day:

A Canadian man was having coffee and croissants with butter and jam in a diner when an American man chewing gum sat down next to him. The Canadian ignored the American, who nevertheless, started up a conversation. The American snapped his gum and said, "You Canadian folk eat the whole bread?" The Canadian frowned, annoyed with being bothered during his breakfast, and replied, "Of course." The American blew a huge bubble. "We don't. In the States, we only eat what's inside. The crusts we collect in a container, recycle them, transform them into croissants and sell them to Canada." The American had a smirk on his face. The Canadian listened in silence. The American persisted "D'ya eat jelly with the bread?" Sighing, the Canadian replied, "Of  course. "Cracking his gum between his teeth, the American said, "We don't. In the States, we eat fresh fruit for breakfast, then we put all the peels, seeds and leftovers in containers, recycle them, transform them into jam and sell it to Canada." The Canadian then asked, "Do you have sex in the states?" The American smiled and said, "Why of course we do!" The Canadian leaned closer to him and asked, "And what do you do with the condoms once you've used them?" "We throw them away, of  course." Now it was the Canadian's turn to smile. "We don't. In Canada, we put them in a container, melt them down into chewing gum and sell them to the United States."


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Tuesday July 04, 2000

1 AM and I'm still up since the owl out side my window insists on hooting every 15 seconds or so. I decide to step out the back door to have look at this owl who is turning me into a night owl. Only just managed to spot the owl as it left it's perch on a street light. No idea what kind of an owl it was but it had a wing span of at least 24 inches. Likely it is on the hunt for the rabbits which frequent my back yard.

On the news they showed lots of water from heavy rains near a friends farm in southern Saskatchewan so I had to call their daughter to find out if they had been flooded like the farm yards shown on the news. Good news so far no one has reported any problems.

Down graded a PC to Windows NT for a user last Friday and found out later that they couldn't get Outlook 98 to work. Went and had a look at it first thing this morning and Outlook could not see the exchange server at all. From the PC I could ping the server so connectivity was not a problem. I ended up pealing out all the messaging systems and rebuilding them. Did this twice with not success. I then used ghost to put the same NT image on the PC I used on Friday and Outlook and messaging worked fine. Must have been a Gremlin in the computer making work for me.

Made arrangements to meet fellow daynoter Shawn Wallbridge and his wife Rhonda ( hope I got her name and spelling correct, I am so bad with names, my apologies if I got it wrong ) at a Bagel shop this evening. Great landmark to meet at, unfortunately it was closed ( I never claimed to be a social director ). Luckily the Earl's next door was open, so we grabbed a booth and ordered drinks. Three hours later we finally headed out the door after much computer talk. Yes I think we board poor Rhonda to death ( she claims to be used to it ). Any ways it was great to finally meet another of the gang and be able to to a face to the web notes and emails.


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Wednesday July 05, 2000

Hump day has been unusual as is normal, and passed by uneventfully. Spent the day leisurely building a Windows 98/NT dual boot PC at work. Can't remember the last time I put together a dual boot configuration, or did a CD install of Windows 98 or NT. Did both today plus reacquainted my self with Partion Magic. Was kind of fun, and good experience for the new job next week where tools like Ghost are not used very much.

How's this for a picture of a fiberglass bovine I took today. ( be warned, picture is large )

cow01.gif (880634 bytes)

Tomorrow is my last day at Telus, and I am quite excited about heading off to the new job on Monday. I have to turn in my security pass, pager and cell phone tomorrow, as well as finish of a few small jobs. I am hoping to make it a short day.

The rain storm and flooding I mentioned yesterday. Story here.



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Thursday July 06, 2000

The music has played, the conductor has put his baton away, and Elvis has left the building. In other words my job at Telus is now done and over with. Now I have three days off, then on Monday morning I get to start the new job.

Now time to relax. TTFN


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Friday July 07, 2000

Day one of the Calgary Stampede. Click on the logo above to visit the Stampede web site.

My new boss called to let me know that next week I am not expected to show up in a suit since it is stampede week, western wear is acceptable.

It's been a nice mellow day. Slept in a little, did some research on available backup software for Netware 5, went out for lunch with friends, got a hair cut.

Did some more reading on the native backup software which comes with Netware 5, and there is a GUI I can run on a workstation to administrate backup and restores. The documentation so far is very vague and I am having no success in configuring the GUI. Seems I need to run IPX for some of the GUI functions to work, so I installed IPX on the server and one PC. IPX so far has not helped any noticeable amount, but I'll look into it some more tomorrow.


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Saturday July 08, 2000

Making slow progress at getting Nwback32 working. Nwback32 is the GUI front-end run on the workstation for Novell's Storage Management Service. It seems that technically I was doing nothing wrong, it's just the service does not like it when the NDS objects it creates are under the top most organizational unit in the NDS tree. As soon as I created a new organizational unit under the top most unit and moved the server object and all the Storage Management Service NDS objects under the new OU and edited the configuration files to reflect the change things started to move along. With this change Nwback32 sees the server and authenticates to it correctly. I can also browse the NDS tree and the various data volumes I have setup. The only thing I can't do is see the backup device. But at least I am getting a more instructive error message when I try to view the tape drive, which hopefully will lead me over what I believe is my last hurtle.

Double checked the list of modules which need to be loaded for Nwback32 to work and one was not loaded. After loading the missing module I was able to see the tape drive. 



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Sunday July 09, 2000

Lost connectivity tonight during a big rain, hail and thunder storm. Used that as an excuse to take a break from the net. Which means I have written up Saturdays post but done nothing with it. 

Spent a little more time dealing with the peculiarities of Nwbackup then called it a day.

Copyright 1999, 2000 John Doucette. All Rights Reserved


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