Monthly Archives: September 2003

I can't believe I am being asked to write this….

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One of our Data Center technicians is requiring an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for a change. This is fine, I do enjoy technical writing, but I enjoy real technical writing.

Here is the SOP.

Hard Drive Installation – REV A – 09/30/03

Description of Issue or Change
—————————–
Installing a hot swappable SCSI hard drive in an open bay on a chassis

Estimated Time to Completion
—————————–
5 Minutes

Action Steps
—————————-
NOTE: Monitoring must be notified before and after maintenance

1) Approach Server
2) Insert 18.g GB 10K SCSI U-3 Drive into open bay (ID1, Port 1)
3) Walk away from server

Verification Steps
—————————-
1) Verify that the available light on the hard drive has turned green
2) Verify with the SWAT team that the mirror set is rebuilding

Extent of Troubleshooting if Change Fails
—————————-
If the drive does not come online, replace from spares

Escalation Information
—————————-
Contact the Hardware Subject Matter Expert

Backout Information
—————————-
None

Authored by: David Harwell

Question is, am I being too snide with this?

And yes, the frelling template I use for these SOPs is bigger than the work to be done.

Darn, Shoot, Heck.

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You know, I am beginning to think that the powers that be are favoring the consumers on the other side of the pond.

Yet another bandwidth preserving cut.

Oh. My. :: really big grin :: – Really effing big geek moment here.

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I so want this. Blake’s 7 – Series 1

They had best make this available in the states (I would prefer to not test the “region freeness” of my DVD player.

The box even rocks! See?

Cut for those who don’t want large bandwidth hungry images

Cool!

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The EU has launched their first Lunar Mission!

And to make it even cooler, the “Smart 1” lunar probe, will be powered by the first Solar/Ion Engine. It should be reaching lunar orbit in 2005.

Thanks to valkyrwench to finding a headline that puts me into orbit in a good way

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::Glee!:: Oh my! It is coming back!

Faints, and promptly revives himself.

Doctor Who is returning to television!

Let’s just say that I am bouncing around the house like Tigger right now.

This is the one time I really regret not staying with the performing arts and theatre. When I was a lot younger, I had (along with a very inflated opinion of myself) dreams of someday being one of the lucky people to portray the good Doctor. That would be so frelling cool. The question I would have to ask myself is would I be as good of a Doctor as say, Tom Baker?

And yes, right now I have one of those rare ear to ear grins pasted on.

Oh and I forgot to mention.

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We are going to be performing yet another reorg at work, this time to better align the teams that directly impact our customers.

First team will only be working with the top 20 or so customers.* The next team will be working with the next tier of customers.** The next team after that will be handling most of the rest of the customers.*** And there will be four other teams, one for all of our *NIX customers,**** a DBA team, a Network Operations team, and finally a Datacenter team.

I was asked if I would like to transition to the first team. Now this does not protect me from being cast back to nights,+ and it does not mean I will be going to 9-6 M-F. What it does mean, is that my busting by butt has been noticed, and that the powers that be have recognized that there are few people who can do a similar juggling job. Of course this also means that I am very exposed, any mistakes and screw-ups will be immediately noted by upper management and by the board.

I really like challenges.


* These customers will be our top MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) customers

** These will be the next forty to sixty customers based on MRR

*** These will be primarily low MRR customers and the remainder of our shared solution customers (of course we don’t even offer a shared solution any more – but these people are grandfathered in)

**** This actually does frustrate me in a way, I have really enjoyed working with our *NIX customers (Solaris, Linux, and a little AIX) and I am not excited about totally splitting them off. I don’t want to get rusty, but to be realistic, I am the only really total cross platform Engineer we have, I do Windows servers, *NIX boxes, and am the only one who can communicate with the few of our customers who use Macs (and sadly enough, our last customer who was using MacOS X servers folded a little while back, so I don’t know if I will get to play with those much more)

+ That will all depend on how essential I can make myself to our daytime people and if the guy who is working my opposite decides that he likes the shift differential more than he likes seeing daylight.

(they are still in dire need to really experienced Systems Engineers at night)

What has happened to my world?

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Life is getting strange.

I was on my way home last night when I got a call from my father and my step mother.

Me: “Hello.”

Dad: “Hey there!”

Me: “Hey! How are you all doing?”

Dad: “Pretty good, hey David, do you get the Bravo channel?”

Me: “I think so, it’s not a channel I normally watch.”

Dad: “Well, if you do, would you mind taping a show for us and bring it the next time you come to east texas?”

Me: “Sure, what is the show?”

Dad: “It is Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.”

Me: “Say what!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?

It seems that QE has become all the rage and extremely popular in the small town I grew up in east texas. This is the same city where I got the absolute dren beat out of me (and ended up in the hospital) when I told my “so called” friend that I was going to share an apartment with that I was gay. Now, fifteen years later, everyone gathers around the television to watch this show and discuss it. Except Longview/Kilgore cable does not carry the Bravo channel, so you have to either live in White Oak (where my aunt Dee and family lives) or have a dish. And since Dad and Patti don’t want to do the whole dish thing,* I’m going to be taping QE for them and taking them tape-fulls of “QE goodness” to them every time I head east.

I don’t think I could imagine a world any stranger than this, my father is (or at least was) so conservative that he used to make me look like a flaming liberal.


* The house was actually built with a dish that is mounted unobtrusively on the roof and they had considered getting dish service since you can now get the local channels provided with it in their area. But at the same time, I had finally convinced them to get broadband for their two home offices and in Longview, that means cable modem. And since they don’t want to pay for a cable modem (and therefore cable) and pay for a dish at the same time, the dish sits unused and out of site on the roof, and someday, Patti will get me to get up there and remove it.

Evidentally I've still got it.

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Wheee! I fixed Ms Magazine this morning!

Yet another of the customers that we host, they had a code problem with their banner ad system this morning. And their new IT Director had only started a week ago, so she had not had time to go over all of the code that runs their site. So, I slogged through a small ream of undocumented ASP code and their SQL database to find the problem. But I found it, and with her permission, corrected it, and now they are working again.

Even though I have not worked as a programmer for several years, I am still programmer enough to fix things like that. So the Feminist Majority Foundation owes it’s website to a gay man. How’s that for irony?

Aaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhh!

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Frelling XML/RSS feeds!

:: falls to knees very dramatically ::

Why won’t you work for me?

But, but, but, but

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Evidentally, I need to turn in my toaster.

gramalkin makes a better gay man than I do.

What is up with that? Perhaps I need to take remedial classes in how to be gay.

Only leaving work three hours late tonight.

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First of all, to gramalkin: I am sorry for getting you stuck out here with this emergency.

One of our DBAs (I hope we still have her in the morning) was on one of our major customer’s SQL Servers and started running traces. Well, I saw alerts starting to fire in some of my priority monitors and contacted my customer to see if they were doing anything to the server. (If this particular server goes down, it takes down most of the functionality of the customer’s site and to make it even worse, this is a dating service and late afternoon/early evening is their peak times).

Well, to make a long story short, I ended up manually shutting down the SQL Services and bringing the server back online by hand (as well as remounting the databases). Once everything was back online, I then had to then troubleshoot the BigIP (load balancing hardware for their network) as to why it was not bringing the SQL Server back into production when I was expecting it to do so.

To make a long story short (I know, I know….too late) – I had caught the problem even before the customer’s own monitoring setup had caught it, alerted them, and even managed to bring the customer’s system back online in record time (from down to back up and functional in a little over 20 minutes).

The Bad News – The customer was extremely upset, that is why I am worried that we may be short a DBA shortly. (Truthfully, I have no idea why she would even be working on that server since the customer is cutting over to their new SQL Servers at 0300 in the morning and the current SQL node will be brought down and retired in the next few days)

The Good News – Evidentially my performance was such that even though the customer’s VP of operations was extremely hot, he went out of his way to tell my director that I had done an excellent job and had probably saved them an extended downtime due to my quick response to and analysis of the problem.

You know, we are probably one of the most expensive hosting companies in the business. However, there is a reason for it; most hosting companies cannot afford engineers like me. (Man does that sound vain) You can hire many first tier techs, but when the fertilizer hits the oscillating blades, you really need good second and third tier engineers who know the operating system and applications from the inside out to resolve serious problems rapidly. Personally, I would love the day when servers and Operating Systems are “self healing” and I can just sit back and watch it do all the work itself, but somehow I do not foresee that happening in the near future.

Leveraged from da_bwat

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Lemming alert!

Changes . . .

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Another year has come and gone.

Days like today are really complicated for me. They are supposed to be really happy times, where you celebrate what you have. But I still find myself thinking on what is missing.

I still miss my mother every day. From time to time, I see something and then catch myself thinking, “I ought to call or email Mom and tell her that.” then I remember that she is gone, and it all comes crashing down again. The same goes with my grandparents, and friends of mine who are gone.

But time passes and things change.

My Father has found love and joy again, and someday, The Lord of Light willing, I will too.

I am unbelievably lucky. I have some really wonderful friends. They give me amazing amounts of strength. I love you all.

Thank you.

Dante’s Prayers
Music and Lyrics Loreena McKennitt

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We’ll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me

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Oh my goodness. Now I have read it all.

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I don’t even remember who sent me this link right now and I feel bad about that. If any of my friends on LJ sent me this link please, please comment and remind me. I want to give credit where credit is due.

That having been said. I have read the most unique set of adventures. The hero of this chronicle is Ali Davis and her story is True Porn Clerk Stories.

Here are some “blurbs”. You must read all four pages of her blog – over a year of the observations of a professional writer who was working in a porn store to make ends meet. It is uniquely hysterical, and illuminating.

Cut to warn the more sensitive people of bad language and bodily fluids

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I have lucked onto a new site that has art for computer wallpaper. And here it is! Misanthropia.net

This is a site with some wonderful wallpaper (very neo-goth with a side order or magick for seasoning) with 66 seperate wallpapers in the following resolutions: 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×960, 1280×1024, and 1600×1200

There are enough very beautiful wallpapers that I am now going to have to write a script that will switch out my wallpaper periodically so I can get to appreciate all of the images.

As an example, here is my current desktop at work (warning = bandwidth hog image – pretty but big)