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Tweaks and More Tweaks

Saturday, 15th February, 2003

Things are going the right way but some of them are still going. They haven't got there yet and they need to. Flux isn't always the most fun state to be in. I'd prefer Arizona.

Here's one example: I'm a nice guy. Honest. Quiet at the back! But suddenly I'm having to play hardball and I'm not used to it. Sure, Barclays Bank took me to court and I won, but this is different. These are real people I'm dealing with, people I like and don't want to cause any trouble for. However I'm not being paid what I should be and the situation needs sorting out. Quickly.

I'm currently Project Manager for a big rollout project. The whole thing has been badly organised from day one and my boss has been brought in to sort it out at the Northern Europe level. She has nine or ten sites to oversee across Europe, two of which have become my responsibility.

I'm organising everything for these two and reporting back up the chain. I'm working eleven hour days plus, five days a week, and I'm multitasking all the way through them. I'm managing two engineers who are doing the actual rollout, auditing the entire site as we go so we have machines to roll, liaising with people on site plus others in the US and Switzerland to implement the new global standards that aren't properly defined yet, running about six other projects alongside this one, and doing all the support on top of everything else.

However I'm being paid as a Grade 1 Rollout Engineer. That's someone who gets told which machines to put where, follows a script and goes home. He doesn't have to think, innovate, or deal with anything at all. Any problems, he shouts up a level.

Not only am I being paid as a Grade 1 Rollout Engineer but I've just been told that the eighty hours of overtime I've worked this year already are going to go completely unpaid. I'm not going to get paid any extra for what I've done or what I'm doing. But thank you very much all the same. You're doing an awesome job.

Yeah. Right. So it's hardball time. The roll has stopped entirely because I'm now working according to my contract. I'm waiting for someone to tell me which machines to put where. I know, of course, that there is nobody there to tell me anything, but c'est la vie, right? The three of us spent Friday doing not a heck of a lot. We'll soon see what we get to do on Monday. I am still a nice guy though. Honest.

On a happier note, things on my network here at home are going well. Sussed isn't quite spot on yet but it's getting there. Sussed is my Software Update Services (SUS) server that automatically downloads all Windows Updates and stores them centrally so that all the machines on the network don't have to hammer Microsoft's site every time something needs updating. It's very useful.

I've set up a DLT drive in Terabyte, which is my fileserver. It doesn't have anywhere near a terabyte of storage yet, though the network as a whole is two thirds of the way there. I want this fileserver running with a couple of terabytes of storage running under RAID 5 in hardware by the end of March. It'll make an incredible difference. In the meantime I can back up serious amounts of stuff to the DLT. Right now it's backing up 27 GB of data across the network from two different PCs and it's looking at six hours to do the job. I can live with that.

I'm rebuilding Tongue with a single partition. This is my old laptop, so called because it's a laplaplaptop. Sue me. It's only a PII-266 so it can crawl under Windows 2000 when circumstances aren't good. They haven't been good for a while as both partitions were almost entirely out of free space and the primary was too small anyway. Churn. Churn. Once I'm finished tonight it'll be running far smoother.

Dan has his Gentoo box nearly finished. He's been kind enough to document it all so I can then duplicate the job on a duplicate machine. Then I get to do some serious playing with Linux. I have an old Pentium 166 running Red Hat Seawolf but Gentoo seems to be far more flexible and powerful. I'm looking forward to it.

The Gentoo boxen are Compaq small form factor PII-400s and, while they're far from state-of-the-art, are nonetheless pretty fast machines that take up little space. Sussed is one of these too, and I have a stack of them to play with, so I've got a few other uses I've dreamed up to put them to.

One is going to explore the free software market that has grown hugely since the Open Source movement widened their horizons and wrote stuff for Windows. I have a shelf full of Windows NT 4 licenses so I'm going to throw NT onto another PII-400 and try to do everything I can with it. The catch is that I'm not going to use any Microsoft software whatsoever. It'll all be free stuff, from OpenOffice to dBpowerAmp. Let's see how good this stuff has got.

And I've written far too much already. It's too late to start blitzing through the Microsoft Windows 2000 Pro/Server coursework I've picked up to get me ready for the MCP exams, but I've got phone calls to make and other stuff to read. Alterslash always needs reading before I sleep, and I've picked up an interesting book today called The Undergrowth of Science: Delusion, Self-Deception and Human Frailty, by Walter Gratzer. It looks like it warrants a look RSN.

Sleep well, y'all.

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