Title photo
My life in words and images; a work in progress.

I Just Don't Know...

Systems Adminstrator's Blogs Are Boring.

This one, I'm sure, is no exception. Posts are often written at the end of a long working day; I'm frequently confused, drunk and alone.

Or am I?


Mon, 04 Aug 2014

FreeBSD on Raspberry PI

I heard that they'd got FreeBSD running on the Raspberry PI, so I had to have a play. I'm not impressed.

Don't even bother with the -STABLE version, it isn't. Use 11.0 (aka -CURRENT) from the Japanese guy who's all over the forums like a rash right now. I managed to get it to boot OK, but there seem to be some severe problems with the SD card driver (the card is OK, works with XBMC).

The ethernet is slow. Powering anything from the USB port crashes the PI. I think I've wasted over fifty quid buying two of these.

Sat, 10 May 2014

This cannot be for real.

Half the time, the shit that ends up in my mailbox isn't intended for me at all. At work I get masses of stuff for people working in the hospitals and research facilities scattered around the Uni; to be honest, it's quite frightening thinking about some of the dark activity that's so common in Manchester.

So, I'm not sure if this is even intended for me, but apparently I are being offered a secret contract with a Political Party (it's the Green Party, if you must know) to do some sort of communications work and website development.

It's from someone who calls himself Drogon Barre. I looked up the GP on the web and found they've got a comms wonk called Clifford. Drogon, Dragon, Clifford? Oh suit yerself.

I'm ignoring it anyway. They want skills I don't have.

Mon, 05 May 2014

Who the fuck is Arthur Ruminant?

It really pisses me off when my employers come into my systems and make changes without telling me.

There's been a new account created today for someone called Arthur Ruminant, apparently he's "one of us". I already have mail dating back for decades which I'm not allowed to delete, just in case the people who it's for pop up again. All kinds of crazy shit about meowing armies and flonking and troll hunting and...

Sometimes I think I'm living in a timewarp of some kind. Please do not burst into song.

Wed, 02 Apr 2014

Weird email received; is this you?

I've been forced to move my pointless website to a VPS somewhere in Russia, because a stupid manager was worried that another stupid manager might read it. Quite an overreaction, since the logs indicate the only regular visitor is the Googlebot. I diligently modified the updates section on my page to say "Goodbye Manchester".

A couple of days later I was both surprised and gratified to get an email from somebody asking where I'd moved to. A mystery reader! And one who cares!

Whoever you are, I got a bounce when I tried to reply to you. I've corrected the updates section. This website may have moved, but I'm still in the same place.

Thu, 27 Mar 2014


Bored and Depressed.

Drunk and tired and bored and depressed. They're all the same, the Uni and the Xeno freaks and just, everyone. You pay me to sit here and do nothing. You tell me you can't stop me using social media, "but". You say you want to know about my "associates". You monitor my communications. You tell me I'm entitled to my opinion, but you never listen to it.

And one of my mates has just been made homeless, because you "let him go" for some minor transgression, and he couldn't pay his exorbitant rent, probably to one of your mates.

Also, they're planning a computer room audit at work. The way things are going, someone will question the "suitability" of this blog for hosting. I can tell you already, it's not for suits.

I'm so sick of this.

Sun, 02 Feb 2014

Who Said This?

Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air. Facts are the air of science. Without them a man of science can never rise.

I can't quite remember who said it, but the quote rings a bell.

Thu, 30 Jan 2014

Print Run: The Great War

"Who are you?"

"Who decides that the work day will be from 9 to 5 and not 11 to 4? Who decides that the hemlines will be below the knee this year and short again next year? Who draws up the borders, controls the currency, handles all of the decisions that happen transparently?"

"I don't know!"

"Ah, I'm with them -- same group, different department. Think of me as a sort of middle-man. And the name is Justin."

-Sheridan & Justin


Wed, 18 Dec 2013

Three Months Into The Contract

So I'm three months into the new contract with these Xeno Psyche dudes, and I wonder why I bother. They keep paying me for doing nothing. They insist that all of their infrastructure systems are installed from source rather than prebuilt binaries, so I spend a hell of a long time just watching things compile, but it ain't exactly rocket science.

In fact, it's fucking boring. It's all so fucking boring. I'm sick of this shit. I can do better then this.

And it's nearly christmas. I hate christmas.

Tue, 19 Nov 2013


Ever since I was a small child, I've had this ability to fix things just by touching them.

Sort of, anyway. When I was too young to even remember, I used to take things apart and try to put them back together again. Dad's electric razor was one of the first, I'm told. Even though he never used it, he kept it in the top cupboard, and would occasionally pull it off the top shelf and remind me of just how evil I was. Another unremembered sin was the little comb organ thing built into my parents' wedding photo album, which after my attention would only ever play its tinny tune for me.

I got better at this, though. I used to retrieve broken electronic items from the back yard of a local electrical goods shop, and somehow manage to get them working. This was how the family acquired their first fridge and colour TV; Dad claimed to be too poor to buy them for us. Another trick, familiar to True Engineers the world over, is to be able to fix something by giving it a sharp blow, perhaps with fist, perhaps with foot. As the joke says, the trick is in knowing just where to kick it.

With digital gremlins, I'm a superhero. People will be sat at a computer, unable to complete their task. And yet, by performing exactly the same actions as they would, it works for me. Somehow I am able to reduce the randomness inherent in modern electronic and computer systems.

I believe this is a low-level manifestation of telekinesis, where I can slightly move a very small amount of matter. Perhaps just a few thousand atoms, which is enough to break or to re-establish an electical connection. Or maybe some electrons, inside a computer, just sufficient to tip the binary balance back the way it should be.

Sometimes I wonder if I do this with life. Destiny, coincidence, serendipty, call it what you like. Because it seems that subconsciously, I seem to pick what life throws at me, and it's just what I need. Usually it's not what I want. Often, at first, I hate it.

But I'm learning to trust the random.

Sun, 20 Oct 2013

The ZFS Stuff

Someone reminded me about this the other day. It's a bit of shite I wrote about ZFS in a NAS.