Hardware Rescues

One of the sales reps for a company that we deal with at work gave me a bunch of systems today – a pair of Sun Ultra 10s, a pair of Ultra 2s, and an Ultra 5. I’m trying to get enough RAM to bring the U10s up to 1G each. I’m going to give the U5 away to anybody that wants it (its a 270Mhz model with a 4G HD and 128M RAM), and the U2s, well, who knows.

Lawn Wars

A week ago, my ex-next-door-neighbor (who hasn’t sold his house yet) came by and asked if I wanted to go in 50/50 on having someone come over and mow both our yards. I said sure, and he said he’d let me know how much. I didn’t hear from him, so we hired ABC Pest & Lawn to come out and do the job.

The guy from ABC showed up on Monday and gave an estimate. Tuesday I gave him the go-ahead, with the work scheduled for today (Thursday).

While I was at work earlier this afternoon, Amy calls me and mentions that a bunch of guys showed up this morning, mowed and trimmed the lawn (but not the bushes or any of the flowerbed work, etc) and left. An hour later she called me again. “The guys from ABC Pest & Lawn just showed up… and the guys that mowed this morning don’t work for them.”

As far as I can tell, my ex-neighbor took pity on us both being sick and paid to have our lawn done too. As soon as I can get in touch with him, I’m going to pay him back whatever it cost.

The money we’d paid ABC didn’t go to waste, however – they cleaned up the mowing/trimming job a bit, then spent two hours trimming bushes, hedges, etc and picking up grass and leaves. The lawn looks great now.

Being Sick Sucks.

Here’s a timeline:

Friday, April 7th: Coworker was out sick.

Monday, April 10th: Coworker back at work, is fine.

Tuesday, April 11th: A different coworker was out sick.

Wednesday, April 12th: I wake up with massive sinus problems and a sore throat. By the end of the day, I go to the doctor and get a prescription for ZMax, a one-dose-of-2-grams antibiotic.

Thursday, April 13th: Sinus drainage has turned into pneumonia. I spend the entire day in bed, hardly able to breathe, with a fever.

Friday, April 14th: Amy comes down with it too. We take her to the doctor, where she gets a prescription for a ZPac antibiotic, a decongestant, and Vicodin.

Saturday, April 15th: I feel a little better (fever finally broke). Amy’s lost her voice, and can’t sleep. We spend most of the day trying to sleep.

Sunday, April 16th: I’m better than I was on Thursday, will probably try to go back to work tomorrow. Amy still has no voice and is still congested.


Monday, April 17th: Still sick, worked from home today. Amy’s very slowly getting her voice back. Will try to go to the office tomorrow.

Dell Hardware Follies

Ten months ago, I purchased a PowerEdge SC420 server when Dell had one of their crazy one-time deals. I got a system with a Celeron 2.53Ghz CPU, 512M of RAM (since upgraded to 1G), 160G SATA hard drive, CD-ROM, and gigabit Ethernet for $265 shipped.

This morning I got an email from Dell, informing me that I’m two months from having the support contract (e.g., one-year warranty) expire, and would I like to renew? I’ve never needed to call them for service, but I thought I’d see how much they wanted out of curiosity.

I paid $265 for the system originally. Dell wants $295 for a two year warranty extension, believe it or not. I just don’t understand their economics. I can go to their website right now and buy a Dimension 1100 with pretty much the same specs (CPU-wise) as my SC420 for $299.

Another day, another dollar

My boss walked in this morning and handed me a letter detailing this year’s raise. I’m certainly not complaining!

In addition, someone from another group offered an open position with their team to me this morning, but I had to turn them down as I’m really happy where I’m at right now. I’ll still help them with their particular area of work, but I much prefer being a “general purpose” sysadmin versus concentrating on one single aspect of the services we provide.

Programming projects..

I’m hacking on a system at work to automatically generate network accounts based on employee requests. So far I’ve gotten it authenticating against Active Directory (using adLDAP), and have rebuilt PHP with SQLite support.

Tomorrow I build the majority of the guts of the application and a basic proof-of-concept user interface. Wednesday I’ll automate the actual account creation, by either firing off an Expect script or by using the built-in Expect functions in PHP.

After all that works, I’ll throw the pieces together into a first revision of the production application and put it behind a secure webserver (so passwords don’t get passed in cleartext).