Weight and Stuff Report – 10 January 2011

Yes, it’s back to the “Stuff” as the Lurgy continues its retreat. Apart from my occasional coughing (which is now more like a normal cough than the gut-wrenching[1] thing I was doing last week), and the odd sneeze and sniffle, I’m pretty much back to what passes for normal around here. So much so, that the rapid weight loss seems to have stopped, or at least paused – no change today.

So, after my unplanned short week last week, it was back to work today. Not only that, but back to work at such a hideously early hour that the sun hadn’t got out of bed yet, and neither, it seemed, had whoever was supposed to re-open the sliproad onto the Redheugh Bridge, which resulted in my bus taking a really fascinating detour. Well, it might have been if it hadn’t been too dark to see, I suppose.

Anyway, I got to work for 8:30[2], as I’d been told to expect someone from a large communications company that shall remain nameless[3] to turn up to do some work, which would apparently take all day.[4] I had to do it because Aaron, who’d normally manage early morning fun went to Teesside to do the same.

So naturally, after I’d made all that effort, the person in question arrived at something more like 11:00. Or maybe a bit later. And he’d finished in a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, while he was there, he got to close to some equipment which decided to throw a major sulk, presumably because it didn’t like being breathed on. Last time someone from the Dread Company was on site, this thing merely rebooted all the office phones. This time, it killed them all stone dead.

So I then had to work out what was broken. Dread Company man hadn’t actually started fiddling with fibres, so it couldn’t be that. Everything seemed to be plugged into the right holes, with no loose bits. Lights were on, all the computers connected to the switch[5] were happily chatting to each other, but the phones weren’t getting any of that nice PoEness[6] they needed to work.

So, as managing recalcitrant switches is not one of my fields of expertise[7], I called the people we pay to support the thing. And after some exchanges of email (phone conversations were tricky, as the phones weren’t working, and we have a lousy signal on our company O2 mobiles in the office), reseating some power connections, and someone who talks Foundryese reading the logs, the suggestion was made that, well, umm. Let’s say that if we didn’t have moderately expensive paid-for support[8], I’d probably have done this earlier.

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Of course, this suggestion came at the time of day when it made more sense to leave it until most people had gone home. So at 5:30, I unplugged all the power leads, popped the chunky power supplies out an in again, then put the power leads back in.

And after lots of whirring of fans, flashing of lights, and the big chunky thing sitting there and thinking about it, the phones all started up again. And the networky stuff still worked, too. What fun! :clap:

So it seems I picked a really good day to go back to work.

After all that, here’s a picture of Saltwell Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden, which I vaguely recall reading about when it opened, but only got round to seeing quite recently.

Japanese Bridge

Japanese Bridge

Komatsu Friendship Garden, Saltwell Park

[1] Literally. Muscles strained. Wasn’t until yesterday that carrying out extreme activities such as “standing up” or “getting out of bed” didn’t hurt.
[2] Note: this is a whole hour earlier than my normal start time
[3] As uttering their Dread Name causes Calamity, Disaster, Weeping, Wailing, and quite possibly Gnashing of Teeth. But it’s got two letters and one of them is T. And the other lies between A and C in the alphabet.
[4] I was doubtful about how long it would take, but hey…
[5] The equipment in question
[6] Power over Ethernet. Nifty. Saves your phones having to have power plugs as well as network connections. Except when it doesn’t work.
[7] Since we change their configs less often than a very rare thing happens, it’s never been felt important that we should know more than the basics. Overall, this makes sense.
[8] It is of the “four hours to get an engineer on site with parts if it’s broken” kind, so it’s worth it.

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