This week’s IT diary comes from a 31-year-old system administrator who’s been on his current job for six years.

Read Monday’s entry.

Read Tuesday’s entry .

The cats got me up this morning, nice and early, lucky me. I fire up the coffee maker. This gives me a little time to play with my latest project, the home firewall. It’s not an original idea but what is. If you are interested in this project, check out . I’ve nicknamed the box “Frankenstein” since it’s made completely out of spare parts.

The end result right now is a P90 w/32MB RAM, 1GB HDD, 8x CD-ROM, and a 3.5-inch floppy, all sprawled out on my bench. I don’t have a case yet but I was thinking of making one ( It originally had a 700 MB HDD, but it couldn’t boot the other morning. I’m not much into diagnosing HDDs; I’ll run fdisk, format, and scandisk, but that’s about it. So this morning I installed the ”new” HDD, ran the little battery of tests on it, and it came out clean. If the concept works (the firewall, that is) I’ll actually invest some money into it. For now it’s just an experiment. (To my wife, it’s just another computer stuffed into our tiny office.)

I pick up last night’s backups from the production customer service box and, while I’m there, fire off the monthly backups. I can tell it’s going to be a strange day. I have a voice mail from one of the managers; he wants me to clean up a couple of accounts and computers. Normally this is not big deal, but these two requests concern:

  • an employee who passed away unexpectedly and
  • another who got fired because he assaulted someone.

I have to put all their data on the network so the manager can get to it. But first, I have to send out another antivirus update. Just got an emergency update bulletin from Symantec about Worm.ExploreZip(pack). A while back the center’s e-mail servers got hit with one of the Melissa variants and it was down for a while. With that e-mail away I high-tail it to the LAN room to set up those computers. It’s kind of spooky working on the dead guy’s computer. And I have to use extra care with the other one, making sure I retrieve ANY data that may be present. It may be evidence in the event some kind of legal proceeding gets started.

While sneaking out to the LAN room to get coffee I get harassed about a network printer that’s not working. I tell the user to use one of the three others within 20 feet of the suspect printer. All I get is an evil scowl.

I go over to look at it, and the user is right over my shoulder being a backseat driver while I’m trying to check it out. Does anyone else have this problem? “Just go away and I’ll fix it,” I mumble under my breath. Without getting into all the boring details I determine that the JetDirect card has failed. I grab another one off the shelf and get it up and running within a few minutes. Back to the LAN room.

The barcode guy shows up to barcode the new computer. We chitchat for a little while, and he leaves. I pack that computer on a cart and wheel it down to the user’s office. I don’t want to argue with the guy, but he certainly doesn’t need a PIII 550 to do e-mail (which is about all he does). Whatever.

Just like yesterday, my friends and I take up a quick game of Quake II with the Weapons of Destruction Mod. I chow down my lunch and catch up on the Web headlines.

I finally finished cleaning up the computers and accounts from this morning. This batch of users had some weird stuff on their computers. I glance through the logs looking for anything out of the ordinary and prep the rest of the machines for tonight’s backups. Our e-mail server is complaining about inconsistencies in the database. (We still run a mail server that is unrelated to the center’s centralized mail system) Looks like I’ll be doing an EDBUTIL first thing in the morning.

I finally finish the division computer report. I’m outta here. This day was too long.
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