For those that don’t know, I work as one of the systems administrators/technical support staff at the local newspaper. This affords me decent opportunities to hack on GNOME-related stuff and get paid for it, specifically when nothing is breaking and everyone is still working—so I can’t upgrade and potentially break things. The web staff here (hi guys) takes a dim (jealous?) view of this, but systems administration is one of those things where the better you and your predecessors are/were at the job, the less actual work you have to do. (IOW, if your IT department seems like they don’t do shit, be glad, because a constantly busy IT department is a bad thing.)
Unfortunately, because it’s a newspaper, election night is the busiest day of the year. Naturally, at 7:35p, the primary file server decided to just freeze up for no apparent reason. The server itself had some funky watchdog hardware that caught the freeze and restarted the box automagically, but the netatalk daemon (which handles AppleTalk file-sharing for our older Mac boxes in the design and photo departments) didn’t restart on boot—and wasn’t noticed until sometime after 11p. So I figured things out, and ran the init script (which wasn’t in the startup since the guy who actually set the box up—and quit well before I was hired—forgot to do so)—at which point it promptly started making all the Macs in the office freeze when they tried to connect.
Remember, this is the busiest night in all media offices.
Try to restart netatalk again, same problem. Call my boss (who actually was working here when the box was last rebooted), and he decides that we need to upgrade netatalk to the newly release version. In the process of reading up on this, we discover that we can get away with just deleting the .AppleDB cache folder (which gets corrupted if netatalk doesn’t get shut down properly), but proceed ahead with the upgrade anyways. Properly converting the old MacRoman-encoded filenames (I had wanted to keep all the files on-disk in UTF-8 and have samba and netatalk do charset conversion) had become impossible now, because the old DB was corrupted, and had to be deleted, but I didn’t figure that one out until I got to the “fuckit” point and just deleted the old DB and started the new daemon. A few wranglings with configuration later and things were back up and running.
Grand total time to completely upgrade netatalk and get back up and going, 2 and a half hours—it took another 4 hours for the people in the paper to actually finish everything, making it 5:31 that the paper was converted the PDF and sent to the printers.
While they were working on the paper, I committed a bugfix to the file chooser button.
Around 5:20, with all us in the systems department too wired to sleep, we decided to run some cables to the far end of the office—around 200ft away—so we could put those boxes behind our firewall too. The rest of the paper was scared shitless that we would knock over the server rack while wrangling cables into the ceiling, but being the adept monkeys we are, we succeeded in running four cables in two runs without knocking over or breaking anything. It only took us around an hour of actual work—though we decided to take some pictures of the misplaced ceiling tiles and strewn cabling which—combined with some horsing around and goofing off—ended up making the day officially over at 7am this morning.
I decided to just sleep all through today, and got up around 9pm. I came out of my room, and asked my roommate if they had declared a winner yet. He told me that Kerry conceeded around 10 this morning, so I went into the bathroom, took a leak, and screamed “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK” at the top of my lungs.
I’ll blog more later on why I think people are convinced that voting to impose their conscience on the rest of the country/world is better than voting to improve both their lives and the the lives of the rest of the world. I will say that Bush only managed to get 59 million votes in a country with 293 million people—which means that only 20% of the population actually voted for the bastard.