Night of the living dead 
We've had some very tired looking faces at work this week. All our school websites went dead. It turned out that the main switchbox had died, and thus cut off all the other servers from the outside. It took until midnight to reconfigure a spare one. There was supposed to be a special system that would switch over to the spare automatically. It worked splendidly. Unfortunately, the spare one wasn't set up, so it wasn't a lot of use!

On the same day, the server hosting most of the rest of the business also went down. It was restarted (after phoning up the company in Wellington) but kept going down repeatedly. We devised a system that would automatically reboot it if it stopped working. I was given the task of automatically generating a phone call whenever it stopped responding. I spent all day searching through manuals and eventually managed it. I copied a sample script that played a file called 'tt-monkeys', which came as standard with the phone system. Now we have a system that will wake someone up at any hour of the day and play 10 seconds of chimpanzees.

I went in on Friday night, and they had finally fixed all the issues. On Sunday I dropped by, and they were still there, configuring a new pair of servers which we will keep nearby, and under our control.

Now we just need some sales. We've had several very dry months, and things are going to get bleak if things don't turn around very quickly.

Meanwhile, I've covered 4 more chairs, working on another 4, and eyeing up a couple that I could get for a dollar each. Someone was selling another 4, but they were in a terrible state. Another on I turned down comprised of 23 rusty metal frames. Starting price $50!

I've bought a trampoline too, since it's Rachael and Sarah's bitrhdays shortly. It's a big 14 foot circular one with a ladder and safety net. No idea where we're going to put it. It's going to need a ute (pickup truck) to get it. Unfortunately someone left part of the key inside the lock, and we can't get it out. So it's been hot-wired for the time being!

Bronwyn's been off for a weekend break again. Her mum came round on Saturday and helped me sort out a lot of clothes, and then took Rachael off for the day (and night). I've done 4 loads of washing, one dishwasher, planted 5 trees, and got woken up 4 times. Bit tired at the moment!

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Spent most of yesterday attempting to fix Bronwyn's parent's computer. Ended up phoning Telstra Clear (the phone and internet company). Janet (Bronwyn's mum) stood there on hold for an hour while I tried various things. It's wierd; certain websites load very quickly, but others take ages, yet when I plugged in the laptop, they all worked fine. Got one last plan to try out when we're over there after lunch.

Can't log into the network at work, so I'm enjoying a quiet weekend. Bronwyn bought me some more upholstery tacks, so I could end up fixing chairs as well as computers this afternoon.

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More chairs 
Up to 10 chairs so far. I went to the shop to get some extra fabric just in case. I've now got enough to do another 16, which should hopefully by sufficient for the band. One of the checkout girls said she loved the fabric, and stroked it surreptitiously. Think she enjoys working there.

I'm tired after two parades this morning (plus a trip to fetch another 4 chairs). We only had just enough time to get from one parade to the next, because the first started late. But it otherwise went suprisingly smoothly. We'd been practising. Last Sunday we had a marching practice, and a visit by a professional trombonist who came to encourage the band and give a bit of a masterclass. He made me realise how far I still have to go; he could make a trombone trill like a flute, just using his lips.

We're off on camp with the church in two or three weeks time. Bronwyn signed us all up. It was the first time for a while that she's made it to church (she's really unsettled around large numbers of people) and even more amazing that she signed up for the camp on the spot. The only problem is that it's the same weekend as the band's solo contest, but the girl organising it is understanding. She's also a Baptist.

They've chopped a bit more off the tree by out gate. There are now a few logs out in the paddock, arranged as a motorcycle jump...

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Here, there and everywhere 
We had a barbecue for all the houses in this section of the valley last night. It had originally been a "mystery" barbecue, because Bronwyn had forgotton to put the time and phone number on the invites. But after a second trip round delivering invites, we had quite a few turn up. Bronwyn had been really worried that she'd taken on too much, but it all went really smoothly, and we met a few people we haven't seen before, with up to three conversations going on at once!

Also yesterday was the office move, and a playout with the brass band. I went to the office first, and spent an hour packing up the kitchen. Much of the time, however, involved going through the crockery and returning stuff back to the cafe! After four trips, they offered me a coffee, but I had to go to the brass band. Meanwhile, Rachael had a lovely time trying to hide in one off the cardboard boxes.Arrived at the band 20 minutes late - I had got totally confused with the times! But the session continued for a couple more hours (including break) until it started raining and we decided to call it a day. Meanwhile, Rachael had a lovely time having her face painted, and making things out of clothes pegs and pipe cleaners...

I now have three chairs upholstered, one with extra padding for the tuba section (did I ever mention my theory about how musicians tend to match their instruments?). Another one is waiting, and I've put in a $10 bid for another couple on the internet. Learning how to do upholstry. It's not difficult, but you have to know exactly how much material to cut, and make sure it's fixed on evenly.

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A nice warm Easter Monday, so we'll get the slide going again this afternoon for another last time. This morning Sarah went out the back door and made a bee-line for the sand pile. By the time I picked her up she was covered in it!

Fun at work. One of our main servers has been crashing overnight. It seems to be to do with the backup, which happens at the same time each night. So I spent a day or so changing it to do the backup from a different server. But the problems only start there. We're in dispute about it since it broke last year (and it took several hundred hours just to rebuild it). Last week, the hosting company threatened to turn it off if we didn't pay the bill. So they got me to make jolly sure we had an off-site backup...

The other news is that we'll be moving to a new office in a week. Our current office is getting rather cramped, with people moving around in order to find a spare desk. We've also filled the room we rent across the car park. There was an offer to rent the flat above it, but it was actually cheaper to rent proper office space, rather than a couple of converted shops. Currently we're in a small area behind the main shops, next to an art gallery and cafe. Parking is horrendous; I've given up trying to find a parking spot that doesn't risk parking tickets or irate notes from shop owners. I now park on the other side of State Highway 1, in Silverdale East. It's a lot quieter there, and nobody cares where you park.

Our new office is on the east side too, in the front section of a new warehouse. It used to be a kitchen manufacturer's, but has now been bought by "Dad's Pies", who have the factory next door. So now we have room for several offices, no need for customers to walk past the programmers, and room for half of Auckland to park next door. Calorie consumption will be a problem though; even if we avoid the Dad's Pies cafe next door, we still have to face the smell of several thousand tons of pastry in the warehouse at the back!

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