7-May-2001 (Mon)

Last weekend was Computer Hell Weekend. There was a power failure late saturday night, and it lasted longer than my UPS does, so the club was offline sunday morning. This is because the machine that runs our firewall has a lame BIOS that doesn't have a setting for "boot up when power is restored after a power failure." So all the other machines come up, but not the firewall, so they can't talk to anything. So I came in to turn that machine on, and found that our mail server had also crapped out: when the power went out, it somehow managed to trash its partition table (which I didn't realize was even possible), so I had to repartition and reinstall the whole machine from scratch; then re-make all of the modifications I had done, to get the various services running. So that took, like, 12 hours.

Then on tuesday, Jonathan came over with a new motherboard for the firewall machine, which had a decent BIOS on it so that it would boot up again in the future. We swapped out the mobo, but kept the same disk, CPU, and memory. Oops, it wouldn't boot. Turns out the memory was too slow. Ok, we put in new memory. Now OpenBSD refuses to boot off of the disk. Great. So then we did a clean install of OpenBSD, which worked. Six hours later, I had my various changes installed again, and we were back to where we were before, but finally, with a machine that comes back on after a power outage.

I hate computers.

We've also just about finished running ethernet for the kiosks. Well, the wiring has been in for a while, but we've been running around putting the connectors and face-plates on. Mostly Jonathan, since he's better at making cables than I am.

We also got more RAM for the kiosks, since 64M just isn't enough to run modern versions of Netscape. They have 128M in them now, and seem to be working very nicely.

However, we still need to figure out where exactly we want to put them, and how the hell we're going to secure them to the wall, without it costing an additional fortune.

Are any of you out there reading this eager metalworkers willing to volunteer some time to build brackets for about a dozen of these things? I think it's pretty straightforward work for someone with metalworking skill, but that's not me, and the steel guys are busy finishing up more critical things at the club, like the fence to protect the electrical panels from prying hands. So I can't get any time from them for a few weeks. And anyway, they're pretty pricey...

Last week: the stairs are finally done! So we'll be having our (hopefully) final building inspection some time this week. (After the phone tag to find out how to schedule the appointment, it was 3:02PM: the bureaucrat who answered the phone informed us that no appointments are taken after 3PM.)

We had our final plumbing and electrical inspections on thursday, but there are still a few minor things the inspectors want us to change, so they'll be coming back. While they were here, we asked them if they could just come back the next day, since the work would be done by then. "You'll have to call my office in the morning and schedule an appointment."

There are still a zillion little details left, like, the locks on the cages around the bars and coat-check don't work yet, there's no shelf in the ticket booth, our cash registers haven't arrived...

Also I'm still trying to figure out how to make the rust treatment on the railings look decent. I thought it looked great in the picture I took back in February, but since then it's gone through several changes, for reasons I don't particularly understand, and now it looks more like a solid orange color, with occasional runny streaks, which is just awful. So I'm playing around with wire brushes and sanders and things like that, in an attempt to get the cool textures back. I don't understand what went wrong.

But, I think the only thing standing in the way of us being legally allowed to operate, and thus able to set an opening date, and thus able to hire staff, is having (and passing) our building inspection.

After the building inspection, the noise abatement officer wants to come back out and look at the place again, as I explained last month, to make sure that in the last three weeks we didn't decide to knock down the front wall and install an outdoor patio.

Then, it's a paperwork dance until we get our validated police permits. But how do we actually get them? We haven't figured that out. "We'll send them to you." "Can we come down and pay any fees in person and pick them up?" Barry asked, anticipating the possibility of weeks of bureaucratic delays. "Well let's just cross that bridge when we come to it." "But it's pretty important that..." "Well let's just cross that bridge when we come to it."

I think I know how that's going to go.

In other worrisome news, the so-called "live-work" lofts across the street had an open house this weekend. I didn't go, but Barry says they're very nice inside. They're asking $700,000. So if you're of a mind to drop 3/4ths of a million dollars on an 1,100 square foot studio apartment, and would consider it a benefit to have a nightclub across the street, rather than being the kind of sheltered suburban weenie who would move in and then try and cause us trouble, do give it a look, won't you?

We're getting a "nightclub reopening soon" banner printed to hang on the (currently-featureless) face of the building, since the chance that a realtor will be honest with prospective buyers about what we are, on their quiet sunday afternoon tour, is slim to none.

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