A Photograph of Dan by Janeen Sanders


Weather (& Stuff)

Initial Post

Last Week

Next Week


The Better Half

The Old ETP Site


Email Dan

The Time Sink

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Most Recent (Last update: 1530 04/29/01)

Okay, let's try that one again. Sheesh, talk about your basic week that does not bear repeating...

So, I didn't push it yesterday. Heck, I doubt I cleared half that list. ...and that's okay. I need to not push things for the next few weeks. The end of the semester always runs me a little ragged and I did get the two basic things I wanted to get done accomplished: the laptop is once again talking to the net over the wireless (funny, I didn't even think to try to get the dialup working; having everything meshed in through the router has me spoiled), and ... Wait. I just forgot whatever else I managed...

Oh yeah; that browser test. There's an outfit I do occasional business with (occasional, but multiple units when we do get together) and the other week I wanted to check on a product. So I went online (duh) and ran smack into a "you need 'this browser' or greater" message. Huh? I run IE4 at work; that should still be good enough. Ah, well... I do have Netscape available, so I fired that up. No dice. Phone call time, more as a courtesy than as a complaint...

...and I'm glad I did; their head geek called back with a WT? and several other questions. So I took the project home and hit their site from three platforms and two browser versions on each platform. ...and I think Opera. Basically, the browser test wasn't working. ...and the head gal hadn't handled that one herself. Muchos thanks for my work and she'd check back.

Friday she wrote to ask for another round. ...and from that email we see how some shops can be too closed: they don't have a good way to test against everything that's out there. If they'd have farmed it, that responsibility would have fallen on the contractor; in house, they just can't color outside the box.

Daynotes? Outside the box? No problema, chica! ...and while I'm at it, let me introduce you to my friend Tux. You'll be hearing about him in the future. Frankly, she needn't worry; for the most part, the corporate crowd will be using the Redmond BSOD system to access her site. ...but their site can become a resource for smaller shops like mine. ...and even private parties might come looking for information about their products as the use of the Web as a resource grows.

So, hey Lydia; no problem; I was glad to do my part...


Hmmm... I don't drink coffee, but I've been using stuff from these guys:

an awful lot lately. Yeah, that's a gratuitous plug, but let me tell you why I'll take my time and yours and shill for them.

Back when I started to learn HTML, this outfit was just starting out. I picked up one of their first products as a learning tool. It handled things well enough, and even automated a few things for me. Later on, they added an FTP client to their stable and then proceeded to bang out upgrades on a regular basis.

Not long after I started using their product, I found out about NoteTab from another Wiki user on Bo's site. I liked it's minimalist approach a little better. ...and it had a programmable language. Way cool. ...so I used it for work and then later to fire up The Time Sink. I kept going back to NoteTab after every attempt to use a 'site management' package; I just couldn't justify the complexity. ...and yeah, I have to go through and hand correct links whenever I do a major move.

But the other month, when I started to work on the church site, CoffeeCup came out with another upgrade. Okay, I'll look again. Hey, much improved. ...and with a preview. Cool. That could cut my development time a little. ...and they'd added some geegaws.

So I used their program as a base and still worked in NoteTab for this site and one or two others (and picked up Adobe GoLive to test out).

Then came version 8.8, just about the time the EditThisPage servers were taking their spring break. ...with a different sort of FTP client built in. ...and a first attempt at a 'Blogger-style' posting tool. Nice timing, folks!

For the last several weeks, I've been doing all my posting in CoffeeCup. ...and my blog postings with their just-out-of-beta QuickPost client. That sucker lives in my system tray just ready to snatch up those random thoughts that happen during the day. ...or during the evening. All I have to do is click on the "Post" button and the built in FTP client pulls, updates, and uploads that file.

Did I mention they've ported an earlier version to Linux? Yep. ...but it's not up to the level of Bluefish. ...and Bluefish is only at the .6 release and it's still the hands down winner so far. Still, I'll give them some time. ...and some feedback.

But back to the Win95 and NT platforms: if you're a hand coder and are looking for something a little stronger than NoteTab...

Oops! Excuse me, it's time to check in with the judge...


Sorry for the confusion yesterday on the tag line. I'd meant to link it to the alternate page (where there was an explanation) and simply forgot about it in the rush to get things done. You see, I had Federal jury duty scheduled in for Tuesday morning and I was trying to do a little too much in 'case' I was selected.

But I didn't get selected. I was called for a case involving the ACME Widget Company who made a component for the Bigger Subsidiary of the Really Big Corporation. It seems the widgets didn't work correctly and the really big guy wanted to smack the not so big guy. ...and it appeared one of the linch pins in the case was going to be whether a verbal warranty existed.

Things were going real well until the defendant's lawyer latched on to my job title, "Um, Mr. Bowman, as the head of purchasing for your firm, you deal with warranty issues on a daily basis, don't you?"

Poof! I disappeared from there like I was in a Vegas act...


Computer cases are not supposed to feel hot to the touch... Now there's a profound thought!

Last night, I decided to do some web work on Athena, the Win95 box. No special reason, other than she'd just had a fresh reboot and I could work with a clean workspace and not have to muck with the stuff I currently had up on the NT box. ...and Tux wasn't an option as I'm holding out for Mandrake 8.0, currently enroute along with RedHat 7.1 (a freebie if you're ordering from http://www.lsl.com; thanks Brian).

...but in the middle of changing the working directory for my editor, the machine froze. ...to a hard reset. WT? This is a relatively stable box... Okay, reboot and---whoops: it makes it to the splash screen and dies. ...must be that blasted Diamond video card. I stood up to power cycle the machine and felt the case just for the heck of it. Oh, my! Hot, hot, hot!

Power down and pop the side panels... Hot, hot, hot! Open the window and turn on the exhaust fan<g>, hoping to speed the cool down process... Because the power supply fan is locked solid.

Okay, cool things down and let's see what's going to happen. She powers up just fine and I can pull one piece of information I need before I shut her down for the duration.

A near miss, as that could have been very ugly. ...and a reason I have pusher fans in all my cases; that second fan on the inlet side probably keep things going for a while.

I guess it's time to get another temperature alarm...


Bah! I 'borrowed' a new, boxed power supply from the office yesterday since none of the local shops have 300w jobs sitting on their shelves and headed home figuring to get Athena back up before I needed to do class prep. Several skinned knuckles later, I found myself with a dead power supply. ...at least that's what things look like from this end. I guess I'll exchange out the one I have and see what I can see...

I did see a lot of history as I looked through that box... The deal then was that Athena wasn't supposed to work. I was building an NT box a few years back and took advantage of clearance deal at the local geekhaus on a second board and a third proc. Very late one night, as lightning flashed outside the lab, and the cold north wind howled its fury against the polished stone walls of the keep... Oh. Anyway, late one night as the full moon rose over the moor, and the sounds of the night creatures rose with the wisps of fog...

Okay, so it was late and I was bored. ...and I took parts from every bin and box I had and threw them in this case. Then I threw Win95 at it. ...and it worked. ...and it still works. ...and it has no business working. Fr'nstance: There are two IDE HDDS, on the same chain. I don't normally so that. ...especially as there are two CDROMs and a ZIP drive on a SCSI chain. No, I don't know why. ...and two floppy drives, although that tells me when I built it up I was thinking of using it as a service machine. ...and some bastard port card. I noticed tonight that the on-board serial ports had no cables connected to them. So I guess I'm running those two parallel ports and maybe four serial from the port card. ...and it's not the RocketPort variety I used to use at work: they don't have parallel capability.

...and no, it wasn't drugs. ...perhaps lack of sleep, or too much stress, or who knows what. I do recall firing this thing up and finding out all of the oddball junk I'd thrown in worked once I got it tweaked. That's when I named her Athena and made her the production box while I learned NT. Wolf, the NT box, has been YANTIed so many times I've lost count; this girl has been running fine (other than some tweaky thing with the Diamond video card not playing nice with the Monster sound card) since the get go. I do recall Farquharing the box; but other than that, it's been running just fine. So I guess I'll try again tonight.

Unless a real power supply is too much for the poor thing...


Ha! You thought I forgot! Nope; just a busy day at the college and a tired evening. I didn't even work on Athena...

..but I will on Sunday: I put in another power supply Friday evening and still had zilch! There's something very basically wrong with this picture. I mean, like, that box powered back up after the supply with the dead fan cooled off. So what's up with this thing?

I really don't know, but I have to think in terms of something very basic, something that would instantaneously shut down a power supply... Without any smoke generation...

...or I have two dead power supplies with QC stickers all over them. ...from an outfit we haven't had problems with.

...and we're talking dead here folks: I power things up and all that happens is the power supply fan and the pusher fan rotate maybe 5 degrees of arc. That almost sounds like the power supplies aren't even seeing a load. ...or like the source voltage switch is set to 220 (nope; checked both times).

I spent my slack time today working on data recovery plans for the HDDs; I really don't want to throw them in a new box and try to recover the system; that would just be a pain. ...and I don't really want to build up another system right now; Wolf is due for the next workover. Really, I just don't want to mess with a Win95 box right now. So, we'll start the great adventure on the 'morrow and see where it leads...

Details later; film at eleven <g>...


Hey! Athena's back! ...and I'm a dolt.

After Shelley left this morning, I took advantage of the situation to secure the kitchen table as a workspace. I brought Athena out and proceeded to systematically work my way through the power supply chain. I started with the premise that I'd made some sort of error (and a repeatable one at that) or that somehow I'd forced a dead short across the system.


  • Visual inspection? Check. No screws visible, no wires pressing against the backs of cards...
  • Shake, rattle and rotate? Nothing but the usual creaks from my joints...
  • Power on? No go. Just that funny fan start (and the same bump twenty seconds after I kill power). ...and that's what's leading me to do this testing sequence.
  • Pull the plugs for the CPU and pusher fans. No change. Kill power.
  • Pull the power to the HDDs. No change. Kill power.
  • Pull the power to everything on the SCSI chain (ZIP, CDROM x 2. No change. Kill power.
  • Pull the power from the two FDDs. The power supply fan starts spinning! WT??? Kill power.
Okay, time out! Sit down. Ponder.
  • Re-power fans: they work fine. Kill power.
  • Re-power the HDDs: Spin city. Kill power.
  • Re-power the SCSI chain: Whirling dervish time. Kill power.
  • Slide the FDDs out on their rails (cool case!) and carefully connect the power plugs properly (remember how Murphy's law got started?): Bob is once again my uncle...

Evidently (!?!), when I was plugging the FDD power plugs in from behind the FDD data cable, I had the orientation reversed! Both times? No way? Way. I brought out a junk system and reversed the plug on the FDD: same symptoms. Well, duh... Thankfully these power supplies went into instantaneous shutdown mode rather than "we'll just give it what it wants mode".

I think it's time to go outside and pull some weeds...

Thanks for Visiting
All content Copyright 1999->2001 Daniel C. Bowman. All rights reserved.