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The Time Sink

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Most Recent (Last update: 1630 05/06/01)

Well, where do I go from here. I mean, after the latest hardware fiasco, maybe I should convert to software... Nah! Not a chance.

I do think, what with all the stuff I have laying around from digging things out looking for this and that, I could build up another box. Yeah, that's just what I need. Still, a little reassessment may be in order: while I have the side panels off, this might be a good time for a hardware upgrade...

Decisions, decisions... Have a fun Monday!


Back to work... Yep, it's time to start the work week off with a firm step and a confident stride! What? Yesterday? Oh, yeah... Well, I'll just have to play catch-up with everyone else. It's not like there aren't Things To Do!

...and I do feel a tad better. I've been dragging from something for the last several days. ...and the logic bomb hit me Sunday evening: Shelley would be out of town, the boys would be at school (and at a friend's house after school); what better time to hit the old <reset> button once again.

I didn't even try to do a whole lot. But I did have the house ready when Shelley came home. ...and there were no remnants of the Great Power Supply Fiasco on the kitchen table (or the Great CDRW change out on Tux for that matter). ...and I managed a nap. ...and kept myself from gardening or blading. ...and I think it's paid off. What can I say?

I owe; I owe. So, off to work I go...


"All passengers on the Linux Adventure Tours, Bus Number 701, please prepare to disembark. There has been a slight change in our itinerary."

"Originally, we had scheduled you to spend the balance of the week in Mandrakeville exploring the sites and sounds of the 8.0 carnival; but after the smearing we observed on the windshields whenever the wiper delay kicked in, we decided to make a side trip over here to the land of the Red Hat and allow their maintenance people to take a look with their new 7.1 diagnostics system. We picked up a free test of their equipment during a recent business trip."

"As you can see, we've also moved out of the storm zone and into a nice sunny resort area. The weather is very good and the sky appears clear for miles around. The mechanics have interfaced their system with our equipment and report everything is working quite well. I know our director was most impressed with the automatic discovery of the ZIP drive, the CDROM, the Burner, and the video system. He mentioned that the rodent discovery system had to be spoofed into accepting the Logitech scrolldent as device from the mouth of Hades; but other than that, he seemed quite pleased with our reception. When I spoke with him last he said he was relaxing after the trip by burning a CD."

"Ladies and gentlemen, we may be here for several days..."


...as the adventure continues (Remo Williams; thanks Brian). ...and I came back over to the Linux box last night to see a "for real" Tholian Web being woven across the screen! In red, no less! Man, that's my kind of eye candy...

Short version: this post is coming to you from the recently re-installed Red Hat version of life; I went for a 'kitchen sink' installation (minus the automatic hot water for the coffee) to see what would happen. Well, Bluefish got stuck somewhere in the RPM process, so I loaded up CoffeeCup's open Linux version and used it to hammer out this post.

Not so short version: Red Hat is still using their basic installer; in contrast to Mandrake, their installer will probe and discover your fancy keyboard, but you'll still need to use the number keys in the upper row to enter your network information because the keyboard driver doesn't load until the installation is complete. Ditto the rodent; this distro has the cleanest implementation of my scrolling trackball I've seen yet, but you cannot use it during the installation. Those aren't complaints; just warning signs along the way in case anyone is following me.

Let's see... I haven't had a chance to do anything with the reinstall. Well, other than post. Tonight maybe I'll see what's available for toys. I mean, other than Mahjongg; this distro has that older-style tile set that Daniel and I like so much...

Have a great day...


Something a little different for your browsing pleasure today: two stories, one from World War II and one from much more recently...

Last night, John Dominik posted the "frequency table of letters for the English language". I don't know if his reminder came from the source I'm about to quote, but in either case: thanks to Randy van der Woning (Kaycee's net big brother) for the following links.

It seems that during WWII, when things were not going well for British forces in Hong Kong, a Royal Air Force Squadron Leader by the name of Donald Hill kept a diary of the events leading up to his capture by Japanese forces. ...and maintained that diary while he was a prisoner of war. That's rather amazing in itself, considering the conditions. ...and the limitations. Give it a read if you're so inclined.

The second story is amazing in its own way: in 1996, a mathematician from the University of Surrey was asked to decode what was supposed to be a wartime diary. It was Donald Hill's diary, encoded in such a fashion as to make Dr. P.J. Aston work much harder than he initially thought to bring the story to the surface. That story is here.

Of course, in digging a little deeper, I found another site where Dr. Aston published information about the diary. Which led me to this article about How to Build a Cretan Labyrinth...

...and if you've followed those links, and checked your watch lately, you'll have discovered that considerable time has passed since you dropped by:

The Time Sink...


The last day for the semester. ...and perhaps for the year. This has been a long one, with schedule changes that have allowed me additional weeks off that I hadn't really planned for. ...or for the return at the end of them. Usually I can get a running start and just coast as the rains taper off. This has been an inconstant time...

Step one: separate the wheat from the chaff; the written exam retest starts the morning off. Then, we'll try to get the little darlings through their skills tests and off into the sunset. ...except for one or two incompletes for lack of observation time. They'll get that this summer. ...and Lee will be kind enough to retest anyone who vapor locks too badly.

So we'll start with that. ...and I'll work through the mound of red tape the end of the semester entails.

...and I'll check in later.


The 'most recent' tag started off with a 1230 time stamp earlier today; life, in the form of 'exhausted' pushed it back to 1630. Man, what a day yesterday. I'll likely write some more of it up on the alternate site later, but for now I'll just wish evil on the network at the college. Ever since our local sysadmin bailed/was pushed out, we've been remotely administered by staff from the main campus. ...staff that isn't quite up to speed on a few local tweaks. Like the instructor with privileges who works Saturdays...

To be fair, I don't think I'm listed on the 'official' user lists; I suspect Jill created my account without checking with too many people. It was a good trade for her though: with me around on Saturdays, if she needed a button pushed or a tape changed, she didn't have to come down. ...and I was able to work locally and not have to do everything at home.

So when the Win98 box went 'unstable' after I tried to save a file back onto the server, and wouldn't respond to anything but a reboot, and wouldn't connect back to the network, I suspected the recently restored configurations were changed to lock out anyone after 1400 or so on Saturdays. ...although that's only the working hypothesis at this point. ...and I probably locked myself out for good when I attempted to login more than three times...

...and it's a darned shame about all those files I had open at the time.

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