The Better Half
The Old ETP Site
Roberta (Jerry's wife, for those who don't follow the entire gang) would be so, so happy with the results of yesterday's project... I managed to fill the top half of our toter with detritus and ended up doing the same to the toter belonging to our neighbor on the north. ...then I spotted the neighbor to the south putting his can out and asked if I could top his off. All in all, I filled one and one half of those things with assorted this and that. The bad news is that was only round one, the easy stuff.
By easy stuff, I mean almost anything to do with 5.25 floppies and anything at all to do with VESA Local Bus <g>... I did save a few chunks of thirty pin memory, I have a sysdamin friend who might need some for her Packard Bell rebuild. I even have a Maxtor 540mb drive she can use. ...if she doesn't shotgun upgrade the thing.
The good news is that I can now see the work bench. I still can't get to it very easily, but that will change over the course of the next few nights. I'm ready for a rebuild on a7 box or two since most of what I'm running dates from well before even the false millennium. ...and it's a real bear to not be able to throw a modern HDD into a machine 'cause you know the BIOS won't recognize it.
Unfortunately, it's time to turn my attention to things mundane and return to the workplace. I'm hoping one or two of the pyramid of issues and problems that I left behind Friday afternoon magically disappeared while I was away.
Well, I took down the wireless Linux link last night to try a new version of things: I want to see if I can get interoperability going across platforms. Ideally I'd like to be able to triple-home a Linux box with my dial up, a NIC to feed the main network, and a wireless NIC to feed the laptop. I've put together the pieces individually, but not as a trio. ...and before I settle into the final configuration, I'm going to take a few nights to see how well I can feed the laptop from both Linux and NT. ...and how well it can handle each feed when it s configured as Linux and NT.
So it's time to take down the link and see what I can lockup on the testbed machine. Heck, after the purge last weekend, it's probably time to trash much of the testbed system. I have enough P-200 boards to upgrade way past that P-90 that's in the one box. Whoohoo, there's a modern upgrade<g>. But if you know me, you know I stay a year or so behind the big dogs...
Home and corporate security was the topic of the day on the back channel Tuesday, triggered by Steve Gibson's travails as linked by some of us last week.
If you'd like a short overview of what IPPs and ISPs can do, take a look here; for some give and take on Unix sockets and the issue with XP, have a look here. As to an ounce of prevention, one of the older<g> Daynoters has posted a particularly nice bit from the backchannel.
On a much more sober note, June 6, 1944 is a date that will live in the minds of my parent's generation until they can remember no more. My mother lost two brothers in the skies over Europe; my father island-hopped in the Pacific. Articles like this may help others remember the cost as something more than an abstraction in a history book (my thanks to John of ColdMarble for the link).
I'm running behind on posting as I'm trying to stay ahead of the Incredible Expanding Fan project... What started as a fan installation in the living room has morphed into two fans, rewiring two other light fixtures, and adding three new X-10 controllers. ...and I won't even get into the programming side of it for a while <g>.
I guess I've spoiled people at Chateau Automatica: the other fans in the house operate from X-10 controllers mounted in place of wall switches; in general I've added a relay module for the fan and a dimming module for the fan lighting. The end user has a wall-mount controller to work with (or perhaps a controller on a headboard or a bookcase); the bonus comes in when I can program sequences to control the lighting depending on the time of day (or even the season).
So when I asked Shelley if she wanted to use the remotes that came with the fans (hideous wall mount, easily lost, and way ugly), she mentioned how clean things looked with the existing controllers mounted in their Decora trim plates in place of the standard toggle switches...
As much as she grouses about The House With No Proper Light Switches, she is most practical about the functionality of the system: with one button press, she can kill all extraneous lights at bedtime and set the outside security lighting to standby levels. Similarly, all lighting programmed for night lighting is killed at dawn (except for that one overhead light, dear).
Thing is, the controllers in the kitchen and the living room were already full. ...and I didn't want to get into sequencing key presses for various program calls; I like to leave the programmer out of day to day activities. So that means rewiring a fixture or two and changing controllers.
Fast forward to Friday morning: I'll be staying home for a time and tag-teaming with the electrician. He happens to be working at my office today, so we'll gain some time by going over the drawings today rather than when he shows up in the morning. I'm hoping we'll be able to knock the project out in an hour or two.
Whooeee... What a day! I'm posting blind (meaning I haven't caught up on any Daynotes traffic today) and I never even made it in to the office today. But we have fans and lights. ...and I'm down one computer!
From the top: the electrician called in this morning to say he got my fax (we'd missed connections yesterday); after a brief review of what I already had for parts, he sent his number two over my way. I'd worked with Joe; I hadn't worked with Jeff, but his talents dovetailed with mine pretty well. Since I had some time before arrived, I started on the controller installations before he got here. ...and ended up sitting down with a note pad and pencil for about an hour revising the work process for the day.
The controllers I'd substituted in for the usual set I use turned out to be programmable. I hadn't really thought much about that until I actually started setting one up. When they say programmable, they mean programmable: any button can be programmed to any house code, unit code, and feature set. ...and I could even add multiples in. Time out!
Translation: that meant I wouldn't have to add in additional controllers as I could pick up two buttons I hadn't planned on (actually, I could even re-program the 'Bright' and 'Dim' buttons if I chose to). That also meant I wouldn't have to have Mr. Wiring back-pull one circuit and gained me two remotes that were no longer needed. Hmmmm...
By the time I had things re-thunk, he had most of the attic wiring roughed in; I took a break from thinking and ended up in the attic wiring in the remote modules. He'd placed my control box where I would never have thought to and it made things so much easier to work with.
I came back down and started programming the new switch sequences into the controllers as he finished mounting the fans. By the time we went over the game plan for the new circuit for the library, it was time for me to pick up Daniel from school. ...and by the time I got back with my no-longer-a-fourth-grader, he was testing the circuits.
Since the attic area was now 120+, we pulled an abort on finishing the other circuit until next week. That worked out well enough because I needed to make a gardening parts run and Daniel wanted to check out a drawing set.
...and the fans and lights? I'll let Shelley tell you about them herself when she's back to posting after all the rush of this week, but she likes them!
...and the computer? I came in to the library after dinner to post and noticed a mechanical noise coming from Wolf. ...and since NT boxes have a minimum of moving parts, especially ones that make reciprocating noises, I was not at all pleased.
Short version: one very hot HDD, two HHD failures on reboot. I suspect Wolf's heat stroke may be fatal.
It does appear I've lost one of the HDDs on Wolf; I'd like to hope the other one isn't coming up because the downed one is swamping the channel. As far as I can recollect, I'm not going to lose much, if any, data over there. ...other than some configuration files. That machine has always ended up as a software test bed and I've kept data off it for the most part. What is a royal pain is that I've gradually become more used to it than the Win95 machine; I'd test a configuration or a new program and then never quite get around to implementing the changes on Athena...
Sooo... I ended up spending way too much time last night configuring Athena so I could archive the alternate site. ...and more time today setting my prefs for that corner of the web I call The Time Sink.
<aside>Did you know one of the screen savers in Red Hat 7.1's arsenal is a "Kernal Panic" message? I do now...</aside>
...and since I'd been cleaning last weekend and clearing access space for the electrician, the workbench is piled high with stuff. Which makes benching Wolf an exercise in futility until I get that moved around.
...and since Wolf is physically located under Athena, that means I have to take this box down to pull His Royal NTness over to the bench. That means I'll be working from Tux for a little while.
I guess I could get started...
...but, it's late at night. ...and there's a Japanese garden waiting to be gazed upon. ...and a cold one in the icebox.
Yep, it's another late post on a Sunday evening. ...and nope, I didn't get Wolf benched quite yet. I did get the area in the hallway cleared (where the stuff went when I cleared the access to a wall). ...and I did clear out the area in front of and below the bench. That leaves the bench itself to sort through and clear; the good news there is I cleared enough project boxes (Rubbermaid shoeboxes<g>) to have homes for all the "Oh, this goes with that" stuff scattered over the workspace. I suspect it will be a bit of an archeological adventure...
One bonus I hadn't planned on: I ended up clearing off a non-functional 'desk' area. ...non-functional in that it never quite resolved into the work area I envisioned it would after the last revamp. Now it's covered with papers to go through and file. ...and the step before that will be? Correct-in-one for those who follow the twisted path through the world of The Time Sink: clear the space in front of the filing cabinet. "So you can???" Of course: clean out the filing cabinet! Very good. You get a gold star...
All content Copyright 1999->2001 Daniel C. Bowman. All rights reserved.