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The Time Sink

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Most Recent (Last update: 1830 11/18/01)

...and another work week lurches into gear. Maybe. The Veteran's Day parade in the downtown area where I work is scheduled for early morning, as is the rain. Ah well... They haven't called this weather system the same way twice in any six-hour block since Friday; I guess I'll just have to see what transpires from the veranda at the office.

On the geek front, I spent part of the weekend cleaning up behind Wolf. Talk about a trail of parts... I have the stuff that came out of his carcass, new stuff that I tried and replaced for whatever reason, manuals and CDs from both the stuff I didn't use and the stuff I did (and I darned well better get that sorted immediately, before it becomes a sordid mess), and the partridge. ...who evidently isn't paper-trained.

The bottom line: I need to get this box buttoned up RSN as that other project in the queue is a box for work. Erik's figured out maybe life would stay more or less peaceful if he doesn't have to support me. ...and one way to do that is to let me fry in my own oil. K'... Make that 40 weight. P-4ty weight. Details as events warrant. I won't take company time for this; but spread out over a few nights, I think I can learn a new thing or two...

...and I'll follow-up with details on the Wolf-->Wolfenstein-->Wolf reincarnation as time permits. Hey! Stop laughing... It could happen. Oh. ...and on follow-ups: seems The Gord isn't back in North America just yet! Nope, I sent him a 'welcome back' note and he kicked back with "Not home yet. Still in Asia, but with ADSL...." Heh. Gotta' love that!

Catch you later...


Erik's at Comdex, so it only makes sense the aps server should pull up lame. ...and on a day when the IT minion is out on a training gig. Sheesh. At least we could watch the parade...

Yeah, a big parade this time! Usually the local parades are what could only be described as 'lame'; this one staged in the streets outside our office and went on for well over an hour. ...and they timed it to a "T": the parade ended; the cars cleared the downtown; and the rain poured down! Lots of rain. Enough to put me in irrigation boots when I got home to check on the drainage from all the yard work I'd done this year. It looks like I'll have to re-grade the 'ocean' portion of the Japanese garden, but it and the rest will hold until spring.

Oh, yeah; we did get the server back up. It seems you cannot run multiple databases in an environment with only 500k of HDD space... Yeah, some ap likely backed up its data to the same drive. ...or whatever. I cleared out a bunch of development stuff; Donna moved some non-critical stuff over to the Snap server and we were good to go.

Now, let's try Tuesday...

Remembering 09/11/01


<Sign> Donna, the way-too-able IT minion, ended up slammed Monday; it seems Another Very Important Database-Driven Program didn't come up quite as readily... She stayed late; pulled vendor support from somewhere (I'm hoping it was a hat; then she'd have a good fall back job as a magician. Hey, beats proctology like John was thinkin'); and managed to get the Very Important Database-Driven Program back up. ...and yesterday, I ordered IT another Snap server to help with the load balancing.

But when I got into work this morning, I found this pitiful cry for help in my email:

Subject: Monitor problems

Hey Dan, I have all these white spots on my monitor from where I corrected my e-mail.

How long does the liquid paper take to disappear after it fixes the spelling?


To which I could only try to lighten her load a little with this:


In the very back of the CSR, hidden in with the rest of the last-resort emergency stocks, I have several packages of "Blonde-Away, the Hair Dye for IT Professionals". While this may not seem like a much of a solution, it may buy us some time to deal with the underlying problem. Please check the expiration date as it is rarely used (unlike "TeeHee Tint, your Excuse for Cluelessness", which I can't seem to keep in stock).

For the moment, I've taken the liberty of using some battery acid from the shop to clean your monitor. My apologies for the state of your monitor and keyboard; evidently the reaction of battery acid and whiteout is exothermic. Replacements for both are enroute. There will be a very slight delay however: I'm very glad you were able to fix the problem with the purchasing program yesterday; unfortunately, this morning I find I cannot specify a shipper other than the US Postal Service. ...and the ground carrier at that! I did notice if I took my glasses off and squinted, your monitor was almost readable; since I have a spare pair of glasses with me, I've left them on your desk in hopes my prescription coupled with yours will assist in deciphering the few pixels that are still displaying, albeit smeared.

As to the explanation of why you are using two pairs of glasses to stare at a half-melted monitor and using a keyboard with only a few usable keys, perhaps we can explain that away as a new feature of the Windows operating system...

Just doing my part to help out any way I can...

...and I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome another loon to the pond: Mr. Dave Markowitz has lost enough of his mind to gain entry into the Daynotes Gang. It turns out I've had two of his articles bookmarked over on Whitenoise since last summer. Welcome aboard, Dave!

...once more into the fray!


Yep, I didn't make here last night... Well, not to post. I got to dinkin' around with a pair of wireless cards the other night and used up all of my discretionary time, plus some! ...and hosed my Internet connectivity on the NT box in the process. No, I'm not sure how. Yes, it's fixed; but there went most of last night.

I got Wolf (NT) talking with Kitfox (Win95) across a pair of Prism 2 cards with only the usual "why the heck do I carry the old Palm IIIxe around with all my network information on it if I'm too lame to remember to use it and didn't have the IP addresses matched up correctly" stuff happening once. But once I was done with that and tried to use the NT box as my gateway to the router, things just wouldn't go. Darn. ...and it had been a good push.

Okay, I'll post; then off to bed. Oopsie: no Internet on the NT box. Well, I don't need that for these pages, but it got me distracted enough to take up the rest of the evening removing and replacing things like the adapters and the protocols and re-applying the service pack and just exactly WT??? is with this? Sometimes I'd have it and other times I wouldn't. Short version: I was showing the same gateway for both adapters; that's evidently a no-no.

Okay. Dealt with. Now to check that box that allows IP forwarding and just check one more time to see if I can get out from the laptop. Nope.<sigh>...

Well, that was supposed to be tonight's project; but I figure a little research is in order first to see if NT will act as a gateway to another network segment. It's drop dead simple under Linux, but I haven't tried it under NT before. I think Wingate or some such will handle it, but I don't see the sense in that because I know I can implement it on a firewall. Ah, well...

But I didn't get around to any of those plans either...


No, I'm not deranged... Okay, there'd be serious exception taken to that statement at work, in my own household, and on the web. I think it's just because things make sense to me, but not to some other people. Like why the heck I'd be wirelessing an NT box with a Win95 Laptop and trying to have the NT box act as a gateway to the Net through the router... See, I told you the other day I should have buttoned up that box while I was thinking about it. ...but there was this empty slot. ...and a Linksys card. ...and another Prism-based card. ...and Kitfox still set up with the 'summer travel' HDD. ...and no one would ever know. ...and it was all just there. <double sigh>...

It's just the hardware geek in me: give me tinkertoys and I'm going to try to connect them every which way just to see what will work and what won't. ...and I've been that way for a while. Yeah, software is neat and it lets you do neat stuff; but hardware hacking is just sooooo much fun <g>.

...and yeah, I still would like to see if I can get the NT box to feed the Net to second segment: there are a few fun things I think the boys and I can do with a couple of those webpads under Windows. Then again, I'm thinkin' maybe this weekend I will throw a RedHat or Mandrake CD in Wolf's cupholder and see if he'll change his personality without the benefit of a full moon.

Why not? It's just another Time Sink <g>...


Okay, I'm not quite sure how it happened, but Wolf(enstein) now has a Win2K installation on board... No, nothing to do with the movie and margarita routine last night; it started before that. Actually, I think I'll blame it on Donna, the IT minion from work. Yeah, that's it. We were talking about XP the other day and I happened to ask about 2k. I knew we had it because I'd bought it, but I wasn't sure how we were using it (servers only). ...and I'd missed that boat for some reason (most likely financial); but the other night while I was looking for the MS Office disks for the NT installation on Wolf, I ran across a Win2k update disk. Hmmm...

Well, I'm in testbed mode on that machine anyway... So, in the CD went. I did follow the best Daynotes tradition and waited until very late at night to start the install of a new OS. Heck, it was almost midnight and I had the movie already in the VCR and the margarita poured...

So I put the disk in and checked on things from time to time. ...and checked and clicked. ...and checked again. All the while things were just proceeding apace: I was warned about software and hardware incompatibilities; things trundled; I was asked a question or two; things trundled some more; and soon I had what appeared to be a working Win2k system. ...minus networking.

Okay, I knew that. That was one of the things the installer pointed out up front: "I don't know this card." No problem; let me check my calendar... Yep, it seems I have Saturday night free. ...and no life! Sounds like a deal.

Tomorrow: The Adventure Continues...


Hmmm. Sundays are slow here for the most part; perhaps this would be a good time to explain why you find me talking about Win2K and such on a Daynotes site. I mean, you'd be expecting more of the cutting edge stuff you see elsewhere, like "Athlon this" and "XP that", and so on...

Well, you won't find much of that here; this is a retro site for the Great Computer Revolution. About the only thing you'll find up to date here is Linux info as I wander through that minefield (a well-marked minefield, I should note; I just have a habit of drifting off the clearly defined path just for the fun of it).

For the most part, the hardware and software I use is a year or two past its introduction. That has several advantages for me, not the least of which is cost containment: someone is always selling off last year's motherboards and processors; and that's usually Good Enough for what I'm doing. I mean, really: the way I look at it, this stuff was cutting edge a year or so ago. ...and it still works; it's just not the latest and greatest. But then again, I can still find my way around WordPerfect 6.1 for DOS if I need those archived files at work <g>...

The other issue for me is machine stability; I don't have a lot of time to babysit a production machine that's getting flaky because I threw the latest Un-Real player or game on board. Nope, I want to be able to sit down and work. That's not to say I don't try new stuff; but that type of thing belongs on a testbed. ...and that means most machines here don't get new programs until I've played with them for a bit.

How retro am I? Well, here in the land of the Time Sink, I'm just moving my production machines from single and dual P-200s to Celeron 500s... I blame that on Dave since he's the one who found those most-inexpensive Soyo motherboards last spring. Let's see... Tux has one; Wolf(enstein) has one; Athena will get one next; and I think Shelley may get one for her next upgrade. The leaves the boys with their 650 Celeron (Compaq, Office Depot clearance) with the fastest machine in the house. ...and the NT workstation that acts as a file server with the slowest processor, a P-100. ...and that only because I took the P-90 that was acting as Linux firewall down a while back (yeah, but it'll be a P-200 webpad, most likely). Oh, yeah: the laptop's a P-120 <g>.

But, ya' know, things get done. ...and they're getting done better as I shift my focus to Linux. Yes, that's a slow deal; I like to work in 'chunks' of time, and those are precious around here. ...and yes, it is true that I've actually used a Zip disk to transfer files between the Windows network and Tux as I don't have Samba set up yet (actually, I often 'pull' them to Tux on the intranet since I can serve them up under Apache on the file server).

Yeah, it's a strange way to do business; but it seems to work for me. ...and I looks like I'll be moving from NT to Win2k on Wolf as Saturday night's party progressed very well.

But that's a story for another day...

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