A Photograph of Dan by Janeen Sanders


(& Stuff)

Initial Post

Last Week

Next Week


The Better Half


Email Dan

The Time Sink

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Most Recent (Last update: 1500 11/25/01)

Good morning! Let's start off with some pure tech for a moment: Over the weekend, JHR linked to a Ziff-Davis article about a disk-to-disk backup system. Here's a companion piece from InfoWorld on the same product. That's a nice coincidence considering our need at the office to have multiple, sequential, on-site backups available. ...as proven out last week. Yeah, we were okay, but it took time to get the tape back on-site and even more time to tease that file set from the master backup on the tape.

...and here's the trick: we won't be doing that anymore. No, we won't be using the product in those links; we'll be lower tech than that. What will work for us is one of the products from Quantum's Snap Server line. Forty gigs of plug-in (power and network), web-administered, installed-in-five-minutes network storage for $500 works well enough to buy some time on the low end. Add a grand and your talking eighty gigs of mirrored storage. ...and there's all sorts of stuff in between. Sure, there are other solutions out there; but for quick and dirty, that one's hard to beat.

...and I don't know who I got this link from (it must have been someone from Daynotes as it's on the Daynotes desktop on Tux <g>), but this article from the register about SuSe 7.3 takes on both XP and RedHat 7.2. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read and includes links to an absolutely horrible installation attempt of RedHat 7.2 (it's okay; the good guy wins in the end; his CDs were set on 'cable select').

Also winning a battle of sorts: Me! At least it seems that way. ...and it really wasn't much of a battle. It should have been though:

Two rules for OS installs
Never upgrade.
Only change out one component at a time.

So of course, since I'd laid that Win2k installation I talked about over the weekend on top of a fairly fresh NT4 install with a medium mix of software, it only seemed fair to change out the NIC, add more memory, and activate the USB ports when I powered it down...

It actually went okay: I uninstalled and reinstalled the NIC, the Wireless NIC, the sound card, the video card, the scrolldent, and the partridge. ....and everything seems to be working: I can see the laptop; I can hear the partridge; the video is cool; and I found a USB hub from some "I'll need one sooner or later" clearance sale that, wonder of wonders, I got working. I hadn't worked with USB before, but I had a card reader to test and that came off very well. The only real clue I have that this is an upgrade/overlay is that 'double-lookup' thing as it makes the network connections.

I think it's time to copy the drivers to the second drive and bare-metal the main drive for a fresh install. The only thing I really think I need to do first is figure out the correct linkage to allow the laptop to see the Net through Wolf. That could be an adventure. Oh, yeah, I was going to throw RedHat on it first. Yeah, and maybe...

Nah, enough is enough.    Maybe...    I'll let you know...


Wow, something happened to our old friend Nimda over the weekend: a quick stats check showed a remarkable dropoff in traffic in my IP neighbor hood. I wonder who finally got around to clearing out the trash?

Speaking of clearing out and cleaning up and generally overdoing it all: what is with the concept of trying to jam five day's worth into three? Sheesh... I came home burnt to a crisp last night. The good thing was I came home early enough to blade. ...and download SP2 for that Windows2000 testbed.

I almost finished with that last night. The service pack went on okay and I threw Visio XP at it to see what I could see. What I did see was I could import my older files and custom shapes just fine; that's a biggie for the office. Here at home I'll just reinstall Technical or Professional.

I did start a RedHat install on Wolf, but I had to back off. I ran up against a partitioning issue and decided sleep was a better idea than ending up even more confused way too early in the morning.

Which it seems I may be anyway...

Remembering 09/11/01


Another chapter in the Wolf(enstein) sage is completed: that box now dual boots Win2k and RedHat 7.2. Short version: one hardware glitch, one software issue; but all in all, just a time investment. Redhat doesn't see my SCSI chain with the ZIP and Jaz drives or the USB link or even past the gateway (although I'm sure I configured it), but that's no matter for the moment. Tomorrow night, I'll throw Mandrake 8.1 at it; and over the holidays, I'll put one of those distros on the front end and add VMware Express. ...and then load Win98 on that. ..and then bare metal the entire thing and start over. But that should give me a good feel for how I want to run my new work machine. ...and that's essentially ready for the benchtop.

...and yeah, I'm using the NT loader; I'm just more comfortable with that for the moment. ...and I never did get that partition issue dealt with, so this sucker is running under one big ol' partition. Yep, not even a swap... Then again, with three-quarters of a gig of memory, I really don't think it will care <g>.

Okay, time to re-enter survival mode and hang on for few more hours at the office. I'm taking Friday off since Shelley wants to shop, so today should be it at the salt mines for four days...

Let's see if that works out...


Happy Turkey Day! It's over the river and through the fog for us this fine morning. ...and maybe way early: Shelley decided perhaps we should just leave around 0600 if we're all up and show up on her dad's doorstep asking about breakfast fare. I really don't think it will come off; but it's really hard to yank his chain and that just might do it. I'll let you know.

It turned out I had a bad second CD for Mandrake 8.1, so last night's test turned into a time sink... Two attempts (Mandrake has no way to recover from a bad file read during an install) and a hosed partition table and the rest of the evening was spent correcting that situation. But RedHat 7.2 is back on and ready for VMware Express. I'd like to try that one out before I bare metal the machine. ...or not. ...the bare metal that is. I suspect I will, but I also suspect I really don't have to: this thing is nicely stable, especially considering what I've thrown at it; NT would have puked long ago.

Dunno, I'll worry about it later; there's turkey and such waiting about forty miles away...

Have a good day...


Ah, Thanksgiving... Good food (although a little too much of it), good company, decent football (although neither game started well), and safe travel to and from. Yep, all in all, a most excellent day.

...and today is a most excellent day for Shelley: she's off to support (nah, resuscitate) the economy. Shop early and shop often; that's my girl. Last year, she was gone twelve hours; I'll let you know what tthe Time Tally is this year. ...and even I don't want to know what the monetary damages are.

...and I'll be here working on a plan to support the local power companies as they try to explain why we now have too much power available in California. No matter, I may use some this year. Depending on the weather, I'll either put up a minimalist light package or the Tim Taylor II, low-key special. That second one takes a little more planning as I have to spread the load across the circuits. I used to just keep adding light strings until a breaker blew and then back off that and one additional string for a safety margin; but I've found if I load balance, I'm okay until Shelley forgets and turns on her reading lamp. That extra forty watts just seems to wreak havoc with the main breakers for some reason...

I'll let you know how it goes...


Well, I didn't get it all quite finished yesterday... It seems those pesky X-10 wire-in outlets are only rated at twenty amps; the one next to the fireplace is holding okay but the one by the garage keeps giving off wisps of smoke now and then. ...and that dual breaker for the mains is still making that funny buzzing sound, even though I've quit testing the displays...

It does look like there'll be enough power to run things though: I took a look at the daily graph from the California Independent Systems Operator; and sure enough, you can see there was still some statewide reserve left when I tested the current configuration around 1700:

See? Nothing to worry about.

Since it's scheduled to rain today, I'll have to hold off on adding the rest of the lights. ...and since I zeroed the stock at both the local Costco and Ace hardware stores earlier this week, that will give them both time to bring in enough product for me to finish the diorama...



Nah, nothing going on over here... I took Saturday off from the world as I wasn't feeling all that perky. ...and today is looking the same. Caffeine isn't working; a nap might. ...but there are Things To Do, so I'll try to find something that doesn't require all that much brain power.

Catch you tomorrow...

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