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Showing posts from October, 2007

Rant: eBay and stupidity

I've only recently started playing with eBay. I'd known all about it, but never used, knowing my proclivity for spending. But I have started using it. I thought it would be nice to get my girl a new mobile phone. I thought one of those Nokia N93's would be cool so I tracked one down. And then the stupidity commenced. Picture on item: matches phone. Description: mostly matches phone. Actual item: a CD with crap on it for this type of phone. Bid: $8.33 Shit. Wrong item. The images on the page, the general thread of the description mention in an obtuse way that this is for a CD not a phone. I didn't read it carefully enough and *bang* bid on a piece of crap I'll probably never use. I congratulate the seller - the ad was well crafted and hit the right notes to make it seem like it was a phone I was bidding on. I especially like that in the eBay categories the CD is in the "Mobile Phone" section. Very nice. I'll remember this for the future. I'm just gl

Experiences with Ubuntu 7.10 Gusty Gibbon

I've spent a fair bit of time around Linux and I was very interested to see what this new distribution had to offer. I went the cheater's path for my work PC (a Dell GX260) and upgraded first to the RC and then patched to the full version. I like it a lot on this machine, it detected my wide screen LCD properly, looks nice and feels like it runs faster than 7.04. So, all good. At home however, the story varies significantly. I have a whitebox with an AMD processor in it, a 250GB SATA disk and standard everything else. It currently runs Windows Vista Ultimate (ugh!) and I had approximately 80GB free that I thought would be handy for Ubuntu. I will note that this particular machine, when I attempted to install OpenSuSE 10.3 on it, appears to have some obscure SATA controller and SuSE was unable to detect it. I was prepared for the eventuality that Ubuntu wouldn't see it either, but to my pleasant surprise it did. I ran the install, popped GRUB on the system and rebooted. Ever

Musings on System Administration

I was reading an article discussing forensic preparation for computer systems. Some of the stuff in there I knew the general theory of, but not the specifics of how to perform. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that Systems Administration is such a vast field. There is no way I can know all of this stuff. I made a list of the software and operating systems I currently manage. They include: - Windows Server 2003, Standard and Enterprise - Exchange 2003 - Windows XP - Windows Vista - Windows 2000 - Ubuntu Linux - OpenSuSE Linux - Mac OSX (10.3 and 10.4) - Solaris 8 - SQL 2005 - Various specialised software for the transport industry I have specific knowledge on some of this, broad knowledge on all of it, and always think "There's so much I *don't* know". It gets a bit down heartening sometimes. For one thing - I have no clue about SQL 2005 and I need to make it work with another bit of software. All complicated and nothing straightforward. Irritating doesn&

Thoughts - Means of Problem Solving

I'm not sure how other people really think - I have a degree in Psychology but I'm still not entirely convinced by the ideas on theory of mind. I have a few observations that I'd like to share. For one thing, and this is kind of strange, when there is a problem I need to solve I can't "think" through it. If I try to reason my way through it, my conscious mind wanders off to God knows where and I get nowhere. But if I relax, clear my mind and just allow some internal process to work, all of a sudden the answer appears. This is the gap in the internal monologue to which I refer. This does *not* work with mathematical problems. I have always struggled with those sorts of problems. I refer more to the interpersonal problems or even IT problems of which I encounter on a daily basis. Even the lead up to writing this was only a vaguely conceived idea until I started typing and the right words appear on the screen. I wonder how other people "think" their way

Update to: Resurrection of a G4 and other observations

I had intended to publish the previous post last night, but didn't get around to it. I've hit a bit of a snag with the OpenSuSE 10.3 installation and ran out of time last night to fix it. Two things are failing. No.1 the PowerEdge server I have has a dodgy DVD reader in it and won't read the 10.3 DVD properly. I checked the DVD for its integrity and all is well with it. I'll need to put another DVD reader into the machine to get it to install I think. While I'm there I think I'll also replace the noisy fan it has at the rear. I can't hear the disks over it and there is no outward indication of any activity which bothers me. No.2 I tried to install 10.3 on my AMD clone PC last night too. It has a 200GB SATA disk in it (can't remember the exact size) and OpenSuSE failed to detect it. WTF? It's not like I have a unique mainboard - it's a fairly standard ASUS board with nothing special about it. This machine ran Ubuntu there for a while and had no pr

Resurrection of a G4 and other observations

My G4 mac has been sitting idle for some time now complaining of no working hard drive. I of course knew this to be a lie as the disk I put in the system was a good one and I thoroughly scanned and tested it before putting it in my beloved G4. After a fair bit of swearing I booted it holding the Option key down. I probably should note that despite my fairly extensive experience with windows and linux I have preciously little with OSX and with Apples in general. I'm amazed for example how good the BIOS seems to be. I can just plug any old USB DVD into this machine and wee! It detects it and off we go. Very cool. On a similar age PC you'd be lucky to have that kind of functionality available. So at any rate I'm currently typing this on my G4 - it's quite responsive, now it has 868MB of RAM (I know - its a weird number). The reason I'm using this machine and not my equally beloved L400 is just for variety sakes. I have a number of machines available at home. They incl

Installing Linux on a Dell L400.

To continue my previous piece (sorry for the delay) about the installation of Ubuntu 7.04 on a Dell L400. To quickly restate the machine's statistics: P3-700MHz processor, 256MB of RAM and a 20GB HDD. The installation of Ubuntu from the normal disk is a non-happening event. It simply requires too much RAM to boot the graphical interface. So instead, I downloaded the alternate install CD and performed the installation in text mode. Here is a big thing to remember: Boot the kernel with acpi=no. Otherwise you might find the machine getting a lot of "Sleep" messages during the boot and also during the installation. Very *very* frustrating to say the least. It wasn't the fastest installation in the world, but I didn't expect to be the fastest either. It went smoothly and everything was happily detected. Great I thought. It booted OK, it ran the Gnome desktop quite well - although somewhat slowly. I started going through and tidying up the boot stuff and working to mini

Windows XP on Dell L400

It's been a while since I posted anything - I'll plead the pressures of work and social life as my excuse. In the meantime I have picked up a little old Dell L400. This machine is about 1.6KG in weight and has a Pentium III processor running at 700MHz. I've had to put in a 20GB hard disk (that I had lying around) and it came with 256MB of RAM and two batteries. Not bad at all. Initially I installed Win2k on it and was unimpressed by it's performance. I had also tried to get varies different versions of Linux running on it (more on this to follow). I eventually got SuSE 10.2 running happily on it and all was good. Somehow though... I got it into my head to install Windows XP on this machine. I checked the minimum specifications for XP and found them to be well under the spec of this laptop - something like a 300MHz processor and 128MB of RAM or something similar. The initial install went very smoothly. It was also pleasingly fast. I was very happy. I continued to be very