Friday, July 30, 2004

An afternoon with Tux

I am sitting in a room with all three contributors to this site. I just finished demonstrating to them the wonders of bootable Linux distributions, notably Klaus Knopper’s Knoppix distribution. I highly recommend trying it out if you’re interested in trying out Linux without dedicating an entire machine to it.

It’s also fun to boot someone’s machine to Linux and see them freak over having lost their Windows installation.

Anyway, now that we’re all here, we’re just sitting around letting the fan keep us cool. And talking about the batteries in our mice. Good times.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Thou hadst, and more, Miranda.

I finally have the file/web server of my dreams!

Okay, it’s not quite what I would ideally want, but it’s getting quite close.

The problem was that the old Compaq machine was dying. Well, dead would be more like it. I had already brought in a 300 MHz PII machine to replace it, but that box was having lots of problems. Particularly, it would run out of virtual memory every time I tried to do anything. So, with the death of one machine, cannibalization became possible. I stole 192 MB of RAM from the dead machine, which made the server run a lot faster.

I then took the 80 GB drive from the old machine and tried to put it in the new machine. The motherboard didn’t like it. This new machine (which technically is older, but isn’t crippled by Compaq’s motherboard and proprietary BIOS) has an older motherboard that doesn’t want to read larger hard drives. This is in keeping with what I deduce the design philosophy was, which is “just barely enough”. Fortunately, Jake had some advice. He suggested using an ATA controller card. So, I stole one out of my main system (losing the Zip drive as a result, but I’m not losing any sleep over that), and now the 80 GB drive is up and running.

I also swapped the machine’s 32x CD ROM drive for a 32x10x40 CD-RW drive. I should take some time to image the system’s OS drive soon.

Friday, July 02, 2004


I’ve come alive again.

It’s a disorienting feeling. I’ve been cut off from most of the online world since I got married and moved out. That was over two months ago, and now I have a huge backlog of material to catch up on. Most of it will just go by the wayside. But now I have to figure out which threads to pick up and try to follow.

I absolutely must catch up on this Phischkneght forum. I’ll even have to go back through the archives until I’ve read it all. Jake said a lot of nice things about me in his last entry, and now I have a lot to live up to. Wise counsel, you say? Go jump in a lake.

Speaking of which, that’s what I did this week. I went to Bear Lake with my wife’s family. Or my mother-in-law’s family, to be precise. I got my first taste of water skiing, and I’ve got to say that it has a distinctly lakey flavor. I was having trouble breathing though, so I had to call it quits before I got up, but not before I got dragged behind the boat for a good distance.

My other advice is to call your ISP before you move. Don’t assume that moving to a densely populated suburban area that has cable service will guarantee you coverage by the high speed internet providers in the area. Also, phone companies are of the devil. I’m not saying that Satan himself runs them, just that he’s behind their marketing, pricing, and customer service. It’s been my experience that only one in every two or three customer support reps is capable of providing any useful information over the phone. Unfortunately, I’ve spent hours on the phone waiting for someone to even take my calls so that I can determine whether I’ll reach a competent human being.

It looks like I’ve become frustrated here. So, my wise counsel is to avoid using telecommunication companies that have a near monopoly for your area. It’s been my experience that they’ll treat you like worms, because they can.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me

I love July.

I sure as hell won't be posting on my birthday, so maybe I should take this chance to say a few choice words.

First, this keyboard is crap. Truly. And I'm not all that grateful for it.

That said, there are many things for me to be grateful for, standing here on the cusp of 27 years of life. Honestly, I hear thirty calling, and life is exactly as short as it wants to be. There's no guarantee that I'll be granted the 76 average years that might be expected by someone in my place. So, in the spirit of thanks for my life thus far, I present:

Some Things I'm Really Very Thankful For:

• Crystal. If there is anyone on this rock that I know everything about, it's her. And if I've ever met a stranger, it's also her. Crystal is my beautiful, changing, volatile companion. I don't know how I could love a woman more, and if I'd even want to. The fact that she has an A-type personality like my own and still puts up with me is humbling. Life without her is incomprehensible.

• Harrison. My first child. Harrison is the best two-year-old I've ever met. I'm doing my best to be a good Dad to him, and he's clearly paying attention. He says 'please' and 'thank you.' Harrison is a great man blossoming. He cares about others and he tries to obey the things we tell him. The thought of him growing up is at once thrilling and terrifying.

• Rachel. My daughter is proof of woman’s godly nature. Crystal and I went on a vacation about a year after Harrison was born. During our vacation, she forgot to take her pill, and became unexpectedly pregnant. I’m ashamed, but man enough to admit that I held this against Crystal for a time. But she was inspired. The daughter she gave me, Rachel, is the sweetest girl I’ve ever met. Rachel gives the best hugs in the world, and her laugh is more precious than rubies.

• Leon and Eric. These two men are not at all like the other, but they’re the best friends a man could have. Eric is the smartest guy I know. He’s honorable, pious (in a good way), and reasonable. Leon is compassionate, loyal and extremely forgiving. The two of them could offer the wisest counsel to the most powerful of men.

• My Mom. I know you think your parents are strange. All parents are. Mine defy definition. My mom and I had some hard years with each other, mostly because we’re so alike. She’s an inspiration to me. The year I graduated high school, she graduated too…Summa Cum Laude in Communications. Yes, a mother of three can pull straight A’s. I didn’t go back to school until I was a father of two. I pulled a 4.0 my first semester. My mom has given me a tradition of excellence. I intend to keep it.

• My Dad. Have you ever known one of those guys who can do anything? My Dad, part rocket scientist, part botanist, part etymologist, part celebrated author, part electrical engineer, part scriptorian, showed me what a wonderful place this world is as a kid, and helped me learn to manipulate it. I don’t know another kid whose dad heat-bent glass tubing with him. Taught him how to catch butterflies. How to build a Tesla coil that stepped house current up to 200,000 volts. That Tesla coil intimidated the hell out of my seventh grade science teacher.

• Julianne. I’ve only got one blood sister. She was born when I was eight years old. I was a torturous big brother. She knew how to get me in trouble, and I knew how to make her miserable. Somehow we grew up and became friends, and I’m glad we did because she is a strong, compassionate woman. It has been an unspeakable honor to carefully scrutinize the young men she’s dated and at times intimidate them for her sake. I can’t wait to see what great things she’ll do.

• Jeff. My only brother is ten years younger than I. Our gap in age prevented Jeff and I from really getting to know one another until I returned from my mission in 1999. When I finally did begin to get to know Jeff, I was amazed at what a fair, giving person he is. Jeff can’t stand the idea of injustice, and he does everything he can to keep peace and make things equal. Jeff is seventeen, and though he’s had a hot temper in the past, he’s got an amazing grasp on it now.

I’m so glad I wrote this. I was going to express gratitude for things that I enjoy—computers, my car, sushi, and instead the most important stuff came tumbling out. There’s an old saying that I know is true.

Writing is easy; just open a vein and let it pour out onto the page.

Thank God for my family and friends. Happy birthday to me.