Yearly Archives: 2002

11 posts

ARGH!!! Now it’s my DSL provider…

Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT!!!! Well, I still have a job, but I can’t rest for a second. DirecTV DSL (formerly Telocity) announced it will cease operations soon. They will probably transition me to Verizon, where I will lose my static IP and get horrible customer service. So I’ve been scrambling for an alternative, but with no other DSLAMs in the local CO, there’s not much choice. I may go with Earthlink DSL just to get the static IP (and still have to pay more). Ironically, I just purchased DirecTV satellite equipment last weekend.

When will it end??

A week ago last Friday I found out that my daughter’s daycare was closing on Dec. 21st, going into a weekend where I wasn’t sure about my employer’s financial situation and about to work the weekend upgrading my former employer’s e-mail systems (I told them to upgrade them 4 years ago when I left – they still hadn’t and are paying the price). That turned into a complete disaster (had to back out all changes), resulting in a LOT of lost sleep (4 total hours over 48). This week was spent analyzing what went wrong and figuring out what to do about daycare. We found a nice one, a little more expensive, but they wanted a 4 week deposit up front. So, this past Friday I step into my boss’s office for a quick chat on how are things going. I was NOT expecting to find out that were were laying off 4 more people from my group, and several others around the company. Yeah, that made me feel better…

Anybody know of a job for a senior UNIX guy? Please???


Yesterday, my company decided to let go several people from my group. I was not one of them, but the ones that did get let go were people I had worked with for some time. I was actually sent home early so I didn’t have to be there when the axe fell, but I’m not sure that was better. It was completely unexpected – not even a hint. The shock still hasn’t worn off. To top it off, the train on the way home broke down…

Top X T Pet Peeves

Here is just a list of some pet peeves I have riding the T. There will be more, I’m sure of it…

  1. If you are as wide as the doors to the train, try to avoid standing in front of them when people need to get out. And DON’T get all huffy and shit when people ask you to move out of the way so they can get off.
  2. Don’t push your way through like you’re extremely late and might not make it off the train, only so you can stand in the doorway for the NEXT stop.
  3. Don’t be the first person off the train, walk like you have purpose towards the exit, then come to a complete stop like you are second-guessing yourself, blocking everybody else who knows where they are going.
  4. On the commuter trains, don’t walk all the way up the aisle, stop, then turn around and try to go back through all the other people behind you. Take a damned seat! And watch those backs/backpacks/whatever! You are likely to hit someone in the head with a quick turnaround!
  5. Again on the commuter trains, give your kids a watch and tell them when the train will arrive at your destination. It will preempt all the “Are we there yet?” crap that goes on mile after mile.
  6. It’s amazing how many people gravitate to the back of the southbound Orange Line trains, while the forward cars have plenty of room. Come on – the walk will do you good.

It’s nice to get recognized…

A Web project that I’ve worked on for about year finally came to its conclusion. After having done the Babylon 5 Encyclopedia, I began re-reading Larry Niven’s Known Space series of stories and novels, and as I got confused about what characters did what, I though it would be a good idea to create an encyclopedia for it. Thus was born the Encyclopedia of Known Space. With over 1800 entries spanning 60 stories, I completed it last week, not including future stories. I announced it on SciFi Storm, but hadn’t got around to announcing it on the larryniven-l mailing list, which Larry himself reads. Someone else did, and I always had this fear that Larry would want me to take it down. Well, I got the following message in an e-mail: “Brian’s Known Space Encyclopedia is absolutely wonderful. I’ve moved it to my “Favorites” list. – Larry Niven”. Well, I guess I can keep it up. It’s nice to get recognition for hard work…

TiVo, servers, etc.

Well, this weekend I went and upgraded my TiVo with a second drive. I had a Phillips single-drive 312, which had a 30-hour basic capacity. Well, I just upgraded it with an 80Gb Maxtor/CompUSA drive, along with the mounting bracket from 9th Tee (after a strange incident where they lost my order because it had a duplicate order number – and the owner of the other order was none other than Lukas, who I work with). I had absolutely no problems, and now I have a TiVo with 128 hours of basic quality available – and 35 hours of best quality. SWEEEEEET.

I also finally picked up a UPS for my home Linux box. I’ve been looking around trying to figure out the best support without shelling for a SmartUPS. I finally picked up an APC Back-UPS CS 350. I’m not looking for a ton of runtime – I just want a clean shutdown because the software RAID driver doesn’t recover well.

Turns out they only supply a USB cable, even though it supports serial as well. But, I had a USB 2.0 card that came with the motherboard. Tossed it in, and voila, with RedHat 7.3 all was detected. I also downloaded apcupsd, and after some aborted attempts managed to get it to work. So, if I lose power for more than about a minute, the system shuts down cleanly. Yippee!

New MoBo is working…SWEEEEET!!!

Well, they sent me back the motherboard after determining that it was working. Apparently I had to wait until it stopped ranting about the CPU failure and wait to be able to go into CMOS. Apparently the video doesn’t turn on right away, so I never saw it. I was too afraid I was going to fry something.

Well, now its in and it is sweet. Athlon XP 1800+ (best price at the time), 512MB of 333Mhz DDR memory, GeForce 4 440 video, 6 channel sound. Jedi Knight 2 Rocks on this baby!

WinXP home – not bad

Well, despite my aborted attempt to upgrade my hardware, I went ahead and installed Windows XP Home on the system anyways since the WinME stuff had so much cruft from crashes. Hey, this has actually improved the system! It boots faster, has user profiles, supports NTFS, etc. The one problem – you have to “activate” it within 30 days, and it is somehow tied to your hardware. So I have to wait to activate it until the replacement motherboard arrives. Nothing is disabled yet, but after 30 days you can’t do anything, and it nags you…

Sigh…DOA motherboard

So, I was going to upgrade my casual/gaming system, because the PIII motherboard was never all that stable. So I ordered a nice new Asus Athlon motherboard with 4 USB2 ports, 333Mhz DDR memory, etc. Wouldn’t you know it, the motherboard was DOA? Perhaps I’ve been lucky with all the systems I’ve built – I built a dual-Athlon MP server most recently with an Asus motherboard – but this is the first one that I had a defective part. Continue reading

Taking the T

Working in Downtown Boston doesn’t offer a lot of travel options. You can pay what would be a fair fraction of rent on a decent apartment anywhere else for a parking space (and the hassle of actually driving in Boston), or you take the MBTA. Since I live a fair distance west of Boston, the commute for me includes the Commuter Rail. Read on for some details and rantings. Continue reading