Time Line 1999

Technical News and Views from a hole in the ground: 1999

February-March, September, October: Time Line Base

February-March: Electrical fields. Problematic wiring in the building complex has caused active grounds and emf in my work area. A guy downwind has at least one faulty ground wire and it affects my unit because there is a common earth (ground) running from one end of the complex to the other. It is carrying a current, which it should not be doing on a permanent basis. Moving the computers was the only cure. If you had seen the extravagant monitor shake and jitter your eyes would have crossed.

If you have a small business or are a home user with networked machines, never move into any premises without having the whole area tested. Prevention is better than the cure. Ottawa-Carleton Hydro have not seen fit to bother the miscreant. The eddies are still flying around.

September 20th. Starting to use dates. Software snafus need chronological documentation. So, in two days will have Rogers out here to put in a cable line, and use that on one of my NT servers. Back to Sygate to share it with other machines. Thus, can compare direct downloads and networked downloads using both Cable and xDSL. And Wingate and Sygate. Should be interesting, hein? IF ONLY there were room for two Jerry Pournelles on the Internet (well, there could be if one could maintain one's cool and become a social-democrat source for news and views).

September 25th. Well, two machines, sitting next to each other, one on xDSL, Win98, the other on Cable, NT4Server SP5. Currently, the xDSL, Nortel 1MegModem, is the faster connection. Reason? My cable connection is in an area where not many people are on line. Thus, I am told, no customers, no usage, therefore no line upgrade has been required. However, Rogers Wave support say that they will remedy my situation shortly, having tested the line and agreeing with my experiences.

WHAT? On September 21st the news is that NT4 exams, with Network Essentials and TCP/IP, will go by the end of AD2000, in favour of Win2K highly modified exams. There will be an upgrade path (it will be accelerated for current MCSEs) offered, but the tests will be appreciably more difficult. (This was reversed later).

October 7th. No matter what one says, the reverse is true. That statement given as a result of recent experience with my two machines. Nowadays the xDSL is slower by a factor of three to four. Even though I have a trouble ticket with Rogers@Home (cable) because the SHUB is faulty. No traffic at anywhere near the advertised speeds for either service. And, using the Wingate Proxy service, there is a significant decrease in speed if one uses a networked machine to travel over the web.  Wondering whether to rent from another domain hosting service to put my soccer pages onto a different server. Then I can concentrate on IT on the other domain and separate them from my personal pages. The expense of having 100MB of storage on a server is dropping continuously as competition heats up. Do an internet services query on Yahoo for Canada alone and there is a surfeit of URLs.

October 20th. What does one do, after 10.5 hrs fixing the network and it's 4.30am? Kick the damned boxes? Hardly, after all that effort. A result of trying to fix a problem concerning upgrading the drivers for the Netgear NICs that are on the internal LAN. Found out that one can't upgrade per se; that the only way is to remove the drivers for the card; cold, yes, cold boot; replace the card with the new drivers and voilą now all the NT NICs are upgraded. That was for NT, but on the PnP Win98 box things are worse. Still running the old drivers.

But, that little story does not cover all the problems: cards (3Com, Intel, Netgear) physically in the system but not shown in ipconfig and/or are not in the network applet; cards not recognised anywhere, no wonder Sygate doesn't work. The number of reboots and restarts beggars belief.. Sometimes the card is not shown in Network, but installing the particular card, Netgear, results in message re. card already installed, continue? What bug is this? Finally fixed by removing networking from the machine. Installing the NIC, networking and ensuring all was good. Then installed the Internet NIC and, at last, we were back to where we started. Better, in fact, since we have newer drivers working merrily away. The work also revealed that the fan on the CPU needs to be manually started after cold boot. Time for another one. Good job I went inside the machine, lint and dust like the bag of a vacuum cleaner. It is certainly running better now!!

October 20th. WinNT Mag reports that a default installation of Windows 2000 results in a complete lack of security. Microsoft states that's because they expect Win2k Professional will be used on home machines. As the man said, haven't they heard of internet access and attacks through the phone line? All that is needed is a documented, adequate script that would walk the home user through security setup.

Later in the month, after newsgroups' activity on news.cmpnet.com, Jon Udell's editorial on PPPoE included our comments on its working status and general viability. See it here at Byte and also on the SympaticoUsers.org (unfortunately passim) site for those unfortunate not to have HSE working correctly. The unhappy proportion is an increasing proportion of the total, and many users are migrating to Cable, wherever it's available. Shameful situation.

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