Time Line 2001

Technical News and Views from a hole in the ground:

2001: February, March, April, July, August, September, October, November, December

February 14th Good job that I procrastinated. Will have to purchase at least six new Windows 2000 capable Server, AS and Professional boxes. Nothing less will enable me to pass the Accelerated Exam before the end of the year. One must have practical experience, because the exams are harder and include questions that lack of use of Win2k will cause one to fail.

March 14th Well, gone from Convergys, thank Goodness. Sad, in a way, since I did so much decent, and often appreciated, work, essentially for naught. I helped a lot of techies but, in the end, does it matter? Most of them leave as soon as they can find a better paying job. Oh yes, I gained the Management Certificate barely a month prior to not having to trudge dispiritedly to work any more. Have been gradually finding work in Ottawa as the mattoid guy. For example, I worked on http://www.compact-music.com: once a simple site for this excellent music store. Flash is overkill for most businesses. Easier to just have it do its job. They are now at this address, which has nothing to do with me anymore (03/29/2004).

Nowadays, the DotCom fiasco is raging: greed, as occurred during the South Sea Bubble, led to this easily prognosticated fall in stock values. Will I gain a better job during these fraught days and nights? Stay tuned!!!

April 17th A whole month and more, just trying to find work that I would really be happy with in my inimitable grouchy style. Received my occasional Mark Minasi email to do with his seminars, and with technical hints for both Windows NT, 2000 and, occasionally, Linux. Subscribe here. As I have mentioned elsewhere, he is one of the most qualified educators plying his trade in North America. He has an excellent teaching style.

July 12th At this time, I am awaiting start date and emoluments concerning a new job. Decent money and working with adults. Good grief, whatever next! If it works out, I'll let you know, but it is tech & web related.

July 22nd Started on my new job: I will soon, I hope, be able to start paying all the debts that grew like Topsy over the last four months of penury. Haven't had a smooth transaction into the office where I am temporarily stationed: moved four computers in, along with my switches for the network. However, an assumption that the 9 in a written scribble was a 5, for a Primary DNS server, caused me a two day delay, until I found the in-house IT guru. Now, I have 100Mbps Internet access to use for my Web work. Not bad, what? Plus, I moved from an office without air conditioning to another, where it does, but not at the weekend!! 

Another thing, I tried to upgrade to SP6a on the machine that is using Sygate 3.1. Won't work and messed up a few other programmes. Desk Scan wouldn't save and had to be reinstalled after I had returned to SP4. Upgrade Sygate, I suppose. Or use the extra ports in the RT314, but see above!

July 25th Aaargh! So, I thought, I have the NetGear RT314 and it has four ports for my machines to use. Right then, easy, use the Intel EtherExpress PRO/100+ PCI NIC, that you have sitting idly in a box, in Warwick, the PDC. And, buy another NIC to install in Gloucester, the BDC. So, I did, placing a D-Link DFE-538TX/R in Gloucester. I do wish that I hadn't done that. 

Firstly, Warwick gives Event Viewer errors, but it does, unwillingly, access the Internet, even though the Intel PROSet II applet shows that the NIC has a driver fail to load. Well, I don't like that, but if it works, leave it alone, at least for now. Both the NT4.0 boxes are at SP6a, by the way. 

But, Gloucester is another story. Basic horrid errors, as Event Viewer shows and, at signing on, Remote Procedure Call gives this: RpcSs.exe warning that "Instruction @ "0x0069004d"referenced memory at "0x0069004d". The memory could not be read." 

Now then, the two IT guys that work in the building, Alan and Kirk, were in the adjoining room and they offered help. However, other than pressing cancel, which started VC to debug, and promptly slowed down the computer to Stone Age speed, and also checking which services were running and stopping those that were unnecessary, they could only wonder if removing all Network adapters and Networking software might solve the problem. It is not quite a solution. I had previously removed the D-Link NIC, and, when the IT gurus returned to their normal frenetic environment, I removed the NetGear FA310TX NIC, which has been highly reliable, and all the Services, Protocols, etc from Networking. That I could remove actually, since, running as a BDC one cannot remove Workstation, Server or Master Browser.  I then reinstalled Networking piece by piece, rebooting at each stage.

Unfortunately, I am now at the point where reinstalling TCP/IP causes the RPC snafu. The computer really slows down if that happens. If I remove TCP/IP, which is my only active networking protocol (both LAN and WAN), I obviously cannot connect my BDC to the PDC. But, the computer runs at its natural speed. Tra la, la, la!

I emailed D-Link yesterday evening; no reply so far. I went onto Windows2000 Magazine's site and did a search and found that this particular error had a HotFix for NT4 SP2, but trying that, when I have SP6a, obviously fails. So, what do I do? Hunt around for a cure? I really, really do not want to have to reinstall NT and all of the programmes that sit on this SCSI oriented box. Oh, well, there is, in the meantime, work to do for VidNet (bankrupt, so no link now).

July 27th Well, Warwick is cured, even though there are a couple of small problems, but removing the gateway IP from both adapters allowed them to fight for control and allow me to ping through the RT314 to the WAN IP, and, at last, away we go! 

Received a nice email from Cathy Shea, in which she remarks that she likes the Workplace page. Try it, you may like it. Lots there, and it is still slowly growing, but needs fertiliser, hein? And, in fact, it has been changed to split between IT and my other interests. Now, of course, with the AndNow page growing too large, that now needs to be split into little bits (03/29/2004).

July 29th  Warwick, oh Warwick, I wish you would rise up from the dead! Not only that, had these raboteurs de parquet (The Floor Scrapers, Musee d'Orsay, Paris) painted by Gustave Caillebotte in 1875 been reborn lately, they would have been the exploited of our times, mere call-centre techies. Sad, but true.

What I did, was to try and install Windows 5.0 (as you will see if you try to use Server Manager from another NT4 box, and note that it refers to it as a Back Up Server), or, as it is called in the marketing world, Windows 2000, on Warwick, my PDC. Basically, no Internet access again, it simply refused to work with two NICs, once more. And, I refuse to return to Sygate, because I need separate access for each of my machines in this temporary office. And that's what the NetGear RT314 provides, of course.

How well did it work? I find from My Computer that my partitions have disappeared from my disks. Whereas before, I had placed the Win2k I386 folders onto F:, this has miraculously disappeared, and neither does my CD-ROM, G: drive appear. I have a: b: (two 3.5 floppies), C: and D: and no Network. 

It could very well be related to the fact that lsass.exe and svchost.exe both have errors. Now, I know that this is corrected in SP2, which I downloaded onto another computer in readiness. However, the abovementioned executables prevent me using my network to access the bloody service pack. Why didn't I copy it to Warwick? Because, dear friend, I was installing NT5 on that machine at the time, and simply thought that it would eventually start, alrighty then?

So, I have my boot disks somewhere in storage. Make some more, dummy. So, yes, I have, and, as I write this, they have been working and Windows 2000 is being installed again on Warwick, purportedly as a repair job. 

It's good that I have two Internet accessible computers on the LAN whereby I can search Windows Support. Of course, Gloucester is treacle, because I reinstalled TCP/IP, and because it is the BDC, and needs to be active on the LAN whilst I fret and swear concerning Warwick. But Oxford, my lonely Win98 1st Edition, and Leicester, my NT4 Server, both are working. 

Note that I tried to install Windows 2000 on Leicester, but it hangs permanently at the first starting windows screen. Reboot, and, luckily the option to start NT4 remains available.
 

Cathy Shea had recommended that NT5 was better than NT4, and I do believe that to be true. I have had the CDs in my possession for several months, but thought that I should wait until I had enough money to use them on better machines. However, the problems I encountered when using two NICs on the NT4 Servers prompted me to try Windows 2000, because everyone knows DNS is better implemented with this OS than in NT4.  Well, I can't exactly agree with that just at the moment. 

July 29th  Part Deux. Now then, I am "repairing" Warwick. And, installation proves that F: is still there, because it is using that drive. See Part Un(e), below. Now then, it "successfully" installed, but on starting up, gives the system shutting down because of the well known lsass.exe error. What to do? Has to be done in Safe Mode or something equally tiresome.

Ok, I am going to try this: promote Gloucester to PDC, then install NT4 WS on Warwick in another folder. Then see if I can run the LAN and copy SP2 to Warwick, and then restart the box in safe mode and run the executable and then . . . . .  It doesn't work this way, because I have used Partition Magic, and the early version of NT4WS sees two drives, just like NT5. Now, is that the cause of the earlier problem concerning visible drives, that I used the latest version of Partition Magic previously? I thought it was compatible, and has never given me a problem in the past. Oh, dear! But, no CD-ROM, either, so?

July 29th  Part Trois. To Hell with it, why bother with little things? I have promoted Gloucester to PDC, so, now I will install NT4 Server on Warwick and whatever drives appear, I'll use. Then, I can promote it to PDC, copy over Win2k SP2, and then proceed. If it means formatting, so be it. Time well spent in simply having the final OS, Win2k SP2 operating as Domain Controller, I hope.

July 29th  Part the Fourth, and the last for today. So, NT4 Server would not install on Warwick because it couldn't find a DOS disk, huh? But, Windows 2000 Server has, after a clean format of C: after I had installed NT4WS on C: and copied over the w2ksp2 file onto D:, which was necessary as a new partition, because NT4WS couldn't use a disk greater than about 2GB, remember? And, NT5 worked right away, although there are things to install. Later, please, I am so tired of this charade.

Internet access from Warwick, now a DC, was so easy, I couldn't believe it. Now to run SP2 and go and eat!! Glad, even so, that I had copied the w2ksp2 file. Better to be safe, what? 

August 2nd  Today, I had a few dollars, so I nipped down to the local store and bought a cheap CD-ROM, of the ATAPI technology. I took out the SCSI CD-ROM from Gloucester, and put the ATAPI in its place. Then, I restarted the machine, went off to another computer and came back to find that, luckily, I had forgotten to put the NT4 start up disk in the a: drive. Windows 2000 was continuing its install from the G: drive and was successful. So, a conflict from the SCSI CD-ROM had held me up for a week. One lives and learns.

August 5th  This is a Sunday, and tomorrow is a holiday in Ontario and other Provinces. Doesn't feel like it to me. Work, work, work. Latest snafu was the DVD on Oxford wouldn't work with a SoundBlaster Live, and supposedly needed an MPC 2pin cable. Couldn't find one, so I changed the sound cards around. Easy with Warwick, simply updated via CD-ROM. Oxford, the Win98 box, needed several reboots and cold starts until, magically, it had re-installed the PCI64 SoundBlaster and the DVD now produced sound, as well as video. But, I hate Win98, so I am writing this as I install 2k Pro. There are no drivers for my USB 3com NIC, or, in fact, for the DVD, unless it works with a WDM driver that is on the Creative website (it didn't).

August 9th  This is Thursday, after a few days messing with my computers. So, new NIC, a NetGear FA311 in Oxford, to replace the USB 3Com NIC that is unsupported. And, then the Zip drive wouldn't work under Windows Professional, not even with the Service Pack installed. Changed it over to Leicester, my solo NT4 Member Server (that can't find a domain when I start it up, although I can see all the drives from any machine, but can't copy from Leicester to anywhere. I can copy _from_ Leicester! The Zip, by the way, would not work. Drive is shown, many emails to Iomega, but no disk is ever present. But, one glimmer of light: I have a SCSI CD-ROM in Leicester that would only play music CDs, but now, after I put the Zip on the chain, it once more will take application CDs. Wonder of wonders.

August 9th  The other thing is that I have this new job, with this small company. Now they don't have the money to pay me, and are making excuses about everything. So, I changed the subweb name on one of my domains, and that can stay like that until I receive money. There is no other way I can think of that will protect my work, and enable me to be paid for it. We shall see: one of the partners physically assaulted me today, concerning this problem with cash; cash that I have earned. I have received $500 for four weeks work so far. Ha! 

August 13th  Microsoft, how ever can you put out a suite (Office 2000 Professional) that supposedly works in full integration. Rubbish! I have a file, sent to me for the website I am creating. It is in the form of a list, with totals, which would seemingly fit a spreadsheet. So, I used Excel, and saved it as html, with the necessary formatting to ensure it would fit on a normal web page. As if it should be so simple. I am now having to recreate the file, using Notepad to filter the text, because that dreaded VML has crept in as, although Cartesian co-ordinates work well with html, vectors do not, not with MS products, that is. One can download software from the MS update pages to allow one to view VML. So, they know it exists, they just don't know how to multitask.

August 21st  Payment, for work performed. Well, some money has arrived. The VidNet staff at this time consists of four Directors, one grunt (me). Two of the Directors are of a logical and reasonable disposition, with whom I have a decent relationship. We came to an agreement about payment, and I don't doubt it will be honoured.

The other two "Directors" (MacKinnon and Pushman) are, to me, persona non grata. When enough time has passed, or I am in a legal position to quote in full, then I will definitely post an expanded version. 

One other thing that I find difficult to handle is that I am owed money for work done that I can't receive until third parties complete their contractual obligations. In this case, we need the French, Portuguese and Spanish pages translated. This company, VidNet, is supposedly beneficial to all Latin America, and we had better have those pages up very soon so that all four of the buttons on the VidNet home page become operational. Only then can we consider ourselves in full working order. Lots yet to do on the technical front: MySQL, SSL, etc.   

VidNet: (link is to what it started out as, under my command) small company, excellent e-business idea. However, the matter of being attacked has still to be dealt with. The person involved, even though there are witnesses, categorically denies all knowledge of his behaviour. States that the incidents of offering kung-fu, of loudly calling me crazy, of threatening to take me down outside to settle this (whilst removing his watch), of chesting me through the main office reception doors, of running into my office and slamming the door, shouting out that everything there was his, are only rumours. But, he finally admitted to shouting, at a meeting of three of the Directors late last week. And, of course, his buddy said he wouldn't accept that my request for an apology would work. This other fool admitted that MacKinnon takes a while to cool down when he loses his temper. That, in itself, is an admission of the character he associates with on their drunken forays on Elgin Street.

Convenient to "forget", perhaps implying that denial will make the problem disappear. Not so, because if in fact that perpetrator actually has no recall that makes his behaviour even more worrisome. In my view that person would have to be placed under forensic control. Given the statements about him that I have received as news of this attack spread, I know that this is no innocent. There has been a history of intemperate behaviour. Of smashing fists into walls, of threats to others. What worried me is that the administrative staff (office leasing scenario) admit to being frightened of this person. They have said that if he were banned from the buildings that they would be "sick" for a week. Makes one wonder, doesn't it?

August 22nd  Well, I managed to join Leicester to the domain correctly: it was an NT4 problem, not NT5 Active Directory as I had thought. Simply, I had to join Leicester to a Workgroup, (any name will do). Reboot, login to the workgroup, of one machine. Then, join the domain instead: the Network applet Identification area woke up, I wrote in the computer and domain names, then entered the User Name and Password in Create a Computer Account in the Domain, pressed OK and a message quickly popped up and welcomed me to where I should have been all the time. 

However, even though I thought that I had the same login profile, not so. I had to copy all the xxxx profile settings into the xxxx.000 profile. Now it starts up, joins the domain and voilà, everything is rosy.

Except that, as usual, my SCSI Zip drive is present and there is no disc in the drive. Well, that's what I am told, even though there is one there, and the drive makes all the right noises. Well, if I am to cure this, I have to, in all probability, find another box and install Win98 (to ensure my web pages work in all environments), so I'll have to move the Adaptec card and the ScanJet IIc, the errant Zip and Philips CD-ROM. Maybe that will cure the problem, although I have sent a few screen shots of Disk Administrator and Explorer to Iomega, with no reply so far. The new Win98 machine will, inevitably, be quicker than those the Zip has been attached to. Amazing how CPU speed has increased since I first bought my network boxes, not too long ago. 

Remember, perhaps, that I mentioned that the SCSI CD-ROM now runs application CDs? Still true, but the SoundBlaster quit: obviously there is an IRQ conflict somewhere. The SoundBlaster is an old ISA card. It is the last ISA card anywhere on my network, and it's almost time for the great dustbin in the sky. Before that, however, I will try moving the card from one slot to another, one never knows, does one? (It worked!!).

Oxford, now NT5 Professional, never had an ISA card and with the Intel steering software/chips there have been no conflicts whatsoever since I first started it up. Good grief, five years ago, when a PII 350MHz was fast!

August 23rd  So, Brad and Steve have pulled the plug. No job for me. One comment made by Brad was that it was unfortunate that the technical side (me) and the sales/admin side (Fric and Frac) would not work together. He was not himself feeling suitable to be the intermediary, especially because he had so many other irons in the fire, for example his connection with ITI, a training institute that has folded following inappropriate expansion. Time and intermediary constraints, in Brad's view, made it impossible to continue. Although he thought the basic VidNet premise was good, he had decided that the well was dry. 

This perturbs me, it's as if I should tolerate violence and ineptitude for the sole sake of the money invested. The attitude of Steve and Brad was that I should not approach the police to have MacKinnon charged, although I should mention that certain family members have also maintained that opinion. Others think differently, because MacKinnon has escaped punishment for similar escapades in the past, and might consider himself superior to the law. No matter, telephoning to the Ottawa Carleton Police has been difficult, but I have determined that I need to appear in person at the Elgin Street HQ. So, I shall write it all down, and visit that establishment. Done, see the Vidnet MacKinnon page complaint page, 08/28/2001, and we will wait with bated breath to find out if they deem it worthwhile to press on.

As a corollary, the rational pair of Directors had had a meeting with the other two, MacKinnon and Pushman, who were told that no more money would be forthcoming unless there was income related to the upcoming Conference (Ottawa, April 2002). MacKinnon had recently stated that he expected over $100,000 by the weekend! Neither Brad nor Steve considered this feasible, and the results confirmed their opinions.

On Friday, 24th., Steve received an email saying that they had forgotten, at the meeting, to ask for their September allowances. They obviously can't understand plain English and, I think that "allowances" is appropriate. They are transparently immature.

There will be no further work on the VidNet site until or unless the email blitz purportedly sent off last weekend produces immediate dividends. The site was down for the whole of Friday morning, and resurfaced at about noon. No idea what caused that snafu.

If some of the pages aren't professionally written I can take some of the blame, but for the Conference Committee page I was mortified that some basic honorifics were missing for the Committee members who should have been listed with letters before and after their names. Who on earth is Dr Sabatini from Brasil? Oh, I'm such a pedant for propriety!!

August 23rd  Back to the technical world. Now, I had ordered PageMaker 7.0 and Acrobat 5.0 as upgrades prior to losing my job. Since they are good tools, and I wanted to use Acrobat especially to incorporate editable forms on web sites, I believed that I would have no problems installing either programme. Wrong. On the Acrobat blurb it states that one needs Acrobat 4.0 or earlier present on one's computer to enable installation. I have Acrobat 3.01, and can't upgrade. Not what I was led to expect. Also, I have asked Adobe, via email support at their site, if one needs to purchase the full version, given that Distiller is present in PageMaker 7.0, as it was, as an earlier incarnation, in my PageMaker 6.5 application. It's email yo-yo time. PageMaker upgrade worked fine, all it needed was my 6.5 registration details. 

I did find out on the Adobe site that one has to purchase Acrobat 5.0 via Adobe, not at a retailer, if one has an earlier version than 4. This is true, even if it is upgraded at the same price and it has been registered. Rats! So, I took that useless package back and exchanged it for a Corel Linux book and a cheap Sony CD-RW. I need money, but I also need equipment to progress towards job fulfilment. 

Another thing, please don't try, under Windows 2000, to add an ATAPI drive to your system if you have SCSI drives. The OS does not make the IDE drive predominant, as occurred earlier, where its presence automatically made it the root. Boot.ini remained on the SCSI drive and the IDE found itself the last in the lettered drive line. I had to disconnect my SCSI drives so that I could install NT5 on the IDE drive as C: then, when I reconnected the SCSI items, the drive lettering was editable. I know, I know, why bother? Actually, I do prefer SCSI, and will use it again  in my next server, but I wanted cheap storage space and I wanted to test a mixed system under NT5.

When I have the money I will revert to wholly SCSI on this machine, but I'll use Ultra 320 alongside my SCSI 2, just for laughs. Here is where to find a lot of information, at
Adaptec.

The rainy picture: Gustave Caillebotte; Rue de Paris, temps de pluie; Intersection de la Rue de Turin et de la Rue de Moscou; quartiér de Batignolles: 1877 The Art Institute of Chicago; part of the Charles H and Mary F S Worcester Fund 

August 31st  Friday, and the last day of a non-working week! Anything on the VidNet site is not my responsibility now that someone else (Kirk, one of the TCC IT gurus) has taken over the job of dealing with Fric and Frac. Good luck, they'll need it. These two are supposed to be drumming up attendees of every description for next April's conference. Right, and then we hear that they spend many afternoons goofing off, pretending that they're affluent and test driving cars. Really, how mature they must be!

Apropos Fric and Frac: MacKinnon and Pushman have again, at a meeting of the gang of four yesterday, been advised that no money is available. Nothing at all, not until payments for the Conference arrive. To date, nada. Steve has wiped his hands clean of this pair, wants as little to do with them as possible. Brad would just like to see some investment money repaid. Too bad, the miscreants are good at selling a dream, but useless at turning it into reality. The guy looking at Olivia Newton-John is a sophisticate in comparison, hein? 

Had to install, several times actually, because of disk partitioning problems, Windows 95 and then upgrade to Windows 98 on my old P133 box, with 96MB of different types of RAM. Of course, it's an IBM machine, so it works that way. I have kept the original 1.1GB drive for the Windows OS and I have another 2.5GB Western Digital drive formatted in ext2 ready for a new Linux installation. I had Corel Linux installed, but firstly I could never make the File Manager open, and suddenly, no matter what, the keyboard stopped working. Nothing feasible except a reinstall, since the Corel LILO in the MBR would not allow a Linux boot disk to work. There was a small, four MB, partition on the WD drive which kept usurping the D drive on the other disk. Hence Windows found itself installed in E, and, obviously, a 4MB partition is useless, especially in these circumstances. Hence, use Partition Magic, and format everything again, and reinstall everything, again. 

September 4th  Did I just say, well four days ago, that I had to install Red Hat 7.1 (Seawolf), because Corel, etc? 

Now, having tried to reinstall Red Hat after the first time was successful, because I subsequently had a monitor resolution problem, it now won't let me. Constant anaconda failures at certain points, undeterminable, but possibly at the point where it needs CD2. So, back to Corel Version 2? Not, because I have an ATI Rage card, and the KDE start up after set up will constantly fail with the screen perpetually blinking. Supposedly, this problem with ATI was fixed for the release of version 2. 

So, I want to have Linux on this machine. Back to Red Hat? Or, whatever will work: Slackware maybe (as Jerry Pournelle recommends, well his *nix guru Roland Dobbins actually does)?

September 9th  Lancaster, the old IBM P133, is returned to its original state: a Windows machine. First, formatted the drives, using Partition Magic, and then installed Win95 from my OEM disk. Immediately afterwards, the machine was upgraded to Win98. Now it sees the network, can browse the Internet, and is useful as a test bed for checking browser views. It is the only Win9x box on the LAN that exists in my little cell on Queen Street. Now to find a somewhat faster machine to run Red Hat 7.1. Was slightly, well rather more upset than that, miffed that Red Hat proved so problematic to install. There are some good IBM PII 350s in Computer Supply House, just down the street. Temptation! But, give me the money! 

September 12th  The world, mostly, in shock. Extremely disturbing pictures everywhere, such as that poor man diving head first to his death from the WTC yesterday. In today's Globe and Mail. Makes one's problems appear miniscule in comparison, does it not? Everyone is affected, in ways we shall not know of for some time. The Anti-Racism Conference in Durban, which was a disaster, was an indicator of the fractionalism that permeates our shrinking world structure. If many of the men at that conference treat their women as do the Taliban, and the Wahabi sect of Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan; the genital mutilators of Africa, both men and women, unfortunately; the upholders of the caste system and their murderers in India; the bigotry endemic in Belfast, in London, in Albania, in Alabama, ad infinitum, then we have little hope. Not that women are blameless, since where does the boy child learn its hatred, except at its mother's knee, where it is taught to be like its father, God forbid? Simply, there is nothing worth mentioning about printer woes, and how they were cured, hein?

September 17th  The storage area that I have had to rent saw me for several hours in the last two days. I was hunting for the monitor cable belonging to Somerset, the HP PA-RISC machine that I intend to resurrect. Well, it was in a box some depth into the trapezoid that keeps my books and incidentals. The cable has RGB fittings on one end, just three, not like those found on decent PC monitors, which, of course, have five. Solaris is on CDs that I burnt ready for a trial run. Would be nice to have this pizza box, 64-bit addressing system, showing what it is capable of compared with my x86 clones.

September 18th  The NT4 Server box, Leicester, suddenly quit accessing the Internet. I hadn't realised that it was due to TCP/IP problems. When I tried to check the Network, there was no response when clicking on TCP/IP properties in the Network module. Uninstalling both that and the NIC failed to remedy the problem. So, on another box on the network, off to http://support.microsoft.com where I found this page: Article ID: Q151237. This was all about how to really uninstall TCP/IP, and it's not just for NT, as you will see. The registry editing actually worked on the third try, given that, even though I was logged on as Administrator, I couldn't delete any of the Legacy keys that are mentioned. Finally, logged on as Administrator, again, I tried pinging, which worked, and then the box rejoined the domain. Yahoo! (In the sense of the Star, in the short film at BMW Films). Now, I can log on as the user I wish to be and everything works again. Whatever caused the problem in the first place I cannot discover, but I haven't rerun SP6a as is recommended. What's fixed, etc. I had tried to use my rescue disk, which I religiously renew each week. That failed with the cryptic message that my discs were totally corrupted. Rubbish, of course. Thank goodness I was logged on as a different user (you, dear reader, don't log on as Administrator all the time, do you?)

September 22nd  The Lancaster, Win98, box kept giving me odd fatal exception errors, which I thought were related to the old Quantum HD. However, when I discovered that both drives were primaries, I changed the slave to become an extended partition, via Partition Magic, and, oddly, no errors since. Funny what one learns, even about an OS I loathe to use, but need to.

October 11th  There has been a month since the WTC tragedy occurred. War in Afghanistan. Blair trotting around the world shoring up the alliance: In Egypt today. Starvation for the displaced, or not, in the Hindu Kush. And, the Taliban are ensconced in the Middle Ages, and have no regard for the well-being of the general populace. Not if flying a kite is banned; having a beard too short is blasphemy; women cannot work, ever. Where are the jobs that they used to perform? Presumably, no one is caring for the sick, or educating them, or dealing with the problems of drought. 

Now, then, today it was announced that Microsoft will not retire the MCSE for NT4. The Windows 2000 MCSE accelerated voucher terminates November 1st. And, Microsoft also changes the licensing parameters for XP. Not before time. What to do? I have the voucher, but the relevant books are in storage. Maybe I'll spend Sunday looking for them. 

October 15th  How do you install Red Hat 7.1 on Leicester, which runs NT4S SP6a nicely, when it won't recognize a Logitech serial mouse at the probe point at the start of Anaconda (Red Hat install)? Then, trying to install this same Linux OS on Lancaster, the Pentium 133MHZ,now that it has a somewhat larger hard drive, we have it hanging on install, sometimes before and sometimes after the request for CD2. Ridiculous. Graphical or text installation notwithstanding.

And, after that, upgrading Leicester to Windows 2000 Server can't happen when an Adaptec 2940AU, or the ATI video card, an early 8MB version, is present. Worked on Warwick, with the same set up, didn't it? That's what I thought, but I was wrong: It is possible to install NT4, and Win9x, but not Windows 2000. The reason is something to do with how the PCI slot, topmost, is wired. Works with the others, but not NT5, how strange. Maybe I can update the BIOS on both my Pentium 233MHZ boxes and see if that changes anything. But, see below, this date.

And again, when I tried installing clean NT4 on Cornwall, another PII 350MHZ with large drives that wouldn't work at first. Had first to install Windows 95, but even with a free,  <2GB space at the beginning of the drive, that wonderful OS tried to format the next partition of 17GB with FAT16!! Eventually, after the Partition Magic clean up, I installed NT from the CD with '95 running. Note that this was successful even though SP1 cannot work with hard drives greater than 2GB, or a little larger. (I couldn't install using boot floppies even with the atapi.sys fix recommended by Microsoft, although that was probably because Win95 formatted the drive as FAT32, as I discovered later). 

Immediately Cornwall rebooted, it was updated to SP4, and then to SP6a. Now, it is quick and stable, with 384MB DIMM memory, just like Oxford, the Windows 2000 Professional box. I wish I had some money: 256MB DIMMs at 100MHZ for only $56 Canadian currently at Computer Supply House!! I could do with six of these. Would help make things run easier, especially Adobe Photo Shop.

The BIOS for Cornwall was a free update on the IBM site, whereas Award wants US$50 for the same thing, so will have to wait for a while to update Oxford, which is running out of disk space!

October 30th  Another box from Computer Supply House: free until I gain employment. This, called Rutland, a PII 400MHZ, machine now has Red Hat 7.2 installed and running well. There is a learning process: Acrobat Reader won't work with Mozilla, crashes the programme immediately. Can't make the CD burner programmes work, and the How-To section on the downloaded iso is the same old stuff that relates to an earlier kernel. 

Important: don't run a CD-RW or similar as a file reader or some such on any machine. It doesn't do the heads, which are relatively heavy, any good. Use a basic CD-ROM or DVD player for that stuff or use your network. If a CD-RW is all you have, expect a tenth of the life of a normal CD-ROM: You choose!

To make my boxes run properly, I had to swap hard drives around, and do some Ghost work, especially with Leicester. Norton Ghost worked, though, and rebooted easily to NT4. Found out that there is a Windows 2000 driver for the HP ScanJet and, lo and behold, it is true and it is now on Cornwall. We'll see what can be done with Leicester, now that NT4 is passé. Maybe RedHat, or Slackware, or Debian, or BeOS? Not Solaris, I simply can't find drivers for parts installed in that old 233MHZ white box.

November 6th  Another day, deeper in debt. Had a row with Billing at NetNation about having to pay six months rental (two domains) if paying by Money Order. The result is a two month relaxation, and maybe I'll have a job, or can find another way to pay. Trying to read through this Samba book, SAMS Unleashed, with its mere 1200 pages!! And, learn more Java, Perl, and how to have things run on Rutland, RH 7.2, as they do on my Windows 2000 machines. Screen savers, for example, or links to the desktop, or many other simple things that I do without thinking on MS machines. It's a steep learning curve. The PA-Risc box, Somerset, sits waiting for the native "Woody" from Debian, since there seems to be no feasible method to run the serial console installation that is available off the Linuxcare 0.92 release. 

November 22nd.  Well, this is not the best of times. Having lost my cell at TCC, I am now forced to hunt for work elsewhere. My equipment is all in storage. And, that is where I discovered that Ottawa has a free service to extract keys lost in drains. Thank God I had a friend helping me, who had a cell phone. The fellow who turned up was very pleasant, and would not take even the price of a coffee. Saved my life, don't ya know! Not looking forward to tramping the streets in the cold of winter. Hope something turns up soon.

December 30th.  Still have my boxes in storage, hence little news of late. However, anyone who wanted to view the rant about Taima/Convergys will have to wait until I have determined, through a friendly lawyer, what exactly was the "confidential information" that caused me to remove the "spineless jellyfish" pages. This Internet domain, mattoid.com, was unavailable for a couple of days. Unfortunate reaction following letters mailed to NetNation and to my _old_ home address. In my humble opinion, there was very little, if any, confidential information. There was probably enough material to make the company embarrassed about their procedures, and their use of staff. Constant advertisements for people in Ottawa imply that there remains a high turnover in the quantity of grunts required to fulfill the company's contractual obligations. (And, it has continued for years, as an email I received in 2004 bears out.)

The Workplace || The Office? || mattoidINK home

Other pictures on these pages are, apart from the Guinness advert, which is from the 60s, a scene of horses in the caves at Sochaux, France, "Soldier and a laughing girl", ca. 1658 by Johannes Vermeer van Delft, and a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream by Arthur Rackham. The pictures on the Office page are largely by Arthur Rackham.

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Below: Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Hunters in the Snow, dated 1565 Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.
Sublimely peaceful, but why?