Time Line 2003
page edited: Friday, October 16, 2009

Technical News and Views from a hole in the ground: 2003

 Time Line Base

February 4th: Dial-up given me by a friend has enabled me to set up a quartet of computers in Dad's living room for a few weeks, whilst he takes a well-deserved rest in Auckland, New Zealand. He's staying with my sister, Lynn and her husband Peter.

Now to try and update a few things. What Internet access has enabled is the download of all the e-mails I had stored on a domain. All that's left is to sort them, delete the duplications and convert the data to html so that I can update my sites. This will take more than a little time. Not that downloading W2k Sp3 was anything other than an overnighter. Worked though, and has helped with a few security problems that had presented themselves to users of MS applications. What a laugh that MS suffered from the Slammer virus on their own servers. I bet a certain CEO could be heard as far away as Portland.

I thought that I'd found a job, but not I'm not sure. Once I eventually succeed, then it's time to pay off some debts, especially friends, telephone and cable, not to forget Revenue Canada. Then to resume my IT career, or increase my writing output.

February 12th: The number of Red Hat emails that I have received that report bugs and snafus previously found with NT has made me rethink my setup. So, tonight, I am installing Win2k AS and will update it to SP3. Then, I can play to my heart's content with all manner of AD problems. Eleven days until Father reappears at 23.30hrs, poor sod will be knackered from the flight. I hope that he will not mind the fact that my small bedroom will be filled to the rafters with computers, peripherals, books and my hi-fi system. Play is the necessary corollary to work, if my references pan out with my putative employer.

May 10th: The numbness of work has arrived with a vengeance. I have not been able to find a decent tech job: various factors, not excepting ageism. But, I am working for a local moving company. The hours spent at work are dependent on jobs available, and nothing is usually known about that until 3pm on the previous day. I have both lost weight and waist measurement. I may have to go on Workers' Compensation should a strain that arose last Friday prevent me from working.

No guaranteed income, and a recent row with my father about spending money like water. Oh, really? No work on one recent week, eleven hours the next, and 16 the following. How does one pay one's bills with that pittance? Not only that: tools required, and clothing. Rips, tears and stolen equipment exacerbate one's position. Furthermore, some of the workers are techies, others are professionals, and the remainder are oafs. There are some stories there that need reporting, but that can wait until later.

Will be going to a Windows 2003 server seminar with a techie, Allan, from TCC come June 16th. That will be a change for the better, one hopes.

May 15th: The wait has arrived for a decision by the local workers' compensation people. I've been to see my doctor, and had myself x-rayed. The pain in my torso comes and goes, and I'm on some kind of opiate. Not pleasant. And the requests for payment of debts periodically drop through the mail slot. Why can't they do a web search, find this page, or others on my sites, and understand that I am but one of hundreds who have lost possibility of adequate reward following the actions of greedy and deluded entrepreneurs. The Internet bubble, for heaven's sake.

May 28th: What does spinal repair have to do with IT? Nothing at this stage, but a reminder to me that I should hunt even harder for a non-physical job, something suitable to my vertebrae. My job with the moving company is on hiatus whilst the problems my physiotherapist discovered are remedied. One joint is working overtime to do the work that the four above it don't do. Seemingly, they have gone on strike because they refuse to accommodate the demands of the loads that have caused my sciatica. Seemingly, the joint that is overworked has worn, and thus the hole that the nerve passes through has become smaller. Rats, indeed!!

Soon to acquire FreeBSD v 5.0+ for i386 and my idle Sparc box. That will be neat.

July 10th: Yesterday was my father's 84th birthday. And also the day that I repaired the malfunctioning computer that I am now using to write this screed. I had been unable to open Microsoft Photo Editor, so I rebooted. What happened then was the loss of all icons on the desktop, and an inability to open Control Panel, and much else. I tried to use Recovery Console and that failed. So, I installed another copy of Win2kS and that worked. I removed Recovery Console from the computer, rebooted and reinstalled it. This enabled me to fix the MBR, which was apparently abnormal. I then opened the new version of Win2kS in the Windows folder, and copied the Regback files from the Repair folder into my proper Win2kS in the Winnt folder. This worked, after I was informed that Active Desktop had had a major problem. Even so, Office programmes would not start, requesting to be reinstalled. I accessed the update site at Microsoft and downloaded Installer version 2. Lo and behold, everything now works again, I think.

What this mess proved to me was the absolute necessity of having recently used Backup to make an ERD and also, most important, to copy the registry. If I had not done that, I could not have cured the problems. Now to fix my PDC, that refuses to boot up, stalling BIOS problem.

July 23rd: The network is playing games, because Active Directory is waiting for me to replace, renew or repair that P1 233MHz box that has worked for ages. Now, it won't, and hasn't ever since I shut it down for a while. After starting up, it won't go past the Verifying DMI Pool Data . . . .  line. I found out that the DIN 5 connector for the keyboard is snafu, but it isn't! Although the computer would not load with the old keyboard, it would allow me to edit BIOS factors if I started up with no keyboard. The unworkable keyboard then worked after putting it into the connection once it came to the point at which it told me there was a keyboard error!! There, in the Setup, I enabled USB keyboard use, and rebooted. The BIOS found the USB keyboard but it still won't pass that Verifying DMI message, after having found all of the drives in the machine. Seems that I will have to replace the machine, however, since we have the problem that Windows 2000 Server SP3 will not allow the hard drive that it has been installed upon to be placed in a strange machine. Not with any ease, according to how ever many pages I read. So, how do I make AD work again? Log files are filling with silly messages in the other machines on the network.

I have been using the Minasi Forum page, without an answer that worked for the AD box, unfortunately. Mark Minasi, who is a writer and lecturer, has a fine reputation, and I wholly recommend using his materials and courses. Back to my problem: I was able to start a repair, after playing with the ISA keys in the BIOS PNP set up. But, finally admitted defeat when the safe mode start up failed in Winnt/system32/config, more than likely in the registry hives regarding the keyboard. Never mind, keep trying.

August 26th: This is what was posted on Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor email page for my problems with AD and a BDC that is alone, now that the original PDC has been demoted to a box with a power supply and a broken motherboard: 

Hi Jerry,
My two bits on the problem relates to having a network with a BDC and a PDC, both Win2k, along with a few heterogeneous boxes, because I test all kinds of stuff and am trying to finish off my certification process, not that I think that I ever will, since the OS mutates quicker than I can take the exams.
The problem with my Win2k network arose because the keyboard area of one machine, the PDC, failed when I had switched off the machine gracefully, and then, a little while later restarted. Or, rather, never restarted. I have a BDC that can never be more than alone, with all kinds of strange things happening over the network, concerning "incorrect name errors" and other things. I have installed another domain name for my LAN, and the old BDC can read some machines and not others, even if it has the old Active Directory domain name. However, even though I placed the old, working hard drives in a newer machine, I could never recreate the old PDC. I had to reinstall, and hence the ongoing problems with the BDC. This machine has programmes that I do not want to have to reinstall, such as Exchange and SQL. And, I have searched all over the Microsoft and other sites to try to cure this AD fracas. To no avail.
My view is that comments about separating, to some degree the OS from the application Medusas would work, or that the repair function should include an option to allow changes to the registry following the replacement of failed parts. What is wrong with an idea like that? After all, one can replace parts on cars, however complicated they are, including the computers they have included as a necessity.
On another tack, perhaps cars should have more powerful computers after having watched the SUV in front of me today drive straight through a red light, and, when I caught up with the vehicle, it had stopped in the middle of a junction on a green light. I nearly hit it in my astonishment! Freedom with another name?

Actually with a spelling correction here, since I was in such a hurry before. The problem was also placed on Mark Minasi's Forum pages, as mentioned below, again with no real help in the answers. What really upset me is that trying all of the purported solutions on Microsoft Support, I found several that referred to a dead system. What the instructions told one was to attempt a connection, through the command line, to the dead system. Surprised that it failed, are we? Hardly, but did anyone that wrote this nonsense load of advice actually try to do what it said?

September 14th: What to do now? My job at Doucet's Moving & Storage, where I am the eldest, but arguably the best worker that they have (had) is in jeopardy, just because my back has a different problem than I had before. Now, sitting down produces agonising pain, following an injury developed on a job at the end of August. 

To return to computing: I downloaded all of the Microsoft security patches onto the machine I am using for Internet access, now that Cornwall has no icons. So, Oxford's IE refused to work properly thereafter, not saving settings, nor being able to send emails to friends from websites. Cured this by using the repair function in Add or Remove Programs, but I don't know whether that has removed the security features. No doubt will find out somehow. Also, the Office Network page on this site needs to be rewritten, now that it hardly relates to what has happened in my life.

September 18th: No improvement physically, compounded by the tardiness of the WSIB, which has, as its second letter, the word Safety, implicitly meaning safety for workers. But, a different matter for my network. After a lot of work, the machines are all working well, with the necessary updates for security purposes. There are now three AD servers, and that will be attended to for disaster reasons by allocating master rôles between them. All machines are now on a new AD domain for the network. Programmes that I needed were on Cornwall, the machine that had the non-working mattoid.lan BDC. Now, it is not even an AD server. I have restored the desktop and the programmes by copying from the original installation's profiles. I had to reinstall Office XP, but that has now been updated to SR-2 status, and what a relief. Not everything works properly, but it is at least a start.

September 21st: I have almost finished making my computer, Cornwall, work as it had in the past, before it became upset. I have changed it from an Active Directory BDC to an ordinary Windows 2000 SP4 Server, if that were common. According to Symantec, it is not a computer that one finds in a home/business network. Rot, say I.

Now this: the new Microsoft OS virus problem: an email from NetNation about it (and if you have no hosting company that has this kind of protection for its clients, get one):

Our virus checker found the W32/Swen.A@mm virus in an email sent to you from: rickmans@exorcizing.demon.co.uk
Delivery of the email was stopped! No action is required on your part. For your reference, here are headers from the email:

------------------------- BEGIN HEADERS -----------------------------

Return-Path: <<rickmans@exorcizing.demon.co.uk >>
Received: from [] (helo=anchor-post-31.mail.demon.net) by slammer.netnation.com with esmtp (Exim 4.23) id 1A12xh-0001rY-V8 for paul@mattoid.com ; Sun, 21 Sep 2003 05:05:10 -0700
Received: from exorcizing.demon.co.uk ([] helo=flhmfae) by anchor-post-31.mail.demon.net with smtp (Exim 3.35 #1) id 1A12xI-000Als-0V; Sun, 21 Sep 2003 13:04:44 +0100
FROM: "MS Corporation Technical Bulletin" <sgikacim@updates_ms.com> TO: "Commercial Client" <zdiu.piwgont@updates_ms.com>
SUBJECT: Current Network Critical Patch Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="bikikukynct" Message-Id: <E1A12xI-000Als-0V@anchor-post-31.mail.demon.net>
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 13:04:44 +0100

-------------------------- END HEADERS ------------------------------

November 8th: The problem with my physical health might soon improve, and that will enable me to search for a job that would better suit me. The problems with Doucet's have come to a head, after my second job related injury of this year. Read about my experiences here. Of course, I shall, when money arrives, promptly download Debian Woody which will work on my HP PA-RISC machine, and rent or find a SCS-2 external CD-ROM. Then to find a second NIC for the pizza box case and off we go to research networking with heterogeneous operating systems.

back to the top

Atlantis to Orbit (the image below)
Credit: NASA

Explanation: Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description. Pictured above, the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off to visit the International Space Station during the early morning hours of July 12. From a standing start, the two million kilogram rocket ship left to circle the Earth where the outside air is too thin to breathe and where there is little noticeable onboard gravity. Rockets bound for space are now launched from somewhere on Earth about once a week.