Last entry for April. This log has been a good exercise so far, and I’m going to continue writing in it. We got back from Brian’s wedding last night at about 7:30; we both had a great time. My stomach decided it wasn’t happy on Saturday night and I was up with the Genny Screamers until 4am or so; that and sleeping on the couch so I wouldn’t wake everybody up really put a hurt on my body. My neck is still aching from Mom and Dad’s cratered guest bed, a night on the the couch, and my return to my own pillows. I do have to say, though, it’s great to have a solid 8 hours’ sleep behind me- I feel awake and alive. I think I’m going to put a moratorium on staying awake past 11:30 this week to see how well I perform at work on 7 hours’ sleep.
I’m out of vacation time and out of sick leave, I think. I probably have 4 hours’ sick time and maybe 4 of vacation with this new pay period. sigh. Mom was telling me everybody got some great porch time on Sunday after we left- that made me jealous and sad that I don’t live closer to them.
For some reason, I’m feeling a little nostalgic for playing Marathon. In 1996, I had just bought my first computer, a Mac IIcx, and I worked at Hopkins in a window office over the Harbor; they had e-mail but only internally; I bought an AOL account and used it on their 9600K modem. I got the demo on a CD from MacUser and installed it on the office 840av; the first day I played it it scared the shit out of me and hooked me completely. I played it constantly for the next 6 months. All I wanted was somebody to play with me- you could network it up and play on a LAN; I worked with a bunch of 40-year-old sociologists and lifer Hopkins drones. My cx would only play it at the lowest settings and with 256 colors; I had to devote all system resources to play it at anything near a decent speed. I had Hopkins buy me a Supra 28.8 modem and would spend hours in my office downloading maps for the game; then I’d stay at work for 2 hours or until dark playing each one.
In the early days of ’98, I had a job at an Internet design firm with a T1 and spent hours at a now-deceased site called the Marathon Hyper-Archive where this guy had collected all the maps people had created. I was able to get about 65% of the maps for all the different iterations of the games Bungie created, and archived them on CD. I figure it’s fun to go back and play the games every couple of years- sort of like busting out the Intellivision or the Atari 2600 for an afternoon of beers and Space Invaders.
Last night I set up the SMC router and got my 8500 and the laptop out to the internet; if I had known it would be that easy, I would have bought the damn router a year ago! What an easy setup. I mistakenly installed VirtualPC on the 8500 thinking I was going to have to install some PC software onto the machine, or at least a set of web pages with the information to connect to the router. After installing VPC 3.0/Win 98, and realizing it only worked with G3’s and above, I installed 2.1 and the updater, and then accessed the pages on the router- the machine itself has a series of pages you access by using the localhost DNS. What a snap! After plugging in the appropriate login and password, I was online in about 10 minutes.
Now I have to get the NT box up with DHCP and then the MKLinux box as well- that one should be the true test. i did find some great links though, that will hopefully make it easier- if I have to do the whole makefile runaround, I’m going to just bite the bullet and chance reinstalling the OS right over top of the old, and hope I can get the server running again. Or, I’ll figure out how to assign it a static IP in that internal range- I might do that for all the machines, if it’s easy enough.
One thing that might be cool is to set up the 8500 to automatically cycle on at about 7am and go right to the news page, or maybe bring up Outlook Express to check mail. Then it would shut itself down at 8, after I’ve gone for the train.
Now I’m wondering what will be better to do- set up the 8500 as a server or the NT box; the cool thing is it doesn’t really matter because any machine on the router can access and edit the config pages! The NT server will definitely need a static IP if I’m going to be using it as an AppleShare server; I think I could see it as a volume if I just put it on the router through DHCP, but I’m not sure about that.
- Press chinos and white dress shirt.
- Network/Continue loading/installing software on Jen’s 8100
- Check into static IPs with the SMC router & assign one to the NT box/Linux box…?
- Make sure the printing services (LaserWriter Bridge) still work on the 8500
- Get the scanner/zip hooked up and working on the 8500
- Look into printer services For Macintosh on the NT box when it’s configured.
- Laundry/packing for the weekend
1:44 PM. I just found out my old company, Cidera, just laid off an additional 50 people. I’m trying to get some more details from my friend Brad, who gave me the heads-up.
2:24 PM. Listening to Daft Punk/Homework. Who would have thought that a couple of Frogs could create some good electronica?
Ideas for the log pages:
- Set up the calendar control as a server-side include.
- Add Logan’s, Tims, Matt’s, and other friends’ sites.
I continued shopping with Jen last night for dresses for a weddin’ in Texas. We were able to find two very beautiful dresses in what I’m told is a sheath style, very inexpensively, with a sexy pair of shoes. I know how hard it is to find the right outfit, and we did it (with a backup) in about 2 hours last night. Plus, I found a groovy pair of nubuck saddle shoes and nice German-made steak knives. I like Marshall’s a LOT.
On the train ride home yesterday I was able to get the layout for the May log together; I cribbed form a design I saw yesterday, but altered it and made it work for me. I like it, and I’m excited to use a font style other than Verdana- I dislike serifed fonts in HTML (Times New Roman,) but I think this layout lends itself to Georgia well. Note: use Clarendon…
Quote of the Day: “There were too many of us, we had access to many-too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane.”
UNKLE, ‘Main Title Theme’
- Check out/press the green suit and white dress shirt.
- Install VirtualPC on the 8500 –> load the SMC software –> configure the router –> bring up the NT box and set it up for access –> get the laptop configured
- Continue loading/installing software on Jen’s 8100
- Laundry/packing for the weekend
I started playing with AvantGo, the Palm software, this afternoon, after reading about them on News.com. It’s pretty cool, and the software works really well. I have a Palm IIIxe, and I’ve been using about 0.0005 of the available 8MB of memory. What it does is load a fresh copy of channel info onto your Palm every time you HotSync- mostly webpages from places like CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and others. Then you can take it with you and (providing your batteries are good) read the daily news while waiting on the train.
Unfortunately they just laid off 50 people in order to remain competitive. Sorry, folks. They should have charged for the service (shhh) and created a better business plan for themselves.
Dangit. left my coffee sitting on the table at home this morning. I have a thirsty taste in my mouth, and wanting my homebrewed coffee is making it worse.
Riding the train could be a lot worse in the morning; today the sun is peeking out through the clouds like a flashlight through linen. it’s warm but not hot; sleeping last night we only needed a sheet and later on, a blanket. I passed the Laurel racetrack a minute ago, and there are beautiful horses being warmed up through the light fog across the infield. Hard to believe I worked in this town for a year and never got to see a race.
From the Washington Post this morning: A story about PSINet, the hosting company who bought the rights to name the Ravens stadium in Baltimore (The town I live and pay taxes in) and who still owes something like 78 million over the next 18 years to keep it. Well, they just announced they’re getting delisted from Nasdaq. Oh, and they also lost 3.2 billion dollars last quarter. Yeah, billion with a ‘B’.
Message for Pique the cat: Come back, stupid. There’s no food out there. You have been neutered. You can’t do the nasty with no nuts.
Wrigley’s Spearmint gum loses its flavor after five minutes. You have been warned.
Just slowed my breathing down to a normal pace, after running for the train. I had to ditch my coffee on the floor of the car. Not again. I can’t keep dealing with late nights. I get to sleep at 12:30 and that means I have a grand total of about 6 hours’ sleep in the morning. I don’t like being at work after three days and 18 hours of sleep.
Jen’s neighbor gave her his old Mac after upgrading his model; it’s an 8100/80, a venerable machine, and it comes with a quick hard drive, modem, Zip drive, and a Deskwriter 550c. I installed a fresh copy of System 8 on it last night, and I need to upgrade that to 8.1 with new modem and printer software.
From the Los Angeles Times this morning: Today’s sign that it could have been worse:
“In Menlo Park, home to billion-dollar venture capital firms, new faces are appearing at a state unemployment and training office. “We’re getting a few PhDs and MBAs coming through the door,” said Arlene Borg, a local official of the state Employment Development Department. “There are some marketing folks who were making $120,000,” some of whom are stunned when they learn the maximum unemployment compensation is $230 a week.”
No kidding, guys. Didn’t they teach you in Business School that the first people to get laid off in a downturn are the marketing staff? Makes me glad I went to an art school where they taught you how to eat PB&J and Ramen on $20 a week.
OK, and how frightening would it be to have to visit a government official named ‘Borg’? Imagine somebody named ‘Borg’ at the MVA…
I have to say, it is still blowing my mind how stupid some of the people out in Silicon Valley were with the whole Internet boom. Sure it was a great ride, but did they really think they had ten years to blow through venture capital and become profitable? And I think of all the jackasses over here on the East coast living like they thought it was the West coast. I had a VP who told me a high-powered business exec friend of his called in a bomb threat to a departing airplane they were late for, just so they could make the last flight out of town. He thought that was so cool. What an asshole. I can understand people being rockstars over on the West coast about a year ago, but to work in Laurel, MD and act like you just got back from delivering the keynote at SXSW every day is foolish.
Just got the SMC unit I was talking about a few days ago. Looks good! If I have time, I’m going to try it out tonight- pull the 3Com hub in the office and drop this in its’ place. We’ll see how easy it is to hook up…
OK, now I’m thinking seriously about this motorcycle thing. Some ideas:
- I pay $104/mo for a train ticket to and from Savage, 30 minutes from my house.
- The Penn line runs up until 7:50pm mon-fri.
- The average time, door-to-door, from my house to the office, is 1 hr. 30 min.
- Jason S has a 440 cc. Kawasaki sitting in a barn somewhere, which did run but hasn’t in a few years. He’s willing to give it to me to get rid of it. He says it needs some clutch work, a carb cleaning and probably a new tank or filter.
- The type of bike I’d buy would be a standard bike, meaning not a rice-burner sport bike, not a Harley, and not a 5,000-lb. touring bike. Small, lightweight, and cheap.
- Motorcycles are pretty good on gas mileage.
- There is FREE motorcycle parking across the street from the office. FREE.
- I could die.
- I don’t know how to drive a motorcycle.
- I could die.
- I’d need to lay out about $1,000 to get it running, registered, and insured.
- That would make a grand total of three vehicles in the fleet.
- There is the strong possibility that the commute could take the same amount of time.
Here is a great overview of PPPoE from Vicomsoft. I also found a site where the guy reviews different networking hardware, with a home-user background. This is actually a troubleshooting page for the Linksys router I’m thinking of buying.
OK, after reading the information on the practicallynetworked site, I decided to go with a different machine- an SMC unit. The SMC is an 8-port switch, autosensing 10/100, and has the additional features of being a windows print server and port mapping. The reasoning is that instead of the DSL modem, a $100 router, then a hub, I’d cut out the hub and get a better deal- an 8-port switch in its place; plus I can share the Laserjet out if I put it on the NT server. I ordered it today from an outfit called Computers4sure.com for $155.
Last night I flattened the 8500, which was running LinuxPPC, and re-initialized the hard drive. It’s now got a fresh install of OS9 running on the 270-MB secondary drive, which used to be Beta. I’m setting it up as the scanner/printer/internet/zip station, so that Jen can work on her portfolio and hopefully start learning some Dreamweaver and HTML. The decision was a hard one, but made easier by the fact that the 7100 still runs strong and smooth with a 3-year-old install of MKLinux and Apache 3.1. At some point I’ll retire that one and get the 8500 running better (never was able to get Apache configured properly with LinuxPPC) but until then (or such time as I get OS X running smooth on the laptop) we’ll keep it like that.
The proliferation of cables and wiring under the desk is bugging me again too. Looking to clean up and clear out a lot of the junk under there, and looking forward to getting rid of a lot of hardware when I put the closet in downstairs.
Thinking about the Linksys router last night, I realized two things:
- I have no idea how to configure Linux, let alone Win NT, for DHCP. Win NT I can figure out but Linux is a whole other animal. And considering how much I love fooling with Apache, I don’t want to lose the 7100. –> I found some limited help on the subject from this site, but it looks to be another contrived, oblique, screwed-up half-documented Linux way of screwing up your computer. I’m going to buy the router anyway, but I might have to reinstall MKLinux over again, based on what I’ve found here and there from different sources, most of which say “Use the Red Hat installer- it’s the easiest.” Thanks.
- I’m not sure how the router and DSL modem interact- how the modem is told to get a signal. Does a machine behind the router initiate a session through the router, or is the router making the connection? –> From what the documentation says, it’s a configuration through a web page interface with the router; the router acts as the PPoet software and supplies a login and password.
I can’t figure out how they have it set up. Back to the howto today, I think. If there’s a clean clear explanation, and providing I find some easy documentation for configuring DHCP with Linux, I’ll buy that router today.
Meanwhile, OS X keeps pissing me off. I got the latest version of Apache, downloaded it, and installed it via some instructions I found on StepWise. When I started up the service, it failed, claiming it couldn’t write to the sys/log/ file. Apple decided not to make an application which would start and stop services (or at least not make it readily apparent) so I can’t tell if it’s running or not. I’m gonna try rebooting into OS X and re-starting the process today, and see if it works. If not…?
As for the house, my checklist is as follows:
- Tear out the nasty wood covering the drain pipe
- Finish mudding and sanding the ceilings throughout.
- Fill the crack in the wall with foam –>Buy foam
- Clear and vacuum the basement floor behind the stairs
- Paint the floor behind the stairs –> Buy floor paint(Last thing for the weekend. –> Let it dry during the day with a fan pointed out the front window.)
- Tape off all the ductwork, machinery and stuff left downstairs
- Ready the whole thing for painting.
- One or two coats of Kilz
- One or two coats of Latex white.
Some poor girl in some small town got suspended from school for using sign language on the bus. The school authorities thought it was a ‘safety hazard’. Let me just ask this: What the hell is up with people in this stupid country? doesn’t anybody have a lick of common sense? I think this whole society is headed right into the toilet.
A final rant, and this is directed at Apple: You’d better hurry up and get the documentation for OS X wired tighter than a drum, and make people interested and excited about something. yeah, it’s a cool idea. Yeah, it will be fast/stable/neato. Big deal. I still have absolutely no reason to run it, I have no idea how to install simple programs for it, and any documentation written by anybody for anything close to a UNIX program is a piece of junk. Apache, one of the only reasons I would ever use UNIX, suffers from horrible documentation, an arcane and confusing download/installation/configuration process, and cryptic error messages. My suggestions:
- Document Document Document. Make it easy, or we’re all gonna give up on it.
- Make a simple installer for everything. be different. Think different. Come up with a way of zipping up a UNIX/LINUX install into a simple 1-file package with a clean interface and check buttons, just like InstallerVISE. Or else you’re dead in the water. And stay away from the Windows/UNIX hard-on with installing 150 files for one program. Go back to the days of 1993 when Photoshop installed with 20 files, not 200.
- Give me a good reason to be happy it’s Mach.
- Make it faster.
- Make the thing less of a battery pig. OS X drains my battery in about 30 minutes.
- If the UNIX kernel is supposed to be so much smaller, better, faster, blah blah, why is is so freakin’ huge? Why are all the buttons pulsing? Do i care about that? Why is the Dock such a big deal? I don’t give a crap about that. make the processes easier to use. Make the applications easier to find. make the interface BETTER, not prettier. OS 9.1 is great simply because it’s had 10 years to mature and grow into a clean, efficient workspace. You just threw that in the toilet. Bad move.
I just found out Triumph is making motorcycles again. Call me stupid, call me an idiot, but I would love a brand-new Bonneville.
Last night Jen and I saw the Old 97’s up in Towson at a great little club called the Recher Theatre. The show was really great- a lot of rockabilly through a punk/country filter. Jen and I decided the guitarist was an engineer in disguise, the lead singer was channeling Paul Westerberg and the bassist was taking cues from Paul Weller and Ringo all at the same time. A rollicking good show.
I was telling her last night how long it’s been since I’ve seen live music. It’s been, honestly, about a year or so since I paid to see music; Rich B. and I saw a great 40’s swing/lounge band up in Philly last year, and before that it was probably about a year- most likely the Scofflaws the night before Matt and Sophie left for San Francisco.
Today is blustery and cold, and last night leaving the theater it was actually sleeting. What the hell? It’s frickin’ April here, man!
No progress on the house in about 4 weeks. I’m getting very very antsy. I want this stuff done. Jen and I usually sleep in till about 11 or so on the weekends, but I think I need to do a few early mornings and get this thing rolling again. I can’t be worrying about it in the middle of June- I want it done now.
Today’s sign that it could have been much worse.
I found a really cool product online today that for $100 is going to make my internal network work a whole lot better. It’s a Linksys Cable/DSL router, and it should share out my DSL connection via DHCP to all the other machines on my network through my 12-port hub. I’m looking at this as a much easier solution, because originally I was going to attempt installing Dialup services on my NT box for the DSL modem, then installing another NIC card and then attempting to serve out the IPs from that machine. If the router is the DHCP server, that cuts out about 2 months and $200 of problems. So I’ll have, when all is said and done, wired up in the basement:
Phone line –> DSL Modem –> Cable/DSL Router –> SMC hub –> Ethernet through the whole house.
With the hub doing the work for now, I should be able to utilize every jack in the house as DHCP connections. Plus the router acts as a pseudo-firewall; I can’t add any other software, but nobody can get in, if I read the documentation right. I may splurge this week and just buy the damn thing to get it up and running up in the office while I get the rest of the wiring completed in the basement. That way I could actually start using my NT box for surfing the internet alongside the Mac.
So much for my attempted ban on spending this month.
This rain is getting old. Especially after traveling north this weekend up into New York and sunshine for almost the whole weekend. The whole Mid-Atlantic region has been underwater for the last few weeks, and it’s getting pretty annoying. I want warm weather, sunshine, and fresh air.
Jen and I went to the parents’ for Easter, and had a fantastic time; it was a great introduction to the family for her. Every time I go up there, I find something new and interesting to look at. This time Jen and I explored the house next door, which has been abandoned since the 60’s and is slowly falling apart. We couldn’t get inside, but we peeked through the windows; it’s a huge old mansion and is full of ornate woodwork, tall ceilings, and hardwood floors. The barn up in back is a treasure-hunter’s dream- lots of old stuff piled in there and waiting for somebody to pull it out and clean it up. Dad is happy with his new workbench down in the basement and a whole table full of sprouting seeds- he has a whole selection of vegetables, herbs, and flowers he’s planting for the summer. It’s great to see him gardening again. If I can swing it, I’m going to try to flex-time in two weeks for Uncle Brian and Jill’s wedding, which unfortunately is on a Friday. That promises to be a good time, and I’d like not to miss it.
Today’s sign that it could have been much worse.
The hardtop is off the Scout and safely stored away in the basement; the soft top is back on and the doors close much better now, strangely enough. I need to get the new windshield fixed up and put on her so I’m not worried about that falling off or falling on me as I drive. I’m going to bring her down to Erick’s for some window work as well as some gentle prodding to see if he can do some bodywork on her. She ran great the whole way up and back, and kept us safe and dry the whole way home.
Joey Ramone is dead. Vaya con dios.