Warrior Of Light
fighting the good fight   [and slacking off occasionally] RAMBLINGS - 2001
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  2001.11.07
Greetings fellow adventurers! It appears that I have gotten too busy or too lazy in the last couple of weeks, so please accept my apologies. One of the books that I'm reading, "Expecting Father," has a suggestion to blame anything that you didn't do or don't want to do on the pregnancy or the baby. I think I will use that excuse now :-)

  quote
Instead of a quote, here is a link to a text file, named "Cow politics." Some day I may actually turn it into a webpage, but not today. I copied it from a discussion on one of Ars Technica's forums. The guy that posted it said that one of their professors used this text to teach the basics of politics. I think it covers it pretty well!

  job
In my free time I've been perfecting my "ultimate bootdisk" and I was able to improve a few things. While trying to figure out how to make it work with either frame type, Ethernet 802.2 and 802.3, I discovered that the NIC was smart enough to figure out the frame type and bind it to itself, without NET.CFG! So that saved me quite a bit of work.

  linux
For now I'm kind of stuck trying to figure out how LILO works. It got me pretty frustrated, so I switched my efforts elsewhere. I should be getting back to it sometime soon. I was also hoping to setup one of HP E60 servers that we purchased for Linux (so I could try some of the more CPU-hungry apps on it) but after I installed Linux on it, they were sold to some school sites. Oh well, I guess I will have to build one out of some donated PCs...

  PCs
I am building a computer for one of my customers, that will be used as a low-end audio editing station. I'm kind of curious to see if my Dolby-Digital receiver works. So far even though I connected 4 speakers to it and used the Digital-out from my sound card, I still wasn't able to get the sound out of all 4 speakers. I was wondering if it was the sound card, so this will be a good opportunity to really figure it out.
  2001.10.19
Hail to you warriors! For some reason I thought that yesterday was Wednesday, so I didn't post an update last night, so here it is tonight. Before I bore most of you to death with all the geeky stuff, let me cover a few normal things. After cutting out almost all the sweets out of my diet, imagine my frustration a few months later that I still gained weight! Argh! I think I will have to start exercising more, there is no way out of it I guess...

  job
Our manager at work decided to upgrade memory on our servers and possibly our workstations and assigned the project to me. After some research and price shopping, I came up with about $11,000 worth of RAM. Keep in mind that we will be upgrading over 100 servers. After contacting Crucial.com they gave us a special discount which brought the price below $9,000! As you can imagine, now we are all pretty anxious to get some more RAM for our servers and PCs.

  PCs
For a while I have been trying to create a "perfect" boot floppy, with network drivers and utilities. So far I just created a couple of them, one with drivers and one with utilities. However this week I had a little time between various projects at work and finally created one that is as close as it can get to a "perfect" disk, considering that all we have to work with is 1.44MB.

Taking an idea from Micro$oft and their EBD (Emergency Boot Disk) and Linux boot floppies, I decided that RAMDrive is the way to go. You can compress all the utilities and drivers into one file, saving a lot of room and keep just a few files uncompressed (RAMDrive, configuration files, OS shell and an uncompressing utility.)

There were a couple of the problems that I ran into. First, if I was to compress the drivers, I would have to know what drive letter RAMDrive would use, but considering that some PCs don't have CD-ROMs, or have multiple hard drives and partitions, there was no way for me to guess which drive it would be. So I was forced to keep the drivers uncompressed. With uncompressed drivers I really didn't have much room for anything else, so I had to give up the idea.

That's when I stumbled across Micro$oft's EBD. Reading their batch files, I found out that they created a little utility that would find what drive letter RAMDrive was assigned and in turn assign that value to a variable, using the variable as part of the path to the drivers. Great idea! So I shamelessly copied that utility and part of their code to my disk :-)

Next problem was finding a small DOS uncompressing utility. The only one that would work in DOS that I knew of was PKUnzip, however that utility itself was taking over 200KB, that's a lot of space on a small floppy! By some chance I found a different utility, Ace. The UnAce utility was less than 40KB and Ace itself could compress files better than any of the *Zip utilities.

After some work on the disk I was able to fit all the Ethernet NIC, Token Ring NIC and IDE CD-ROM drivers that I wanted, ATTRIB, EDIT, FDISK, FORMAT, SYS, Norton Disk Doctor and just about anything else I could think of! All that stuff that normally would take almost 2MB was compressed down to 750KB and with a 40KB uncomression utility I finally have my "perfect" utility floppy!

Considering that most PCs these days come with CD-ROMs, my next project is to create a "perfect" bootable utility CD. I am still considering whether to post that bootable floppy on my website or not. As much as I want to share it with you guys, Norton Disk Doctor and Ace are both commercial products and I don't want to be considered a software pirate. Maybe I will post everything but those two utilities. It won't work without Ace, that you will just have to get on your own and put on that disk but you can survive without NDD.
  2001.10.12
Greetings to all! A lot of things happened in the last few months and I am finally getting back to these pages. Considering that we have a baby on the way that will arrive in less than two months, I can' t promise that the updates will be as frequent as the were before this brake, but I will try to keep up with the old schedule, so you can check back every Friday!

Sadly I will have to remove the message board from this site for a while. The server that I had it on wasn't very reliable and some things didn't seem to work, plus there wasn't much interest. When you guys feel that you want a message board to speak your mind about the things on this site, let me know and I will put it on a more reliable server and will make it work better.

  quote
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
  job
I am still working at the same position, in the same place and enjoy it most of the time. Troubleshooting network and server problems, building new servers and fixing older ones and learning new technologies is exciting! In between projects and emergencies I even get to pick my own things to learn - Linux, Samba, Spectrum (a network management software) and other fun stuff. By the way, congratulations go to Bert for getting his CNE! It's a lot of work and he got it pretty quickly.

  PCs
My Matrox G400 MAX started showing some signs of aging, especially in the new games, so I replaced it with a GeForce 2 GTS, 64MB DDR. That turned in to a major project, suddenly my network card started having problems, so I replaced it with a different one and switched the slots, to make them stop sharing IRQs. Then I had to reinstall the client and after all that work I ended up reinstalling my games Windows (98.)

Well, imagine my surprise when after all that, I still couldn't get my client to work! I am at a total loss for now, good thing my Windows 2000 still works and I can just use that to get any files that I need from and to my server. The dual-head feature on the G400 was very nice, but only until I found out that in Win 2000 it didn't give me as many features as in Win 98, so I ended up just putting in a 2nd video card, for my other monitor.

  linux
There is a lot to say about all the things I've been doing with Linux, but I will save most of it for another update. Basically I got Samba to work and was able to use my files on it from Win 2000 and Win 98. I also figured out how to get software RAID to work and built my own kernel. I even installed Counter-Strike server on it, but there are some problems with that still.

  games
Lately I've been playing "Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal", "Diablo II:Lord of Destruction" and my very latest one is "Fallout Tactics:Brotherhood of Steel". As you can tell it's mostly role-playing games, once in a while I play Worms and Counter-Strike. If you are playing any of them, let me know and we may be able to play together sometime.
  2001.06.04
Sorry for the lack of updates. Please be patient with me while I'm regrouping. Thanks.
  2001.05.18
Hello all! It's been somewhat of a busy week for me. Work in the backyard, a couple of customers in addition to my daily job. It was nice to get back into the swing of things since my whole schedule was kind of messed up for the last couple of weeks or so. Less games and more work now. By the way, there is a short update in the Campfire section.
  job
My new position is a lot of fun. It is more challenging, makes me think a lot more but sure beats having to do the same stuff all the time ["Ah, my computer won't respond, it's frozen, what do I do?" "Have you tried restarting?" "No." "Well, give it a try, it helps sometimes." "OK... hey it worked!" :-]

  PCs
On Tuesday I had to setup a new Win2000 workstation for a friend with two 18GB Cheetahs in striped RAID configuration. Talking about fast! It's a dual Pentium III 450 with three 128MB sticks in it [too tired to figure out what the total is :-] He bought it on ebay for about $600. Not a bad price for it. In addition to the 2 CPUs, it came with 128MB of RAM, four 9GB SCSI hard drives and a UltraSCSI RAID card. That's a steal! Anyway, it was fun setting it up.

  linux
At work we decided to get rid of all our NetWare 3 servers and that project was assigned to me. While moving files from one to the other, I had some time to setup a small Linux server. I used an old Pentium 200, 64MB RAM and three hard drives, one 2.1GB and two 1.7GB. I messed up a bit and didn't create a swap partition so I was forced to do that afterwards. While repartitioning, I decided to kill my /home partition and create swap in it's place and then recreate /home on one of the other drives.

Well, that turned out to be an "oops!" :-] After OS rebooted, I got a lot of error messages about partitions not being setup correctly and was forced to login as root [as supervisor.] That wasn't all that bad, until I found out my volumes were mounted read-only and I couldn't edit any config files! On top of that, my emergency floppies that I created would not work, PC just wouldn't boot!

After doing a little research on LinuxNewbie.org I figured out how to finish setting up my new swap and /home partitions. However, I still had to edit those config files! Then I remembered that when you boot, you are presented with LILO: prompt where you can type which configuration you want to boot, and it is possible to have a configuration saved on a floppy and specify that that is what you want to use.

After I booted and got to the LILO: prompt, I typed something just to get some response. Response gave me a list of available commands and after using one of them, it booted, made me login as root and gave me the same errors. However, after the errors I was told that the / partition was mounted as read-only and gave me more info on what to type to mount it read-write.

After that it was just a matter of editing fstab file [FileSystemTABle] to tell it where to mount what. Next step is to setup SAMBA and copy some of my files to it to see how well it will work. We will start out with some MP3s and if all goes well, we may convert it into our IS dept. MP3 server :-] We will have to limit disk space for Steve though, with his Beatles and BeeGees :-]
  2001.05.13
Greetings brave warriors! My apologies for being a little late with the update... I don't really have much of an excuse other than being tired from work and then being busy with stuff around the house and all. On Saturday we had a good time with Chuda and Mark just working in the backyard, getting rid of the weeds and cleaning up our patios. Sometimes even simple things can be fun, company you keep will determine that most of the time.

  quote
I found this quote some time ago and can't agree with it more. Sometimes we use too many words, when all that is needed is a good example...
"Preach the gospel everyday; if necessary, use words."
  job
Last week I was out at my sites again, by now I already told most of them that I will be leaving them and that next time I will just introduce the new guy to them and might not see some of them for a while after that. I will miss some of them, we've had some funny moments together at times. I'm looking forward to switching to the network side 100%, there are a lot of projects to be done and it is finally fun again to go to work on Monday.

Work is a big part of our lives, make sure you do what brings you enjoyment, otherwise you are wasting almost half of your life. My apologies to those that have to struggle through their current job while searching for something that will challenge them and be fun, it may take time and if you don't like what you do, even a little time may seem like an eternity. I was reminded of that after learning that one of my cousins quit her job and started working in a different field after paying $15,000 for a college education in a field that she found out she doesn't like. That's a big "ouch!" Good luck with your new endeavor.

  PCs
Last week I helped one of my other cousins buy a new PC. They wanted a good brand name PC from a store so they ended up getting a Sony VAIO, Pentium 4 1.3GHz, 60GB, GeForce MX and a 19" flat screen Sony monitor [don't confuse it with a flat screen LCD, it's not it.] Anyway, it's a very nice PC, but just proved me again that the best PC is the one you build yourself or have someone build it for you. I would have gone with a PIII or an Athlon 1-1.2 GHz but would get a GeForce 2 GTS or even GeForce 3 and 512MB of SDRAM instead of 128MB of Rambus. Unless you go with the next best thing, Alienware.

This week I have a few customers, one of them I will be installing a RAID and Win2000Pro on a friends workstation. Should be fun! I will also have to figure out how to stream some Windows Media files from our church's website. Will be interesting to figure out what the requirements really are for that [how fast of a connection we really need to stream a few files simultaneously.] We will try running it from a server that's on a fractional T1.
  2001.05.04
[update] As promised, there is an update in the Campfire section. Go check it out and let me know what you think in the forum.

Hail all! It's been a pretty busy week and I am glad it's coming to an end. I finally found an inexpensive Dolby Digital receiver on ebay.com to connect to my computer and some speakers I bought a while ago and I am very anxious to see how it will sound. It's a JVC-6000V. If I am correct, those Klipsch ProMidea PC speakers will be green with envy, first because it will be 100x5 watts and second because the whole thing cost me about half their price. Oh yeah, I also started my new job this week...

  job
I officially started working for the "Network Side" of our IS department and so far I like it quite a bit. I have more time to think and plan things instead of always rushing to put out fires. Here I can actually start the fires :-] Monday was very busy, we had no time for lunch even. It is frustrating how such a little thing as a cable not plugged in to a network card [NIC] correctly, can cause so much trouble on the whole network.

It becomes even more stressful when the network is big and there are many other variables, plus it was our payroll dept. After we found the problem, the same thing started happening again on Tuesday! This time it took us a little less time, since we tested a lot of the connections just the day before. And the problem was caused by a bad connection again! You just have to love Token-Ring...

The rest of the week went a little better, we had a little time to discuss current and future projects and get some of them out of the way. While waiting for remote servers to respond, I had some time to cleanup some driver files on our servers and standardize everyones network access times. Next week I still have to go to my sites, then they will have interviews for my position around 18th and after that I just have to show the new guy/gal around one more time and we are done. I can fully focus on my new job.

  PCs
Now that I will have a little more time to do some projects, we may be able to work on Linux some more. When we were at Compaq, there was an interesting presentation of a device that allows you to limit network traffic depending on the application that causes it [you could actually make sure that some of your apps get no less than x.Mb of bandwidth [email and payroll apps] and that others get no more than xMb [Napster, etc.]

The device was somewhat expensive, but as usual it was an embedded Linux box. I don't know if the app that limits the traffic is available for free or not, but if it is, it should be a lot of fun getting it to work. However, before we get into such deep things, I think I will work on getting Samba to work and getting used to the OS some more.

Sadly I am running out of time, but come back on Monday and I should have an update in the Campfire section. Hope you have a nice Friday and a great weekend!
  2001.04.27
Greetings fellow warriors! A few great things happened lately. First of all, I'm going to be a Dad! It is truly an amazing feeling... It is so big that I just can't comprehend it fully, it kind of grows bigger and bigger every day. This is truly a great blessing for us and with it came a smaller one, Chuda now craves pizza! How much better can it get? :-)

  job
Well, if you remember from my previous posts I applied for a network tech position. On Monday it was announced that I got it! That was a great news, considering that I had to compete with a few very good techs. Now I'm actually looking forward to going to work again. Thanks all of you guys that were rooting for me, it is very much appreciated!

Chuda went to Texas to visit her sister Jennifer and to ride some horses. Now Anton has to assume her job of waking me up every morning :-) Our trip to LA went pretty well, I got to finally meet Chuda's Dad, Jose and her brother James. Now I just have to meet her brother Peter and I will know everyone then. Her Mom is feeling better, not as good as she was before but better than a few weeks ago. James used to be a chef at a Mexican restaurant and now he is staying with her to help her out, so she gets to eat some real gourmet food! Now I want to go visit them for a few day again :-)

Monday and Tuesday night we had Les Bowling teach on leadership at our church. Those were two really good services. I also got some of his teaching on audio tapes, so now I have something to listen to while driving. Because of my illness and my trip to Texas and LA, I also missed a few good services, I will need to check with Gen and get some audio tapes of that.

  PCs
I upgraded Anton's computer and upgraded his case. He's got a very nice case! The case was fairly cheap, $85 with power supply, plus $70 for a black Sony CD-ROM. I wouldn't buy the CD-ROM, but if you are afraid of painting it yourself, it might be worth paying $20 extra. Here is a link to ColorCase.com where he bought it and here is what it looks like.

  site
I started scanning some pictures from a few trips we took, as soon as that is done I will update the Photo Album subsection of About. Reading one of the website building books made me think about just doing the reorg of the site and leave the fancy redesign for later. Reorg will allow me to focus more on the content instead of being delayed by the lack of my design ideas :-) What do you guys think about it?

  games
I got a little tired of Baldur's Gate II so I've been playing Counter-Strike on the [DSLR] server and also playing Diablo II. A lot of times I either play with Mark or Anton and when they are not around, I usually play my hardcore paladin, Prayer-Warrior. If you play DII at all, look me up with "/whois *thinker" on Battle.net. It is fun to play together. My Prayer-Warrior is up to level 14 now. By the way, hardcore means that if you die once, you are really dead. So far I lost my previous character at level 19, then another one at level 12 and sure hope this one will live longer :-)

Browsing the web lately I came across one other great news, Blizzard finally decided to increase DII resolution to at least 800x600! And on top of giving you extra weapons and 2 more characters to play with in the new expansion, the characters will have 2 weapon configurations, so you can switch between then easily. Yes! They actually do come up with good ideas once in a while apparently :-) Now, if only they would make a Starcraft and a Diablo movie, full length, 3D animated... Enjoy your Friday and the weekend, I know I will :-)
  2001.04.22
Sorry for not posting an update earlier. I'm still sick if you can imagine and feel pretty weak. So far I just take some medicine and a lot of naps. If all is well I'll be back to work on Monday and will try to post an update then.
  2001.04.13
Jesus is risen! 'tis the greatest news of all! I have been thinking about my life this week and I was reminded how many great things happened to me after I met Him. He brought purpose, peace and joy and quite a few more tangible things too. Well, not a whole lot happened in the last week but I will update you on what did happen. Thursday and Friday is a Spring break for us so I have really been looking forward to it. But it just had to happen that I got sick! I don't think there was another year in my life when I was sick this often.

  job
First of all, on Wednesday they were interviewing for the Network Specialist position in our department and Bert [a friend of mine] and I were interviewed also. Apparently they can take up to 14 days to make a decision but I sure hope it won't take that long. I am pretty content whether I do get it or not and I honestly wished Bert good luck. I am pretty bored and tired of all the same stuff at work but I'm sure when it's time God will move me to a new place.

  PCs
Not much was happening here either. I built a computer for one of my customers, upgraded my brothers computer and added some more RAM to mine. At work I got a chance to setup DHCP on one of our Novell servers. It was fun and kept me busy for some time. I'm looking forward to going back to work to finish a few more things [for some reason it assigns IP addresses to PCs but doesn't provide them with a default gateway.]

  linux
I haven't really done anything with Linux in the last few weeks. I did read up on FreeBSD and was wondering how different they are. If all is well I may install FreeBSD 4.2 on one of my test boxes in the next few weeks. I will also check with our network guys whether we have NDS for UNIX or not. I do think that NDS is one of the best network directory software out there and I do know that Novell makes a version for every OS practically.

  site
I haven't forgotten the promised redesign, but it is taking longer than I planned. Part of it is having a clear picture of what it will look like and even a bigger part is getting all the content ready. The first part is over 50% done but the second part needs a lot of work. I did read a book that mentioned that it is better to start small and let your visitors grow with the site instead of putting a huge site out there. It made me think and I think I agree with that principle. We will see...

  games
Nothing really new here. Still playing a lot of Baldur's Gate II, some Counter-Strike and some Diablo 2. D2 became more enjoyable when we played together with Mark and Anton, not so boring. Playing hardcore [where you get only one life, when you die, you really die] made it even more fun, but then Mark died and we had to start new characters, this time just regular. I've been playing with Amazon and I think I like it. A lot of shoot-run-shoot, repeat until everyone is dead :-)
  2001.04.06
Greetings all! It's been a while since my last update seems like even though I only skipped one... A lot of things happened I guess. That should make up for the lack of happenings in the previous couple of weeks.

  trip
If you remember from my previous posts, Marc [our Help Desk/Network supervisor] and I went to Houston for Compaq's Executive K12 Education conference. Since they didn't bribe us with anything really cool I still don't really like them :-] Well, there were actually a few interesting things that happened during the trip and at the conference. Let's start from the very beginning.

At the airport I had a strange feeling and then I figured out why. Playing Counter-Strike 737 map gave me this feeling. I was waiting for someone to pop from around the corner with a handgrenade or an AK47 :-] Every time I had to get in or out of the airplane I remembered that map.

The flight was pretty bumpy, turbulence and all. Steve was in Disneyland that day and I told Marc that we are getting more of a ride than he is probably. The scenery was great, mountains, rivers and lakes look awesome from above. There wasn't a cloud, we could see down below for a couple of hours after take off. On the way to Houston we hit a storm and had to circle the city a couple of times, then we had to land in the rain. I've had landings in the snow but never in the rain, so that was kind of fun.

Accommodations were very nice, food, hotel, everything. Our rooms even had a network drop with a fast Internet connection [you had to pay $10 for each day but still!] They let us sleep in the next day and didn't start registration until 11:00AM, but that was it, all the following days we had to be on the bus by 7:30AM! Interestingly enough I woke up just fine every day. For some reason it just doesn't work that way at home... good thing Chuda wakes me up.

Each day was very busy. We had no time to get out of the hotel and take a look at the city, which was kind of a bummer. We woke up early, every day was full of presentations with a breakfast and a lunch brake in between. Then in the evening we had a nice dinner, once at Clive's restaurant in downtown Houston and once at the hotel. Dinners lasted for a couple of hours or so. By the time we got to bed, it was around 9:30PM, shower, a little reading or a chess game and then time for bed. Oh, I had to remember how to iron my clothes too, made me appreciate all the work Chuda does even more.

Most presentations were pretty interesting and informative. Some were targeted towards teachers/superintendents, some toward IT folks. A few Compaq presenters, a few guys sharing their experience with technology at their districts and a tour of Compaq headquarters. The have a nice place there, huge place! As far as I understood, Compaq has over 25,000 employees, most of which are MCSE, CNE or UNIX certified. That's pretty impressive. Makes me wonder, how come with all that power they make such bad computers still :-P

Actually after this visit I did change my mind about them a bit. I think a lot of the problems we are having with their PCs is not really their fault but ours. Compaq makes some pretty nice computers [among some other ones] but the key is knowing what to buy. Our two biggest problems with them were:

  • They change their model configurations too often, which causes us to have tens of ghost images and makes the images less useful.
  • They load a lot of extra software on the as the default configuration and we are forced to remove all that software to make the PCs more reliable.

Well, the first gripe has actually more to do with our management and not with Compaq itself. CQ does make some long lasting models [BX chipset comes to mind] but our management isn't willing to pay a little extra for a good model. They pick the cheapest, the one that changes every few months of course. Second is more of a problem with our network and not the PCs necessarily. A lot of other guys seem to find the software that they load pretty useful. All that DMI and WebDMI can be used as a good management tool, but first we have to have our network running well.

  job
I also got to talk to Marc about some things that were bugging me at work and we did find some common ground. He seemed to understand the need to spend some time working on strategical things and not so much on putting our fires. We do need to spend some time getting remote management pieces to work, it will cut down on the number of calls. We also should spend some time evaluating some hardware and software. There were some things I still disagree with him on, but knowing where he is coming from does help.

  games
I have been really into Baldur's Gate lately, did I mention it's a great game? If you like RPG, definitely give it a try. Playing Counter-Strike on the [DSLR] server is fun too. Most of the time there are some people there regardless of time of the day. I have been playing chess lately quite a bit too, now that I installed PocketChess on my Visor. I finally am able to beat it on the first level and am ready to move up to level two. I think I figured out how to play better, but man it takes forever! You have to look ahead a few turns and keep in mind what is defending what, etc. It is fun but it can take a couple of hours to complete a game this way...

Is this a long enough update? :-] Oh, there is one more great news [and I mean GREAT!] but I can't tell you until the next update. Or maybe even the one after. Remember, patience is a virtue! :-P
  2001.03.26
Not a whole lot of new stuff to post, but plenty of things to keep me busy this week... Hopefully there will be more to post once I come back from Huston. For now, hope your week goes well.
  quote
"I'd tax all foreigners living abroad."

"3 wizards in a strange WAN."
  2001.03.16
Greetings all! It's been a while seems like...

  job
Work was pretty busy this week. It was kind of funny, at our Help Desk meeting on Wednesday Marc said that finally the phones slowed down and we seem to be getting back on track. Yesterday we were answering the phones a lot, and once we got a 5 minute brake, Marc checked the phones and there were 7 messages that were left there from the past 40 minutes! And that was while we were picking up every call we could! Oh well.

I have been thinking whether Marc's plan to send half of the techs to visit schools every other week has been working or not. At the first sight it appears to be working OK, people have to wait quite a bit for us to get to their problems, but eventually we do get there. And having a schedule for our visits does ease people's minds on whether they are getting any help or not. So in that sense his plan does have certain advantages.

Then I started thinking if there was a better way to accomplish the goal of raising site's satisfaction with the Help Desk and I think I did come up with a better plan. First of all, if we were to have all the techs in, then we could assign a tech to a "quadrant 2" project [one that isn't urgent but will help in the long run.] Having someone work on standardizing school libraries and labs would help greatly and would decrease the number of phone calls a lot.

Having training sessions for site techs [ones that the schools hired on their own] and providing them with proper tools would empower them to do the same things we do when we are out there. And sending one or two techs to visit schools ones in a while would help create a better relationship with them, without having to sacrifice half of our staff and leaving the other half swamped with phone calls and emergencies.

I don't know, I might mention it to Marc or maybe not. Not everyone at the Help Desk agrees with me, not sure why... Hopefully I will get that Network Tech position and will get out of this mess. If you were to just do your job and not think about ways to improve things around you, it's actually a pretty good job. But I just can't close my eyes on things that could be improved but aren't for some strange reasons...

  quote
Here are a couple of quotes that I found kind of funny. Second one may require a little thinking to get it.
A "PROGRAM" is used to turn data into error messages.
"I think not" said Descartes and promptly disappeared. [In case you didn't get it, it plays on a famous phrase - "I think therefore I am"]
  PCs
I came across an interesting problem this week. I had to work on an older Dell server to convert it from Windows NT 4 to Novell NetWare 4.x Strangely it would not boot from a floppy, even after I checked every possible cause. Finally by chance I booted the server without any add-on cards. And to my surprise it booted from a floppy! After a little more troubleshooting I narrowed it down to an add-on ISA SCSI card.

The server had a built-in SCSI controller already, 3 hard drives were connected to it, but for some reason the guy that donated the server to that school installed a second controller and connected the CD-ROM to it. To my surprise the UltraWide SCSI controller that was on the board had even an adapter on one of the cable connectors to connect it to a SCSI 2 CD-ROM. After connecting the CD to it and taking out the 2nd controller everything worked just fine. I am still puzzled by this though. Unless there was an IRQ or a memory conflict between the floppy controller and that SCSI card I really don't see what could have caused the problem...

  linux
Lately I've been reading Running Linux and have to say it's a pretty good book. I also downloaded FreeBSD and started reading up on it. A few things attracted me to it. First off, most of the big servers [at least on the Internet] are running FreeBSD or a customized variation of it. And secondly, there was a quote I read that caught my attention - "People that hate Microsoft run Linux, people that love UNIX run FreeBSD." So I decided to give it a try.

From what I read so far, a lot of things are very similar to Linux and there is a good reason for it. Linux is a free clone of UNIX, built practically from scratch. FreeBSD is a variation of UNIX, Berkeley Systems Distribution UNIX to be precise. That's why many things are similar and most of the Linux apps have been ported to FreeBSD. So I decided to set it up as a server to run FTP, Apache and Samba. I will let you know what I find out...
  2001.03.09
OK, finally even though 2 days late but the update is here. A few good things happened during the last week. We started getting together with a couple of guys on Friday nights, to study the Bible, discuss our walks with God and simply chat about what is happening with us. For now it's just two of my cousins, Sergey and Mike and I but there are a few more people that are interested. So far we had two meetings and both of them went great. We had a lot of fun and learned a few things from each other.

I don't remember whether I mentioned this earlier or not, but I am switching my business focus from building and fixing computers to designing websites. After reading some advanced books, learning some software, designing a few sites and comparing myself to a few other people that have website design businesses, I decided that I was ready. I will still build computers and fix them, I will just shift the focus and will be a little more picky about what projects I take on.

  job
I polished my resume, filled out an application and took a test for the Network Tech position. Sadly the deadline and the interviews were moved to the end of March, so now I just have to sit and wait. Also at the end of March I get to go to Huston, to a Compaq Educational conference. Some of the sessions sound interesting, even though I do realize that it is basically a sales pitch. But they pay for the trip, so why not? Maybe I even get to learn something new or someone will listen to a few suggestions I have to make.

  site
If you checked the site on Friday you probably know about a little surprise I had for you - WarriorOfLight.com forums! I am very glad that I was able to find a temporary server to host the message board until we are ready to move it to a faster and more reliable server.

For now it should still work pretty well and should be up and running practically all the time. There is a tiny chance that when we move the forums to the new server some of the messages will be lost, but I promise to do everything possible to preserve all the messages. There are a few sections in the forum - Campfire, Prayer Requests and General. Campfire is the extension of our Campfire section, only now you will also be able to share your thoughts and experiences.

Since the focus of this site is on Spiritual War and being a community for Prayer Warriors, there is the Prayer Requests section, where you can post guess what? :-] The reason it is not simply a form but a forum, is that for some of the requests we may be able to post suggestions from our own experience. And of course there is the General section, where you can talk about anything you want - computers, politics, games, etc.

Enjoy the forums and feel free to tell your friends about them. The only request I make is to be polite and not to use any foul language. Such messages may be edited or even deleted all together. People posting such messages on constant bases may be banned from the forums.

  games
I am still playing Baldur's Gate II and enjoying it a lot. A lot more quests and a lot deeper game than Diablo II. DII was a great game, but I was missing some of the RPG features I was used to from other games. BGII satisfies that need greatly! It is a lot of fun deciding whether to accept a quest or not or who to invite in your party. Or have to worry about your reputation when you have to make a decision.

I finally registered at DSLReports.com and hopefully Shinjuru will actually approve my application to join their [DSLR] Counter-Strike clan. Server is pretty good even at heavy loads and there are practically always people playing. Sadly the way people play this game reminds me a lot of Quake III and Unreal Tournament. A lot of running around and shooting, instead of acting like you would in real life, listening for the steps and hiding behind boxes and corners, trying to be as quiet as possible and taking your time to play.

If the game lasts more than 2 minutes and someone is playing carefully, trying to save the hostages or defuse a bomb, a bunch of people that died in the first 30 seconds of the game because of their own stupidity start getting grumpy at the guy that is trying to survive and win the game. I think it really might have something to do with the general "instant gratification" attitude among some of the youth in our country. Oh well, the good thing is that if it is me that survived, I can't hear those that died already anyway :-]
  2001.03.02
Hail fellow warriors! This update will be somewhat short since not that many things happened since the last one. First of all I'm feeling better and everything is back to normal. Hope your week went well and even if it didn't, Friday is finally here! There is also a short update in the Campfire section.

  job
Something sad happened at work, two of our coworkers were let go. Both of them seemed like pretty good guys and we even got attached to one of them, Bud. However selfish this may sound, but it did bring one good fruit - there are two positions open on the network side. I would rather have it a little different but it wasn't up to me... I submitted the application, polished my resume and now I have to sit and wait patiently until the interviews.

I was getting pretty bored at the Help Desk lately. It is the best job I've had so far but I am not using even half of my potential there. This whole thing seems pretty timely, except that now I have to wait a month for the interviews... Oh well, how else am I going to learn how to be patient? :-]

  quote
"3 most deadly words, "Go ahead, shoot!"
"Nothing is foolproof, fools are too ingenious."
  games
I've been playing a lot of Diablo II and Counter-Strike lately. Shinjuru is administering a Counter Strike server for the DSLR [DSL Reports] clan. I played on that server last night a little, it was pretty fun. Ping was pretty low even with 8-10 people. Sadly I was kicked out and by the time I got back in, everyone was gone. Oh well.

A lot of people seem to be getting broadband internet connections. That is very cool since this may help us have LAN parties more often, only now it would be more of a WAN party :-] All we need to do is agree on a server to join and with Shinjuru being the DSLR clan server admin we might just be able to join that server... That would be fun!

  site
On Sunday I was still sick a little, so I stayed home pretty much all day. That gave me some time to work some more on the redesign. I did some flowcharting, a rough draft of the features and sections I want in the new site and a To-Do list for myself. Sadly I couldn't work on the forum since the guy whose server I was going to use to host it temporarily went on a trip to Mexico for a week.

And only after I started working on getting forum up and running I noticed that I had to install a couple of things on his server, but it was too late... I couldn't use telnet since it's a Win 2000 server and VPN [Virtual Private Networking] doesn't seem to work for some reason. Well, the week is almost over and hopefully I can get it up and running by the end of next week. That will give me something fun to do.

Well, you enjoy your Friday and your weekend and I shall do the same. Oh, by the way, March 3rd is JonR's birthday, happy birthday man! He is a very nice guy and I'm glad that we are working together. I hope you really get to enjoy the next N years.
  2001.02.23
Greetings! Quite a few things happened lately, most of them were good too. OK, first of all I'm still sick [yeah, since last time if you can believe it.] Chuda is sick too, we both have a fever, our whole bodies are aching and stuffed up noses. The bad side of it is that the schools that are assigned to me will have to wait another two weeks for me to get there. The good news is that I talked to them and they don't seem to have any computer emergencies.

Another bad thing is that because of this I probably will not win the Dream Vacation Package to Double-Tree hotel in Sacramento :-] See, we all were suppose to get our sites to fill out a feedback form, rating our performance. Well, since I was sick all this week, I will have 4 less forms to turn in and unless the rest of the guys did really bad at their sites :-P I am basically out of the picture. Oh well, let the best customer service rep win, good luck to you guys, I know everyone of us could use a little brake...

  PCs
Being sick has one major advantage - you have a lot of time to relax and study [that is when you are able to concentrate.] I used this time to get to know Adobe's LiveMotion. It is a very nice piece of software that lets you create animated websites and save your work as Flash or animated GIF files. You can see my first project on the newly redesigned New Generation Church site.

You might remember that this is my second try at creating Flash graphics. This time it was a lot more successful and I actually like doing it. A lot of it has to do with the interface, if you use Photoshop, Illustrator or ImageStyler, you will find it very familiar. In fact, LiveMotion can be considered ImageStyler 2.0 since ImageStyler was discontinued and replaced by LiveMotion.

Tuesday night I installed M$ IIS [Internet Information Server] on a friends server, helped him register a domain name and pointed it to his server. He went on vacation for a week or so, but here is a link to his new site anyway, Right Choice Studios. He designs pretty good brochures, magazines, ads, CD & tape covers, etc. It will be interesting to see what he does with his site once he gets back.

Interestingly, setting up IIS was very easy and reminded me why so many people choose to run M$ products, they hide the complexity of PCs pretty well. It causes a few problems along the way and as a true geek I would rather have to learn something in all it's complexity than have things hidden and unaccessible to me, but that is just me...

There is one more good thing about his server. Now we can use as much space on his server as needed for my site and New Generation. Pastor is already thinking about having RealAudio and RealVideo versions of his radio and TV broadcasts available on church's website. And I can keep our forum there too! I will still keep the main site on pair's servers, a lot more secure, reliable and with a much faster connection. But having another server with administrator's rights is a very nice thing.


And now here is something to make you think about the future. While checking out ArsTechnica one day I found an interesting article with a link to something I have been dreaming about since I was about 6 years old. A car-airplane combo. I have heard about some research going on in this area but I didn't know that they actually produced a prototype already!

It looks like [or maybe I'm just dreaming again :-] they may start producing and selling them to the general public. And now, let me present my future [hopefully] Skycar! Just check out the specs, flying 10 Km high at over 300Mph! Flying that thing might become my favorite hobby, pushing PC games down one slot...

Oh, and this caught my eye on slashdot too. It's a motorized skateboard, called Wheelman. It would sure keep me entertained until my Skycar comes along but sadly I can't even use a regular skateboard, let alone one that rides on it's own. Oh well, still looks like a lot of fun... Well, for now I'm going back to my PCs, drinking tea with honey and medicine and serving as a reminder to be careful when flu is all around...
  2001.02.16
Hail all! A lot of small updates here. There is a new poem in the Poetry section. If you browse the web a lot you have probably come across this poem, named "The Paradox of Our Age". I heard someone read it about two weeks ago and asked for a copy. Trying to be efficient [as someone said, lazy people are the most efficient ones :-] and not wanting to retype the poem I decided to look for it on the web. To my surprise my search returned over 70,000 matches! I don't know how many were the ones I wanted but the first few were and I just picked one of them.

Overall it was a very nice weekend for me, especially considering that I had 4 days off! Monday morning I wanted to help Chuda clean up the kitchen after a party, and it took a lot longer than I though it would. Our drain clogged, is that fun or what? Well, that's the way it goes sometimes. A little work with that metal snake-looking thing and all was well. Hooking it up to my drill made the whole thing kind of fun :-] Oh BTW, I got sick. Chuda got a cold from my Mom or brother and then I got it from her. Fever, body aches, stuffy nose, all the works.

  games
If you read ArsTechnica's game.ars then this will not be a news to you. But if you don't, go check out EA.com and take a look at their upcoming game, Majestic. It is freaky! From what I could gather in the short time I had to look over it, it's a thriller which uses your email, phone, fax, internet and AIM [America Online's Instant Messenger] to get you into the game. Now that is some serious interactive experience.

Makes me wonder how long it will be before there will be news reports of people getting too involved with the game and losing the line between the game and reality. I also wonder how long it will be before some virus coders figure out how to hack into it. Imagine the possibilities... Scary, especially with all those M$ Outlook users out there that don't know how to disable automatic viewing of attachments. Compared to what may happen, wiping out your hard drive doesn't seem that bad anymore.

  PCs
Gen, a friend of mine decided to host his website on his own server and T1 connection. I still wasn't able to convince him to run CS [Counter-Strike] server on that thing permanently, but I'm still trying :-] Anyway, we registered the name and sometime soon I will figure out how to make Apache run on his Win2K server. FTP is running pretty well, VPN [Virtual Private Networking] is having some trouble though. That leads me to another good news.

  site
I will finally be able to put up the forum on this site! I will have plenty of room on that server and T1 should be able to handle the light to medium traffic that I assume it will generate. Anyway, a lot of fun things happening! Oh, running my weblog analyzer revealed that up to date there were 3,000 visitors with distinct IP addresses.

That also means that all the hits from SCUSD were counted as 1. And if you have a DSL or a cable connection that keeps it's IP for a while your visits count as 1, until your IP is changed. There were also a little over 4,000 pages viewed. I just wanted to thank you guys for coming back to this site. It is fun for me to work on it and knowing that there is someone reading it makes it much more fun.

Oh, I also got the new site's navigation pretty much complete. Things should be easier to find, there will be more things and hopefully they will look better too. If you have any suggestions on how you want the new site to look and what new things you want to see, let me know

  linux
Never one to take the easy road I decided to install Debian GNU/Linux on my firewall/DSL router box. I chose Debian after reading that it is the best distribution for those that want to learn Linux from the ground up. I guess it's because it's a pain to install :-] My 3Com 3C90x NIC was recognized just fine by both SuSE 6.2 and Red Hat 6.1 but not by Debian. Well, we will get it to work yet.

I also bought a new book, "Running Linux" published by O'Reilly. I read somewhere that most UNIX/Linux gurus recommend it as the first book to read for Linux newbies. So far it's a lot of small text and no pictures! :-] Chuda laughs at me when I finish one book and just have to go get another one. It's just a waste of time to wait for PCs to reboot or download something and not read something in the mean time.

And I really don't like when I have to wait for something and there is no good book to read. And no, some general public magazines won't do it for me either. I carry my books with me everywhere, dentist office, DMV, lunch, sofa [to read it instead of watching stupid commercials.] Be efficient, -thinker-.
  2001.02.09
Greetings to you warriors! Friday is finally here, week is almost over and a long weekend awaits us! While working on redesigning this site I came up with an idea. As you probably noticed the date is an image and not a line of text. Every time I need to post an update I have to create a new image.

So instead I decided to create a different image for each possible number, the slash and the gradient trail. So now I can construct any date I want without having to use my image editor. Yeah I know, it's probably a small and very unimportant thing for you but hey, it made me very happy OK? :-]

  quote
While browsing the web one night, I came across an interesting collection of things computers in the movies can do. I do not remember the source now, I think it was mentioned on User Friendly but they copied it from somewhere else too. The list is too long to post here, but here is a link to the text file for now and a little later I will convert it into its own page.

  linux
While working with my Linux box I realized one of the reasons why I really like it - Linux is modular. Kind of like a Lego kit. You can put together practically anything you want using simple blocks. In Linux you have a lot of choices. You can choose what drivers and which components to load.

There is the kernel [the main "engine" so to speak], then there is the operating system shell [and you can pick from many available ones.] Then you can choose to load X [the engine of your GUI, Graphical User Interface], and then you have many choices of different window managers [the GUI itself.] You can make it look like a Mac, Windows 95 or some futuristic OS.

And if you have some knowledge and are not happy with any of the available choices, you always have the option of creating something of your own. Well, do be fare there are probably very few people that would be able to create their own GUI or a command shell, but with a little curiosity and willingness to learn you can edit something that is pretty good already and make it truly perfect for you.

  PCs
Well, I never really figured out what happened with my server but after it went down a couple of more times shortly after it was turned on, I got rid of the dust inside, reseated the cards, processor and memory and so far everything seems to be just fine.

I also ran into some problems running VREPAIR [Volume Repair in Netware], after freezing and being restarted it would find hundreds or even thousands of errors. After downloading and installing service pack 6 everything worked fine. I am still considering whether to keep the Netware server as my fileserver and use Linux for other purposes or to get rid of Netware and replace it with Linux even for serving files.

Maybe I will post this question on Slashdot or ArsTechnica. I have a few more things to post but sadly I'm running out of time [I fell asleep while updating it last night and now it's time to go to work :-] I am looking forward to the long weekend and one of my plans is to work some more on this site, so maybe I will post 2nd part of the update. Enjoy your Friday and your weekend!
  2001.02.02
As you can tell by the absent date image, my server went down last night and I was only able to bring it up this morning. However it was already almost 8:00AM and I had to go to work. It is kind of strange how it went down... Chuda said that the time on her PC is wrong, I went to check if the server's time was OK [since PCs synchronize their time with the server] and it was fine. Then I went upstairs and got ready to post the update when I came to realize that the login screen didn't come up.

Sadly a simple reboot didn't do the job. I had to bring it to my workbench, connect it and then it came up OK... There were some errors with the CONLOG [Console Log] file too, so I may never find out what really happened. On a brighter note it seem to be running just fine now.

  job
Job was a real pain today. We had to upgrade a whole school from Token Ring to Ethernet [that's switching network cards and in some cases upgrading clients on almost 20 computers.] Plus we had to make our own patch cables and not surprisingly some of the computers didn't like the cards we were putting in them so I had to switch the cards... Just reading this is painful :-]

  linux
I am starting to consider switching my home network from Novell to Linux. There is a lot of research to be done first but I think it will happen eventually. Two of my next projects are:
  • Setting a Linux computer as a router and a DSL gateway to the Internet. I've mentioned this before but now I actually have the computer I will use for that purpose and it's just a matter of a little research. If all goes well, I may be able to figure out how to make it automatically reconnect if it suddenly loses connection to my ISP and to send me a page letting me know what the new IP address is. Then I can use it as an FTP server. For now it's not really feasible since the IP address changes too often and it's not reliable enough.

  • Setting up a test Linux server that will serve as a replacement for the Novell server. I think Samba is what I will need to share space on the server with Windows clients. It should be fun figuring out how to do login scripts and user administration in Linux. Also, sharing a printer may be a lot harder than in Novell, since Linux only prints to Post Script printers or you have to use some work-arounds.
  PCs
I don't remember whether I told you this or not, but after finishing "HTML Black Book" I started reading another book, "Web by Design". I already finished it and if you are interested in website design at all I would strongly suggest taking a look at it. Read "HTML BB" to learn how to program in HTML and read "WbD" to design nice looking sites. Too many so called "web designers" are nothing more than HTML programmers without any idea about design. That is not to say that I am much better, but at least I realize it and am willing to learn.

After finishing "WbD" I went back to "HTML BB" and started reading about Java Script. Turned out it's not that hard to program in JS and I am looking forward to having a few free hours to practice what I've learned. I'm also looking forward to reading about CGI scripts and Perl some more.

By the way, if you are interested in any of that, you don't have to have a Linux computer, you can simply download Apache for Windows and test your own Java Script, CGI scripts and Perl. Otherwise you would have to upgrade your website account to include using custom CGI scripts and that can be expensive.
  2001.01.26
Greetings all! I hope your week is going well and hope you are having a nice Friday. I apologize ahead of time, I am very sleepy and tired at the moment so the update is a little short maybe. Plus not a whole lot of new stuff happened so instead of rambling on about it I will just give you a more concise version.

  games
I finally went out and bought Half-Life:Counter-Strike. A very nice first person shooter. Real life weapons and gameplay makeup for a little outdated graphics, at least for me. Oh, it's also multiplayer only, I think there is a way to hack it and add some bots [computer controlled players] but truth be told it really shines when playing with other people. Tonight I will have a small LAN party with a my brother and a couple of my friends so we will really test it out :-]

  linux
I had a great breakthrough with Linux & Apache. After all this time messing with all the configuration files I was able to get the forum installed and working on my Intranet. Turned out that the problem was not with Apache or Linux but with the forum software! To be more precise, some of the configuration files weren't transferred properly. They seemed fine but I may not have transferred them using FTP in ASCII mode as was suggested and instead used Binary mode.

I don't exactly see how that could cause a problem but from what I was able to figure out, in some of the files an [Enter] was replaced with some other invisible character and the file just had to have that [Enter.] The good news is that because of this little incident I had to read a lot of info on Apache configuration files and feel fairly confident with them now.

In any case, I got the forum working and am a bit curious about JavaScript, CGI files and Perl. It is pretty amazing what you can do with a little programming knowledge. After all a forum software is just a set of Perl and CGI script files. That brings me to the next section.

  site
As I may have mentioned earlier, I am testing out a freeware version of a forum software and it seems to work pretty well. The paid version made by the same company offers a few bells and whistles and some extra configuration options, but I may just use the freeware version for a while. To incorporate it into this site I have a few options.
  • Upgrade this site to include the use of custom CGI scripts [which will practically triple the annual price I have to pay for the account.]

  • Host the forum on a different server, using my friend's account for example or

  • Build a webserver and either upgrade my DSL to a static IP address or put the server in my friend's office and use his T1 connection.
The last one seems interesting but somewhat unreliable, especially considering the power problems we are having in California. Second one is a possibility but so far I wasn't able to find someone whose ISP account would include the use of CGI scripts. So after all, I may have to pay up and upgrade this account. See how much I love you guys? :-)
  2001.01.19
Hail to you warriors! In case you haven't checked, I posted an update in the Campfire section. The birthday party went great, everyone that came had a great time and now I am convinced that they can be fun. I might try and do it a little different next time, just to see which way is better.

  job
Well, if you keep bugging your bosses about something, they might just make you do it yourself :-] Apparently Marc and Sally got tired of me asking them to get evaluation computers before the current model line goes away, so they made me a contact person for our main manufacturer. So far nothing happened, I didn't see any email or wasn't introduced to anyone, but we will see.

The last two weeks at work were very busy. Our whole network seems to be going down slowly but surely :-] I can't really blame our network admins either, there are only two of them really and over 100 servers. Management is always pushing for the latest and greatest features too, without giving any time for testing. The whole thing is a big mess. More and more I am starting to dislike this whole government structure and starting to lean towards private companies more and more. And this brings me to the following point.

  quote
A lot of things in life can be a great disappointment and a reason to be stressed. However we have to remember that for the most part we are in control of our happiness, our choices and our mindset is what determines how happy or sad we are. One of my favorite people in American history seems to agree with me on that [or is it I that agree with him? :-]
"People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Abraham Lincoln
  PCs
Today I got a chance to use an interesting features in Norton Ghost, multicasting. At one of my schools a parent put together a computer lab from some older Dell PCs and an Win NT server. All is fine but how do you access the NT server from DOS, in order to save the ghost image and to clone the rest of the PCs with it? Making sure that no one is watching I typed "ghost /?" A little reading of the manual can do miracles :-]

Ten minutes later I copied Ghost files to the NT server and ran GHOSTSRV.EXE. A few more minutes and the bootable floppies were ready for the workstation, ready to join our multicast session. In less than half an hour of actual ghosting time and 15 workstation were all ready to go. The cool thing is that you can do the same thing to back them all up or to clone hundreds of them in the same amount of time! Man I love this thing!

While looking at the Ghost files I found a small DOS app, interestingly named GDISK.COM. Turns out it's a command line version of FDISK with one exceptional feature: ability to hide and unhide partitions! I guess I didn't have to look for a 3rd party utility, all I had to do is read the instructions :-] Oh, will men ever learn?

On Tuesday I had a chance to setup an FTP service on Windows 2000 server and while I was at that I also setup VPN [Virtual Private Networking.] All went pretty quick and easy. On the other hand something that I thought would go easy didn't. A couple of my friends and I wanted to copy some songs from a tape and burn them onto a CD.

Strangely enough after connecting a tape deck to my sound card we could hear the songs but couldn't record them. I tried both Sound Forge by Sonic Foundry and Sound Recorder by Micro$oft :-] but neither worked. Thinking that it may be Win 2000 that causes the problem I even tried Win 98 on the same machine, but with no success. It's an interesting problem, now I'm curious and I have to figure it out!

  linux
After unsuccessfully trying to restore the Apache configuration files from an *.RPM file I just reinstalled it using SuSE's YAST [Yet Another Setup Tool. Don't you love the names these geeks give to their apps?] Now all seems fine except that I still can't figure out how to make the CGI files to run in Apache... It is kind of frustrating since I really want to get that forum tested and if I like it put it on this site.
  2001.01.12
Greetings all! It's been a busy week overall and work was extremely busy. I was actually kind of glad to be back at work, seeing old friends made it less stressful. Thanks guys, without you it would be very hard to go to work on Mondays, you make it a lot easier.

  birthdays
Tuesday was my birthday, I am 26... This is a very old saying but now I am starting to realize it for myself - the older you get the faster the time seems to fly. On a better note, looking back I have very little regret. I think I can say with a clear conscience that to this point I've lived my life with at least 90% efficiency. Let's say the last 10 years, ones before that are hard to judge.

Today is my sisters birthday, happy birthday Sis! If I am correct, this will be the first time in the last 8 years that I am actually going to have a birthday party. Most of the time I just try to take a day off and have a quiet day alone, reflecting and looking ahead. This year I heard someone say that a birthday party isn't really for the person whose birthday it is but for his/her friends. After a little thinking time I had to agree. So today we will have a birthday party for my sister and me with a few friends.

  quote
I like to read, I've read a lot of books in my life. But there is one book that is very special to me, one that I read in times when I am happy, sad, lonely or puzzled. And I very much agree with the following quote:
"I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man."
Abraham Lincoln
  site
I have a surprise for you. I am working on one more major redesign of the site :-] I think this one will be the final major overhaul, I will always be adding new features and will work on making it more useful to you guys, but this should set a good foundation for the future. I want to move some of the sections, add some things and maybe get rid of some to reflect the true purpose of this site.

The real purpose of the site is to serve a community of "prayer warriors", people who know about the spiritual war and know how to achieve victories in battles. There will be information to introduce people to this war, information on how to win battles and a place to share your experiences. The next major update of the site should reflect all that. Not everything will be available right away; however slowly but surely all will come in its place.

  linux
Monday I configured Apache on my Linux computer and put a copy of this site on it. It was fun to type in 192.168.1.33 and get to Warrior Of Light. During this time I really appreciated UNIX's remote accessibility. I could lay on my bed with an old laptop, run Telnet and be able to edit Apache config files without having to be at the Linux computer. Now is that cool or what?

Once website was up and running on my "Intranet," next step was to install and test the forum/bulletin board software. All seemed fine until I came across a problem running CGI scripts. After many, many hours of editing config files, reading help files and browsing the web for answers I though I found a solution. It is then that I deleted all Apache config files. All of them, even the backup copies! [OK, I know it's stupid to keep backup copies in the same directory as the originals but give me a break, I was tired and excited, trying to get it to work :-]

Well, time to figure out how to undelete files in Linux, right? After browsing through a few Linux sites for over an hour and looking through some UNIX and Linux books and magazines I still haven't found anything. It started to get frustrating. So I went to Ars Technica's Linux Kung Fu forum. A quick search for "undelete" brought up a post by some poor fellow like myself.

As it turns out, there is no simple undelete/unerase command [in 20+ years they couldn't come up with a way to undelete files?] Well, I guess if I am going to be an admin of my own Linux server I better learn how to run backups eh? :-] So this is where I'm at for now. I think I will have to either reinstall Apache again or try to extract it's config files from the installation disk.

Enjoy your weekend!
  2001.01.06
Greetings! As much as I like computers, at times they still give me problems. After doing a small upgrade on my main computer it started misbehaving. Moving the office and having to rewire two rooms didn't help the matters either. In any case, sorry for the late update and hope your 2001 started well.

The last two weeks were very busy. In addition to the regular holiday events I was pretty busy with my computers. Below is a description of a problem I had with one of the computers and in addition to that we moved our office to a different room. I ran some network cables to the new room and some power cables that can handle the load.

There were a lot of things I wanted to think about during these two weeks, sadly they ran by too quickly... Gladly I had a couple of days to relax lately but my brain is still pretty distracted so the best thing I can do for now is post some things that don't require a lot of thinking - how I fix computers :-] Seriously though, "PCs" section is always the easiest to update because it's just facts. Other sections are a little bit tougher, they require some analytical work.

  PCs
As I mentioned above, I had a little problem with my computer. After upgrading my brother's computer, I inherited his video card, NIC and sound card [since all those things were built-in on the new board.] Finally I was able to install the 2nd video card on my PC and use two monitors. Below is a short reminder, in case what happens with my computers isn't the most important thing for you :-P

I bought Matrox G400 DualHead a while ago to be able to use two monitors on my PC. Everything was working perfectly until I decided to upgrade my work windows to Win 2000. Then I found out that Matrox wasn't all that forthcoming about some of the problems that card has in Win2K. Turned out that you could still run two monitors but with one small problem - 2nd monitor will run at the same resolution as the main one.

Sadly I don't have two 21in monitors yet :-] and I was forced to either try and see the tiny letters that 1280x1024 will display on the smaller monitor or loose some of the screen estate on my main one and run it at 1024x768. I tried both of them for some time, decided that I didn't like either and went back to just one monitor.

After reading some support forums on Matrox' website, it dawned on me that I could buy a cheap video card that will perform just fine in 2D and get all the things I was getting from G400 in Win98. Well after all I didn't have to buy the card, I just used the spare one from Anton's computer.

That was my small upgrade that started big problems. New video card was installed, resolution setup and I was a happy camper until I decided to do some real work. As soon as I tried to start some apps that I use to work on websites my PC would pop up with network errors. [Some of the apps are installed on the server, others have some of their *.ini files stored on the server.]

After a long and painful research I found that Win2K shares IRQs very heavily and in my case it just loved IRQ 9. Five different cards were using that IRQ, even though 5, 7, 10 and 11 were free. How crazy is that? After playing around with BIOS I found out that Win2K didn't even look at the BIOS for the IRQs and was doing everything on its own.

Micro$oft support pages were no help at all [I can't stand when companies dumb down their products assuming that all their users are computer illiterate. How about some options with a warning for those who want to get under the hood and make some changes? Arrgh!] Then I remembered Ars Technica Open Forum and as almost always it was very helpful.

A little search showed that I wasn't the only one who was experiencing that problem and there were a few solutions. It could be one of the cards that causes the problem because it can't share its IRQ with other cards [or with some of the cards] and you can either replace the card or set the IRQs manually. Well, that is what I wanted to do in the beginning but it isn't easy with Win2K.

Turned out I had to change the driver for the "type" of computer I have. Instead of the advanced "ACPI compliant PC" I used the simpler "Standard PC" driver. If Win2K thinks that your PC isn't ACPI compliant, it looks to the BIOS for IRQ assignments. After I changed the driver, my NIC was sharing the IRQ only with my video card. Sadly that didn't seem to help.

The problem was resolved however after switching my NIC with a spare one I had lying around. Apparently it shares the IRQs better. I am still a little surprised however since before installing the 2nd video card I still had the NIC share its IRQ with 4 other cards. Very strange...
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