feren: I AM THE MAN (pissy)
... because I blew up the malfunctioning hard drive. Literally. I powered on Curmudgeon's PC, there was a spark, smoke came out of the vicinity of the spark and then all was silent. After I powered the PC down I took the offending, smoke-emitting drive from the chassis and found molten slag on top of an IC. The slag was still smoldering. Nearby was another IC with a pit blown out of it. I surmise that the slag came from that pit.

Root cause analysis of the spark determined that I managed to somehow overcome the keying on the MOLEX->SATA power connector -- ultimate I was putting +12VDC on the pin that was expecting +5, I was putting +5 VDC on the pin that was expecting +12 and I swapped the grounds around too (the ground-swapping was the least of this drive's worries). If what I'm saying doesn't make sense, look here. In short, "I made the yellow go to red and the red go to yellow," because I am a complete idiot. Fucking good thing I took a snapshot with Acronis of the drive before I started all this effort or Curmudgeon would be well and truly boned by my ineptitude.

I am not a happy camper.

I'm going to bed now. If I'm very lucky I won't accidentally cause the bed to explode, or something.
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-blahblahblah)

Outlook Sucks -- 0 Reminders
Outlook Sucks -- 0 Reminders
So every morning after I sit down at my desk a happy little Outlook window pops up to show me what meetings I have scheduled for the day. Today, after I hit the "Dismiss All" button, this window remained. Just to let me know that I have, you know, ZERO reminders left, or something. Thank you, Outlook, for letting me know that I have zero reminders. Next time it would be nicer if you'd just make the reminder window go away once I've dismissed them all.

feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
I bought my black MacBook back on June 19th, 2006 along with my black 60GB iPod. For the record, my iPod continues to treat me well. I love it. I'm sad to see it surpassed by the Classic 160GB and the Touch, but it's still a good little unit. Unfortunately, my other purchase has not been nearly so reliable. For the last eight months or so I've been putting up with a flickering back light on my little BlackBook's screen. I've tolerated it because nobody knows what causes it or how to fix it -- some of the suggestions seem to actively make the issue worse.

Tonight I found that my MacBook refuses to acknowledge that it has a battery installed -- or the battery is completely boned. Either way, the net result is the same: without the AC adapter plugged in, this little laptop doesn't go.

This laptop is only one year and five months old, it ran out of warranty faster than I could blink and it has two major technical problems (one of which is unexplainable and apparently unfixable). Meanwhile, my Dell laptop is just over three years old and, while a bit heavy and outdated on the processor side of the shop, is still ticking along nicely... and Dell actually gave it a warranty extension as I mentioned previously. My MacBook has always been babied. My Dell has seen long, hard use at conventions and on the road, even going to Florida with me a few years ago in place of my work-issued laptop. In my mind there is absolutely no excuse for this level of Suck and Fail. I'm hearing a lot of "That's what you get for buying first generation hardware," but in the laptop business when isn't it first generation? The model name stayed the same but in going from the Core Duo to the Core Duo 2 the MacBook inherited a new chipset. To me that sets the clock back to "first generation." And regardless of this so-called "second generation," the reports of problems keep flooding in. Clearly, adopting a "Wait and see" attitude with this product doesn't save you from the suffering.

Apple, I want to love you. I really do. Your designs are elegant and OS X is pretty much everything I could want in an operating system. But it's clear you've not learned anything from your PC-manufacturing cousins about build quality or how to treat a customer. Just look at AppleDefects.com for a laundry list of your unsolved issues. In the 1988 episode of Red Dwarf titled "Balance of Power," the Rimmer character told Lister, "You always become the thing you hate the most." I think that's true, Apple. You've taken on qualities from Microsoft and $INSERT_PC_BRAND_HERE that you love poking fun at in your commercials. Maybe you haven't figured it out yet, but you've got the worst of both worlds going for you right now -- you make software and hardware. You have an OS that seems laden with glitches (Leopard is apparently to OS X what ME was to Windows) and buggy hardware. I only know about the former via second-hand experience, I admit. But I'm not going to find out any time soon because I'm sticking with 10.4 on my laptop: I don't need the additional shit this upgrade seems to bring to the table. But I certainly am experiencing your legendary hardware. And I hope your legendary hardware is enjoying its experience of screwing me over and over again.

Until you get your shit together I'm going to put my plans of buying a MacPro workstation aside and just keep building WinTel boxes for my gaming and photo work. Yeah, I find building and burning in my own systems to be absolutely fucking maddening... but at least the cost of the frustration comes in at about half the dollar amount you want to charge me and when a portion of the hardware bones itself? I can actually go to any number of retailers and buy a replacement part.

Volunteering for your firing line
feren: I AM THE MAN (Leary)
On fast fewd....

I have most of the major fast food chains (at least ones that are major in the Midwest) within walking distance of my house. Tonight I decided that, since I had not had dinner, it would be nice to enjoy a couple of Whoppers from Burger King. So I drove over there, and I saw the now-familiar banner still hanging on the building's exterior. This banner proudly proclaims TWO WHOPPERS, $3 so that's exactly what I ordered. Yet on the screen, while I was placing my order, I saw "2x Whopper/Chz $4." I asked the cashier to explain. "Oh, well we have two Whoppers with cheese for $4, sir." I informed her I don't WANT cheese, I ordered Whoppers. "Well, they come with cheese." No, they don't. If they came with cheese I'd be ordering WHOPPERS WITH CHEESE now wouldn't I? Apparently they still have the "Two Whoppers for $3" deal, but now I have to do the same thing I do when I order a regular Whopper... I have to explicitly state that I do not want the damn thing with cheese. Otherwise I get the "Two Whoppers with Cheese, $4" deal.

When the hell did Cheese become the defacto on a Whopper? Why the hell have they changed a burger that's been perfectly fine on its own for twenty years so that it now includes cheese? Where is this hidden demand by the public for cheese, which has remained hidden from me?

I feel like Denis Leary when he said, I can't believe I have to get pissed off about this!

[Edit @2103 12/3]: And their fries still suck, too. I should have known back in the 90s that when they got Mr Potato-head to shill their new "Flavor" that it'd be crap-tastic.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
Yep, there's nothing quite like these 12:00 AM upgrade windows. When I should be sleeping I'm working on Cisco kit and dealing with frustrating bugs that keep me from getting the right level of IOS onto the gear. It's amusing to note that these annoying bugs come to me after a weekend of frustration and stress from dealing with equipment for the upcoming con.

The fun started after the upgrade was done and the router came back online with the upgraded IOS version. I noticed the box was acting pretty choppy and while a small amount of suck can be expected after bringing up your BGP session and slurping down the entire Internet table, this was far beyond the level of pain I was prepared for. Diagnostics were performed and that's when the real fun began, because it was at that point at which I got to see innarestin' error messages like these in the system logs:
Nov 13 00:14:10.680 CDT: %FIB-3-NOMEM: Malloc Failure, disabling CEF -Traceback= 0x606F4898 0x615CE9A0 0x615D8788 0x615D8EB0 0x615E19D8 0x615EFE08 0x60A26810 0x60A26E18 0x60A27900 0x609CD384
.Nov 13 00:14:17.812 CDT: %FIB-3-NOMEM: Malloc Failure, disabling CEF -Traceback= 0x606F4898 0x615CE9A0 0x615D8788 0x615D8EB0 0x615E19D8 0x615EFE08 0x60A26810 0x60A26E18 0x60A27900 0x609CD384
.Nov 13 00:14:32.636 CDT: %SYS-2-MALLOCFAIL: Memory allocation of 4084 bytes failed from 0x60DE41EC, alignment 0
Pool: Processor Free: 25104 Cause: Memory fragmentation
Alternate Pool: None Free: 0 Cause: No Alternate pool
-Process= "BGP Router", ipl= 0, pid= 172 -Traceback= 0x606F4898 0x60851118 0x60857BE4 0x60DE41F4 0x60DE6274
What makes me bitter and angry about this outcome is that the box in question is $EMPLOYER's primary Internet edge router: a 7206VXR chassis populated with various PA's and an NPE-400. I shouldn't see errors about RAM but wait... how delightful! This box only has 256MB of RAM! Whereas the identically-configured standby router (that is almost never used) has the NPE's maximum of 512MB. This means my primary router can run BGP, or it can run CEF, but it can't run both -- but the unused standby can. That's splendid and is completely indicative of a well thought-out architecture for redundancy. And by that previous statement I mean is not at all any of those things.

Ra's perched on my desk and looking at me as if to say, "Dad, go to bed so I can curl up with you and be warm!" So I guess that's what I'll do. First thing I'll have to do when I get into the office tomorrow today is go make a fuss at my boss and see if we can buy a RAM upgrade. Hey, 512MB sticks for the NPE400 are only $185 on eBay. Our budget is, as always, very tight... but I'm sure we can swing that somehow if we engage in some creative accounting.

How’d I get so white and nerdy
feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
Personal server has been acting crappy for the last few days. This morning it locked up when I opened pine -- a perfectly reasonable thing to lock up on, don't you agree? -- and when the hosting provider went to reboot it they found the motherboard/processor was fried. Install new motherboard and processor, turn the unit back on and away we go. Should be set, right? Wrong. It locked up again at around 5:30 tonight. This time it was the hard drive that failed. Again. Which I believe means I have won some sort of trifecta of technological suck. It's like an inverse lottery -- hit all the numbers and you lose. So there's a freshly installed operating system and none of the data could be saved. Didn't I do this already, back in July?

I believe that this is a sign that I am not cut out for this "job" of running a personal hosting service any longer. Add in that I'm frustrated and tired of doing this "oh SHIT explosion quick put all the pieces back together!" dance on a steadily more frequent basis (before July the last big melt-down was in November of 2005. This is getting harder as time goes on and my life places other demands on me, such as my job, my relationship, my house, etc. I am tired of putting my hard-earned cash into this server and having all these problems with no hope of recouping any of the expenses I incur on a monthly or per-incident basis. Most of all I'm tired of the responsibility: For the last five years or more I have been hosting other people's websites, e-mail and games -- which makes me responsible for maintaining this ongoing nightmare.

I give up. I can't do this anymore, I just don't have anything left in me.

I'll send whatever data I can recover to everyone who had websites hosted on there. In the mean time any address ending in "@black-panther.us" is boned and unreachable. Same goes for any other domain I hosted.

it all fell apart
feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
I'm a nice guy. Maybe I'm too nice. I host websites and user accounts and DNS and e-mail and stuff on my server for a very very low (read: practically idiotic, as it doesn't even begin to recover my operating cost) fee. In exchange, I ask that you do something very simple: don't ignore the system's warnings about password strength when you set your passwords. Today I had a user account that was cracked, as near as I can tell, by simply bruteforcing the password. Once they logged in the cracker busily tried to compromise the system with nifty little scripts and tricks. Luckily I caught them early in their efforts. Even more luckily, they didn't actually do any damage to the box or compromise the system's integrity.

Because of this I've run John the Ripper and the results proved very surprising and unpleasant. These findings, in conjunction with this event, have forced me to make the following decree: Henceforth, if you set your password to be your username, but think you are OH-SO-CLEVER by typing it in reverse (which is ridiculously simple to crack) your account will be revoked and I will consider it a default on your one-year hosting fee. Furthermore, for every crackable password of this nature that I find, I shall kill you.

Let the bodies hit the floor
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-gruntle)
I was talking a bit with [livejournal.com profile] points after posting the previous entry and I thought I'd share this small snippet of conversation. Points, I place the blame for the repressed memory you triggered squarely upon your shoulders.

Points says, "At least it wasn't a whole line of people going 'y'know, if you let me take everything over and redo everything from scratch, I could do it better.'"

Feren says, "I had that last year."

That's when I realized I'd forgotten to mention in the previous diatribe that I actually had people recoil and fucking hiss like cornered, rabid weasels when they heard the Windows "Booting up" chime come from my laptop. Seriously people, what the fuck is your damage? Every operating system serves a niche. I am not about to use your favorite flavor of Linux just because it gives you a warm chubby one and allows you to delude yourself into thinking that you're running your operating system without all that "bloated, poorly-coded overhead." What the hell is your problem, you sacks of disease? Don't tell me you really think that window transparency and antialiased fonts shouldn't count as overhead? Get a goddamn grip!

Allow me to make this painfully clear (I even promise I won't use big words as I try to explain this to you): I use the tools that meet my needs. Some of those tools run under Windows. In the words of The Great Sage and Eminent Junkie (I speak of the character "Henry Dean," from Stephen King's Dark Tower series) you need to accept this fact and just "deal." Acting like a complete idiot who just shit his pants all because of a SOUND FILE isn't going to convince me to "convert," and it sure as hell doesn't endear me to your cause. Mostly it just reaffirms my belief that you have the personality of a wet gym sock and makes me wish I had the power to get you forcefully sterilized for the good of our species.

Seriously, I think I'll put in a line item in the budget for a tazer. First person to be "clever" in a similar manner next year gets 50,000 volts to the reproductive organs.
feren: I AM THE MAN (card)
Seeing as how I've neglected my house for the last two weeks in favor of other, convention-like things I decided that my free time this evening would be best spent by putting aside the bottle of gin and at least sorting the mail that was threatening to take over my kitchen. [livejournal.com profile] tarinfirepelt and [livejournal.com profile] fiskblack can attest to the mountain of envelopes, boxes and bags that were laying claim to my dining space -- having successfully overrun the usual resting place of the butcher block, they'd moved on to my kitchen table and were making plans to annex my countertop and sink. If I allowed that to happen these postal marauders would have the high ground and could launch a full-blown assault upon my den that might prove to be unstoppable.

Read on for a rant... )

It would seem there's just something about me that attracts this type of foolishness (How is it I alone am so lucky?). Being on staff means I have to spend the entire convention trapped behind the table, so I guess situations of this nature are inesecapable. I wonder if next year somebody will attempt to chastize me for using electricity to run my machines. That would be beautiful (And, I dare venture, will undoubtedly have to be written upon my admittance form for the psychiatric ward).

Hey, [livejournal.com profile] takaza? Is there any chance you can coax the board to ratify a provision for health insurance in the case of a complete mental break?

You see little sister don't miss when she aims her gun

Hnughn?

Mar. 3rd, 2004 01:37 am
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-blahblahblah)
Why am I getting woken up for a ticket on this issue? The last five times it broke it wasn't the firewall. It's broken, again, in the exact same way as the last time it wasn't the firewall.

Ergo it must be the firewall that's at fault this time, so they call and wake me up.

Bastard idiot tard-chops.
feren: I AM THE MAN (pissy)
Well, I just got a status update from the folks at Speakeasy that had a number of problems listed on it, so I gave their tech support department a call and started asking some questions. What I came to find out is that they won't provision my line because my local service is through a 3rd party provider -- AT&T, as I mentioned earlier. They said they will work with 3rd party voice providers in my area such as Verizon, but AT&T isn't cooperative. Keep in mind that I've had this phone line for four days now, and I've already incurred a bill of $63 just to have it installed. Also keep in mind that Speakeasy didn't mention this little snafu with 3rd party providers anywhere on their page or during the order process. According to the tech the bottom line is that if I wanted to get DSL provisioned from SpeakEasy I had to change my service to SBC.

I don't think so.

Grinding my teeth I told the tech to cancel my order, and I couldn't resist a parting shot before ending the call. "I'll go over to Comcast and order a cable modem instead," I said. "How much do you want to bet they don't care who I have phone service with?"

Absolutely astounding. No wonder cable modems are taking dominance over DSL in the broadband market
feren: I AM THE MAN (pantherhead)
I'm home.

I started to see snow flakes at the 90/94 junction in Madison. By the 12/18 exit in the same town it was snowing quite hard.

While this trip didn't qualify as The Drive From Hell, it got style points for the ridiculous number of accidents I saw (The SUV that was laying on its roof behind a length of K-rails is the clear winner of the "How In The Blazing Blue FUCK Did You Manage That?!" award... We were going five miles an hour!). For added bonus score the drive absolutely sucked from Janesville WI onwards.

And oh yeah, honking your horn when you're sliding sideways towards me is an excellent sign you're an idiot. I'm in control of my vehicle, how about you worry about getting yours out of that skid?

Shower and sleep are quite high on my priority list right now.

Momma's gonna worry
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-devious)
I need to thank [livejournal.com profile] sylverfox for reminding me of the pact that was made during Pathetic Drunk Night. Since I don't want to be one who doesn't hold up my end of the bargain I give you this song, rife with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo. It is undeniably written with certain connotations in the lyrics, but I challenge you to go back and reread it a few times. This is a song for those who have been used and hurt, forgotten... discarded. Every one of us has been in this position at some point or another. We have been the user, we have been the used. Though it may have been painful I think we shouldn't ever forget the lessons we've learned from those times -- if nothing else they teach us to more fully appreciate the gifts that we have today.


I saw the gravestones
I saw 9 year old boys
Somehow I knew they hated me
You can live as long as you want to live

Lately all I want
Is to be in your hole

Sleep without a dream
As cold as it seems
It's my destiny

How many men have been
In your sacred hole?

(How many dead men, God?)

As I spread her thighs
My life flashes before my eyes
Soothing, disturbing
I'm intoxicated with fear

How many men have died
In your dirty hole?

How many men lay dead
From this killing hole?


I'm sure that the words can be associated to people we all know. Do these words hold any semblence to people you know? For those of you who might be offended because you're vain enough to think these words are about you: they probably are.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn't screw to save its species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all the French beaches I'd never see.
-- Fight Club

Where did you go, Psycho-Boy? )

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