feren: I AM THE MAN (card)
... (man, I really need a Christmas-themed icon to post with) and [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon's PC is living once more. I owe [livejournal.com profile] points a debt of thanks for, well, pointing me in the right direction. On Friday I had surmised that Curmudgeon's computer might just be utterly unable to cope with SATA-2 (a.k.a. SATA 300, I'm lead to understand). Turns out that I was half right. Her computer's SATA controller can't hack SATA-2. What Points found out was that it also cannot hack the Western Digital hard disks I was buying, unless a custom and non-default jumper setting was put in place on the drive to force it to "OPT1 - 150 MB/s data transfer speed enabled." Since the 80gb drive I got yesterday was, in fact, SATA and not SATA-2 I have no idea what this setting is for. But Points suggested I try it and... sure enough, the disk is finally recognized. So, all hail Points for giving me the clue to solve this wretched puzzle.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank the fine folks at Acronis for making the incredibly awesome Acronis TrueImage software. With TrueImage I not only had a backup of Curmudgeon's dying disk drive (which was very nice to have when I literally blew the magic smoke out of the poor thing) but it also included a "CloneDrive" feature that copied everything off the old disk (including the boot sector) onto a new disk and gracefully resized partitions to deal with the differing capacity of the new drive. That made things go a lot more smoothly.

A big "Blow me" to Western Digital for putting that weirdass feature on their drives, and a "blow me" likewise goes out to Via for having such a freakishly twitchy SATA chipset.

And now I away to do some last-minute Christmas shopping with Mudgeon.
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 (ashryn-gruntle)
From Amazon's auto-generated shipment notification, I give you this laugh-tastic bit of information.
Items shipped on June 24, 2007:
Delivery estimate: July 3, 2007 - August 17, 2007

I can expect the package between July 3rd and... August 17th? So the most accurate estimate this multi-million-dollar marvel of logistics can give me for a box shipped on the 24th of June spans... six weeks!

I'm compelled to ask, again: are we in the future yet?

Let me see your face again
feren: I AM THE MAN (contemplative)
Last night I dropped by my local Sprint/Nextel store. I've been using a Samsung A900 (aka the "Blade") for my personal cellular service over the last year and it's served me pretty well. However, there was some things about it I didn't like -- I don't generally need or use the camera that's built into the phone (and it can be a pain in protected areas that confescate any camera phones) though it has come in handy in the past. It's a solidly built phone with a metal exterior but I've still managed to scratch it up fairly well. The media features are okay-ish but I don't use them (Seriously, I have an iPod... I don't need MP3s on my phone as well). All told I was happy but wanted something better or, at least, different.

Sprint/Nextel recently announced the general availability of their Motorola ic502 hybrid phone (aka the "Buzz") that accesses the Sprint CDMA network for voice and accesses Nextel's iDEN network for walkie-talkie. When I heard it was out to the general market I had to look into it. Back in 1999 I was hooked on Nextel when I came to the corporate office of $EMPLOYER and everyone in the IT department carried the i1000 Nextel phone. The walki-talkie feature was exceedingly handy, the phone was solidly built and while the service area lacked in some regions (it was still being built out) I had unshakable coverage in Chicago and the suburbs I work and live in. When I took a look at the ic502 I decided to go ahead and purchase it.

I have to say, thus far, I'm liking this rugged little thing. And despite costing more than a few dollars to carry it out the door I think it was money that well-spent. Just by converting from my old plan to the new Nextel plan I'm actually gaining "anytime" minutes and cutting the cost of my monthly bill by $20/month.

My personal cell number was ported over to the new phone, so if you know my cellular number don't worry... it hasn't changed.

If you have a Nextel phone (I know some of you out there on my friends list use them for service) please drop me a line and let me know what your walkie-talkie ID is so I can program it in. Alternatively you can just leave a note asking me for my ID and I'll be sure to share it with you.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
Dear Lazyweb,

I read [livejournal.com profile] yakko's rant about IM clients and decided that I was curious enough to make a poll about this very topic, to see what you use. This is especially interesting to me as I've been working these last few weeks to organize my IM contact list.

Edit 1430: I had a poll here, but the goddamn poll builder shit itself and died a horrible death. I'll come back to this.

I'm also curious -- if you use a "hybrid" or "multi-client" IM program, what do you use? On the Windows side I used to be a pretty big fan of Trillian but it's become insanely bloated. No IM client should take two minutes to start on an AMD64 machine with two gigs of ram! Insult to injury is that since the new version came out I would have to re-register if I want to use any of the features I'm actually interested. This has generally forced me to use Gaim as it's relatively cross-client and lightweight.

On the OSX side I use the super-sexy Adium for my MacBook. It is lightweight and fast, highly configurable, talks to damn near any IM platform you can think of (even client protocols I didn't know existed) and integrates with other parts of my OSX environment like the built-in address book.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
Courtesy of an ICQ conversation with [livejournal.com profile] prophetx:

3:27 (ProphetX):
fuck veritas
fuck them fuck them fuck them!

3:27 (Feren)
Ahaha, which part?

3:27 (ProphetX)
netbackup

3:27 (Feren)
Yeah that's a big piece of shit. Better than Arcserv, tho.

3:28 (ProphetX)
Feren, punch cards are better then Arcserve
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-angst)
He gets to have it both ways, if I read this right.  Or maybe he's just trying to appeal to both sides.  I like the part about "paying a fee for every digital music device sold."  I have none, repeat NO unpurchased ("illegal") music loaded on my iPod. But I paid that "fee" for my digital music device, because the universe knows APPLE isn't going to be burdened with it.  How is that fair, again?

Today I got a reply to my e-mail address, addressed from one of my Senate-Critter in response to my letter about this entry. If you love your streaming MP3s, Sirius (or XM) radio and in general are a fan of having the "right" to control your own music your own way... go read the link to my previous entry and take action. Now, on to the show!

[REDACTED ]
[REDACTED]
Bolingbrook, IL

Thank you for contacting me about the Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music (PERFORM) Act of 2006. I appreciate hearing from you.

This bill would have changed federal copyright law in several significant ways, altering the standard terms under which music is licensed for transmission and the scope of music recording and playback permitted to the public. Congress did not enact this legislation by the completion of the 109th Congress.Critics of this measure believe that it was an attempt to skirt fair negotiations between the recording and satellite radio industries by imposing new conditions in federal law. In addition, they argue that it would have harmed technological innovation and the development of new recording devices to fulfill consumers' fair use rights, and that copyright holders are already fairly compensated by a standard fee paid to the recording industry for every recording device sold in the country.

Supporters of this legislation maintain that it would have balanced the need to fairly compensate songwriters and performers for their works with the goal of fostering the development of new technologies. They claim that it was designed to create a level playing field of fees paid to copyright holders regardless of the platform on which the music is transmitted.

I am a music lover. In fact, I often tell people that my CD collection is rivaled only by my collection of ties. Music plays a vital role in my own life, and I understand that it is particularly meaningful to many Americans.

The ongoing debate about the legal and technological means to protect copyright in the digital age has significant long-term implications for the future ofdigital content. New technologies enable the delivery of voice, video, and data to billions of users worldwide. Those technologies are changing the way we communicate with each other and conduct business.

Any proposal must include appropriate limitations and safeguards regarding the fairuse of copyrighted material. Consumers should have the ability to make fair use of content for which they have paid. Copyright holders should be able to enforce their rights to protect their works. The proper balancing of these goals will help provide an appropriate incentive tocreate more works in the future.

The goal should be the development of a robust content delivery market in which consumers have multiple choices and sufficient information, and in which issues relating to public affairs content and privacy are fairly addressed. Most importantly, solutions should respect the choices of consumers and the rights of creators without unduly burdening law-abiding users with restrictive and cumbersome digital copyright protection regimes.

I will keep your thoughts in mind as the committee reviews this legislation.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.



So there you have it. Draw your own conclusions.

rock me, Amadeus
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-gruntle)
It turns out that little ray of sunshine from California, Sen. Feinstein, is trying to ban MP3 streaming and fuck up your satellite radio (XM, Sirius) and MP3 streaming experience. I'm so glad to see that we're back to this again when we have bigger issues to tackle. But hey, she's sold her soul so now she has to deliver, right?

Wrong.

Go to the EFF page and tell your respective Senate-critter that we don't need laws shackling our use of music. Hey, look at it this way... if the PERFORM Act passes today we can expect our TiVo, VCR and cable/satellite DVR systems to be banned by similar laws tomorrow. Won't that be fun?

You'd think these assclowns would have gotten the message after Betamax was handed down in 1984, but they're tenacious little fuckers and show no signs of stopping.

[via [livejournal.com profile] jwz's entry to the DNA Lounge weblog]
I put my money down
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 (card)
Thanks to the wonderment that is Google Apps for Your Domain (Yes, the beta is still taking sign-ups) I have been able to cobble together a pseudo-answer for the problem I faced after Friday's failure of panther and my subsequent announcement that I am shutting down and leaving the hosting business. So, for the moment, I have the ability to keep receiving email via my personal e-mail address and put up an explanation on the front page. All thanks to a side project run by a search engine. Sadly, the webserver component for Google Apps doesn't support virtual hosts that might point at my explanation page via their own URL, so it's not a complete solution. But it's still better than where I was two hours ago.

Google, your powers are truly mighty. I just wish I didn't have to turn to them because of a situation like this.

sometimes
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

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feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
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