feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
This morning my home PC scolded me for moving several directories. Except... I hadn't done that at all. I checked it out and sure enough, my 1TB drive (d:) isn't showing up. Reboots got nothing to change. I powered the machine down, ran errands, came home... and now my machine is stuck on the Windows start up splash screen. I'll give it another 30 minutes before I power cycle the thing.

It's been a very long week.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
[livejournal.com profile] rainingmeat, [livejournal.com profile] markvd and [livejournal.com profile] asetwoman take note....

While it can be cathartic, it's actually rather important that you don't shout at your disk arrays.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Zhivagod - Feren_silly)
Dear Linux, you can blow me.

You clearly hate your users and the developers of big-name apps you're so desperately trying to woo. I mean let's talk about rudimentary functions for a minute here. It's been what, 15 years or so now, right? And yet you still can't make sound work decently enough to let a professional developer port his game to your platform? Seriously, give that link a read. Be sure not to skip the comments. When the Free Software Apologist Brigade comes in and starts belittling a professional developer in his blog comments because he's (unsurprisingly) found that Linux is a complete steaming pile to work with? It ends badly, let me tell you, with the developer being attacked from all angles and finally throwing up his hands and stating what nobody there seems to want to hear. And they wonder why they can't attract professional programs and the people who develop them to the platform. With a platform and tools that can't meet your needs... paired with support that sports an attitude like that... it's not really a mystery to me. The outcome here and the profound amount of "la la la I can't hear you you SUCK for being unsatisfied with our buffett of crappy and half-cooked API choices" coming from the community in response to this guy's concerns and problems is no different than every other "Hey, this doesn't work, can you guys give me a hand?" situation I've seen in the Open Source Software world.

Conclusion: The only thing holding Linux back from seeing wider adoption is the core essence of Linux, meaning not just the environment/tools but the very people who make it and taut its open nature. Don't criticize the environment, whatever you do! The problem isn't that what we've created is an obscure, twisted maze of shit. The problem is you. You aren't committed enough, aren't knowledgeable enough (I so laughed at that one... this developer has been with Linux since the 0.91 kernel) or are unwilling to change how you do things (Read: you won't adapt to our model's limitations). I think I even saw that famous standby of if you don't like it, fix it yourself! Yep, that's all indicative of open and flexible alright. Especially that last one, because users who find bugs are now being told it's their responsibility to fix somebody else's fucked-up code. It's like a really shitty, elitist version of that grade-school grind of "He who smelt it, dealt it." Which is fine if you're a programmer, but nothing short of infuriating if you can't even slap a Hello World program together in C++. I'm sorry, I don't want to learn your AJAX program so I can fix your retarded bug. I just want it to work, or for you to fix it when I tell you it doesn't work. Pushing the responsibility off onto the userbase is moronic.

I think [livejournal.com profile] roho summed it up for me when he said "[I have] run a number of distros for the last...12 years, I guess, and it's amazing that that attitude still there. 1: Come to Linux, everything works better 2: If it doesn't work, it's probably your fault 3: If it's your fault, and you try to fix it, and fail, you are probably a Linux Saboteur/M$ lackey in disguise."

So in conclusion, dear Linux, it is no wonder I avoid you as much as possible and stay in the big kid's sandbox with my *elitist sniff* commercial UNIX and desktop operating systems...
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 (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-enthusiastic)
Yes, the Mac had it first -- and then it was ported to XScreenSaver. But now, at long last, Flurry has been made into a Windows-compatible screen saver.

Maybe I'm late to the party on this, but it's such a nice screen saver that I cannot help but gush about it. After I installed it I was pleased to find that it is aware of dual displays in Windows. With just a simple check mark in the settings panel it began to render two different flurries, one on each of my panels. That's just damn cool.
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-gruntle)
My left "Alt" key has decided that now is the time to be broken. Sometime between the time I left for Kenosha on Saturday morning and now it just up and quit working. This really shouldn't bother me, but the way I learned keyboarding means that I am highly dependent upon that left-side Alt key for the infamous "Alt-tab" sequence in Windows to flip between applications. At this point, after 15+ years of using (left) Alt-tab you can probably consider it "muscle memory." As if that's not enough -- you guessed it, I'm a complete geek and at any given moment I have something akin to eleven or thirteen applications open between my two monitors. I'm constantly flipping between them. When I want to rotate from Firefox to Putty I hit (left) Alt-Tab and expect the window to pop up. It doesn't. I groan inwardly and use the Alt key on the right-hand side of they keyboard.

Arrrrrgh, I just did it again. Three times in succession. Each time I had that quizzical "WTF?" expression on my face, though gradually 'WTF' was replaced with 'rage.'

This keyboard may well be thrown out the Blue Room of Death's window before this night is through. The insult to injury in all this is that my keyboard is the Natural Keyboard Pro ergonomic model from MS that was discontinued something like two years ago. Want to know how I know it's good? [livejournal.com profile] jwz, the most anti-MS man ever to walk the planet (MS did kill his company, after all) endorses it in his article My wrists and welcome to them. I do not want this crazy new "Elite Ergonomic Pro 4-Hojillion" keyboard from MS. I might end up with the Kinesis Contour keyboard since the Kinesis Evolution keyboard seems to have gone the way of the dodo.

Regardless, I am going to be so screwed.

That's right, your pain.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Technology makes me punchy)
From [livejournal.com profile] paul_ferguson_2 we receive news that the folks at SpamCop are blocking some GMail servers. As I am an avid GMail user, I find the prospect of being blocked from "myself" should I want to forward from a GMail account over to my personal server's account a bit upsetting.

This is reason number twenty-one that I don't trust DNS-based RBLs (Realtime Blackhole Lists) like SpamCop or SORBS to filter my incoming mail for me or any of the users of my system.

In other news, thanks to the folks up in Kenosha for hosting me yesterday. Thanks especially to [livejournal.com profile] wolfbrotherjoe for packing me full of tasty BBQ food, but it was also awesome to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] donaldson, [livejournal.com profile] angrymeat, [livejournal.com profile] brianblackberry, [livejournal.com profile] sylverfox, [livejournal.com profile] mistletoe and [livejournal.com profile] tremaine. After seeing Dead Leaves on Saturday night I'm not sure I'll be able to look at Sailor Moon in the same light now that I know the same group of animators made both of those products. It's pretty indescribable. It makes me feel dirty on the inside knowing that. But hey, after 8 seasons of the Sailors I would probably go crazy too...

Saturday night, after enjoying Transporter 2 and Dead Leaves I dropped over to the Casa De Cheefennec and spent some time harassing [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] duncandahusky, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. I ended up crashing there, doing some couch surfing in the basement. I have no complaints about the couch's pull-out bed, though for whatever reason my neck decided to manifest its intense hatred for All Things Pillow last night (maybe that's why I haven't been sleeping well these last few months. Or maybe not, I dunno). What I do know is that this morning we did Vegas for brunch and were joined by [livejournal.com profile] datahawk. I of course surrendered to my Vegas Skillet masters. After the meal we killed a few hours playing games on my Sony PSP and the multitude of Nintendo DS units that were brought -- it seems Linnaeus has also sold his soul to the DS, which brings the number of owners in my immediate circle to something like five if I include myself. I may have converted Takaza and Data over to the PSP thanks to the Lumines cult. Time shall tell on that, but I had to leave not long after we ate so I could head home and get over to Lisle Lanes for bowling league. Disappointingly enough, I thought my team had our first series sweep in a 10 week history, but I may have jumped the gun on that one -- there was a fellow on the opposing team who was a substitute bowler, so we don't know what his handicap was. That unknown handicap may ultimately prove our undoing for one or more games.

Final analysis: Had fun, ate too much, saw cool people, hung out. This weekend rocked -- and it had no snowstorms!

It's never gonna be the same without you
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 (Technology makes me punchy)
... and said I'd only buy a premanufactured one from a major retailer. I'll put it this way, folks: I spent all day yesterday (about 20 hours) building the system, only to find I had to spend another $610 ($399 + $179 + Uncle Sam's cut of the take) to make the system run. Granted, almost all of that will be refunded when the defective/inadequate parts are sent back under RMA, but that doesn't make my wallet feel any better.

What makes it feel worse is that after spending another 10 hours on it today, it still. Doesn't. Run. Reliably.

I have given a name to my pains, and it is Integrator's Lament. Right now I believe I have a terminal case of it.

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