8 May 2000 jmm   » (Journeyer)

Ok, it's been a few days... and me ragging on Matt for not posting diary entries... sheesh.

LAN party at Cameron's was quite nice. Should have taken my system, but it would have meant leaving work and heading back home during a baby shower that my wife was throwing... no thanks. It ended up working out fairly well since Nitin let me get in a few games. I hate his key bindings. They suck. Arrow keys are not the correct keys for direction in Q3A. Argh. Almost beat Bad Mojo even with the crap bindings. Next time, they're mine.

Nitin's box had a RF-based wireless keyboard and mouse from Logitech. Very nice, but something with the MS Intellieye stuff (or whatever it's called) would be trick. Having a wireless mouse isn't that nice if you're fighting with the mousepad all the time (and Nitin certainly was fighting his). Nice JavaOne wristrest for the mouse hand, but no mousepad integration hurt things a bit. Amazing to see such small monitors getting used. I'll have to get one of the Viewsonic 19"'s for the next lan party.

Really considering getting a 98 box (Athlon 750, perhaps) as a sep. gaming box.... it's just getting silly to try and maintain my BP6 as a gaming platform, and with the cable modem a theoretical 8 hours away, I'm not sure I wanna bother. Also, I wanna get somthing with NTSC out with a decent video card... routing the game through the home stereo system would be nice... I'd finally be able to record my games on tape, which would finally put those tapes to good use.

Haven't slept in quite awhile. Drew was a huge help getting Oracle installed on the Linux 4-way Xeon... Oracle 8.1.6 (aka 8iR2) is a very nice improvement over 8.1.5 (aka 8i). It finally includes its own jre in the installer, which ended up making my fetch of jre 1.1.7v3 from metalab quite moot. I like monkeys.

Windows 2000 is inheritly evil. Apparently, none of the drive imaging places feels very comfortable with it, because I can't find anything that does drive mirroring natively. You're stuck booting to some dos floppies, but it gets worse. Ghost complains loudly about supposed NTFS errors (although Win2k doesn't have any problems that it speaks of) so I try switching to Drive Image Professional. Not knowing what the deal was at the time, I go ahead and actually boot Win2k. Very very bad idea. By all accounts, and given the current state of the symptoms, Win2k saw the almost-NTFS on the attempted-ghost-target drive and decided that it would be a good place to put its own pagefile work.

Now, it didn't actually make this as a conscious decision. It maps pagefiles by drive letter. Now the ghost target was scsi id 1 (main drive id 0) and as such showed up as the second drive in all accounts (adaptec controller set to boot off of id 0, even). Unfortunately, Win2k decided (by what rationale I don't know... it certainly continues to evade me here at 5:30am as I write this) that the drive it booted off of wasn't good enough for the title of C: and relegated it to D: Since our ghost target was now available as C:, and since the Win2k registry said paging had to happen as c:\pagefile.sys, you got it.

So sure enough this thing is actually *paging* onto the poor defenseless ghost target that just happens to still be sitting on the scsi chain (in retrospect, never let Win2k boot with a drive that you're not willing for it to totally infect). A shutdown and removal of the drive, for whatever reason, does not lead to a working system. Instead, on boot it now complains about a non-existant paging file, gives nice, clear, detailed instructions on how to fix this under the Advanced -> Performance Options section, then gives you an OK button to acknowledge this.

At this point, I didn't feel too bad. Ok, paging was a little weird, but the machine had booted all the way to the point of reading the registry, GUI mode fully going, basically fully booted. But oh no. That's when you think you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is the hellish train of bad coding about to mow you down. Clicking the OK to acknowledge this information of how to fix your oh-so-confused machine (no other buttons available, no other key strokes or combinations do anything), you get a few seconds of processing and then the exact same window pops up again. Yes, you're in Hell's Groundhog Day, and it never stops. Click all you want, We'll Make More! True to form, your only option involves power drop or cycling as there is no method to even get to a shutdown capability.

Ok, so this is actually Win2k Professional Eval build 2195. Maybe this is fixed in a more recent version. Maybe I can do some hacks and get a rescue diskette from a working machine to get this thing back to life. Maybe... I guess we'll see.

Goal was to get a backup copy made, split the first client (4GB drive, all Win2k) into 2GB/2GB, install RH 6.2, upgrade kernel (oops when you ifconfig the acenic up is bad), then make a drive image and propogate around (letting Jeff or George handle everything else that needs fixing after I fix client names and ip changes... oh, and maybe use that SID changer util)

Tried the other TMS fiber card in a 5500... With the card in a PCI slot (not even powered on, just in the slot with the slot switch off), it did enough damage to keep the ServeRAID adapter from getting seen and the machine couldn't boot. Pull it out of the slot, and the machine is fine again. Definitely something wrong with that :)

Ok, enough of a break, back to work!

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