Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you but... honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it's just an ordinary crack, but I know its not cause at night there's voices so... please please can you send someone to fix it? Or a policeman, or...
Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.

Wednesday, March 10

Geek

Let's Take This Baby For A Spin

My DSL connection dropped out at 12:15 last night. Right in the middle of prime blogging time. Well, I'm due to switch across to my new ISP today, so maybe the Telstra technicians were hard at work* and had implemented the change already?

After reconfiguring my router** I came to the conclusion: Maybe not.

Oh well. I went off and read Mary Gentle's Ancient Light instead. (This is the sequel to Golden Witchbreed.)

But now: Success! Yay! It works it works!

Let's find something to download... Sailor Moon Live episode 21? Sounds good. Hmm... 40k per second is nothing special. Oh, 50k per second. Which is about as fast as I ever got on my old DSL.*** Now, if I download Jubei Chan as well... 70k on that, 40k on Sailor Moon. Not amazing, but I expect I'll survive.

Since I can leave that running all day... Which would work out to about 300GB a month. Whee!

* Hahahahaha!

** Err... Entering the new username and password.

*** My old connection was 512k symmetric; my new connection is 1536k down, 256k up.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 09:06 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Sunday, March 07

Geek

Powers of 2

Way back in the dawn of time, when I got my first job (writing accounting systems in Microsoft Compiled Basic), my office computer had one of those newfangled* hard disk thingies.

It was a 20 megabyte hard disk thingy, but because of a peculiar design flaw, it was divided into two 10 megabyte partitions. You see, PCs back then couldn't deal with hard disk thingies bigger than 16 megabytes.

After a bit, the engineers realised that it didn't make much sense that the smallest hard disks available were bigger than an standard PC could recognise, so they boosted the size limit up to 512 megabytes. And for a few years, everyone was happy.

Then drives started showing up that were bigger than 512 megabytes! Who could have imagined that this might happen? So people wrote little hacky patches you could load on your system to cope with those huge drives. (I had a 720 meg drive on my Commodore PC, a 486SLC-25.)

And everyone was happy until, one day, someone brought out a drive that was bigger than 2GB. Because, you see, neither DOS nor Windows could cope with a drive that large. A 2 gigabyte drive! Who could have imagined that this might happen? So everyone went out and upgraded their operating systems at great expense to cope with this unprecedented event.

At 8 gigabytes, many systems no longer recognised IDE drives.

At 32 gigabytes, Windows' FAT filesystem hit the wall.

At 128 gigabytes, IDE LBA addressing ran out of room.

I just bought a 200 gigabyte SATA disk drive thingy, so that I could finally set up my Windows box the way I had originally planned. (The original 200 gigabyte SATA disk drive thingy I bought ended up in my Linux server for reasons too complicated and painful to bring up right now.)

And: My motherboard (less than six months old) says it's a 128 gig drive. Windows XP agrees.

After all, who could ever imagine that DISK DRIVES MIGHT CONTINE GROWING THE WAY THEY HAVE EVER SINCE IBM INVENTED THE FLAMING THINGS IN NINETEEN FIFTY-BLOODY-SIX?!

Apparently Service Pack 1 fixes this problem. Which is really helpful when you are trying to install onto the drive.

* For PCs, anyway.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 04:08 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, March 04

Geek

Voodoo Computer Maintenance

The Windows 2000 file server here at work, the only server that we have running anything other than Linux, the server that I know absolutely nothing about and have never touched (which is why it is still running Windows and hasn't been quietly, um, upgraded), just died. Died as dead as a very dead thing.

I poked and prodded it, power cycled, pulled the little BIOS battery, all to no avail. I called the person responsible for the server (who is, of course, not in the office today), also to no avail.

I pulled out the memory, and stuck it back in a different slot.

It works.

The moral of this story is: Us experts don't know what we're doing either. We're just methodical in our ignorance.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:04 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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