The excitement started a week or two ago when I discovered that my ThinkPad laptop’s internal cooling fan had stopped working. As soon as I did something graphically intense for more than a minute or two, the system would overheat and perform an emergency shutdown. Fortunately, I have a backup laptop. Unfortunately, the backup ThinkPad laptop had also developed a fault. The fluorescent backlight for the display was failing. The screen was a curious reddish-purple color, and very dim—unless I turned the brightness up, in which case the backlight stopped working entirely, and everything went black.

House stuff

Time Warner turned up yesterday and hooked up the Internet. We now have a nice, reliable high-speed connection again. There seems to be nobody in WiFi range who has a wireless access point; either that or they’re not broadcasting SSIDs. Reception is fabulous throughout the house. The modem and router are in the office, and I have the music server up and running again. It turned out that Time Warner have some kind of lock on their back-end systems to restrict the allowed set of MAC addresses for cable modems.

Debian update

I got jigdo running, and downloaded the first two Debian CDs. Successfully installed this time. Somehow it skipped installing the ethernet drivers, and when I tried adding them with dselect inside Gnome or KDE dselect couldn’t see the CD-ROM. So, I booted in “emergency” mode, and dselect could then see the CD-ROM. Installed etherconf, ran it, it did everything automatically, rebooted one more time, and the machine is on the net.

Trip report, day 1

In retrospect, it was my own damn fault. I should have gone for the peppermint. But no, I chose the raspberry Earl Grey, which is apparently full of caffeine. That, combined with worrying about the day to come, meant that I only got around four hours of actual sleep on Saturday night. Sunday morning, the taxi didn’t quite turn up. In spite of the fact that I had spelled out the street name, somehow the house number had been omitted again.


The iSeries team at IBM in Rochester, MN put together a computer with 128GiB of RAM, 24 600MHz PowerPC processors, 5 100baseT ethernet adaptors, and an array of 270 8.5GiB hard drives. To load it down, they needed 67 more computers to simulate the expected load of 100,000 simultaneous Notes users. Each simulated user sent e-mail to random other users, scrolled through views, opened databases, and so on. Average server response time was 67 msec; during the 6+ hour test, 97% of the mail generated was delivered, and the system didn’t become bogged down.


I wouldn’t mind the blue tape if it meant that stuff actually got done properly. However, my stuff wasn’t moved until the afternoon, and of course the guy who handles all the keys only works until 14:45. So I spent the whole of yesterday at home. I came in today to find that they’d put the desk in the office for me, but I had no chair, no shelves, no power, and no network connection.

Windows 2000

Windows 2000 is a piece of shit. I now have a new(er) ThinkPad at work, which will run Windows 2000. People have often said to me “Yes, Windows 95 was awful, and Windows 98 was bad, and Windows ME was flaky, and Windows XP isn’t very good… but Windows 2000 is great. Stable, fast, reliable.” I took their word for it. Yes, I know, paint the word “SUCKER” on my forehead.

Plug and play

I’ve been through two days of slow bandwidth hell at work, because it turns out my PC card ethernet adaptor only works properly in one of the two PC card slots. In the other slot, it runs at about a tenth of the speed. Naturally, Windows didn’t bother to tell me this.