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Something good! - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
Something good!
My back doesn't hurt anymore. Or, rather, it doesn't hurt this morning. But you know what? I will take what I can get. I haven't felt pain like that in my spine since I worked for Holiday and did a stint during the summer at their distribution warehouse. There was nothing quite like moving around pallets of ammunition that literally weighed half a ton or so if you wanted (or even if you didn't want) to do a number on your back. Eventually I got used to it, I mean, I did spend half a year or more working in the greenhouse as a pack mule previous to that job (I don't regret leaving that particular misery behind, not one bit). I just had to get back into the routine, so to speak. It was either that or start buying stock in Whitehall-Robins, makers of the all-powerful Advil.

There's even some good news from the work front: they've opened up access to the money in my budget that lets me acquire some new network and server management software. I've been waiting for 6 months for this, and now it's time to roll it out. The downside to this is that the management has set a highly aggressive timeline for the implementation -- mid-February, a completely unreasonable goal. I don't know if we'll necessarily make it, but I aim to do my best. This is a challenge to me, and because it's something that really is right up my alley (computer software that runs on fast-fast servers and talks via obscure protocols to my network equipment and servers? Yeah, that's definately something I like) I'm excited about the challenge. Randy Wheeler, the other guy who will be involved in this project, is also rather excited about the chance to finally implement this system. So we're rising to the occasion and doing it all the right way the first time to prevent any unforseen, stupid delays. Maybe, just maybe, we can pull this off. If we do, we're going to look very cool. Finally, something I'm excited and happy about at work. If they'd let me slip my leash in this manner more often I'd be a lot more pleasant person to work with; I'd probably be about a hundred fold more productive, too. Oh well, I suppose I should count my blessings where I can.

Last night I did something that was both incredibly cool and yet rather stupid in terms of risk. My new 18 gig drive arrived for "panther," the main server I administer on my home network. Yes, I know there are 120 gig HDs available for PCs these days. This is a SCSI-2 system, and drives for it in that size aren't something I can afford even on my salary. Add to the equation that SCSI continues to be more reliable and a hell of a lot more expandable and I'll settle for my "paltry" 18 gigs (I remember when you were the bomb if you had a 650 meg drive!). I had an internal drive bay all lined up for it but didn't want to take the system down to install the disk, as is the usual (even prescribed) method. I eyeballed the drive for a little bit, then decided Hey, it's an SCA connector, it's worth a shot. Worst that can happen is that the box crashes. I popped open the case, slapped the drive in, closed the case again and stood back with crossed fingers. I could hear the disk powering up, and there was no sound of heads meeting platters or processors catching on fire. Hurrah, I have met with success and installed the disk into the chassis without crashing the server! Okay, now comes the next tricky part: I have to get the operating system to see the drive without forcing a reconfiguration reboot. Thankfully I've done this a time or two on the UE-450s at work, which quite clearly state they support hot-swap/add/removal of disks and components. I could only hope that my system had the same level of intelligence designed in. Luckily, my hopes were not in vain, at least it seemed that way so far. The problem I ran into was that I was able to remember only one of the two commands necessary to detect and configure a hot-added drive. After running that lone command I still couldn't see my disk, which didn't really surprise me but did leave me feeling a bit frustrated. The knowledge was there, dancing around in the back of my head and mocking me the way a word that you "just can't spit out even though it's on the tip of your tongue" does. So I brought out my old friend man(1) and did a little research, using the command I remembered as a starting point. Pretty shortly I came to the "See Also" section of the "disks" man page and that was where I found the other magical command I needed. Okay, good, so I know the commands I need. What order do I need to run them in? Well, let's try "disks" and then "drvconfig." No good? How about "drvconfig" and then "disks?" Yep, that was the one! I got Solaris to rebuild the device tree on the fly and add the disk into the chain. Let me tell you, folks... this is something I still have yet to see a PC do with any sort of ease, minus server-class equipment from Dell or Compaq (Keep in mind that my so-called "server" is just a SUN Microsystems Ultra 2, which is discontinued and described as a desktop-class workstation on their website). I was immensely pleased with how well that drive installation went. I didn't have to adversely impact my uptime (I take great pride in the uptime my systems achieve) and I didn't have to adversely impact the service I provide to my users, as well as the IRC network I am a part of.

Bleah, I've a staff meeting in 30 minutes. With luck it'll be short and sweet, and I can get back to my main task of rolling out OpenView Operations.

If there's somebody calling me on, she's the one

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Current Music: Feren's MP3 collection

12 thoughts or Leave a thought
chebutykin From: chebutykin Date: January 10th, 2002 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember when you were the bomb if you had a 650 meg drive!

You are such a young pup. *grin*

I remember when hard drives, period, were phenomenal. I remember 5 MB hard drives with platters larger than dinner plates (I later turned the platters into a rather attractive clock).

A couple years from now, we'll be sitting around, musing, "Gosh, remember when 650 gigs was a big deal?"

I love technology. I'm not even 27 yet, and I feel like a dinosaur. At least I never had to use punch cards...
aynjel From: aynjel Date: January 10th, 2002 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I used punch-cards!!

.... But only to color on when my mom brought them home from work.
chebutykin From: chebutykin Date: January 10th, 2002 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Oo, punch cards as art! I'm jealous. I only had several reams of an unused company report to draw on when I was a kid. It was nice manila-colored paper, printed on only one side. It served me and my 64-color box of Crayolas for years.

I seem to remember a distant friend wallpapering his room with punch cards, but that strikes me as not being a very attractive decorating choice.
roho From: roho Date: January 10th, 2002 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I remember when hard drives were a big deal. My first PC (not my first computer, that was a TI-99/4a) had 2 360k floppy drives, and I was so jealous of my friend, who had all the space in the world (a 20-meg hard drive!!)

But, you're not a dinosaur, and neither am I. Just come to work with me sometime, and meet my coworkers ;) There's 7 of us on this project, and at least 3 of them have been in the industry since its infancy...it makes one feel really young to hear them reminiscing about all the stuff they used to do with punch cards, and when there were no monitors, just a printer spitting out lines of output onto green and white striped paper ;)
chebutykin From: chebutykin Date: January 10th, 2002 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the TI's... I never did have one of those. I started in the world of Commodore. I had a little Vic-20 with one of those cassette tape drives. My dad would get mad at me because I would steal his Led Zepplin tapes and record over them with the games I would program for the Vic. I figure it's his fault: he would never buy games for it, so I had to program my own. I made a pretty mean ASCII Star Wars game!

Ah, the Vic-20. 5Kb of RAM. 1.0227 MHz. Those were the days!

I wonder how much memory one of those 90-minute cassettes held? Anyone know?

It's sad that my beloved Vic-20 met such a tragic fate at my own hands. I was an ambitious 8-year-old, and I threw together a mechanical monstrosity consisting mostly of my Vic-20 and my Erector set. I managed to somehow hook the Vic-20 up to a motor that would open the door of my room, and then had the idea to completely automate my room. But when I tried to hook the system up to one of my lamps... *POP!* *sizzle* A whif of ozone, and my poor Vic emerged from a puff of smoke, slightly streaked with soot, never to work again.
frostyw From: frostyw Date: January 10th, 2002 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
No idea. I used to sit watching the counter on my Datasette spin from number to number so slooooowly. I was so happy when I got my 1541, and then my 1571. :-)

I didn't get to the 1581, the first 3 1/2" drive, before I ended up in the PC world.

feren From: feren Date: January 10th, 2002 07:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember when hard drives, period, were phenomenal.

Hey now, I'm not that young. My parents bought me some sort of Commodore thing, but returned it when they found out the product was being discontinued. The next computing evolution for me was our Apple ][e. Woah, dual 5.25" disks and a dot matrix printer! 80 column card! 300 baud modem, burnin' up those phone lines! Eventually I got the VAXmate (this was around the time the 80386 was ruling supreme), which had the 5.25" disk drive and the 40meg disk, with immense platters. So I was lagging behind technology some at that point.I still have the platters from some of the old DEC systems I worked on at my first job.
chebutykin From: chebutykin Date: January 10th, 2002 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, 300 baud... How hardly we knew ye...

The Benden/Perkins crowd still has a Christmas shindig every year, and we give away white elephant gifts to the person whose name we draw out of a hat. Last year, I didn't get to go, but I submitted a 100 baud modem that actually used to belong to Wired/Peter, in high hopes that it would not only be a great white elephant gift, but would also, with some luck, actually be given to Peter.

Well, it didn't wind up in Peter's hands, though when it was opened (I think Jason/F'lar opened it), it was only a couple minutes before Peter went, "Heyyyyy...."

From what I heard, about four of the boys fought over who wanted to keep the modem. Mike/Deaver wound up with it.
frostyw From: frostyw Date: January 10th, 2002 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
That could describe any of Commodore's core products save for the VIC-20 and the CBM/PET (i.e. the 16, the Plus/4, the 64 or the 128).

I started with my VIC-20 back on the 5th of May, 1981. I was a wee lad of six years old. I remember that my father cut the check to the store to the tune of $125.00, $50 for the computer, $75 for the 16K RAM cartridge.

I got my Commodore 64 for Christmas in 1986.

Commodore folded in 1994. :-/

Other fun fact: QuantumLink (Q-Link) is the forerunner to America Online, complete with the CEO. :-)
frostyw From: frostyw Date: January 10th, 2002 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I also remember that the Apple ][es I saw in the store (the same one where we bought the Commodore VIC-20 for $50 a few years back) going for about $1,300.

Oh, by the way, Q-Link was the premier online service for Commodore computer users. As I mentioned before, it was the forerunner to America Online. Here's Steve Case's final letter to Q-Link users shortly before the service was discontinued for Commodore computer users.
frostyw From: frostyw Date: January 10th, 2002 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
more Q-Link random links
chebutykin From: chebutykin Date: January 10th, 2002 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
$1,300 for an Apple ][e. Hard to imagine now.

However, I do remember my dad purchasing one of the Mac SEs at a price of $4,000. 16 MHz was rippin' back then! (Ah, my first Mac... so sad I didn't start with the LISA, but oh, well...) My dad reminded me of this when I was tormenting myself for forking over $3,000 I didn't have for a G3 laptop a couple years ago. I didn't feel so bad after that...

I seem to remember my dad buying the Vic-20 on clearance for $20. I must say I got my $20 of use out of the thing!

Commodore and Amiga were sad losses.
12 thoughts or Leave a thought