Charting a new course

Oh man, what a day!

I logged off for some shuteye around 0600 and awoke about 0836 or so when the people from our new ISP/Phone provider (we just bundled with the cable company). Managed to talk a little with the supervisor of the two about the setup involved, you could say the feeling that the other knew their ass from a hole in the ground was mutual >_>.

Because the cable boxes and the computer are on opposite sides of the rooms from the computers — that’s how the apartment was originally setup by a previous provider (Which was thrown out of the complex when the owners cut a deal with another company 0.o). So we had to go out and get some wireless cards, I paid for them as I agreed to if it would (and likely would) come to it.

So far, I’ve been cursed with shopping, practically stabbed in the eye, wondering why the bleeding heck our modems refuse to talk to my laptop or our router, and cannibalizing a pair of PCs, cut my finger, and I’ve been doing it all on ~2 hours sleep and a can of root beer !!!!!!

After drinking a bit of a root beer, we went out to get her shoppin’ done and grab the cards, the plan was to be home in plenty of time to spare to get her and my (gaming) desktop hooked up so I could make it to Medics Live OP.

I was leaning over to put the water down when ma made an unexpected move of the arm and I nearly got the end of the car keys tip in my left eye. It must have only jabbed towards the point closer to the nose because I still have an eye left, it didn’t hurt, and there is no sign of damage — as much as I like MGS3, I really don’t want to end up in an eye patch like Big Boss someday.

Thank GOD for protecting fools and star ships named Enterprise 😉

While we were talking with someone at Best Buy, I asked the guy if they carried any RAM in the store and he sent me over to the Geek Squad (y). I got a 512mb dimm of PC2700 for Ma’s computer along with three LInksys WMP54G PCI adapters and we hit Krogers.

I had a plan, I really did dang nab’it ! Check the manual for the ram speed to make sure the new chip was compatible (I bought PC2700 going by memory). Copy my Wifi data to each PC, setup the router, install each wifi card, and be *early* to the live op but it didn’t work out that way.

First thing I did was plug in the router and try and set it up using DHCP instead of PPPoE but that didn’t work. So I took the CAT-5e and hooked up the modem directly to my laptops on board Marvell Yukon and wondered, wtf is my modems address since it isn’t offering DHCP services?

About 1930-1600Z I remembered the tenth commandment of C programmers*

Thou shalt foreswear, renounce, and abjure the vile heresy which claimeth that “All the world’s a VAX”, and have no commerce with the benighted heathens who cling to this barbarous belief, that the days of thy program may be long even though the days of thy current machine be short.

I ripped apart my desktop setup and hooked SAL up on the floor near the living room modem and plugged her in directly. Booted windows, opened IE7 just to be sure for compatibility, and sure enough got a welcome message from the modem! Oh go fsck yourselfs!!! But it works.

Setup the modem over HTTP, got a really fucking fast connection compared to AT&Ts aDSL line. A quick speed test out of Atlanta showed like 3-5 times the data rates we were getting!

After that I shutdown and used my now cleared desk as a work table. Cracked open Ma’s Dell 4550 for a little cleaning, install the WMP54G, upgraded the RAM from 512mb to 768mb and took the desktops original stick of PC 2100. I found that her PC was running a PC2100 and a PC2700 sprig of 256MB at 266Mhz.

Then I cracked open Vectra (an HP Vli8 500+more PC100 ram) and my brothers junked Dell 4500 PC on the “operating table”. The Dell is missing it’s CD-ROM drives and Ethernet NIC. There were two EIDE hard drives when I first salvaged it, a 40GB Western Digital and an 80GB Hitachi. The 80GB has been in Vectra for awhile now as a secondary disk but I left the smaller 40GB due to lack of space.

I tried the 40GB to see if there was a working install of Windows left on it before formatting it, the BIOS couldn’t boot off it. So I pulled the CD-ROM drive out of Vectra and popped myself in the head. I only had one set of mounting brackets left for the Dell case — which while compatible with the hard drives don’t fit the CD-ROM drive !!!

So I did something that is probably stupid but effective. Hooked up the CD-ROM to the PSU and secondary EIDE port on the mother board, sandwiching the drive between the case and the lid before I booted her. Then popped myself in the head again when the CD tray ejected ‘upside down’, I wondered why the power dongle needed to plug into the wrong side.

Flipped it over, rebooted and loaded Knoppix LiveCD but still couldn’t access that 40GB drive. I know Live CDs are slow (and that drives dated 1999 and 32X max reading speed) but it was actually a _lot_ faster then I thought it would be on 256MB of PC2100. Then I took out Vectra’s root disk an 8.4GB Maxtor hosting my OpenBSD installation and switched mounting brackets.

She still wouldn’t boot, so I tried my boot floppy from OpenBSD 4.1 (I didn’t use a floppy for the 4.2/4.3 upgrades). I shutdown and switched the cable to the other mate on the EIDE line and rebooted, worked perfectly. Then I stuck in the 40GB drive and hooked it up on the previous one. That way I could boot knoppix and scope out the 40GB drive.

I’ve read about Master/Slave issues with (P)ATA/(E)IDE based systems and what not like this before but it’s actually the first time I’ve ever seen the BIOS fail to detect and boot a drive, maybe previous systems I’ve worked on were just well cabled to avoid it ^_^.

There is a legit copy of windows on the drive and some files, so I may as well back that up just in case I need it later. ‘Cuz I didn’t get a copy of the restore disks from my brother when he gave me the PC, several months after he stripped it for ‘parts’ to use on his new custom PC. Right now I’ve got both of Vectra’s hard drives installed, I would have put all three in it as there is enough space but I just don’t have enough mounting brackets.

And while I’m willing to use a CD-ROM drive without mounting it in the case — a hard drive is full of data so I take precautions. So I can dump it later if ever, right now it’s on my desk. I had to get the drives sorted to move Vectras OpenBSD install cleanly over and install the PCI card for the wireless. That system is good to go as soon as I figure out how to get it working on my network, since OpenBSD 4.3 doesn’t support my networks level of encryption and I’m not sure if my network supports the next ideal solution lol.

Afterwards I setup my desktop (SAL1600) with the last of the WiFi cards and for the heck of it, hooked up my spare monitor and configured Dual View on my nVidia 8400GS. I find it some what disorienting especially because the second monitor has very shitty colour compared to my primary. I also don’t have another power cord to use with the other two PCs lol.

If I buy another power cable or two I can get all 4 computers running. I’m just itching for the phones to get sorted on the land lines so I can switch the modems and move the router to my bedroom, that way I can hook up one PC via Ethernet.

About 0000GMT I finally got to sit down and eat, took a nice long nap after that !!!!

* Ten Commands of C Programmers, annoted edition