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Journal: ABS support sucks. 2

Journal by Coventry

So, 5 months ago we bought a pair of laptops to replace our aging workhorses. I wanted an A64 processor, and decent video, so after some hunting I settled on a uniwill-based ABS G3 machine. We got 2 of them.

Laptop #1 had a faulty keyboard - the left side of the keyboard was rather loose and would clatter as you typed. this turned out to be an issue with a retaining tab on the left side of the keyboard. after sending the notebook in to be fixed, they replaced the keyboard. Luckily, since we had just gotten the machine, I still had my old workhorse to use.

Now, Laptop #2 has turned into a nightmare. It crashes when you go to do anything semi-intensive: launch photoshop, watch a quicktime or realvideo stream, compile a project.

It doesn't blue-screen, it just reboots. Most of the time. Other times it shuts itself completly off.

We have lost a lot of time to dealing with the issues on this laptop. Unfortunatly, it wasn't acting up during the first 30 days. Now, it is almost unusable.

I don't blame ABS for the quality of the machine - they just resell uniwill models - but I DO blame them for having horrible service. for the last 4.5 weeks we've been trying to get this issue resolved. They've had us open the machine, swap the memory, run with only one memory slot filled (tried both slots), try different memory, etc. All to no avail. The frustrating part is that this whole process should have been over weeks ago... but their support line just takes your name and number, and then a support tech calls you back. Sometimes days later - even if you call each day and bug them about the issue.

Thier supervisors for thier CSRs don't return calls, tend to offload you to lackeys, and are rude.

We have a ~1.9k paperweight currently. We've been asked to try and reload the OS to factory with the 'new' ram they sent us. This is the same ram that the machine won't even POST with if both modules are in the machine, so they want us to try with just a single stick of ram.

All we want is a friggin RMA. Honestly, I'm tempted to look up thier corp office and demand to return both machines and get our money back. At this point, loosing 15-25% in restocking fees would be better than dealing with thier service and these broken machines.

User Journal

Journal: Bread And yet more tests... (an update)

Journal by Coventry

So... its been awhile since I've done the /. journal thing... here is a quick update on my health (since I left people hanging with my last post):

In Feb/March they determined (after may a test) I had a 12mm stone in my left kidney, and a 4.5 mm stone in my right. The pain was getting worse, and I was put on vicadin. Needless to say my work suffered. I did have good days, but not enough. On doctors orders I began drinking lots and lots of water.

On March 19th I went in for ultrasound therapy on both kidneys, and for another procedure whose name I forget but involves going up into the bladder to take a 'look around'. They discovered my 12mm was actually a 14.5mm - either it'd grown or they hadn't gotten that good a look previously. Recovery wasn't too bad - they gave me even more vicadin for the pain.

BTW: Vicadin prevents me from sleeping. I get loopy, and when tired and on vicadin I just lay there in a daze - when I do sleep its very light and almost anything wakes me up.

ok, so, in april I finished recovering... and then there was more pain(!). So I schedule another apointment, and of course don't get in until late in the month. The doctor scheduled more tests, and I went in for more tests. Results: the stone in my left side was a tough bugger, and was still there, but reduced in size to 8mm. Hence my pain.

On July 2nd I went in for a second round of ultrasound therapy. Recovery was much faster. After explaining the sleep issues, I was given Percocet instead of vicadin. I felt great for a week, and passed a small rock garden in fragments. After a week I got suddenly knockled down with pain again... very bad pain - the worst since before the first set of therapy... but the pain was on my _right_ side! So, I met with my doctor, and we both admited to being puzzeled, and tomorrow (today) I go in for an IVP - thats the test with the contrast solution they pump you full of and then take xrays.

So... now I can go for several days without being knocked down by the pain, but it still isn't over.

Argh.

My diet has already been modified, has been for months. I drink 1 soda a day, over a galon of water a day, very rarely drink milk (I didn't do it very often previously either), and have made tons of small changes away from foods high in calcium...

which of course, brings me to an odd request: If you know someone at a food company, ask them to quit fortifying random products with calcium! I have to buy generic and not-so-good tasting brands of bread because all of the major brands I can find have now fortified thiers with calcium - some even have 20% RDA a serving! This goes for white and whole wheat breads. Even my favorite bread for making toast - roman meal - is now fortified! And thats just bread! Its a kidney stone suffer's nightmare out there.

rant over. sleep next.

User Journal

Journal: More tests, Yay! 2

Journal by Coventry

Ok, so last week I went to the doctor and found out that I probably have kidney stones - thus explaining the visible blood in my urine and extreme pain I've had reoccuring recently.

Today my X-Rays came back normal, so now I get to go have more tests done - one of which involves being injected with a radioactively tagged fluid that my kidneys will process. Joy.

I hate hopsitals.

Also, I hate losing work time to the pain - it worries me that I am not able to put in as much time as I'd like into my business right now.

User Journal

Journal: Getting hits, but not the right kind. 9

Journal by Coventry

Ok, so I mentioned my companie's website in a post - attached to a story about starting your own company. The post got moderated upto a 5, and now my site is getting hit. No big slashdot effect, but it's way more traffic than normal.

So, this brought something to mind - a thought I had the other day when talking to bloodrose. It's the concept of the slashdot-effect versus real interest in a product, or the geek-gawk effect. What I'm thinking of is when a site sees an unexpected increase in hits due to a mention on slashdot, but doesn't see an increase in sales, because the extra traffic is just slashdot readers checking out the site and going 'thats neat', but not buying. For example, the yamaha speech synthesis thingy from the other day - if people at yamaha noticed their server getting slammed, their first reaction would be 'wow, people are really interested in our new product' - but this would be wrong, dead wrong. What if they increased production due to the 'percieved' interest?

I guess my post doesn't have a specific point other than that users need to be aware of where and Why people are visiting their site, otherwise incorrect actions can be taken in response.

Thoughts.

User Journal

Journal: A Late new years resolution, and the attached problems

Journal by Coventry

Warning: this post is very personal. I haven't exposed myself like this on slashdot before. If you don't want to hear about my mental problems, or don't care, don't read any further.

Ok, so I decided this morning (ok, yesterday morning, technically... Well, morning for Me, which on a Saturday meant 1pm.) in the shower that I was going to confront DB - the head technical man at a company I work for - about some things going on via phone. I've tried emailing him, but he doesn't seem to be reading my emails, or isn't seeing my points - so rather than do what I have been (waiting impatiently, complaing to those around me, and trying to enlist the aid of other contacts at the client to 'ping' him on the issue), I'm going to end it. Hopefully, it wont be uggly or anything - I even have a very non-confrontational opening for the conversation that should get the issue out in the open without laying blame anywhere.

Go Me.

This descision spiraled, and I've decided that A) I'm not going to bottle things up anymore and B) I'm going to fix my problems with confrontation. Now, that sounds odd at first, until you realize that I have big problems with confrontation - I don't know how to deal with it. Maybe it comes from my upbringing (lots of yelling), or maybe from my teenage years (long story), or (more realisticly) there is no one main reason. I avoid confrontation like the plauge - it drains me. I get angry. I get angry at the other person, and I express it. Some might call it loosing my temper, but I don't hit anyone - no, it's not physical. It might actually be better if it was physical.

I let out everything thats bottled - right or wrong, I say it. Things could start as a technical argument, the other person and I butting heads over some stupid issue, and I get mad. I get mad because the other person isn't seeing reason (did I mention I'm stuborn and tend to believe I am right until proven wrong?). If they continue to not see reason, I explode: You are stupid. You have no clue what you are doing and am incompitent. Your mother was an army whore; generals gave her medals for her years of service.

Yes, I hit low. I almost immediatly regret it - and it triggers some of the worst episodes of self-loathing I've experienced - and as a clinicaly depressed person (who is Also bipolor, doh!), that is saying something.

Why do I bottle things up? Because I'm afraid of an outburst - that I'll go too far with expressing my current problem, or that I'll overreact to the other person's response to my comment/issue.

It's cyclic, and its going to stop. It needs to. It isn't healthy for me to seeth in anger over something. And it only increases the potential of an explosion. I made great strides last year - without intending to - and participated in several very intense online debates without getting irrational - in the past I would of either exploded, or just quit posting. I'm starting to be able to talk about issues in my marriage without getting upset and/or making my wife upset.

Now, I just need to work on expressing all the small stuff - I need to not Fear confrontation. I need to quit seeing debates as being about my self worth. I need to realize it is OK to complain about something that bothers you (as long as you do it civily) to the person doing it.

I've known for a long time that I had a problem with confrontations, now I'm going to fix it. I'm going to quit accepting it, and realize that like anything else in this world, I can do it if I put my mind to it. I'm already loosing weight, now I'm going to loose my bigest fear.

G.I. Joe - the stupid cartoon - always said at the end of every episode: "now you know, and knowing is half the battle."

I rather doubt they every lived inside the head of a clinicly depressed bipolar paranoid guy with with a diminished self image and bottled anger issues - since this battle I'm about to engage in will be very hard for me. I don't want it to be hard, but it will. It'll be harder than learning Forth, or realizing that lust != love. This battle is going to require some fundemental changes in how I view myself and the world.

Step 1) Get back on my medication. Having survived for a year without it, I now realize it isn't a crutch, it's just something I need. Yes, I can get by without it, but day to day life is more difficult (for me and those around me) without it. My mood swings are still there - but they aren't as bad with it. The 6 years on it were much less painful than last year - and last year was a good year!

Step 2) Continue with my weight loss program and the other Positive changes I've made in my life - I can't backpeddle on other things to get this done. The regularity of those habits (such as biweekly tai chi) will only benefit me in the long run, and they can provide me with a routine that will comfort me as I address my demons.

Step 3) Enlist those around me for support. This will be hard on me, and I may explode inapropriatly along the way - they need to be warned, and available to talk to.

Step 4) Do it, one day at a time. Everytime I grit my teeth, I'll have to remind myself it is OK to express what just bothered me. Perhaps I will count to 5 or something. I will think of a good way (if there is one) to express what I'm feeling, and I will then I will calmly make my statement. If I can't state it then (person hung up, or its not an appropo place (movie theater), etc), I will commit to stating it as soon as possible. When I express my problem, I will accept the reaction of the other person as what it is - a reaction, and not a judgement about me. Or, at the least, I need to Act like the debate isn't about that. I may just be wired to think everyone secretly hates me and knows that I'm a bad, stupid person and wishes they never met me - but damnit, I'm going to at least Act like I'm a normal person when I can. And by so acting, I will not carry that anger with me, and my life will be that much the better.

I'm afraid of making this commitment, but I feel I have to do it.

wish me luck.

I'm not spell checking this.

Movies

Journal: ROTK and Goonies

Journal by Coventry

So, did anyone else who watched Return of the King notice the one general ork that looked kind of like Sloth from the goonies?

Slashdot.org

Journal: Did you Know? 1

Journal by Coventry

An interesting thing I just found in the karma FAQs:

Positive moderation of type 'funny' does not help your karma,

But,

Negative moderation, even when against a highly rated joke, Does affect your karma.

So, jokes only have the potential to _lower_ your karma.

Anyone else find this rather odd?

Thus, you could get to a 5 on a joke, and then one person moderates down to a 4 for whatever reason, and your karma is now worse than if you had never posted the joke...

Ok, so, assuming I agree with the idea that 'funny' gets no karma (which I kind of understand, but still don't fully agree with - 1/3rd karma, or 1/2 karma maybe, but not none):
I would think that any negative moderation on a post marked 'funny' should first cancel out the moderation points used to mark up the post, maybe in a two to one ratio, before it affects the user's karma. Thus, a comment with a rating of funny rating of 5, with a starting score of 1 due to being a registered user, should need 3 negative moderations to remove 1 karma from the user. I don't think the score should be affected in this 2-1 manner, only the karma calculation, so the resultant score of a +4:funny and -3:overated/troll would still be the +1, resulting in a two in this case.

So, karma affect from funny posts should be something like this:
(pseudo code, mind you)
if humor_moderation > 0 and humor_moderation > negative_moderation:
    karma_delta = min(0 , humor_moderation - .5 * (negative_moderation))

Note the checks for if the humor_moderation is positive, and ensuring that the humor mod is larger than the negative mods - thus a -2:troll +1:funny would work as it does today.

What do you think?

AMD

Journal: A 4 opteron workstation.

Journal by Coventry

So, a friend has an opteron server - 4 model 846s, to be exact, which he has been planning on using to redo his main webserver. Apparently he either got really curious, or he is serious about it, but he messaged me and asked:

"Does XP Pro support 4 processors?"

Eghads!

That'll be one monster workstation - too bad the video will be PCI.

I did some poking, and recomended using w2k server as the OS. Obviously, he'll need to turn off a bunch of services. 2003 server has, from what I've heard, some compatability issues with some desktop software (games), even if you enable hardware acceleration. I may fire up my copy to check these rumors out.

Of course, he should run linux on the box... but then the games, and 3d modeling/rendering software he is so interested in won't work anyway.

User Journal

Journal: Silly moderators.

Journal by Coventry
So there was a story, and I posted a joke, and people didn't get it. I mean, someone thought it was funny - and one guy marked it offtopic, but someone else marked it as a... Troll?

Eh?
Silly moderator.

Now I have to go dig that cd out of my collection - I've had 'Whats on your mind (Pure Energy)' in my head since I made the post.
User Journal

Journal: downloading slashcode 1

Journal by Coventry
saw this article on the frontpage.

I like the alternate look they have.

They missed out on a few things that would be possible to reduce bandwidth even more - namely, removing redundant tabs and newlines from the source - it'd save an extra 2kb per page view.

So, I'm off to download slashcode and play, of course, someone may beat me to it - especialy if they are a slashcode afficianado already, but I've already found the templates and begun work: it's not like this is assembler or C or anything... the templates are simple html fragments with templating directives built in... rather ugly actually (in apearance and implementation), but easy to work with. Tomorrow will tell.

At least they didn't use XML and XSLT.
AMD

Journal: Opteron benchmarks

Journal by Coventry

Well, back in april I did a bunch of benchmarks on pre-release dual and quad processor Opteron servers. The kernel compiles were published (since they were done first), but the rest never made it up.

Oh, I guess I should mention I get pulled in to help out with AMDZone from time to time - sysadmin work, optimizations, that sort of thing. Chris Tom, who runs the site, sends me the occasional piece of hardware and/or pays me for my time - but its never anything huge. I'm still trying to convince him not to use postnuke on the next version of the site, but thats a different issue, better suited for a seperate post.

Chris had me run these benchmarks - he knows I know my stuff - we've known each other for 5 years or so, but never met in person. He published the first set, the kernel compile times, which were amazing, btw, as far as how the 4P scaled. The rest of the benchmarks were submited, but graphs were never made and they didn't end up in their own story - too much was going on with his site during the Opteron launch and these got left behind.

The latest Opterons should blow these out of the water - faster memory and hgiher clockspeeds - but these benches still show some impressive results.

The questions is, Where do I put them... Here? My company website is not appropriate...

I guess I could waste a journal entry doing it... It'll take an hour or so doing the formating, but would there be any interest?

Editorial

Journal: First foe

Journal by Coventry

got so sick of him I makred his as a Foe. I'm not the first to do so, I doubt I'll be the last.

Relatedly, I have a fan I don't recognize, which is shameful considering how close our uids are.

Edit: When you edit a journal entry, it seems you loose the journal icon...!?

User Journal

Journal: Finally over 5

Journal by Coventry

So the war is finally over - I think. This guy, who has a tendancy to use all caps when discussing technical matters, is really just a rude schmoe.

I am just so sick of dealing with his attitude, so I decided to be generous and lean in the favor of his ranting.

I tried to adminish him as I ended my last post - but I don't think it will do any good. I mean, thsi guy claims to have 15 over 15 years of experience in the IT field... and yet to reference an old rant of mine, his uid is two orders of magnitude larger than mine. So, apparently, he was in the field, but under a rock for a couple of years when it comes to slashdot.

his last post at least had references... most of them were off-base and widly so, and some of them were counters to textbooks I had pointed him at. I mean, he actualy sent me to a page that described OS kernels - me. The page didn't reference the OS/2 (any version) kernels, but it did mention NT and microkernels! I guess that makes it a valid resource for the discussion at hand? (which was about the roots of NT having come from OS/2).

And he called me a troll. I mean, I have one of the best karma records on the site, ever, and he called me a troll... sheesh.

Windows

Journal: Got into a comment war.

Journal by Coventry

This is my first one in Ages, and I don't remember ever having had one quite like this.

So theres this guy, TheNetAvenger (624455), who took offense to my calling NT and OS/2 related stepchildren. Now, it wans't enough for this guy to disagree. He had read my short simple statement incorrectly, thinking I was a OS/2 zealot or some such nonsense, and thinking that I was saying NT and OS/2 were the same thing, and apparently thinking that I believed OS/2 was superior or some such nonsense. He really went off. It was quite amusing, and would of been completely laughable if not for his truely misguided ideas about where NT came from.

At first, he claimed NT and OS/2 were completely different animals. He even went so far as to claim that IBM sued microsoft, and that MS had to show IBM the source code for NT after having removed any and all sourcecode from the OS/2 project. Go google to see if you can find a reference to this lawsuit - I knew it didn't exist, but I googled for myself with various terms. Lets see what comes up for 'microsoft ibm lawsuit', I'll condense the list of links down into a list of lawsuits for you:

null

Thats quite a list, eh? but the results were filled with SCO-related results, so maybe I was missing something, and just hadn't seen a reference to it in the first 14 pages of results. So lets modify our search to 'micrososft ibm lawsuit -sco' to remove anything that mentions SCO. Heres the updated list of lawsuits:

null

Well, we're still getting the wrong material - IBM execs testifying in MS related trials, antitrust suits against MS and IBM by different companies (but mentioend on the same page) - so lets remove the word antitrust, and the word compuware (the comapny that sued IBM for antitrust violations), thus we now have 'micrososft ibm lawsuit -sco -antitrust -compuware', we now get this list of lawsuits between IBM and micrososft:

null

Ok, well, we're missing the big os/2 term, so lets add it in and try one more time:

null

And ok, we're done. There was no lawsuit. Apparently the TheNetAvenger realized this, since he never mentioend it again.

It's really quite silly, the only thing the guy has said that had any merit was that I needed to learn how to spell compatibility. compatability was the version I used. Wow, I am wounded. This must be the sort of guy who believes that the quality of your shoes is important, or maybe, just maybe, he has some super impressive browser that has a spell checker built in (like maybe he paid for the jspell IE addon?) - and doesn't realize that others, don't. Or maybe hes just a good speller. I don't doubt the last one - the rudest, most boneheaded people I ever had the displeasure of butting head agaisnt on technical issues were the spellers. I'm not saying all spellers are rude, I'm just say the rude schmucks who have a tendancy to remember facts in a wrong or biased manner, like this gentleman, seem to be spellers.

Ok, so, I provided him with links to backup my statements, and he then proceeded to read them... but with the reading comprehension of a 5yr old. I mean, he actually tried to tell me my linsk backed up his side, when the most detailed link I had, completely destroyed his arguments. Oiy. I threw down the guantlet, I asked him to, finally, come up with some links that prove his side of the story. Nothing yet.

Did I mention that was the worst part? He goes off on these wild rants about how things were this way and that way, and yet he never backs it up. He tells me in his posts to go do searches on the net to verify his information (which I tried to do, to no avail), and yet he can't post a link. He claims the info is all over the net. I can't find it. Maybe the net he uses is in his dreams?

Or maybe its just a net filtered through the MSN search engine and it machinations...?

User Journal

Journal: UserIDs & karma

Journal by Coventry

Ok, so, every once in awhile I post. I have pretty damn good karma, because I don't post unless I have something to say, and apparently that something is considered interesting by moderators.

It also helps that my UID is so low.

UIDs are sequential (correct me if I'm wrong), and I often find myself correcting some silly rabbit of a user who is widly mislead... users with huge UIDs.

This isn't genitailia, its an indicator of how recently you found slashdot and bothered to sign up - and indicator of when you 'got a clue'. Claiming to be a know-it-all uber linux/Open-source geek and having a UID in the 600k+ range means one of a couple of things:

1) you're 13-17, and think you're hot stuff
2) you've got a new UID because your old had bad karma, or you forgot the pasword.
3) you're a troll.

Now, some of these people post a lot, like autopr0n and pr0ntab, but one has to wonder if thats because they have nothing better to do than post, or if they are posting simply to advertise their sites.

Most of the higher-UID users don't post a lot. Now, I hate elitism when its used against me, but I'm honest enough to admit that when I see a high UID attached to a stupid post, my first reaction is along the lines of 'back in the day when only people in the know were here, slashdot was so much better...' - but I'm also smart enough to realize that that sort of thought is complete crap, your memory always plays tricks on you, and you always think what you had before in the distant past was better then it actually was. For example, have you ever gone back to a restraunt you haven't visited in years, only to find it wasn't as good as you remembered?

Anyway, I frequently see newbies (which to me, can be anyone with a UID > 200k) post utter crap.

I'd love it if slashdot had an up-and-comming listing for users - allowing you to see high UID users who get good karma. Even just a way to tell the difference between fresh good karma and stale, 2-year-old-posts karma being abused for its +1 bonus would help.

Maybe make Karma cost to use? Ie, if you have 'excellent' karma, and that means you have +20 or so mod points on your posts, you have to loose one in order to post with the +1. If the post gets modded up one more point, you break even. If it gets modded more, you come out with more Karma then you started.

Then again, I also think that getting a 5 on a post should be damn hard - that the higher a post is moderated, the more moderation it takes to get up to the next level. Thus, a +1 takes one positive moderation, a +2 takes two additional, so three so far, and a +3 would require 3 more, for a total of 6, and the coveted +4 (for a newb to get a score of 5) would require four additional 4 more moderators to give a post the thumbs up - bring the total to 10 mods to get a post to a score of 5. For users with good Karma, it might only take 6, which is a fair trade off.
Modding down a crap-post should be easier though, 1 moderation less (with a min of 1) then it takes to get to the current level. Thus, a post with a score of 5 would require 3 negative mods to get to four, two to get down to 3, one more to get down to 2, and one more to get down to 1, and one to get down to 0. thus, a previously 5 rated post without a karma bonus would take only 7 negative mods to return to its status of 1.
Hrm, that gets ugly to calculate, maybe negative mods should just have a higher value for thier effect, like 1.2, and use the same scale as before for raising a post up.
On a related note, there needs to be a way to mark the parent of a post (when you moderate a reply) as being wrong or correct - a way to renforce or counter the parent post. Thus, a parent with a score of 4 that is glaringly wrong and has 20 replies correcting it, will see its score drop as individual corrections each get +1 or +2s over time, without direct moderation on the parent post.

food for thought, ramblings of a bored mind.
back to work.

Dreams are free, but you get soaked on the connect time.

Working...