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Journal Journal: Vacation: Day 15

Ok so this is a little later than usual. It's only 3am. This one may be a little shorter than usual. Because I'm tired.

Today I talked more to friend mentioned yesterday, watched TV, and made a real honest effor to make progress in the game programming book. Then started playing the game, neocron. I hope that wasn't too intense :)

Well it's really late and I don't feel like writing any more so perhaps tomorrow more of that pop-culture thing.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vacation: Day 14

So here I am again. 2am. Didn't do much today either. Did start where i left off in the game programming book though. Have yet to start on the A+ book.

So I watched some TV, read some of that book, chatted a little, downloaded some files and finally got signed up and started playing neocron. Ok actually I signed up yesterday.

Overall a fun experience. So far seems very very much like beta 4, what little I played of that. Except everything seems to work the way it's supposed to. Mostly. Although the game did crash at least 3 times in a few hours. I played that game so much already I start to wonder what those that are playing it for the first time think of it.

I hope that wasn't too exciting for anyone. Not sure why I keep saying that. Not like anyone reading this. So I guess I'll continue...


Tonight I would like to talk what is really really my top favorite show ever. It's this basic cable show called The Shield. Perhaps you've heard of it? The lead actor, Micheal Chitles or something like that, beat Martin Sheen (you know, from The West Wing) for best actor at the Emmy Awards. The channel is FX. This is a very "gritty" police drama. Makes NYPD Blue look like Dragnet from the 60's... They got to air stuff I never thought I'd see on commercial TV. Obviously they can't do some of the stuff that HBO can do. But damn did they get away with a lot.

This show had the guts to have episodes with things like black market cigarettes and the local mexican-american organization effectively tying the hands of anybody and everybody try to put a dangerous criminal who happened to be mexican in jail (the show takes place in L.A.). To say the least, very, very gutsy.

The first 2 or so episodes are actually quite different from the rest. The first season was only 13 episodes (I have them all on tape). But every episode is very very good to say the least. It's the kinda show every episode make ya say "I can't believe he said that!" or "How can they show him doing that?!". The main character he's kind of a crooked cop. He hangs out with this group of other cops in a back room of the department planning the various escapades. He does bad stuff, grossly unconstitutional/illegal things, but they're always with a good intention behind it. Ok except maybe when he helped the hooker cover up the accidental shooting of a Jon. That was just so her baby wouldn't be taken away from her. Which perhaps that's what the hooker deserved. But anyway. In the very first episode he has to kill another cop who was about to testify against the group in court. This was to save himself and the group from going to jail. Ok that one was iffy too. But for the most part he really is the protagonist. Definately this how is a worthy heir for all those people turning the channel in disgust after seeing the latest season of The Sapranos. Which I saw some of on DVD at one point. I can see why it was so popular. This season though, well you saw it right? Now very good at all.

That's it for now I suppose. I'm glad I'm back in the habbit again.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vacation: Day 13

Lucky, lucky 13. Ok so I haven't started on a lot of the things I've set out for but I've made plans to. For whatever that's worth. A good sign though I'm writing in this journal for the second time.

But lets see what haven't I started on? Haven't strated the A+ book I wanted to get through, haven't started reviewing excel/access books, haven't worked on my LiteStep web site, and have all but stopped on my game programming book. But at least I started that one.

What have I done? I did learn a lot about my LEAF router. Wasn't easy either. I also did learn some good game stuff.

And today I signed up for the retail version of a game I spent months beta testing (pre-release software is tested in a development phase known as beta, which is usually preceded by the alpha stage. The game is Neocron. An 'online-only RPG'. Really what that means is the servers are online 24/7 so the world doesn't go away when you quit playing. I developed some good relationships with a few people. Some which haven't even been playing since july but i still talk to them through instant messaging. It was rather frustrating trying to report bugs and what-not due to the lack of communication from the company developing the game. But when the servers were we made our own fun.

Kinda got off point there didn't I? Well I activated my account. I have six weeks free. Online RPGs such as this one usually charge a subscription fee per month to keep it going. And by that I mean they all charge a fee ranging anywhere from $10 to $15 but usually you get 4 weeks free with the cost of buying the game and in this case since it was just released two on top of that. It has kind of a learning curve but if you were to find some good people to venture and chat with you can have a lot of fun. Which I suppose is true of all such online-only RPGs but I happened to fall in with this one.

Yesterday I also managed to squeeze Windows 2000 pro onto a 200mhz machine with only 32 megs of ram. For those who don't speek in such terms that's about like windows95 on a 486 with 8 megs of ram. Ok perhaps that's no better. It's like a tiny pick up truck trying to tow a really large cargo truck. I may be able to do it but it'll be very very slow and won't do it very well. On top of this I'm running what's called a dedicated server for this game (I think I mentioned before) called Neverwinter Nights. Windows (the 9x series too not just NT derivatives) has this thing called a page file. Basically it's the computer pretending part of the hard drive is actually RAM. The game server can't run without using up part of the page file so as long as the server is running even if it's not in use the hard drive just sits there and accesses. Which isn't good.

I have to connect this computer to my main comptuer through a serial port. This is because this puny 200mhz machine can't take network cards. But finally connecting windows 2000 to xp via the "dial up" has managed to put it on the network. Sort of. I actually want it connected to the leaf firewall/router/dhcp server and not my machine but there's not much i can do at the moment.

So obviously I haven't done too much so far this vacation. I would like to set out some sort of schedule for myself. For example do a chapter of the game programming book, followed by a chapter of the A+ book, followed by, perhaps if I feel like it a pages from lord of the rings which i would like to finish reading. Then finally I'll play some games and work on my router. At least I'll have accomplished something this way.

Also today a friend of mine who lives many miles away finally got an instant messenger account and we started talking. She wants me to go to some ski place several hundred miles away and snowboard for a few days. I was hesitating because, well you've seen how I spend my days. Ok perhaps that's an argument in favor of going. I still think I'd like to work on finding a job which is hard to do while pretending to know how to snow board and trying not to break my neck. And i'm hesitating...well there's a lot of reasons i'm hesitating, it's complicated. Actually this friend of mine, she's a lesbian. I realize to you enlightened city people this is no big deal. And it's not to me either really it's just that i grew up in a really small, more conservative that average town and am not accustomed to that sort of thing. Actually she grew up there too. But she likes to talk about sex, which, how is a normal health adult male of at the age of 24 supposed to react to that? And sometimes she acts a little bizarely. Which I usually shrug off with a "must be a lesbian thing". And another minor note, we seem to be polar oppisites, personality-wise. She's wild, crazy, stay-up-all-night-drinking while i'm stay up late because of a bad habit to do so and go to bed. Yet some how she still seems to want to be around me. Am I really so charismatic even lesbians seem to graviate toward me? Why hasn't this applied to other people? Sometimes i really wonder what she sees in me she keep e-mailing. I mean i do have some kind of a sense of humor, you only see once you get to know me. But man. So I chatted with her for what must have been close to an hour. She must really need someone to snowboard with...

Speaking of long chat sessions. Let me recount my days of yore on the old AOL. Back in the good old days of verison 2.0 when you paid a subscription by the hour (and where I lived made a long-distance phone call just to connect). Wasn't a whole lot I could do at the time. I only had a 386 with 4 megs of memory running windows 3.1. I did happen to have some quite memorable chat sessions a few times and form some close relationships with some penpals. I remember once staying up quite well into the morning chatting with another a guy and this women for hours and hours in this private room. For some reason the three of us all had this chemistry we could make each other laugh hysterically. I really wish I'd kept the chat log so I could go back and read and post it some place. I was just so funny. My stomach was actualy aching from laughing so hard.

And to continue...

Best Pop-culture....EVER

My other favorite show is, or was, "Whose Line is it Anyway?". It seems to have lost something lately. But in it's prime it was extremely good. The phrase "the cat!" still manages to bring a smirk to my face. You can still catch re-runs on the family channel at 10pm. At least you could, I haven't checked in a while. Unfortunately family channel doesn't play all the episodes, because apparently even late at night it's still the family channel. Perhaps after a while some other cable channel will get the re-runs and they'll show all those episodes in all their unfettered glory. Till then I'll just have to keep whining and complaining...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Day, uhh, Dec 24th - 28th (day 12)

Originally I had planned on practicing my writing by keeping a journal every night. But I kept messing up on the submit portion of the idea and then christmas hit so I haven't been keeping up. So I'm going to start again by summarizing the days I missed.

This won't be hard because my life is rather boring. Christmas eve I worked on my router all day. Very exciting, I realize. Christmas I drove down to be with my mom's family in the san francisco bay area. My mom's mom was there. She's deteriorating quite rapidly. Looks like this will be grandma's last christmas.

I won't be summarizing what I got for christmas because I can hardly believe it and I don't think I am worthy of such gifts. I am very very grateful for all that I got, I just feel I am unworthy of so many.

Thursday I came back from the bay area. When i got home I decided to go spend a gift certificate I got at a local computer store (Fry's, it's a west coast operation). I saw an 80 gig hard drive for $100, which in itself is quite good, and it even came with a $50 rebate, which is even better. So that would be 160 gigs for only $100. There were also selling a 200 gig for more than $300 so I'd say it was a quite good price. Unfortunately I could only buy one both because it would $200 at the register and it was a one-per-customer offer and it was too late to beg someone to drive down there and but a second one for me (it was late). 80 gigs should more than suffice though anyway. Besides if I add that to my existing 30 gig drive that's already more than 100 gigs.

And today I went to buy a new TV for my dad. A 19 inch for only $90. He seemed happy. And of course I bought more stuff. Just a wimpy $40 UPS (battery backup) and a "cd-rom emulator". Finally, no more searching forever in vain for that one CD. And no, I don't pirate.

Now I'd like to describe some of my favorite popular culture in a segment I like to call...


One of my favorite popular shows is the simpsons. This show never ceases to amaze me. How many shows can you say "i've been watching this since I was in 5th grade". I mean this show not only has running in-jokes for the long-time fans but new in-jokes that are backward compatible with the old ones! If you know the show well enough, there's a simpson quote for every situation in your life. And cleverness of it is so amazing. Even something as simple as one man saying "hey you lets fight!" and as a replay a second man saying "them's fighten words!". Or Homer's "ixnay on the..", er, pig-lanten for "ash tray". Amazing they can get away with that. Or even Lisa's response to bart when bart says "her hair smells like fruit loops" to which Lisa replies "I eat froot loops for *breakfast*". And the famous one-liners and moments just shy of the cut to commercial. And finally if you don't watch that show much or at all possibly the best episode ever made, or in the top 5 anyway, is the one where the family gets hired by what turns out to be a james bond super-villian that homer some how aids in this villian killing james bond and seizing the east coast. It was quite a great episode.

As for video games there is one quite lost and long-forgotten-by-most game called fallout. It is very ver much like a movie. But lone enough it could be a novel. Extremely fun, addictive, and humorous at times. I like the pure non-linear form it took. You can be physically weak but very carismatic in succeeding through the game, or you can be very strong but not very intelligent and just brute-force your way through. You can also be a villian. Go around killing vendors and have people run at the mere site of you. Or a hero of course. It's pretty old. Only a Pentium 90 and windows 95 are required (not dos, thank god). Also it's one-player-only. It has quite the cult following and still man many fan sites and fan fiction.

Lastly, for tonight anyway, is this wierd show I some how found one night called cowboy bebop. This is actually close to being my new favorite show. It's a japanese animated series on the cartoon network at midnight. Some how there's really something about this show. I'm not sure what it is.

This is all for tonight. And it's only 2am (horrah). Hopefully this is the start of many more to come.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vacation Day 7

Once again here I am, 2:20am again. I'm supposed to be going to bed early.

Today I went out a while looking for christmas presents. Which was fun. Well not really. Streets aren't as crowded as usual it seems like. Which makes for better parking but shows the sluggishness of the economy.

I also worked more on my router. I've learned a lot tryin gto do this sort of thing but I'm not sure I'm all that much closer then I was when I started. I think I am starting to ask the right questions though. Which is a positive step.

I'm not sure where I got all this patience from. Most people, a LARGE majority, would have given up long ago and just put down the $50 for an infinately easier out-of-the-box setup. Although one of those probably wouldn't be assigning IPs via a serial port. Or would be capable of being accessible through SSH. At least ports would be easily opened.

Finally tonight I started to do the next hour from the game book. But didn't finish. I really should have started it sooner. But I'll do it tomorrow.

I hope this log isn't too exciting for whomever's reading this. Just take it in in short bursts... :)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vacation Day 6

Today was also less then eventful. I think I did manage to learn some about this router though.

My new(er) long-term goal for my network setup is now:

  • enable SSH for router so I can control it from afar and
  • setup pppd and allocate IP addresses over the serial port to another computer.

Now the main problem with this goal is the amount of space on a floppy disk. I tried all day today to get a hard drive setup on the floppy but the instructions are out-dated or wrong or something because it simply didn't work. So some how I have to fit a whole bunch more files on this disk. Maybe I can really cut the fat. Or something.

As for other then that, well I'm working on it. I'm going to do a little shopping tomorrow. And, uh, that's about it. Alright this was way too short. But it doesn't matter. I gotta go to bed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vacation: Day 5

Ok so maybe this will have to be a quick one. It is after all 1:45am. But have I ever been known to be quick? I don't think so.

Today I didn't do too much or really go any place. A little linux router here, a little attempt at setting up a neverwinter nights server there. I finally 'poked' the right holes in my firewall so others can connect and we can play the game together. I never thought it was going to happen either. It only took...a few hours. I mean sure I could just go "buy" a normal device type firewall and use a fancy interface to open ports on my firewall. Sure I could do that. Sure that might be easier then pouring over out-dated how-tos and other help documents and dealing with sarcastic people on mailing lists. But what would I ... learn? Not sure I'm learning anything useful from this at the moment. I may have though.

Today a book I had ordered a few days ago, on game programming, arrived. The estimate was to arrive Dec. 24th. But it got here early. So at least I can something else to what I can do this vacation. So I made it an hour into that. The book is "teach yourself game programming in 24 hours". I spent a gift certificate on it and i hope it is good. One of the main reasons I bought it was because it the final section of the book it goes into how to make one of my favorite all time games, Missile Command. Or rather one with a close resemblance called "Meteor Defense". But it's the same basic concept. It's been kind of a far off dream of mine to make a game like that since I first played it (through that "microsoft classic" package of games from a few years ago...on a mac; hah!).

My latest goal for my firewall would be to run it through SSH (secure shell) and have it giving IP addresses through a connection to the serial port. This computer running through the serial port would then be running either NT 4 or Windows 2000 server, I'm not sure which, and through that any number of game servers. Like NWN, an old game few have heard of called ground control, and possibly dues ex. Although this other computer I'm thinking of is only a 200Mhz with 32 megs of ram and already seems on it's last legs. Now if I actually get that working it'll really seem amazing.

well I guess that's all for now. So good night to whatever wierd people may actually be reading this.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Vacation: Day 4

Well looks like this really is a less-than-productive vacation. I mean I realize this is only day 4 of 5 weeks but jeeze. Today I went overboard warming up my car before it got tested for smog. I drove around and around. I just moved to the city so I needed to learn more about my surroundings anyway. California has this real facist system when it comes to car pollution (I think al gore's book is the legislature's bible). Well that took up most of the day. When I finally got home I started working on my little router project again. Found it most likely this isn't going to work anyway because the module isn't included. Or whatever. Then I tried setting up an SSH thing so I could do it that way. This almost showed some promise but missed.

Then at 8:00 I saw the new lord of the rings movie. I haven't read the book version of this one (something I was planning for this vacation) but I think I liked this movie. Obviously an incredible amount of work. And even some humor. This movie brings me to my next rant.

It's become obvious to me movies such as this are less about holding to true to a book or even getting the general spirit or gist. It's all about what they can sell. I read this review ya see, by Roger Ebert. He says the books really revolve around the two hobbits and so the movie is that much less enjoyable since it's so unfaithful in that area. But I say you should expect it. Because a large part of this movie is all about selling movie related products. The most important of which, from what I can tell, are video games. Who would want to play a game based on a couple hobbits?? Especially when there are such dungons and dragons-related figures as the bow and dual sword bear elf, the dwarf with the double-bladed axe, the long sword-bearing human, the magic staff-weilding wizard and all the rest. So of course the emphasis is not going to be on those characters. And besides that who would want a poster, action figure, or anything else of a couple hobbits? Seems like the elf and gandolph are MADE for action figures. No crummy old hobbits. I mean all they do is run away and hold onto a ring, weilding there ugly feet. Of course this is expected. In movies like this there's not extra income from bilbo hold a pepsi can or gandolph wearing Nikes. So this is the next best thing. This is the new product placement.

I can't believe vacation is alread a week in. I mean wow. I'd like to make a game some day. Seriously. I ordered a book on how to do it that might actually start at a more bottom level. Of course I have one of the best game making development kits ever made.

Neverwinter Nights. In my view this game is simply a game-making developer's kit with large sample of what's possible so you can learn the game. But it's really there so you for making and downloading modules. And of course a large emphasis on multiplayer games. So why should I try to make a game from scratch if I have this great resource? Is that rhetorical? Well I'll answer it anyway. First I haven't been able to put in the time to finish Neverwinter so I feel like I know the game well enough I could start making modules. And second I think it would be fun to do at least some basic games. Like a block puzzle type game, and a astroid clone, space invaders, and of course my favorite of the old classics a Missile Command-like game. And besides with neverwinter I could write a real complicated, artsy plot with a moral and message and other crap like that. Maybe. I guess this is all for now. I have some other things brewing but you got to save something for later, right?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Day 3 of Vacation

I would just like to say I did write in this last night. I pushed submit and got some php error message then had no way to get back to all that I wrote. How annoying.

So today wasn't all that productive. I did buy one christmas present though. I also worked on my router. I'm using this old computer as my firewall/dhcp server/NAT etc. It's called LEAF or LRP or whatever. I was trying to both connect to it via terminal so I could unhook both the monitor and keyboard indefinately and then also hook up another computer via null modem cable and have it assigned an IP that way instead of through ethernet. It's a long story. Anyway I haven't been able to do it yet but another day and I'm sure I will have it done.

Of course I should be looking for a job. I think I will make an effort at that tomorrow. Get my resume together etc.

Wow. 2am and this is really short. After that screw up last night I'm not too excited about writing tonight. I'll do a better one tomorrow probably. Tomorrow I'm seeing the new lord of the rings movie. I hope it's better than the first one. I'm sure it will be.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My journal, day one of vacation

Ok so hear I am in the middle of the night. I decided I would write in this as close to everyday of my vacation as I could though so here it is.

Today I drove back from Placerville (yes the one from that poll a while back). On the way I stopped in to see a former employer I'm still friends with. That took a few hours. Then I stopped at a book store (borders) for a little while and looked at programming books as I like to do. Then finally I went home back here, sacramento, to my room-that-used-to-be-a-closet. I decided I was going to re-arrange everything and move in a superior desk (couldn't get much worse than the one I had).

That brings me up to now. I worked on my room almost non-stop from 4:00 to now, 2:30am. And I'm still not done.

What have I thought about lately? Hmmmm. Well There's whether or not to take another semester of college. I have been doing it a while now. Too long really. There are things I could over this vacation such as:

  • Work on website to make it popular, using that to put up a resume.
  • Modify my desktop via LiteStep (a great program by the way).
  • Play as many games as often as possible including but not limited to the new online game Neocron. I beta tested that game for like 6 months. I had a lot of fun and became close to some this clan I helped form.
  • Put as much effort as possible into finding a job. I mean a real job. Maybe I can get a job and still do some of this other stuff.

Alright so these are a few things I could think about. There's also keeping up with this journal thing all the time. I always need as much practice writing as I can get.

Good time for a tangent. Usually I take some class that requires writing, I do some writing and about half way through the semester I "get my groove back" or whatever and I'm actually a really good writer. But as soon as the class is over I stop writing and, er, loose my "groove". So I'd like to keep writing all through the break and even beyond if I can so I'll be all warmed-up and highly, uh, grooved or whatever for a class. Or job that requires writing maybe.

And I do like writing. I don't think I really ever have quite as much fun as I do when I'm writing in my "groove". So why I don't do it more often I don't know. Because I should.

Alright I'm not sure what else I can babble on about now. Except I should mention to myself I was supposed to e-mail a teacher friend of mine to tell her I can drop off a tape of hers should had wanted me to give to her (she was having me tape star trek: voyager.

Ok lets see what else...? Well there's my website. You can always (I think) find it at Of course I haven't actually updated it in a quite a while. But I'm going to sart this vacation. Probably. I would like to write a bunch of content and re-design the whole site before updating it. Maybe I'll put a new-and-improved coming soon thing up or something. I dunno. Anyway I guess this it for me log for tonight. So technically I guess I'll have two journals for today unless tomorrow's journal is also at 2:30 in the morning in which case not then. Oh look it's like 3am. I think that means I should go to bed. So to whomever wierd person trolling through other people's journals reading this goodnight. And these will get better. Promise.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why NT 4, ya say?

First off I have no reason if there's supposed to be something I'm "supposed" to use this journal for. So I'm going to write about what I feel like writing about. This being my first entry that'll be an explanation of my screen name, keith_nt4.

So why NT 4 ya ask? Isn't Microsoft the root of all evil (or whatever) ya say? First off stop saying that, commie. Second of all NT 4 is actually a pretty good OS (believe it or not).

Here's the story behind my praise of NT 4. About 1999 the family 133Mhz Aptiva was starting to be a little aged so I decided to start building my own computer. It was going to be a long-term project but my family pitched in at Christmas and I built it that winter 2000. Well I didn't have an operating system at that moment. I wasn't going to use Linux because my hardware wasn't really compatible and since there really wasn't really a way to run IE at the time Netscape really killed Linux as an option at the time (Netscape's quality or lack there of is another journal entry entirely). So a hard-core Linux friend of mine who was forced to buy Visual Basic for a college class gave me his copy of NT 4 that came with it.

Perhaps I should explain my computer experience up to that moment. I had ONLY used Windows 95 and maybe a little 98 at the local college but that's about it. Ok so I had taken intermediate DOS and UNIX classes, but for the most part I was Windows only. I had actually managed to dual-boot Linux and Windows 95 on the Aptiva. Which was not easy at all. At the time I had a real OS re-install phobia going on. To summarize the way I was computer-wise in word or two you might say I was 95% GUI-Centric.

So I finally finish my new computer (450Mhz AMD K6-2) and set out to install NT 4. This was not easy. It takes quite a while too. This apparently one of the first releases (it came with SP 1, that'd date it around 1996 or so). And if the install fails for some reason there's no choice but to wipe it and start again. Finally I get it installed. But then I can't get it connected to the Internet. I finally did some sort of trick with the terminal-popping-up-at-connect setting. Once I some how did that I downloaded IE and used the connect wizard. Which worked fantastically. Then I downloaded the latest service pack 6.

Now this is where the OS is actually good. With IE 4+ and SP 6. Don't talk about NT 4 unless it's with those two items. NT 4 should be synonymous with "NT 4/IE 4+/SP 6".

NT 4 ran all my software, did Internet browsing, even had POSIX compatibility in case I needed it for some reason. And this little-known utility called the RAS dialer for connecting and disconnecting from the command line (dial up that is). It has a lot of ports of UNIX utilities, which is quite nice. It comes with Cron and a text file compare program too. And push and pop. Althought I've never really figured what to use those for. Must have to do with scripting.

NT 4 is amazingly stable. Once you get it to work learn some of its idiosyncrasies. For example some times I would finally get it installed and some service would fail to load so I would have a large number dialog boxes popping up all over the place. Another one is in changing a setting like change "static IP address" to "DHCP/automatically assigned IP address". Nothing comes up telling you to restart the computer but it hasn't yet taken effect. Simply logging out and back will effectively apply that change. If this is documented I've never seen it, I just learned from experience. Another one is when networking. Another computer can only connect to the NT 4 machine via a username created on the NT 4 machine if you first login to that user LOCALLY on the NT machine. Then others on the network can use your shared folders etc. I also had to figure this out on my own. I'm only talking about a two or three computer network through a cheap hub, not a big commercial deal.

As for as stability this thing called "Dr. Watson" pops up whenever a program fails and gracefully only closes that one program. And he always manages to detect a crashed program right away and tell you at which point the program would close. This is quite a step up for a Windows 95 user who would have to restart the whole computer when a program crashes. And blue screens for silly reasons or no reason? Non-existant. It's actually an ACCOMPLISHMENT to get blue screen of death on NT 4. That's how hard/rare it is.

So yes, I do still consider myself a fan of NT 4. Of course, I have since started using Windows XP. But that's only because of how cheap I found it. I'm not going to tell how cheap or where I bought it though. XP is pretty stable, but no NT 4.

I should probably mention the incredible amount of patience I've had to exhibit in using NT 4. I just considered it not much choice because like I said I wasn't about to go buy a new copy of Windows (or pirate) and Linux wasn't an option. But I doubt 99% of the population would have put up what I was willing to put up with. In my 2+ years of NT 4 usage I was re-installing constantly. Which I would imagine can only be a positive thing. Right? This also helped me to develop my back up system. Exporting all my browser favorites for example for later importing after the re-install.

The only things I don't like about it was the lack of games I could play. For the most part it was ok. Back when UO was still special I could play that, and other minor games like Civ 2 and a few others. This is because SP 6 only officially ads support for DirectX 5. Which brings me to the perhaps dumb question of whether or not something like Wine could be made NT 4 since Wine apparently works with DirectX 8, while NT 4 does not.

Now if only I could re-install XP that way. Stupid activation.

Well I must be one of the few people left still singing the praises of NT 4. I think Windows 2000 (i.e. NT 5) effectively followed up on NT 4. I've used Windows 2000 very very little and I've heard much positive things about it. And really XP is simply NT 5.1, a relatively slight revision of 2000.

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fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.