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Hardware Hacking

Journal Journal: s/broken/fixed

I'd be lying if I said the past couple of weeks were miserable. Besides my router/firewall box dying, having to RMA my main machine's hard drive, and spend money I didn't have on a more powerful battery backup, I've actually had the chance to clean up a lot of my home network infrastructure as well as various files I don't need anymore.

Router/Firewall: Hard drive bit the dust. OpenBSD did a great job of repeatedly telling me in blue that it was timing out reading the ATA device. Forcing a reboot gave Dell's BIOS a turn to chime in with undetectable boot devices. Fantastic. Sad to say, I didn't have any recent backups of the firewall rules, DHCP settings or hosts file to do any quick install. The box was begging to be upgraded, but I never got around to it. After some mental anguish and some serious soul searching, I gave in and settled on a more GUI approach: pfSense. I hate GUI interfaces. Really. However, pfSense isn't as offensive as others have been in the past. Not to mention the ten minute installation to working box was just outstanding. Highly recommended to anyone needing to setup a quick NAT box for their home.

Main machine: Hard drive was making clicks nothing on this earth should be making (reminds me of a Star Trek:NG episode) and it needed to be dealt with. Seagate's RMA system was also outstanding and deserves praise. I received the new drive within two days and was able to backup everything before the drive finally died--I hate close calls like that. Three long drawn-out days of Windows updates and software reinstallation, I'm about 80% back to where I want to be on the computer.

In the meantime, I was able to take the one file server down for good. The box is about nine (!) years old and was still running off the old power supply. I'd expect this from Sun Microsystems, not from a franken-box circa 2000. Although the machine got mocked in it's day for being unreliable and cheap, I have to give it credit for being quite the trooper after years of torture. It also handled a very outdated version of Gentoo quite nicely!

Now that the house is somewhat in order again and my roommate is no longer complaining of the lack of an internet connection, I can get back into my programming experiments. . .


Journal Journal: Disclaimer for programming projects. . .

Despising the fact that I play the role of "the computer guy" on a daily basis, I flirt with trying other aspects in the computing realm. Having already confessed that I'm a jack of all trades (master of none), I am even more apologetic in the area of programming.

Unfortunately, I was never able to finish my under-graduate in Computer Science due to a tempting offer from a notoriously evil company. It didn't help that I was too concerned with completing a few video games instead of focusing on my studies. Thus, I have this strange half-breed knowledge of programming.

To clarify, I do have a fundamental understanding of programming structures and algorithm design. The only subject that takes me a little while to get used to is syntax, but even that isn't rocket science. When you start talking about advanced concepts (see the book "The New Turing Omnibus"), my brain explodes. What's weirder is the fact that I understand what they are saying and how it works. What I don't understand is how they implement that into a mathematical equation and/or a block of code.

Explaining my dilemma is a bit harder than it seems. All I'm asking is if something sounds really "newbish" (it probably is and I take full responsibility for that) please direct me in proper line of thinking. Smacking me down doesn't necessarily explain where I was thinking incorrectly. . .

User Journal

Journal Journal: An array of beginnings. . .

Relentlessly stolen from another cool website, but I digress. . .

Unfortunately, nothing too technical has happened as of late besides almost every machine I touch deciding to declare war upon me. Honestly, the only piece of equipment which has survived my Midas touch lies in my first-floor closet, just begging to be dug out and used again. It's a Toshiba Portege 7020CT with a docking station. Although the battery is shot, all 366MHz of pure Pentium II power flow from it flawlessly without even a hint of showing screens bathed in blue.

*sigh* Rather than dwelling in simpler, more enjoyable eras (I'm a sucker for nostalgia), I will pledge to be more technical in nature and actually try to give an account of my more humbling moments in computing. Seeing as I'm a jack of all trades and master of none, this should be fairly humorous. . .

User Journal

Journal Journal: I is Reborning. . . 3

This thing* hasn't been touched in a long time. Thus I feel the need to post something in order to make it feel less unused.

If anyone other than helio reads this, I suggest checking out my gallery. This page houses my various photography attempts and other various pics of hilarity.

I'll probably post more interesting rants later as I'm inspired, but since I don't know anyone one here minus a couple people, I don't think I'll be posting regularly.

* - By "thing", I mean my journal. . .not a part of the male anatomy. Although that hasn't been touched in a day or so either. . .

User Journal

Journal Journal: the other white meat. . . 3

I figure I'll start an "intelligent" journal to keep current development notes on my slowly growing LAN. . . since I'm too lazy too use pencil and paper to write things down, typing it in will be just as useful. . . not to mention waste bandwidth and space on slashdot's systems. . .but we're americans, and we love free. . .

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