I'm noticing some patterns in PC failure. Here they are.
Batteries fail, causing date errors, or worse, booting problems. These fail after 2-3 years, and can be replaced easily for around $10.
Hard drives fail after around 5 years, causing much pain. Laptop drives can fail after just a year, and tend to develop bad sectors due to mishaps with the laptop. For maximum happiness, replace the drives before they fail, and use the originals as archive drives.
Motherboards sometimes fail, but not on any predictable schedule.
Motherboards can fail if the capacitors dry out or start to bulge and explode. This is more common than it should be, but at the same time, all caps tend to fail after years of use.
(I've also seen small ethernet switches fail due to bad capacitors.)
The main reason to do this is to allow more than 10 clients to connect to your computer. Aside from that, Win2k Pro doesn't come with all the applications and services that Win 2k Server includes.
Info stolen from: http://www.commodore.ca/news/2002/mar30_02.htm
Week Ending March 30, 2002
Change Windows 2000 Pro To Windows 2000 Server with Freeware Util
NTSwitch is a small freeware program that allows you to turn an existing NT Workstation or Windows 2000 Professional installation into an NT Server or a Windows 2000 Server environment.
It's well-known that Workstation and Server environments are virtually identical. The operating system decides which "flavor" to run in based on two registry values:
Strange story. MS execs were upset about problems getting their new Vista computers to function well. @NYT.
Good article. Social networks will be like air
The sad state of the labor department, which now dislikes workers. http://shameonelaine.org/.
1. Get some kind of anti-virus software. Consumer Reports recommends PC-Cillin, which is cheap and doesn't bog the system down.
2. Start using Mozilla Firefox. It's attacked less often than Internet Explorer.
3. Avoid clicking on attachments. Avoid using MySpace. Avoid Yahoo Instant Messenger.
4. Get a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows, and learn to use it to clean the system of most viruses. What UBCD doesn't catch, the other antivirus software should catch.
Beyond Logic has a great SMART disk tool. It's only 18K, and dumps the data. Everyone else's is up over 250K.
Here are two outputs:
$ smart SMART & Simple for Windows NT/2000/XP V1.01 Copyright 2001-2003 Craig.Peacock@beyondlogic.org Opened Drive \\.\c: . . SMART Enabled : Yes Model Number : IC35L090AVV207-0 Firmware Version : V23OA66A Serial Number : VNVC02G3DAEXZT Drive Size : 80.000 GB ID Attribute Type Threshold Value Worst Raw Status ---- -------------------------- ----- --------- ----- ----- ---------- --------  Raw Read Error Rate Prefailure 60 100 100 0 OK  Throughput Performance Prefailure 50 153 153 238 OK
Finally, after all these years, I've installed Gentoo. It's really nice, and reminds me of BSD Ports, except that the documentation is more thorough. Ports is good, but Gentoo's emerge is really, really nice. It's also fast, as expected, and took a long time to build, as expected.
Windows XP's Users control panel doesn't show all the users. I had to delete the "postgres" user to reinstall postgresql on my comp. To do this, I had to run this command:
NET USER /DELETE postgres
To see all the users type NET USER.
1. A USB drive. I ended up with a SanDisk OEM'd one from Staples.
2. Ultimate Boot CD for Windows is good because it has a lot of tools. There are others, but many seem to be based on Bart PE.
3. PE to USB, takes Bart PE output and writes a bootable USB drive.
4. If it BSODs, HERE is a fix.
[This is obsolete.]
Yes, yet another short tutorial.
sudo apt-get install -y ia32-libs lib32asound2 lib32ncurses5 ia32-libs-sdl ia32-libs-gtk gsfonts gsfonts-x11 linux32
For a number of reasons, Linux works well with Atheros cards, but not so well with Broadcom (unless it's in an embedded router). It seems like the distros all have support for the old MadWiFi driver. This is a short list of cards with ebay links:
This is a simple formula to rank computers, so you can determine which machine in the network should probably be upgraded first.
SysRank = Sqrt( (CPUs * CPUSpeed) ^ 2 + Memory^2 + DiskSize) )
This doesn't account for things like the actual performance you get when you're using the computer, what the computer's purpose is, and other more important qualities. It's just a basic formula you can use to sort your list of computers, to get a good idea of which one could use some help.
I put my WRT54G into a noisy electrical environment, and it seems to cause the wifi to fade out a couple times a week, sometimes permanently.
For some reason or other, they don't have NVU for Ubuntu 7. You can install it from the .deb file. Instructions are at: