Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2001 > Late August 2001 Edition

Late August 2001 Edition

a new computer

A visit to a web site, whose author sports a mini-network like mine but with a Windows 2000 box, got me thinking about getting Win2K myself. The horrendous price of the operating system—up to $300 by itself, half that installed in a new computer—made me think otherwise in the end. However, I did decide it was time to upgrade my computer.

Or, rather, buy the basic parts and use other parts from my old computer to build a new one.

I first went to a local computer store to got a quote on the basic parts: a motherboard, processor with cooling fan, memory (main storage) and a hard drive (mass storage). The quote was painful. Since I did not wish to leave the place empty-handing after making the store folk compile that quote, I bought the case I would need anyway. (The blue plastic case to my old PC is starting to fall apart.)

I then visited the web site for TC Computers, where I got the motherboard to my old PC. After getting over the regret of discovering, that TC was bought out by Insight, I ordered a really decent computer heart for half the store quote:

processor AMD Athlon 950MHz
motherboard Asus A7V-E with VIA KT133 chipset
memory 256MB PC133 DIMM
hard drive Western Digital Caviar 30GB EIDE (ATA100)

What all this means is:

The parts that came out of the old computer were the nVidia video card, the SoundBlaster Live! card, and the LinkSys network card.

Once I finished building the new computer, I installed Windows 98 on it. The difference in speed is incredible. It used to take the better part of an hour to install Win98; now it takes about fifteen minutes.

linux server madoka

Next, I took the old computer's motherboard (with processor and memory) and hard drive, and transplanted them to my Linux server Madoka. This time I chose the server install for Red Hat Linux 7.1.

The video card and monitor have not changed from Madoka's former setup. The processor is the same (AMD K6-2), although faster and on a different motherboard (a Soyo). Yet the visual interface program GNOME behaves differently—and badly!

On the third install I chose GNOME's rival interface, KDE. Ohhh, wooooooow, what I have been missing! KDE is so colorful, and so full of features. I'll still give KDE some more study, but frankly I think I'm already sold on it.

Anyway, I made Samba part of the install. I left out Apache and PHP, however, because they are not up-to-date on the Linux CDs. I will install them separately and, once done, copy my web site back onto Madoka.

One of KDE's features is its web browser, Konqueror. It is said to be as up-to-date standards-wise and able to display Unicode as Explorer 5 and Netscape 6.


My project to distribute over forty Gateways is nearly done. Everyone in the main office, who's supposed to get a new Gateway, has gotten one. (The sole exception is moving to a new office, so we're holding off on him.) That leaves three branches, two of which will get complete swaps for everyone with a workstation.

My company was supposed to get new filters for the ventilation system. But while they did swap the main filters, the secondary ones that do the actual filtering are still in place, dripping cruft into the floor where I work. My lungs are hurting again, and I've developed a harsh cough.


On the good side, though, I did attend the company picnic last Sunday afternoon. It was held at a reservoir southeast of Muncie. I arrived just as it was starting. We had about 150 people there, mostly from the Muncie area with some from Winchester—and one family from the northern branches!

A caterer was serving pork (rather dry) and hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad (both tasty), potato chips, soft drinks and various kinds of brownies. It was pretty good (except the pork), but I did not eat too much of it because I already had lunch.

Then a volleyball game started up, and I joined it. Volleyball is my favorite sport, and the chance to play volleyball rarely comes my way, so I played for a long time. At one point I found myself on my back because I tried to avoid colliding with another player. Apart from a sore right leg I was okay. What forced me to stop was a growing ache in my head from the exertion. After I quit the game, it was late, so I went home.

That game was a lot of fun, and it really cleared out my lungs. It's too bad I may not get another chance to play.


I mentioned last time that Internet cable is not available in Fairmount. Since then cable service is now available through Insight, the cable TV company serving the Hartford City area (which includes Fairmount).

Also, the local telephone company is now making DSL (digital subscriber line) service available to Fairmount.

Both deliver Internet hook-ups, which are a lot faster than dial-up modem connections. However:

If you don't have that kind of moolah, you're better off with a U.S. Robotics, Hayes, or ModemBlaster that X2 compliant and that is NOT a winmodem. That way you've a good chance of fairly fast connections (in the 40,000-50,000bps range).

Supplement (29 August 2001)

My attempts to install Apache and PHP on Madoka have failed. Evidently installing Linux in server mode puts certain directories in read-only mode. The Apache part of the install just won't take!

Anyway, KDE is a breeze to use, if I can just get it be not so sensitive in its menu bar. The menu won't stay when you lift the mouse button. You have to be careful when pressing the gear-K icon where the Windows Start button would be, lest you accidentally turn off the visual interface.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 30 November 2003.