01/21/2001

Mailbag:

Win-Mac; IQ; Networking; Mobos

Run OptOut! I was talking today to a good friend who lives a couple of hours away. About a year ago he helped me straighten out–I looked like I was doing all the right things and avoiding the wrong things. I wasn’t drinking, wasn’t womanizing, and on the outside looked like I had everything together, but inside… Nope. He helped me get through it, and the year turned out to be nothing like I had planned, but that’s for the better I think.

But anyway, his computer was anything but better. He’d gone on an upgrade binge, buying memory and a big hard drive, and his system was as stable afterward as most celebrity marriages. So I walked him through reinstalling Windows, running msconfig and eliminating all but the minimal requirements in startup, and though that improved it wasn’t perfect. So I had him run OptOut, from www.grc.com . I ran it on my system at the same time so I could guide him through it. He found no spyware. I found 22 instances. Huh!? I’m normally much more careful than that. But that probably explains the IE crashes I’ve been getting. So I got rid of the spyware.

Do yourself a favor. Go download and run OptOut and see what you find.

More adventures in Linux Gatewayland. I spent another good chunk of the day at Gatermann’s, trying to get his Linux box running. We went ahead and installed a hard drive and an old 8X IDE CD-ROM. I installed a minimal Mandrake 7.2. Mandrake, like the single-floppy distro I’d tried, had problems. The NICs were inconsistent, giving different values when you booted. I don’t like the sound of that. I’m pretty sure I’ve got an old socket 7 board around here somewhere I can swap him, so I’m going to try another board. I’ve got some different NICs too. In the meantime, he’s going to put that drive and his cards in his K6-2 and see what happens. That ought to eliminate the cards themselves as a culprit. If that does the trick, I’ll either give him a different board or I’ll give him the 486 that’s served me well for the past year or so, since I’ll soon be getting a Linksys router. (And that’ll open up a spot on my desk and on my KVM for my out-of-retirement PC/AT. Woo hoo!)

Speaking of the PC/AT, the board doesn’t fit. Well, I can cram my new Soyo board into my ancient PC/AT case, but I won’t get memory in there with it. One of the drive bays sits too low, so there’s no clearance. So, it’s hacksaw time. Don’t try this at home, kids. That’ll eliminate any collectible value that case ever would have had, but with the motherboard, disk controller, and hard drive long gone and the serial number ripped off the back of the case by the previous owner, it probably never would have had any anyway. So I’ll be redefining the word “hacking” as it applies to this computer very soon. I’ve got some time. The CPUs that’ll free up a pair of Celeron 366s won’t arrive until Friday.

Mailbag:

Win-Mac; IQ; Networking; Mobos

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