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Pretentious Pontifications: Meet R. Collins Farquhar IV

Hello. David’s taking a day off. I’m sure I need no introduction. I am R. Collins Farquhar IV. After writing all the good parts of David’s book and not getting any credit whatsoever, I’ve spent the last couple of years working as a playwright, trying to follow in the footsteps of my slightly more famous ancestor, George Farquhar. It went OK. My ideal job, though, would allow me to sit on the floor all day and pontificate, and people, wowed by my vast intellect, would pay me.
I’m still waiting for the phone to ring. Something is very wrong with this world.

But a good friend did pass me an invitation last night. He’s a French nobleman, the closest thing I’ve found to being worthy of my company. His name is something along the lines of Jacques Luc Pepe “Ham’n’Cheese” Croissant Crepe de Raunche. He’s not quite worthy of my company, which is why I never bother to remember his proper name completely. He gets annoyed when I just call him Raunche. He gets even more annoyed when I call him Steve.

Raunche invited me to the new home he just finished building. “Will you be joining me for cigars and old cognac tonight?” he wrote me. “But of course,” I wrote back. And I offered to provide the music. In typical French fashion, he declined. Rudely.

I was going to fly in my private jet, but Raunche is in the habit of letting his dogs roam free on it. I didn’t want to dirty up my plane, so I drove. Well, actually, I was driven. I couldn’t help but notice he lives off a road called Bentley Park. It’s very appropriate, what with a Bentley being a car for a man who can’t quite handle a Rolls. I told him that upon my arrival, after he greeted me in a gruff voice.

He said he’s already got one.

Vivaldi was playing in the background. How cliche. I told him that too. He said something about taunting me a second time.

I’m still wondering if I went to the right place, because there were no cigars and no old cognac. No new cognac either, for that matter. All he had was Girl Scout cookies and chocolate soy milk. And Vivaldi. He didn’t even have the decency to play it on a tube receiver. It’s impossible to hear music the way it was meant to be heard on transistor equipment. But he insisted on playing it on — get this — a COMPUTER.

Was I wondering whether I went to the right house? Strike that thought. Playing Vivaldi on a computer is just like Raunche. He’s always more interested in trying to show off his computer skills than he is in doing things right.

So we sat around and talked about what he needed for his firewall. David fancies himself the computer expert in the family, but his intellect is no match for mine. He can’t possibly know as much as I know. He doesn’t even know as much as Raunche. So Raunche and I laid out some plans, and I tried not to think about David being out and about, doing middle-class things:

Intel D850MV motherboard (dual processor)
(2) 2.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Adaptec 39160 dual-channel Ultra160 SCSI controller
(2) Seagate Cheetah X15 36LP 36-GB hard drives
Pioneer DVD-305S SCSI DVD-ROM drive
1 Quantum DLT 8000 40/80 GB tape drive
Asus V8200 GeForce3 video card
Intel Pro/1000 XT Gigabit Ethernet adapter
Microsoft humpback keyboard
5-button Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer optical mouse

Raunche and I argued about the specs for a long time. I wanted Fibre Channel hard drives, but Raunche didn’t like that idea. Finally I relented. This isn’t going to be a serious computer, after all. It’s just going to be a firewall and a router. Raunche asked about GeForce4 cards, but they’re still a little bit hard to find. I wouldn’t put anything less than a GeForce3 in a server-class machine, but I’m not too interested in waiting for a GeForce4. People say we never get anything done and just sit around pontificating too much already.

Raunche said the board would only take 2 GB of memory, but that’s nonsense. I read somewhere recently that Linux will run in as little as 4 MB of memory. Obviously that was a typo and they meant to say GB. So if Linux requires a minimum of 4 GB of memory, we should get 4 GB of memory. Obviously if we build a computer so that it will run Linux well, it will also run Windows well. That’s just common sense. Still, computer hardware has gotten so cheap, he’ll be able to build himself a nice simple little firewall for around $10,000.

I really wish Intel would go back to making memory and high-end video chipsets and cards, and I wish they would get into the SCSI controller business. There are two hardware companies I trust: Intel and Microsoft. Raunche agrees.

With our plans laid out, Raunche bid me adieu late in the night. I’d have liked to have stayed and debated longer, but the upper crust need their sleep.

As I left, I thought it was rather nice of me to drive in rather than flying in. That way I wouldn’t awaken his neighbors by taking off in a jet late at night. Not that they care, I’m sure. One must make provisions to live in such close proximity to the upper crust.

In fact, I’m sure some of the neighbors were disappointed not to get the chance to see my plane. I’ll have to get on to Raunche about having his runway cleaned.

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18 thoughts on “Pretentious Pontifications: Meet R. Collins Farquhar IV”

  1. Hi R. Collins Farquhar IV,

    Nice to read your opinion. What configuration would you recommend for a simple print server?



  2. Man, I made a mistake in letting Dave help me set up my web server. If you need dual P4’s for a router, no wonder my 400Mhz Celeron can barely keep my web server going…

  3. I think one of the low-end 4-way Unisys servers would work nicely as a print server. IBM has some nice-sounding multi-processor servers coming out (they announced them yesterday) starting at $18,000, but they’re going to use an IBM chipset. Like I said, Raunche and I trust two hardware companies: Microsoft and Intel. Printing is pretty important, so I wouldn’t trust it to an unproven company.

  4. I am known by many names. The one I give here is but one shortened form. When one comes from a long line of aristocrats, one picks up many names. Among the rabble, I am simply "la Stenche".

    As the Scottish skirt-donning wiper of other people’s bottoms has alluded, one’s router must reflect one’s stature. In addition, your hardware will be obsolete in three months or less, usually about two weeks. When Intel releases a new motherboard or clock stepping, you must adjust. And you must run the latest Microsoft bilge; it is best to have the latest stability and security that only Microsoft offers. First class citizens must not fly coach, you know.

    I *am* surprised that R.C. (just like the cola) spelled "fibre" correctly, being of such a diluted and barbarian bloodline. We only let the island people help us during WWII so that they’d feel better about our military superiority over them in ages past. The French are noble *and* generous.

  5. I wonder what printer Rounch would recomend to go with that Unisys server.
    I was looking for an inkt-jet based on GeneralElectric or RolsRoyce jets but I don’t seem to find them anywhere.

  6. I expected that question, sjon. I hear Rolls and Intel are collaborating on a platinum printhead injket. It will use fibre optic cable to transmit instructions from the computer to the printer. Intel is developing hardware dongles that convert the ends of the fibre cable to USB, as well as encrypt the data stream. You can’t be too safe in this connected world.

    I expect this concept to catch on. I predict that unencrypted printer data will be a thing of the past in a couple of years, and we’ll all using BeOS on the desktop. You heard it here first.

  7. I may be a bit presumptuous, but I noticed the apparent lack of a video output device in the list of firewall equipment. Wouldn’t one wish to have the firewall statistics displayed in a manner worthy of the firewall’s upbringing?

    And (if you can get past the unapproved vendor and the name) I believe that IBM has a device commonly called "Big Bertha". It reportedly contains 9 million pixels at 200 pixels per inch, resulting in a 22-inch screen (measured diagonally, I’m sure).

    But I’m sure that you were aware of this device, and have probably convinced IBM to let you have a prototype of the generation following this one. I’m sure.

  8. Yes, Steve, it was presumptuous. But surely, you’ve seen the error of your ways.

    This machine is a firewall. Therefore, why not use a wall for the display? I have an existing 50" plasma monitor that I’ll move to my computer room. I’ll downgrade my current system to my LCD projector until I find time to purchase another plasma monitor for everyday use. Of course, I think Intel would dominate the plasma and LCD markets, if they chose to enter. They’d find other colors than red, green, and blue to use in their displays. A revolutionary company.

    IBM has fallen so far since its days as a Microsoft partner. Unwise. Their moniker has come to stand for "Infernal Bowel Movement". But I keep an open mind while I speak the facts. I’d accept free equipment from them, of course, out of politeness.

  9. Tom, the problem with your Web server may be that David put in the wrong network card. Gigabit cards are for servers. Your Web server is a server. I don’t know how many times I have to say that before you people catch on.

    Also, it is a well-documented fact that a Celeron should never be used for servers of any kind. Especially not an obsolescent Celeron-400. That chip isn’t even suitable for running Edlin.

    I suggest you give this a look. It can go 4-way and take 64 GB of memory. It’s a real bargain for what you get: 64-bit processing from a proven maker.

  10. 50 inches! That’s all your going to use? How big are your walls, 55 x 60 inches or something? Sheesh, what an amateur you are. Get an LCD projector and hook it up to that baby so you can be like batman with your Firewall output!

  11. Thomas, I’m surprised you know numbers past 50. Be glad I put that measurement in your familiar English system instead of metric.

    You’ll notice (after having read the big words you skipped the first time around) that I already have an LCD projector. And I intend to use it. Your words may seem more astute to me when the letters are eight inches high. But I doubt it.

    I have heard of this "batman". However, the books I read generally have no colored ink drawings of misproportioned individuals wearing masks and capes. They also tend to be more than a quarter-inch thick, have bound spines, and do not to have advertisements for fake X-ray glasses and small shrimp that become "sea families" when you put them in a bowl of water.

    I watch little television, except for A&E, the (revisionist) History Channel, and the Fine Cigar and Spirits Channel. On occasion, I do watch BBC to laugh at those silly English bumpkins. Aren’t all Brits like Rowen Atkinson?

  12. If you all are as aristocratic as you say you are, and I dare say you are not, then my question is this… Where is your true residence because I would expect nothing less than your neighbors to NOT be able to hear a plane take off and land. Property small enough for such crass noise pollution to be heard is just a travesty. Peasants! Commoners!

  13. Mlle. Vigee-Lebrun (or is it Madam?): I appreciate your shrill post. I am reminded of a house I once visited (on Miami Avenue, I believe) that was infested by rodents. Squeaky animals. R. Collins wanted to buy it as an investment, but it had no marble in the foyer. And no windows.

    I will have you know, fair lady, that L’state de Stenche has plenty of distance between the private airstrip and the rabble. Regardless, R. Collins’ idea of a "jet" is a glider propelled by his noxious cabbage-infused Scottish flatulance. The only jet I’ve seen him flying was a paper airplane, whilst he made whoosing noises.

    And I should correct the plaid-wearing gentleman here. Bach, Grieg, Beethoven, and Tool were all played in the den that evening. Vivaldi was used merely as a cultural appetizer, since R. Collins though he was the "fifth Tenor". I’m glad he at least left his pitchfork at home.

  14. Why is it that Jacques Pierre Cousteau Vermouth Bouillabaisse le Raunche de la Stenche drives a Dodge Neon? I mean, it doesn’t even have a spoiler on the back.

  15. Ah! I have discovered the true identity of Jacques Pierre Cousteau Vermouth Bouillabaisse le Raunche de la Stenche! And he doesn’t drive a Dodge Neon! It’s a Renault!

  16. How am I supposed to run a web server on a DL590/64 that maxes out at 64GB of memory! That machine is totally useless, well except for that awe inspiring Itanium processor.

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