Advantages and disadvantages of Windows NT 3.1

Advantages and disadvantages of Windows NT 3.1

I’ve talked a lot about the advantages and disadvantages of old milestone operating systems. But what were the advantages and disadvantages of Windows NT 3.1? That’s a fair question.

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Marx trains and the “fat wheel”

Marx trains and the “fat wheel”

On many Marx trains, the driving gear extends to the full width of the drive wheel, making that wheel effectively wider than the other one. This causes interoperability issues with other manufacturers, especially on switches and crossings.

A very common question, therefore, is which Marx trains lack the dreaded fat wheel.

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How to disassemble a Marx 999 locomotive

How to disassemble a Marx 999 locomotive

Disassembling a Marx 999 locomotive isn’t too difficult, and it’s easier than the Marx 666, but it helps to have some instructions.

The nice thing about the 999 is that if you can disassemble it, there’s a long, long list of Marx locomotives that disassemble in pretty much the same way: the Commodore Vanderbilt, the Mercury, the tin Canadian Pacific 391, and the tin steamers 592, 593, 594, 833, 897, 898, and 994.

Marx designed its trains so that a father or older brother could service them, so it comes apart with simple household tools, and you can get most of what you’ll need to service it at the nearest hardware store, with the probable exception of the bulb for the headlight.

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The ghost in the network

My logging system died rather abruptly one week. It started with the Active Directory account some of our servers use locking. I got the account unlocked–someone else has those rights–and the system came back to life for a while, but then we had to repeat, and each time we repeated, “a while” grew shorter and shorter, bottoming out at about 2 minutes, 40 seconds.

The way you troubleshoot problems like this is by looking at logs. The problem is, you can’t collect very many logs in 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

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Marx trains and Lionel 1121 switches

There is some unfortunate misinformation circulating on various train forums. I first read this misinformation in the outstanding book by Peter Riddle, Trains from Grandfather’s Attic, published in 1991. As Classic Toy Trains editor Bob Keller noted while we were finishing up my article late last year, incorrect information in print lasts a long time. A very long time, sometimes. Lionel 1121 switches and Marx trains are rumored to get along famously. I am sad to report they do not.
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A snapshot in history of Gates and Microsoft, 1992

Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire is a 1992 autobiography of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. It’s old. But it’s a compelling snapshot of what the industry thought of Gates and Microsoft before Windows 95, before Microsoft Office, and before Internet Explorer. Indeed, it gives an early glimpse into the struggle to bring Windows to market, some of the bad bets Microsoft cast on its early productivity software, and just how close Microsoft came to betting the company on the success of the Apple Macintosh.

If Microsoft’s history were written today, many of these stories would probably be forgotten.

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Find material for a rebuttal assignment

A coworker who went back to school and is currently taking a composition class asked me a good question today. His assignment is to find an article he disagrees with and write a rebuttal of 350-700 words. But he didn’t really know where to start, and asked me for advice on where to find material for a rebuttal assignment.

I never have problems finding something out there that I disagree with, so I guess he asked the right guy. I can just go to Google News and click on anything and I’ll probably disagree with some of it. I guess journalism school taught me right. If it’s not that easy for you, I have a trick. It’s nearly foolproof.
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Spinrite 6: An overdue review

Spinrite 6: An overdue review

Spinrite 5 is an old friend. It got me out of some jams in the late ’90s, but as new versions of Windows that defaulted to NTFS came into my life, Spinrite 5 ceased being an option, since it only worked on FAT-formatted drives.

I’ve had occasion now to use Spinrite 6, its successor, which still runs under old-fashioned MS-DOS but now understands a multitude of filesystems. Other than that, it hasn’t changed much: It’s an obsessively thorough repair and maintenance tool for hard drives.

SSDs will eventually make Spinrite unnecessary, but there are still a lot more conventional hard drives being shipped each year than SSDs. Read more

Defrag scareware

This isn’t exactly news, as word has been going around for a couple of weeks, but if you haven’t heard about it elsewhere, there are some fake defragmenters going around.

I heard mention of it today, and it reminded me that I saw one last week when I was working on my mother in law’s computer. This was especially obnoxious, considering that at the time, I was running Firefox and I was visiting a mainstream site.

So there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
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