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Diary archives - 2000 and older

December 25, 2000

Christmas went well. My relatives were well-behaved. I got lots of good loot. Dinner was filling. Sure, there were some headaches too. My wife's cel phone was stolen on the 22nd. UPS left packages on the wrong doorsteps, so we had an unexpected "exchange of gifts" with our neighbors this morning. There are still more problems with our new minivan, but at least I was able to fix one problem by putting (a lot of) air in the tires.

If my wife answers my cel phone, don't be surprised. Until the insurance pays for her replacement phone, she will be carrying mine whenever she travels.

Memory prices continue to drop. I have seen $53 quoted for a generic 128MB DIMM. Even the price of 128MB RAM for my notebook fell, from $130 to $81. Wow.

December 22, 2000

"10-18 inches of snow in the North Country by tomorrow evening." It's a good thing that I am driving south tomorrow!

Windows ME has a problem with corrupting data on IDE hard disks. I've already experienced this, but Microsoft finally documented it. The download is available at the Microsoft corporate administrator's update site.

Norton Speed Disk NT 5.1 has an update available. I intercepted the update data and found that 5.0 has one too. But I can't get LiveUpdate to admit it when I update a PC that has 5.0! And, of course, the Symantec web site doesn't have any updates any more. Do they really expect me to put a modem on a secured $20,000 server so I can download updates?

The good news about the Speed Disk update is, it finally moves all the directories to the front of the disk! They touted this as a feature but it didn't work in many cases.

(I "hacked" their LIVEUPDT.TRI file and was able to download the 5.0 update from the URL mentioned in the file. But "hacked" isn't the right word, since LIVEUPDT.TRI is a plain text file that is easily readable!)

December 21, 2000

Long time no gab. I found out last week that the product created during my daytime job is an integral part of a new service called QOETient. Cool.

I benchmarked the 45+ hard disks using SiSoft Sandra 2001. They are faster than either the 40+ hard disks or my SCSI disks. Cool.

I am looking into updating this web site. I've reviewed other news providers and they all seem to have some quirk to them.

Several comments lately about Windows power management problems. Ick. I will get more involved with this shortly.

December 17, 2000

Microsoft has a teeny tiny problem with Windows 2000. On a Toshiba notebook (or any notebook with a Toshiba PC-Card controller chip?), some PC cards are supposed to be powered with 3.3 volts but receiving 5 volts instead, thanks to a Microsoft driver bug. This problem was assigned Q265292 in their knowledgebase, but as of today their online knowledgebase won't admit it. The only place to find it is their new download page for corporate network admininstrators.

Good news, good news,... bad news. I received my new Maxtor hard disks. Good news #1: I received Maxtor "45+" series drives when I was supposed to receive the "40+" series. Good news #2: I think I was undercharged for shipping. Bad news: The drives are slower than my existing "40+" drives. CORETest is slower, TST32 is slower, but it seems to boot Windows ME quickly enough.

December 14, 2000

I miss one aspect of single life: being able to do any goofy thing I want on a weekend. So, for example, I'm jealous of the guy who lights his barbecue grill with liquid oxygen. He's a past winner of the IgNobel prize; click here to see the current winners. 

December 13, 2000

The government is a software pirate, according to at least one software author. Wow. A guy wrote a diagnostic program, the government didn't want to pay for it, so they pirated it!

Whistler 2001 B1 takes too much memory. Oops, I can't tell you that, I think I am on a non-disclosure agreement because I installed it. Oh well. Istler-Whay akes-tay oo-tay uch-may emory-may. Is that better?

I think I can reveal one of my secret projects. We at CCS are going to try simulcasting the high school's Christmas concert over the Internet. The server has been online since Thanksgiving, pumping out a sample audio signal. I just put the web pages together for it tonight.

December 12, 2000

In this Christmas season, it's buyer beware. Here's a good example!

December 9, 2000

I've gotten into a rhythm for burning reliable CDRs in my questionable burner. 1) Burn the disc. 2) Use CDRWin to read the burned disc on the burner drive. If it fails to read, it won't read in ANY drive, so toss it out. 3) Use CDRWin again to read the disc on my CAV DVD-ROM drive. If it passes, it will read on ANY drive. If it fails, it will read only on new, clean drives. (CD-ROM drives get a case of "lazy eye" over time!) I'm upset that most of my latest CDRs will only read on new drives...

Diskeeper 5.3, latest patch, still reeks. I haven't vented about this much, but it has been a problem. I will have to vent my frustration directly at the maker of this "fine" product. If time permits, I'll document some of my Diskeeper headaches here. (Get Norton Speed Disk for NT Server 4.0 and Win2K Server for only $50! Buy Norton Utilities 2001 and install Speed Disk manually from the CD's NU\SDNT folder.)

Exchange Server 5.5 SP4 has shipped. Also in the box was a trial copy of Exchange 2000. Is that a subtle hint from Microsoft or what?

Microsoft put out a press release, saying they MIGHT extend the deadline for taking NT 4.0 MCSE exams to February 2001. But, in an interesting note at the bottom of the press release, they claim that all NT 4.0 MCSE certificates expire at the end of 2001. Whoa! They told me that my MCSE expired at the end of 2000! (Thanks, dad, for spotting this one.)

Still no sign of Maxtor DiamondMax 60+ hard disks on the retail market. Argh. I gave up waiting. I bid on some 40+ drives with ATA100, and some 10,000 RPM SCSI drives, at UBid.

Useless trivia: My Fujitsu 10,000 RPM SCSI drives perform best in Windows 2000 when their on-board cache is divided into three segments. The factory default is eight segments.

We bought the mother of all minivans. I'm not sure it qualifies as a "mini" van. Naturally, my wife will drive the minivan and I will continue to drive my minicar. (But seriously, if you've seen my car, doesn't it look like a scale model of a REAL car?)

December 5, 2000

I bought a D-Link DFE-680TX PCMCIA NIC card to try. In the first minutes after opening the box, it had two strikes against it. 1) The "manual" didn't tell me what the LEDs did, or how to install the driver on Windows 2000, but it had a VERY complete disclaimer of liability in case the card exploded. 2) Even though the driver diskette showed that it had been updated before leaving the factory, the driver still locked my HP notebook PC during installation under Windows 98. I had no choice but to press the power button and try again. Mercifully, the driver loaded correctly on a second try.

I also tried an ELSA Microlink 56K external modem, on sale for $35 at It was very good, turning in a 33.6K connection when tested on the spectacularly bad phone lines in the Utica Business Park. (We've seen as little as 12K there!)

Memory has gotten cheap again. Every time this happens, the price shoots up quickly. I'm hoping I caught the prices at the low end of the curve. $63 for 128MB sounded good to me, anyway. No, I'm not selling these! I'm getting ready to install Windows 2000 Server and I'll need all the memory I can get.

My problem with CD-R burning continues. My DVD-ROM drive is a CAV design, which is known to be more sensitive to disc-surface errors than CLV drives are. All the discs I've burned lately show errors when read on this CAV drive, so I'm retesting them on CLV drives. Plus, the Smart&Friendly CD-Rs are consistently coming up bad in my Yamaha drive, although they burn successfully in my Panasonic drive. So I sent some Smart&Friendly discs to my neighbor to try burning in his HP drive.

If you deal with 3COM 3C905 cards, be sure to grab the v5.3 driver from 3COM's site. Unlike previous drivers, it does not require multiple diskettes for its Windows driver, and it doesn't load three unwanted enhancement programs (hence the multiple diskettes in those previous versions). This version might actually allow a 3C905, after being unplugged from the network and then reattached, to reconnect to the network at full speed! (The driver on my NT workstation only reconnects at 10Mb half-duplex after being disconnected.)

Partition Magic 6.0, Drive Image 4.0, and Whistler (Windows 2001) Beta 1 are all officially shipping.

In other, less-technical news... We are shopping for a minivan. The prices for a slightly-used minivan are just a little less than those of a new low-end Cadillac. Yikes! But the Buick is getting old, and my family may expand soon... ;)

December 4, 2000

I don't know why I'm posting this, except that I found it on f*** McDonalds' quality control has been called into question. The story is here.

December 1, 2000

SMC's EZNet 10/100 card comes with wake-on-LAN cable and CAT5 patch cable and drivers and TurboLinux Workstation OS (!), and doesn't even need the driver CD on Win2K. I stocked up on these cards.

The box for the Promise Ultra100 IDE controller states it will speed up IDE *and* SCSI devices by 40%. Well, that's because they load a disk cache program along with their driver! But, they don't load one on NT or Win2K. So why does their box explicitly mention NT and Win2K in this speed-up claim? Hmm.

The box for Smart&Friendly CD-R blanks contains no information on how to contact them for warranty claims. I have 20+ duds, all from the same box of 50. The CD burner can't focus on half of those; its little light turns red when one of those is inserted. The rest have data errors at the 10-16% mark when I burn them; they seem to burn fine but won't read past the 10% mark afterward. (10AM update: They've gone out of business! I'm screwed.

So had a special on FedEx Home shipping, but uBid's site said they couldn't ship to me that way. I did a little digging. FedEx Ground is new this year; FedEx bought RPS (remember all those 18-wheelers with orange hoods and ROADWAY in huge letters on the trailer?) and renamed it to FedEx Ground. FedEx Home is a new, full-service shipping idea that isn't fully implemented yet. It's only in the top 40 markets, and upstate New York isn't on the list.

In Windows 2000, Microsoft included native SNTP (but not the more-accurate NTP?) support so that client and server PCs can be time-synchronized. Cool. But they forgot to mention that they must have a Win2K server nearby, serving as a domain controller, for it to work. (KB article here.)

Yes, I have been fiddling with time synchronization. I have found three truly free products, so forget about registering AtomTime or Tardis shareware. 1. The team that supports xntpd for Unix has ported their stuff to NT. I loaded a copy onto my server. It's an NT/2000 service that is an NTP client and SNTP server. It's industrial-strength, and may be accurate to 50ms or better; it has to be in order to keep major government and academic institutions in sync. 2. NetTime is a free download for 9x/NT/2K. It's in beta, but it looks good. A couple of people reported seeing 100% CPU usage when their Internet connection went down. 3. NTPTime is a barebones NT service, smaller and lighter than xntpd. All three of these are really intended for servers and probably don't handle dial-up networking.

Microsoft is finally documenting some more Win2K bugs, one of which already bit me. Here are a few that I hope to see fixed in Service Pack 2:

November 29, 2000

Oops. Apparently you can make a Windows Media Player 7.0 "skin" and hide malicious JavaScript in it. 

So I keep hearing about Tahoe, Microsoft even sends me a beta of it, but the included document won't say what it is. It turns out to be an overgrown documentation organizer for corporations.

Hey, is auctioning off Compaq Proliant 5500 rack-mount servers! Cool, just what I needed at home! Doesn't YOUR house need a dual Xeon rack-mount server with space for eight 36GB hard disks?

Still no sign of the Maxtor DiamondMax 60+ series hard disks on the market yet. These puppies are on my wish list for Christmas! Oh, and the Maxtor-branded ATA100 controller for these drives looks REALLY familiar...

Speaking of Promise... They have a cool-but-pricey product that may actually erase the differences between IDE and SCSI. Their SuperTrak66 and SuperTrak100 (photo) have up to three IDE controllers, up to six IDE buses, and a CPU to manage them. IDE had a major limitation in that the IDE hardware was emulating an old inefficient WD1006 AT MFM controller. The WD1006, and thus IDE, could only send one request to one drive on the bus, and that request had to completely finish before the next could be sent. Well, with a coprocessor and three IDE buses, things ought to improve a wee bit, no? Oh, and you can upgrade the cache to 128MB, and the coprocessor is an Intel i960 RISC processor (but at what MHz?). I'm sure someone will find this to be a perfect way to use all those old 40MB Conner IDE disks that are lying around...

Both and are having technical trouble in this Christmas shopping season. My last uBid purchase (50-packs of CD-R blanks for $9) isn't "in their computers", although their Web site knows I won the bid. (They apologize for the inconvenience and are hand-entering the winning bids as fast as they can type.) My order that I placed this weekend hasn't shipped... or has it? I have only received emails confirming that about half of the order has shipped, and the status page on their site says "partially shipped" too, but when I dug deeper for UPS details... The missing items are on a truck from Utica to my house right this minute, according to UPS.

November 28, 2000

So a kid figures out Microsoft's .ASF file format, includes it in a freeware product (VirtualDub) with source code, and Microsoft's lawyers threaten to shut him down. Ick. All the kid was trying to do was create a product to re-interleave the video and audio tracks in .AVI and .ASF files to smooth out their playback.

Time for a little political venting. (This won't be a regular occurrence, I think.) On the Friday after the election, the AP news wire carried two news stories hinting at voter fraud on the part of the Democrats. One of the stories was that elderly Democrats were being called in Palm Beach and encouraged to say that they had accidentally voted for Buchanan. So when Gore steps up to the podium and repeats it, why should I believe him? This is the same guy who reportedly hired a firm in Texas to call elderly Republicans and tell them they needed to bring their "voter registration card" to the polls. You don't need the card, and nobody has those cards!

November 20, 2000

So, did everybody place their orders for a Pentium IV chip yet?

My CD burner began working better after I loosened the mounting screws, shifted the drive slightly, and tightened the screws. Go figure.

I tried to sort out all my hardware this weekend, but I didn't succeed. I did, however, find some memory that works in my HP DeskJet 1200C. I am also pretty happy with the performance boost I gave to my server.

November 18, 2000

I am spending this weekend rearranging my computers. I have already upgraded this server to a PIII at 550MHz. You may not be able to tell the difference over the Internet, but it is noticeably faster from inside the house.

I am looking at random computer subjects, and generally just trying to unwind. Here are a couple of tidbits.

Maxtor's DiamondMax+45 series of drives transfer data at up to 49.5MB/second to/from the media, and are UDMA100 compatible. Yow. If that isn't fast enough, Maxtor released the DiamondMax+60 series last week (specs not available yet).

I can apparently add some APM (Advanced Power Management) support to NT 4.0 if I dig deep enough. One web site mentions that a Softex-enhanced HAL (HAL.DLL) can be found on NT service pack CDs. Gotta try that...

I switched brands of CD-R blanks, and the first few that I burned had problems. But then I put several of them through my older Panasonic burner and had no problem.

The final release of 98Lite v4.0 is out. I got my copy today. The preliminary copy I'd received had problems.

Acer has a generic CDROM driver for DOS on their Web site. It solved some problems I'd had with MSCDEX freezing. But, when I copied it to my generic boot diskette and used it to copy Windows 2000 files from a DVD-ROM drive to a hard disk, I ended up with corrupted files. Looks good otherwise.

November 14, 2000

Navidad.exe has been a non-issue.

Yamaha has a 16x10x40 CD-ROM burner on the market, just in time for Christmas! The drive has 8MB of buffer!

November 10, 2000

Woo-hoo! I just solved a mystery about Windows 2000, and I appear to be the first on the Internet to publish it! Here's the story. I was getting frustrated with my DVD-ROM drive working like garbage. I got a firmware upgrade that improved its PIO behavior, but it was still just in PIO mode and so it was choppy when viewing actual DVDs. Win2K kept refusing to identify it as a DMA-capable IDE device. I came up with a registry patch that will force DMA IDE mode, even when Control Panel fails to. It's in the HowTo/Win2k section of this site.

Christmas came early, in the form of a new email virus/worm. Don't open NAVIDAD.EXE!

McAfee GroupShield 4.5 is still being a pain. It is reporting that it can't upgrade its DAT files. No other McAfee product is doing the same, even the other products on the same server PC. I will work on it tomorrow morning. It's 1:24. Good night.

November 8, 2000

Hey, it isn't even midnight yet! The news so far is that Microsoft has issued a patch for Windows 2000, so it will properly support PCs with ViaTech AGP chipsets. I wasn't having trouble at home, but at work things have been strange at times. I doubt this will solve everything, either. But, for what it's worth, here's the link.

Useless trivia? McAfee GroupShield for MS Exchange Server stores quarantined message in separate folders, one message per folder, and if a whole message is stored then its filename is "infected.msg". I was stumped about the cryptic format of this file until I recently saved a message from inside Outlook 2000. It appears to be the same format. Well, that's handy!

November 6, 2000

Actually 1:08AM, 11/7. Multiple McAfee antivirus problems tonight. McAfee has an article that doesn't quite explain it all. The latest (version 4102) DAT files are causing PCs to lock up. I also had five bogus email infections, and the version info screen in McAfee GroupShield reports that the 4102 DAT file is dated 2/11/00! McAfee says that lockups and crashes will appear on systems running 4102 DAT files with the older 4.0.02 engine only.

November 4, 2000

Okay, I don't know what you all do to relax, but... I fixed one of my new motherboards using a soldering iron. I was wondering why the audio output on my new 550MHz PIII PC was buzzing. The answer was that the manufacturer had omitted four resistors from the right-channel audio circuit. I swiped one of the 1/8-inch resistors from another (bad) board and solved the problem handily.

I believe I have an unused copy of Norton Internet Security 2000, v1.0, here going to waste. Any takers?

October 28, 2000

What a long day. Working with another programmer, I closed out a hard-to-find bug in our new product. But I can't actually talk about that.

Here's an ugly problem. Install McAfee GroupShield on a NT mail server, then install an IIS or IE upgrade, and GroupShield will stop protecting the mail. It will also stop logging errors, so there will be no indication of a problem. The solution is to reset some DCOM settings in the server by hand.

Here's another ugly problem. Surfwatch 2.0 does not automatically update its naughty-sites list. I worked out a way to update the list automatically by using the WINAT utility from an old NT Resource Kit.

I spent part of this evening doing ugly chores. I walked through some of the web-browsing logs at the school. Each day's log had at least one kid who found a new adult site to browse. I locked out the sites and the kids, and notified the proper authorities.

These diary updates haven't been cheery. Sorry. It's 1:30 AM now. At least my employer has discontinued his forced-overtime orders, so maybe I can start playing with fun hardware and software again... and get some sleep... and see my family...

October 28, 2000

Norton Utilities 2001 is here. The early impression is, blah. WinDoctor is virtually unchanged from NU 3.0. The NT edition of SpeedDisk is in its own directory on the CD; it's labeled v5.1 even though its core files have the same date as v5.0. The main installer refuses to install onto NT 4.0 Server, but WinDoctor will run from the CD without a problem and SpeedDisk installs and runs fine.

I already found one reason to be leery of NU 2001. I ran WinDoctor on my Windows 2000 Pro PC. It said that the registry was pointing to a missing file, %SystemRoot%\System32\RegSvr32.exe. Not only is this file NOT missing, it is an important system file. It has the job of registering ActiveX controls into Windows. WinDoctor apparently doesn't know that an NT-based registry can contain REG_EXPAND_SZ strings, which get filled in automatically by the OS when used.

I found a problem with the Voodoo3 driver that shipped with Win2K Pro. I opened a huge bitmap in Paint and scrolled down; the system went wacky. I upgraded to the v1.0.00 WHQL-certified driver on their web site and the problem went away.

October 23, 2000

Editing this with StarOffice again, this time as a local file on the server.

I moved my CD-RW drive into yet another system. Big mistake. The drive disagreed with the onboard IDE controller. I'd get 5% into a burn, then the software would report it was "unable to retry an operation to the drive". I installed a Promise Ultra66 card and haven't had a problem since.

October 22, 2000

Lots of little stuff. Time to start babbling...

ComSocks Proxy is a neat product and it's 1/10 the cost of MS Proxy Server. But its NAT support, new for version 3.0, has a couple of annoying quirks. For one, Internet Explorer 5.0 is convinced the workstations inside the NAT are "offline". When I press "Try again", IE catches on and everything is fine. For another, the automatic software-updating feature in Corel Linux 1.2 won't work.

Here's the cleanest way to set up SoftICE to work with Windows ME. (Yeah, my friends won't give a hoot about this, but the folks Google-searching me might.) Get the Windows 2000 / WinME DDK, the downloadable SoftICE 4.05 update for Win9x, and the latest DEBUGGER.EXE from NuMega's web site. Strip the "....\FREE" directory from the DDK, namely the one with DBGINST.EXE in it, and copy it to a new folder. Copy NuMega's DEBUGGER.EXE into this folder and overwrite the original DDK version. Run the SoftICE 4.05 installer, but specify C:\WINDOWS as the target folder and only install the program files. Do not let it modify AUTOEXEC.BAT when asked. When the SoftICE installation is complete, do not reboot. Instead, run DBGINST.EXE from that new folder you made earlier. Do a standard, not a "SYSTEM.INI", install. Now reboot and voila'. An added bonus to this method is that the new folder can be reused whenever you need to reinstall SoftICE.

Whoops! Microsoft released Exchange Server 2000 this week and I was too busy to notice. Oh well.

The Promise Ultra66 IDE controller card is faster than the Intel 810's ATA66 chip. The Intel 810's ATA66 is no faster than UDMA33, according to benchmarks, and that's even after downloading Intel's souped-up driver.

I spent a lot of time yesterday proving that the motherboard I bought last month at the Buffalo hamfest was defective. It's unstable when a PII-450 and an AGP card are both running on it. Rats. This is the same motherboard that was causing my CD burner to write bad data to the discs.

Here's how to edit a live web page using StarOffice 5.2. View the page using StarOffice's web browser. Click on the Edit File button on the StarOffice toolbar. Make your changes. Choose File / Save As, and save it back to the web server using the following syntax: "". Well, it works on my server anyway.

I can also tell, in relatively few words, how to make all the games and accessories in Windows 2000 Pro become "optional". Open up \WINNT\INF\SYSOC.INF using Notepad. Do a search-and-replace,  replacing all occurrences of "HIDE," with ",". You can then go to Control Panel, Add / Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows Components, and see all the missing categories.

There's more to tell, but I have work to do. Maybe we'll have that update of 98Lite soon, with proper WinME support; Shane apologized for not responding to all the emails (like my 2-3 bug reports), and promised to get cracking on it.

October 19, 2000

Norton Antivirus 2001 is here. It installed onto my NT 4.0 Server without complaint, despite its box mentioning NT 4.0 Workstation specifically. There is already a LiveUpdate for its program files. McAfee VirusScan 4.5 refuses to install onto NT 4.0 servers, as did the previous versions.

I whipped up another small program, even smaller than TST32 this time. The new program fills a small gap in Microsoft's networking. It builds an LMHOSTS file dynamically by using DNS to look up the IP address of a server. Few people need an LMHOSTS file, much less a dynamically-created one. But if a small company's Microsoft Exchange Server is on a cable modem with a dynamic IP address, how else will Outlook 2000 find the server? (Outlook won't accept the server's public "" Internet address.)

October 17, 2000

I've removed the "under construction" GIF file from this server. It was the source of the 53,000 web hits last week, and changing its web expiration date didn't solve the problem.

RedHat Linux 7.0 is here. It's not exciting to me. I was hoping RedHat would catch on that Linux needs some more GUI-based integration of network configuration. Mandrake 7.2 beta, at least, has an "Internet Connection Sharing" wizard that should help small sites get all the right services loaded and running. Unfortunately, I found that the Ulysses-3 beta of Mandrake 7.2 wasn't stable enough to use.

I'm finally trying Comsocks Proxy. I don't want its proxy services. I just want to use its NAT. The trial version sits on my server and lets four PCs use my dual-NIC server as a router to the Internet. Linux has the same thing for free, of course, but setup is reputed to be a nightmare. Anyway, the first test of Comsocks Proxy was a success. I viewed some RealMedia videos from on my Corel Linux workstation.

I read my web server's logs last night, and began rolling on the floor laughing. You see, I asked my web server to store the URL of the "referring" page. People are finding my pages via Google, and the "referring" page's URL contains the Google search string that the user had typed. Apparently, if you gave Google the search string "Where can I download a cracked version of Veritas Backup?" last week, my diary page popped up as a result! Other folks were looking for the Davicom NIC driver for RedHat 7.0 (I can make one, I have the source code here, but I have no time to), or answers to problems using NetGear NICs with Norton Ghost.

I can't use the command line in Corel Linux to connect to a NT server for file sharing. But, I can connect just fine using Corel File Manager. Huh.

Folks are "door-knocking" on this server daily still. Not only are they checking me for trojans, but they are also looking for anonymous FTP access on my server. Man, it's a good thing I handle networks for a living...

October 11, 2000

Lots going on, some things I can't talk about yet. Fujitsu is keeping me extra-busy.

Had 53,000 hits in one day on the same GIF, namely the one at the bottom of this page. All the hits came from a proxy server at I blocked access for their IP address via IIS and emailed their webmaster. But I also scanned the last month's logs, and plenty of other sites are doing the same thing, just dozens of times instead of thousands. I told IIS to send out the GIF without giving it a "freshness date". I'll see if that fixes it.

It took me most of a day to discover that Corel Linux 1.2's printer driver for the HP Laserjet 4 was a Postscript-language driver (it's supposed to be PCL!). I was thrown off the trail by discovering that my HP Deskjet 1200C printed correctly, and by seeming that StarOffice had a PostScript driver loaded too. It was all very educational and I need to post the answers here somewhere.

Port lockdown item #1: I locked down the proxy server at so tight that you can't even ping it. It should have NO ports listening to the Internet right now. I had to lock it down; people were trying every day to FTP their way into it.

Port lockdown item #2: Windows 2000 offers an option in its networking support, to only "use" selected TCP/IP ports to pass through a given network card. I had already set the Web server at the school to only pass Web traffic. But I logged on to the server today and was able to use Microsoft NetMeeting to dial out to another computer! So I'm assuming that, when Microsoft says it will "use" only my selected TCP/IP ports, it really means it will "listen" on those ports. Useful information for securing future Win2000 servers...

Port lockdown item #3: New educational software requires that the child's PC connect out to a Web site on port 5050. Oops, so does Yahoo Instant Messenger. A netguy at DeVry says to block access to some Yahoo sites specifically ( - to work around the problem.

October 7, 2000

I am editing this page tonight by using StarOffice 5.2 on Corel Linux 1.2. It sends shivers up and down my spine to be using Linux for something real.

Well, for the record, I've installed Linux on the 850MHz main workstation at home. Performance is very good, which should not be surprising since I have 128MB of RAM and a pair of 10,000 RPM SCSI hard disks under the hood.

Here are the gory details of this Linux experience. I tried SuSE Linux 7.0 first. SuSE 7.0 hated my DVD drive, and botched the install. It was a shame, because it had recognized all my hardware, even my new USB Intellimouse. I then tried Corel Linux, strictly as a whim, since it hated my Adaptec SCSI card last time. It loved the Symbios ultra-wide controller this time. Installation was a breeeze. With Corel running, it was time to install StarOffice. I'd already downloaded it from to my NT server. I ran into trouble when trying to FTP StarOffice from my server, so I used Corel's File Manager to browse to my NT box as a (Samba) file server. I ran the StarOffice install by double-clicking on it.

StarOffice can't seem to work around the script code in my diary page, and it has problems saving to my IIS Web server directly 80% of the time. But, by golly, I did it!

If I'm going to keep Linux around the house, I'll need to get rid of Microsoft Proxy Server. I have Windows 2000 licenses here, so the answer may be fairly simple. I can load Windows 2000 and use its free Internet Connection Sharing software.

October 4, 2000

I am burning CD's successfully once again. The CD-RW drive was alone on the secondary IDE bus, which is the normally recommended place for it. I moved it to the primary IDE bus and made it a slave to the system's IDE hard disk. I burned a CD, carried it to my server PC, and used the DOS "FC" utility (with /B parameter) to compare the files.

I have investigated the idea of caching Web pages. This server's main page includes content from many other places, but it takes a long time for some of those places to cough up their content. The iSyndicate news is particularly slow, and because of its design, my page appears to the user as if my server was really the source of the problem. I've found that my server's script language, ASP, has no support for getting other pages. So, it's time to create my own solution. 

October 3, 2000

I heard a complaint about a CD-R I'd made yesterday, so I burned a CD of StarOffice for myself last night. I tried to install StarOffice from the CD, and it told me in German that it was "aubgebrochen" (sp?). Hey, that's the way Madeline Kahn said it in Blazing Saddles so long ago! Cool! But, not good. So I tested my CD burner a little more thoroughly this morning. I thoughtfully used a rewritable CD this time. It turns out that, since I upgraded the motherboard in my CD-burning PC over the weekend, now every CD I burn is only good for use as a coaster. Set your drink on it and laugh. Argh. Well, I will solve it in the next evening or two. In the meantime, I have some new coasters for my living room table...

FrontPage 2000 was miserable to use last night. I had to update some routine Web page data at a customer's site, but FrontPage periodically said their Web server had disappeared from the Internet. After a few such frustrations, I opened a browser window and checked the site. It looked fine in the browser! 

October 2, 2000

Very busy still. But it's all very educational.

Symantec's LiveUpdate redirects your update requests through the information-stealing servers at Akamai makes its money by providing some needed services to other Web providers, then logging all of your personal information and reselling it. (Do you think I'm kidding? A year ago, I offered a link to their page where they touted their ability to collect information. The site has been rewritten with no mention of that side of Akamai's business.) To see the link between LiveUpdate and Akamai, start a LiveUpdate session. A 65KB file will be downloaded, called LIVEUPDT.TRI. Open and examine this file; it's plain text. It contains a list of products and links to their updates. All of the links currently look like "http://(blah)". If you strip off everything before the "" and use it as a URL, you can receive your patch without being fondled by the Akamai server.

I was asked to serve as consultant to a committee at CCS on the design of a new super Web site. They are currently using the shell of a site that I'd created in May. I've already attended one meeting with them and committed to two more.

Build a logon script file for your workgroup's NT network. Use the usual standard script commands to add network drive mappings. Place a shortcut to it in your workstation's Startup group. Log on, and your drive mappings are done. Sounds standard enough, right? But on Windows ME, some of the drive mappings will cause Explorer windows to fill your screen, as if you had done the mappings by right-clicking on the Network Neighborhood icon.

My employer has required all its employees to work extra hours. I will be working weekends for the foreseeable future. Argh.

I put my first streaming video Web site online. It's on a customer's intranet site, so you can't see it. Sorry. But I did manage to get a professional video sample to store on it for testing. The sample has 800-3000kbits of video, which puts those 300k/s Britney Spears videos to shame. The server software, Windows Media Services, is loaded on an in-house NT server and works well. Here's an interesting tidbit: .ASF files (Windows Media files) contain a checksum, so you can't just download someone's partial file from the Internet and tell Windows Media Services to dish it out. You have to get the whole file, or else play it without Windows Media Services.

98Lite v4 is out. It's the first "complete" WinME version, but it'll fix Win98 and 98SE too. The author has put disclaimers on it, because he knows it has problems unloading Media Player 7 on ME. I tried it on ME and found one or two glaring bugs besides Media Player. I've politely forwarded bug reports to the author.

I finally know how to patch Windows 2000 so it will let you add/remove the games and other accessories. It took so long to find out, I'm thinking of charging for the answer. Well, actually, you can get the answer by working past a broken link at Paul Thurrott's Windows 2000 site. I will post it here just as soon as I can get credit-card validation going here. :)

Windows Media Player 7.0 is incompatible with MS Proxy Server 2.0's Winsock Client software. I tested it successfully with Windows 2000's Internet Connection Sharing. Did Microsoft bypass Winsock to gain some performance advantage over RealPlayer? Stay tuned...

September 18, 2000

Lots going on. Here's a sample.

I spent much of Sunday trying out the new SuperScout software from the makers of SurfWatch.

Well, it works.

I reconfigured my house network in order to try this. My workstations went to a hub. The hub went to a new Windows 2000 PC. A second card on the Windows 2000 PC went to the cable modem.

I enabled Internet Connection Sharing in the Windows 2000 PC. It worked fine, which was no surprise.

SuperScout installed easily enough on Windows 2000. But I could only choose one network card for it to watch, and I could only do so during install. If I ever have to replace a defective network card on the server, I'd have to reinstall.

First, I installed it and told it to watch the network card connected to my hub. It did nothing. I found out how to tell it what to deny access to. It then worked, but it didn't protect the Windows 2000 PC itself.

I uninstalled SuperScout and then reinstalled it, choosing the cable modem network card this time. I told it to deny access to adult sites. This time it blocked access at the Windows 2000 PC correctly.

September 18, 2000

The school's DNS died Friday. Digex tech support hasn't fixed it yet. A lot of finger-pointing is taking place, however. Digex's servers are listed as the official source of DNS information for the school's domain, but Digex's servers really just download the information from the school's server. So, is the school's server delivering bad information, or are Digex's servers failing to fetch the information at all? Stay tuned...

I went to the hamfest in Buffalo this weekend. The bad news is, the hamfest seemed deserted, with lots of empty tables. The good news is, I was able to get quite a few good deals there. I picked up a Matrox G400 video card for 1/3 of its normal price, an HP DeskJet 1200, an Intel 810 motherboard, a two-pack of 1999-vintage street-mapping software for $10, a SCSI case for $5 (to hold my DLT drive), new SCSI adapter cards for $20, and on and on. I blew $300 in 90 minutes.

While in Buffalo I also saw a really nice ham radio rig. It's the Yaesu FT-847, priced at $1,400. My birthday is coming up...

One of the items I picked up at the hamfest was a used motherboard for Slot-1 CPUs. The board is a late-1998 model, and occasionally hangs when I attempt to boot it using a PIII at 550MHz. I believe the motherboard was only meant to take PII or Celeron CPUs. Does anyone have a spare, used, Slot-1 PII or Celeron CPU they could sell me? If not, I will have to pony up the $60-160 for a "new" PII on the Web. But I'd feel silly paying $160 for a PII, when a PIII at 550MHz costs $125 right now.

On the Web, I found rave reviews of the Matrox G400 video card. The reviewers were going gaga over the dual 128-bit buses in the G400's chip. Well, I tried the G400 in Unreal at 1024x768 resolution, and it's easily 1/3 slower than my Voodoo3 2000 card. It's a nice card, but I'm not sure it deserves such gushing reviews.

I picked up copies of Comsocks Proxy and StarOffice 5.2 software to review. My latest customer has a tight budget, so I needed to find cheaper alternatives to Microsoft products. MS Office 2000 costs $479 per user, and MS Proxy Server costs 800 per server. In comparison, Comsocks costs $50 and StarOffice is free.

September 14, 2000

Well, it's been three days since I replied to the SurfWatch sales rep's request for more information (head count) on my new customer. Since SurfWatch wants to charge $1199 per server normally, and half of my customer's six servers have less than ten users each, do you suppose they feel silly responding to me? Another idea occurred to me. If I load the home version of SurfWatch on a Win98SE or Win2K PC along with Internet Connection Sharing, will SurfWatch then block access to adult sites for all the people connected to this PC? Gee, then SurfWatch just cost $40 / site...

Norton Internet Security 2.0 is out. It supports Win95 through Win2K. Rats. I'm stuck with an unused copy of 1.0, which only supports Win95 or Win98. Hey, if this product has the features of SurfWatch then I should try my copy of NIS 1.0 with Win98SE's Internet Connection Sharing too.

I think I saw my main workstation trying to "phone home" via the Internet when I turned it on this morning. I would love to load ZoneAlarm on it to discover what program is trying to connect to the Internet at startup.

September 11, 2000

Yes, the diary has been slow this last week. I was lassoed by my wife and spent the week furniture shopping, babysitting, and preparing for a yard sale. It's all done for the moment.

I have been in contact with SurfWatch. They have merged with CyberPatrol and have discontinued all their products in favor of a new product that's supposed to contain the best of both previous ones. The site tells existing customers to contact the sales rep for a license to the new product. Are they going to screw existing customers who have paid thousands for Surfwatch and thousands more for the subscription to lists of new naughty sites (which, I must add, are submitted to SurfWatch by those very same subscribers)? What makes me think this?

These are not conclusive reasons, I realize. I have to contact them soon on behalf of my biggest Surfwatch customer. This customer invested $5,000 in their product less than a year ago, including a two-year subscription. We'll see what their reply to *that* is. If it's not free, then I'm shopping for another product!

The site f*** is up for sale on eBay. The site reports the downfall of other dot-coms, but this dot-com isn't actually going under; the owner just got bored with it. Too bad the news is reporting that people are openly submitting prank bids for it.

The SubSeven port scans on my server are increasing. Hmm.

September 7, 2000

Just for grins, I'd switched back on the logging of unsuccessful attempts to hack into my server. So, in the last 24 hours, computers have tried to connect to me on the following ports:

Oh, and someone tried to swamp my server by doing a few hundred Web requests for a picture on my site, using an HTTP "If-modified-since" request. This might have been innocent; it came from a modem in the Rochester area, on a pool of modems that have viewed my pages many times before.

Based on this, it's more important than ever to have a firewall on your Internet connection...

September 6, 2000

Here's a note from the seamier side of Windows. It is possible to remove the serial number check from Windows 98. This is not news, of course. But Windows ME reported error SU0349 ("mismatched version of setup files") when the old Windows 98 patch was applied. The solution can be found by obtaining two versions of ME, extracting each copy's PRECOPY1.CAB into separate folders, and running the old MS-DOS "FC /B" command on all the files. The answer? An identical patch needs to be applied to a second file.

Before everyone runs out to buy a copy of Windows ME, make note of these tidbits...

NetGear makes a $300 gigabit fiber Ethernet NIC for servers. Guess what? It's absolutely identical to the $700 3COM 3C985 NIC! Well, the color of the circuit board is yellow instead of green...

Shane Brooks at has announced that his new Windows ME-compatible version of 98Lite will be out any day now. His page also notes that I need to contact him and get a free update of my 98Lite license. One small problem, though. What did I do with the original license information? I unlocked 98Lite 3.0 and forgot all about saving it. It's time to go back through my saved email...

September 5, 2000

Microsoft is coming to town on 9/27. They will be at the Holiday Inn, doing presentations for small business. Lunch is NOT provided. Register here, or call 877-435-7638.

Quick summary of Linux installs: Promise Ultra66 cards are supported on SuSE 6.4 or higher and FreeBSD 4.1; not on RedHat 6.2, Caldera 2.4, or Corel 1.2. Using SuSE 6.4+Promise Ultra66+Maxtor IDE, I can use "hdparm -tT" to read from the drive's onboard cache at a whopping 53MB/second. Tweaking Linux IDE parms using "hdparm" helps, even on Promise Ultra66, but test your tweaks before putting them in your startup file!

September 3, 2000

I finished converting the school over to their new Internet provider. I think I did a pretty good job, considering that this is the first one I'd ever done by myself! Now it's time to tell the old ISP goodbye. By the way, you can forget that "nightmare" comment I made about Network Solutions in the previous diary entry. Their system of handling DNS may be arcane, but when I asked to change the school's DNS address to the new ISP it only took an hour and two emails.

In a conversation with my Adelphia business rep, he let slip the rollout date of their cable modem service into the Utica area.

August 31, 2000

It's been a very busy time. Where do I begin?

Corel Linux 1.2 has the latest kernel (2.2.16), but it chokes when asked to install to a hard disk mounted on any of the following controllers: Promise Ultra66 IDE, Symbios 53C875 SCSI, Adaptec 2940 SCSI. Corel has cranked up the hype machine, calling 1.2 their "Second Edition" (a' la Win98SE), but a power user can't even install it! The "Second Edition" moniker is, no doubt, the result of their wholehearted effort to duplicate the Windows 98 user interface. Sure, the interface is easy to use, but reconfiguring it to handle new hardware is the hardest of any Linux distribution I've seen this year.

NetGear FA310TX cards are easy to set up on a fresh Linux (including Corel) . Their NetGear-labeled chip is a ripoff of the old DEC 21140 chip, nicknamed "tulip". Fresh versions of the Linux "tulip" driver support it. So why did Corel Linux identify the FA310TX as a "LNE100TX NE2000-compatible"?

Windows 2000 isn't enabling Ultra DMA 66! A few sites are circulating a registry hack that will enable it. I'll go one better, and post a .REG file here. Once this file is on your machine, just double-click on it and answer "Yes" to the question: "add this to your registry?"

I installed McAfee VirusScan 4.5 onto a PC at the school. The machine locks up as soon as I log on to the network. When I press Ctrl+Alt+Del, McAfee's McUpdate program is showing. Hmm. Well, I have no time to figure out this problem. I have to somehow uninstall 4.5 and use the old 4.03 version for now.

At the school, I am helping them taking control of the domain. The process is not easy or fast. It looks like this.

August 26, 2000

I'm disappearing for the weekend. I haven't seen my family much, so we're all escaping to the Finger Lakes together.

I tried tweaking the settings of a Promise FastTrak66 controller for maximum performance. I wanted to achieve the ultimate performance on a RAID-0 (stripe) configuration. It turns out that there isn't much I can tweak. I can adjust the block size (take N from the first drive, then N from the second drive, then N from the first drive...) but a setting of 16K seemed identical in performance to the default of 64K. I get performance numbers that are only slightly better than those of the individual drives in the RAID array. The controller offers block sizes from 1K to 128K, so I suppose I should try both extremes before I give up. By the way, I see high CPU utilization when running the FastTrak66 on Win2K.

The first 10% of Corel Linux 1.2 downloaded this morning at a rate of 750 KBytes per second. Holy cow. The whole CD arrived in 11 minutes. It'll take longer than that to burn a CD-RW disc of it!

Oh, and I spent part of the day on Wednesday with my wife and her doctor. It's official; we're going to try to have a baby.

August 22, 2000

The school's T1 is up. It was installed last week but "someone in Maryland failed to flip a switch." DNS is not up yet, so is still the old site as of this writing.

I fought Windows 2000's DNS service last night at the school. Microsoft generously included a self-test button in their 2000 DNS server software, but when I press it, it reports failure. I had to manually test the DNS server and stop pressing that silly button.

I downloaded the IE 5.5 Administrator's kit, to go along with my copy of IE 5.5. The admin kit wants a ten-digit serial number to unlock it, but my legal serial number from IE5's kit unlocked the 5.5 kit.

I spent much of last week debugging a problem on Windows Millennium Edition. What a hog of an OS. It made the 500MHz Celeron with 64MB of RAM look tired and slow. It no longer uses COMMAND.COM during boot, so SoftICE couldn't load without special help. (Download and install the WinME DDK, use its DBGINST.BAT to install a debugging version of IO.SYS, download a special DEBUGGER.EXE file from the SoftICE people, and copy three files from SoftICE to the WINDOWS directory. All this on a crashed PC, no less.) 98Lite claims to work on WinME. Let's hope. This PC's performance was unbelievably bad, considering that nothing else was even loaded on the PC yet. In contrast, Win2000 flies along on 64MB of RAM.

Another pet project has been to lock down the Windows 95 PC's in the school's media center. It's not ready yet, but it's close. As of right now, the only menu items still working in IE5 are "File / Send" and "File / Import and Export...". Oh, and I think they can change the font size. I have to do all this because bored kids were downloading AOL Instant Messenger and saving images of wrestlers as wallpaper on our supposedly locked-down PC's. (I know how they got past last year's lockdown.)

I have a cold with a sore throat. Just in time for my "vacation". @#$%. So much for getting any bed-rest at home, either. We had seven phone calls here at home before 10AM. "Can you say, 'Grand Central Station'? I thought you could."

August 19, 2000

It's been a long few days. In my day job I have been racing to provide a fix for a bug.  I spent a long evening at Pathfinder, merging some small departmental networks into the main one. At CCS, I have been trying to get their Internet connection going, but the T1 acts as if no one has plugged it in at the other end.

I can connect to my server via NetMeeting here in spite of my firewall, but I can't reach Pathfinder's server through theirs. I will have to investigate it soon. 

August 15, 2000

The Compaq DL360 Web server is online at the school. We couldn't find a rack that would fit it! The DL360 is 1.5" tall by 30" deep. I thoughtfully installed Win2K's Terminal Services on it, so I can administer it from home. I'm very impressed with Terminal Services -- it's just like being there! And I should know -- Terminal Services beats my Fujitsu LiveHelp for performance. (Tech note: Win2K Terminal Services sessions are never sent to the real screen. They're sent to a custom video driver that compresses the video and sends it to me. Thus it's faster than ANY remote-control product.)

Microsoft recommended that I use NetMeeting 3.0 to remote-control my customer's servers. I tried it last night. It isn't as good as Win2K Terminal Services. And, its documentation says I should open up five TCP/IP ports on my firewall, including one just to allow it to tell a Microsoft server that it's running. Some of the other ports are for sound and video-camera use, so I will have to experiment to find the minimum number of ports to open.

I received two Addtron 8-port switching hubs last night. I installed one here. It doesn't improve the performance of my individual network connections. Rats. But, it should allow more traffic to flow to my server without collisions. Besides, it was cheap. And it runs cool to the touch, unlike my previous hub. Am I rationalizing too much here?

I also received a stack of Jaton ExpressNet 10/100 PCI network cards. They do not contain the Realtek RTL8139 chip that I respect; instead, it's a Davicom (who?) chip. The cards were, like the switching hubs, cheap. Testing will commence shortly. With that Davicom chip, what are the odds that Win2K has a driver for it?

I spent all day on the road Saturday. My new customer is Pathfinder Village. I finally remembered to ask permission to use their name. Their network is pretty much complete now. They had some defective Cat5 cables preventing them from working.

NetGear PCI network cards are a pain to install, and new drivers don't help. PCI cards are supposed to allow sharing of IRQ (interrupt) lines, but these don't. And, they must be installed in a busmastering PCI slot, which is hard to find on older PC's. I installed a NetGear FA310TX card in a Packard Bell 7120 PC this weekend. It would work in only one of the PCI slots; in the others, it couldn't find its IRQ. And, once in that slot, its IRQ conflicted with that of the ISA non-Plug-nor-Play sound card in the PC. After some mild swearing, it is now working.

I bought Norton Internet Security 2000 a couple of months ago. I suppose I should dust it off and try it. Maybe it will protect my wife's PC. She's behind the firewall here at the house, but Broderbund software installed a spy program on her PC! Mattel, Broderbund's parent, is aware of this extreme faux pas and has a page on their Web site apologizing and offering to remove it. (I will post the URL when time permits.)

August 11, 2000

The school, and the new customer, have both kept me on my toes this week. I was surprised when neither one needed me last night! Naturally, I tried to catch up on sleep, but couldn't fall asleep until late.

I installed Windows 2000 Server on the DL360. Here's a big hint for NT administrators... FrontPage 2000 Server Extensions would not let me edit any pages, and I couldn't find a way to tell it I was a Web administrator. FP2KSE has different ways to store the list of administrators, depending on OS. Thankfully, the FPSRVADM.EXE command-line utility works regardless of OS. Now I can use FrontPage to install and edit the main Web page of this server.

The DL360 server is running. I also cleared the old passwords out of the Cisco 2610 router. I'm basically ready for InterMedia to begin installing the T1 at the school. I emailed their engineer last night to say so.

The price of a switching 10/100 hub has fallen significantly. I ordered two 8-port Addtron switched hubs and five PCI network cards for less than $200 total. I have bought one new hub for my home network each year. In 1998 I bought a 100-megabit hub, with no support for old 10-megabit NICs and no switching. In 1999 I bought a 10/100 hub, which "switched", buffered, the 10-megabit packets so they wouldn't force the 100-megabit bus to be put on hold.

The price of a PCI 10/100 NIC has stabilized at $10-15, unless you want 3Com or Intel. As for me, I'd take a $10 Realtek NIC over a $50 Intel or even a $15 NetGear any day. I recently sent a short stack of Realtek NICs down to Oneonta to solve a problem with NetGear NICs.

This price drop is especially significant for me because I used to have one vendor that would sell me no-name "Made in China" network equipment in bulk quantities for these prices. This vendor has just lost his price advantage.

My new customer is up and running. His Gateway server is chugging along, and his TimeWarner cable modem connection is fine. But, like my connection here, access to his mail server is blocked. We'll be contacting this weekend to set up a mail relay service like mine.

I finally got up the courage to call Microsoft and tell them that their Technet CD binders crack when left in the car on a -40 degree Upstate New York January night. They had no problem sending me another binder for free. 

August 9, 2000 1:15am

I just got back from installing the Gateway 7210 server. The server had a bad NIC! It worked fine here on the bench, connected to my cable modem, but failed on site! Arrgh! Well, everything is working now.

It's been a long few days. Let me see if I can remember the high points before I nod off.

The school FedEx-ed a server for me to install ASAP. It's a Compaq DL360, rack mount, 1U tall. I also have to master the school's Cisco 2610 router ASAP, because I've been put in charge of hooking this router to a new T1 to be supplied this week by Intermedia and Adelphia. The DL360 server will be the school's new Web and DNS server.

I found out how to install NT's DHCP server service on an NT server containing a DHCP'ed network card. It's a fragile solution but it works. So far, it is working better than the freeware DHCP server software I'd found.

I have Mandrake Linux 7.1 and FreeBSD 4.1 CD's now. I downloaded both simultaneously, for a total of 650KB per second.

Shane Brooks is giving away an Internet Explorer remover. It's on his site, Look for 'IEradicate'.

I tried 98Lite 3.0 on my notebook PC. System Monitor reported that Win98 still wanted 27MB of RAM (I have 16MB in this old clunker). I did a little testing and found that the notebook's infrared port was being monitored by IRMON.EXE, which took 7MB of RAM to run. I disabled IR monitoring in Control Panel and things are just about perfect.

August 4, 2000

Last night's visit to a customer was a comedy of errors. My notebook PC froze, my store-bought CAT5 patch cable was defective, one of the customer's new $4000 fiber switches was DOA, and as we were walking from building to building completing the tests, it began to rain. I loaned him my TP cable checker and my radios; he'll have his facilities guys finish checking the wiring.

At least I had a good start to the day today. I downloaded Corel Linux 1.1 from Corel's site at 500 KB per second. Wow. Downloading and burning a CDRW took under thirty minutes. Does anyone need a copy?

August 3, 2000

It took 2.5 hours to install NT SBS 4.5 onto the new server. Gateway's NIC and modem are not recognized by SBS, so I had to install their drivers and reboot three or four more times. While waiting for SBS to finish sucking in all three CD's of material, I burned a copy of Suse Linux 7.0 onto CD's.

I received a package from It showed $37.85 in shipping costs on its invoice! The package weighed less than five pounds. I called uBid and a lady there hinted that I can expect more crazy shipping charges, thanks to a new policy implemented that very day. She did, however, refund at least half of the shipping charges. And their latest auctions still say it'll only cost $9.95 to ship...

So, does anyone have a leftover battery for an AST Ascentia J-series notebook PC? Mine dips from 100% charge to 60% charge in ten minutes, then hovers there. Sounds like one cell in the battery pack has given up the ghost.

The Internet seems VERY slow this morning. I just had a call from NYCM, asking if my Internet connection was as slow as theirs. We'll probably find out that some Napster-hungry teens decided to take revenge by overloading all the world's Internet routing equipment. Ah well, maybe I'll get some REAL work done instead...

August 1, 2000

Birthday wishes go out to Paul N.

Suse announced the release of Linux 7.0. Their own sites don't have it yet. I'm downloading all 3.6GB of it from a university in Germany as I write this. I will share the downloaded results with friends if asked, naturally.

Windows NT Small Business Server 4.5 arrived tonight. I printed out a copy of its release notes before it arrived, thanks to my MSDN subscription. There is valuable information in those release notes. I also learned today that this 4.5 version of SBS is supposed to handle a cable modem or DSL connection directly, which SBS 4.0 wasn't able to do (at least not directly). Darn, I had been preparing workarounds for it too...

I need to go set up a table at another hamfest. I have a growing pile of used items to dump.

The following is a list of software that's arrived. [LINUX] Suse 7.0, Caldera eDesktop 2.4 and eServer 2.3, Corel WordPerfect Suite 2000 Deluxe, Railroad Tycoon II. [WINDOWS] Windows 2000 Service Pack 1, NT Small Business Server 4.5, SBS 4.5 computer-based training, Veritas Backup Exec 8.0 for NT/2000, Windows ME really-almost-the-release-version.

A Linux user sent word to Suse already about problems with 7.0. He has lots of systems running 7.0 already, but one server wouldn't stay up. He replaced the kernel with an older version and left everything else alone, and solved things nicely. Oh, and the most popular question of 7.0 is "does it come with the new 2.4 version of the Linux kernel?" NO! 2.4 isn't final yet.

July 30, 2000

Lots of little updates.

I have the server here for the new customer. It's a Gateway 7210, which is practically an overgrown workstation PC. It has some clever engineering, such as the way it connects hard disks directly by using the 80-pin connector (on the back of all SCA hard disks) without needing an adapter board or expensive drive tray. But it has far less engineering than a Compaq Proliant 1600. It also happens to be missing two items that were on the price quote, so Gateway will be receiving a phone call tomorrow. Jeez, Gateway even supplied and preinstalled the wrong OS.

Promise Ultra66 IDE controller cards are being converted to FastTrak66 IDE RAID controller cards by hardware hackers. I received multiple copies of the how-to late tonight. This explains the strange warning message on Promise's site. Oh, and by the way, the Ultra66 card is being discontinued in favor of their new Ultra100 card. The new card already has a published hack to convert it to a FastTrak100.

I received multiple warnings about an email-attachment virus called "Pretty Park". It's real, but it isn't new. The last news on it was in March, when someone decrypted last year's original Pretty Park worm and began sending it around. Be warned, though. Once you're infected by it, the cleanup process is complex, so get the cleanup program for it.

As for new virus news, a new variant of KAK.Worm was reported at the end of last week.

Buying products on is so surreal sometimes. I wasn't a winning bidder on a DVD player tonight. Folks were bidding more than the store price in every case. Yikes.

A new search engine at is leeching (to use the hacker's term for it) all of my Web pages. They even downloaded the sample Web site I'd made for the school.

I found the CD that was missing from my Microsoft Backoffice set. Thanks to everyone who offered to back up theirs.

Windows 2000 Service Pack 1, and Windows ME, should both be here very soon. As I write this, it is 12:35 in the morning and Win2K SP1 is downloading at a respectable 180 kilobytes per second.

PS: The test results are in on my gout. I have a fresh prescription for Indomethacin and I must change my diet totally around. Ah well.

July 26, 2000

Five fibers were defective at the new customer's site last night. The company that installed them is being asked to revisit ASAP. The Wavetek fiber optic TDR needed some reconfiguring along the way. The connectors in one of the locations were so bad (1-3db of insertion loss, or 20-50% signal loss) that I had to tell the TDR to ignore losses less than 2db.

The school's Exchange Server has been stable since my revisit on July 24th. Whew. I still have a problem with the server, though. Before my reinstallation of NT, this server was responsible for dishing out NT client licenses (it held 700 of them) to all the workstation PC's. Now there are NO servers containing that information. As a result, only a few people can log in at a time. Um, oops.

My gout has gotten worse, so I'm off my feet for a few days while I wait for results of a blood test. I will continue programming for Fujitsu if I can, of course.

July 24, 2000

I spent the weekend cleaning and reloading the biggest Internet server at the school. It was a nervous time. Microsoft Exchange Server is never fun to deal with. I had to revisit today in order to fix a problem with one of Exchange Server's mail databases. I also lost my CD of Exchange Server and Proxy Server somehow. Thankfully, I had a spare Exchange CD and they had another proxy server ready to use.

Interesting tidbit: McAfee GroupShield v4.5 found and cleaned the KAK.Worm virus from the school's mail server, whereas the 4.03 version could not find it.

I took care of two other servers at the school as well this weekend. Their busiest file server was upgraded to a RAID5 set of 18GB 10000rpm hard drives. (Ghost 5.1c crashed during the backup, with 1.5GB remaining. I gave up the Ghost, ha-ha, and restored from their last tape backup instead.) Another server received an ADIC autoloader tape drive. (Nothing bad happened.)

Tomorrow I will be using a Wavetek fiber-optic TDR to check the underground lines at my newest customer. On behalf of my customer, I spent part of the day arguing with their local TimeWarner RoadRunner division (not TWCNY this time). With this RR...

None of these options work for my (non-profit school) customer. But, according to the sales rep at RR, the customer can sign up for the non-profit service and attach it to the customer's proxy server, but only if the customer promises never to call for tech support. Ick.

July 22, 2000

Those folks looking for an open NNTP news server can try

An increasing number of sites are redirecting me to before letting me view their home page. Ick. I have all access to blocked at my firewall.

July 21, 2000

My family's Web page on is down. More specifically, the Web server is down. Gee, I hope I have a backup of that page...

I saw this statement on and chuckled. "Those who deface Web pages and throw up a 'political message' under the guise of 'protest' were derided as digital pranksters better off molesting cats than endangering an evolving form of social protest." And to think that Chevy Chase was considered shocking 20 years ago when he said onscreen, "Your uncle molests collies."

My wife's birthday is tonight. I have twelve-hour workdays scheduled for this weekend. Guess who's in the doghouse?

As a follow-up to the July 19 note on Web "bugs"... Yes, I can tell what site you visited before viewing this page. It's in the log files generated by this server. I usually just chuckle over it and move on. (In case you're curious, my server says you last visited " hi ".) Using MS ASP and browser cookies, I could find out the site you last visited before visiting my site, and not just before visiting this page.

Paul sent word that Steve Gibson has discovered a few companies recording your web-browsing habits. Here's the story from Steve's site.

July 19, 2000

Fun and more fun. Internet Explorer 5.5 is here; it's the high-encryption version. The copy of Windows ME that I'd mentioned previously is marked "technical beta" but its README file says it's been submitted as the possible final release version of ME. I haven't had a chance to try Ghost 6.03 but I have an appointment to upgrade a server on Saturday. 98Lite version 3.0 is still sitting here awaiting testing. I've had exactly one request to review Comdex, "Dvorak style". I suppose that means lots of bold print so that your eyes can skim the page and catch only the high points. :)

A friend forwarded a security alert to me this morning. The claim is that malicious code can be embedded in a Microsoft Access file, and the file's name then is embedded in an <OBJECT> tag in a mail message, allowing the damage to occur while Outlook is showing the preview of the message.

As I sat here this evening, my regular newsletter arrived from They include an expose' on Web "bugs", little 1x1 graphic images that allow other Web servers to query your Web browser for all sorts of little embarassing tidbits. (Did you visit before this page, for example?)

Microsoft finally shipped Service Pack #6 for NT 4.0 Terminal Server. Service Pack 6 for regular NT has been out since the beginning of November, so that's only 9 months. Oh well, I'm glad it's here.

July 17, 2000

I installed Norton Ghost 6.0 Enterprise Edition and it automatically used LiveUpdate to obtain the 6.03 update. Yippee! But for other versions, some extra steps will be necessary. Make sure Ghost and Symantec's LiveUpdate are loaded on the PC, then download and run LUENABLE.EXE. LiveUpdate will then be able to download updates to Ghost.

But will Ghost 6.03 fix all the problems I've had? Stay tuned...

Is there any interest in a review of Comdex Canada? Let me know.

July 13, 2000

Just a quick update from Comdex Canada.

Things are going well up here in Toronto, but my feet hurt! The show is smaller than I expected, but the tutorial programs I attended were helpful.

Nobody turned off their cel phones during Steve Ballmer's keynote address.

I will be back home next week. Ta-ta!

July 8, 2000

11AM: I am downloading updates from Network Associates. The two update files are 200MB each, and I started downloading both at the same time. When I checked their progress, each file was half-done and downloading at 200KB/second! Time Warner must be improving their infrastructure...

11:20AM: Yikes. McAfee VirusScan 4.5 just told me that one of the updates from Network Associates is infected, as I was unzipping the first 200MB file. But, it can't tell me what virus it found! Hmm.

12:05PM: I just burned a CD of all the Network Associates McAfee updates. The CD had 696MB of data, and was my first CD that needed those extended-length CD-R blanks I'd been stuck with. I read the CD perfectly on the burner's drive, and on the Hitachi DVD-ROM drive in my main workstation. Cool. By the way, I couldn't use Adaptec CD Creator 3.5c to make the disc. I had to use CDRWIN 3.8a from GoldenHawk.

A cool trick... To test the integrity of a freshly-burned CD-R quickly, use CDRWIN's "Extract Tracks" option. Tell it you want to extract the whole disc to a file called NUL.

July 7, 2000

I've been working late, and doing plotting and planning. Sorry for the lack of updates.

Ghost 6.0 has failed me yet again. I was trying to copy a 6GB drive to a 10GB drive, and the resulting drive had 24 logical drives in its extended partition! I knew something was up when Windows 98 said "Logical drives exist past Z:". As with previous failures, I whipped out my copy of Ghost 5.1 and saved the day.

It's a shame that Ghost 6.0 has bugs. It is far faster than previous versions. It has a built-in UDMA driver to handle IDE devices, and will bypass the often-slow SCSI BIOS if you load an ASPI driver.

The next time you buy a motherboard, check its driver CD. Motherboard makers are shipping Trend Micro, McAfee, and Norton (Symantec) products on the CD. My last CD shipped with multiple antivirus software packages and a copy of Norton Ghost Personal Edition.

The full release version of Windows Millennium Edition arrived, but I won't have time to fiddle with it. I have to prepare for my trip next week to Comdex Canada in Toronto.

In the meantime, I have three network jobs on my plate.

June 30, 2000

Man, folks will capitalize on any disaster. See .

AOL hourly subscribers are suing AOL. AOL blasts them with self-refreshing pages of banner ads -- and the downloading of them counts against the hourly rate. I think AOL's not violating any law, but the customers are getting screwed by the deal. AOL charges the advertiser to take the ad, then charges the subscriber to view the ad. Hey, isn't that what every magazine in the world does? Then every magazine should be free...

June 29, 2000

I contacted iSyndicate about the headlines on my home page, since only one of the categories of news was fresh. I also asked some other questions. They responded to the questions but said nothing about the freshness of the news. Humph. I found some news categories that seem to be fresher. We'll see.

Since my recent hardware upgrade to this server, FrontPage 2000 is now faster at navigating the site and making changes. Very nice.

I started placing some of my favorite Windows performance hacks into the "how-to" section of this site. Some of these are in the freeware ConfigNT package; most are not. I've just begun, so give me a day or two to get them all typed in, okay?

FYI: The price of a 600MHz Pentium III chip is under $200 now. But memory prices are rising.

June 28, 2000

My headcold is milder but it isn't going away. Alka-seltzer(TM) fizzy cold medicine is keeping it at bay.

I visited a potential new customer on Tuesday night. It was the first thing I'd done since I caught this cold. The customer has a new site with fiber and Cat5 cable already run. They want to complete the network and be online with an Internet connection by August. This should be fun.

An existing customer contacted me to say that a new version of his software lists Windows 95 OSR2 among its minimum requirements. He's using Windows 95 OSR1. Why OSR2, I wonder?

I've beefed up the home page here. I'm getting visitors from all over. It's a strange feeling, having people traipsing through my house (literally -- this server is upstairs here). Well, if you're a stranger, just please remember to wipe your feet as you enter, and you might want to stop and say hi to me. And for the folks who already hang out here: I didn't know it when I signed up for iSyndicate headlines, but they're dropping credits over at LinkExchange for me. I can use those credits to buy cooler services for this site. 

June 25, 2000

I picked up a headcold last night, and am now officially miserable. I slept through most of today, which is why there are, for example, no cool tidbits about gigabit-fiber. When I awoke later in the day, I moped around and viewed issue #1 of Mad magazine. (I'd bought Totally MAD, with every issue scanned onto CD, yesterday.)

I spent the day of the 24th in Syracuse visiting a miserable computer show and various department stores. I stocked up on software for the family at the show; you know, every family should own Norton Ghost Enterprise Edition 6.0!

On the night of the 23rd, I upgraded this Web server finally. It is now powered by a PII at 233MHz, with 128MB of SDRAM. Benchmarks indicate it should be about three times as fast as the previous hardware in every respect. Will that make it seem faster for you? I dunno.

I bought a copy of Sybex's "Windows 2000 complete". Will it be the ultimate portable reference guide, as its jacket claims? We'll see.

I have an article on Windows 2000 Internet Connection Sharing in the works. It's on the server now, but hidden. Let us pray... Dear lord, give me the time to finish all the articles on this site before the corresponding OS'es are discontinued. Amen.

CCS cancelled their UUNet installation. This was the two-month anniversary of signing up for UUNet, but they still didn't have a working phone line from here to their POP. So it's back to the existing ISP for us. The only problem is, the existing ISP sucks. Oh well.

June 23, 2000

So far, so good, reading PNY 80-minute CD-Rs. I have not made one with more than 600MB or 70 minutes of material, though.

I have nothing exciting to report. So, to kill time, y'all can play with this online version of Etch-a-Sketch. Please remember, it's not real, so you don't have to shake your monitor up and down to clear it.

Okay, that Etch-a-Sketch didn't last long. Here, learn about Mr. Ficus, the newest political candidate. He's popular in New Jersey!

June 22, 2000

After over a week's wait, my 100 blank CD-Rs arrived. They were late, their container was damaged, and they weren't the same product I'd bid on! The packing slip says "generic 74-minute CD-R", but these are 80-minute PNY CDs! These are the very same CDs that friends are having trouble writing, and Web sites report that some DVD drives can't read them. I narrowly avoided buying a 50-pack of discounted "customer returned" PNY 80's at the local Staples store earlier this year. But, yuh know whut? They work well in my new Yamaha burner, so I'm going to keep them. Besides, they were cheap. 

I installed two new Quantum Snap Servers last night. These were the new "4000" model with RAID 5. The box claims 120 gigabytes of storage, but thanks to RAID 5, I only could use 80 of it. The servers are supposed to be "plug-and-play" and are supposed to appear on the network immediately, but it didn't happen. After instructing them to join the nearest domain, they showed up in both "Find Computer" and "Network Neighborhood". I ran my TST32 benchmark on one ("TST32 500") and got "3.5, 5.5, 0.35". I was hoping for "7.0, 7.0, .500". I tested a nearby (three-year-old) server full of artwork; it was faster than the Snap server. Oh well, maybe Maxtor's competing product will be faster.

The next Linux to try: PhatLinux. It's a Linux distribution "with a Windows Based Install", as in Microsoft Windows. It runs on FAT partitions and cooperates with any Windows install that might be on the same partition. Those are the claims, anyway.

An article on points out that the British Telecom patent on hyperlinks is worthless. There's too much "prior art".

Oops! End users have been reporting disk corruption to Intel after loading the newest Ultra ATA 66 drivers on Intel 8xx chipsets. Intel's suggestion? Avoid using Norton Speed Disk while they sort it out.

Intel has updated their 810 chipset. The 810 had built-in video and ATA66 support. The 815 adds AC97 sound and support for 133 MHz FSB. The web site used to strongly hint that the 810 was for use with Celerons (although it can handle some PIII's), but the 815 mentions primarily PIII usage. Hmm.

I opened my new Dell 800MHz PC yesterday and it had the old 440BX chipset in it. Yuck. Last night at the school, I cracked the case on a new Compaq 650MHz PC and found the same thing.

June 21, 2000

Stop using hyperlinks immediately! British Telecom has claimed a patent on the technology!

Hitachi has a new process to produce chips with 0.09-micron transistors. It should quadruple the density of the next generation of CPU chips. Neato. Quake and Unreal should play even faster...

IBM has introduced new versions of their MicroDrive. At 1" in size, MicroDrives are smaller than the smallest drives found in notebooks. IBM's new models have up to 1GB capacity and 4.2MB/second speed. Digital cameras and MP3 players are targets for these neat toys. Cool trivia: The new models store 15.2 gigabits of data per inch.

June 19, 2000

I snuck away for a weekend with my family. We were rained out, unfortunately.

My new Yamaha CD-RW drive is perfect. I just wish CDRWIN 3.7e knew how to handle it.

We still have CPU socket messes in the industry, even after the latest announcements. Celerons have been in Socket 370 for a year; Pentium IIIs and Cyrix MIIIs are switching to Socket 370 now. Older Pentium IIs, Pentium IIIs, and Celerons are Slot 1. Athlons are Slot A (licensed from DEC?). Durons are Socket A, and the new Athlons with on-chip cache may go Socket A too. Nobody is Socket 7, or Super Socket 7, any more.

I learned a bit about DVD players over the weekend. I was naively hoping to buy both a DVD player and TV with non-interlaced display. I didn't want to pay the $6,000 for "scan doubling" technology to clean up regular TV signals; I just wanted the DVD to output a non-interlaced signal and the TV to accept it. The good news is, several $500-1000 TVs have a non-interlaced input waiting to be used. The bad news is, the matching DVD player starts at $575, and that's if I mail-order it. I only found three DVD players that would do the job, and their list prices ranged from $1,000 to $3,000.

A quick trip through DVD terms:

June 14, 2000

Veritas Backup Exec Desktop Edition, version 4.2, refuses to use my DLT drive. "This media is not supported by this product." Veritas Tech Support says to confirm with the tape drive maker whether this drive supports Quick File Access, which is a feature of "newer" tape drives. But, for Pete's sake (hi Pete), I have 1990-vintage tape drives that support QFA! But, actually, there IS something odd about the tape drive. It is supposed to have hardware data compression built in, but NT Backup and Backup Exec both fail to find it. So if hardware compression is accidentally disabled, maybe QFA is too?

I sold my CD-RW burner at the hamfest last weekend. I ordered a replacement last night. It's a Yamaha 8x4x24 drive. I got it, along with 100 generic 8X CD-R blanks, for only $215 plus shipping. Cool.

I have heard complaints from people unable to use extended-length CD-R blanks in their CD-RW drives. This new drive clearly states it can accept up to 700MB (79 minute) CDs. The CD's causing problems up to now were labeled "80" minutes; so will I have a problem? Stay tuned. If someone wants to send me a sample 80-minute blank, feel free. Contact me for a shipping address.

VIA Technologies, owner of Cyrix, is reporting that they have 533-667MHz Cyrix chips in Socket 370 form. Prices start at $150. I'm betting that few or no existing boards will support this chip, since only Celerons were originally available in Socket 370. (Some new PIII's are S370 now too...)

Maxtor let a secret slip out in their 6/7/00 press release. The press release itself was trumpeting the sale of 3,000 drives to for use in their search engine. But Maxtor noted that the DiamondMax 40+ drives sold to Google can be updated from UDMA-66 to UDMA-100(!) by running a utility program. I dug around the Maxtor Web site and found the utility; I'll be trying it on a new drive soon. (If THEIR utility eats THEIR new drive, then it's THEIR fault, right? So it's a good thing the drive is under warranty, right?) Unfortunately, I haven't found a motherboard maker that claims to support UDMA-100 yet...

I've mentioned before that my super-tower workstation at my house was unstable when using UDMA-66 under Windows 2000. Here's where the situation stands now.

There is something going on with disk performance. I own IDE and SCSI drives and controllers that can transfer 40MB/second or more, but I can't read more than 25MB per second during testing. What's up with that?

June 13, 2000

I didn't sell a single tape drive at the hamfest. Rats.

Say, is it April Fools Day today? CNet has a perfectly serious-sounding article about anti-piracy software that claims to use typing habits to recognize the original purchaser of a product.

June 8, 2000

Another slow news day. Say, maybe that Al Gore isn't such a bad guy after all! I won't bother linking to the story at titled "Journey to the center of my bottom", even though it was on their front page.

I did my first full backup today, using the DLT drive. So far so good.

I was up late last night. I've packed all the goodies to sell at the hamfest.

June 7, 2000

Okay, I finally have proof that we've had too many slow news days lately. MSNBC is reporting on gecko glue?!

The replacement tape drives have arrived. It can now be said that I have enough drives in my workroom to choke a fair-sized horse. I now own a DLT, five DAT drives in various sizes, and three Travan TR-4 drives. Plus, I keep a portable TR-1 drive in the basement for emergencies. Is it any wonder that I am taking some of this stuff to a hamfest and dumping it?

The DLT drive is easily the fastest of the bunch. I routinely reach speeds of 120-150 MB/minute at customer sites using DLT. I expect my newly-acquired DDS-3 DAT drive to come close, just as soon as I get some DDS-3 media for it.

Oh, and before my friends start flooding me with emails asking to buy this stuff, I had better mention something. Most of these items are those I would not be comfortable selling to friends. In other words, as I pick items to take to the hamfest, I am concentrating on the least-reliable ones. For example, I'll be selling off a DDS-2 DAT drive, but it needs to be slapped every other week in order to jar a loose connection back into place. In fairness to the hamfest buyer, I will put a note on the drive saying so.

I heard from an irate manager last week. The guy negotiated a price with a local reseller for 100 PC's. Almost immediately, an invoice arrives. The invoice shows $100 more per PC than was negotiated, and the itemized hardware list doesn't match either; the guy calls the reseller to straighten them out. Two weeks later, the monitors arrive; the PC's themselves are M.I.A.

I was passed a rumor of a shakeup at Inacom; the local office lost much of their staff, including their office manager. Something was always fishy about Inacom anyway. When I interviewed there, they were nursing along a sick Banyan Vines (!) network in their own office, but each sales rep had a seven-figure sales quota.

AMD went ahead and released their new Athlons and Durons.

This morning's network news included a report of a virus that attacks cell phones in Spain. Why did this take up 90 seconds of the morning news report on a radio station?

June 5, 2000

Every spare moment has been spent finding used tape drives to buy. On eBay last week, I found a 4GB drive halfway cheap. The 4GB drive arrived today, but was packed improperly. My used-SCSI-drive supplier sold me two tape drives (12GB and 15GB) on Saturday. Both drives were defective; one had pieces of tape left inside it, and the other has read/write errors. The supplier has offered to mail replacement drives immediately.

I am going through my large collection of computer and ham radio junk. I plan on setting up a table at the hamfest in Cortland, NY next weekend.

Fun with T1:

Back on 5/25, I noted UUNet's trouble in installing a T1 phone line between the school and their nearest Point-of-Presence (or POP for short). UUNet began by telling us that Hartford, CT was their closest POP. It turns out, they had to buy a T1 to Boston and another from Boston to Hartford. (But Boston seems to be a POP, according to their map. Huh?) The Boston-to-Hartford run was causing arguments between phone providers. UUNet announced they'll attach the school to their New York City POP instead.

In the meantime, the school's old ISP has been notified that they are being disconnected. See my 5/2 entry for a reason why. The ISP replied to the notice by offering to double the bandwidth at the school. Based on my prior tests, it won't help. The ISP's bottleneck is in their Utica-to-Syracuse route and not at the school.


AMD puts out more new CPU chips. This time, it's a copper Athlon with 256KB of onboard cache.

More email virii have appeared, but few people are being hit by them. A revisit of the 3/00 KAK.WORM virus is causing more headaches than the new virii are. 

May 31, 2000

98Lite version III is out. What the heck, I bought a copy for once. The author allows paying as much as you like; I sent him some extra money and included a comment, "hope you get enough money to spank the folks over at!" (Don't follow that link unless you're bored. The real author's site is at

Today is the last day of the school's existing Internet contract, but the new Internet provider is still fighting phone-company problems. Ick.

Last week, a CD with three hotfixes for Windows 2000 arrived. Yesterday, a CD arrived; it had nine. Ow. And it's been reported that, if you run a network with a NT 4.0 PDC and Win2K member servers, the logon time restrictions don't work. One OS uses local time and the other uses GMT.

People are starting to browse this Web server from unusual places. Some of them aren't actual drinking buddies of mine! I guess it's time to clean up this site.

Speaking of which, the new Web site for the school is about to go online, as soon as the new Internet connection is ready.

OptOut is -- WAS -- a free utility that searches a PC for "advertising DLLs". These DLLs record browsing habits, send the information to an advertiser, and then downloads advertising so that it will be available when certain "advertising-supported" shareware programs run. OptOut is not new; what's new is that the author slipped a timebomb into it, and it dies July 1. He's put a notice up on his Web site defending his move. Starting July 1, of course, he wants money. Of course, you could do a half-dozen file searches using "Find / Files and folders..." in Windows and get the same result...

May 30, 2000

I thought they were joking, when I saw the ad in The Onion, for "win a date for dinner with Bob Uecker". Omigoshgolly, it's for real!

Boy, it seems like all the news is about litigation lately., for example, was caught by MSNBC avoiding black neighborhoods for Kozmo's delivery service. And Bidder's Edge is in in litigation with eBay over the right to leech eBay's auction list.

May 28, 2000

I just won two 10,000 RPM SCSI hard disks on an auction (Web) site. My workstation should perk up nicely when these are installed. (4MB of cache, 5.2ms access time, 2.9ms latency...)

I'm getting ready to clean off and reload my workstation anyway. I have at least three little nagging problems with it. I uninstalled the support software for my Creative SoundBlaster Live card, but it left some "service" running. Plus, Windows 2000 slowed significantly after loading Office 2000 and Visual C++ 6.0. And, the system is unstable when I install the special 80-pin UDMA/66 IDE cable.

You Don't Know Jack: The Ride is the fourth in that series of trivia games. I tried the game; it's tougher than the first volumes. Its questions are categorized into episodes this time around; the topic of the first entire game was censorship. The game also comes with 20 minutes of parody ads, like the ones you hear over the closing credits of the game.

May 26, 2000

Just for completeness' sake... Microsoft mentioned in a recent email that they have some recommended hotfixes for Windows 2000.  Q251381, Q252891, and Q253934 are the related KB articles.

I spent half a day at my programming job, trying to track a bug I was seeing. I was using the latest version of SoftICE debugging software to track it down. It turned out that SoftICE *caused* the problem! I can crash this new SoftICE just by typing five characters.

I just heard from my friend Paig, who is now manning the Xerox help desk (well, one of their help desks, anyway).

May 25, 2000

Long time no gab. Lemme see... I checked out the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, because the latest industry lawsuits revolved around it. It's a neat little new law that says that any term of any copyright agreement, no matter how ludicrous, is federally enforceable. And, any equipment that could make copies of a copyrighted product is illegal. This law ignores the fact that NY state law allows archival backups and format conversions. It also violates an existing international agreement (the "Berne convention") that the US signed some time ago. Ah well.

The funny thing about the DMCA is, it's being used to prosecute a kid for creating a DVD player. Yep, that's right; not a copier but a player.

Intel hit 933MHz finally. Gigahertz Athlons have been out for months. But, I wonder if the original claims of "15% faster, per megahertz, than a PIII" are still true.

This server now logs visits to the home page. It always logged general usage, but IIS's logs are messy and only show IP addresses.

The school is close to having a full T1 to the Internet. I wired the first server to UUnet's router this week. Unfortunately, UUNet has no Points-Of-Presence in upstate New York so they're running a T1 to their POP in Hartford, Connecticut. One catch: they're sending the T1 to Boston first, then to Hartford. The Boston-to-Hartford run is on an uncooperative carrier, according to the Bell Atlantic rep.

The iSyndicate headlines on my home page aren't working out well. iSyndicate has a "never-badmouth-me" clause in their agreement, and their lawyers are probably willing to stretch that to a "never-criticize-or-evaluate-me" clause, but the problem should be obvious if you check the page daily. (Hint: Watch the article dates, and compare it to the actual sites that it is mirroring.)

May 19, 2000

This server's home page has some new toys. Like it?

Email is working again. TW is trying to force me to use an expensive static IP address and, by their rules, only THEY can hold my DNS name. I bought a workaround with a 5MB-per-day limit, but at least it covers my whole domain. If they try anything now, I'll simply submit it to the attorney general as a case of anti-competitive business practices.

Aha! I knew that dancing paper clip was trouble, the minute I laid eyes on it...

Matrox has issued an updated BIOS for their G200 and G400 cards. It's supposed to solve a problem with restarting.

May 18, 2000

Number Nine, makers of video cards, has closed. Arrgh. I have a new #9 SR9 card and still have OpenGL problems with it...

Akamai has a sweet deal. They track your Web-surfing habits across multiple sites in a different way than the advertising DLLs hiding on your PC do it. Akamai sells weather maps and streaming content to Web sites. Akamai includes the customer's ID encoded in the URL. You can rest assured that they log every graphic of theirs that you download (along with your IP address, no doubt). And they're proud of it!

Want to see how companies can read each other's cookies from your PC? Did you worry that, for example, could see if you had visited recently? Check this out. Microsoft might release a fix for this someday soon. Thanks to Lisa Napoli at MSNBC for pointing this one out. Yes, this particular bug is in IE. Netscape has a long list of bugs that have gone unfixed too. I will post a list if I find it again.

I failed to post a few interesting items in the last week or two. Here are the ones that come to mind.

Intel is replacing motherboards with the 820 chipset because they finally admitted their SDRAM support is defective. (But what about the 820-based motherboards made by other companies? Typical Asian behavior is to refuse an RMA until you threaten to sue...)

There's an update for Windows 2000, which fixes compatibility with 47 games and Microsoft FrontPage 98. But Win2K's DOS compatibility is still so bad that you can't run a program that uses the BIOS to switch to a graphics mode. I tested a DOS app for a customer and couldn't even see the program's splash screen or the DOS prompt afterward. I ran the program several times and it actually trashed the display bad enough to force me to reboot! (But my old beta copy of GLQuake plays flawlessly, and it used to be flaky on every video card and OS. Go figure.)

May 17, 2000

I'm not well (again). I left work early yesterday, tired and dizzy. I'm not much better today. Oh well, back to the ENT specialist...

So the Athlon is cheaper than the Pentium III, but not cheap enough to compete with the Celeron, so AMD decides to make a cheaper chip and call it the Duron. CNet News notes that there is already a Duron; it's a Canadian company that makes cement floors.

Here's some neat trivia. Microsoft left extra debugging information inside their NT Web-based administration tools v2.0. (The extra info can be used by a program such as IDA Pro to reverse-engineer the software.) I found the information by accident. I had installed the tools but received an error message when using them. I hit their KB and found that the message meant a DLL was missing. I scrolled through their program in a file viewer to look for references to DLL's, and saw the extra information. (FYI: The missing DLL? RASSAPI.DLL. I'd deleted it after VPN testing.)

May 15, 2000

I survived Mother's Day. I had an almost-pleasant drive around the countryside with my wife and daughter.

My family and friends have been inadvertently sending each other the "KAK.Worm" email "virus", which is now a couple of months old. Some antivirus packages still won't clean it, according to Web sites. Ick.

I got this interesting statistic from my TWCNY sales rep today. (Well, she mentioned the raw numbers and I did the math.) If I allow downloads from this server totaling 525MB in a month, my service will be downgraded or closed down. That's only 90 minutes at 768KB/second!

Apparently I should have labeled my "ILOVEYOU" dissection back on 5/4 more clearly.  No, I did not just copy it off McAfee's Web site. It was on this site by 12:15PM. I even noticed something that McAfee failed to mention, namely the changing of file attributes. So there. Nyaah!

A Compaq rep is supposed to tour the school this week and see my handiwork. (Well, it was a team effort. But I installed all the servers.)

Well, I promised my wife I'd do the dishes tonight. I'll cut my ramblings short and get to those dishes now...

May 13, 2000

My email has been blocked by my ISP. I have already narrowed the problem; it seems to be a block on TCP port 25 at TWCNY's router to the Internet. I will reserve comment until all litigation on this problem is completed...

May 8, 2000

Yikes. Thirteen variants of the ILOVEYOU virus are documented already. I previously mentioned that the author failed to encrypt his virus code. NOTE TO VIRUS AUTHORS: If you don't want twelve copy-cats to use your virus, then encrypt your code! :)

I tried to relax a bit this weekend. I was able to fit in a visit to a graduation party on the way to a customer on Saturday. On Sunday I sorted through my spare PC's; I'll need a few in order to tutor myself on Windows 2000.

I was also able to sort out my previous headaches with SiS-chipset motherboards and UDMA IDE. I can get DMA working finally. But, while the CPU utilization decreases, the megabytes-per-second numbers don't increase. One of my two SiS motherboards is actually faster when using PIO! (Please note that these were older Pentium motherboards and not SiS's newer stuff.)

May 5, 2000

No "ILOVEYOU" mails today. Good. By the way, the WIN-BUGSFIX.EXE file supposedly uses a well-known (and never fixed) security hole on Windows 9x in order to read all of the current user's cached passwords and email them to a specific mailbox. (I never did manage to get a copy of the EXE file; the answer was in NAI's advisory.)

Gee, maybe it really IS a slow time for news. One of the top stories today was that the politically-correct crowd is complaining about a new game called Panty Raider.

Windows 2000 Server is turning out to be a real bear of a product. Tasks that were simple in NT 4.0 are hopeless in Win2000. Try walking up to a Win2000 server and finding where to tell it to forward DNS requests, for example. Or, try changing the default logon script for everyone in sixty seconds or less. I predict that Windows 2000 will be the OS that either makes me give up and go into mushroom farming, or makes me a millionaire. There will be no in-between...

Linux 2.4 will support up to 64GB of RAM, 64-bit file systems (Is that 64-bit code or FS table size?), and the file system's threading will be improved, according to Linus Torvalds as intervied by ZD News Network (and then reposted by MSNBC).

May 4, 2000

All right. Does everyone have enough emails with the subject "ILOVEYOU" yet? I've only received a dozen or so. It's a virus, of course. I've separated out the virus script and examined it. Here's what I see so far. The virus script is very readable; forgive me if I don't just post a copy here. :) FYI: Last year's LINKS.VBS script was encrypted and it took me a half hour then to decrypt it using C code.

The script wants to download "WIN-BUGSFIX.EXE" from the Internet in order to finish infecting. (That's only done if WINDOWS\SYSTEM\WINFAT32.EXE is present on the PC.) I have the tools to analyze that EXE file, but I can't get a copy of it. The Web site holding that EXE file has been shut down, sensibly enough.

The script walks through all drives, looking for script files with extension .VBS, .VBE, .JS, .JSE, .CSS, .WSH, .SCT, .HTA, and replaces all those scripts with itself, but with the extension reset to .VBS. It then replaces all .JPG, .JPEG, .MP3, and .MP2 files with itself, and renames these files to .VBS so it will automatically run when activated. The MP2 and MP3 files, after being renamed, are flagged as hidden.

IRC chat users get special treatment by this virus if the mIRC program is detected. A Web page is sent via mIRC to other chat-session members, with the message "This HTML file need ActiveX Control, Please press -YES- button to activate". When the mouse is moved over it, or a key is pressed, the virus script is copied to MSKERNEL32.VBS and scheduled to be activated at the next logon or reboot.

Oh, and the script copies itself to WINDOWS\WIN32DLL.VBS, WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MSKERNEL32.VBS, and WINDOWS\SYSTEM\LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.VBS. It schedules the first copy to run after a reboot and the second copy to run after a logon.

May 3, 2000

Hmm. I can't use FrontPage 2000 on NT 4.0 to edit this site from my contract customer's site. FrontPage 98 on Windows 95 used to work...

I found another server that passes through, namely I read a file from their server at the rate of 130KBytes/second tonight. Very nice. So why aren't connections to the Dreamscape network better?

McAfee VirusScan has an engine upgrade available to registered owners. I completely failed to mention it a few weeks ago when I first saw it. The "about..." box in VirusScan will show an engine version of 4.0.70 after the update is applied. As a reminder, registered owners have to obtain the "full SuperDAT upgrade" package from McAfee. Look for a downloadable file whose name is SDAT40xx.EXE, and whose size is 4MB or larger.

I really wish I had the time needed to update this Web site. I have lovely tidbits to share on it, such as... There is a registry key that will allow Internet Explorer to download more than four files simultaneously. This key will allow IE to download more graphics on a page simultaneously, which is perfect for cable modem users. It will also allow more than four file downloads when saving files to disk. But, my paper copy of the key information is gone. Ah, here's Microsoft's info on it.

May 2, 2000

I think I can start leaking some tidbits about the top-secret projects. I did surveys of Time Warner cable modems and Dreamscape's Utica T1 service. Dreamscape earns a failing grade. Their route through Utica is hopelessly overloaded. Out of a possible 91 KB/second, tests showed as little as 5KB. (And that's just from trying to FTP from their Syracuse server!) That 5KB number was fairly consistent over a two-hour period in the middle of the day.

Time Warner's test will have to be redone; they have added multiple routes to the Internet which will complicate the testing. The test had shown that one of their routes to the Internet is spectacularly bad. Oddly enough, the bad route is the one leading to Dreamscape. A router inside is to blame.

Another top-secret project is a security audit of the school. It's been a major cause of stress lately.

The newest WebWasher (2.01) doesn't allow FrontPage 2000 to work. Changing WebWasher's configuration doesn't help.

I'm still getting inquiries about used hard disks (two in the last week). The hard disks are no longer for sale. I have to set up a test of Windows 2000 networking on my workbench and I will need every spare disk.

April 29, 2000

More top-secret stuff going on. There's some not-so-secret stuff too.

I did a server upgrade, from NT 3.51 to 4.0. Yes, that's right, I upgraded from one obsolete version to another. Here's a couple of tips that seem to be popping up during these kind of server moves:

I did surveys of Internet performance last week, for myself and for a customer. I can't yet reveal the results of the customer's performance, but I can share mine. Find the half-secret "About this site..." page here and look for the data to be posted shortly.

I am compiling a list of applications (and games) and noting whether they work with Windows 2000. I may post the results on this site when time permits.

I am looking to rearrange the categories on this Web site. I may simply organize it by operating system. Any ideas?

April 20, 2000

Microsoft has announced their new product, called Interix. It allows UNIX programs and scripts to run on Windows. Microsoft's announcement mentions that the first release will be labeled "version 2.2". Why not label it 1.0, or 3.0, or even 2.2.13 since that's the version of Linux kernel I'm running?

Oh, no, there's yet another way to pirate video. It's nicknamed DivX but it has no relation to the old pay-per-view DVD players of the same name. Here's the report.

April 18, 2000

I took a few days off to try to reduce my stress. It didn't help.

According to ZDNet, we might hear today that there's been an arrest for the denial-of-service attacks back on 2/8. It's supposed to be a 15-year-old Canadian nicknamed "Mafiaboy". I dunno. We'll see.

I have been working on some sensitive subjects for CCS, which has contributed to my stress. I emailed them my report on one subject this morning, and I have to deliver another at the end of the week. I still can't discuss it here.

Well, it turns out to be VERY easy to tell Windows 2000 to share an Internet connection. It's harder if the Windows 2000 PC happens to be a Web server, however.

Tech tip: Windows 2000's Seagate-supplied backup software won't read DAT tapes created on Seagate Backup Exec 1.1 or Windows 98 backup. In order to read the tapes, I had to load Windows 95 and Seagate Backup Exec Desktop Edition version 4.2 onto a spare PC.

As a follow-up to my comments about unstable memory on 4/11, I must note that Paul's PC133 DIMM works just fine in a ViaTech motherboard with an AMD CPU. If I believe all of the industry comments, then I must assume that this DIMM has a mis-programmed SPD chip (serial identity PROM). It therefore works on the second (AMD) board because the second board ignores the SPD chip. Of course, I have no way to prove it.

Fujitsu has announced a hard disk technology that they believe will store up to 300GB per square inch of disk platter space. They have a working demo of the technology, but at "only" 56GB per square inch. So, if a two-sided platter has at least 7 square inches of disk surface... Hey, where do I get one of these toys?

April 13, 2000

Hey, we finally have some exciting things going on in the computer industry. A new software package called GNUTella is allowing people on the Internet to share files, REALLY share files, without some money-grubbing Web site pouring ads and cookies onto your PC. Naturally, the media is playing up the potential for sharing illegal files. The RIAA and MPAA will, no doubt, try to sue the original authors out of desperation. But, unfortunately, the authors are no more guilty than Xerox is for making copiers. Or, if you prefer a more high-tech analogy: GNUTella really just contains the file-transfer portion of Symantec PCAnywhere, with a browse feature added.

It's a good thing that I didn't buy an Intel 820-based motherboard at the last computer show. (I bought the ViaTech-based model instead.) The Intel 820 has another bug revealed. Apparently Intel has been pelted with complaints about SDRAM incompatibilities with this chipset for a while. Intel claims the RAM itself is to blame. Maybe Intel is right on this one; see my April 11 diary entry.

I wrote on April 5 that ViaTech's latest motherboard drivers are unstable. ViaTech's Taiwan Web site now offers an older set of drivers alongside their latest set.

April 11, 2000

This is hilarious. IBM is running an ad in InfoWorld in order to sell their AS/400 server computers. In the text of the ad, they say in so many words, "If IBM's Lotus Notes Domino server software is bringing your server to its knees, and you are splitting Domino off onto multiple other servers, why not run it on an AS/400 server instead?" Can you see the joker in the deck here? Would it occur to them to release a more efficient version of Domino instead?

I bought a UDMA66-capable motherboard and a PIII-550MHz CPU this weekend. My friend Paul bought a PC133 SDRAM memory module and gave it to me for testing. When his module is in my PC, the system is unstable. But...

I have a high-priority assignment from the school, and I can't discuss it openly. It has taken much of my time in the last week, and it will continue to do so through April. If I'm not communicating well, please accept my apology.

April 5, 2000

I found that ViaTech's latest motherboard drivers (4.20) are unstable. I installed them on a Windows 95B PC (Tyan motherboard, 300MHz AMD CPU, S3 Savage4 video) and the system hung on booting 1/3 of the time. I installed the 4.16 version and the problem stopped.

April 3, 2000

What a busy weekend. I tested the school's Internet link on Saturday morning. It worked great, so why is it so mediocre the other 90% of the time? I retested it tonight and it only reached 60% of its performance.

I also installed a DNS at the school in order to improve their Web-browsing speed. It worked! My site here usually has delays no matter where I browse it from, but at the school my site now pops up instantly!

I did my first real VPN this weekend. It worked, but over the Internet I only achieved 12-18K per second file transfers. How many years will it be before we get 100MBit fiber to our homes?

The kids found a way to get past the Internet security on some of the computers in the school library. I am pretty sure I know how they did it, too; by using a teacher's privileged password. The fix is easy enough: NOBODY gets privileged access on the library computers!

My wife griped all weekend about her new Windows 2000 configuration. It didn't matter to her that it ran faster and more stable than her Windows 95 setup; all she wanted to know was WHERE WAS HER MSN INSTANT MESSENGER?

March 31, 2000

Sun's Solaris 8 operating system is free, Free, FREE! But, uh, um, you can't download a copy. And they want $75 for the CD's. And you have to apply for a license. And you have to promise them never to copy the CD's...

March 29, 2000

Here's another Office 2000 problem I've experienced. If I'm logged onto my Windows 2000 PC at the office as "breese", then try to use FrontPage 2000 to edit this diary using my "author" account, I can't get in. FP2000 is asking me for my credentials, but it claims this Web server won't accept them. If I give it the Web server administrator's username and password then it works. Also, if I create an account on this Windows 2000 PC with the same username and password as the Web server's "author" account, that works too. Shucks, I didn't even install the Office 2000 service pack yet...

I just crashed my NT 4.0 workstation at my office. I loaded the newest Intel IDE drivers, then installed Norton Antivirus 2000. I saw a Blue Screen Of Death when I rebooted the PC.

March 28, 2000

Microsoft has big trouble with the Office 2000 service pack. Things stop working after it's installed. MSNBC has a "top-ten" list of problems.

Oh, and Microsoft is being accused of racism because of the French edition of their usual spell-checker. When correcting the spelling of "anti-stress", it offered "anti-Arab" as a replacement. (Story)

There are still more Microsoft bugs to report. Hey, here's a DOS attack that doesn't mean "denial-of-service". Sometimes D.O.S. means DOS! A malicious web link containing more than one of the old MS-DOS device names "CON", "AUX", and so forth will crash a Windows 9x PC. Apparently IE checks for one device name in a URL, then stops. But what if I really WANTED a Web page called http://C:\CON\PRN\AUX? (Oh, for crying out loud, FrontPage 2000 automatically turned my text into a link. I've fixed it so it doesn't point to anything dangerous.)

Jupiter Comm has a new router that can route 160 million packets a second. It's faster than anything Cisco sells today.

Windows 2000 does not support UDMA IDE on SiS 5xxx-series chipsets. I've confirmed it with the 5571 and 5582, using both Maxtor and Intel hard disks.

Beware. Windows 2000's support for PlugNPlay hardware is wonderful... except when it comes to IDE controllers. If your Windows 2000 PC dies, you must replace it with a board containing an identical IDE chip, or else you will face a "blue screen of death" containing the message INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE. Windows 2000 uses the same IDE drivers for all systems (atapi.sys and pciide.sys) but instructs the driver on which chip should be supported. When faced with a change, the driver isn't bright enough to switch to generic IDE support. NT 4.0's driver has no such problem; it can't be told in advane which IDE chip will be on the motherboard, so it probes the board and supports whatever chip it finds.

I disappeared for four days. Shortly after posting the March 24th entry here, I began cleaning out my workroom so ten third-graders could play games on all my computers after my daughter's birthday party. I pulled a muscle just to the right of my groin, and over a four-hour period the pain got worse until I finally couldn't stand up. I am back on my feet now, thanks to Naprosyn and muscle massages. I missed the party and I owe my wife BIGTIME for doing double duty at the party.

March 24, 2000

The Intel IDE driver, mentioned in the 3/22 entry, has a problem. On Windows NT 4.0, it will install on any Intel chipset; I've even put it on this server (and old 430HX circa 1996). But on Win9x or Windows 2000, it wants to see an Intel 800-series chipset before it will install. Does this mean that Intel forgot to lock out the other chipsets on NT 4.0? If so, download a copy immediately before they "fix" it.

I received a pair of 20GB Maxtor "40+ series" hard disks. I spent part of last night benchmarking them. Here's an abbreviated report.

More on Office 2000 SR-1 service pack

I now know why my customers had trouble downloading the Office 2000 SR-1 service pack. Microsoft was changing their Web page while I was downloading! I downloaded as much as I could on the night of 3/22, then revisited the site on 3/23 and was able to download the rest of the files. I will be carrying a copy on CD shortly. 

Using the "administrative" version of SR-1, corporate customers can directly update their network install of Office 2000 that's stored on their server, or they can try this trick... Do the network install of Office 2000, apply the SR-1 update, then burn a CD-R of the result. You can install Office from the resulting CD (it even auto-runs!) and the installation won't expire after 50 runs (as the original CD does, when NOT used in a network install).

If a workstation already has Office 2000 installed, Microsoft doesn't require you to reinstall from a patched network install. A separate download of the "administrative" version is available, which the network adminstrator copies to a network share and then tells the users to run. (Or automatically runs by some other means...)

March 22, 2000

Wow, things are picking up in the industry. Windows 2001 is on its way to alpha testing next month. And pirates have already begun distributing it. See the story here. Can anyone guess what the startup sound for Windows 2001 would be? Shucks, EVERY computer will be named HAL...

Intel has made a driver available for all Windows platforms, supporting UDMA and UltraATA66 on their motherboards. This is noteworthy because Intel was licensing drivers from Triones up to now, and their license wouldn't let them freely distribute the drivers. I will update the Drivers page with the new links, but in the meantime you can get the driver and documentation here. A cool side-note: Intel's documentation says that you can use a supplied app to tweak these drivers and squeeze more performance out of your hard disk. Needless to say, I'll be trying these drivers today if time permits.

Office 2000 SR-1 is out, but my customers can't seem to figure out how to download a copy that can be rolled out corporation-wide. I'll work on an answer and post it here.

I asked a friend in Syracuse to use his cable modem to benchmark my site, because I was worried that I wasn't getting all the site performance that TWCNY had promised. Well, he reported that he could download a 35MB file from here at up to 89KB/second (averaged over the whole file). But, his repeated high-speed downloading crashed the server. That's the first crash for this server, ever! (FYI: This server has protection from almost all Internet attacks.) I am relieved to know that *someone* can use this server at full speed.

I have a pair of Maxtor 20GB "Plus 40" series drives on the way. They're IDE drives claiming 43MB/second data transfer rates. There's always more benchmarking to do...

March 21, 2000

Check out for free virus protection + internet filtering. Or just download the free stuff here. (10.0 megabyte self-extracting file) (3/22 update: Go to the main site and get some updated virus data files before considering yourself safe.)

Microsoft's DNS Server in Windows 2000 uses a new, incompatible way of relaying DNS names to other servers. It's just one more reason why Microsoft is making me retake all their certification tests. Is anyone keeping a list of Win2000-driven changes out there? IPSec, LDAP, IPv6, VPN, and now RFC 1995 DNS are all new/changed topics.

I have an ever-taller stack of certification study guides to read. With one more MS test I will become an "MCSE + Internet". But I also have to take an upgrade test in order to remain an MCSE. I never bothered being certified as a technician, so the A+ and Network+ certifications would be nice. And, just to hedge my bets on whether Microsoft remains #1, I have a RedHat Linux certification guide.

I was just notified of a Twinkie shortage that's looming. This is serious! Programmers like me live off Jolt and Twinkies!

March 20, 2000

For two weeks I have been secretly building a replacement Web page for the school. Well, the secret's out. Their daytime network guy (I'm the nighttime network guy) showed it off at the school's "in-service" day. Now I have to take this project seriously. Over the weekend, I began obtaining material to add to the page.

I found out the second password to the school's router. It was in front of my nose the whole time, and I would have seen it if I had paid attention to the printouts I'd made when unlocking the OTHER password.

I've been reconfiguring the school's Web servers, hoping to squeeze out some more performance. No luck. Along the way, I figured out how to maximize the speed of my cable modem connection to the Internet, but the performance improvement is only noticeable when downloading from a TimeWarner server. I also found a lot of details about why my Internet performance here is so (relatively) bad. I dumped the information into my "About" section of this site.

March 12, 2000

I used a packet sniffer (first time in two years) to analyze the excess of traffic that's been seen on both the school's Internet and LAN. The answers are boring; sorry. A PC in the Phys. Ed. office is calling for help, and the router to the Internet is continuously trying to rediscover other routers. All of this is very fix-able.

Oh, and I discovered that I need to unlock another password on the school's router. I had already reset the password needed for saving changes to its configuration, but there's another password -- just to begin configuring it over the network!

I've been benchmarking the performance of my Internet connection. Specifically, I'm testing the rate at which YOU can see my Web site's contents. I have more content waiting to be installed here, and I have some downloadable files. From the T1 line at the school, I can only download from this site at 15 KBytes per second. From a cable modem elsewhere in the TimeWarner network, the rate approaches 40 KBytes per second. There is clearly something wrong with a router in the TimeWarner network, because from any cable modem I've tried, a file on the school's super-server only downloads at 25KBytes per second. If you want to compare notes, send me an email and I'll send you some URLs to test. (This is assuming you have a T1 to test with.)

I  was clued in to a bug that my friends are seeing -- Windows 98 sometimes has a problem with NetBEUI peer-to-peer networks. The workaround is to switch to IPX protocol.

March 10, 2000

Boy, has it really been 11 days? I was ill for a while, but antibiotics finally knocked out the problem. I have been keeping busy, mostly filing tax forms.

Quick summary of Samba file sharing for Linux:
* It works fine, provided you ignore 95% of the configuration options.
* Samba 2.0 requires a few configuration changes before Win98 or NT 4.0 clients can connect to it.
* Enable the SWAT utility. Shares and passwords can then be configured over the Web without restarting Samba.

My best friend found a source of info on Windows 98SE's "Internet Connection Sharing" feature. There is a lot to say about ICS, so I won't use this diary page to dump it on you. But, Windows 2000 has ICS too, and Windows 2000 is more stable than Win98, so I think I had better look at Windows 2000's ICS pretty seriously. PS: Win98's ICS has firewall abilities!

I will be very busy for the rest of this month at the school. Their goal is to be the most totally-wired school ever, and the next phase begins this summer. (But, some things won't wait. They have hardware connected to the Internet and that hardware has to be beefed up NOW, because they will have TWO paths to the Internet by June. The local cable TV company is donating a cable modem so the kids can surf the Web at 10-20 megabits-per-second, and the community will be more able to access them over the Web as well.

I've been touting Windows NT as a stable platform for a while now. But, I really have to wonder sometimes. As I was downloading a series of 600MB Linux CD images from the Web to my server, I was moving them across my network to my special CD-burner PC. I looked over at the cable modem during this. Whenever I deleted a CD image from my server, my downloads would stop for five seconds. Yuck. Oh well, I'll see whether Windows 2000 or Linux do the same. Someday. When I have time...

March 20, 2000

For two weeks I have been secretly building a replacement Web page for the school. Well, the secret's out. Their daytime network guy (I'm the nighttime network guy) showed it off at the school's "in-service" day. Now I have to take this project seriously. Over the weekend, I began obtaining material to add to the page.

I found out the second password to the school's router. It was in front of my nose the whole time, and I would have seen it if I had paid attention to the printouts I'd made when unlocking the OTHER password.

I've been reconfiguring the school's Web servers, hoping to squeeze out some more performance. No luck. Along the way, I figured out how to maximize the speed of my cable modem connection to the Internet, but the performance improvement is only noticeable when downloading from a TimeWarner server. I also found a lot of details about why my Internet performance here is so (relatively) bad. I dumped the information into my "About" section of this site.

March 12, 2000

I used a packet sniffer (first time in two years) to analyze the excess of traffic that's been seen on both the school's Internet and LAN. The answers are boring; sorry. A PC in the Phys. Ed. office is calling for help, and the router to the Internet is continuously trying to rediscover other routers. All of this is very fix-able.

Oh, and I discovered that I need to unlock another password on the school's router. I had already reset the password needed for saving changes to its configuration, but there's another password -- just to begin configuring it over the network!

I've been benchmarking the performance of my Internet connection. Specifically, I'm testing the rate at which YOU can see my Web site's contents. I have more content waiting to be installed here, and I have some downloadable files. From the T1 line at the school, I can only download from this site at 15 KBytes per second. From a cable modem elsewhere in the TimeWarner network, the rate approaches 40 KBytes per second. There is clearly something wrong with a router in the TimeWarner network, because from any cable modem I've tried, a file on the school's super-server only downloads at 25KBytes per second. If you want to compare notes, send me an email and I'll send you some URLs to test. (This is assuming you have a T1 to test with.)

I  was clued in to a bug that my friends are seeing -- Windows 98 sometimes has a problem with NetBEUI peer-to-peer networks. The workaround is to switch to IPX protocol.

March 10, 2000

Boy, has it really been 11 days? I was ill for a while, but antibiotics finally knocked out the problem. I have been keeping busy, mostly filing tax forms.

Quick summary of Samba file sharing for Linux:
* It works fine, provided you ignore 95% of the configuration options.
* Samba 2.0 requires a few configuration changes before Win98 or NT 4.0 clients can connect to it.
* Enable the SWAT utility. Shares and passwords can then be configured over the Web without restarting Samba.

My best friend found a source of info on Windows 98SE's "Internet Connection Sharing" feature. There is a lot to say about ICS, so I won't use this diary page to dump it on you. But, Windows 2000 has ICS too, and Windows 2000 is more stable than Win98, so I think I had better look at Windows 2000's ICS pretty seriously. PS: Win98's ICS has firewall abilities!

I will be very busy for the rest of this month at the school. Their goal is to be the most totally-wired school ever, and the next phase begins this summer. (But, some things won't wait. They have hardware connected to the Internet and that hardware has to be beefed up NOW, because they will have TWO paths to the Internet by June. The local cable TV company is donating a cable modem so the kids can surf the Web at 10-20 megabits-per-second, and the community will be more able to access them over the Web as well.

I've been touting Windows NT as a stable platform for a while now. But, I really have to wonder sometimes. As I was downloading a series of 600MB Linux CD images from the Web to my server, I was moving them across my network to my special CD-burner PC. I looked over at the cable modem during this. Whenever I deleted a CD image from my server, my downloads would stop for five seconds. Yuck. Oh well, I'll see whether Windows 2000 or Linux do the same. Someday. When I have time...

February 27, 2000

All right, I finally had a chance to benchmark the latest Maxtor hard disks on an Ultra ATA-66 controller. TST32 reported 12% faster writing, but all else was identical.

SuSE Linux 6.3's kernel does not support my old Cyrix 6x86 CPUs. Oops. SuSE's answer, I'm sure, will be to recompile the kernel. But I can't even install the @#$%ing thing! My older SuSE 6.1 has no problem.

I'm studying Samba (a freeware product for Linux/UNIX to share files NT-style). Will report soon.

Yet another NT 4.0 driver crashes on Windows 2000. This time it's the Cirrus Logic Winmodem driver.

February 23, 2000

I am receiving Maxtor's 7200 RPM drives today. I will be testing them for performance tonight if time permits. The Maxtor 20GB drives arrived yesterday and one of them is turning in a very nice performance in Linux. More on that...

I've been evaluating Linux quietly over the last week. I already owned CDs and manuals for SuSE Linux 6.1, which I'd bought while on vacation last July. I tried that first and was disappointed in the performance, but later realized I was being unfair to it. I'd tried it on a PC with only 16MB of RAM and without busmastering IDE. I eventually found three ways to enable busmastering IDE support. With busmastering IDE and 32MB of EDO RAM, it seems better but still not as responsive as I expected an efficient UNIX to be. Yesterday I downloaded SuSE Linux 6.3 and installed it on better hardware; it's impressive. In fact, it makes me want to retest with that old 16MB configuration, because I'm betting that 6.3 is simply a faster product. I am now trying to download TurboLinux since my friend pointed out that at least one major Web site is using it.

CuteFTP version 3.5 is helping with the downloads of these Linux versions. The 3.5 version will queue up a list of files to download, and will automatically retry downloads. 

February 21, 2000

I unlocked the router without the ISP's help. I even added to its configuration. (FYI: The router was a Cisco 1600.)

I'm fiddling with the "TCPWindowSize" setting in NT. It seems to perk up the performance of NT file sharing over gigabit fiber. I've built a system with Windows 2000 and gigabit fiber; it will be interesting to see whether the claims of increased performance in Windows 2000 are true.

I'm beginning to understand that servers containing EDO RAM must be scrapped eventually. We are demanding more performance from systems every year, and EDO RAM's 14MB/sec/byte bandwidth is no longer sufficient. Likewise, PCI is nearing its end. (AGP and PCI-X connectors improve on the performance of PCI, but AGP is generally reserved for video and nobody has PCI-X slots in their servers yet.)

I tested a default installation of SuSE Linux as a SAMBA (NT emulation) server. I connected to it from a Windows NT server. Both systems had new 10/100 cards with 1999-dated drivers. Linux delivered only 2-3MB/second, according to TST32. I think the problem lies in the fact that busmastering is disabled in Linux by default. I will continue investigating.

After using my Oki 610e/PS laser printer with its default settings, I got fed up with its slowness when I had to print several full-page graphics last week. I found out from Oki that the printer goes faster after disabling its Appletalk port. I did so and the performance improved, from 4-8KB/sec to 16-20KB/sec. Then I switched the printer over to HP Laserjet 4 emulation, and the performance hit 100KB/second!

Here's a quick (but only semi-accurate) formula for calculating Windows 2000 Professional's initial memory requirements. SIZE = 34MB + (amount of RAM on video card). Remember, that number doesn't include any RAM for running programs!

Update on the crappy CD-R drive: I wrote a CD-R at full speed last night. It was the sample CD-R disc that came with the drive! This drive can write a Chinese CDR at full speed, but writes a Memorex Precision CDR at half speed. Ick.

February 19, 2000

Here's a photo of the project that has kept me up so many nights in the last week.

I have to go unlock a router. My customer's ISP sent a flunky out to install it. The flunky quit shortly afterward. No one at the ISP knows the password. I spent the morning downloading the manufacturer's manuals for the router. I built a copy of the manufacturer's wacky cable used for controlling the router.

I'm trying out a new, but cheap, Maxtor VL17 IDE drive. It outperforms my IBM drive slightly on random reading, and reads large files almost twice as fast. TST32 reports 18MB/second writing and 24MB/second reading. (I added a random-reading test to TST32; download the update here.) 

February 15, 2000

Still wrangling with the makers of this CD-RW drive. I can write a CDRW disc at full speed, I can test-write a CD-R at full speed, but I can only write a CD-R at half speed.

I completed the core of the POP3 server. I have not installed it here yet. I want to walk-through the code and patch any glaring holes in it before I do.

Novell finally started verbally attacking Microsoft's Windows 2000 technologies, which are designed to replace Novell's.

I have been suffering from a stomach bug since 2/11. The 2/11 diary entry below was written at 12:30am. At 6:30am the bug hit me. Arrgh.

New feature on this server:

There's a new feature on the main page of this server, namely a "reverse DNS lookup". I hope you find it useful.

I wrote it as a command-line application first, then decided to test my Visual C++ skills by writing the Web version. I plan on using the same technology to provide administration of my POP3 server. If there's any folks interested in knowing how I did this, drop me a line.

I needed to do "reverse DNS lookups" in order to analyze the logs from a client's Web server. His server had been attacked, unsuccessfully, last week. His server's log file showed a series of attempts, seemingly from IP address "", asking his server to broadcast its NT server name. That IP address turns out to be an internal server, part of "GeoCities" inside This may have been part of the attack on last week. His server didn't send anything back to the server, but I bet a few zillion other computers did.

February 11, 2000

The makers of the CD-RW drive finally replied to my message, after six days. (It was a mistake to tell them that I could return it within five days.) Their reply was a standard one, "you have been assigned case #12345, refer to it in all communications with us, ...". It took six days to say THAT?

I worked on my POP3 server project last night. I added a service that continuously picks up mail from Microsoft IIS4's catch-all "mail drop" folder and moves it into mailbox folders. I've written code like it a dozen times before, and I got this code written and debugged in under two hours.

I had an incentive to complete this POP3 server project. My biggest customer came to me and announced that they want to install another server (this time it's a multiprocessor Xeon box), and they want to add a second mail server. They may not want to pay $40 per mailbox for another copy of Microsoft Exchange Server, especially when they may have 1,800 mailboxes!

February 7, 2000

Yet another milestone has occurred in the industry. My wholesaler received their first stock of Intel's new CPUs with 133MHz FSB. These are Slot 1 CPUs at 533MHz to 733 MHz, with 256KB ("EB" part suffix) or 512KB ("B" suffix) of L2 cache. My old 440BX motherboard is finally obsolete. Rats.

My wholesaler finally received hard disks from IBM's new product line. The new line has prices starting at $200, and aren't much larger than the $130-150 drives I bought in November. I also can't find inexpensive Maxtor hard disks; my vendors are all out of stock.

I worked on my CD-RW drive problem. I built a 200MHz PC out of scrap parts, loaded NT 4 and the software, and tested the drive. The drive performs its test pass at 4X, but the actual writing is indeed at 2X. Sigh.

I met with Adelphia Cable last Friday. They told me when Utica will finally get cable-modem service. They didn't tell me whether I could tell anyone else the answer...

February 3, 2000

I have been staying up late for a few nights now. A flaky notebook computer was delivered for repair, but I couldn't work on it until I was done with all other customers. It ate its registry twice while I worked on it. It's stable now, but the registry (or other files) will probably eat themselves again. Perhaps it's time for a new hard disk.

I bought a CD-RW drive from the UBid auction site. I couldn't beat the price. Well, unfortunately, it's not working as advertised. It's supposed to write at 4X speed but it's only writing at 2X. The manufacturer is in Taiwan, and its USA office's web site is broken.

I only bought the drive because my existing CD-R drive was overheating from trying to write to defective Verbatim discs. The bad discs were causing my drive to spin like crazy. After rebooting, the CD-R drive no longer showed up.

I found out that I can become a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider for $1395. All I need is another MCSE to partner with. Hmm...

Microsoft is giving away 3,000 copies of Windows 2000 this week. I tried to apply for one, but it took four tries and fifteen minutes to reach the application form. A bit busy, perhaps?

January 31, 2000

I need to modify my comments about the S3 Savage4. An 8MB Savage4 card costs $40 or less on the Web, and works almost exactly like the 16MB and 32MB versions. If you are looking for a cheap way to play Unreal or Quake3 at full speed, the Savage4 is just fine.

Microsoft Support Online was completely wrong about a problem I saw tonight. The customer had installed Plus! for Windows 95 long ago. He then upgraded to Internet Explorer 5.0, which continually tried and failed to run the Internet Connection Wizard. Microsoft assumed some old copy of ICW files were still loaded; they were wrong. I bypassed the problem by running INETWIZ.EXE (the last screen of the ICW).

Remember Procomm Plus? It was a favorite of ours back when bulletin board systems (BBSes) and mainframes were popular. Procomm Plus for Windows is up to 4.70. Quarterdeck bought it, then Symantec bought Quarterdeck. The package has a web browser (first released as a custom-made one, but now it's just IE), fax software, remote control (not PCAnywhere, as far as I can tell), and of course it will still connect to a mainframe.

January 30, 2000

I've been cleaning up this web site. A better home page is under construction; preview it here.

My family page at broke over the weekend. I fixed it. Apparently someone changed the web server software to Apache. It reminded me to clean up the family page. I've corrected broken links and remade the photo album.

I've continued working on my POP3 server project. I worked on Friday night to stabilize its TCP/IP code. Today I added logging and authentication. I believe I'm half-done with the main program.

I've begun playing with another advertising filter for Windows. The Proxomitron is freeware (actually "ShonenWare"; see the site for details) and contains many kinds of filtering.

Windows 2000 rant/rave:

I will begin by noting that Windows 2000 works reasonably well on a Pentium 133 with 64MB of memory. I run that exact configuration on a spare PC at my desk. But...

I suspect Windows 2000 will work poorly on older systems, once antivirus software and all three major "instant messaging" applications are running. These programs aren't polite in their use of memory. As a test, I uninstalled Norton Antivirus V7.0 from my Windows 2000 PC and freed up 16+ MB of memory.
I visited a friend this weekend and examined his Windows 98 PC. He has 64MB of RAM, but System Monitor reports that his programs want 130MB! He has all three instant messengers, plus antivirus software, ICQ, and RealPlayer.

January 22, 2000

I found a note on, stating that the busmastering IDE support for the FIC PA-2013 motherboard in Windows 2000 seemed broken. Coincidentally, I had trouble enabling busmastering on a friend's PA2013 board under Windows 98. I've had no such trouble with the DFI or Tyan equivalent boards, so there must be something wrong with the PA2013's design.

Microsoft's MSDN download site is broken, thanks to all the MSDN subscribers trying to download Windows 2000 simultaneously. (I'm guilty too.) They promise to have it fixed by the 24th.

I've been working on a "portal" site for a customer. I placed a similar "portal" as the main page of this Web server.

WebWasher 1.22 seems more stable than the 1.20 I'd downloaded last month.

I've had a second NT 4.0 server fail to load Backup Exec 7.3 at startup. It isn't happening often, but I don't reboot my NT servers often either.

I've benchmarked the S3 Savage4 chipset. Save your money for a Voodoo3 instead. (Well, the Savage2000 is on the way too...)

January 19, 2000

I benchmarked the Jaton Wincomm II 56K modem. It's a cheap "winmodem". In my 166MHz PC, the modem ran slowly. It hesitated during each step of a 56K connection to a local ISP. Once connected, I received data at only 60% of the expected speed. At least it didn't disconnect randomly, as other "winmodems" are reputed to do. I will retest it in a 300MHz PC, but for now I'm not impressed.
I have begun writing a POP3 server program for IIS 4.0. IIS 5.0 (in Windows 2000) doesn't seem to have a POP3 server either, so this may actually be a useful product.

January 17, 2000

Last month I was wondering when I would have a chance to work with Norton Antivirus for Microsoft Exchange Server. Between last Thursday and Saturday I received three copies. I now possess versions 3.01, 3.04, and 4.0 of Symantec's "Corporate Solution" antivirus collection. I bought 3.01 at a discount on Saturday, and a customer handed me the other versions so I could learn how to use Symantec's "roll-out" software.
I mastered the black art of rebuilding an Exchange Server from scratch. There's one important detail left out of the documentation. I suppose I must add an article to this Web site on the subject.

Restoring a Microsoft Exchange Server after a crash, or even restoring one lost mailbox, is a lot of work. Every Exchange Server administrator should know how to restore his/her configuration.

NT's free IIS 4.0 software includes an SMTP mail server. It doesn't include a POP3 mail service to let you read the mail you received via SMTP! Maybe the IIS 4.0 resource kit has it; that's about the only place I haven't checked.

You can indeed send mail to But, because I don't have a POP3 service for IIS 4.0, I will be slow to read it.

I've improved my knowledge of Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 packet filters. I had no choice in the matter; I had to fix a problem with my FTP server. (, no anonymous access) A misplaced filter on the proxy server was preventing file transfers. This could be the start of yet another article for this web site.

I promise to fix the link between my family's home page and this site. Today. Really.

January 12, 2000

Speed Disk 5.0 finished at 2:45 this morning. Its graphical drive map claimed to have moved all the directories to the front of the drive. I'd consider this test a success.

In yesterday's entry, I mentioned a Maxtor hard disk. This drive may deliver a lot more than 23 megabytes per second when it's attached to an ATA/66 IDE bus with the appropriate cable. I haven't tried the ATA/66 environment myself, but this drive makes me want to try it.

January 11, 2000

I am dopey but stable.

Chalk one up for MS Windows 2000 and Office 2000. They printed a decade-old document that wouldn't print correctly on Office 97.

I had a strange time with a Maxtor hard disk. I thought I was ordering the new "DiamondMax 40"-series IDE hard disk for my customer. The drive was clearly not the DiamondMax 40 drive, so I found a replacement drive for my customer. Well, this drive may not be the latest model, but it can read at a rate of 23.2 megabytes per second! My updated TST32 program tells me so. Up to now, I'd only crossed the 20 MB/s barrier with SCSI drives. (The drive is only 5400 RPM and 9ms, so the latest SCSI drives still win the race. But not by much...) So now I'm stuck with the drive... but somehow, I don't mind much. My customer is receiving an IBM 7200RPM drive.

PC Week's last issue before Christmas had a front-cover story demanding that everyone switch to Windows 2000 immediately. Well, that's what the headline indicated, anyway. Gee, Microsoft never bribes ME to give them such good press...

Here's a non-computer tip. The GE model 2-6920 cordless phone has no frills. But it's a 900MHz cordless phone, and its audio doesn't cut out like most other 900MHz models did, and it's on sale cheap at both Staples and OfficeMax stores.
I am retesting Norton Speed Disk 5.0. I was disappointed in it when I downloaded the 30-day trial copy previously. I am giving it another chance. This test won't be terribly scientific; the drive being tested was partially* defragmented this morning by Diskeeper. I want to see if it moves the directories to the front of the disk, as indicated in Network Computing's review. I also want to see if it stops before defragmenting the entire disk, as both Norton 2.0 and Diskeeper 5.0* will do.
I have to stop early and get some sleep. I will leave Speed Disk running. Early results look good. Of course, the LiveUpdate feature downloaded and installed an update tonight, so maybe that's why it's working so well?

(* Diskeeper 5.0 will fully defragment a disk during a reboot. However, I found during testing that if you use only the standard Diskeeper process on a 3/4 full NTFS partition, it stops early and leaves 1%-10% of the files fragmented.)

January 5, 2000

Ick. I am still not well. My third visit to a doctor, and the answer is to go back to the prescriptions from the first visit.

I am tracking down a bug that my employer has seen in Windows 2000. That's right, after three years of development, W2K is here. Unfortunately this bug looks like Windows is to blame. A program is doing something simple that Windows did not expect. I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you.

Reason #11 to upgrade from Windows NT 3.51: If you change a user's settings in NT's User Manager for Domains, their permission to dial in will be disabled as a result. It's a documented bug caused by NT 3.51 Service Pack 5, but Microsoft decided not to publicly offer a fix for it... perhaps because the bug appeared about a year after NT 4.0 did? (Other reasons to upgrade: License Logging service fails. No defragmenter support. Print Manager, File Manager reek. Video performance is poor 'cuz of usermode/kernelmode transitions. File system performance is inferior.)

Did you notice that there are no references to my email address on this site? My old site was plastered with them. I was made aware that web-crawling programs are walking the Internet, copying email addresses for resale to adult-oriented Web sites. My email is disabled at, but when time permits I will enable it. Folks will then be able to send mail to ----------------. In the meantime, try ------------- . Collecting email addresses and sending XXX ads to them isn't new; I was spammed for days every time I helped someone on a Usenet newsgroup.
More is going on, but a lot is unfinished.

A customer had a server crash (two hard disks showed data errors when I arrived) and now the server has multiple problems.

Exchange Server 5.5 SP3 has bugs and the post-SP3 hotfixes are growing in number.

Server attacks are growing, but thankfully none have been fatal thus far. My server's event log was full on 1/1/00 from deflected attacks: one SYN attack, some ping attacks. Plenty of "door-knocking", sometimes 100 a day from the same site inside the Time Warner network. (Just watch: it'll turn out to be a Time Warner watchdog PC, testing for my own good.)

January 2, 2000

Diskeeper 5.0 is failing to defragment my customer's 4GB drives with 500MB free. Hmm. I tried the evaluation version on my home server for comparison. It defragmented every file, but without moving the files to the front of the NTFS partition for faster access.

Internet shopping sites have already added Windows 2000 to their catalogs. I checked with my current favorite; their online order system says it's "on backorder". No surprise there.

Oh, and the Y2K rollover was perfect. Customers didn't report any problems. A few called or emailed to says that things were going well. One wag emailed me a reminder that McDonald's restaurant signs say "over 99 billion sold" and can't fit a third digit, so they may say "00 billion sold" shortly.

<Prior diary entries have been removed due to irrelevance.>