Quiet in here, innit?

Greetings and salutations… and welcome again to my site. Hopefully the last two months have been good to you, I know mine have been busy as all hell!

So what’s up? Well, nothing really. Life’s just been so hectic I’ve not had time to post to my blog… or generally keep up with email… well actually I’ve not really used my computer much in the last few months, truth be told.

So what’s been happening? On the geek front, a few changes have occurred, but nothing that affects this site… yet. In the next couple of weeks I’ll be ripping out the server this blog runs on and replacing it with a faster machine (dual PIII-933, 1Gb RAM). The machine’s sitting idle right now, so why not? Besides, it’ll physically be smaller than the current box which is a truly server-class piece of hardware. While that’s cool and all, the fans are noisy and it’s not a small machine. The new server is actually an old Dell Precision workstation. So, only a step below server-class. At the same time I’ll probably upgrade the operating system. While I’ve kept up with kernel and software upgrades since I implemented this box, I’ve not done a true distribution-level upgrade… it’s about time. Technology has advanced to the point where it’s desirable for me to really make the box more manageable. So far only a couple of binary-only kernel modules have been a problem, but now that problem has gone away (open-source, baby!!!) and I can safely upgrade.

Also on the geek front, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and upgraded a few of my home computers. First of all, I gave Rebekah a laptop; a Sempron 3000+ machine with 1.2Gb of RAM and a 40Gb hard drive. Built in wireless… and the price was unbeatable from NewEgg. Damned fine little laptop. Comes with XP Home preinstalled, which works OK for what she needs. The only weird things were the partitioning scheme (two 20Gb partitions, both FAT32). I installed Partition Magic and quickly changed that after a quick conversion of the C: volume to NTFS. That ought to do the trick.

Second upgrade was my main machine that I use. I splurged a little and bought myself a Sempron-3400+ x64, motherboard, 1.2Gb of RAM and a really nice Nvidia GeForce 6600GT video card. Still kept my old hard drives, and used a case and 400W power supply I had sitting around to hold the new hardware. Only problem I hit was that it severely broke my Windows XP install, so I ended up reinstalling from scratch after pulling my hair out for a few hours trying to rescue the old installation. I haven’t yet been brave enough to try the 64 bit version of XP… besides, I’m not sure how good the hardware support is. I’ll probably install a second instance of XP 64-bit at some point… and I’ll report on this blog how it goes.

The upgrade to my Fedora Core installation to FC4-x64 went without a hitch. A true “upgrade” is not really supported, but thankfully I was careful how I set up my filesystems and just configured the machine to format all the filesystems except /home. 30-minutes later I had a 64-bit OS on my machine running “yum update”. OK, FC4 out of the box isn’t completely 64-bit… a lot of the OS is still 32-bit code… but yum update took care of many of the i386 packages and replaced them with x64 versions… then the addition of a couple more repositories and we’re jammin.

Yes, I’m a geek.

I will say though that the FC4 x64 edition does seem to have some performance improvements over FC3 i386 running on the same box. Of course, much of that can be attributed to the fact that the kernel is very much optimized to the x64 architecture. Still, general “feel” of the OS is that it’s snappier… and while I don’t have any benchmark results, generally I think things are running better than FC3 running on the exact same hardware.

Note also that FC3 booted up great after the motherboard and CPU upgrade… it just went through Kudzu and redetected a bunch of hardware… no problems or outages. XP, as I mentioned above didn’t fare so well, producing BSOD problems immediately after installing the new hardware. Seems this can probably be tracked down to the processor architecture change as well as the motherboard hardware, but I stopped dedicating time to fixing the problem since I just didn’t feel like wasting the rest of my day trying to salvage the really old installation I had. OK, so I have to reinstall appliacations and stuff still… but I can do that on an as-needed basis.

Anyways… enough chatter… gotta get back to work.