Archives » September 11th, 2003

September 11, 2003


It’s time to announce a new section of this site. Since we only have seven days left until our baby is born, I’ve had to get cracking on production of an online baby book. My first results can be found at Just like a newborn baby, it is small, immature, a little stinky, and has a lot of growing ahead of it. It’s going to be the place where I dump any and all info about the new kid. I’ve gotten it started with “Sammy’s BabyBlog”, which right now is all about the pregnancy. But that focus will be shifting very soon.

I hope to one day flesh the site out to be more like a traditional baby book. Photos, first words, first steps, all those things that new parents think are so fabulous, and that nobody else really cares about. This way it’ll all be sectioned off so nobody has to wade through it all here on this weblog. If you think you’ll be interested, though, by all means bookmark the new site and watch it grow!

In related news, Larry Lessig’s kid beat mine here by about a week and a half. Congratulations!

Luck, or skill?

I guess I must have crossed my fingers just right, because the reinstall went smoothly. The Linux server is back online. Files are once again being happily served from a buzzing little box back in the closet. And the less I have to touch that box, the better.

I hate it that I know so little about Linux. I hate it that the littlest problem seems to paralyze me and sends me running for the installation discs. And I hate that it seems impossible for me to learn more about Linux. So while it sucks to label myself a “Windows Guy”, that seems to be the inescapable conclusion. I can learn almost anything about Windows, and almost nothing about Linux. Is that just the way my brain is wired?

And if so, why am I fighting it?

The Death of Linux

I’ve had a Samba server happily humming along here at the office for a couple of months, and then all of a sudden it’s spontaneously developing problems. It started when one of the users lost access to the shares. One day she had full access, then the next day her access was read-only. So I tried to telnet into the box. “Login incorrect”, it said, even when I knew I was entering the correct passwords. So I fiddled around with a few other things, and then when I tried to telnet in, it wouldn’t even ask for a username. It just gave me the “login incorrect” message straight away. After all, we both knew it was going to happen. Why bother with formalities?

So I put the computer on my workbench and gave it a monitor and keyboard. Let’s log in directly to the machine, I said. Well, I tried that. It didn’t work. At least it was nice enough to let me enter a username, but it didn’t bother with the password. scotts, I typed. “Login incorrect” flashed on the screen for 0.056 of a second. root, I typed. “Login incorrect” flashed on the screen for 0.000089675 of a second. go $!#@% yourself, I typed. “Login incorrect” lingered on the screen for a little while, challenging me, then disappeared.

It looks like one other person had the same problem, and submitted it to The Answer Guy. Da Answer Guy was summarily stumped, and offered up a few non-answers. He gave one piece of advice that’s the one I’m going to follow.

Of course you could re-install from scratch. However, it would be very unsettling to me to do that with no understanding of what went wrong. I suspect that you feel the same; how can you trust a system that “did that” all of a sudden?

Eh. You know, don’t care so much. If it happens again, then I’ll be scrambling for answers. Right now my Linux knowledge is like an iceberg. Two inches of it are above the surface, and there’s about fifteen miles of it down in the murky depths. Reinstall is my answer to every problem I run up against. So, I merrily go into a reinstall!

My decision to put all the data files on a FAT drive also paid off. I was able to take the hard drive with the files on it out of the Linux computer and drop it right into a Windows computer. The drive was recognized, and the files are now available on one of the workstations while the server goes under the knife. I guess I didn’t trust Linux very much back when I planned this setup. Looks like I had reason not to. So here I go, once again, into the exciting world of the Red Hat installer. Hopefully this time I’ll come out unscathed. Luckily, I still have my instructions for how to get things set up.