December 26, 2003

Second Christmas

Christmas came twice this year. The first one was yesterday, the usual Christmas with the tree and the family and all of that. Second Christmas was today, when Jolly Ol’ St. Nick took the guise of a UPS man and dropped off his goodies at the front door of my office—a new HP server, and enough parts to build 10 new workstations.

As we grow, our tastes in toys drift from Legos and Erector sets to the more expensive (although I’m sure no 10-year old boy squealed as loudly as I did when I got a GameCube yesterday). Now, for me, the best thing I can get is a box of parts that have to be put together to make a computer. And due to my company wanting to make a lot of capital expenditures before the New Year, I was given a five-figure budget for the last two weeks in December. First order of business, sadly, was to get us up to speed on licensing. Fully half my budget went to Redmond so we’d be fully legal with 45 installations of Windows XP. That was heartbreaking, but necessary. The next part was more fun, buying the new hardware we’d need to bring everyone up to speed so they could run XP. This means the Pentium 233s had to go. This was not heartbreaking. I now have ten new Athlon 2.4GHz machines, the gift that keeps on giving. My new year will be filled with playing Santa Claus and upgrading almost half of the company. Ten people will get new computers (to add to the twenty I’ve already bought over the last year), and ten more will get good mid-level machines as hand-me-downs. Finally we’ll have a solid fleet of workstations, without any of the embarrassing stragglers we’ve always had at the end of the food chain. (I can still remember my joy in retiring the last 166MHz computer from my network. This, sadly, was only a year and a half ago.)

And the server. Our current server is the oldest piece of equipment in the company. It’s an old HP NetServer that’s been here at least five years. It’s still running Windows NT. Its twin 9GB hard drives are always inches away from filling up. I’ve built two Linux servers and a second NT server just to take the strain off of it. But its reign has almost ended. Today Santa brought my new HP tc2120, a 2.66GHz with scads of hard drive space and the latest 72GB backup technology. Being the hopelessly incurable system builder that I am, I bought it naked, with no operating system, and I ordered a copy of Windows 2003 to install on it myself. Toss Exchange 2003 into the mix to handle our e-mail, and you’ve got a setup that should last us the next five years. Or at least until Longhorn comes out and makes everything incompatible.

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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