Windows 2048?

I’ve noticed a lot of attempted break-ins on our servers during the last week. Mostly trying to use the rpc.statd buffer overflow. Looks like another wave of massive, automated cracking going on. Might be a good idea to disable or block access to rpc.statd where possible.

Meanwhile, we’ve been upgrading one of our few Windows boxes from NT to 2000. The first half dozen installs didn’t quite work but we’re begining to get closer. One of the problems in installing 2000 seems to be that you have to completely wipe out any traces of previous version of Windows or it will try to merge bits and pieces of the old installation in with the new one and the result is not pretty. Formatting the install drive will take care of that problem but it appears to not be possible to actually format the hard drive using the 2000 installer. If you select the target partition and ask 2000 to format it, you get a screen that seems to show the drive being formatted (complete with bar-graph and percent-done indicator). However it doesn’t actually format it if it’s already formatted as NTFS from a previous install, it just scans it and then installs on top of whatever was already on the disk. We finally had to use Partition Magic to wipe out the existing contents, and then wiped the MBR manually with FDISK by booting from a floppy with DOS on it. After all that, we got a clean install and things started working right.

What I really found amazing is that the last couple of Red Hat Linux installs I’ve done were actually quite a bit easier. I think we’re getting real close to the cross-over point where Windows is going to start falling behind Linux in ease-of-use.

And one more thing. I keep seeing Windows 2000 referred to as Win2K – but wouldn’t that equate to Windows 2048?

A New VA Linux 2130

Our new VA Linux 2130 server arrived yesterday (ya gotta love that extra-bright blue LED!). This box is a colo for an existing client who is upgrading. I’ve decided my favorite servers are the VA Linux 1U and 2U servers for web servers and the Dell 2450 2U box with RAID 5 for database servers. I’d go with VA Linux for everything if they came out with something supporting RAID 5 and hot-swap drives in a 2U format like the Dell 2450 series.

State Fair of Texas 2000

Woohoo! Susan and I took a day off from work and went to the State Fair of Texas this Wednesday. I ate my annual allotment of Corn Dogs and Susan had her much needed Turkey-on-a-stick. The State Fair is a great place to go for anyone who likes food-on-a-stick. Things available on-a-stick include turkey, chicken, steak, fried cheese, fried catfish, sausage, candy-coated apples, fajitas, alligator, and of course, a variety of frozen stuff like ice cream bars.

We road the ferris wheel (yes, it’s the largest in North America – this is the Texas State Fair, after all). Susan took a spin on the merry-go-round. We toured NASA’s International Space Station exhibit which was okay but not great and the Century 21/Comedy Channel sponsored Jetsons House of the Future, which was nothing but a thinly disguised and badly produced animated television commercial for Century 21 Realty shown on a TV inside of a Semi-Trailer whose interior was painted in bright colors and contained plastic props that were supposedly similar to household items from The Jetsons. If you ever get a chance to see this exhibit in your area – don’t bother.

But aside from the lousy Jetsons thing, the rest of the day was great. There are a million things to do and see at a State Fair and very few of them involve computers – so it made a nice change from the last couple of months. One particularly cool event at this year’s fair was the Birds of the World show put on by Natural Encounters to help educate people about endanger species of birds. They brought a variety of rare and interesting birds. All of the birds performed in free flight at very high speeds and just a few inches overhead at times. It’s not every day that birds bigger than I am fly just overhead – a very impressive site. All the birds were unique; the Andean Condor was just plain big, with a wingspan of more than 10′; the Peregrine Falcon could attain flight speeds up to 250 mph, there was an African Pied Crow that could retrieve a dollar bill held up in the audience and stuff it into the trainer’s pocket.

I Saw Bruce Lee at the Local Surplus Store Today

At lunch today we stopped by a local surplus store called Electronic Discount Sales. They’ve recently moved to a new, much larger space. The new location has two interesting features. The first, called the Computer Museum, is a small room containing lots of cool computer hardware from the good ol’ days like a commodor 64 as well as Atari, Amiga, and Apple stuff. The second is really weird – in a back corner of the store is a small section of display cases where they sell martial arts weapons (yes, in a computer/electronic surplus store). Sitting on top of one of the cases is a life-size plastic replica of Bruce Lee in a pose from Enter the Dragon, illuminated by a xenon strobe. We thought about buying it for the server room until we discovered they wanted $795. That seemed a bit steep but I haven’t priced life-size Bruce Lee replicas lately, so maybe that’s the going price.

Rocks or Pointed Sticks

Yikes! Over two weeks since I’ve posted any news… Don’t worry, I’m still alive. And nobody has missed much anyway. I worked a lot, spent a few days not working because of allergies or the flu or something, the Dallas Symphony season has started (the first performance was great the second one not so great). That’s about it. Not much to show for two weeks, huh?

While the last two weeks haven’t been that interesting for me, there’s plenty of news from the rest of the world. The weather here in Texas went from 90 degrees to 40 degress overnight last Friday due to some freak cold front. Cold weather in October is unexpected and just plain weird. I not sure if it’s due to the 11 year sun cycle that’s peaking this year, global warming, or one of those James Bond type villains with a fluffy white cat and a weather machine.

Red Hat released version 7 of their Linux distribution. I received my CD from them Monday but will probably just try it out on a development box until 7.1 or 7.2 is out. For some reason they didn’t bother releasing the Sparc version along with the Intel version this time. There were rumours they’d dropped Sparc support but when I called Red Hat, they said it would be back when 7.1 shipped so who knows.

Looks like after a brief outbreak of peace, everyone in the Middle East is back at their usual occupation of trying kill each other. You’d think they’d get tired of it after a couple of thousand years. Makes me relatively glad to live in the US. Over here a “race issue” is worrying about whether or not people of different races can get jobs or enrolled in school with equal ease. In a lot of the world, it seems the biggest race issue is deciding whether to use rocks or pointed sticks to kill each other.