Monthly Archive: December 2004


I swapped my mouse at home last night for a generic optical mouse. Everyone says they’re better, after all. My old mouse wasn’t horrible, but had seen better days and was of an all too common shape seemingly designed to hurt my hand and wrist.

Anyway, the new mouse jumps around. No smooth, predictable scrolling across the screen. It steps backwards in little blips. It deviates up or down. Sometimes it looks for all the world as if the mouse pointer is climbing over a bump. It’s hard to get fine control to click on small things, which is the problem with the old mouse, only less so. Yeesh.

At first I blamed the mouse pad. It has colors and patterns that could have explained the odd movements. The fake wood grain was no better. Plain white paper was no better. Apparently this is just the way it is.

A shame, because it is more comfortable, with a lower profile. My favorite mouse ever also had the lowest profile every. It was a Mouse Systems brand serial mouse, which I still have for the Pentium 200 I never run anymore. Heck, I suppose I could hook it to a more modern machine and see if it works. It is not rounded side to side at all. It never gets very high, with a longer flat slope on the hand end, which starts down a short slope on the button end, just before the buttons begin. Most comfortable mouse ever.

I need to start paying particular attention to my mouse and desk usage and hardware. My hand is bothering me so much it’s almost debilitating at times.

PHP and MySQL Reading

Recently I have been looking through the SAMS book Teach Yourself PHP, MySQL and Apache, by Julie C. Meloni, and from what I have seen it is most excellent. Then again, books published by SAMS tend to be.

I say “looking through” because, hey, who sits and reads a computer book cover to cover, in order, unless maybe it’s by Alan Cooper (speaking of Cooper, this homonym list is cool).

Well, strike that. I read Code Complete cover to cover. Rob, who is one of the so far mostly theoretical contributors to this site, recommended it to me way back when, and I certainly concur. It’s just not what you’d call light reading.

Anyway, I was interested in PHP programming and making it talk to MySQL so I could extend what I can do with blogs, maybe apply some of it to web site building in general, and possibly create online applications, if only for personal or internal business use. This blog uses PHP and a MySQL database.

As a relatively introductory text, there is no doubt much to know that it doesn’t cover, but there are tremendous resources online once you know where to start. The PHP prgramming parts flow in a logical order and are easy to follow. All the more so if you have knowledge of an existing programming language.

It also jumps right into practical applications; mailing list, online address book, discussion forum, storefront, shopping cart, and calendar. I find that kind of thing cool.

Not The Floppy!

Argh. NT4 doesn’t talk to hardware interrupts and can’t see drives via the BIOS the same way DOS and Win9x can. That Dell server with serial ATA RAID, even with a FAT16 partition ready, even installing from a directory on that partition, cannot handle the drive.

I obtained a driver that had an ever so slight possibility of making the whole thing work. What happened? NT could not see the floppy drive to add a final insult to the whole debacle.

So it turns out we will need to get Windows 2000 Server to make this work. Not Windows 2003 Server, because the network remains a mix with NT4 and 2000 is okay with that.

I’m very disappointed.


Turns out it sees the floppy if you hit F6 at the right time when NT4 setup starts. However, trying both Dell’s Windows 2000 driver for SATA and one from Adaptec for a similar controller, I got “file caused an unexpected error (0) at line 1213 in d:\nt\private\ntos\boot\setup\oemdisk.c” and that ended the attempt.

Blogging Spaces

This is a good report on and review of Microsoft’s new MSN Spaces blogging feature for the masses.

I can actually see there being a market, especially at a price of free, for an even easier to use blogging tool than anything else yet on the market. I also don’t see how Microsoft could have stayed out of the particular market if they are serious about internet services directly in competition with the likes of Google, whose decision to buy Blogger makes increasingly more sense. Whither Yahoo in all of this? It will be interesting to see what, if anything, they do.

NT and Serial ATA RAID

I have been told by a trusted source that if the SATA RAID drive has already been created through the RAID BIOS utilities, NT4 can be installed and will see that a drive is there to the limits of its size recognition. When NT has been installed on its own partition, then service-packed to death, disk manager can then partition the rest, treating it as a normal IDE drive.

You lose the speed benefits and any utilities that would come with a driver recognized by the OS. It should get me through to a time when they can be updated to Windows 2000 or 2003 Server across the board. The main thing is that Exchange keeps humming along with no data loss.

Here goes…

I Can Still Hear You Saying You Would Never

Break the chain!

I have to agree, down with chain letters.

Sending them and, worse, believing them, always struck me as a very newbie computer user thing to do. The surprise is when non-newbies perpetuate them too.

A couple of prime snippets from the list:

I no longer eat prepackaged foods because the estrogens they contain will turn me gay.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

What I Hate About E-Mail Spam

I have always thought e-mail was one of the coolest things ever, since I first saw anything like it in the early eighties, and used it in the early nineties. Perhaps it’s a shyness thing, but what others might see as impersonal, I see as “someone wanted to communicate with me? Cool!” It helps, perhaps, that I always had a fondness for the written word.

To this day, there’s a sense of excitement attached to receiving an e-mail that has only just, only spottily, worn down. Sometimes it’s a burden or a distraction if I am busy, or a guilt trip if I can’t promptly reply, or get distracted from doing so. More commonly I see that an e-mail has arrived and I excitedly click over to the e-mail program, and…

It’s another spam. Argh! What a letdown.

That is what I really hate about e-mail spam.


I started setting up a new Dell PowerEdge SC 1420 that has CERC 6 channel SATA RAID with three drives for an effective drive size just under 150 GB. Nice.

But I have to install NT 4.0 until next year when a more complete upgrade of the whole network takes place. It appears that will be a challenge…

Perhaps not so much as I had expected, if Adaptec has a driver after all. In diving into online mentions of this and similar situations, I found both No. Way. Ever. for NT4 and SATA such as this, and apparent workarounds or references to drivers.

Promise has a driver for NT for their FastTrak TX4000/S150 available, and I saw mention of Adaptec having one too. I have to return to the fray and find out for real.

This is a lesson in what happens when you try to keep going on obsolete software and systems for too long.