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[Motd] MOTD 18/Jan/2001ANN.lu
Posted on 18-Jan-2001 19:51 GMT by Christian Kemp14 comments
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Just a more or less extensive update on what's happening behind the scenes of ANN: PC trouble and school results, among others. Skip if you just come here for Amiga news, or else read more below. I'm only slightly exaggerating when I say that the most familiar roads I'm driving are those to the PC retailer I bought my Athlon 750 and add-ons from. I was there twice today, once yesterday, once on Tuesday, once Saturday before, and at least five or six times late last year. And the end result as of this evening is that I now have a system that won't even switch on, since the power supply seems to be dead. It did work at the retailer, entirely in pieces, before they mounted it back into the tower. I'm wishing I had bought everything somewhere else.

I phoned the phone company today and told them that phoning them every two weeks and always getting promised more news on my DSL line "in two weeks" ever since late October isn't very satisfactory. Now that I think about it, this even reminds me of certain Escom/Gateway-Amiga PR tactics. But anyway, the guy I spoke to revealed that their machines will only arrive in late February, and he more or less admitted that they never even tested them. Since this only applies to DSL over the ISDN line, I might have to get DSL over the analogue ("family") line two stories below, and then run the network cable up here.

Obviously, since I cannot use my main PC, I don't have access to my usual set of files and tools. I do not have a working mail program, no access to all of my offline copies of Perl scripts and web pages, and worse, no MP3's. Somehow, a 200CD changer is nice and comfortable, but once you get used to instant changes between tracks, waiting for a ten-second CD change becomes a painful silence.

My marks for the first semester back in school will probably be my best ever. In a way, I'm wondering how I achieved that, because I certainly didn't learn all that much. But perhaps I'm just being lucky.

On a related subject, I helped out at my old workplace in the christmas break and on most afternoons for the last two weeks. Somehow, this experience was more rewarding, and I enjoyed my work much more than when I still worked there fulltime. Tomorrow, I'll be doing an SQL Anywhere 7.0.1 server installation at a large bank, and connecting our reporting software to it, as well as telling these people how to use it all. Of course it would be easier if I had actually installed SQL Anywhere v7 before, since I'm sure there are differences between 5.x, 6.x (which I know) and 7.0.1, but this has to wait until tomorrow in an unimportant course at school - notebooks are a wonderful invention.

Feedback to my last MOTD on declining advertiser revenues has been mostly positive. I have several enquiries from companies, as well as a few individuals offering financial contributions, but since I'm essentially without a working mail setup, I can't get back to anybody at the moment without using email accounts I don't really trust. Hopefully I'll have a working computer on Saturday, again.

I phoned the Luxembourgish domain registry today and enquired about various things (why does my invoice have a giant "copy" printed across when I never got an original? why do I have to pay an initialisation in 2001 when I registered a domain in 1998?...) I made a few discrete mentions of how I thought they were essentialy dinosaurs, billing way too much and offering little or no service in return. I'm not sure if they managed to grasp what I was saying. But really, if I can get a .com for 14 a year, why does a 90 .lu domain need to be paid via bank account, and why does any change have to be faxed in and requires up to 8-day turnover (implying a possible 8-day inaccessibility)... I guess every country and sector needs to have its respective equivalent of Microsoft, IBM or Network Solutions. Oh well...

I'm hoping to tour the Unites States in summer, buying a car and driving around on my own for a month or two. I still have my last three months of work income invested in shares, and if I'm lucky enough, this should provide enough to make this financially possible. Any advice or hints from people, especially Europeans, who toured the US on their own would be appreciated.

I'm hoping you enjoyed this journal-type of entry. While it doesn't really fit into ANN as an Amiga news site, I'm posting it nevertheless, even if just to show that there's actually a human being behind these scripts and news postings. :)

MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 1 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Joachim Thomas on 17-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
If not very Amiga related, it's interesting anyway....
just to know I'm not the only one to have similar "troubles"
here!
:-)
good luck and keep on!
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 2 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Christophe Decanini on 17-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Hi Christian,
I will move to US (near Boston) in about 3 month.
You will be welcome to have a drink if you come in the area.
If I show you my Amiga, you will regret buying your PC ;)
Best regards.
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 3 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Hi Christian,
I am also touring the US in the summer for 2 or 3 months! But I'm gonna do it without a car, using the Greyhound, Amtrak and hitch hiking, or just plain hiking. I hope to get a better cultural experience.
I spent some time in the American deep south 2 years ago and it was wonderful, I was lucky enough to stay with a family I knew and I got a real taste of the culture of American life. Travelling is probably the best thing you can do in life, and the US is a (relatively!) safe place to do it and experience so many other cultures and different ways of life to those of us in Europe :)
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 4 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Me again :)
You should get a hold of a book called The Lonely Planet's guide to the USA. Most travellers stay in hostels, they're very cheap and it's usually the best way to meet other travellers.
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 5 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Graham on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Congratulations on getting good school results - I hope it proves that going back to school was a good choice for you.
I know that some domain registries are a complete mess, or just plain arrogaNt SwIne who never transfer domains or expire domains when they should.
Shame to hear about your PC. Maybe you should have built your own one, and stuck FreeBSD or Linux on it and never had to worry again. Cheap wholesale PC makers are the scourge of the earth - in the UK it is Time, Tiny and PC World.
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 6 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Mike J. on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
well, at least you didn't buy something made by Intel.. lol
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 7 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Peter Eriksson on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Chris, you're the man!
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 8 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Trizt on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Congratulation for you fine marks!
I'm sorry to hear that you had such troubles with your IBM-PC clone, the AMD CPU is quite nice, I hope you have bought a OC friendly ASUS board, for I think it's worth the whole work to modify the CPU and clock it up 150-200MHz.
I think you should go to Asia instead, travle from Thailand to Hong Kong (or maybe Taiwan where you can get cheap computer parts), you will experience so much more there than in teh States.
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 9 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Headroom on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
It is great that you are travelling... It really is one of the most educational things you can do, getting a feeling of how people live in other places. But don't forget to pop up to Canada while travelling (bit safer, cheaper), and if in the southwest, Mexico. You will probably like to visit Quebec, to lapse into a bit of French, though the Quebec style is very slang.
And if you are going to make it to Toronto, send me an email, we'll have a beer! (I'm not sure how old you are, but the US drinking age of 21 is rather annoying for young travelling europeans. Canada is a bit better at 19)
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 10 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Allen J. Newton on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Christian,
If you see this message, please email me. I believe I can help with
your computer hardware problem.
You said it worked in the store not mounted, but mounted it won't even
power up. Check the case and remove any mounting posts that do not
line up with holes in the motherboard -- they are shorting out your
motherboard and the power supply detects this and shuts itself down
to prevent damage to the motherboard.
Usually the mounting posts can be unscrewed, but I had a rackmount
case that I had to grind the posts down to keep them from shorting
the motherboard (insulation did not work -- those pesky electrons found
a way through it).
Your symptoms sound exactly like what I've seen before a number of times.
If this doesn't work, send me email from an account you can access.
I will Cc: this message to your regular account.
--
Allen J. Newton <mailto:anewton@alturia.fleet.org> -- Team *AMIGA*
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 11 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Joe "Floid" Kanowitz on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 10 (Allen J. Newton):
On the topic of ATX power supplies, I've had a few interesting encounters... sometimes, all that's needed is to leave the little bugger unplugged (and switched off, if the P/S has a 'real' switch on it), and it'll fire up fine after you've let it sit ~24 hours; other times it likes to be plugged in for a bit for whatever reason. As you might know, ATX is picky about the power on and power okay signals, so if absolutely nothing happens (no clicks, sparks, etc), I'd suggest tearing open the case and checking the connection of the power switch to the motherboard- if it was jarred loose somehow, nothing will ever happen. (Not sure how hardware-savvy you are, Chris :))
On a similar note, you could try hitting the 'reset' button, perhaps, and seeing if some idiot at the shop accidentally cabled things backwards? (If it works, you don't even have to bother tearing it open as long as you're willing to remember the reversal...)
I'd somewhat doubt the mounting lugs would be in the wrong place, given that modern cases use no more than 1 to 5 of 'em with plastic standoffs elsewhere, but in my experience, you definitely will hear a snap-crackle-pop if there is a shorting one lurking underneath... and I would expect even ATX would stay on long enough to toast something before deciding power-OK was bad...
On US traveling (mainly for the other poster), just keep in mind that there's a reason most of us stay off Amtrak and Greyhound. Amtrak is no less expensive than air travel (assuming you use Southwest Air or get tickets through Priceline.com); the buses really aren't that bad but you'll meet an interesting population at the stations :) Of course, if you literally want to see a *lot* of the country (out your window, at least), it'd be the best way to do it.
I've been aware of the hostel system, since my granduncle was a world-traveler, but most of us Amerikanski have never heard of 'em.
One important note (discovered through my German roommate of a year or two back) is that a non-American issued Visa (and I'd assume other credit cards) may not be fully-functional over here; I think his card worked fine on local purchases, but mailordering computer bits became a hassle; something to do with contacting the issuing bank for approval. Apparently the travel books don't cover that eventuality...
Well, best of luck to you, Christian, and to whoever that other guy was :)
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 12 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by Snugglebunny on 18-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Just wanted to reinforce an earlier poster's suggestion about the PC problem to make sure you give it a try.
I recently spent a fortnight trying to get a PC working, it worked for a few hours then died and wouldn't come back to life.... until the motherboard was removed from the case.
No amount of mount rearranging or insulating would entirely fix the problem but a new case did instantly (same PSU, just a new box).
I plan to do very bad things to that dreadful case soon...
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 13 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by JohnRodden on 21-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Hi Christian, liked your little saga :-))
Its interesting to observe a day or two in the life of someone in a far off land.
I come from the land downunder and we have just started a new amiga group called
SAUG (Sydney Amiga User Group) our email address is SydneyAmigaUG@egroups.com
see also http://www.egroups.com/group/SydneyAmigaUg
(Actually a fellow called Steve Bowman set it up)
Oh well cya, have fun in the States
John
MOTD 18/Jan/2001 : Comment 14 of 14ANN.lu
Posted by John on 21-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Christian,
What parts of the US are you looking to tour? We might be able to give you some tips (I'm currently in the Philadelphia area).
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