Today was mostly a bust. I spent most of it trying to revive one of my desktops, because I think I should probably have some computer working at home besides my laptop. This is my old LX164 Alpha, running until recently the last SuSE that supported Alpha. That's too old for me, so I tried to put Fedora 3 on it. Unfortunately, the system lacks a working CD, so I have to do everything with floppies and the network. Further complication: The very machine itself is the only machine I have that works that has a floppy (my laptop lacking one). Alphacore's kernel gets me tantalyzingly close to the installer, but it turns out that when it starts to load itself over a network install, their kernel actually lacks support for the loopback device. I don't know how they expect anything to work, but I decide to install BSD on the box. However, this opens another big can of worms. To run BSD or any other proper Unix on my Alpha, I need to change back from AlphaBIOS to SRM. Trying to do this involved over 30 reboots and dealing with a lot of very bad documentation. The last thing I do before I actually switch is to write FreeBSD images onto floppies, enough to get me into the net installer. Half an hour ago, my place cleaned up a bit in the meantime between boots, I finally switched over into SRM-land, noting with slight concern that there were some odd things in the logs relating to CPU faults on SuSE, before it's all blown away. Alphas do this kind of thing a lot -- sometimes things arn't aligned optimally along word boundaries, and Alphas whine. I don't really know which ones might indicate real hardware problems, and which are whining. So, into SRM-land I go, and slip into the FreeBSD installer. Things go smoothly, right up into the launch into userspace, at which point I get a fatal kernel trap, and am completely hosed. It looks like this.
fatal kernel trap:
trap entry = 0x2 (memory management fault)
cpuid = 0
faulting va = 0x0
type = access violation
cause = store instruction
pc = 0xfffffc0000718f74
cpuid = 0
Cannot dump. No dump device defined.
Automatic reboot in 15 seconds - press a key on the console to abort
So, I guess when I go to work tomorrow, I might copy OpenBSD images onto those floppies and give them a try. Chances are though, that the system itself has suffered a bit over the years in my closet, and I will remain without a desktop. It's not so much a big deal, because one of the things I found when determining if I had to back anything up is that the entire system has somewhere around 10 gigs of storage on it, split between two disks. It still would've been nice to have a desktop system, but such a low end system wouldn't've been that great.
What a sad state of affairs it is that I, one of the most technically adept people I know, have at this time so little in the way of working computer power at my disposal. Sigh. I really need a new desktop, and maybe a new laptop too. What really scares me is if my laptop were to die right now. I have backups, but I would be completely without a working computer at home.
Oh well, at least it was a nice, geekily spent day. Now I have a few chores to take care of before I go to bed.
A memory to share - a confusing moment. In high school, I was, for reasons I'm not going to get into in this entry, not involved in the dating scene. One memory that stands out was between two years in high school, or perhaps between middle and high school. There was a girl I kind of knew but had no personal ties to. Her name was Wendy, I think, although I may be mixing her name up with someone else. She had kind of a Marilyn Monroe look, in retrospect, and had a bit of a reputation for being .. 'wild'. I was at the pool place my family belonged to, and had gotten out of the pool, and was heading to sit on a chair for a bit, and she apparently was there too, because she stepped in front of me, and pulled me a bit away from everyone else (perhaps my family was around -- I don't recall), and told me she was going to another school the next year, and she really missed what we had. She then pulled me into a big sensual hug, pressing herself against me, and a kiss. I liked it, but was more than anything else confused, because I never had, to my recollection, anything with her, and in fact probably never had been in physical contact with her before that. She ran off after that, and I never saw her again, but she wrote me a few letters, each with lipstick kisses and talking about how much she missed me. To this day, I still don't know what that was about, and I no longer remember if I ever wrote back. I think this contributed to part of how I see the world -- there are some things that have, over the years, happened to me that I've just given up on trying to understand. If the letters still exist, they're probably in the basement in the house in Brecksville, but that's tied to something that, at least for awhile, I'm not going to talk about on here. In time, eventually. If I ever dig the letters out again though, perhaps I'll see if I can track down where she is and attempt to reconcile the discrepancy. Hmm... actually, no, I don't think her name was Wendy -- I think I pulled that name from a different girl I knew from high school.