Work Journal For Week of January 03, 2000

Last Update: Sunday, January 09, 2000 01:02 PM


Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday

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My pager hasn't gone off all weekend which is what I expected. I won't be too surprised if it goes off today, as I expect some managers, supervisors and developers will go to the office to check things out. Though since the news has reported few problems maybe everyone will stay home and wait till work resumes on Tuesday.

I tried to use the Novell Client which comes with Windows 2000 RC2 with no success. The client would not communicate with my server. So I dug out my beta copy of Novell's Windows 2000 client and installed it. The client installed and let me login to the server, but explorer crashes every time I tried to browse the server. I did get an error that migrate.dll could not be found which may have something to do with the problems with explorer. I searched the Novell site and found a newer version of the beta client which I will have to try. The install of the newer beta client software did not go smoothly, as many of the required files were missing. The beta client version 5 will not work, and attempts to find a beta version 4 were not successful. So I have version 1 and 5 and so far have not been able to get either to work on Windows 2000 RC2.  

If anyone out there is interested in why you might want to secure your PC while it is connected to the internet should take a gander at what Dr Keyboard experienced after browsing a hacker's web site.

Later - Now that I have had some lunch, I have decided for the moment to give up on using Windows 2000 to access my Novell server and make my test PC a NT4 box for the moment. I need to get some work done with Novell much more than I need Windows 2000. I'm sure that in the weeks to come I will get more than enough experience with Windows 2000 at work to offset not having it running at home.

Here's a great quote from Richard Dalton of

We've been hearing for years that what Intel provides, Microsoft takes away. Moore's Law isn't going to help much if we don't begin to see the dawn of software quality.




Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday


NT4 is now up and running on my test PC and connected to my Novell server. Novell needs to work on their Windows install software. If you make a mistake while installing the NT client software all you can do is quit and start over, there are no browse options or chances to go back and fix things.

I installed the DNS/DHCP add on to the Novell server the other day, now that I have connectivity to the server, the DNS/DHCP Management Console has to installed on the administrative PC. At first glace setting up Novell to be a DHCP server is nowhere as simple as with NT 4 Server. I recall setting up NT to be DHCP server in matter of minutes, with Novell after 1/2 an hour I haven't gotten anywhere.



Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday


Work was none existent to day, spent the day twiddling my thumbs. I did mange to find a job description for my position on the company intranet which I emailed to myself so I could update my resume. By mixing what I had written on my resume for my current position with what the Human Resources people put together made for a much stronger job summary for my resume. I need to do a little fine tuning to get my resume back to the two page limit then I will be set. My contract ends March 31 and like most contractors I am always job hunting. Now that the holidays are over, I expect to see a jump in IT hiring later this month.



Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday


I finally found out how at least part of the Windows 2000 rollout is going to be done at work. First an upgrade will be done from SMS 1.2 client to SMS 2.0 client. The upgrade to SMS 2.0 is to facilitate the automated installation of Windows 2000. Now I am not sure if Windows 2000 is being installed and an upgrade or if a disk image is being copied onto the computers. I have a feeling that an upgrade is going to be done but will likely find out for sure very soon.

On the network side of things, changes had to be made to the DHCP setup. From what little information I have been given it appears that they changed the range of IP addresses to be used and also changed settings to change which server PCs look to first for computer name resolution.

Extremely slow day at work, so luckily there was a daynoters back-channel discussion going on to keep me awake. We discussed log files for web sites. What these are, is a log of the traffic for a web site. The information can be quite simple such as the number of page requests, and the number of requests for each page. Some systems even tell you where your visitors came from by domain. The information found in log files can be important to sites which generate revenue from banner ads. This is why you find some sites broken up into many pages. This drives up the page hit count which can in turn drive up revenues if an advertiser pays per visit.

I started a new page under reports today called Things you knew but forgot on which I list communication port settings and common IRQ settings. Two things I need from time to time but forget as I don't need to be able to quote this stuff any more as computers now manage much of this automatically these days. If I think of any thing else to add I will, or if someone suggests useful entries I will add those as well. 



Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday


I found a link to The Internet Movie Database on Jerry Pournelle's site and decided to do a search on my own name. I am not an actor but know there was one who shared my name. I got the following result: 

John Doucette
Date of birth (location)
21 January 1921,
Brockton, Massachusetts, USA
Date of death (details)
16 August 1994,
Banning, California, USA. (cancer)

Mini biography

Bald American character actor with a rich, deep voice, equally ...

When I got to the biography I fell over laughing. The first word is bald, which pretty much describes me. I search my name expecting to find info on someone else and get a partial description of myself. 

I didn't go to the office today but went to another building where Telus runs part of it's advertising unit. The lobby is decked out with 42 inch NEC plasma flat panel displays to show off the products the business developed for customers. The image quality was not what I expected from a plasma display, but then the displays are running off a laptop so the conversion from an analog signal to digital maybe what degraded the image quality. 

Users of Quicken 2000 and Norton Anti-virus should be ware that the one of the latest updates from Norton may cause Quicken to slow dramatically or even stop working. I found information about this in the web after first learning of the problem in the computer section of the Calgary Herald. Applying the December 30, 1999 Norton update resolves this problem.

One of the developers I support at work upgraded the CPU in his home system to a Pentium III and wants to sell the Celeron 366 that was in the system. Before I pay for the used CPU I want to test it. I put it in my production PC, in place of the Celeron 300A I have been using. I wrote a batch file to constantly copy and over write files as a test. The batch file alone pegs the CPU usage at 95%. Then I fired up FrontPage and started typing this entry and my PC is keeping up with me. I now also have Outlook open and Real Player going and things are still performing well. I don't think the 300A would have put up with this load as well. Then I didn't expect to see any real difference between the 366 and 300A CPUs. I think I will leave the batch file running while I go and watch ER.

ER is over and some slowness is appearing as memory usage creeps higher. I killed the batch process and decided that I'll keep the Celeron 366 in the PC over the weekend and if I don't run into any problems I'll buy it. Then I can put the 300A on the shelf to use the next time I want to put a computer together.



Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday


I sure was tired last night. I have been getting up at 5 am all week so I could get some exercise in before the day starts. I have not been having success in getting out for exercise after work. Getting up early seems to be working, I just have not adjusted yet to getting up so early. On the up side though I am feeling much better now with the combination of daily exercise plus a much improved diet.

Getting back to work on setting up DHCP on a Novell server today. Turns out that it is quite simple to setup and configure, I was making it more difficult that it need be. 

I have had my NT server acting as my DHCP server for about a year now. Now I have a Novell server running DHCP on the same physical network, which does me no good. I think I need to setup a second physical network just for Novell. I could use a crossover ( a crossover cable has two of the wires on one end crossed over so that two way communication can take place without the use of a hub ) cable between my test PC and the server as a short term fix, but I don't have a crossover cable. I would really like to get a new 10/100 network hub which would allow me to use my current hub for one network and the new hub for a second network. I just may have to go shopping to see what I can find for networking equipment this afternoon.



Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday


I picked up a crossover cable so I will be able to test my Novell DHCP setup. CompuSmart had a 3Com 8 port 10/100 Hub for $425 and a Linksys 8 port 10/100 unmanaged Switch for $350. I like 3Com equipment but that hub is a bit pricey. I am not a big fan of Linksys equipment, as I have had mixed results with their NICs which makes me a bit leery of the switch even though it is priced rather well and comes with a 5 year warrantee. When I get to the point when I truely need more than just a crossover cable, Data Comm Warehouse has a large selection of networking gear for me to choose from. Data Comm has an outlet in Canada which is handy, as this means I get prices in Canadian dollars.


Copyright 1999, 2000 John Doucette. All Rights Reserved


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