Silicon Patch Work Journal

Journal For Week of January 01, 2001

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Monday January 01, 2001

Happy New Year

A late night and lack of sleep has me on the ropes today. Even an afternoon nap followed by a nice hike can't put some pep in my day.

Went out to see a band last night to ring in the new year. I parked myself behind the DJ's booth which gave me a good view of the stage and let me see what the DJ was doing. Most of the canned music that was played was not CDs, but MP3s off a computer. The DJ had a program which would play one song while he cued up another.

I have not made any resolutions to follow this year. I'll just keep on going with with my list of to do items. At least now that the big item career wise was sorted out last July, I can continue to work on the items which are of a more personal nature.

The oven timer is about to go off so I had better grab my oven mitts, I don't like burnt meatloaf.

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Tuesday January 02, 2001

In the past when I have tried to install the FrontPage 2000 upgrade package under Windows 2000 it would never work, even if I showed it a valid upgrade product. Even though I have no real need for FrontPage any more, it is a useful tool have around from time to time. So I gave the install a try again on my current Windows 2000 box and it worked. The only difference this time is that I have a visible install of Windows NT as one of my data partitions, and Windows NT is a viable upgrade product for FrontPage 2000. I have in the past tried to show the FrontPage installer a Windows NT install CD which it did not like.

Not much else today as I brought some paperwork home from work which has eaten up a chunk of the evening. Now to watch a bit of Speedway Grand Prix Racing which I have not seen in ages, then time for some shut eye.

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Wednesday January 03, 2001

What year is it? Oh ya 2001, then why did I just print out a 1999 calendar? Just a sign of how out of it I am today. Not sure if it is just cause it is hump day, or the fact that the weather has turned very warm, but it has been one of those days that I am only firing on three out of eight cylinders. On that note I am signing off to go for a walk and try to get a full nights sleep.

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Thursday January 04, 2001

Who says being a pack rat is a bad thing? I found a PC Orientation Manual from an old job in my rats nest of useless stuff. I find I need some sort of beginners guide to PCs and networking for the computer users at work who are only PC users in the fact that they have a keyboard on their desk, and know how to click on the Word icon.

Now for a manual to be of true value the information in it has to be consistent with what the users will work with everyday. This implies standards of some sort. This has lead me on a search of the best way to implement some common standard across the board. I played with using logon scripts to change registry entries for things which need to be common. This would not work in all cases as some PCs are configured to managed individual user profiles. In the case of multiple profiles the script runs before the user policy is run, thus some types of registry change is not effective. After a few phone calls to my buddy Grant to sound a few ideas off him, I figured that I can safely via a logon script add and entry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run which will call a file on the network which will make registry entries. I still have a few things to try but using this menthod I should be able to make several entries. One for entries common to all PCs, one for department specific entries, and another which I just tested which will bring up a web page with links to updates, virus warnings, etc..

What I would like to do is make is not a printed manual, but a web based one with basic info on using the network, printing, Windows and some applications. It would also give me a place to put notices on viruses, scheduled network down time, contact information...

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Friday January 05, 2001

I drove into the parking lot this morning to find the lot mostly empty. A quick mental check confirmed that it is Friday, and the time just shy of 8 am. So WTF are all the cars??? Well it turns out that production scheduling has a bit of a gap in it so a plant shut down was the order of the day. We apparently are also heading into he slow season for the business so things may be slow for a while. No shortage of work for me though.

Made good use of the shut down by checking on how much storage space is used up on various plant floor controller computers, and found out what network ID and NIC driver they use. All this information is needed to put together a backup plan for these computers.

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Saturday January 06, 2001

Morning Post: I have some more batch file work to do and have found something useful in one of the batch files I have in my archive of batch files I have collected over the years from various sources.

Now you may know that c:\dir > list.txt will create a text file called list.txt containing the results of the dir command at the root of c:. Now you can reverse the pipe command >, to < so that instead of writing to a file you read from an answer file. You can use this to automate the formatting of a floppy disk for example. So format a: <formata.ins will not require any user input as the formata.ins file provides the answers for the format command. My formata.ins file reads as follows:


Now the Y at the top could be any character, even a blank line, as it is just accepted as a carriage return. The second line is the name that will be give to the formatted floppy. The third line answers that I do not want to format another floppy.

One interesting thing I found was that a blank answer file will work and the end result is a formatted, unnamed disk, which likely will work for most people.

Just for fun I setup the answer file to format another disk and it just went ahead and formatted the floppy and second time, so likely this not an option you would want to use in a batch file. Also I have no firm confirmation of this but it appears that using caps for yes no answers is not a good idea, and may cause you to not get the intended result.

Evening Post: Great weather today which just can't be ignored, so I pulled on the cycling duds and headed out on the mountain bike to cruise around the neighbourhood. The side streets are rough and ice covered but I was running low air pressure in my knobby tires so navigating the ice was not hard at all. The things to remember when bicycling on ice is don't use the front break unless you like to go down hard and fast I ( I know this from experience ), relax and let your bike move under you when the tires slip, and finally look ahead to where you want to go, cause if you look at the obstacles just ahead of you, you are guaranteed to hit them and react in a bad way. If you look ahead and stay relaxed you generally will roll over all the bumps in the rough ice safely.

Finally managed to hack Microsoft Activesync so that the default directory for synchronizing data files to is on my server and not in my user profile on my PC. This makes the data easier for me to backup, plus when I get my Windows 2000 server up and running I won't have all the data for my Pocket PC included in my profile when it gets copied to the server as a part of using roaming profiles. The registry value I had to edit is for the briefcase path, which is buried under Windows CE Services.

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Sunday January 07, 2001

The morning started with a call from mom and dad who have arrived in Arizona for a winter of golf and hiding from the cold of the Great White North.

Then moved onto laundry, cleaned the drive off one of my Novell test servers in preparation for an install of Windows 2000 Server RC1.

The Win2k Server box has no CD Rom drive at the moment so I used a boot disk to logon to Brain the production NetWare server, and mapped a drive to the Win2k CD which I mounted as a volume under Netware. The I386 directory is now making it's way via xcopy onto drip the Win2k server to be. Why call the server drip, well I really don't want to be doing this Win2k stuff, but as am tied into Microsoft certification scam, I feel like a drip. I eagerly look forward to the day when I can get off the certification amusement park trolley, and spend the hours I have to put into certification studies on things I want to do like work on like Linux, learn how to do some programming, and maybe even do a little work with Oracle.

Looks to be another great day weather wise so I think another bike ride is in order. I have a single speed bike with fenders, which I bought for commuting when I lived in Winnipeg. But Calgary is rather hilly making the single speed unsuitable for a casual ride. Today all I want is a casual ride, but plan to haul a bike down to the river where I can ride the mostly flat bike path. So since the conditions are likely to be a bit messy, I mounted a set of knobby tires on the single speed bike and equipment wise I am ready to roll. Now to put a repair kit together just in case I run into trouble out on the trail. Oops, no pedals on the bike, that just will not do!

I was not the only one with the idea to take advantage of the great weather and get out on the pathways. Lots of walkers, runners, bladers and cyclist out in warm sunny weather. I have no problem sharing the pathway with people but they have to understand the rules of the path and right of ways. Now on the paths, traffic moves the same as for cars on the highway, you travel on the right side lane, and give way to on coming traffic if you are walking/blading/cycling two abreast. Many don't do this, and one lady must have a death wish as we made eye contact as I approached, and she did not clear the lane. Now wouldn't you move if a person on a bicycle was heading straight towards you at speed, just because they could do you great bodily harm, never mind that they have the right of way?

Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 John Doucette. All Rights Reserved


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