Caught in a Geek’s Gravitational Field
I haven’t been posting much lately. Once in a while, I find that I get interested in fooling with all the technology around me and, having done so, have to scramble to fix everything I’ve broken. Of course, the more I scramble, the more stuff breaks, creating a technology focus gravitational field that nothing escapes from. Blogging, being fairly high on Maslow’s Pyramid is one of the first activities that gets punted when I’m in such a state. When I demonstrate this level of obsessive-compulsiveness, even nourishment is dangerously close to being omitted from the schedule.
So, I’ve been in this black hole for about three weeks now. I’ve taken on several projects and have used the wrong Bower Factor to calculate the length of time they’d take to complete. Meaning that I’ve been off by at least single-digit multiples of time. For what it’s worth, here’s what I’ve been up to . . .
- Server rebuild (while minimizing downtime)
- Upgrade memory (1GB to 4GB) – Easy
- Replace single processor with 2 more powerful processors – Harder than I expected (Intel no longer makes processors for the sockets on my motherboard)
- Convert current 1TB RAID 5 array to 3TB array (4 750GB drives) – WAY harder than I expected (needed new RAID controller and data needed to make an intermediate stop between the two arrays)
- Build new screamingly fast, utlra-quiet desktop machine from scratch
- New everything – soup-to-nuts – Not too bad, machine didn’t want to boot for a while
- Move to Vista – Relatively painless, I’ve been using it for months
- Install new router based on after-market firmware (very cool)
- Installed DD-WRT on cheapy Linksys Router (WRT54GL) – Easy, other than worrying that I’d turn my router into a brick by screwing something up in the middle of the firmware upgrade
- Configuring the router to do what I wanted it to do – Moderately difficult since the doc stinks and there are a zillion options. My router can jump thorough hoops now, though.
- Install and compare Microsoft Virtual Server and VMWare Server – Hard, neither did what I expected when I expected it. Both were also way slower than I would have expected considering the hardware they were running on (see server upgrade, above)
- Install LAMP and WordPress onto each virtual servers
- Install openSUSE on both virtual machines – WAY harder than I expected. I don’t know if it’s a SUSE thing, but there were interaction issues with both virtual servers. And the Linux extensions from both companies refused to work with SUSE, although the documentation said that the operating system was supported.
- AMP installation on both SUSE implementations was a nightmare – is there a Linux law against application GUIs? phpMyAdmin, allegedly used to poke into MySQL databases is so arcane, it’s hard to believe that someone doesn’t sit down and just write a reasonable user interface.
- Install WordPress – Pretty easy. It’s amazing the amount of functionality that is driven by a relatively small number of PHP modules. Very elegant.
- Install PHP, MySQL and WordPress under Windows (yes, because the Linux installs were killing me)
- Attempt to get both Apache and IIS running on a Windows 2003 machine – Getting them to run side-by-side isn’t the hard problem, getting them to both run on port 80 with only one WAN address to get to them is. I couldn’t give up IIS, so Apache got kicked out.
- Once I found reasonable directions to install WIMP (Windows, IIS, MySQL, PHP) – Relatively easy. It’s clear no one thought that a whack-job like me would attempt to use IIS instead of Apache so there aren’t a lot of instructions to do so.
- WordPress still isn’t running correctly and it’s taking me a long time to figure out why not – I think it’s a MySQL protection thing. At least there’s a really nice GUI for MySQL on Windows . . .
Stuff from this geekfest still pending . . .
- The new RAID array on the server is still rebuilding after adding the fourth drive to it. 3Ware’s migration feature is so slow – it’s been running for 4 days now and is only 60% done. Hope I don’t have a drive failure before then.
- Get WordPress completely working on Windows . . . I fear that this is a hierarchical black hole; one within the one I’m already in.
- Migrate my blog from the current Community Server server to the new WordPress server. I basically have no idea how I’m going to do the mapping to make all the permalinks continue to work. Luckily, so few people link to my blog that it probably doesn’t matter.
- More sound-deadening for the new desktop. Not quite quiet enough yet.
Certainly, a lot of the time I’ve spent on this stuff so far has been wasted because I’m such a noob in several of the areas. Learning is a blast, though, and the inefficiency of self-education doesn’t bother me too much. Next time that I do this stuff (which will likely never happen), I’ll be much better at it. 😉
I’ll probably write about a few of these projects, or at least, aspects of them in the future. If you’d like more detail on something, just send me a note.