Warrior Of Light
fighting the good fight   [and slacking off occasionally] RAMBLINGS - 2000
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Merry Christmas! It's been a busy week at work and it was especially difficult because it was the last week before we all get our Christmas vacation. But we lived through it and today is the last day of it all. This update is a little short, especially if you are not interested in computers. I will try and post an update to Campfire over the weekend or in the beginning of next week.

I've been going through a bit of a hard time in the last couple of weeks and the following quote was a good encouragement:
"People are like tea bags - you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are."
I've been reading another Web design book and now I'm starting to think that moving to Cascading Style Sheets wasn't such a great idea. I want this site to be accessible to many people, regardless of whether they have access to the latest browsers or not. On the other hand there are many new features supported by the newest browsers and I don't want people who have them to be suffering either.

I think a good solution may be to create two versions of this site, one feature rich and the other a little bit more mild [readable by older browsers and even text only browsers.] Reading these books and comparing myself to other designers on the web made me seriously think about switching jobs and/or make web design the main focus of my business. A little time off will come in very handy, so I can consider all the options...

This coming week I will have to upgrade my brother's motherboard and reinstall his OS and the rest of the software. That may be a good time to teach him some backup techniques [registry backup and partitioning.] As I mentioned earlier, my Matrox G400 has some limitations running dual-monitors under Windows 2000. I finally found another video card and am planning to install it over the vacation too. That way I can run my dual monitor config again, it sure comes in very handy.

I will also be switching Chuda's sound card since neither Aureal nor Microsoft have any drivers for it in Windows 2000 [Win2K]. By the way, Win2K is working very well, there are still some memory leaks in it but I would say that it's the most stable OS to come from Micro$oft in a while. I'm running it on 3 computers [two at home and one at work] and in about half a year I saw only 2 BSODs [Blue Screen Of Death.]

However it is a resource hog; to test something I loaded my PC with 256MB of RAM and after loading Photoshop, Netscape, Word, Winamp and Win Explorer it started to slow down a little. The worse thing is that after running it that way for some time and quitting most of the applications you still get funny problems like icons changing their appearance [Command Prompt displays Notepad icon instead, Photoshop decides that it likes the Calculator icon, etc.] Seems like there are some memory issues Micro$oft should resolve.
Hail to you warriors! Here is the long overdue update [well, maybe not that long but anyway.] As I mentioned before, Thursday was Chuda's birthday, congratulations! I took a day off and we had a nice quiet day together. Friday afternoon I had a very bad headache which stayed with me through the rest of the day and even two naps didn't help. After struggling with it for couple of hours or so I decided to call it a day and went to bed. Today everything was just fine, guess I just needed a good sleep.

After reading the HTML Black Book [you can find a link to it's publisher in the previous post] I decided to convert the site to CSS [Cascading Style Sheets.] If you haven't noticed anything strange then all went well. If you do notice something out of place, please let me know [email link is at the bottom.] Also as much as I liked Verdana font, it is displayed very differently by IE and Netscape so after doing a little research I decided to switch to Arial, that seems to be the best choice. It is still displayed a little differently but a lot better than Verdana. Oh yeah, almost forgot. I replaced some photos in the Photos section of About pages. Go check them out and tell me what you think.

Lately I have been pretty frustrated with my job. Part of me enjoys it yet another part really hates some aspects of it. First of all I really don't like when your bosses act like they know everything and make decisions without asking people that they suppose to oversee, based on who knows what. Would you people get a grip, you don't have to act like you know everything, your job is to make our lives easier and then we can be more productive bringing you the applause you so desire.

Secondly, seeing all that gluttony and wastefulness makes me very angry. People, you do NOT have to spend all the money that was given to you! Or at least spend it on things that matter and not on a brand-new fresh-from-the-factory oh-so-hot-and-useless-toy! Trust me, all the things you use your computer for, it is a lot more than you need. There is no need to buy a Pentium 733 with a ton of memory and hard disk space if all you use it for is M$ Word! Your Pentium 300 was working just fine and you will hardly notice any difference!

And how about supporting your employees a little better? Your secretary has a Pentium 133 with 16MB of RAM and has to juggle reports, student database, school finances, brochures and your calendar. But when you are given a brand new Pentium 500 with 64MB of RAM, why don't you take it for yourself, because your Pentium 350 is too slow for you. Too slow for what? Checking your email 3 times a day and browsing the web? Arrgh!

Add boredom to that and you will see why I am frustrated. I think I've reached the ceiling at this job and I am ready to move on. I am really tired of all the above mentioned things, fixing printer problems and installing M$ Office for the 400th time. I don't think I am a "state employee" material. I don't want to sit at this job, get annual raises, be bored and harden to all the problems around me just because it's "secure." I'm sure God has better use for my talents.

I could have taken care of the boredom by moving to the Network side of our department, but the rest of the problems will not go away. The bosses and the people I would have to support would still be the same. I think it is time to move on, to a new job, somewhere where people actually listen to what you have to say and what you do really counts. For now I am still here and will do as good of a job as always, meanwhile trying to get the most out of the time that I spend with my friends. You guys know who you are and you are the reason that I lasted as long as I did. Thank you for everything and hopefully our friendship will not end just because we will not be working together.

I had to give back the wireless networking kit that I was testing for a while, Shinjuru is testing it now. Using it really showed me the benefits of having a network connection in every room in the house and not just the office. So now I really want to get a network connection into the living room, bedroom and looking forward to summer - the patio outside. Two week Christmas vacation will come in very handy. We will also be moving my office upstairs which will give me more room. Finally I can have surround sound speaker set in my office!

I am seriously considering switching my server operating system from NetWare to Linux. It will give me the experience I will need at a new job [I have a feeling I am going to use it there] and will make it easier for me to test the website ideas before investing into them. For now I need to install Apache webserver on my Linux computer and test the evaluation versions of some forum software. The next step will be figuring out Samba [I think that's the piece that makes Win9x communicate with Linux] and possibly setting it up as a firewall.
Greetings all! Sorry if this update is a little bit late. You probably didn't notice unless you are an early bird, it should be up before 9AM this morning. We are having some power problems here in the sunny California [where it's not very sunny lately] and my UPS batteries ran out. We don't have any long blackouts, they last only a second or so, but there are a lot of them, a few an hour, enough to drain the batteries over time. Anyway, I will stop boring you with this :-]

As you probably noticed, some of The War pages are up. There is a section of those pages, Campfire that is similar to the Ramblings you are reading, except that its for spiritual things only. If you have decided to become a warrior [since you are involved in this war anyway, why not fight instead of being a victim?] they may be helpful to you.

Even if you are not a warrior yet and are unsure of what side you want to join, some of it may still be helpful, giving you a taste of what other warriors go through on daily basis. I am still thinking if I should commit myself to posting weekly updates there or not. Until I come up with a plan I will keep you updated on the status of those pages here.

I have been seriously looking into converting that section of the site into a forum, so you guys can be a part of this site as well and will have a chance of listening to others as well as expressing your thoughts and sharing your experiences. I've been thinking about it and doing some research and quite possible we will have it up and running soon [let's say a month or so.] I still have to test it and understand how it works first.

Couple of weeks ago I bought a book, HTML Black Book by Coriolis. If you are seriously into website design I would highly recommend for you to check it out. It is rated intermediate to advanced and it covers a lot of topics, starting with such simple tags as <p> and <br> and ending with Perl, CGI scripts, XML, DHTML and Java. For each topic there are two sections, In Depth and Immediate Solutions.

After reading it, I started working on converting the site's pages to use CSS [Cascading Style Sheets] and it's been pretty interesting. There is a lot of power in them and they do streamline designing web pages quite a bit. Sadly that brings up an issue which I'm sure many web designers hate - different browsers implement them a little differently. Hopefully with Netscape 6 release and IE 5 we are getting closer to the standards.

That reminds me, if you are a web designer, I would suggest testing your pages with not only the two major browsers but at least one or two other ones, that comply with W3C standards. I am using Opera browser [by the way, with the new version 5 it's free!] but you can also use Amaya developed by W3C. If they use it to test the latest standards, I think your site better comply with them...

Working on the website brought me back to Linux. Putting up a forum on the site will cost considerable amount of money and before I invest into it I would like to test it first. Since most webservers are using some variation of UNIX [Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc.] I decided to setup my Linux box as a webserver, just to test the forum, some CGI scripts and Perl on it.

One of the best resources is a list of Linux HOWTOs. One of the sites that maintains it is www.linux.org. Check out their Documentation section. It covers just about everything you can think of, from creating Linux boot disks to setting it up as a router and a firewall to running a webserver on it. Currently I am reading on how to setup the webserver, how to make it work with NetWare and how to set it up as a router/firewall for my DSL. Setting it up to use DSL to get on the Internet was extremely easy by the way, just set the default gateway to your DSL routers address and DNS servers to your ISPs DNS server address and you are done!
Greetings warriors! I've done some reorganizing of the site, even though it is mostly behind the scene stuff, hardly if at all noticeable except for one - I finally was able to find a font that will look the same in IE and Netscape! I've done all I could to insure that the transition won't cause any problems but if you notice something, I would really appreciate it if you let me know. Also let me know what you think of the new font.

There is also a small surprise for you, The War pages are up! Only three of them are actually up for now and they are nowhere close to their finished state, currently they are more like small samples of what is to come. Don't judge them too harshly. There is a lot more to come, I just need the time and inspiration.

I came across a few "Only in America..." funnies, and the first one seems especially appropriate and true in the light of all this election stuff:
"Only in America... do we use the word "politics" to describe the process so well, Poli is Latin for "many" and tics means "blood-sucking creatures".
"Only in America... do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and keep useless junk in the garage."
Here is one more to make you smile and maybe think -
"Have you ever noticed that people who drive slower than you are idiots and those who drive faster are maniacs?"
A few times I came across a non-FAT partition which had to be deleted and I had to start Windows NT or Linux install which would allow me to delete the partition. A few days ago I had to work on a computer that had an NTFS partition and my patience ran out. After a little research I came across a little utility, Ranish Partitioning Tool. It can delete, create and even hide partitions!

You can download it from the website. The hide/unhide feature is especially intriguing since you could create a small partition, put an image of your main partition there and then hide it. Then it's just a matter of creating a batch file [remember ZZTOP on Dells?] Ah the possibilities!

I finally finished playing Warlords:Battlecry a couple of days ago. It has an interesting storyline and about half way through presents you with a fork in the road. I reached one ending and now am going through the second one. It is quite interesting and I really like the way they mixed RTS [Real-Time-Strategy] and Role-Playing. Your hero leads your armies and gains experience just like your troops some of which you can take with you to the next battle.

If you are more of an action fan, check out Rune, it is a fresh addition to the overly populated shoot-em-up scene. It is set in the Viking days and allows you to use Viking weapons, swords, shields, axes, maces, etc. It seems to have a little better story line than any of the shooters I've played so far. I am going to install it on my 2nd computer and maybe we can test it's multiplayer capabilities with my brother sometime soon.
Hail to you brave warriors! I love Thanksgiving holiday because we truly do have a lot to be thankful for. That even creates a small problem for me. I usually prepare a list in my mind of the things I am thankful for but I always have to shorten it so I don't hog all the time at the table.

This update is somewhat short, I want to get The War pages done this weekend. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and wish you a restful weekend as well.

While studying for the Networking Technologies test I came across the section about bridges. Network bridges have a few states that they switch between: disabled, blocking, listening, learning and forwarding. Here is what it says about the listening state:
When a bridge is in the listening state, it is preparing for the learning and forwarding states. The listening state exists so that incorrect information isn't added to the filtering database, causing bridging loops.
I wish we all would go through the listening and learning states before switching to the forwarding state. Some people seem to skip those and go straight for the bridging loops :-]

As you may remember, last time I got my Linux box to come up with some problems and prevent me from going to the GUI. In fact it would run FSCK [linux' equivalent of ScanDisk] automatically, report some errors and boot me to it's equivalent of Safe Mode, no GUI and somewhat limited command line functionality.

After a little research I found out that Linux caches some files into memory before writing them to the hard disk. If the computer is turned off before the files are written to disk, you will get file system errors. That's where FSCK [File System ChecKer] comes in.

Anyway, after reading about it I ran FSCK and it fixed the errors for me! If you remember it did run automatically but for some reason didn't fix it then. Maybe because I had to login as root [superuser, with full access to the system.]
Greetings! If this update seems a bit short, accept my apology. I started writing it a few days ago but then it kind of grew into an update of its own which I posted earlier [as if you hadn't noticed :-] Well, even if it is somewhat short, there is a great quote I found on a door of one of the classrooms I had to visit this week.]
"You are what you do repeatedly."
An interesting thing happened at work. This was my week to be out at the sites but I heard that there was a big problem with one of our main servers. As bad as I felt for the guys who were at the office and had to answer the phones, I was kind of glad. I am hoping that this will make some of our management think twice before rushing into such important decisions as upgrading the main servers. And hopefully they will listen to the people they suppose to oversee.

I believe that at least one of them is pretty good and still has a chance to change and improve in some areas [like listening to his coworkers and not rushing into things] to be a good boss. But there are a couple that I believe are not willing to change and my prayer for them is to be replaced by people who will do what they are suppose to and not just enjoy the benefits of that position.

Well, I did install SuSE Linux Wednesday night and everything seemed to go well until I hit the video card/monitor selection part. No matter what I picked it just didn't want to work! So finally I had to settle for 1024x768 with 256 colors resolution. I do realize that that's the most you can get out of 2MB video RAM, but sadly I had to settle for 60Hz refresh rate, and that was unacceptable to me [pain in the eyes to look at it.] To be fair it was an old computer with a 2MB built-in video card and that same monitor/video card selection seemed to work fine for a friend of mine who was installing it the same night on a little better computer.

My next step after installing it was to adjust the resolution to get at least 75Hz refresh rate. Sadly I wasn't successful at that either and after a few times that I had to reboot the PC improperly [my monitor would loose the picture and just show some lines] I finally got the file system so messed up that it would not even boot properly. It takes experience ya know! :-]
Thursday morning we went to Napa valley where we reserved a bed-and-breakfast for a night. Well, our bed-and-breakfast was a bust. The heating and water stopped working a few hours before we got to the place, so we had to head back. The good news is, we left early and had plenty of time to try all the gourmet food in St. Helena and nearby towns. That was a delicious trip! After we got home and had some of the food we bought there, Chuda and I agreed that there is no better bed-and-breakfast than home.

Saturday we went to a few garage sales. Chuda said that if we were to get any good deals we had to get up early. The good news is, God was very kind to me and rewarded me with a pair of Cerwin-Vega VS-150 speakers for waking up at 7AM on Saturday morning. Now at 400 Watt, Mortification, Living Sacrifice, Tourniquet, Bride, Zao etc. sound totally different! And I got 2 speakers for $50! Here they are in all their beauty.

Chuda and I were working on updating our family budget Saturday and I had a thought. Since I have to put all this work into creating the budget, why not post the template for other people to use? It may save someone a lot of time and if it helps someone I will be a happy man. There are 2 versions of the template, M$ Excel file - budget.xls and the same file just zipped [in case you have problems downloading the unzipped version or you want to speed up the download time a bit,] budget.zip.

Adventures with Linux, part III
A while later I came back to Linux. I still wanted to learn it and if not use it as a workstation operating system then maybe as a server, a firewall or something like that. It's geekiness was calling me and I could really appreciate the beauty of it's design. "Where should I start this time," I thought to myself. How about we forget the fancy GUI [Graphical User Interface] and start learning it from scratch, the command line. There is a poetry in a black screen and a prompt awaiting your command [fixes the tape on his glasses]:

OK, what were we talking about? Ah, Linux and poetry, right :-] Oh yeah, forgot to mention, this time I decided to go with a different Linux distribution. Red Hat was too popular for me but I still wanted something that would have a fairly easy way of installing software. After a little research I decided on SuSE, a popular European distribution. It seemed to have all the advantages of Red Hat and was even able to use the *.RPM [Red Hat Package Manager] files, something that makes installing software easy. In addition it didn't seem to try to get away from Linux' geeky roots.

Anyway, I found another PC that was laying around, some early Pentium or something. I brought it home since work was extremely hectic then and there was no way to take even a short break to work on something like this. Then an idea struck me. I remembered that Linux can be installed from a variety of sources: CD-ROM, hard drive, or an FTP [File Transfer Protocol] server. Yes, FTP, the same thing you may use to copy files from or to the Internet.

So in theory, if you had a good connection and were willing to take some chances, you could even install it over the Internet! I didn't really want to do that, but the possibility of installing it over FTP was tempting. So I setup my own FTP server at home and started installing it from there! After a few painful tries I finally got the installation process started. It went through, everything was installed just fine and then was time to restart. You can imagine the expression on my face after I pressed that "reset" button and got a "No operating system found" message. Argh!

This time I gave up. "Fine, I don't like you either! Here is a CD and let's just do it like the rest of the people. How boring!" Yes, once in a while I talk to my computer :-] Installing it this many times had it's advantages. This time I was able to go through the installation process without any problems and I did it the "Custom" and not the "Typical" way. That made me feel a little better. I was even able to create partitions and mount them all appropriately.

Starting from scratch wasn't as easy as I thought. No GUI meant no F1 button to call for help and my first step I had to figure out how to use the command line help. The good ol' command /? seemed to work, but did not provide a whole lot of help if you didn't know what the command was for in the first place. So I had to learn to use the man [manual] command. It gives you a lot more information about a particular command, somewhat similar to the DOS help command.

My next step was to learn very popular Linux text editors, vi and emacs. Linux' ability to open multiple virtual screens came in very handy this time. I would open a man page for a command but would not know how to close it! So to learn that I would open a new virtual screen, login and try to find some help on how to close the man windows. That was very funny and I am even somewhat ashamed to write about this, but hopefully it will show you that there is nothing wrong with not knowing anything about something if you are willing to learn. I am sure that at some point in the future I will be a Linux expert, but those were my first steps and I am not ashamed of them.

To make the long story short, I still haven't learned why Linux geeks are so impressed with their text editors. And as you can imagine staring at a black screen full of text will keep you entertained only for so long. I started getting bored with it again. And then I was reminded that one of the best ways to learn something is to start a project that is interesting to you and that would require you to use the tool you are trying to learn. Editing some photos for other people and for this website helped me learn Photoshop a lot faster then simply reading a book and not really using it in real life. Start using it and you will learn it a lot quicker.

And this concludes my past Linux adventures. I just downloaded the latest version of SuSE Linux, SuSE 7.0 and am going to try and learn it by coming up with some projects to use it for. My first project will probably be a router and a firewall for my home. I shall keep you updated on my newest adventures.
Greetings all! This update comes a little early, I will not be able to post it Thursday night as usual so I will have to post it in the morning instead [I figured you would rather have it early than late.] Last time I forgot to mention that the idea of writing about my adventures with Linux came was somewhat influenced by this page.

After seeing some people that seem to be just flowing downstream instead of upstream in their life, I found the following quote to be true.
"If you don't do something with life, life will do something with you."
Adventures with Linux, part II
While Red Hat was installing, we proudly stuck the two stickers that came in the box on our badges. Now we were cool, we were the rebels, we fought the evil empire, we installed Linux! :-] After Linux was installed we got comfortable in our chairs, prepared to be blown away by its lightning speed. Well, we were in for a surprise.

The startup process looked nice, various modules loading were displayed on the left and their status was displayed on the right, green OK for good and red FAIL I assume for bad :-] The problem was that it took some time to bootup. We forgave it, figuring that Linux operates faster the longer it runs without rebooting. Also we only had 32MB of RAM in that computer and it was only Pentium 120. The bootup time wasn't too bad, about the same as Win95/98.

Presented with login screen we proudly logged in as "root", a user with unlimited rights to the system. The screen looked familiar with a few interesting details. If you are familiar with Windows 9x, you will feel almost at home. One interesting thing that we liked a lot was the ability to switch between different virtual screens. The screens could be of any resolution and color depth, a web designers dream.

But we were in for a nasty surprise. Whatever we tried to do, was very slow! Opening up applications, going through menus... we were sad. Giving it one more chance, we decided to wait until we find some more RAM and upgrade it to at least 64MB, maybe that would help.

We yanked some memory out of another computer that was laying around and put it into our Linux "screamer" :-] To our great disappointment it didn't seem to make a whole lot of a difference. It was somewhat faster but not much faster than a regular Windows 9x install on the same computer. I'm not sure about Shinjuru but I did come to that computer a few more times [it was a little easier for me since it was on my desk and I could just turn in the chair :-] and browsed around.

Some of the things were interesting, like the above mentioned virtual screens, and Linux's ability to read FAT16 and FAT32 formatted disks [ones that Windows was installed on.] Some of the things were more complicated than Windows [having to mount a floppy and a CD before you could use it.] But the novelty wore off and after a while we just formatted it and went back to our other tasks. [tune in next week for the new episode in "Adventures with Linux"]
Hail to you warriors! Haven't seen you all in a while, ya'll are sure looking fancy! :-] This is going to be somewhat of a short update. Only the [site] and one more sections will be updated. I really wanted to update the [job] section, but I just finished working on our church's website [www.NewGenerationChurch.org] and am very tired. It is past 3AM after all and I have to get up at 7AM tomorrow...

I had an interesting idea a few days ago. Many times I have been asked questions like, "How did you learn so much about computers?", "Should I/my son/my daughter/etc. become computer techs?" "What computer classes, books, etc. would you recommend?" Each time thinking back and trying to remember how I got to be who I am today, I decided to write a story about it. But instead of going years back, I came up with a better plan.

Lately I have been fascinated by Linux/UNIX. After reading a little about it and seeing it work, I decided that I want to learn it. When I first heard about it, I knew absolutely nothing about installing or using it. And thus I was presented with the problem that all people just starting in the computer field face. How do you start learning something you know nothing about? Given, it may not be exactly the same since I do have experience with other operating systems and computer hardware, but I think that my journey into Linux will be of help to those who are just starting in the computer field.

On this note let me present the new section of our weekly ramblings, [Linux]. I am going to combine all the [Linux] ramblings into one article later on, but regular readers of this site can rest assured that any new information will appear on this page first. Below is a short overview of what I've done and learned so far.

A few months ago, Shinjuru and I have decided to give Linux a try. We found an older computer that was laying around [Pentium 120, 32MB RAM.] Having read that Linux can run fairly fast even on a 486 we figured that was plenty. Our network guys bought a distribution of Linux, Caldera Open Linux, version 2.2 I think. Sadly, either we didn't know what we were doing or the CD was bad, but we couldn't even start the installation process.

After convincing our boss that as computer techs it would be good for us to evaluate a different operating system, we went to the nearest Fry's and picked up a copy of Red Hat Linux 6.1. We booted from the CD and went right into the setup application. There we were presented with 3 choices, Typical install, Advanced install and Expert install. [Pause for a second and guess which one we chose :-]

Of course we chose Expert! But we were put in place very quickly, after we were presented with a black screen and an option to partition the hard drive with about 8 different file systems, we decided to go back to the previous screen :-] Our next choice was Advanced. "Only newbies would go the "typical" way." Well, after being asked to assign "mount points" to different partitions, we made sure there was no one else in the room and that the door was locked. Then not looking at each other we pressed the dreaded "Typical" button. [to be continued]
Greetings all! Technology is a great thing, especially when used for good purposes. At the moment I am sitting in bed and am typing this update, connected to my server without any wires! But here is all this week's news one by one.

Something sad happened, our Help Desk could not affor to keep Little Jon any longer and we had to let him go. He is a pretty good guy and a good tech, hopefully we will see him again. Good luck to you man.

For some time I have been looking into some wireless network setups. This week I was given an opportunity to evaluate one of those kits [a network card and a hub.] After wasting a few hours trying to make it work with an older laptop I finally gave up. Even updated drivers didn't do any good, blue screen of death has become my good friend in those couple of hours.

Luckily I had a chance to try it on a newer laptop and that worked the first time! Currently I have the wireless hub on the first floor in the office while typing this update on a laptop on the second floor. It automatically adjusts the speed of the connection depending on the quality of the signal but it seem to be working at 11Mb most of the time [it's maximum speed.]

So far I really like it. The only problem is the price. A PCMCIA wireless network card for a laptop costs around $130 and a wireless hub costs over $300. That is quite a bit of money... Another option is to buy another wireless PCI card for around $130 and put it either into the server or into one of the workstations and make it run a "software wireless hub." Even then it is around $300...

As tempting as it is, it will have to wait for some time, hopefully by then the prices will drop even more. I think for now I will just install 3 more network jacks, one in the upstairs bedroom, one in the living room and one outside on the patio. A little more work but it sure is a lot cheaper and faster too.

On Tuesday I setup the Win 2000 Server as a router with NAT [Network Address Translation] for a friend of mine. Now all computers in his office are able to get on the internet. My next project will be setting it up as a web server and an FTP server. After setting it up I can certainly see why a lot of people are going with NT as their server operating system.

It was very easy to setup and all the help files and wizards made it practically a piece of cake. No matter how easy it was I am still not converted into a Micro$oft fan and would rather use NetWare or UNIX. For some reason they give me more of a feeling of a real server operating system and not a dressed up and loaded desktop OS. Maybe I'm just biast, feel free to ignore this paragraph :-]

It's been a pretty busy week and I am very glad that Friday is here. If I get a little time I may post another update this weekend, but I won't make any promises. Enjoy your Friday and hope your weekend goes well too. -thinker- out.
Hail! I have decided to stop fooling myself and start posting the real update date. If it was posted at 11:45PM on Thursday night, it is a Friday update and not Thursday :-] Anyway, seems like posting updates on Wednesday/Thursday nights works best for me. There still may be some Sunday/Monday updates once in a while.

I was going to post a few serious thoughts that I had about work and this country, but I think I will do that a little later. Possibly Mon or Tue, no promises though. For now even if you are not a computer geek, read the post below, It might make you laugh a little [again, no promises :-]

Solution to the RAID problem was updating the RAID configuration utility. After downloading it from the manufacturer's website we were able to switch it from RAID 1 [mirroring] to RAID 0 [striping] mode. Now we just have to install the server operating system.

On Tuesday I installed the Windows 2000 Server for my friend Gennady and configured it to use the T1 line in his office to get on the Internet. Something funny happened too. After going to Network Neighborhood to see if his old server was accessible we saw all the servers and workstations in all the other offices in that building. Some of them didn't even have a password on them!

It was very tempting for me to create a funny *.BMP file, copy it to one of those computers, edit WIN.INI and change the "Wallpaper=" line to point to it. After much deliberation I decided not to do it. That reminds me of another hacker-wanna-be story.

I was at one of the school sites and was told that there is a computer in the library that someone hacked into and now it won't startup. Glad that there was something more fun to work on than "my printer doesn't print," I hurried to the library. After turning it on, computer displayed the DOS prompt and the following message:

Your Windows has been deleted,
CrazyPsychoHacker strikes again!
There was also a second message that read:
Anyone can edit AUTOEXEC.BAT file, you idiot.
My thoughts exactly. After looking at AUTOEXEC.BAT I couldn't help but smile. Here is the full text of the AUTOEXEC.BAT file:
  ECHO Your Windows has been deleted,
  ECHO CrazyPsychoHacker strikes again!
  ECHO Anyone can edit AUTOEXEC.BAT file, you idiot.
It seems that this self-proclaimed "hacker" didn't know much about DOS or Windows. Stop reading now and think for a minute if you can catch what this "CrazyPsychoHacker" missed and why restore process didn't take any more than simply copying WIN.COM from another PC. Click here to see the answer and to check if you were correct. After restoring the "hacked" computer, I couldn't resist but leave a message for that guy.
G0 l34rn 50m37h1ng b4 u 7ry 7h15 4g41n. -7h1nk3r-
Greetings! Chuda is finally back! Things are moving along, I am almost done with our church' website and I am getting to completion of The War pages too. I finally got the inspiration I was waiting for and have a pretty clear picture in my mind on how I want them to look.

Last week I stayed home for a few days, and it was very rejuvenating. I like to have a day off here and there but lately it seemed to have become a necessity, my body practically demands it. There are so many things to do at work that I have to remind myself that I have only so much energy and can not complete all the duties assigned to me as fast as I would like to.

In my last update I mentioned that there were a few problems at my job and mentioned one of them, between two of my friends. Well, once I got back I found out that they actually did have a talk and at least one of them got it all out of his system. I was very glad to hear that, even though I'm not sure how well it went.

Communicating your feelings to a person you have a problem with is the first step to resolving that problem. Now it is up to the other person to respond with a similar gesture. We shall wait and see. And while I am at that, I am glad that you took that first step man. Regardless of how it went and if you were able to present your case as well as you wanted to, it took some guts to take the first step and in this case you have proven yourself a "bigger man."

The problem with the UPS' happened again today. I think it has to do with the brownouts. Even when all the computers are off, the UPS' are still constantly switching from power to battery mode. On the brighter side, my server UPS shut down the server properly and all went well. Now I just have to figure out why it's not notifying workstations that the server is going down...

This week I get to work on a few server problems. One is an older Digital server with a RAID controller and 2 hard drives in RAID 1 configuration [mirrored.] We need to change it to RAID 0 mode [striped] but so far the RAID configuration utility doesn't seem to work, gives a "Drive Error - Retry, Abort" message.

There are a couple of possibilities, either one of the drives really is bad, but then you would think that the configuration utility would still run, and let you know that there is a problem with the drive. Another possibility is that the config utility is old and the BIOS on the RAID controller was updated, so we would need an updated version of the config utility. We will have to look for it on the web.

A friend of mine bought himself a new server and wants Windows 2000 Server installed on it. There seem to be a couple of problems with the installation, so that should be fun. He just got a T1 line in his office too, so I will see about configuring the server as a DHCP server and the firewall and gateway to the internet. Sounds like a fun but somewhat lengthy procedure, pizza may have to be injected :-]

Hope your Friday goes well and your weekend will be restful and enjoyable.
Greetings all! Chuda is gone this week, went to visit her sister Jennifer in Wimberley, Texas. As pathetic as it may sound to some "real men," I do miss her a lot. I'm glad God keeps me busy while she is gone, otherwise I would sink into "oh where, oh where has my Chuda gone" mood. She truly is my closest friend [after God] and a great blessing in my life.

I have been a little sick [headaches, etc.] in the last couple of days and wasn't able to go to work. Even if I did go, I doubt I would be of much help. On a different [and somewhat frustrating note] there are a few problems brewing at our Help Desk. First one is between two friends of mine [even though both of them make faces when I call the other a "friend."]

Let me clarify my definition of a friend, it is a little different from the one in the dictionary. I have many friends in my life. I have very few "close friends" but anyone who I can connect to and agree with on more than one subject is considered a friend. Therefore I do consider both of them my friends, we work together and agree on many issues concerning work and some issues outside work.

They do however seem to have very different characters and unless both of them are willing to work on their patience with each other, I do not see how they can have even basic communication. Both of them have certain character traits that anyone who needs to communicate with them has to be aware of and be willing to work around. At times I just want to say, "Oh grow up already! Go talk to each other and get all the stuff out of your systems, instead of holding it in and getting grumpier at each other day by day."

But apparently one gets hurt by anything and anyone pointing to his negative sides if it isn't done with utmost caution and the other lacks or is not willing to use such caution. As one in a position to communicate with both of them [oh the pain and suffering I have to go through :-p] I do try to show both of them the other's point of view but so far it seems to be to no avail.

Lately I have noticed a few interesting things in my spiritual life. For some reason I feel like God is trying to get me more involved in the politics. There was a period of time [back in Russia, about 8 years ago] when I was very interested in the politics, domestic and international until I came to conclusion that nothing good came out of it other than frustration.

You can imagine my surprise when I felt like I was being pulled into all this again, and I can't even vote yet! So at this point I am just watching with interest what it will develop into. There were a few points when God led me into prayer for certain politicians and government figures. I caught myself being engrossed into presidential debates on Tuesday [I think that's what they are called, in any case I'm sure you know what I'm talking about] and VP debates tonight.

Also a documentary about both Gore and Bush on PBS was very informative. I think they did an excellent job and covered both sides well, without saying that one was better than the other. If you are interested at all, I would suggest recording the show, it will be aired once more on October 10th at 1AM on KVIE, channel 6, here in Sacramento [now you see why I suggested recording it? :-] You can also watch the show from the Choice 2000 website. Highly recommended viewing.

Had a great time with Mark and Timka playing Unreal Tournament Monday and Tuesday nights after work. Tuesday night Mark left, he will be gone for 3 months, studying in a bible school in Riga. I think it will be a great experience for his spirit and he will be able to study and work with some of the better video producers. They may not be very famous in US, but they have produced a few great dramas and musicals. After Mark comes back, he may be a great asset to our ministry, in addition to being a great friend.

Chuda had a few interesting ideas on how to join people with similar interests in church. Having a few LAN parties at our house and seeing its potential as a friendship building tool, I had an idea about having a LAN party at our church once in a while. We would be able to fit a lot more people than fit in our house and anyone interested could bring their own computer. I would be glad to network them all together. Truly an interesting idea, the more I think about it... Will have to bring this up to pastor's attention during one of our meetings with him.

A couple of interesting things. Lately I've been having some problems with my UPS' [Uninterruptable Power Supplies.] They would start switching from power to battery mode a few times a minute. Lights in the house seemed fine and both of them doing it at the same time discouraged the idea that the UPS' themselves were bad.

Turning off the power to the office and letting both of them run out of juice, then letting them charge for some time before turning on the equipment connected to them seemed to have fixed the problem. A bit strange, but without more data it is hard to make an educated guess on what happened. I guess we will just wait and see.

These problems finally forced me to install the PowerChute [automatic shutdown and UPS monitoring software by APC] on my server. There were a couple of problems with that too, which after a little research led me to the source of the problem. Apparently, APC makes two serial cables that connect their UPS to a computer. One is for simple communications, while the other is for more advanced. Once I figured that out, it was only a matter of changing "SignallingType = Smart" to "SignallingType = Simple" in the PWRCHUTE.INI and the problem was resolved.

Search on the ebay.com for the cable revealed that cheapest one is $10 + shipping, and according to the sellers APC's price is $39. Now, what is there in the "Smart" cable that would cost so much? I'm sure that all it has is just 9 wires. Anyway, the "simple" cable can shut the server down and I can live without seeing how low the battery is. At least until I find that it is worth $15 for me.
This has been somewhat of an interesting week, but this update is going to be a little short, we are trying to get The War pages up as soon as possible and it takes a lot of time. I'm sure you would rather see that than hear me ramble on and on :-P

We had a great time last Saturday, it was a "game day" with my brother Anton his friend Jon and my younger friend Vladimir. Practice in Unreal Tournament was quite helpful, I sure will need it with Mark, Shinjuru and Little Jon. Mark will be leaving in a week so we will have to play a couple of nights next week, before he leaves.

Whenever I mention "game day" to someone, people either smile or start laughing. I guess they consider it to be childish and "not something that grown-ups do." Chuda and I found it to be a blessing to us though. I guess instead of watching baseball/football/basketball and drinking beer with friends, we have a LAN party with pizza and soda.

Scheduling it also helps, Chuda can plan what she is going to do that day and I have something to look forward to while cleaning the gutters :-P

Here is a funny quote Little Jon emailed me:

A few interesting things happened at work last Friday and during this week. I will wait a bit before commenting on them though, some of them are still in progress. Hope the rest of the week and the weekend will be enjoyable for you.

Almost forgot to post this. Today is Patty's birthday! Just to let you know Patty, in case we don't show and tell you that often... you are really appreciated. Help Desk wouldn't be the same without you and who else would we look up to while taking typing lessons? :-]
Greetings warriors! Glad to be back even though I do have a slight headache at the moment [busy day today and seems like tomorrow is going to be also... oh well.] [update] Just found out that my Mortification CD and a T-shirt came in the mail today. Chuda went to visit her girlfriend and I can blast it as loud as I want, who needs aspirin if you have Mortification/Living Sacrifice/Six Feet Deep/Tourniquet/Nailed Promise etc.?! :-]
As you may remember, Help Desk techs at my work were given an assignment to visit 11 schools per week then stay in the office for phone support, in building trouble tickets and for emergencies. Well, going to the sites is fun, no rush, work at your own pace and make people happy. Staying in the building is a pain though [most of the time]

Four people to service hundreds of computers at various sites and when 1 or 2 leave to the sites or get sick, that leaves 1-2 answering all the phone calls and fixing all the in-building problems. Nuts! I don't think we will be able to deal with it for long. Give us more techs, replace the "constantly sick" ones and replace the lazy/incapable with hard-working and capable. Otherwise this won't work. My personal opinion which I shall present to the management in a couple of weeks if everything continues to go the way it is.

Started studying some of the UNIX/Linux tools more precisely the text editors, vi and emacs. Still trying to understand why everyone seems to be so much in love with them. Both of them seem to be a pain in the behind so far :-0

A few days ago I was reminded why I like command-line OS' still, even after the much beloved Windows game along :-P I had to run a search on a large NetWare volume for some files. Network seemed pretty congested and/or the server was slow, but even accessing the volume took 20 seconds or so. Waiting for Windows Find app seemed to take forever so I got to the command prompt and typed


After that I repeated the same steps for another volume [but instead of VLM.TXT I redirected the output to VLM-MW.TXT instead] and could continue with my work, cursor stopped moving erratically and PC seemed to be very happy. Redirecting and piping can be a lot of fun and quite a bit helpful too...

Visiting different school sites made me think about some things. It was interesting to see how just a few years make so much difference in someone's behavior. More on that in the next update. Back to vi/emacs and the church's website. Have a great Friday everyone!
Hail warriors! Some things this week were quite frustrating [or at least they seemed to be...] Anyway, there is some food for thought right below and some more of the "How Nerds Are Raised" series :-]

"Not until man is aware of his deepest need is he ready to discern and grasp what can meet his deepest need."
Blaise Pascal
I certainly agree with the quote above. I think until we understand who we are and our reason for being on this planet, we will continue to run around trying to get everything in hopes that it will make us happy.

Happiness really isn't far from us, but first we have to realize that we are not "civilized animals" but we are first and foremost spiritual beings. And as such, our deepest need is a spiritual need and until it is fulfilled we will never know what happiness is...

[Installing Linux, The Nerd's Guide, Part II]
Well after all the packages were installed, Linux booted and I was able to login and run a few simple commands. Happy with it's performance I turned off the computer. After I turned it back on, a message came up "Operating System Not Found." Is this exciting or what? One challenge after another! :-]

Let's just say I turned it off and went to save my kingdom in Warlords:Battlecry. Excellent game by the way and contrary to what I believed, Blizzard's Warcraft III isn't the first game to implement Role-Playing and Real-Time-Strategy in one game. If you like strategy games at all, give it a try, they have a demo on their website.

The next day I decided to install Linux from the CD-ROM [yes, I gave in to the pressure :-] I was able to run the Custom installation and not Typical. I figured that I better figure out how Linux works and then I can come back to the FTP install... I am going to try and use it in just the command line mode, without the GUI. Hopefully I will gain more understanding on how it works this way.

I was faced with an interesting and frustrating situation at work. I like to be able to help people and make their lives easier if I can. In my free time I have created a few tools [batch files, installation scripts, etc.] that were helpful to me and to others [or so I thought.] Everything was well, until someone said "Thank you for creating them" and asked if anyone else said "Thanks."

After going through my memories I had no recollection of any sign of appreciation from anyone [except for maybe one or two friends.] That bothered me and then my reaction bothered me even more. I try to express appreciation for anyone's help as much as possible, it costs me practically nothing and it makes the other person feel good, so why not do it?

My first reaction was to stop sharing any tools that I spend time making and let everyone else figure it out on their own. Or at least let them know that I have the tools and will be glad to share them but instead of making them freely available, have the people come and ask for them. This way I will at least know if they are of any use to anyone or if I'm just fooling myself.

I started analyzing myself. Why do I feel that way? I don't remember feeling that way before, what changed? I remembered listening to a tape [I think by Joyce Meyers] where she described various characters. One of them required frequent signs of appreciation otherwise it made it not worth it for that person to stay at their place of work.

I didn't really consider myself one of those people, but maybe it was simply because I always was appreciated? Or maybe because the ones I wasn't appreciated by didn't mean much in my life and the ones whose opinion did mean something always did show their appreciation? I think that that was probably the case...

Now I'm faced with a dilemma, do I continue to offer my work for free or do I offer the help but keep the tools so only the ones that ask for them will get them? I need to think about this more...
Greetings all! A few interesting and funny things happened since yesterday [do I update often or what?! :-] Let's just start from where we left off. Just to warn you, this is a pretty nerdy update, if you don't care about computers, just skip the [PCs] section. On the other hand, if you can't fall asleep, print it out and read it in bed :-]

After I finished my last update I worked a bit more on trying to get Linux installed via FTP [running on my local NetWare server.] After a few failed attempts I decided to go to bed. At about 5:30AM I woke up and went downstairs to try and figure it out once more but to no avail.

I actually was able to connect to the FTP server with from the Linux Install app and even got to the next step in the installation process but then it failed again. Then my FTP server started beeping every 30 seconds saying that it was not able to find the [world] group. Not surprisingly, I never created it, I didn't even know I needed one!

At that point it was time to go to work. On my lunch time I went home, swallowed the food [great fajitas Chuda!] and went back to my computer room. I started looking around the UNICON utility on the NetWare server [one that allows you to manage UNIX services on the NetWare server, FTP, UNIX print services, NIS-Novell Information Server, etc.]

Turned out that after copying my Linux CD on one of the volumes using FTP client, a UNIX group was created and assigned rights to that directory, as you can imagine the group's name was WORLD. Next logical idea was to map the EVERYONE NDS group to the WORLD UNIX group and everything should be happy right? Well, looking at the group's properties I saw a field which allows you to map an NDS group to a UNIX group, but guess what? It wouldn't let me even get to the field that let's you assign the other group! Arrgh!!!

Back to www.support.novell.com pages and the Knowledgebase. And there it says "when you open NDS group's properties in UNICON, go to the field that let's you map a UNIX group to it, select OK and press Enter." How helpful! More searching through the UNICON menus and finally looking at the bottom of one of the pages I find "Update Rights: NetWare=granted UNIX=denied Mapping=denied." Interesting...

After browsing through the menus some more I come across Novell Information Server Administration menu. That's when my lunch was over and I had to go. After work I got myself a bowl of cereal, kissed Chuda and went to the computer room again :-] Some more UNICON menu studying and I figured out what the problem was. Turns out I had to enable NIS and make my server the master NIS replica server. After that I had the right to map groups to each other and everything went smoothly.

Back to my Linux box, logged in to the FTP server and after correcting a small syntax error installation started. Partitioned the hard drive, assigned UNIX directories to the partitions [/, /usr, /home,] selected the application packages to install and now as I write this, the Linux box is chugging along, installing the packages.


One might ask, what is the moral of all this and why did I have to go through all this work if all I had to do, was to configure the BIOS to boot from CD or just boot from the floppy, let Linux mount the CD-ROM and install it from there? If you do not understand this, you are not a true nerd [at least by my definition :-] That would have been too simple and would carry no feeling of accomplishment with it.

Because of this little exercise I made myself go through, I know how to get UNIX services working properly on a NetWare server and I also know that if I had a good UNIX/Linux server with installation CD mounted I could easily install Linux on a workstation. Then I could also create an install script and place it on the server, run "bootp" services on it and have the workstation boot itself up, get on the network and start installing the OS without me having to be at the actual workstation! Is that automated or what?

Well, today we did have our meeting and there were some new directions, but not really any new rules. I thought that the chain of command order would be established officially to end all the restlessness but it didn't happen. I guess I will wait a bit longer and then I will mention to Marc that it may be a good idea to do that.

The main point of the meeting was that we were assigned 10-11 schools to each technician to take care of on top of all the regular things we get [phone support, etc.] Not only will we have to support the administrators at schools but also the classroom computers. That's about 20-60 computers per school [some High Schools easily have 60.] There are some good things about this setup and I'm willing to wait and see how it all works out.

Shinjuru has finally opened up his Uncut/Uncensored Shinjuru page where he spills all his thoughts in his regular unfiltered manner. Good study material, helps to understand each other better. This is my Uncut/Uncensored page, even when I speak I have to think things through and then say it, so another version of this page would be the same.

Well this was a much longer update than I thought it was going to be. Enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend.
Hail warriors! Hope you had a nice 3 day weekend [if you had it that is] and hopefully your Monday wasn't too bad since it was really Tuesday. It was pretty busy at work since it was the first day of school but we did OK.

As I write this, I am copying files from SuSE 6.4 Linux distro CD to my FTP server [my actual NetWare server running FTP service.] Another PC is sitting on my workbench ready to start installing Linux via FTP. I had to transfer files from the CD to the FTP server using FTP client since simply copying it in Windows didn't seem to do the job.

Linux setup says it can't find the file it needs after connecting to the server. I can see the file on the sever from Windows or from another FTP client and the Setup application seems to be looking in the right place... Ahh, the intricacies of a new OS :-] Nothing gets a real nerd going as something that isn't working right. Especially if it's something new and interesting.

I have an idea that it may have something to do with UNIX/Linux being case sensitive. I probably will have to work with different Name Spaces on the NetWare/FTP server, namely NFS [UNIX/Linux native file system.]

Tomorrow at 9:00 we are going to have a meeting with Marc, our "not so new anymore" Help Desk/Network manager. Will be interesting what new direction/rules will be announced. Some things that were already de-facto standards should be made the official standard [can't remember what that other "de-???" word is :-] Makes the life easier for everyone I think.

On Monday we had a barbecue with my parents and close family at our house. Chuda is truly a great chef! I sure am glad that it is one of her many good qualities. Anyway, whenever I talk to parents they usually fill me up on all the news in the oh-so-huge Kioroglo clan :-] I try to keep in touch with most of my cousins and closer uncles/aunts/etc. but there are just so many of them and not having a whole lot in common other than memories and blood doesn't help much either.

In any case, on to my point. They told me that one of my cousins, Vitaliy, quit his career in the medical field and became a truck driver! That was a shocker. Most people go in the opposite direction I think. After talking it over with Chuda I was reminded how blessed I am. I only had to spend about 3 years of my life working at a job that I didn't really like but was just working to make a living and ever since I have been working in the field that brings me a lot of enjoyment.

When I looked around I noticed that most people actually work just to make a living without really enjoying their jobs. Either they don't know what field they should go to or the one they are in pays more money. How sad...


On to another point. I was asked about the "There is no such thing as "safe place" while you are on this planet" comment in one of my ramblings. To clear things up a bit, it wasn't physical, it was more of a spiritual comment.

Basically I was reminded that you should always have your shield up armor on and your sword ready. You can get a blow from the back sometimes even from people you consider friends. It may be intentional or not but if it hurts it hurts and if you weren't ready for it, it may take a while to recover...

Luckily I was able to block it and it caused me only a minor scratch ["Nothing but a flesh wound! I've had worse. Come on you pansy!" The Black Knight, Monty Python And The Holy Grail] You have to remember that as good of a friend as someone may be, they are only human and as such will probably fail or hurt you at some point.


On a somewhat different note, I am reconsidering some of my habits/character traits. Because I like to watch and analyze people, after a while I am able to make an educated guess regarding reasons for their behavior. When someone else makes a judgement regarding a person or his/her deeds, I naturally try to explain and in a way defend that person.

Lately I have been thinking whether it is a good thing or not. If someone is doing something wrong, simply understanding their reasons for doing it does not make it right in any way. And there is no reason to try and explain their behavior unless I am asked to. That will save me a lot of energy. I will leave it up to you to figure out my reasons behind this decision :-]


Well, coffee in the thermos is getting low and the file copy is almost done too. I am on to make some more coffee and explore the wonderful world of Linux installation error messages. Don't you wish you had my life? :-P
Greetings! Life is a good thing. We had a great time with Chuda on Sunday and had plenty of time to discuss our life and the way it should be. There are some serious issues I thought about in the last couple of weeks and I want to make sure that I deliver them in a clear way, without any hurry. So here comes Part I of my thoughts on the events of the last week or two.

A few things happened at work that surprised me a bit. There was some friction between some of my friends and coworkers. What surprised me is that they didn't want to apologize to each other even though in some ways they all were wrong. Each had a good point but each also had a mistake or two and some of the tempers were on display. Almost every time your temper is on display you will have to apologize. Spirit should always be in control, otherwise you will be sorry.

That reminded me that until you are born again and God becomes your Father your spirit is dead! That helped me understand why people are not willing to apologize as easily as I usually do if I'm wrong. Dad [God] reminded me that it wasn't this way always, that most of the good things about me today are the result of his work in me within the last few years.

I was also reminded that it wasn't easy at all in the beginning, but now that I've gone through all of that I and people around me can tell that I am a much better person and am quite a bit happier too. The song below, "Release" by Six Feet Deep, sums it up pretty well I think.

	You found me broken,
	in a place called misery.
	You found me full of hatred,
	yet empty.
	With all the trophies,
	of the path I chose,
	hung around my neck,
	like shackles.

	Though my blood fermented,
	by this blackened heart,
	Your hand stretched out to me,
	asking nothing.
	You healed my sickness,
	You cured my disease,
	You brought salvation,
	You brought release.

	You know where I came from,
	You know what I'd be,
	if You hadn't saved me,
	sacred, broken tree.
	Deserving of nothing,
	guilty of all,
	You gave me everything,
	You didn't let me fall.

	And though I don't understand You,
	why You value me,
	I'm forever grateful,
	for Your mercy.
	And though I thought the pain,
	the pain would never cease,
	You brought redemption,
	You brought release.
I had a great time with Mark, Anton and Timothy at our LAN party on Saturday. We found that playing as a team against someone else [in our case a computer] is usually more fun than playing against each other. Even though I did kick all their behinds in Unreal Tournament Deathmatch [felt good after loosing to Little Jon and Shinjuru so often lately.] Now I know where those two spend most of their free time :-]
Greetings all! There were quite a few interesting things that happened in the last few days. Some are good some are worthy of a deep thought. I won't be able to cover all of it in this update, simply because I haven't processed all of it fully yet [think spiritual/scientific analysis, a bit deeper than "this sucks" "that rocks" :-]

I just received an email from Jim, our retired IT director and a friend of mine. He seems to be enjoying his early retirement and is starting to play with Apache and Perl. Now I'm getting jealous. Both of the products are Open Source and are free and fully customizable.

After thinking about it for a while, Dad [God] and I came to conclusion that I should free some more time for me to work on things that will advance me further in my vision. So for now I will try not to take any more customers and focus most of my energy and free time on studying UNIX/Linux and TCP/IP. I am about half way through the Networking Technologies exam from Novell.

This Saturday we are planning another LAN party at my house, this time with my friend Mark, Timka [Timothy] and my brother Anton. This is going to be the last game day we will have with Mark before he leaves to Riga [see 08-08-00 post.] I think we will cover Quake 3 Arena, Unreal Tournament, maybe Worms and Starcraft. Next one I probably will do with Anton and his friends [Diablo II, Starcraft and Worms maybe.] And if everything is well, the one after I would like to have with Shinjuru, Little Jon and maybe someone else from my work.

There were a few thought provoking things that happened at work but I will cover them later in detail. Some of them I am still processing. Two good things happened though, one - from this point on we won't have to accept any computer that management chooses as the standard and shoves down our throat, instead as in all normal organizations we will be able to evaluate them before putting the specs on the "recommended" list.

Second one - I was reserving my opinion about Marc, our new manager for some time, but after a few talks with him I think he will bring a few good things to the table. And I think we better pray that God will give him enough wisdom to handle the position he has. There are a few pitfalls that await anyone who accepts a position as a manager in an organization that is as complex and in the middle of so many project as SCUSD and especially our IS department.

Man, this update has more links in it than actual text :-P Enjoy the rest of the week and remember to carry your sword and shield with you wherever you go. There is no such thing as "safe place" while you are on this planet and I was reminded of that just last week, but later on that.
Wazzzup!!! [sorry couldn't resist it :-] Hope you had a nice week, mine was pretty busy but still enjoyable. Below is a pretty wordy update. Big part of it is quite nerdy, but you can skip it if you wish. Also at the bottom is a long promised introduction of our new writer, Chuda. She has a short and to the point story [how many girls can do that? :)] that she wants to share. If you want to contact her, email her.

I have learned a few interesting things about NetWare this week. My SYS volume is on an old 1GB hard drive and I am a little afraid that it may fail some day. After reading about mirroring and duplexing in NetWare I thought that instead of buying an expensive tape backup drive [a fairly good one is about $300] I would instead partition one of my other drives into 2 partitions and mirror one of them to the SYS volume.

Interestingly enough, within the next 3 days a hard drive on one of the servers at my job failed. I asked the guys at work if my idea about mirroring, unplugging the first, bad drive and letting the second one take over would work. They agreed that in theory it sounded good and couldn't come up with any reason why it wouldn't work.

The server was running NetWare 3.20, we connected a second 9GB drive to it and tried my theory. Sadly we were pressed for time and couldn't find an easy enough way to create a partition of exactly the same size as the original [the size had to be exactly the same in blocks not just MB.] We had to give up, remove the bad drive, connect a new drive and reinstall NetWare from scratch.

After I came home I decided to give it a try on my own. I moved all the data from my VOL2 which I use for business purposes to my HOME volume. I reinitialized the disk [a Novell's term for FDISKing I guess.] After that I created 2 partitions, first one matching the partition on which my SYS volume resides.

I was glad to learn that NetWare 5 didn't require the partitions to be exactly the same size, the mirror had to be at least as big as the original, that's all. I mirrored the first partition on that drive to the SYS partition and created VOL2 on the second partition. After I downed and turned off the server I unplugged the SYS volume. This is where magic began :-)

After server was brought up, it said that the SYS volume wasn't available but that there was a mirror and that if I wanted to I could make it a volume. I was prompted to give it a name [out of nowhere I just named it SYS :-] The server came up and everything worked like a charm! The smile on my face stretched almost to my ears and after putting some more electrical tape on my broken glasses :-P I started thinking.

What if instead of having my SYS partition on that old drive I would keep it on the good Seagate that it was already on and instead initialize [FDISK] the old 1GB Quantum and mirror it to the Seagate's SYS partition. That sounded like a good idea to me since there was a lot less of a chance for the Seagate drive to fail [it is only about a year old,] plus it is faster. And I still would have a mirror in case Seagate does go down.

Well, sadly after getting all the way to level 19 my hardcore -thinker- paladin died. The saddest thing was that he died because of lag and not because of my mistake. One second his life sphere was full and the next second the screen said "You died. There is no coming back but your valor and great deeds will be remembered." or something along those lines [I couldn't read it well through the tears :-]

I asked Dad [God] why that happened and he said that it is better to have a normal character. I wouldn't be afraid to play with others so much [as I noticed I started to do, fearing that because of their stupidity I would be surrounded by too many monsters while they flee the battleground.] Most of the fun is to play with others and not just on your own. After considering his point I had to agree [surprise, heh? :-]

Last week I won a photo camera on the ebay.com, FUJI AX with a few good lenses, converters and a flash.

For a while I had exactly the same camera, then I dropped it and it stopped working. After checking with a camera repair place they said that the labor alone would cost almost $100 and there was no guarantee that they would have the required part since the camera is somewhat old.

After coming home I got on the ebay and found this camera. It was listed for $40, somewhat in a rush I bid $100. I knew that most people don't check for items that are not going to be sold in the next couple of days so more than likely the price would go quite a bit higher in the end [I checked at a store and a similar camera would cost around $150 plus $50-$120 for each lens. And that was at a used camera place too.]

After thinking about it I had to apologize to Dad for my rush bid, it is his money after all and I just manage it. He said that it was OK, I realized my fault and I was forgiven. Then he had me go and bid $150 on it. Next day the camera was ours for $147.50 :-] I have to say that after I met that guy my life became a lot more fun.

I was talking to God about a friend whom I had been helping. I couldn't understand why she didn't welcome my help. He began telling me to only help when He tells me to because He knows when it will be received. "I was only trying to make her life better" I complained. I suddenly knew that this was a small taste of what He goes through with us.

I have a few more things I could post but I am running out of time, in 15 minutes it won't be 8-15-00 anymore and I will have to change the picture :-] Good night, hope your week goes well, -thinker- and Chuda.
Greetings! Please accept my deepest apologies for not updating on time. I have been sick for a week and then I had quite a few things to get done at work. In any case, I hate excuses, so please forgive me and let us move on. As a peace offering please accept the update below that should take you couple of hours to read and a lot more to analyze.

After getting all excited about DualHead [ability to connect 2 monitors to 1 video card] on my Matrox Millenium G400 MAX video card, I had a small disappointment. After I installed Windows 2000, turned out that the only way to run 2 monitors is to set both of them to the same resolution and span the desktop [so instead of 1280x1024 I could have 2560x1024 resolution.] Well I could live with that, but sadly my old 14" monitor won't handle anything higher than 800x600 at any decent refresh rate. So now I will have to look for a decent 17" monitor, something that could handle 1280x1024. Maybe some day I will even buy another 21", now that will be fun! :-)

And someday not only flight simulators will be capable of running 2 monitors, but hopefully some other games too. I sure could go for an overhead or a rear view in Unreal Tournament, maybe then I can beat Shinjuru and Little Jon :-) Who said it's cheating? Some of us use our reflexes while others use other talents available to them :-P

Lately I have been playing Diablo II and Worms Armageddon a lot. In DII I have 3 characters and started a 4th one today. All of them are paladins, it is the character that I can relate to and I have the most fun with. First one is WarriorOfLight, an open character [one you can play on local network at home and on Battle.net.] I finished the game with him a little while ago, he is currently level 29. Second one is Prayer-Warrior, it is on US East Battle.net realm [this character is saved on Blizzard's server and can't be played anywhere but on the US East Realm. I just finished the game in normal mode with him, he is level 28 and quite strong.

Third character is another open character, also WarriorOfLight. I started him just to play with Chuda [her amazon character is level 17 so my level 29 paladin would be bored waiting for her to get that high.] My brother Anton also has his character on my PC, he is a Barbarian, level 17. Last night I created a "hardcore" character on the US West Realm. Hardcore character has only one life and can not be resurrected if he dies [unlike regular characters.] It is a lot more challenging, but so far I got him to level 9 and he is pretty happy.

My friend Mark is planning on going to Riga, Latvia [part of former USSR] to a Bible college. I was very glad to hear that, first because Alex Ledyaev is a great preacher/teacher and they have a great church there. All that should help his inner man/spiritual man to grow quite a bit. Hopefully when he comes back he will be a strong warrior we can take on some serious demonic strongholds with, not just UT or Diablo strongholds :-)

Second, he will be working together with some of the better video guys there, which should help him advance towards his dream. This is one decision he made that Chuda and I as his friends are very proud of. And even though we will miss him, we shall reunite after few months and I'm sure will become even closer friends.


After talking to God, He and I have decided to seriously focus my prayer on one of my physical flaws, my eyesight. I had fine vision when I was a kid, but then for no apparent reason it started to degrade slowly. Now in order to see well I have to wear contacts. I have asked God to heal my eyes and restore my vision and He promised that it was going to happen, but it hasn't happened yet.

After talking with Him, He reminded me that there is a spiritual war going on at all times, with forces of evil doing everything possible to stop children of Light from receiving blessings that belong to them. In some cases just asking isn't enough, we have to fight in order to receive the promised. Spiritual war requires spiritual weapons and that is prayer. One of the stronger weapons is fasting. We have made an agreement that I will fast one day a week until my eyes are healed.

I went through something similar a few years ago, when I was praying for a better job [I was working midnight to 8 in the morning on a printing press.] That also required more than just praying, after fasting for some time I received an invitation to apply for a job that was more than I was even asking for.

This time after my first day of fasting I have to say that I feel stronger, more focused and more alert spiritually. For some time now I have been considering having that once a week fast regularly, praying for different things. If that day was any indication of what I will gain by doing it, sign me up!

It is getting late, I better go to bed. Good night all, I pray that your Tuesday goes well. -thinker- out.
Sorry guys, I'm sick and won't be able to update the site on time. Check back next week and thank you for visiting! -thinker-
Greetings warriors! Last night I had an interesting experience with Chuda, which reminded me that "In a relationship a man is like an ant on a wheel of a large truck. He thinks he knows where he is and what is happening but only until the truck starts moving." :-]

We were editing some photos on my PC when I turned around, Chuda leaned towards me and I moved my elbow back, sucessfully giving her a bloody nose. Well, after a few sincere apologies I thought I was done and we could move on. Chuda went to the bathroom to whipe the blood off and I kept working on the pictures [those who are married, get that grin off your face! :-]

Do I have to say that was a mistake? After that I had to apologize for me "not caring about her" and "being cold-hearted and insensitive" for about 15 more minutes. Apparently you can't act the same with girls as with guys and expect the same results. Live and learn I guess.

Well, after such a success with my last Celeron, I decided to try how far my Athlon will go. With it's standard heatsink/fan it was pretty warm, I would even say hot to touch. After I put a bigger heatsink/fan combo on, it is just a little warmer than the case of the PC. Sadly though, the best I can get out of the 700 so far is 750MHz. The problem is that my motherboard allows me to increase the bus speed and not the CPU multiplier, thus making all the devices on the PCI and AGP bus run faster too. Looks like some of them can't keep up...

I have heard of "gold finger" adapters, which after being plugged into the Athlon will allow you to adjust the CPU multiplier. I will look into those but probably not any time soon, I'm pretty happy with the current speed to tell the truth.

Lately I've been playing Diablo II [bet you would have never guessed :-P] and Worms Armageddon. My WarriorOfLight paladin is already level 25 and is about quarter way through Act III. In Worms A. I got my behind kicked a few times on the Internet but it was fun nonetheless. After some practice I got better and even came to love the BnG games [bazookas and grenades only.]

If you think games can't be educational, play Worms BnG and you will start reaching for Geometry books to calculate the trajectory of your next strike [if the power of the wind is 40% and I shoot the bazooka at about 75 degrees with about 60% power, will it kick that enemy worm into the water or not? :-]

In our two week journey with Chuda we have reached a point where a major problem resurfaced and this time we were able to find an equally satisfying solution. Man, this realationship stuff is serious work... I do have to say that for us it was worth it and if I had a choice I would have done it all over again.

Hoping that the rest of your week goes well, -thinker-
Greetings all! My good friend Shinjuru enlightened me in the ways of marriage a few days ago. After I asked him what "dog phase" means, he gave me the list of phases most couples go through:
	-Dating Phase
	-Buying things together Phase
	-Marriage Phase
	-Accepting chores phase
	-Buying more expensive things together phase
	-Dog Phase
	-Children Phase
	-Terrible 2 Phase
	-Anything but Teenagers Phase
	-The Magical 18 Phase (There is a God!)
	-Retirement Phase

I thought that it was pretty funny even though I disagree with some of them, or at least I pray that the "Terrible 2 Phase" and the "Anything but Teenagers Phase" aren't as bad as they sound.

Just to give you an idea of how fast Windows 2000 is, here is a screenshot. I was copying about a gigabyte worth of stuff, but 229432 minutes [3823 hours or 5 months] on a 700MHz computer? Well, to be honest it did copy the whole thing in about 15-20 minutes, but that message did make me laugh when I saw it :-]

I didn't forget about my Athlon overclocking project, I just decided to reinstall Windows and set my computer up with Win2K as my main Work Windows and Win98 as my Games Windows. So far everything seems to be pretty good, no freezing or anything strange like that.

There was one little problem though. I have two 128MB DIMMs in my PC, one PC100 and the other PC133. After installing that big new heatsink/fan, my 3rd DIMM slot is blocked and my 2nd slot is extremely close to the fans on the heatsink. I am a little afraid if there may be some magnetic interference there, if so I might have to buy a 256MB DIMM...

One day after rebooting my computer to get to Win2K, it froze at the OS [Operating System] selection screen. A few more reboots didn't seem to help, that's when I noticed that it was only recognizing 128MB of memory. After a few experiments I had to move my PC100 DIMM to the first slot and take the PC133 out because it didn't seem to work the other way.

A couple of days later, I put the PC133 into the second slot and everything is fine again. Seems a little strange; could be that the PC133 DIMM was setting the PC memory bus to run faster than the PC100 could handle, but then again the motherboard is a PC100 board and should have been using PC133 as PC100. Or it could be that the PC100 DIMM is having less problems with the fans being so close than the PC133 DIMM. For now everything is fine.

Do you remember when I mentioned the two week period we are going through with Chuda? I think we must have been drunk when we agreed to do that. We had more arguments in the last week than in the last few months! Arrgh! Well, we both still agree that it is a good thing and I can already see some good things coming from it in the near future, but man is it painful!

During my morning talk with my best friend [God] he told me to pray about something very interesting regarding our management. I am still deciding whether to post this or not, but the basic idea is that there may be some changes above and hopefully soon. I am very curious myself to see how and when it will happen. This last one didn't take more than a couple of months if I recall correctly.
Happy Independence Day everyone! [whether in U.S. or not.] As much as I wanted to update earlier, by the time I got to work on this, it was already the last day!

Something good/sad happened last week. One of our managers resigned. Good because ever since she was hired, a lot of unneeded stress seemed to be added to everyone's life and after she left it was like a load fell off our shoulders. Sad because my prayer was that God would give our managers wisdom to do their jobs well and make good decisions, or if they are not willing to, that he would give those jobs to someone who will do the right thing. Apparently she wasn't willing to/wasn't able to change.

Next week we will have a new manager starting, this time overseeing the Network Techs and the Help Desk. It can be a good thing, if the right person is at the top, so I'm praying for the poor guy :-], there is a lot of work to do... Sally will be overseeing the programmers now that Mehrnaz isn't here. I think this might work out quite well, I really didn't think that we needed a replacement for the Applications Manager.

Chuda and I are doing an experiment. For the next two weeks we will not be planning anything ahead of time [well, at least at home, after my regular job.] We will just be listening to God's voice for direction [some people prefer to call it "the voice of the heart." That is what you should listen to before you become His son/daughter, after that it is time to talk to Dad directly and not just listen to the echo of his voice in your soul.] It will be interesting; already we had a few discoveries about our characters and some hidden traits/habits that we weren't aware of.

Our prayer was to see what is hidden and what may be hindering our relationship, not allowing it to reach it's top potential. Before you try this at home, make sure you both agree about it and fasten your seat belts. God help Chuda... :-]

Diablo II is coming along, last night I finished Act II [there are 3 acts and the final battle,] tonight will watch the movie sequence and get acquainted with the new town. My WarriorOfLight paladin is level 23 already and died only about 6 times... Chuda likes the game too, her amazon is growing up pretty well too, she even found some jewelry already :-P [rings and amulets.]

This one comes from Roberts Liardon. He was talking about character traits and habits and I have to agree with it.
"Whatever you tolerate will dominate."
Greetings all! Please accept my sincere apologies for updating a little late. Time ran by quicker than I thought. I do appreciate your patience with me very much...

A few things happened: Win2K froze on me once at home and I found out that Photoshop 5.5 and Win2000 3D text screen saver are not friends at all [PC restarts whenever one is open and the other one starts.] Disabling the screen saver seemed to work just fine.

Diablo II is out and I got my collectors copy. That is part of why I was late with the update, sorry again :-] It is as good as I thought it would be and better [even the 640x480 resolution doesn't bug me much any more.] If you are a fan of RPGs [Role Playing Games] put it on your "highly recommended" list. Even if you aren't an RPG fan, try it anyway, you might just like it, there is quite a bit of action and the story is great.

The only thing to consider, it's rated Mature by ESRB. I am still thinking about letting my brother Anton play it.

Lately I've had very good time with my best friend [God]. He had some suggestions on how to unclutter our lives and how to improve our relationship with Chuda and with him. We also are having a great time playing Diablo II. He sure knows what he is talking about [as obvious as that may sound :-] and playing with him is a blast.

There was also one lesson that he taught me last week. One of my friends bought a brand new car not very long ago, main reason being "I just want a nice car that has a warranty and I can rely on." Later on he confessed that it was mostly a toy for him and I could tell that all the reasons for getting it basically were nothing more than excuses.

Some time ago I've learned that as appealing as something may seem, it's not worth getting unless God is behind it and is approving it. If you get it anyway, it always turns out to be disappointing. This was no exception. At first the car had a problem with transmission which he had to fix 2-3 times [at least it was still under warranty :-] Now turns out the car isn't brand new, it was in an accident [probably just an accident on the dealers parking lot but still a fender and possibly some other parts were replaced.]

Here is another very nice poem named "There Is A Treason At Sea", this time by Kevin Max of DC Talk:

	I am solo in this world of water
	Only the tip of a sunrise visible
	Like the morning light in a little girl's eyes

	I crave this freedom
	I find it only in this little ship
	Just my soul and this bread and butter
	I am comfortable

	But there is a treason at sea
	Is it me?
	It is a wonder, supernatural cover of war
	The dark ones who eternal in damnation grow
	Set about me now
	How they whine and crow

	I am solo
	In this world of wet
	And bitter is my temperament
	I close the door to sentiment
	And I relish all my youth

	I realize that I am doomed
	Fear of love and fear of you
	But you give me the keys to paradise
	It is you who sympathize

	You and your perfection grow
	I am cradled in your ocean's throw
	I crave your freedom in this little ship
	For you alone can chart my trip
	And like these waves I lose my grip
	And I sink into your arms.
Happy Friday! I'm sure glad it's here. This week I haven't been sleeping very much for some reason, so I'm looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday...

I wanted to clarify something. I usually don't put the author of a quote unless it adds to the meaning in some way. Some of them are from the Bible, some are proverbs from different countries and some are from "who knows where." In any case, usually a quote is either good or isn't, no matter who said it first.
"One dog barks at a shadow and a thousand dogs take it for reality."
Finished setting up Chuda's, my brother Anton's and my sister Tanya's computers. Everyone is happy now :-) Installed Windows 2000 [for work] and Windows 98 [for games] on Chuda's, liked the setup so much that last night did the same thing on mine. So far so good.

I have a very happy news. At the last computer show I picked up some parts for Chuda's new computer and Anton's too. Both of them got a Celeron 533, Chuda got an ASUS CUBX and Anton got an ASUS P3V4X with a "slotket" adapter to fit the socketed Celeron in the Slot 1 on the motherboard. I also bought some pretty big heatsink/fan coolers. It paid off quite well I have to say, I was able to get Anton's Celeron to run at 667MHz and Chuda's at 800MHz! That made my day for sure!

I've installed all the software on Chuda's and ran Unreal Tournament loop with plenty of action and explosions on screen [16 players on a map meant for 2-4 players] for over 4 hours and it has not frozen even once! That's pretty impressive I have to say, and the whole thing cost me $107 for the Celeron and $23 for the heatsink/fan [GlobalWin FDP32 cooler.] Now my next overclocking project will be to put a new heatsink/fan on my Athlon 700 and see where that takes us...

I am still pretty happy with the Linksys DSL/Cable router. The only thing that was disappointing for me [which really isn't Linksys' problem] is that I can't play in the same game on the Internet from both of my computers that are behind the router. Even though it is kind of sad but it is understandable. A game can't work with more than one computer with the same IP address. Oh well.

Lately I've been listening to Six Feet Deep [isn't this a sweet name :-] and sang along a few songs when no one was around. [I will leave it up to your imagination to decide whether I was singing because no one was around or no one was around because I was singing :-P] Below are the lyrics of a song titled Land Of The Blind. It certainly is one of my favorites...
	In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king
	The masses buy the lie, and swallow everything.
	But if ever entered such a man with eyes of a pair,
	would he rule the land as new found king?
	Or would he be...

	Hit by a thousand stones,
	backed by two thousand angry fists,
	Hit by flying, blind arrows.

	In the mind of a child, the line's thin between right and wrong.
	But give it time, I'm sure things will change before long
	But if ever child grows up strong, with a mind of his own,
	will he sing out loud the blind man's song?
	or will he be...

	Hit by a thousand stones,
	backed by two thousand angry fists,
	Hit by flying, blind arrows.

	For Your sake, I'll endure this.
	Now I lay these broken arrows at Your feet,
	take them from me, see the blind man on his knees.
	In the land of the blind, I can't seem to find my place.
	For so long I've closed my eyes,
	and hoped no one feels the tears on my face.

	But if ever I arrive one day, with throat dry as sand,
	will you greet me with a warm embrace?
	or will I be...

	Hit by a thousand stones,
	backed by two thousand angry fists,
	Hit by flying, blind arrows.
This is where Napster comes in very handy. Sadly members of the band separated and formed two separate bands [I still haven't found them anywhere,] and it may be hard to find their CDs, but at least you know that someone on Napster will have it. [I am lucky enough to have bought both of them, Struggle and The Road Less Traveled. I have scanned the artwork and am trying to figure out how I can put some of it together for a nice Windows wallpaper.

While downloading some songs, I was looking at the song collection of another user and came across P.O.D. [Payable On Death.] I have heard of them before but never listened to any of their songs. Well after listening to one of them [Southtown] I downloaded 25 more :-] I haven't found the lyrics for most of their songs but a couple of them seem to be pretty good.

Hope you will have a great weekend, I know I will.
Greetings all! Below is a short update of what is happening and is going to happen in the next few days. By the way, have you thought about the things we've talked about last time? If not, here is your last chance, I won't talk about it this time but I surely will very soon, so stop wasting time and get on with it already!

I received the DSL router and after reading all the instructions I finally got it to work correctly :-] So far it has been working very well and I don't have any complaints with it. I've tested it on my main PC [downloading a 100MB file, playing Unreal Tournament and playing some movie previews from Apple's site.] Works as a charm.

I also connected a second PC and was downloading two very large files [100MB and 75MB] simultaneously, one of them was downloading at 74.6KBps [yes KBps not Kbps] and the other was downloading at 70.4KBps giving me a total of over 144KBps together which is about 1.2Mbps. Considering some of the network overhead I would say that it is very close to the max of 1.5Mbps possible on a DSL line. God is very good to me, some people are getting 384Kbps...

Well if you are considering buying one of these, I suggest you read this review first.
[update 2008.02.23 - that site is no longer available]
Looks like some people are having problems with it. Now, reading comments like "This thing sucks big time" isn't very helpful because we do not know how technical the people that wrote them are. Take Linux for example. Anyone with some technical abilities and a desire to learn will really appreciate it, but someone who wants it "to just work" and "let me browse the web" is probably better off buying a Win9x computer.

Also I haven't tested it with a few PCs playing a multiplayer game on the internet. As soon as I get Chuda's new computer up and running I shall devote myself fully to that excruciating task :-P. I bought the router from www.buy.com So far I've been pretty satisfied with them and probably would recommend it to other people.

I will be building a computer for Chuda this week and also will be fixing/upgrading Anton's computer. Monday and Tuesday off will come in very handy. Depending on how that goes I may not post another update for about a week [in other words I will keep my regular update schedule [once a week] but may not be able to post another update before that.]

For Chuda I bought an FC-PGA Celeron 533 [the one with the Pentium III core and half the cache] and a very big heatsink/fan so hopefully I can overclock it like the good 'ol 300A and gain another 50% speed increase for free :-)

Monday our management is making everyone go to a meeting to talk about "personnel and professional conduct issues." Lately there has been some friction among some of the workers and the management, I sure am praying that they won't make us wear a shirt and a tie and a long face all the time. If so, that will be a good time to look for a better job... Most of the people I work with are great but some managers are just too uptight and grumpy and don't believe in having fun at work.

On the other hand, instead of leaving I just might pray a little harder about the management. Either get smart and do what is right and good for everyone or leave. I guess Monday meeting will tell. Oh no! I just remembered that I will be off on Monday! I guess I just might have to go to the meeting, don't want to miss an opportunity to voice my opinion or support someone else's if there are ears willing to listen... Until then, remember that prayer is a mighty weapon, possibly one of the most powerful ones.

Heh, just noticed that this "quickie" post is longer than some of the "full" ones :-) Enjoy the rest of the Sunday and hope your Monday isn't too rough either.
Greetings fellow warriors! Seems like it's been a l-o-o-o-ng time since my last update, but I guess no more than a week in reality. Time flies when things are happening I guess. First, let me apologize for not updating earlier [even though it is exactly 1 week since my last post, but I wanted to update earlier.] I was pretty busy with some of my customers and upgrading my server at home.

Well, after many sleepless hours, pots of coffee and cases of The Dew I had to give up on the idea of using NetWare to share my DSL connection. I would have to either upgrade it or buy additional software and neither of these choices seemed very appealing [financially at least, even if technically it would have been fun.] So, at this point I just ordered the Linksys DSL router which also has a built-in 4 port switch [I needed some extra ports anyway, so this worked out quite well.] I have not received it yet, but will post an update as soon as I get it and set it up.

I decided to upgrade my servers hardware, so I took Chuda's computer and made it a server, we will build Chuda a better one as soon as the next computer show comes to town. What was interesting, is that moving just the hard drives from the old Pentium 166 with TX chipset motherboard to the new Celeron with BX chipset didn't seem to bother NetWare a bit [even though the IDE controller also changed from 16Mb IDE to 33Mb UltraDMA IDE.] It even found the new CD-ROM drive and installed the driver for it. Seems like even NOS' [Network Operating Systems] are going Plug-and-Play :-)

Setting up a Linux box as a DSL router would have been fun but I just didn't have enough patience to wait until I learned it well enough to implement such a solution. Oh well, nothing keeps me from doing it in the future and I probably will, if for no other reason but the fun of learning something new. While we are on this subject, Networking Technologies part of the CNE test is not as easy as it seemed at first. I still can handle it but now some of the paragraphs I have to reread to understand and remember them.

So far seems like I have quite a few projects to keep "the geek inside" busy for a while and that makes me happy :-) I also got a bigger monitor at work and an internal ATAPI Zip drive [boy that parallel port Zip got on my nerves, almost 30 minutes to transfer 80MB worth of files! Nuts.] And even the ATAPI version is kind of slow, at least compared to the SCSI version. That and a SCSI CD-ROM convinced me that if not for hard drives but for other peripherals SCSI is worth the extra money even for regular home use. My 24X SCSI CD-ROM was faster than any 32X ATAPI version I tested it against.

Great news, Diablo II has gone gold! I will be camping outside our Electronics Boutique store as soon as I hear that they are shipping the collectors edition :-P I've been playing Starcraft:Brood War on the Battle.net lately, kind of fun getting back to it. I had a few very interesting games, even the ones I lost were fun.

On our last camping trip Chuda got a tick. Someday she will write about the lesson that she learned from it, but that reminded me of something. Sometimes people ask me how I can be so calm and stress-free [at least most of the time.] The main reason is that I have assurance that whatever happens to me is good or will be used for my good, and so far I have to say that it has proven to be true.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him..."
The Bible, Romans 8:28
And no, I'm sorry but it isn't talking about the wimpy "oh, I love God in my heart" love. If you loved your wife/husband that way but didn't do a bit about it in real life, I doubt she/he would stay with you for a long time. Let's look this thing directly in the eye and decide something once and for all. Either God exists or doesn't. If he doesn't then you are free to do whatever. But if he does then let's raise some questions here.

Why are you here? Why did He create you? Do you think he might have a reason for you being here, today? Don't you think it might be a good idea to find out? When was the last time you asked yourself and Him these questions? Did you get any answer? If no, how long did you try before giving up?

I have a few more things to say about this matter, but for now, why don't you take some time to think about these questions and see if you come up with some answers. Chuda and I will be going on a trip for a few days starting Sunday and will be back Wednesday next week. I probably won't be able to post anything until next Thursday or Friday, but you should have enough things on your mind to keep you busy until then. When I get back we will talk some more :-] I would be glad to know your opinion on this by the way.
Greetings! This will be a short update, but I will do my best to get another one by the end of this week.

In the last week I've discovered Napster and eBay. So far I like them both, but I haven't had much time to use either of them. Also I seem to like Windows 2000. So far I only use it at work and if not for our 16-bit email system here at work I would be using it all the time. Oh, I also haven't tried any games on it yet... OK, bye for now, if everything is well, check back this weekend. Let the Light be with you.

First the good news - we got the DSL and it is nice! I started working on sharing it among all the PCs in our house [and whoever comes for the LAN parties...] It should be a lot of fun playing Diablo II with all the guys in one room and on the Battle.net at the same time! Also those Unreal Tournaments might be a lot more challenging.

In any case, in order to share the connection I will either have to buy a DSL sharing router or try and configure my NetWare server to work as the router. Sounds like an interesting challenge! One more option is to build a small Linux computer and keep it as a router only, an older 486 might do. I will try the NetWare first.

Monday I worked on it all night and finally by midnight yesterday I got the new NetWare 5 server up and running [the old 4.11 couldn't really be configured for dynamic IP address from my ISP.] Sometime this week I will try and get the router part working.
Shinjuru posted a few funnies on his site [look under June 2,] here is one of them:
Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
Hail all! Here I am again.
The trip was great [we went camping overnight to a place near Stinson Beach.] Beautiful sunset, ocean less than 30 feet away [we camped on a cliff overlooking the ocean,] late night talks by the campfire and roasted marshmallows, what else would you want from a camping trip?

Chuda and I really enjoyed it, as did my brother Anton, friend Mark and Chuda's friend Michelle. Oh yeah, on top of all the beautiful nature we had a few lessons, some of which were quite painful, but that I will describe in one of the future updates.

Shinjuru posted a few interesting quotes on his site, this one really made me laugh,
"Dear God, please save me from your followers!"
I sure feel like that sometimes :-] There were quite a few more that I liked, I added some of them to my Quotes collection. Here is one more quote from his site that reminded me of a President who shall remain nameless but who helped us redefine some of the words in the English language [pretty sad if you ask me...] Don't you just love lawyers and politicians?
"I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version."
Colonel Oliver North (Testifying to Congress)
Below you will find "part II of the midlife analysis :-]" You can read the first part in the previous post.

Realizing that I haven't wasted much time in my life made me feel a little better. I also realized that time does actually fly, especially once you hit 20. It was interesting to look back and see the different stages of my spiritual growth. There were times when things were happening in every area of my life and there were times when it seemed like everything has stopped, but all of those times were useful, brought some fruit and helped me grow.

Another interesting observation I had, was how growing spiritually also affected my physical life [financially, health-wise, etc.] I guess Bible is right when it says that spiritual exercise is useful for many areas of your life...

My plan for the next 5 years...
I actually don't have a clear 5 year [much less 10 year] plan for my life. I do know that I will progress in the Vision I was given and will keep prospering in all of the areas of my life. We will have a son, Samuel with my wonderful Chuda and she will make a great Mom! :-] At this point I'm not really sure if I will still be working a conventional job or will devote all of my time to the Vision.

For some reason I really, really enjoy computers. Not just playing games and having fun with them, but learning new things and resolving problems. I'm not exactly sure how it will be used in the Vision, but it will be interesting to see...

Hope your week was nice so far and pray that the rest of the week will be even better. Talking about prayer... I found myself praying for my friends [and other people :-] at work during my usual "Good morning Dad!" prayer. I am glad I can call them my friends...
Greetings! Most of the post below is kind of a serious analysis of life, so if you are in a fun mood, stop reading right after [games], go have fun and come read the rest later, when you are ready to think :-]

At the reunion of Chuda's family, we found some older photographs, including a copy of each ruined photo I was working on! It was interesting for me to see how good my Photoshop skills were. Go look at the first project and then the second one, if you want.

A very happy news, I was chosen for the Diablo II beta test! Little Jon was also chosen, congrats! So far it looks very nice, even though all the hype and all that waiting over 2 years for it built up some unreasonable expectations. In any case, it looks and plays very nice, even though so far all they give you is one character out of five and only a few quests in the first act out of four acts and tons of quests. Who cares, DII is here! :-]

Someone reminded me that I am already 25 and that scared me a bit. It was like someone pouring a bucket of cold water on you when you are not expecting it. Only 10 years ago I used to look up to guys around me that were in their mid 20's and think "those guys are adults now, they have serious lives, not like me." Now I'm that age and to tell the truth, it doesn't feel all that different from when I was 20...

What have I done with my life in the last 5 years? What have I accomplished? Have I wasted any time? What are my goals for the next 5 years? 10 years? Those are some serious questions and I had to think about them for some time... After doing some analysis of my life, I came to conclusion that I haven't done too bad. [A reassurance from God was helpful too :-]

I decided to analyze my life from my spiritual birth. Everything before that was kind of a waste of time anyway and I didn't care much about life until then. I think that looking at natural [physical] age is not very helpful since I've seen people that were mature at 17 and I also have seen people that weren't mature by the time they were 50. In the light of that I usually judge my life by my spiritual age.

  • From seventeen to nineteen were my baby years, I spent a lot of time learning things and making a lot of mistakes [think of a baby in diapers.]
  • Nineteen to twenty two were my early teenage years, some more learning, watching and judging others and thinking that I know everything :-]
  • Twenty two to this day - youth. Watching and understanding people more, and moving on from "why doesn't someone do this and that" to "what is my part in this life exactly?" and "what can I do to help people?"

I have to go now, I will finish the post later, probably after we come back from our camping trip [Tuesday.] Let me leave you with an interesting quote I found:

"The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift not a right."
Hail all! Saturday and Sunday was very, very hot here. Sunday night I couldn't fall asleep until 5AM! On the up side, we finally got our new car and it is nice! Thanks Dad [he fixed it for us.]

On Saturday my brother Anton, friend Mark, Chuda and I were working on a patio in our back yard. To be more precise we built one where there was nothing :-] It was fun, but the heat was horrible, plus we had some mosquitoes and I was bit at least 10 times.

Monday was pretty nice, not too busy. I was glad to be working in the office and not outside in the sun. Tonight we are going to the movies with Mark, not sure what we will watch though. Chuda decided to pull back from the gardening a little because it consumes so much time. She will be spending more time on the Vision. Shinjuru showed me how to do the anchor on webpages [links to a particular place on page.]

Well, I have to go now. I shall update a little later this week if everything is well. 'til then, "Live long and prosper."
I started reading "NetWare 5 Core Technologies Study Guide" by Sybex, and it is pretty easy so far. I just might become a Certified Novell Engineer by the end of this year, that will be cool. DSL installation has been delayed for some reason, so I called Pacific Bell up and asked them to check what is taking so long.

They probably have the worst customer service. Even though the techs on the phone are nice and everything, but if I was to mess up my customers orders, I would certainly give them a nice discount at least. Kind of shows why monopolies are bad for everyone. They think that they are huge and they can afford losing customers. Well they just might lose this one...
Well, here I am again.

I had a little time to work on the website the other night and I redesigned the Business page a little. Oh yeah, I actually started working on that page because I had to add a new logo, now I am a proud Certified Novell Administrator :-]
[update 2008.02.28 - the linke above points to the current website for my business and not the old "Business" page on this site.]

This is kind of a busy week, a lot of work here at SCUSD and quite a few customers on the side too. Also Chuda and I need to meet with our pastor and talk about church's website. Maybe next week...

I have to go now, but I will try to post an update sometime later this week. -thinker- out.

Here is an interesting quote I read yesterday,
"You should never take life too seriously or you will never get out of it alive."
I am very glad to finally be done with the CNA certification. Because of it I was a little reluctant to start reading computer books, was afraid that stuff will start getting mixed up. Well, now I can go and get some more books, yes! [boy, what a nerd :-p] I am considering Windows 2000, Certified Novell Engineer and a UNIX/Linux/Solaris administrator. Cisco and Network+ look kind of interesting too... I think Win2000/CNE/Cisco will be a very nice combo.
Greetings! Told you I would write some more before the week is over... There is a long post below about computers and operating systems, but feel free to read it even if you are not a geek, I tried to keep from getting too boring :-]

I updated the photos page with a picture of my friend Mark. After the LAN party we will go watch a movie and have a coffee with some of my favorite cousins, Sergey and Vitaliy. We haven't seen each other for over 6 months, even though we live only about 15 minutes away... Kind of sad, but then again, it makes the time we spend together that much more valuable.

Tired of waiting until I get some free time, I decided to take the plunge and install Linux on my PC at work in between working on other PCs. So yesterday, while waiting for a laptop that I was working on to finish ghosting, I installed SuSE Linux 6.4.

I've installed Linux a few times in the past, but this was the quickest and easiest installation ever! It's not as easy as Windows 95/98 installation [mostly because not all the newest hardware is supported] but then again, reliability, security and performance is too big of a price to pay for "user friendliness." Because of operating systems being tailored for "dummies" so much, viruses spread out like crazy... Come on, how dumb is it, to have your email program open up executable attachments automatically? Pictures is one thing, but executables?! Nuts.

The way I think is this: you aren't building a car from parts are you? You go out and buy one, or if you want to get exactly what you want, you have someone else build/modify it for you [someone who spent a lot of time learning how it works and how to build it properly.] Computer is the same thing. Think about all the stuff that it is capable of doing, do you really think that it is possible to read a short manual or a "Dummies" book and build one that will work reliably? I don't think so.

I am all for easy of use, but not when I have to sacrifice stability, security and performance for it. In any case, witnessing with my own eyes the advancement that is happening on the UNIX/Linux front, I am convinced that it will not be long before businesses and even home users will be running some variation of UNIX/Linux. After I learn it a bit more, I will experiment on a few users [my brother/sister and Chuda :-] and see how it will work for them.

Viruses are practically unheard of in UNIX/Linux world because the system is built with security in mind and regular users don't have access to vital parts of the operating system. Once it is installed properly, a user shouldn't be able to ruin the whole system because of some silly thing he/she did.

Tomorrow we will have a LAN party at my house, will play some Unreal Tournament [prove to Shinjuru once and for all that he can't play :-] and maybe Starcraft with my friend Mark and my brother Anton. Maybe even good ol' Worms. We haven't had a LAN party in a while, should be lots of fun...
Hail all! Today will be a short update and I shall post a more detailed one soon.

Last week we sold our Acura Integra and I can't wait for our Acura TL to get done. Having a little more room will be nice and it should be even faster than the Integra [not that I care :-P]

On Saturday I was reminded of how much fun going to garage sales can be. I didn't even mind waking up early, it was nice having a nice breakfast in the morning and driving around with Chuda. We even found a chess board that someone was using as a chopping board, and I was looking for one for a long, long time. Well, it will be fun working on it and hopefully we can find a nice chess set soon.

Chuda also came up with some ideas about the website, she is doing a research for now. We will see how it turns out.

I finally made some time to install Win2K [Windows 2000] at work, and have to say that I am pretty impressed. The install was easy and painless, network configuration went very smoothly and so far I'm yet to experience any glitches.

I can't wait for my DSL service to start, one more week... Sometime soon I will be upgrading my NetWare 4.11 server to NetWare 5.x, that should be an interesting experience. Linux also is waiting for me and next Monday I will be taking Novell CNA test. I am building a computer for my sister Tanya, [Pentium 166, 48MB, 700MB,] something they can use until they can buy a faster one.
Well, well, well, here I am again! :-] OK, let's see what happened lately... Shinjuru got married, bought a new car and updated his website [is he on a roll or what? :-p] Congratulations! Marriage is a wonderful thing, just remember that there will be arguments and disagreements no matter how much you love each other. The important thing is not to keep any grudges. Also, if you feel like listening to some [soapbox] speeches, check out the "Happily Ever After" section of the Chuda story [just scroll to the bottom of that page, I haven't done all the "anchors" and stuff.]

Good news - I installed a second hard drive on my computer at work. We also received Win2K [Windows 2000] CD at work and I found an ISO image [a HUGE file that can be burned on a CD] of SuSE Linux and William was even nice enough to burn it for me :-] As soon as I get a little free time around here, I will be installing both, Win2K and SuSE, that way I get some practice not only at home but also at work... William had DSL installed at his house and sounds very excited about it, I will be getting it pretty soon also [read "spirit" section below.]

I had some problems with my home computer lately. One of the games [Darkstone] just wouldn't work right after upgrading my PC. A few weeks ago I decided to reinstall Windows from scratch and while I was at it install Win 98 Second Edition. Well, that proved to be a real disappointment. 98SE seems to be nothing but a regular 98 with a whole bunch of extra stuff that slows down your whole computer. And it didn't fix my Darkstone problem anyway.

Over the weekend I formatted that partition and installed regular 98 again. It is nice to see my computer run faster and cause less problems. I will start recommending regular 98 to my customers from this point on. I also figured out what the problem with Darkstone was. As it turned out, Darkstone wanted to have it's own copy of DirectX 6.1 installed even though I already had version 7 on my computer. After I let it install 6.1 and then upgraded to 7 again, it was happy as a clam!

Great news, Diablo II public beta sign up is underway! About time. They will have 100,000 users selected for the beta, so there is much more of a chance for people to get it than the first 1,000 testers that they chose a couple of weeks ago. This is suppose to be a Battle.net stress test, looks like they are getting pretty close to completing the project.

In light of all this, I have been thinking about starting a new Diablo II guild, and possibly extending it beyond just the Diablo II, to other games. I am a big fan of guilds myself, you get used to people you play with, and in a good guild you can get help from other people, get satisfaction from helping newbies and just become good friends with a lot of people. I am kind of curious if anyone would be interested in it. I am certainly not a good sales person and would hate to walk around inviting everyone to join my guild...

I would really like to hear some of your comments on this. I already have the site up and running, I don't mind [in fact enjoy] working on it and after looking at some other guilds, I think we can have a much better one. The only problem is, you need at least a few people to join and be active in order for it to be fun. It is pretty boring to see a well designed site and see no activity on the message board for weeks... So, if you have any ideas or comments, please let me know.

I had a wonderful conversation with my best friend [God] last night. I got some direction for the next few weeks and a "good job" for the things I was doing in the last few weeks. These talks make life much more easier and more fun.

A couple of very cool things that will be happening in the next few weeks - we will get DSL installed and we will sell our current car and buy a new one. Told you it was a good talk :-) I also was reassured that I was doing a good job with the things I was suppose to be doing [getting my focus back, etc.] Life did get much better as soon as I got back on track.

I am waiting and watching curiously how a few things that we agreed to do with him will turn out. So far it's not exactly what I've expected but this is definitely not the first time when something worked out differently from what I expected. I do have to admit that when I do what I'm suppose to, it always works out for the best.

One of the things we agreed to do, was invest in a particular stock. Well, after rising about 50%, the stock went down to 1/2 of it's original price. Chuda decided that it's too much of a roller coaster for her to be watching the stock and she stopped checking on it :-) I am very curious though... Ever since I met him, I don't think my life was ever boring :-) Have a great rest of the week! [I might update sooner, but don't want to make any promises.
Hail all! I'm ba-a-a-ck! :-]
Our trip to LA was great and I was very happy to be off work for so many days. The drive from here to there took us about 7 hours with a couple of stops for lunch and breaks. The best part of the drive was the talk Chuda and I had with Chuda's sister, Jennifer. Their church is implementing some very cool ideas and hopefully we can do the same in our church.

During our visit I had a lot of time to work on the site. If you haven't noticed, I redesigned the site quite a bit, combined the "About" and "Better Half" pages, "Business" and "Stuff" pages and decided to get rid of the "Linkz" page, instead placing the links on their respective pages [Friends links to About pages, PC links to Tech page, etc.] I am much happier with this design now, I think it is less cluttered and more streamlined. If you have any comments, I would be very glad to read them...

I spent over 8 hours working with Dreamweaver and so far I'm still not very impressed :-[ After all the effort I put into it, I decided to go back to my Arachnophilia. My conclusion was that it is much easier to build a brand new site/page with Dreamweaver than transfer the old pages to it.

Don't get me wrong, it does a good job and has a lot of impressive features, even the code it generates looks decent, but practically anything that I wanted to do with it took me longer than doing it with Arachnophilia. It is amazing that a free program is so well built.

Actually when I say free, it is not exactly true. Here is the price author wants you to pay for it, in his own words: "To own Arachnophilia, I ask that you stop whining about how hard your life is, at least for a while. When Americans whine, nearly everybody else in the world laughs. We have so much, and yet we manage to:
  • Overlook great examples of beauty around us,
  • Miss our most important opportunities,
  • Manage to make ourselves miserable by expecting something even better to come along.
So here is my deal: stop whining for an hour, a day, a week, your choice, and you will have earned your copy of Arachnophilia. Say encouraging words to young people, make them feel welcome on the planet Earth (many do not). Show by example that we don't need all we have in order to be happy and productive."
Paul Lutus, Port Hadlock, WA

I can sure agree with him. If I told my friends in Russia about some things that people here whine about, they would roll on the floor laughing.

Well, I better go, I have a date tonight with Chuda :-] I will try to post some more updates soon, hopefully this week. Have a great Thursday tomorrow!
Hail all! Last week was pretty busy, but this week is nice and relaxing so far. Schools are on spring break so we have a lot less calls at the Help Desk and I was able to catch up with some of my problem tickets. I even had a little time to clean up my fonts and other stuff [yes, I know it is very exciting :-] My sister-in-law, Jennifer is coming tomorrow to visit us, all the way from Texas. On Saturday, Chuda's family will have a reunion in LA, some people will come from as far as United Kingdom. Should be fun! I haven't even met most of her cousins, uncles and aunts yet.

On Monday, boss [Wayne] and I will be gone, so Patty will be in charge. I'm sorry for leaving you guys on Monday, especially after the spring break. If it wasn't for this trip, I wouldn't do it to you. Well, I pray that it won't be too bad and everything goes smoothly. Make sure to use that whip Patty :-)

In case you haven't noticed, I've redesigned the site a bit. I stayed home for a day and a half because of my back muscles and had a little time to work on the site. I was going to use Flash for most of it, but after giving it a try I think I may have to devote more than just a few hours to learning how to use it. If anyone of you knows of a really good book on Flash, I would appreciate if you let me know...

Because of our trip to LA, I might not be able to update the site as soon as I would like to. I hope waiting until Friday or Saturday for an update will not be too long. I still have to get a computer upgraded for one of my customers and I would like to finish redesigning the site.

I really, really would like to get back to Linux. So far, ever since I upgraded my PC and wasn't able to boot to Linux anymore, I just didn't have time to study it and fix it... I will try to stop by a bookstore and look for a good Flash book. I still didn't have time to start using Dreamweaver. Arachnophilia is serving me pretty well so far, not sure if I will like Dreamweaver that much more... maybe after I start integrating some sound, Flash animation and possibly Java applets.

As I mentioned before, I got a little off track in my life, lost my focus. Well, in the last week or so I started prioritizing things a little better and I can already see the difference that it makes. Feels good to get rid of some of the stuff that were cluttering my life before and being able to devote more of my time to things that really matter...

Wayne, William and Jon should remember this one, "If you put the big rocks in first, then all the small ones will fall into place. But if you try putting the small ones in first, some of the big ones won't fit..." Well, this is all for now. I will post an update as soon as a get a few minutes after we get back from LA. Have a great rest of the week and a nice, relaxing weekend. Maybe spend some time checking your focus in life... it is probably the most productive way to spend time.
First a sad news. Over the weekend Chuda and I worked in the backyard and I hurt my back :-( It was fun working until that happened... [I guess I need some exercise, I've heard of at least two more people I know that did the same thing :-] The backyard is starting to look cool, I think once it's done, it will be a great place to read a book, have barbecue with friends or just take an afternoon nap on weekends. Chuda is a great designer!

My boss, Wayne [a.k.a. Manchild] was called in for jury duty 4 days last week and he still hasn't come back, and I had to fill in for him. I liked doing it, but it also added quite a bit of stress, since I also had some of my own projects to take care of. This is my second time filling in for him and I think I'm handling it better with every time, at least I didn't get as stressed as the first time.

There are a lot of things that can be done to improve everyone's life in our school district, but sadly we barely have time and people to keep up with the emergencies... The saddest thing is that funds are being wasted left and right on stupid stuff while important things are being ignored. Well, I'm still praying that those that make bad decisions would receive wisdom, or if they knowingly make bad decision [for their own gain] that they would be punished appropriately.

Chuda read the article I wrote for The War pages and she liked it! [must not be too bad...] Now she has to edit my grammar a little and I will post it soon. I stayed home Monday since my back was hurting so much [I barely got out of the bed and had to have Chuda help me to put my shoes on...] Well I could sit in the chair OK, so I worked on my church's website. So far I only created the navigation bar and the banner [I think they already have one, so this one is only temporary.] Go here if you want to check it out. Nothing really special, it is kind of temporary also until I learn Flash well enough to do something cool with it.
[update 2008.02.29 - that website no longer exists]

Today was a pretty nice day, I got a very warm welcome back at work. "The Core" as Shinjuru called them [he is one of them also of course] are all great guys to work with. Thanks guys, life here would be quite a bit harder [not to mention boring] without you... Shinjuru by the way is doing a good job updating his site.
Hail all! A lot of good things happened over this weekend, here they are, one by one. [This was suppose to be just a little update, but turned out to be a pretty big one, make sure you get some coffee/pepsi/tea/etc. and a nice slice of yesterdays pizza out of the fridge before you read any further :-]

This weekend, on Saturday, we had a birthday party for my brother Anton. He is a great brother and thanks to Chuda, we were able to have a "real" birthday party for him, with Pokemon theme, lots of friends, Nintendo 64 and 4 computers networked together to play Starcraft. That was fun, even for me! ;-)

On Sunday I finished writing big part of The War pages and after a little polishing I will post them. The article itself is already written, now I just have to decide on how to arrange it all and code the pages.

Lately I haven't been very happy with my spiritual life. On Sunday, after some thinking and talking with Chuda we figured out why. Turned out she was having some problems too and I'm glad we were able to get to the root of the problem. She is a great analyst and can really see the "big picture" and analyze "the trend."

There are some things that we know we should do in our lives, but so it happened that something else got my attention and I started losing focus... I lost the "big picture", started focusing on small things instead and that's what got me in trouble. I wasn't able to make right decisions, I became "reactive" instead of being "proactive." Well, the good thing is that now we know what the problem was and will get back on track in no time.

I seem to be learning quite a few things about computers lately. Mostly it happens because something goes wrong and then I have to figure out what to do about it. After upgrading my main PC, my Linux won't load! It just says, "Loading LI..." It suppose to say "Loading LILO" which stands for "LInux LOader". The cool thing about it, is that the message helps you troubleshoot the problem, because each letter is displayed after a particular part of the kernel is loaded successfully. The more I learn about it, the more I like this OS!

Anyway, now that I learned how to setup a connection to my ISP and got FTP to work [all that while staring at the black screen with a flashing cursor, no mouse, no icons, mind you! :-] I will have to figure out how to fix Linux that won't boot. Isn't that fun?! [fixes his glasses, stares at the monitor and starts typing away again :-]

Well, since Blizzard didn't pick me as a beta tester for Diablo II [sob], I've been playing Planescape:Torment lately. It's an RPG [role playing game] in some ways similar to Diablo. After trying quite a few RPGs, I still can't find anything that would make me fall in love with it as much as Diablo has. Maybe I'm just bias, but if only Diablo had all the single-player quests in the multiplayer mode, I bet I would still be playing it, 3-4 years after it's release!

Anyway, P:T seems to be a pretty cool game. A lot of reading is involved since all the conversations that your character has with others you have to read on the screen and then choose your answer from the list given. I kind of like it, especially that flying skull Morte with his [her?] witty comments.

I had to setup Starcraft and Worms on the 4 PCs for my brothers party, and after installing Worms I really wanted to play it! Now if only we can get Little Jon [a new temp tech at our Help Desk, hopefully he will become permanent soon, it would be very sad to lose him...] to learn it and play with us, that would be a lot of fun!

Seems like it's going to be a busy week. I have a few customers to take care of, some things need to be done in the backyard and I need to work on our church's website. In addition I would like to learn Dreamweaver and Flash and hopefully sometime this or next week I can finally take my CNA test.

Sunday our friends invited us over for some tea. We had a lot of fun, lately we weren't able to go visit our friends because I was either too tired or something else came up... It is good to hang out with friends, drink tea and talk about life. "Does a body good."

Anyway, hope you have a great week, now that Monday is over :-)
The article below was written on 3/27/00, but I was able to upload it only late at night on 3/30/00. Sorry about the delay...
"Virtue has more admirers than followers."
  2000.03.27    Malakoff Diggins, CA
Finally after a few months we were able to get out of Sacramento. Chuda and I agreed that getting out of town once a month is a must for us, otherwise we start getting cranky :-) It doesn't take much, just a couple of days away from the regular routine and people and we are ready to get back into the daily grind.

The nature is beautiful here and since it's not regular camping season, there is no one here but us and the rangers. In our cabin we have a few wooden beds, table and a couple of benches. Chuda also loves having water and the sink right in the cabin, and a little wood stove comes in handy too... On the way up to this place we even saw some snow on the road, but it's not too cold. During the day it's actually warm enough for me to wear shorts and a T-shirt only. Now that I wrote this, my fingers are freezing :-) I better go start the fire...

The skies are very clear at night. Last night we saw probably a million stars... Somehow you see a lot more of them up in the mountains than in the city. Last night we had a funny incident. Right after we fell asleep, Chuda woke me up saying that she heard something. I woke up and have to admit that it was pretty loud. Turned out it was a little mouse that got into our camping coffee maker and couldn't get out. After I showed it to her, she thought it was very cute and wouldn't let me kill it, so I had to take it away from the cabin and let it go. Girls...

I updated the pricing guide for building new PCs, so go check it out if you are thinking about building one or if you have a little money saved and don't know what to do with it :-) You will be surprised what you can get for just a little cash these days...
[update 2008.02.29 - link above pointed to a page that no longer exists]

Last week I went to the local computer show to buy some parts for my customers and bought some stuff to upgrade my own PC. Since I gave him a good price, one of the customers bought my old motherboard, CPU, RAM and my aging Matrox Millennium G200 from my main PC, which gave me an opportunity to upgrade it. I ended up buying ASUS K7M motherboard, Athlon 700MHz CPU, 128MB of 133MHz RAM and a Matrox G400 MAX Dual Head video card.
  • processor
    For the price that I wanted to spend on the CPU, I could go for a Pentium III 600MHz or the Athlon 700MHz. Remembering that Athlon beats Pentium III at the same clock speed in almost all the benchmarks, made it very hard to make the decision :-)
  • motherboard
    This was an easy choice. I've used a few ASUS mobos in the past and was very satisfied. AOpen is my personal favorite, but they didn't have an Athlon one ready at the time, so ASUS was my only choice. [I've heard that some FIC ones aren't too bad, but knowing ASUS' reputation I didn't even consider it. I would rather spend a little more on high quality components than save a few bucks and be sorry for months.
  • video card
    After some research I narrowed my choices down to NVidia's TNT2 Ultra or GeForce or Matrox' G400 MAX. TNT2 Ultras had great price and very good performance but since the cards from good manufacturer's [Diamond, Creative Labs] weren't available and I wasn't going to buy some non-brand cards which I couldn't get any support for later, I had to drop it. GeForce were still quite expensive for me [over $200] and they didn't have much to offer except for speed, so I decided to drop them also.

    The only one left was Matrox G400 MAX and I'm very happy I bought it. According to many reviews it is just as fast as a TNT2 Ultra and almost as fast as the GeForce, but the big selling point for me was the Dual Head feature. I can run my HTML editor on one screen and have a web browser open on the other where I can see my changes almost right away! I can run Photoshop or Dreamweaver and move all the toolbars to the 2nd monitor, so the images or the editing windows can take up the whole screen on the first one! After using it this way for only a few days, I would hate to go back to only one monitor...

Since I had to [I love the "had to" part :-] upgrade my PC, I decided to do an experiment. I am dual-booting to two Win98 installations, one for work and one for games [and have to say that it makes quite a difference. My game Windows boots and runs much faster than my work Windows since it has a lot less software installed.] Anyway, I always tell people that if they upgrade their motherboard and the new one has a different chipset, they should reinstall Windows. To see if I was right or wrong, I decided to upgrade without reinstalling my work Windows.

Even though I was able to make it work and everything seems fine, it took a while to get it all to work properly and I am still not sure if there are some old settings in the registry that may be hindering it's performance... I think that reinstalling everything would have been better and would take only a little bit more time. But in this case, it was a good experiment and since I am planning on upgrading to Win 2000 after the first Service Release, I don't mind running it the way it is until then.
Greetings! Well, I do have 2 minutes until tomorrow when I would be one day late on my weekly update, so I better get going! :-) Quite a few interesting things happened in the last few days and I also have something to look forward to in the next few days also. Oh yes, I completely forgot, I did not finish my story! ;-) OK, OK, here is the ending.

[Sobbing Story, part II]
Watching Frasier and Friends on TV still did not make me feel any better. After Chuda fell asleep I went to my office. It seemed like nothing could cheer me up. Suddenly playing with Linux didn't seem like fun anymore and the thought of playing UT or Darkstone gave me no joy either. I decided to do one thing that always seemed to get me out of my misery.

I sat on the couch in the living room and decided to talk to my best friend. After telling him all my troubles, he reminded me that there was one thing I could do which I completely forgot about. I was reminded that as a child of The Guy Who Created Everything I was not powerless, on the contrary, I had the most powerful weapon in my arsenal, prayer!

I could pray that he would give wisdom to my bosses to make the right decisions [we all need wisdom, especially the higher our position is, the more wisdom we need since our decisions have that much more impact on others.] I also remembered that God is the one who put people in the high places and he is the one who can remove them if they put their own interests before others. [go check out my soapbox speech on servers.]

I have seen prayer work in my life many, many times so I knew that everything would be all right. Lately I asked him to help me financially, and he gave me so many customers that I had to ask some of them to wait! Well, if he was going to take care of this problem that fast, I sure had nothing to worry about. But I won't complain even if it takes a little longer. I do have to get my behind in gear and start praying if I want to see things changed though... I was happy again and that's when we went to play some chess. [opinion]

I will try to do another update shortly [I will really try to do it this weekend] but before I leave you, go check out Shinjuru's new website [he also calls himself Ptah, so don't be confused.] Great job William, especially on that navigation bar. I guess to top it off I will have to learn Flash, heh? :-] Well, hope all of you have a great weekend, I know I will!
[update 2008.02.29 - Shinjuru's site I was referring to no longer exists]
Hail all! I am back as I promised, forgive me for any grammar mistakes you may find, it is 1:30AM after all... A few interesting things happened in the last few days. But first, here is the sobbing story I promised to tell you, so go get a Kleenex, sit back and get ready to feel re-e-a-al bad for me now :-) This is the post that I was going to upload last week but then changed my mind.

[Sobbing Story, part I]
I was about to write, "It's been an exhausting week so far", and then remembered that I've been saying/writing the same phrase for the last few weeks/months! What is up with that? It seems like this whole year has been exhausting, not just one week...

I think my job contributed a lot to the stress lately. Some of the decisions that our managers made were a bit of a surprise to all of us at the Help Desk. It all started when we decided to limit the variety of computers people could buy. It made good sense - it is a lot easier to work on 2-3 different models than having to deal with 10-15. It would save us a lot of time and allow us to deploy new software much more reliably and would streamline the troubleshooting process.

After doing some research and evaluating some models, we made a list of a few good ones and were about to present it to the management. To our surprise management already made up their mind and picked a few models by themselves, seemingly relying on nothing else but financial considerations and salesmen advice. That was a very bitter surprise. The models that were chosen didn't even make it to our list of approved PCs since they couldn't pass our tests and now we are forced to use and support them.

I felt small and powerless. After all, we are the ones who work with computers every day, have to upgrade them and fix them. We were the ones who ran the tests and did the research and all that was ignored. Why those models were picked? There was no explanation from above. I never thought that being respected and appreciated by your bosses was such a big part of being content and happy...

I went home sad and grumpy that night. My joy was gone and I had no desire to come to work anymore. I hit a dead end. The situation frustrated me, yet there was nothing I could do. If they didn't even care to ask us before making the decision, there was very little chance that they would change their mind if we were to let them know what we thought. I thought I was smart enough not to think about things that I could do nothing about, but in this case I was reminded about it every time someone had to order a computer or I had to fix a computer manufactured by that company.

[To be continued...] (don't you hate when they do that? :-p)
I started writing a sobbing story of how stressed and tired I've been at work lately when something cool happened. It didn't really change the circumstances that made me stressed but it did change my attitude toward them.

Anyway, I was going to finish the sobbing story and then write what helped me overcome my self-pity and my frustration with this world, but I decided to go play some chess instead. Hey, at least I told you a little of what is going on! :-) [I will write about it a little later though, don't worry.] For now, below is a quote I found on the web that cheered me up a bit.

"Press any key to continue or any other key to quit"
Dear loyal fans of WarriorOfLight.com! My deep apologies for the lack of updates :-(

Between doing my taxes, studying for CNA test, upgrading my server and home PCs and installing SuSE Linux on one of them I just didn't have any time... I know it's a lame excuse and that is why I humbly ask you to forgive me one last time...

I think until a major overhaul of the site I will do my best to have at least weekly updates and then we will see. If it is required, I am willing to set a certain number of hours per day/week for this site. At this point it is pretty much just one of those "first homepages, establishing my presence on the Global Information Superhighway" :-p

I just noticed that there may be some problems printing pages from this site in Netscape. My main browser is Opera and since it was printing fine, I didn't even think about other browsers. My fault, sorry. Anyway, if you are using Netscape and couldn't print, try going to File - Page Setup and make sure there is a checkmark by the "Black Text" and "Black Lines" options. That should do the job.

On a different note, I also noticed that Internet Explorer (at least version 4) displays pages differently than Netscape Navigator 4. Not really sure why... The funny thing is, IE prints just fine and printed pages look just the way they should look on the screen! I guess Micro$oft just had to be different...

As I mentioned above, it's been kind of a busy week. I came to a point where my trusty 2GB VOL2 needed to be upgraded. I bought a 20GB 7200RPM IBM hard drive, installed it in my main PC, removed one of the 8GB hard drives from it and set it up as my VOL2 on the server. Now I have some room to breathe!

After installing that 20GB drive I decided to commit my 2nd 8GB completely to Linux. After reading a few good reviews, I went with SuSE distribution. It works with RedHat's RPM (RedHat Package Manager) files which are a cool and easy way to install new software, plus it has it's own setup utility. I bought the whole thing for $22 at the computer show and it included an installation CD, a huge book and 5 CDs with additional applications. Now, is that a bargain or what!

Anyway, after reading all the FAQs and Linux Newbie Guides I could find, I felt confident enough to do a "custom" install. William should know what I mean :-p It went pretty smooth, except that the setup CD was scratched a little, right at the point where XWindows (GUI for Linux) is located. That sure is a funny coincidence! Now the kernel and the shell load and I am presented with a black screen that says
and I have to figure out what to do :-) I do like challenges though and over the next few days I will figure out a way to install drivers for my CD-ROM drive and try to load different GUI (hopefully that part of the CD isn't scratched) or download it from the web. I should be able to install a modem and connect to my ISP from the DOS-like shell and use at least FTP services... It will be challenging but fun for sure. [I can see Chuda and my friend Mark saying, "This guy is a nutcase! WHAT will be fun?!] But such are the ways of a geek...
Had a great Monday off, really enjoyed it with Chuda. We had a good talk and we decided that she will start posting some of her thoughts on this page. She has some pretty interesting ones time to time I have to say. Below are a couple of copies of different answering machine greetings.
"I can't come to the phone now, so if, well, actually, I CAN come to the phone now, I mean, like, I'm at the phone NOW, recording this message, but I'm doing this NOW, while you're listening to it LATER, except for you I guess it's NOW, like, when you're listening to it... I mean, like, wait, gosh. This is so confusing..."

"Hello? (short pause) Hellooo? (Waits again) Helloooo - Who is this? (After a final short pause) Well, whatever, I'm not home anyways, so please leave a message after the beep."
Sorry for not writing for so long :-( It's been kind of a stressful week at work, plus I had a few customers in one week and still have two left, so you can see why I am really glad that it is a 3 day weekend for me.
I found a couple of interesting sites in the last couple of days. One is slashdot.org - an interesting site covering various topics that the geek in you may enjoy. Second site is thinkgeek.com - a webstore selling geek-related merchandise. I am thinking about getting a couple of T-shirts for myself from there.

Friday was a great day for me, I received my CDR drive [Plextor PlexWriter 8/20] that I ordered a couple of days ago. This thing is cool!

It is 1:50AM and I am getting sleepy... Good night now, have a great Sunday!

Let's see if you can figure out where this quote came from,
"Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!"
Greetings all! I finally finished reading the CNA Study Guide and found myself in need of something to read during my workout time, before going to bed or while shopping with Chuda. I decided to take a look at UNIX and Linux. There is still a part of me that loves a nice, clean and powerful command-line OS. I printed a few Linux intro guides today, some of them are pretty funny even if the authors did not intend them to be that way :-) Here is a quote from one of them.

"Can't find the application you are looking for? ... Most freely-distributable, UNIX based software will compile on Linux with little difficulty. If all else fails, you can write the application yourself." :-]
Since I started playing Seven Kingdoms II, I find it more and more interesting, especially once you find a good guide. It requires a lot of micro-management and is pretty cool, reminds me of chess a bit, because of all the thinking and planning involved.
Good morning! I couldn't believe what happened on Wednesday. I got sick again! This time it was different from all the other times, there were no symptoms of the flu except that I had a fever for four days and my whole body was aching. That was not fun... Anyway, I'm glad to be back at work again and now I can update the site, too! :-)

My friend Mark started learning Trinity by Play Inc., a video production box that we have at our church. I went with him to check it out last night. That thing is cool! Someday we would like to produce something very cool together. We already have some ideas, but it takes quite some time to learn and get all the stuff we need. The good thing is that it's fun for me, so I can do it in my free time and do not feel like it's such a chore.

Maximum PC Network posted a link to an article by 3DSpotlight.net on how to increase your Unreal Tournament performance. It's pretty cool and has some good info, go check it out if you own UT. I am still practicing in UT single player games, finished the Deathmatch, Domination, Capture The Flag and Assault a couple of days ago. Now I'm on the last one, Championship I think. It is a lot of fun especially in multiplayer.
Yesterday we decided to watch a movie with Chuda. First, I have to tell you that I hate sad ending movies. After thinking about it for a while I came to a conclusion that the reason is that I can not help the characters in the movie and I hate seeing bad things happen when I can't do anything about it. I believe that everything in life can have a happy ending. Maybe because I've been hanging out with God too much, He loves happy endings too! :-)

Well, in any case, the movie we watched was called "Digging to China" I think and even though it had a fairly happy ending it left me frustrated, sad and grumpy. The whole movie was a demonstration of how pointless life is and that I can not agree with. Life does have a point to it, you do have a goal that you should go towards, you just have to find out what it is... Go to my soapbox speeches page and read the Vision speech, you will see what I mean. That movie reminded me of the following quote.

"The poorest of all men is not the man without a cent but the man without a dream."
The night before last we edited a couple of pages with Chuda [mostly some grammar and readability corrections.] We will go through the rest of the site sometime this week I think and finish correcting it. Sometimes I forget that not everyone understands my geeky logic or my Russian sentence structures ;-)
Well, for some funny reason I thought that yesterday was Abraham Lincoln's birthday so I did some research and found a quote of his. Then Chuda told me that it was Martin Luther King's b'day, but since I found the quote already, here it is anyway :-]

"The only assurance of our nation's safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion."
It was interesting to see that he didn't try to focus on economy and military power as some of our current presidents have. Instead he realized that those are things secondary and will follow if the foundational things are taken care of. I agree with him and believe that Morality and Religion should be the true foundation of every man and every country. Then I found a quote from United States Supreme Court written in 1844,
"Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the school? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?"

Sometimes I wonder if we went too far with the freedom in this country. If we gave up some really important and foundational things just to accommodate a few minorities. No, I do not have an answer to this, I am still thinking and wanted to get your input. I do believe that a man should be given freedom to exercise whatever religion he/she wants as long as it does not interfere or limit the freedom of others.

Only in the last few decades our country started moving away from Christian principles which I do not think was such a good idea. Is there a non-Christian country more successful than United States or some other Christian countries? [And do not mention Israel because it is a totally different subject.] I truly can't think of even one... India? China? Middle East countries? [opinion]
I didn't post a quote last night when I uploaded the post below, so here it is.

"Take care of your character and your reputation will take care of itself."
This definitely requires some patience.
Hail! This is a long post, kind of to fill you in on what is going on in almost all areas of my life, so grab some tea/coffee/Pepsi/beer/[insert your favorite drink here] put your feet up and try not to fall asleep :-)

Today is my sister Tanya's birthday. Congratulations sis! She is my younger and the only sister and I am glad to be her brother.

Sunday was my birthday, I am now 25... To tell the truth, once I reached 21, I stopped feeling that I was getting older with each birthday. I still feel like I'm 21 and it is just my body growing older.

I got 3 great presents - my parents gave me some $ and I bought myself a nice cordless drill. My brother Anton bought me the movie "Matrix"! It is one of the best movies I think. Chuda also got me a movie, the funniest comedy of all times IMO [In My Opinion], "Monty Python And The Holy Grail." some friends at work took me out for lunch and the rest of them got a cake for all the people born in January. Because of all this, I decided to celebrate my birthday every month :-)

A few of you have been asking when I will get The War pages up and running. I have not forgotten about them, I just would rather take a little more time and make them really nice and informative than hurry up and post something that I am not proud of. Sorry for the wait guys, I do want to get them done even more than you do since they are the real reason for this site's existence. Sometimes I get inspired to write something and then it turns out very nice and is a pleasure to read and that's what I want to post.

Pretty soon I should get Macromedia's Dreamweaver 3 and Flash 4 and then I will redesign most of the site.

Just because my b'day was on Sunday, I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to take a day off, so I took Monday off. I bought some Cat5e cable, some jacks and started wiring the house for a small network. [Chuda was very happy to get rid of all the wires that were running across the office and hide them in the walls.] I almost finished it today and hopefully sometime this week I will move my server, hub and a UPS into the closet which will now officially be called a "Wiring Closet" :-) A little later I am planning on buying a 5 port switch and then all of my PCs will be able to run full duplex Fast Ethernet. [I think I will go with Linksys since I had a little problem with DLink's hub.]

Sunday Chuda and I had a very nice dinner with our pastor Sergey. Chuda will start working with some girls on worship dances, I will start working on church's website and Sergey will start preaching in English time to time to slowly get rid of a label "Russian church." It is a church and anyone is welcome, be it Russians or Americans. Plus a lot of people already speak English well enough to understand English speaking preachers.

My friends at work and I finally figured out how to get TCP/IP working on our PCs and we got Unreal Tournament to work. Woohoo! Now I just need to install it on my other PC at home and on my friends PCs and we can have a nice Frag Day :-)

Not very long ago I resumed playing Lords Of Realm II and I finished it. Since then I've been looking for a nice strategy game, preferably turn based, not a mad rush like StarCraft [even though I do like it a lot.] Well, about a week or two ago I found Seven Kingdoms II and have been playing it since. It takes some time to learn it but I think I like it enough to be playing it for a while.

A sad note. One of our big projects in the last few months was upgrading over 80 schools from Windows 3.1 to Win95. We got a contractor to help us with that, since we still would have to take care of all the regular trouble tickets. He turned out to be a nice guy and now when the project is finished it is sad to let him go... The time that he was here he actually became the new reigning Quake champion. Hopefully we will require some of his services sometime soon and we won't miss him for long...
Greetings all! I am sorry for abandoning the site for a couple of weeks :-( I was pretty sick for almost a week [fever, headache, runny nose, all the works :-]

We also went to Los Angeles to visit Chuda's mother, sister and niece [her name is Alyssa, she is 2.5 years old and she is a real cutie!] Helen, Chuda's mother was very happy to see the restored pictures and was very impressed with technology these days :-)

I've been playing Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament lately and I like UT much more. Q3A does have nice models and skins but UT has much better weapons and just feels nicer overall, I think. Sadly it only supports TCP/IP and no IPX, so now I have to figure out how to get it to work on my LAN. Well, the good side to this is that this forces me to learn TCP/IP :-) Hope you will have a wonderful weekend, I know I will!
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