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Thoughts from David Cornelius

Reinstall

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I should've stayed with my first instincts, but I'm a fiddler. No, not the kind that makes music with a bow, but the kind that just isn't satisfied with how things are and must keep fiddling with stuff seeking that constantly elusive state of perfection.

Installation

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With the USB keyboard and mouse attached, I started the new Dell server's "Installation" CD before doing anything else. Somehow, it knows I haven't done this before and presents the typical user agreement form that must be accepted before continuing. Actually, that happened at the BIOS boot-up level, come to think of it. (Dell has gone beyond the average computer distributor!)

Then the CD sequence starts up and it goes through some questions asking about the time zone and how I'll be using the machine. Finally the part I've been a little apprehensive about arrives: the RAID configuration.

Ubiquitous USB

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I opened the box of the new server for the Beaverton SDA Church and was reminded that we didn't order a keyboard or mouse to go with it. At first this makes sense--why not just use the one we have on the old server? Well, the old server is, uh, old! Like over 8 years. That's an eternity in the computer industry. Some people alive today haven't even heard of the OS we still have on that machine, Windows NT 4.0.

But still, keyboards and mice don't wear out quickly on servers--they just sit there and collect dust over the years. You blow them off twice a year when you actually need to use them. So why get new ones?

Virtualization

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I'm on the computer committee of the Beaverton SDA Church and we need to replace the old server (which is used mostly for file storage among the 4 office staff). Some believe it to be at least 8 years old. We're all amazed it's still running. It has SCSI drives that are starting to make a lot of noise and we're getting quite nervous. So at a recent meeting, we decided to not push our luck (or faith) too much further--it's time to to get a new server.

(Non) Laziness

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I've heard it said in many conversations, blog entries, and articles that people automate tasks because they're lazy. I disagree. Often, this "laziness" is in the context of programmers writing scripts to do some mundane operation over and over. They're supposedly lazy because they don't want to do the task themselves.

PicViewer

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PicViewer is a Windows 32-bit program that lets you scan through a bunch of graphic files (.JPG, .BMP, .ICO, etc.). It has a full screen mode in which the background is black and the cursor is hidden. In this mode, the spacebar or arrow keys step through each of the graphic files in the directory thus making it easy to give a slide show. A movie mode has been added to provide automated naviation. The pictures can be scaled to fit the window or shown in full-size mode with scrollbars if needed. Command-line parameters can start in a given directory, initiate movie mode, etc.

Connected

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I recently had a discussion with a fellow developer who sees a new feature in Delphi as opening a possible security hole in the application. The Welcome Page in Delphi 2005 and 2006 is an embedded web browser that views a local HTML file. This file has some JavaScript code that calls ActiveX objects to load Delphi projects and such, but mostly is a great collection of resources for the over-burdened programmer trying to remember where everything is.

Hospital Stay, Part II

I had no idea infections could cause a sunburn-like rash, but that's what happened on my stomach after going home from my appendectomy. I thought a heat-lamp had been too strong on me during surgery or something. Anyway, my bandages were leaking and not looking good, so Saturday morning, my wife drove me to the hospital again and I checked myself in for post-appendectomy check up. I figured I'd be waiting in the lobby for her to come pick me back up. Wrong. The appendix was so bad when it was removed, there was actually very good possibility of infection--why hadn't I been told that when I left just days before? I guess the surgeon always likes to think positive. Anyway, it looks like I'll be in just as long this time as last.

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