This week in personal tech…

Well, it’s been a semi-long and semi-interesting week as far as stuff I’ve been working on technology-wise. If you’re not interested in that kind of thing, I’d advise you skip this post. :-)

Anyway, I got my Powerbook back on Wednesday evening. I was hoping that they didn’t wipe the hard drive and just replaced a couple of fans, because while most of the stuff on there was disposable, I had forgotten to save this one program I bought called Slick Vol. 3 & 4. The Slick volumes are add-ons to iMovie; in particular I use Matte-tastic in volume 4 for watermarking videos for MK Online. I was handed the Powerbook back, and looked at the paperwork. Unfortunately, the one part they did replace was the hard drive. *sigh* So, while I was there, I figured “to hell with it” and also bought a copy of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). I took the machine home, and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had put the factory default install of Mac OS X 10.2 on. So, the first thing I did was install Mac OS X 10.4. I ended up spending the next few days installing all of the software I use regularly on the Powerbook, including iLife 05, MS Remote Desktop Connection, rdesktop, fink, Fire, Xcode, ImageMagick (through fink), minicom (also through fink), and Slick. (The people at GeeThree were nice enough to send me a link so I could redownload the software.) After a lot of reconfiguring and setting up, I was ready for anything.

… or so I thought. It ended up Friday that I should have reinstalled Virtual PC and put a Windows XP guest OS on it. I had to make a day trip out to Corpus Christi to troubleshoot a printer and a phone issue out at our location there. Unfortunately, the phone switch had reset itself to factory defaults… and while it was on our network, one of the settings lost was the default gateway. So, only computers on the local network could reach the switch, and I had the only actual computer at the location. To make matters worse, the software to reconfigure the switch is Windows-only. Our phone system vendor’s going to have to send someone out Monday because we weren’t able to get into the switch. In the meantime, I spent last night reinstalling Virtual PC on the Powerbook, and will install Windows XP with the phone switch management software Monday. I am NOT going to get caught unprepared like that again.

Tonight had me doing some hardware changes in the network that ended up being for the better. We had a Brother HL-645 laser printer that had served us faithfully since 1993. However, it’s gotten to the point where it needed a new drum, and that would have cost something like $150. So, we went to Office Depot, and found they were out of the drums anyway. Instead, Dad picked up a new Brother laser printer that ended up costing less than the drum for the old printer. In addition, I picked up a D-Link print server with two parallel ports and one USB port. Up until now I had the laser printer hooked up to Tyrande (my main server) and served it out to the client machines via Samba. Frankly, that was a pain in the ass, and I wanted to do something different.

Anyway, when we got home, Dad and I spent about thirty minutes or so getting everything hooked up and configured. Dad had two inkjet printers hooked up to his laptop, so we removed those and moved them over to the shelving next to the servers. So, now there’s a decent laser printer, a cheap inkjet printer, and a decent photo printer hooked up to the print server. I’ve already reconfigured both my PC and Dad’s laptop to use the new printers, so all is good. (Mom has her own just-about-as-cheap inkjet printer, and she didn’t want to go ahead and get the network printers installed on her laptop.) So far, I guess I can say I’m happy with the new print server.

Anyway, that’s about it on the tech front… heh. Now I’m just going to go downstairs and have myself a beer…