After getting the new cluster up and online, and sticking around a day or two to make sure it was working, I took a week and a half off for the holidays and relaxed, which may tend to explain the even-lighter-than-usual blogging.
Note to everyone who works with rack-mounted hardware: There is a very real difference between a number two and a number three philips head screw. Using a number two screwdriver on a number three head will nearly always strip the number three head. You have been warned. I had to creatively bust a screw head off (I got to use a hammer and chisel on a piece of Cisco gear finally!) after one of my "esteemed" coworkers used a cordless screwdriver to completely round out a screw. We aren't letting the coworker involved use power tools anymore.
The new cluster is performing OK. OK means it's returning results. It's not spectacular because one of the nodes won't reboot (requires a power-off to reboot). I'll probably spend all weekend figuring that out. I also can't figure out exactly what the EMC PowerPath software does. I don't think it really does anything in my environment. Navisphere is critical, but I don't have time to do an IP-renumbering to get all four SP's onto a network so I can use it (long, involved story about a really dumb network administrator).
Over the holidays I upgraded my home computer, running a legal copy of Window XP. I added more memory. For some reason this tripped a "you must re-activate your computer with Microsoft" event. I re-registered and it told me I'd need to call a phone number and activate that way because I'd exceeded my registration count. This copy of XP has only been installed on one computer, the one in my office. I've installed it several times, and did a motherboard swap once, but it's still the same hard drive. So I called and read the 42 digit (seriously, not exaggerating) number to a computer. And the computer told me "Oh, you'll need to talk to a person then." The person asked me to read the 42 digit number to them. I declined. I already read the damn number, I'm not doing it again. She activated it anyway.
OK, exactly what value does product activation give ME? I'm trying to stay legit and play nice, but Microsoft is treating me like I'm a criminal. I have friends that used the cracked XP and got it upgraded to SP1, they are cheating and they have less trouble than I do with a licensed, legal copy.
Is this somehow going to lower the price of XP since fewer people are pirating it? It won't, because there's no market pressure on Microsoft to actually lower the price, because there is no competition in that market. Monopolies do not have to change their prices due to market forces, by definition. So I put up with this activation crap simply so I can play Halo on my PC. Of course, I could just switch games and play Unreal or UT 2K4 on Linux. (As an aside, I do have a Powerbook, but I don't play games on laptops because video cards on laptops nearly universally suck). Or I could just break down and buy a PlayStation and get rid of my PC altogether, and I'll get to play GTA without waiting a year for it to come out.
In other news, over the holidays I was very tempted to buy a Pandora PXR4. It's a 4-track digital recording machine with some drum tracks and guitar effects. Mostly I was going to get it for practicing guitar. It is a great little box and it costs a fairly reasonable $300. Then, Tuesday, Apple introduced a new piece of software called GarageBand
. It's a 64-track recorder with 1000 drum loops, a full MIDI-synthesizer, and the ability to export to iTunes. It's going to cost me whopping $49, and it'll have a better interface than the Pandora. So if you're a musician (or a wannabe like me) and you're looking for a cheap home-recording solution, you might want to look into this. Comes out on 1/16. Only available on the Mac.