The Machine Spirit Never Sleeps

I ordered a brand new desktop for my little brother on Monday. A brand spanking new 3 GHz of raw power, 512 MB or ram and a hefty 160 GB HD. I made sure it had a decent ATI Radeon graphics card and a nice soundblaster to play nice with his huge subwoofer he bought some time ago. Poor dude was struggling with his junky 800 MHz dumpster box for a while now. I think I’m more excited than him about this, but he does seem to be happy that he will be able to play all the new games, and have a WinXP on board. Before he was happily using win98.

The new box should be shipping in by the end of the week if we are lucky. Funny thing is that the win98 box seems to have figured out what we were doing and got jealous. Yesterday it decided to have a spectacular crash, and even more spectacular barrage of errors after rebooting. The machine spirits are not to be messed with – I tell you! They know when you are sleeping, they know when you’re awake.. Oh, wait.. No, that’s santa. But santa is a robot, so I guess this works out.

How do you apease a machine spirit btw? Do you need to sacrifice a goat? Or a virgin? Or a goat virgin? We consulted the Adeptus Mechanicus scrolls but we couldn’t find anything conclusive.

As far as I can tell, the OS is shot to shit. Multiple system files were corrupted or missing, the registry hive was clusterfucked, and most of the device drivers were gone. I was stumped. It actually looked as if something plowed right through the system. He shouldn’t be that easily pwn3d though – he was behind the NAT and had ZoneAlarm working. But then again it’s win98 and he is not one of the people who bothers downloading windows updates and such. Just in case someone else owns that box I cranked up my firewall to filter packets from the LAN also.

After much rebooting, and even more cursing I decided to just reinstall. Something is gloriously fucked at a very low level – some dll files magically vanished. Even after re-installing the network card I can’t get it to go out beyond the router. I can’t even ping the router! But I can ping my desktop from his machine, which is bizarre. I do get an IP, and the gateway and subnet seem to be correct. But win98 just doesn’t acknowledge the outside world.

He is going to salvage what he can today, and after I get home we will start the reinstalification πŸ™‚ But then again, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it. The new machine should come in by Friday (hopefully). On the drive to work I got an idea. Basically all he needs to survive the day is the internet access (mainly and facebook and myspace) and some word processing capability for homeworks. He could probably survive few days just working of a Knoppix CD. His disk is a FAT32 so he could easily read and write to, and from it giving him a network enabled, un-corruptible workstation. It might be a tad slow but hey – he is used to a 800 MHz speed – reading from the CD will only be a small annoyance πŸ™‚

I offered to give him my Knoppix CD but he has no clue how to boot it. I’m going to burn the brand spanking new version right now, and see if he likes it when I get home today. I’ll boot it up for him and just tell him not to reboot the machine (not that he would need that with linux). And I would love to expose that little ignoramus to linux on some meaningful level πŸ™‚ If I could actually have him using it for a day or two, I think he could really appreciate it’s versality and usefulness.

And I really don’t feel like installing any OS when I get home today. I’ll be there after 9pm. I don’t envision starting this thing before 11. Hunting for fucking drivers at 3am is really not my idea of fun. I’d much rather put him on Knop for one evening, and then work on it tomorrow or on Friday. Maybe he will agree to this plan. I guess it all depends how linuxo-phobic he really is.

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