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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 7:37 pm   

I Hate Computers (again)
 
Wow, this has *not* been my year for computers.

This morning I went into the office to find the mail server hung. When I tried rebooting it, it gave some memory errors and hung again.

The mail server has been the most reliable machine I have ever had, so I guess I shouldn't complain much. It was a HP Pavillion system that was *donated* to Zugg Software many many years ago (6-7?) by a very generous zMUD user. It was only a Pentium 233Mhz, which I had upgraded to 512MB of RAM over the years, running Windows NT 4.0. It's main purpose is to serve as our main printer server on the network, our FAX machine, and it runs the MDaemon software for our incoming email. Since I only have a WinNT license for MDaemon, I'm stuck with WinNT for that. This hasn't been a problem since WinNT has typically been rock solid.

Well, I looked inside and first found that the memory in this old machine is the old-style DIMMs. It has 4 128MB DIMMs in it, for a total of 512MB. I tried swapping various combinations of the DIMMs, but there seems to be memory errors in at least three of them because no combination worked at all.

I checked our local computer stores, and nobody has DIMM memory any more.

OK, I thought this was no problem. I still had the old server system that was at Superb sitting on the floor. I hadn't turned it on since it was returned since the hard disk was a mess from that hacker attack. But I put the disk from the HP system into it and tried to boot it. It doesn't boot at all. In fact, I get nothing at all on the screen, not even a powerup test. Sigh...I guess I should have tried to turn this system on back when it was returned from Superb. I have no idea what those guys did to it, but the motherboard appears completely dead. Since this was originally a leased system, I don't even have any way to tell if the original parts are still in it. For all I know they swapped out parts before sending it back. All I know is that it would boot before they sent it, and now with a new disk it doesn't do anything. What a mess.

Next, I pulled out my old development machine that died back in February. It almost booted the NT disk, but the power was obviously still flaky and would turn off right in the middle of booting. I decided to put the power supply from the Superb machine into this and see if that would fix it. Nope, it was even worse. It looks like the problem with my development machine was the motherboard and not just the power supply.

Geez, that's THREE computers that don't work now. That's just ridiculous.

OK, my last chance was an old Windows 98 system that I had down in our guest bedroom for web surfing. It was Chiara's old computer about 4 years ago. Another old PII 233Mhz, but at least it had a more up-to-date motherboard and case and take the newer memory chips (which I have plenty of).

For some reason, when I put 2 SDRAM 256MB cards into it, it only detects one. If I put 4x256MB into it, then it detects 512MB. I have no idea why it only detects half the memory. But who cares, I have a ton of these slower SDRAM cards, so I just left the 4 plugged in to get the 512MB.

I got the NT hard disk to boot. Now, for some reason the network card isn't starting, even though it's the same one that I transferred from the HP system that died. Sigh...fine...I do a Remove, reboot, then do an Add and reinstall the drivers.

It's times like this when I *really* miss Windows XP. Dealing with hardware without the Device Manager is such a pain.

Well, when NT reboots, the network card is working again. Wierd.

So I think the mail and printer server is alive again. I've got parts of FOUR computers all over my floor and desk right now. What a mess. And this system that works is a lot larger than the HP Pavilion system that died, and won't fit in the spot it used to live, so now I get to rearrange a bunch of stuff in the office to find a place for it.

I don't know what caused the HP system's memory to die. But since it has been turned on for 24x7 for the last 6-7 years, I'll give it a break. I'm still really pissed that this server from Superb doesn't work at all anymore. Wish there was some way to sue them, but there is no way to prove anything at this point. I'll never lease another computer again in my life, and I certainly will never do business with Superb every again.

Computers are SUCH a pain.

(This is NOT what I wanted to spend my day on)
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theNerd
Adept


Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 8:21 pm   
 
There are days when I hate computers. It's a love/hate thing sometimes. Kinda like Gollum and the ring - "He both loves and hates the ring, as he both loves and hates himself." - Gandalf
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 8:33 pm   
 
Hmm, good analogy...the "One Ring To Rule Them All" vs the "One OS To Rule Them All". And yes, I can see computers and Windows being tools of the "Dark Lord".

And yes, there are some days when I just want to take my computer up to Mt Doom and fling it into the lava!

"Really, I was a *nice* person before I started using computers...but now they have corrupted me and I have turned *evil*"

Yep...good analogy.
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MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:12 pm   
 
I had this happen with my CD-ROM drive. One day it just wouldn't spin for nothing. Left the computer off for a few days, turned it back on and it's like nothing was ever wrong with it.

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theNerd
Adept


Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:20 pm   
 
That is why utilizing a bat to "fix" the problem should not always be the first resort.
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Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 9:50 pm   Re: I Hate Computers (again)
 
Zugg wrote:

It's times like this when I *really* miss Windows XP. Dealing with hardware without the Device Manager is such a pain.

Hehe. I think many of us still remember the Windows XP Boycott Smile.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 10:03 pm   
 
Well yeah, that was back in the "old" days when Windows XP didn't support any of the hardware that I had. It's come a *long* way since then, that's for sure. Windows XP was *never* good at upgrading old systems (I still have a laptop that I can't upgrade to XP). But it's great for new hardware that was designed for it.

So, I still stand behind my Boycott for *old* hardware. But for newer hardware (which is anything made in the last three years or so), Windows XP is the only way to go.

I'm sure the same will be true of Longhorn. I'll hold out as long as I can without upgrading until I'm forced to. But in 10 years, it will probably be the best thing to be running.

Anyway, my mail server is now up and running again and is trying to get caught up. We got *so* much email and spam that when our server dies like this, it gets behind really easily. It's going to take several hours for it to get caught up. I'm also totally wiped out from messing with all of this hardware today. I think it's time to relax for a change and play some WoW or something.
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slicertool
Magician


Joined: 09 Oct 2003
Posts: 459
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 5:52 am   
 
A friend of mine preferred his handgun to a bat... set the computer out back in front of the short cinder block wall... ready, aim, fire.

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Kiasyn
Apprentice


Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Posts: 196
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 7:09 am   
 
mmm linux

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Kiasyn
Owner of Legends of Drazon
Coder on Dark Legacy
Check out Talon, an easy IMC connection.
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demoneyoungblood
Apprentice


Joined: 16 Dec 2002
Posts: 114
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:50 pm   
 
I would have to agree with kiasyn.... why not run linux for an actual mail server, its a helluva lot more stable, can be tuned to your own desires, include spam filters using spam assassin, etc. Given a choice between linux and windows, ill take linux every single time.

Also, you mentioned alot of ram issues.... Check into memcheck86, great program, thoroughly tests your ram. I had some severe issues with an old server of mine due to ram going bad, didnt know it till it was too late, so ive started testing my ram now.

Secondly, the only way to get hold of dimms anymore is EBAY. sad but true, or through friends that still have em. You can still get a decent bargain on ebay for dimms, but you have to browse through carefully.

memtest86 homesite: http://www.memtest86.com/

As for the windows xp not supporting older hardware, get me a list of the hardware you need the drivers for, ill get em for you, im used to tracking down drivers for friends with older machines.. :)

Kiasyn, as far as waiting for someone to get you a license, and hating being broke, i think most of us can agree with that. Ive wanted to get zmapper for the past few years now, only reason i even have zmud legitly is because of a friend getting me it for xmas a few years ago.

My suggestion for you would be, make sure to be extremely active on the boards, show people you are trying to be an active part of the community, im sure someone out there will take notice and help ya out :)

Its part of the reason I am trying to help out now, if we band together, and help anyone we can, things go alot more smoothly, and we all become associates so to speak :)

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-Demone YoungBlood
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:38 pm   
 
Yeah, you are both right that Linux would be the way to go with this mail server. But the "mail server" software does a bit more than that. It takes all of the email sent to *@zuggsoft.com and then sorts it into various IMAP mailboxes. When it's doing that it performs the spam filtering. I'm using a program called MDaemon, which was written by a company that no longer exists. But it has a nice user interface for handling all of this kind of stuff.

To convert this server to linux, I'd have to find a similar piece of software. I'd really like a graphical interface or something that is configurable via a web page or something. I don't want to deal with just something like linux sendmail.

Also, there's the issue of getting all of the archive mail converted. The mail sits on this IMAP server in several directories. It *does* seem to have one file per email message, so it might be in a standard mail format (I'll know more when I get more into the eMobius project and start converting various file formats). But it's important to preserve this IMAP archive of all of our past email.

Those are not the kind of big issues that I wanted to deal with on the day the machine crashed. I didn't have the time to do a linux conversion, find the right software, convert mail files, etc. It was easier to just get another NT system up and running, which is what I ended up doing. But someday hopefully I'll find the time to convert this system. I already have linux running on another machine that is just acting as a file server right now, so once I find the right email server software for it, then it could easily replace the current NT server.

The comment about XP and old hardware was just a generic one. Over the years I've replaced the old hardware so that's no longer an issue. The HP system that died was the main problem. HP had some proprietary drivers for the motherboard and never released XP versions of it (something HP is actually notorious for...even their HP 2000 color printer has limited support in XP). So I was really stuck with NT on that HP system, but since it died, that's no longer an issue.
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bortaS
Magician


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 320
Location: Springville, UT

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 8:06 pm   
 
Zugg,

The company that makes MDaemon is alive and well, I still get updates from them on a regular basis (about once a month). They are Alt-N at http://www.altn.com/

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bortaS
~~ Crusty Klingon Programmer ~~
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 10:45 pm   
 
That's interesting. I could have sworn that AltN sold MDaemon to the company that makes WinGate, or someone like that. Wierd. You are right though...when I do a search now it seems that AltN and MDaemon are alive and well. I'll have to see if my license is still good or how much they are charging for upgrades vs the cost/time involved in converting it to a linux machine.

Must have just been bad timing. I bought MDaemon something like 4 years ago and they had just transferred it to some company and were claiming that it might not get any new support. I even remember having to get a new license code from the new company in order to download an update. Maybe I'm confused...it has been a long time.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 10:57 pm   
 
Sorry, not WinGate. I think it was Deerfield or someone like that, and they replaced it with something called Visnetic that I got a license for, but then decided to stick with the MDaemon instead.
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bortaS
Magician


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 320
Location: Springville, UT

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:17 am   
 
Deerfield used to distribute Wingate, but I still remember the fiasco with the Visnetic FTP server. Deefield cozied up to somebody else. They dumped Wingate and MDaemon, and partnered with Visnetic. I think AltN bought back MDaemon, not long after that fiasco. They've been doing fairly well since.

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bortaS
~~ Crusty Klingon Programmer ~~
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:59 pm   
 
Wow, I did some searches in the newsgroups and found all sorts of interesting posts about Deerfield and the fiasco with both MDaemon and with the FTP-SERVU FTP server. Looks like Deerfield might be a company to avoid. I'm glad to see that AltN got control of MDaemon back. It's an excellent program and might be worth the cost to upgrade just to support them. Then I could just run WinXP on the server machine just like the rest of my main machines.
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Atreides_096
Wanderer


Joined: 21 Jan 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Solvang, CA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 10:58 am   
 
An oldie but goodie...
www.pricewatch.com

10 years ago, this was the ONLY site to buy your computer parts on. Nowadays, E-Bay typically beats (or matches) the prices, and offers the advantages of extra protections, feedback systems, ease of search, etc.

Still, pricewatch is a great place to check for those old old memory chips... anytime I need a cpu part so old I cannot find it on any decent computer sales website (of which I DO use a few, in addition to Ebay, to compare prices), I head to pricewatch... Though I haven't used pricewatch in a cpl of years, I checked it just before I posted this -- the site has been very nicely redesigned (though I kind of miss the old, ugly. ragtag layout :P), and might have what you need .. if you care to spend the $2 on parts and $20 on shipping, or whatever it comes to :P

And speaking of holdouts... I remember holding out for a loooong time before going to Windows95... DOS always was so much fatser, stabler, and in most ways offered the user much more control.

Of course, that was Windows95. I think the same statements I made about DOS would've applied to my old Commodore 64 in comparison :P

On a side note, I think anyone who has ever used a computer has had more days where they hated them then when they liked them... ironically, I think the better you know computers, the more of those "bad" days there are -- sometimes, they make so little sense, and fly in the face of everything you know, it's twice as frustrating as the fees you'd have to pay to have someone else doing the work :P
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