A Virtually Perfect World?

Uh, no. But I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night and am now running Windows XP on Linux….

Should I do long-story-short? Nah. When two new computers invade the household, there occurs a drastic change in heirarchy. Apparently, 3 boxes I had been saving for uh, something, are now headed for charity. (I’m sorry, dammit; I appreciate everything you did for me in the past, really) My former machine at the fun desk is shivering and clinging to its life next to the bookshelf where it hopes nobody notices it until it can be put to use somewhere. It’s a good machine; an Athlon XP 2000+ with a gig of RAM and a 40 gig hd and a decent video card. It needs to be put to use, and I’m working on that, really, but we’re a little busy right now.

My former office machine, an Athlon XP 2500 with 1 1/2 gigs of RAM and 250 gig hard drive has been evicted from my work desk by the Dell SC440 server and scrambled to my fun desk where it nudged out the Athlon 2000. Having labored under Windows XP for several years, it has now been liberated to the world of linux and Ubuntu. It is happy.

During the install of “Gutsy Gibbon”:http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download , it reminded me how much easier and quicker the install goes than Windows. And how much more fast and stable and interesting linux is after sagging under the Windows workload for all those years.

But…..hardware has its disadvantages, and so does linux. A big hard drive and a lot of RAM can spell trouble for any self-respecting pc. There are Windows programs, essential ones, that aren’t found in the linux world. So install wine. Yeah, that works a lot of the time, and there are fewer and fewer bugs, but with VMWare, you can put your entire Windows operating system on a fast machine and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Okay, I’m tired and it’s long-story-short time. Following this “excellent tutorial”:http://ubuntu-tutorials.com/2007/11/17/install-vmware-server-on-ubuntu-710-gutsy-gibbon-updated/
I got VMWare up and running on a machine that formerly ran Windows XP, now ubuntu, and I was able to install the OEM version of the original XP software on VMWare because, duh, the hardware hadn’t changed. I set XP to use half my available ram, about 800 megs, and it works fine. As a final test, I installed one of my five Peachtree Accounting licenses on it. You can’t get much more bloated than that. And the fact that the data files are located on a network share doesn’t make it any easier, but XP on VMWare didn’t even flinch.

Anyway, I probably deserve a good beer by now, so catch ya later.

The Donkey’s New Machine

Okay, new computers are never easy for me. I can’t really claim they’re business necessities, when, as my Bo…er..partner says, “the old computers are just fine. What we really need is a new vibratory finisher and a skiving machine.” And when I save up my own money and buy what I want, she steals the damned thing:

“What’s this box? A Dell? Is that for the business? Oh great, oh, it’s yours? But you’ve already got a fast computer.”

“It’s a 400 mhz, and the Dell is a 2.4 gig.”

“But you like it; you’re always on it. Wouldn’t it make more sense to set the Dell up on my desk so we can all use it? And you can keep that one over on yours as an extra? :-)”

So I usually end up “importing” parts in a rucksack….”oh, it’s just a mainboard, a little upgrade, heh heh”. Or…”this little box? Just a little ‘ol cpu, a little upgrade is all”. Once they’re all smuggled in and I put a few nights in, no one can tell. “Your computer seems quite a bit faster. What did you do? Can you look at mine?”

That’s how I ended up with an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ at my work desk, and an AMD Athlon XP 2000+ at my “fun” desk. After losing the Dell.

But they’re getting old.

So….it isn’t exactly what I would have chosen, but I saw this “deal”:http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=04&kc=6W300&l=en&oc=bscwdr1&s=bsd at Dell last weekend, and considering what I could do with a little modding, it was pretty much irresistible. (Considering the deal ended last weekend and was for $249 at the time.) It was slightly different. The RAM they offered was only 500 megs, not the gig in the current listing. And obviously for $249, I got it with no operating system. Beyond that… the same.

But the purchase is the easy part. It’s the chess game behind the purchase where all the action is.

“Dell is having a $249 sale on business servers this weekend only. I’m getting one.”

“Go ahead, get what you want. Did you say a Dell?”

“Yeah, and I was thinking I should order two, so you’d have one too.”

“Hmmmmmm. A Dell for me….a Dell for you….and they’re both the same?…….really……..”


(Welllll…..almost the same. When they come in I’ll take the 500 meg RAM out of mine and put it in hers and stick the 2 gig kit of ECC RAM I got from Crucial in mine, but she won’t be able to tell. And I really need to stick in a 500 gig hard drive in mine. She’ll never use up the 80 gigs that comes with hers.)

I ended up going with the basic stock offering for the sale. I upgraded the processor, but left everything else the same. I’ve gone a-configurin’ at Dell sales before and ended up ready to put $2000 of stuff into my cart. I can buy the other stuff I need a lot cheaper.

Well, some of that other stuff turns out to be at least a video card and a sound card. I didn’t really want a file server, but I liked the horsepower for the price. It comes with “onboard video”, but that’s a stretch. I think it has 15 megs of RAM and shares the PCI bus with the NIC. (Yikes!) Don’t get me wrong; it’s fine running a CLI on a server, and my partner could probably learn to cope.

“Sure you can surf the web with this, really. Just type lynx at the command line there…..”

No I’m not that mean, but I hate to kill a perfectly good fantasy.
So, I ended up ordering a couple good 2D graphic cards and a couple sound cards. And when I save up some more booty, I’ll smuggle in one-a-them raptor hard drives. Figger it’ll run pretty good, ayup.

Dood, you might get to keep a Dell!!