Fetch me m'shotgun!

The sumbitches are at it agin', mother. Comment spam is infecting both my blog and my wife's. So far a relatively small number of keywords -- poker, Texas, debt -- is sufficient to keep 'em away from where Google can see 'em. Well, that and OCD-like running of SELECT statements in MySQL. But the fuckers are gonna be the death of me, or at least blog comments. Although maybe some sort of SURBL plugin for URLs in the post...that'd be cool. Someone must have something like that already.

Not that I notice a whole lot of comments, anyhow, at least away from the Slashdot side of things...although I do notice that I've made it onto somebody's blogroll. How'd that happen?

In other news: I finally decided what to do about new computers: buy a new Shuttle Sk43G, Sempron processor, and make that my web server; then, make my current webserver (older Compaq P3-500 desktop machine) my desktop and firewall: lots of room for ethernet cards, tape drives and whatnot.

I agree, it's a little silly that the more powerful box becomes the horribly underutilized server, but such is life. If there was a comparably cheap shuttle that came with two onboard ethernet interfaces, I'd be buying that instead.

So dive right in, right? I got the new box home last night, assembled it and booted w/o problems. It took little effort to move the hard drive from the web server and put it in the new, tiny box; sure, I had to recompile the kernel (8 minutes! eat that, P90!) to get the right drivers in, but nothing big. Until, that is, it froze. Hard. And only a few minutes after booting. If I ran top and set it to update continuously, I could get to freeze within seconds.

Some fiddling with Grub (boot loader of the GODS, man) showed that the problem seemed to go away if I went with the original Slackware stock 2.4.20 kernel instead of the 2.6.7 kernel I'd last compiled. (I'm a packrat, and that includes keeping every kernel compiled on this damned thing, Just In Case, because You Never Know.) We've got one of these boxes at work with an Athlon XP and it works fine; admittedly, it's not doing much, but neither is my web server. (Ba-zing!)

God only knows what's going on there, but it didn't last: I left it on overnight to see if it'd keep going, and sure enough it froze again around 10pm. I put the HD back in the P3 and left it. I'm going to see Wilco tonight (Whoo! WilCO! WHOO!), so this'll take a back seat to some serious RAWK. Except I'll probably be speculating about crappy memory or badly applied heatsink paste the whole time. No. No, I won't. It's Wilco.

Actually, I'm thinking I may have to upgrade the BIOS in order to get it to work properly with the Sempron; originally it was detected as a 900MHz Athlon, and I had to tweak the bus speed and whatnot to get it to run at 1.5GHz. (Interestingly, this seemed to have no effect whatsoever on how quickly it would crash, compared to the difference the different kernel version made.) (God, that's an awful sentence. I'm sorry, everyone.)

Anyhow, there's probably lots wrong with the settings; I never really wanted to learn about memory spacings and CPU voltages and I don't know what-all.

In other other news, I mentioned that I moved last week, but I didn't mention that I came back to two, count 'em TWO dead computers. (Before you ask: Support contracts are for the weak, and I suspect I'm about to get very weak.) One was a Linux box whose hard drive gave up the ghost. Stupid IDE hard drives in a dusty, hot environment anyway! But the other was was an old Duron whose motherboard's capacitors yearned to be one with the cosmos (ie, they blew up real good). That was running Windows, so the whole let's-just-throw-the-hard-drive-into-another-box-and-see-if-it-boots thing was good for a very, very bitter laugh but little else.

Instead, I reinstalled not only Windows but Cygwin, too. That proved to be harder; we use Cygwin to compile very particular things that depend on version 2.2 of Python. Version 2.3 makes things cry. And no matter how much you tell the Cygwin installer that you don't want to upgrade Python, it goes ahead and does so anyway like some hyperactive sugar-fueled kid who's certain he knows how to fix things.

After far too much experimentation, I did what I should have done in the first place: I found an old archive of Cygwin, with the right version of Python, and I mirrored it. One gigantic, nine-hour long sucking sound later, and I had a local copy to point the Cygwin installer at. Thank god.

Finally, just got in the first 19" LCD monitor at work. This was, of course, two weeks after assuring someone that they were too expensive to get past the boss. My bad. I'm going to get a lot of mean looks, I think. But then, if I was a people person, why would I have become a sysadmin?

Recommendation of the Day: Vicious Battle Rap, by DJ Format and Abdominal. Bow down, baby.