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By strange coincidence, Bettie is watching “A Tale of Two Cities”, the source of “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”.

It’s not the worst, despite the title, but it’s not the best.

One of my treasured pieces of ancient electronics is my Palm Pilot, a Tungsten E. This was before smart phones. It was also before non-volatile ram, which was introduced with the E2, which Bettie has (and uses). So I have to keep mine charged, which I have done for years. Until now. Tonight, when I plugged it in, I found out the default year for the calendar is 2003. And I found out that I had lost all the stuff I had on there. Bummer.

What was it? Lists of important Bible verses. Some notes I had taken for myself at a significant time of my life. Shirt sizes. Stuff. And now it’s gone.

A good lesson on the transience of things, and the need to pay attention to the passage of time.

He’s not totally right, but he’s also not totally wrong.

At least for now.

My PC died last summer, and I got a whomping big workstation that was going to be my Linux base, with tons of virtual machines hung off it.

I did make one virtual machine, and it ran nicely.  But I ended up fighting with Fedora more than I got work done – well, that’s the filtered memory.

Tonight, when I tried to start it up, I saw this:

Cannot open access to console, the root account is locked

I tried some things, and poked around, and got frustrated, and now I’m typing this on Windows.  Bye, Linux.  I’ll make some virtual machines to play with Linux, but my life is too short spending it wondering if the latest updates will crash things (and I still don’t know what caused this crash).

At work, I tried running Linux on my laptop for months before giving in and going the Microsoft way.  History apparently repeated itself.

Welcome back, Steve.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

My 11-year-old mobo died. Sad day.  And I wasn’t going to replace the board to preserve the old CPU, memory, and graphics card. I was ready for a new toy.

This toy is a beast. A Dell Precision Tower 7910, outfitted with 2 x 8-core Xeons.  128G memory. 500G SSD and a 10T spinning metal drive for slower things.  I’m planning on running a bunch of VMs on this, having them talk, setting up a house wiki, etc.  Much etc.

The first box got lost (lifted?) between the local package delivery service and my house. The nice folks at MET Servers shipped out the new one while still fighting with the shipping company over what happened to the original.  Plus, they got me overnight shipping tossed in! Thanks, Edwar.

Came in this morning, and I took a break from work to unpack it.  Started it up, made sure it worked, and had to power it off because it was distracting me from my regular job.

Since then, I have installed Fedora Server 30, installed the virtualization software (KVM), added and mounted the spinning rust drive (a NewEgg purchase).  I’m keeping the base machine a command-line box.  GUIs will be for the VMs.  So I had to use lynx to download the graphical workstation ISO – and it worked.  I’m still doing my Google research on another PC, but it’s working.

There are benefits to having enthusiastically worked in the computer field for decades.

And I’m having fun.

I couldn’t find the music I wanted.  I knew that I had tons of albums ripped, and I wanted to play them on my nifty RasPi music player.  That’s good.

I couldn’t find them.  My music?  Nada.  I didn’t panic.  I didn’t think about it, intentionally.  I remembered that I had cleared up some space recently.  I have three disks in my PC, from various iterations of go-faster, and I don’t need three copies of Windows (do you know how many files are in your C:/Windows directory?  twenty-one thousand on mine.  Yikes!).  So I deleted some, recently.  And now I can’t find my music.  That would qualify as bad.

So tonight I used the Everything tool which showed me that I have around eleven thousand MP3s stashed under F:/Users/saubrey/Linux external/music.  Good.

But on the root of F: I have a file named “This is steel and rust.txt”  (vs. “This is silicon.txt” on other drives).  Not so good.  Thinking I’ll copy some files tonight.  That’s good.

We did attend the Mercy Me concert a few weeks ago, and yes, we did dance to Happy Dance.

And I’m happy dancing again – the Raspberry Pi music dealie is working. Digital sound out to the sound bar

Running Volumio, since Rune wouldn’t boot.

And my first song? What else?

My latest goofy thing is a music player connected to our TV’s sound bar, powered by a Raspberry Pi.

Tonight was assembly night.

Boxed:

The Hifiberry is a sound card that puts out digital audio. I’ll be using the RCA connector to the sound bar. Two different SD cards for different OS attempts.

Unboxed:

Assembled:

No power supply yet – that’s being delivered Wednesday. No operating system – leaning toward Rune. No content – I have a lot of ripped CDs, and a lot more to rip, and all to be copied to the 256gb external hard drive.

Hour and a half for assembly. Figure another hour for OS install and adding some tunes. Half hour for connecting and sound bar setup.

Then cranking the music.

The “don’t do this” side…

This was in my spam folder today.

The mix of “mean” and “dear” struck me funny.

I didn’t do this because it’s a new year – they just happen to coincide.

I won’t mention names, but several of my parents donated some liquid funds to my account at Christmas.  Thank you, unnamed parents!

That, and a little bit of recognition money from work allowed me to browse the SSD recommendation page of my never-met friend and technical adviser Dave Farquhar.  I ordered through his links, splashing him a bit of the money that Amazon collected.

The drive came in on the last day of the year.  I let it warm up overnight (winter finally arrived – we’re in for a swing of freezing nights) and dropped it in today.

I had downloaded the Windows 10 disk image and installed it straight to the new drive.  You will need the old license key (I got mine in Cleveland) to activate it.

It went smooth.  I had worked on my church’s new Win10 computers, and I use Classic Shell, and I turned off a lot of Microsoft’s telemetry.

Downloaded a lot of programs fresh, and I know I still have some setup to do.  Overall, a nice way to spend a few hours – and get Microsoft to quit bugging me about upgrading.  That wasn’t the only reason, but now I don’t have to deal with the nags anymore.  Caving in?  Practicality?  You decide.

Solid state drives (SSDs) are a blessing and a curse.  So fast – so quick – so quickly filled.

Though it’s getting better, SSDs used to be microscopically tiny.  Compared to spinning rust hard drives, these things were gnats.  You can buy a desktop hard drive, size 8T, for $260 delivered.  I remember when used hard drives – used, as in been through the wringer and then taken out when something else died – cost a dollar a megabyte.  That would make the cost of this drive – if it had existed back then – $8,000,000.00.  Eight million bucks.

Of course, I have copies of PC Magazine where you can buy 10M hard drives (to turn your PC into an XT!!).  But that’s not where this ramble is going.

If I remember right, I started talking about the relative difference in drive sizes, hard drives vs. SSDs.  Those SSDs are coming down in price, just like spinning hard drives did.  Mine was purchased to maximize space at a price point – I had a dollar limit, and was able to get 128G of silicon goodness.

It filled up this week.

As Dave Ramsey says, Christmas is not an emergency.  I could have seen this coming from a long ways back.  I didn’t look – bad on me.

I deleted some big downloads, looked for and deleted some big files (using the Everything tool, looking for *, sorted by size).  Still not enough.  Look around at some tools, and found PatchCleaner.

As the PatchCleaner site says, Microsoft can leave gigabytes of unused junk in hidden folder c:\Windows\Installer.  PatchCleaner will see what is safe to remove and offers you the option to move it somewhere else (to the spinning disk where you keep your pictures and music, perhaps?) or to delete them altogether.  I used it, deleted the orphaned files it found, and was able to free up X gigabytes of SSD space.  X is unknown (or rather, unremembered).  Probably 10G to 15G.  I had deleted some other things manually, and have 20G open, when I was down to single-digit megabytes before-hand.

Recommended.  Download it, run it, and decide whether you want to copy off what it finds, or delete the extra, unused junk.  Either way, you will probably have acres more of sweet silicon emptiness, waiting on your cat videos.

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