Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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LILO and Switch: More Maddening Computer Problems

Do not worry about your difficulties with mathematics;
I can assure you that mine are greater.

    - Albert Einstein

The impassioned plea for help I posted about three weeks ago worked so well that I thought I'd make it a fortnightly thing.

First, let me follow up and give you all an update on how I've fared on the problems I posted last time. Thanks to all who replied, IMed me with suggestions, or even drove over to my house and tinkered with my computers.

  • 1. CD and DVD recording. Two drives are now working - the one on Laurelin that was working before and the one on Numerramar that started working once I installed an old version of Nero (5.5). zengeneral showed me by IM how to select the DVD-R option, and I was finally able to burn a data DVD. Later, he showed me a utility called Daemon Tools for mounting ISO images as drives, and I have burned some dozen DVDs successfully since. I've reversed the trend of dwindling free space and am already up to 6.6Gb free from 5.8Gb. "Rusty", the 200Gb drive on Laurelin that was once in danger of filling up, has had 30Gb freed. I am also back to being able to move about 4Gb per day on Laurelin (1Gb downloaded and 3Gb uploaded, courtesy of BitTorrent/Azureus 2.2 and Kazaa Lite 2.4.3). I installed Nero 5.5 on a third drive, but it's having some poewr issues (please see the new problems below).

  • 2. Linux. Gentoo is now installed on a Gateway GW-400 (Pentium II-400) with an 8Gb hard drive! Feel the dinkiness. I solved this problem by dispensing with the Utopian-sounding partitioning scheme in the installation docs and just reverting to the good old "detarded" monolithic scheme.

  • 3. Combination color inkjet printer, copier, and scanner. It works! Victory, victory, victory! Hallelujah! Oh, thank you, thank you, thankyouTHANKYOUTHANKYOU, sui_degeneris.
    What was it, you ask?
    I called HP tech support using the customer care link from the link that settlement provided. After walking me through turning it on, then asking me to check what was flashing next to such-and-such button, the phone tech finally realized that I didn't have the sticker that goes on the button panel. (I am now 90% sure that I never got one, 10% sure that I got one but lost it.) "What difference could the sticker make?" I asked naively, still not quite convinced by sui_degeneris's advice in my other blog. "Oh, it has a bar code [on the back] that your printer scans for." To configure itself. Apparently, newfangledmodern multifunction printers and scanners offload as much functionality as they can from hardware to firmware or software, and rely on codes on the backs of stickers, even on printed pages that are then hand-placed on the scanner surface, to configure the machine. As Mal Reynolds would say: huh. Who'd-a thunk it? You would? Well, good for you; I'm an old-fashioned printer luddite who still thinks it's OK if printers weigh over 15 pounds. :-P
    Anyhow, the very helpful (and polite!) tech sent out a new sticker, free of charge, and within 48 hours I was the proud owner of a working HP PSC 1350 All-in-One color inkjet printer, scanner, and copier. W00t!
    Note to elf: believe the dwagin.

  • 4. Mail. This is more or less still broken. I met with our department sysadmin, who helped me activate my procmail (it turns out it was offline) and fix it. Thanks to this fix, I was able to migrate my IMAP to He also upped my quota from 1Gb to 2Gb by request, which is nice, because I get 300Mb of e-mail per semester (that includes nearly 90% spam, which I hope fixing procmail will reduce). Having 20 IMAP folders on two accounts instead of 10 on one is driving me nuts, but as long as things are stable, I'll take it. Recently, though, there have been some authentication issues related to SMTP, which limit my ability to send mail. These are relaying issues and include both the CIS SMTP server and mine (Fingolfin).

  • 5. Notebook computer display. I have not yet phoned in the warranty incident report on this, and I need to do so soon. I got this ThinkPad from Computer Discount Warehouse - Government and Education (CDW-G) in April of 2002, very nearly 3 years ago now. burkhardt has me concerned that it is a systemic but transient hardware fault caused by heat damage. I just downloaded and ran IBM's new "auto-update" utility for ThinkPads, and I hope (but don't expect) that this will solve the problem.

  • 6. HTML formatting. I still have no idea how to make GMail or Hotmail interpret HTML as LJ does. Can anyone please help with this? If there is no special tag or header for these mail services,I would like to learn how to cut-and-paste formatted HTML "as-is" into rich text format

  • 7. Magnification utility on ThinkPad. This thing is still a really irritating waste of time. It is not the magnifier bar that you can open from the "Accessibility" accessory of Windows: it is a little Square of Annoyance +5. I looked through all of my system-specific (ThinkPad) utilities, and still haven't found how I first launched it. It was just, bam, "now you must magnify too".

  • 8. Outlook Express startup linked to IM. I have no idea how to fix this one, either. It defies me.

Problem #1: LILO and Switch - deleting LILO or editing LILO entries

I recently deleted the Linux partition of Vingilot, my ThinkPad 600E (Pentium II-366). Of a 6Gb and a 12Gb drive I have, only the 6Gb one is in working order, and it was split evenly between Windows 2000 and Red Hat Linux 6. As I'm sure you all realize, 3Gb is painfully small for a Win2K installation. Not to mention the fact that Vingilot has a bad Ctrl key, so the built-in keyboard can't be used to initiate a login. Instead, I borrowed a USB keyboard from work for now - but the notebook computer boots into Windows, I can't hit Tab on the USB keyboard!

Can someone please tell me how to remove the Linux Loader (LILO) record, which now causes a kernel panic? Also, I have a similar problem on Laurelin in that there are two multiboot entries for WinXP Home, but only one installation of WinXP home.

Problem #2: Pigeon Poop KVM - wrong KVM port being addressed by rebooted ThinkPad

A related problem to #1 is that whenever I reboot Vingilot (port 3 of 4), it has some kind of KVM port addressing error wherein the other ports get spammed with bad data.
On Telperion (port 1 of 4 - Debian Linux), nothing happens.
On Laurelin (port 2 of 4 - WinXP Home), I get very rapid beeping for about 3 seconds, and then it stops... and locks up.
On Orome (port 4 of 4 - Gentoo Linux), I get: psmouse.c: bad data from KBC - bad parity

Problem #3: I See Your True Colors - friend colors in the LJ Component scheme

Does anyone know how to make the two colors used to represent each LJ friend appear in Component? I'd like the specific override code. This is one of the features I miss most about Punquin Elegant.

Problem #4: Ee Chub Ni Glo Wah - CD-R/RW drive and power issues on Dell Dimension XPS D-300

The power supply on my Dell Dimension XPS D-300 (a small form factor tower with a Pentium II-300 processor) seems to be insufficient for the 52/16/4x CD-R/RW drive I put into it over two years ago. Symptoms are as follows: upon first booting, the drive works, but after one opening and closing of the drive, it neither opens again nor reads the discs I put it. The power supply a 200W PS-5201-1D. This is the only CD or DVD drive in the system, so I don't see why it shouldn't work.

Does anyone know what kind of instrumentation I need to test it? I have a couple of multimeters, but nothing I've used with AC before.

Problem #5: All Marked Up and No Place to Go: spam-filtering without procmail

How does one actually nuke e-mail messages flagged as [spam] by Yahoo! Groups and other list management systems, without using procmail? For that matter, how does one nuke e-mails with procmail? (Is there an escape character for [ and ]?) How about setting up procmail to add rules based upon real-time blackhole lists?

Problem #6: X-Men III - X on Debian/Ubuntu Linux

I can't seem to get the X server running under Debian. Is anyone familiar with the Debian package system who can give me some tips on downloading and using .deb files? I've only dealt with RedHat Package Manager packages (.rpm files) for the last 8 years or so).

Problem #7: Howls Confused do Break The Clouds - procmail broken

For some reason the procmail installation on one of my FreeBSD 5.2.1 isn't quite stable.
Is anybody familiar with installing and configuring this?


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