(Warning: this could well turn into one of those boring tech entries that you’d be just as well not reading).
I nearly have a fully working set of computers. Nearly. Several months ago, my main PC started having problems, overheated disk drives started to lose sectors, one thing after another started to fail. In the end I decided I needed a new computer, and although I’d long promised myself an Apple, when I sat down and worked it out I just couldn’t afford one. So instead I bought myself a Scan 3XS-64. It’s a bloody nice machine, although I was surprised to find it about four times as loud as my existing PC (which I built using only “quiet” components, which themselves are far louder than I’d like).
So I got that machine just over a month ago, but since then I’ve been busy trying to round up and rationalise all of my existing files, which are spread over five or six hard disks, some of which don’t work any more (fortunately Restorer 2000 and a few sharp whacks with my hand have helped me to recover pretty much everything). I also got myself a 250Gb Western Digital Media Centre external disk drive, which lets me keep all my data central and move it from machine to machine. Which I have been doing, tidying things up as I go along, and in the process of doing this I’ve found some amazing stuff: Christmas cards from 8 years ago, recordings of Rowan singing when she was two, bits of writing I sent to Gill in India 11 years ago, etc.
And I haven’t wasted my old PC either – I’ve taken it completely to bits and am almost finished with building it up as a Linux machine (running Mandrake 10.1). Only problem is I can’t get my wireless network card – I finally got hold of a driver for it (had to manually install all sorts of development tools & kernel source to get it working), but the driver doesn’t seem to give me any way to enter network settings etc. <sigh>. I’m using (supposedly) the most user-friendly Linux distro and still it’s taken me three days (and counting) to get my network card running. Some things never change. Still, once it is working, I’ll have my file-server, print-server, ftp-server, MP3-server, filesharing client, all in the one box, keeping my new PC pristine clean for me to do workstation-type stuff on it. Roll on that day.
Meanwhile, I’m also building a third PC, using some of the left-over bits & pieces plus a couple of extra parts I had to buy. This will be the girls’ machine, so finally Rowan will stop hassling me to play Morrowind on my computer (some chance! As soon as she realises my computer’s faster, she’ll be on my back again). So, anyway, what this means is that right now, I have three PCs lying open, internals all over the place, in my office. They all more-or-less work, but none of them to a degree that I’m quite happy about, and there’s no room to sit down, I’m clumping over case screws, spare hard disks and piles of unanswered correspondence wherever I go. Meanwhile (again), my old laptop sits on the dinner table upstairs, and I’ve taken to doing all of my work on this. Or at least, what work I’ve got around to doing. For the last month this PC-limbo has meant that I’ve hardly done any paying work, I’ve almost stopped following the blogs I love, I’ve lost contact with pretty much everyone I know online, lost track of my various appointments… basically I have stopped life as I know it (doesn’t help that I’ve spend most of the time under a cloud of SAD either).
So, wish me luck. All I need is another big push or two (and a lot of luck on the Linux front) and I’ll be back to normal, only better. Meanwhile, I’m becoming all too used to living in limbo-land.