Hi there, I'm back again. And you didn't even know I was gone, did you? That's how good I am. Not.
Remember an entry or so ago when I threatened to play with Linux and predicted that I'd probably knock myself offline? Well, I did and I did. And not only did I knock myself offline, I also killed my firewall computer -- again. I've been calling it Nug, but I'm thinking I should name it after a cat since it seems to have nine lives. I keep killing it and it keeps coming back for more. On second thought, maybe it's not cat-like at all, maybe it's just suicidal. That seems more apt.
Stand by for...details. Probably boring details, but I want to make sure I have a record of this so that years from now, when we all have chips implanted in our heads, I can look back on this debacle and perhaps the realization will dawn that, really, I shouldn't be "upgrading" my chip without professional help. Or with, even. Assuming they let someone as technologically inept as I have a chip in the first place. Anyway...
I already had Win98 installed on the firewall, but I decided to set it up with the second, now extra, hard drive I got off eBay and make it dual boot with Linux. The first step in installing Linux, or any OS really, is partitioning and formatting the hard drive. I was very careful to do this only to the new drive, leaving the Win98 disk pristine and untouched -- and operable. I installed Linux successfully, but at the end of the install it asked where I should put the LILO boot whatsit and I opted for part of the Win98 drive so I could boot without a boot disk. Bzzzt!!! Wrong answer. When I rebooted, it wouldn't. Instead, I ended up with a screen full of 1's and 0's. Oops, no more Win98, and I'd skipped over making a Linux boot disk, so no Linux either. Damn. Back to square one.
Hmm... Too much detail already. I can hear eyes glazing over across the land. Okay, in a nutshell: I reinstalled Linux first and kludged that up by installing to the wrong, too-small disk. Reinstalled to the right disk, then reinstalled Win98, got them both running. Then I tried to configure the network thru Linux and killed Linux again. I reinstalled it one more time, poked and prodded it for half a day, and finally decided I was in over my head. I'll work it out, given enough time, but I've given it way too much time for right now. Back to Win98 so I can re-establish my network and internet connection and then get back to what I should be doing, little things like spend time with my family, write scripts, sleep once in a while, etc...
So, back to Win98...and the network wouldn't work. I could get on the Net, but only by logging on from the firewall, but I couldn't access all my stuff on my main computer. Big pain in the ass, must fix it immediately. I wrestled with several pieces of proxy/firewall software, couldn't get any of them to work right. I managed to get online from my machine, but Beth's couldn't, and then mine couldn't either.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch... Zoe's school called today, on my day off, on my only day to have the house to myself and concentrate on ironing this computing mess out. They called to tell me Zoe was sick and could I come take her home. So much for ironing my mess out. Instead, I spent the rest of the day and evening coloring, giving horsie rides, destroying jigsaw puzzles and generally entertaining a sick 3-year old.
When I finally broke free and got back up here to get back to work, I kept hitting wall after wall. Everything was configured correctly, everything worked halfway, but nothing worked exactly the way it should. I could get the entire network up properly but couldn't get online, or I could get online from the firewall and everyone on the network was blind to one another. I tweaked this, added that, moved the other, cursed at that one, tried everything I could think of...and ended up right back where I started with a broken network and internet connection.
Finally, I tried something so stupid, so not-gonna-work-but-what-the-hell, so desperate that I knew I'd sunk to the point where I was doing anything just to be doing something. I switched the cables on the network cards.
Insert sound effect of Chuck's hand slapping his forehead, followed by a groan of incredulity.
It worked. I have network, I have internet, and now I have a headache and my hand hurts from slapping my forehead for a solid ten minutes while muttering, "Stupidstupidstupidstupidstupidstupid." I don't know when, how or why, but I switched the cables at some point and forgot that I'd done it. I'd crawled under the desk three or four times and inspected the cables to verify that I hadn't switched them, but...well...I guess I did.
I took full credit, of course. I told Beth I'd fixed it, conveniently leaving out that I'd broken it first, and made her chant "Hoodaman?" with me and give me a high-five. I would have milked it for hero sex, but I think she was just playing along to spare my ego. Better to stop at the kudos than to push it and find out she knows how incompetent I really am. It's the little things that make a marriage work, you know.