Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Wyse Thin Clients Part 2

Once I started receiving the hardware, I had to decide where to start. The easiest part of the project was really going to be setting up DOS. or at least I thought so. By today's standards DOS is an incredibly simplistic and uncomplicated operating system, but that does not mean it is easy to setup, configure and use.

The first thing I tried was FreeDOS, this was kind of a mistake in retrospect. FreeDOS did not like the 128MB flash drive at all and nothing I could do would fix that. When I tried to use expanded memory, the system would crash before it even finished booting, although extended memory seems to work just fine. I gave up on this and hoped I would have better luck with MS DOS.

The tricky part of MS DOS was the floppy install. Mind you I do have a USB floppy drive and a few disks laying around, but the idea of sitting there for half an hour swapping disks did not appeal to me. So just to get started, I booted to a disk I made from AllBookdisk.com and copied the few files that were there into the c:\dos folder. This gave me a limited set of utilities that was really not very useful. The it dawned on me that I had a full install on a virtual disk, so after a quick run back to my main system, I mounted the virtual machines image and copied all the files and folders from the virtual disk to a USB drive. The problem I had with this was MS DOS did not recognize my USB drive as formatted, even though I formatted it as FAT32. I ran fdisk on the USB drive and then formatted it again. I went back to my system and repeated what I did before and tried again, this time the process worked perfectly. I now had a fully functional install of MS DOS.

The next problem was networking, DOS networking was never good, at best it was barely usable. I spent the next 2 hours scouring the internet for drivers, specifically, I needed DOS Packet Drivers. I did find what I was looking for on a pretty sketchy website that hosted old driver packages. Fortunately this particular network chipset was used on a couple of old motherboards. Next I needed sound, so I repeated my driver quest and came with nothing, the oldest Operating System I could find for the sound was Windows XP. So, no sound. I could not even find Windows 3.1 drivers for either the sound or the video.

Next was to find some programs to run. I of course easily found my two favorite text editors of the time Boxer and Freemacs. But I also wanted something a bit closer to a real word processor. MS Word for DOS is available free from Microsoft, you can download it here is you really want it. I also installed DOOM and some other fun things. I also downloaded Arachne, a DOS based web browser. This worked well enough, but I would not suggest it for anything other than very basic browsing.

That was pretty much that. I might try spending a whole day using nothing but this machine, just for the fun of it. My next project is to take the other Thin Client and try to get it to boot Linux off my network.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wyse Thin Clients

I just discovered that old Wyse Thin Clients are dirt cheap. I am not talking about a couple of hundred dollars cheap, I am talking $12 cheap. Seriously, you can buy an old Wyse Cx0 for $12 on ebay. Mind you these are not old but reasonably powerful computers. They generally have very limited RAM and extremely anemic storage. When I saw some available at this price, tested and working, with power supply, I decided okay, this is something I can use, so I bought 2 of them.

The systems I bought come with 512MB of RAM and 128 MB (yes MB) of flash storage. Before I bought them, I did a bit of research and found I could upgrade the memory to 2GB. The system uses DDR2 SODIMM's, which cost $10 these days. I also found out the systems use a standard laptop IDE interface for the flash storage. Thankfully, there are these little devices called SD2IDE which allows you to mount an SD card on the IDE channel and use it as storage, these devices even allow booting off the SD card. Again, these cost $10 a piece. I already have a small pile of SD cards ranging from 512MB to 32GB laying around not being used. After all was said and done, I am in less than $80 for both machines.

Now of course the question becomes, what do I do with these thin clients. The first thing that popped into my head was install DOS on it and use it to play old DOS games like Doom, Civilization and such. My second thought is to use one as an actual thin client so I can use the resources of my desktop computer in another room of the house. I could also just install Linux on it and make a small unobtrusive, quiet little computer for the bedroom or whatever. Who know what I will ultimately do, but there are at least a few interesting possibilities.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Post No Shave November

So I shaved this morning. It was much easier this year than it was last year. I used electric hair cutter to take off 3 weeks of growth first, then used a regular razor to take the rest off. This worked really well and my face does not feel raw like I washed my face with sand paper like last year.

As I looked at myself in the mirror afterwards, I was thinking to myself that I do not understand why almost everyone I know thinks I look better clean shaven. Admittedly, they gray beard probably made me look older than I really am, but I am 56, does it really matter if I look 60?

I am not a particularly vain person, I do not worry much about how I look or what others think about how I dress or groom myself.Although, being a polite person and a good husband, I try to take my wife's opinion into consideration, which is the primary reason I do shave a couple of times a week. However, I personally think I look better with a beard.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

No Shave November is almost over. Here is the final product, which will be shaved off on Sunday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

No Shave November 2019

No Shave November is upon us again. I am participating again this year. Since I am going back to Montana in Late December, I may keep it until I come back just for some added warmth.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Adventures in Manscaping

Okay so most people who know me would probably be a little surprised by me writing about this topic. Lets face it, they would be right. I am almost 56 years old and I have never even tried to do anything about my pubic hair. The only time I came close was when I had a vasectomy and then, all I did was shave my balls, 2 minutes and done. This is just not the sort of thing that a man like me has any interest in doing, ever.

So, what changed you ask. Well, I got out of the shower the other day and glanced at myself in the mirror and noticed the very tangled mess I had down there. I am a hairy old bastard, I pretty much have hair everywhere, I am pretty sure I am descended from Sasquatch and not too many generations at that. Anyway, I decided it was time to do something about it.

I don't know about anyone else, but this is a subject that has never come up between my friends and I, it was also not a part of that "Today you are a man!" talk every teenage boy is supposed to get. Consequently, I had no idea where to start. Considering the condition down there, I figured industrial grade sheep shears would probably be in order. However, after some research on the internet, I found that unless I was planning on becoming a groin hair stylist, I probably just needed an inexpensive body grooming trimmer. Jumping over to Amazon, I found many options ranging from $20-$50, most seemed to get pretty good reviews, so I just went for the $20 version.

Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 1100

I am not going to give you step by step instructions on how to do this for two reasons, first I found I am terrible at this and second, there are several YouTube videos on this subject and of course WikiHowTo rarely fails to turn something up on any subject. So just go google it, you will find something.

All I am really going to say about the process is, that nothing really prepares you for it. It is weird, it is awkward and you are going to screw it up. Trim with a comb and scissors first and then go to town with the trimmers. Even though, as a general rule, I like my penis and I like touching it, this process was not in anyway masturbatory, I did not get aroused even a little in spite of all the tugging, pulling and other miscellaneous touching I did while attempting this.

Overall, I think this was neither fun or interesting, and I am not sure I am ever going to bother doing it again.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

One of my favorite pictures

I really have no idea where I was going or what I was going to do when I got there, but apparently I was not happy about it.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. It was recommended by a friend, but she gave me basically no information about what exactly it was about, only that she found the parts about the Chinese Cultural Revolution fascinating. Her recommendations have always been solid, so I got the book and and started reading with zero information about the book.

The book started off extremely slowly. The plot burns so slowly I was more than half way through when the actual over arcing plot was actually revealed. If you prefer fast paced action packed adventures, you are not going to like this book. On the other hand, if you like strong character backstories, cultural introspection, thick plots, interesting mysteries and intrigue, you will love this book.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was the way science was handled. The book is essentially near future science fiction, but there is no weird techno babble or magic as science hand waving. Even the super advanced alien race can only obtain 10% of the speed of light when traveling between stars. All of the principles used in the book are reasonable extrapolations of current physics theory on how we think the universe works. The author is very clever and amusing in how he uses this understanding to do big things. Having said this, there are some things in the book that are on the surface silly, like the self dehydrating aliens, but I think it adds to the charm of the story.

The story is also very topical, it touches on the current concern for the environment on one side of the political spectrum and the science denial on the other. Interestingly enough, in the story, both are connected to the same conspiracy to hold humanity back from developing. Overall, a really good book with lots of interesting things going on, it is perfect winter read.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 13, 2019

20th level Commoner - Constable Remmy

Constable Remmy has been the chief law enforcement officer of Freehold for the better part of 20 years. Remmy is a veterans of the last great orc war, but does not really like to talk about it. He is serious about his job, but is a kind hearted man who has been know to give a guy a break every now and again.
This was one of the characters I built while expanding the Commoner Class. He is no match for a proper 20th level character, but he could take a 5th level character and might give a 10th level PC a run for his money.

Expanded Commoner Class