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"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

The Foolish Things We Do With Our Computers

By Mike "Iron" Orr

"Foolish" is becoming an inappropriate title, since more and more of the submissions are "interesting" rather than "foolish". But we'll stick with the title. The submissions continue to pour in.

A baffling screen

By Courtney Grimland

I remember the very first time I installed Linux on a PC (or any computer, for that matter). It was a Red Hat installation (6.2 I believe), and everything went smoothly. Keep in mind this was my very first exposure to anything ![DOS|Win9x].

When time came to boot it up, I anxiously typed in my root password. Next thing I know, I'm frantically digging through all of the documentation and paperwork that came in the box, looking for my bash number. Sure am glad I didn't call up Red Hat and ask for help with the registration process (which is what I thought this was).

You see, after I logged in with root password, all I see is:

It kind of threw me. I didn't recognize it at the time to be a friendly command prompt waiting for input (like c:\) that I was used to seeing all of my life).

I guess it wasn't really a foolish thing, but it shows how far I've come in the last year and a half. I'm currently working on a device driver and file-management software for my nifty little miniature MP3 player my girlfriend bought in Hong Kong.

A story from Russia

By BaRoN!

Hello gazette,
I read a Russian translation of your funny stories, and here is a story about a friend of mine.
It was about 5 or 6 years ago... He had a 100Mb hard disk. And after a half-year of working fine, it stopped being detected by BIOS. In the mid-1990s, tech support was VERY BAD in Russia, and it was EVEN WORSE in the country. We live in a small town (about 300.000 people) and in the mid-1990s, just about 100 of families had got PC's. So, the seller said that the HDD was damaged my friend and will not be replaced.

A new 100Mb HDD was unaffordable to my friend, so we started to do different things with it.

Alex, my friend, took his HDD to show to one guy, and after he brought it back to home, IT WAS DETECTED BY THE BIOS!

We tried to partition it and then to format it, and IT PASSED OK! But this paradise lasted for only one day.

When it didn't work again, Alex tried a different strategy. He walked for 20 minutes with his HDD -- and was detected again! (It was winter, about -25 degrees (Celsius)).

I suggested he put his HDD into polyethalyne packet and put it in the freezer portion of his refrigerator for fifteen minutes. That too :).

So every morning before my friend went to school, he grabbed his hard drive and put it in the freezer. :). It lasted for about 5 months, until he could afford to buy new HDD.


Another interesting point is how many of the stories we've received can be summarized as, "If anything goes wrong, try freezing, refrigeration or ice cubes."

Mike Orr

Mike ("Iron") is the Editor of Linux Gazette. You can read what he has to say in the Back Page column in this issue. He has been a Linux enthusiast since 1991 and a Debian user since 1995. He is SSC's web technical coordinator, which means he gets to write a lot of Python scripts. Non-computer interests include Ska/Oi! music and the international language Esperanto. The nickname Iron was given to him in college--short for Iron Orr, hahaha.

Copyright © 2001, Mike "Iron" Orr.
Copying license
Published in Issue 73 of Linux Gazette, December 2001

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