Shareware Beach

Thursday, 9 February 2006

Back in Action III

Filed under: Personal — Jan @ 19:17

After six months of waiting, I finally have a brand new ADSL connection. While it’s certainly possible to run a shareware business on a dial-up connection, comfortable is something else indeed. It’s just such a bother to wait for the modem to connect, wait for pages to load, etc. that I gave up on many Internet-activities, such as regularly posting something on my blog.

But I’m back now! I got the most expensive package my ISP offered, paying 2700 baht or about US$70 per month for a 1024/512 kbit business package. So far, my connection has been better than expected. It actually delivers the advertised speed on international connections most of the time. Thailand is not exactly known for reliable and/or fast international internet connections.

Fortunately, things are improving all the time. The fact that the former state agency will finally lose its monopoly on international telecoms this year is no stranger to that. If they hadn’t gotten their act together by now, some of their soon-to-be-former customers would quickly compete them out of the market.

Sunday, 25 December 2005

Christmas Eve Barbecue

Filed under: Personal — Jan @ 20:58

My annual calendar is slightly out of whack. Never thought I’d have a barbecue on Christmas Eve. In my native Belgium, the summer months July and August are the only ones that are warm and dry enough to have plenty of days with the opportunity to barbecue. During those months, barbecueing is all the rage.

There’s no barbecue tradition in Thailand, but it’s getting more popular. The winter months December and January are perfect. No rain, and evening temperatures in the lower 20’s C (70F). After two decades of cold and dark year-ends, these bright sunny days don’t give me the feeling the year is drawing to a close at all. Tomorrow we’re going to the beach!

Christmas is not a holiday in Buddist Thailand. However, in Thailand, any reason is a good reason to party. Where else is New Year celebrated three times a year? More about that in a week.

Friday, 9 September 2005

Back in Action II

Filed under: Personal — Jan @ 12:11

I was back in action, but it didn’t last long. Soon after I had put the new system together, the hard disk started acting up. I had reused all the drives from my previous system. Since I don’t like taking chances with my data, I went out to buy a new disk, a nice 250GB SATA drive.

Unfortunately, getting the system up and running with the new drive took way longer than I expected. I freshly installed Windows XP (which I use as a scratchpad for beta testing etc.), and restored my Windows 2000 development partition from a backup. All that went quite well.

Trouble began when I started copying over all my stuff onto the data partition, now a whopping 160GB with 30GB of stuff on it. Windows 2000 seemed to copy and read back all the data just fine, but when I rebooted in XP, it would tell me the data partition needed a disk check, and proceed to find thousands of errors. XP seemed to fix the errors just fine. But every time I touched the disk with Windows 2000, XP would act up, but not the other way around.

So I figured my Windows 2000 SP3 installation couldn’t deal with the huge hard disk, even though it didn’t give me any error messages. Trying to locate a solution using Google proved to be very frustrating. Looking for issues with large hard disks got me lots of sites trying to sell me a new disk. Looking for Windows 2000 SP4 and NTFS got me lots of information about Windows NT 4.0 SP4 issues with NTFS. (I was reluctant to install SP4, since I previously ran into some troubles installing SP4 on another system.)

Finally, I thought maybe reinstalling Windows 2000 on top of the existing installation would make it properly detect my new large hard disk. While scanning the disk, the setup mentioned my disk was 131070 in size. So I googled for “131070 MB Windows 2000″, and immediately found a newsgroup discussion pointing to the fix: I needed to add one stupid registry value. So I did, and now I’m back in action!

Don’t ask me why Windows 2000 SP3, which supports hard disk larger than 131070 MB just fine (unlike SP2 and earlier), needs a registry item to actually enable that support. I bet few people buy a big hard disk to use only part of it.

Sunday, 28 August 2005

Back in Action

Filed under: Personal — Jan @ 18:35

The past four months, my wife and I have been busy looking for, buying and moving into a new house. We moved from my wife’s hometown Ubon Ratchathani, near the border with Laos and Cambodia, to Nonthaburi, a suburb of Thailand’s capital Bangkok.

I’ve had to make do without my desktop PC and ADSL connection for most of that time. Working on a laptop with a dial-up connection is just not as comfortable, no matter how nice the Acer Travelmate 4603 laptop I bought earlier this year really is. So I cut my computer-related leisure activities such as blogging to a minimum until I got new gear. Both my wife’s and my PC had actually broken down in early April, one during a lightning storm, and the other when the UPS made some weird noises.

This week I finally made it to Pantip plaza to buy two new PCs. More about that later. Suffice to say, I can again work comfortably.

I’m still waiting for the ADSL connection, though. Apparently, the housing project we now live in sits right between the two nearest telco exchanges, which means it’s too far from either for ADSL. The project is scheduled to get its own “ADSL box” (some sort of repeater, I guess), but that’ll take a few months.

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