Thursday 1 July 2021

Day 472 of self-isolation - Workstation down

Workstation down

My main workstation went down. It's a big, fast, heavy HP xw6600 with 32gb of memory, a huge 3840 by 2160 monitor, a Microsoft optical mouse and an IBM model M keyboard, vintage 1983. I get most of my work done on  this. And the hard drive crashed. Suddenly and totally.

I tried leaving the power off for a while and then powering it up, but that didn't work. So I opened it up, took out the dead drive, and put in a new one, 80gb (that's more than I need, because the workstation doesn't store data, that's all on other servers). Then I installed Linux Fedora 34, the latest.

That went well, then I ran the script that adds all the other stuff I use. I changed the colours of the terminal from white on black, to yellow on blue, because it's easier on the eye. And, of course, the new install doesn't remember any of my passwords - fortunately (no luck involved) I have them all stored in a password manager.

Three things gave me problems.

The first was the HMRC "Basic tools" for PAYE, which I need to run each month. There is only a 32 bit version, and I'm running 64 bit. But I found a cure for that a while ago, so I reinstalled that.

yum -y install --skip-broken glibc.i686 arts.i686 audiofile.i686 bzip2-libs.i686 cairo.i686 cyrus-sasl-lib.i686 dbus-libs.i686 directfb.i686 esound-libs.i686 fltk.i686 freeglut.i686 gtk2.i686 hal-libs.i686 imlib.i686 lcms-libs.i686 lesstif.i686 libacl.i686 libao.i686 libattr.i686 libcap.i686 libdrm.i686 libexif.i686 libgnomecanvas.i686 libICE.i686 libieee1284.i686 libsigc++20.i686 libSM.i686 libtool-ltdl.i686 libusb.i686 libwmf.i686 libwmf-lite.i686 libX11.i686 libXau.i686 libXaw.i686 libXcomposite.i686 libXdamage.i686 libXdmcp.i686 libXext.i686 libXfixes.i686 libxkbfile.i686 libxml2.i686 libXmu.i686 libXp.i686 libXpm.i686 libXScrnSaver.i686 libxslt.i686 libXt.i686 libXtst.i686 libXv.i686 libXxf86vm.i686 lzo.i686 mesa-libGL.i686 mesa-libGLU.i686 nas-libs.i686 nss_ldap.i686 cdk.i686 openldap.i686 pam.i686 popt.i686 pulseaudio-libs.i686 sane-backends-libs-gphoto2.i686 sane-backends-libs.i686 SDL.i686 svgalib.i686 unixODBC.i686 zlib.i686 compat-expat1.i686 compat-libstdc++-33.i686 openal-soft.i686 alsa-oss-libs.i686 redhat-lsb.i686 alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i686 alsa-plugins-oss.i686 alsa-lib.i686 nspluginwrapper.i686 libXv.i686 libXScrnSaver.i686 qt.i686 qt-x11.i686 pulseaudio-libs.i686 pulseaudio-libs-glib2.i686 alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i686

The second was Netflix, which kept giving me an obscure numeric error message and recommended that I update Firefox ... with was already the latest. After much fuffing about, I noticed that the home screen was asking me to click on an "enable DRM" button, and after I did that, it worked. A more informative error message would have been nice.

The third thing is the web-based interface to the Cisco Pix. The problem there is that it uses an elderly encryption protocol that Firefox won't use. A temporary fix will be to use Windows 7 and firefox, but I very rarely change the firewall setup, so this isn't going to be a problem.

I recovered from this quickly, because I don't keep data on the workstation, it's just a gateway for accessing the servers where the data is actually stored.

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