Latest Post - Goodbye Old Friend

Today I finally retired an old computer that had been serving me well for over six years. It was a second hand dust bucket of a mid-tower that was handed to me after I explained to it’s owner how OS licensing works. It’s filesystem and bootloader were corrupt, and there were no restore disks in sight. The common reaction to sizable comptuer problems (“heck with it, I’ll go buy a new one”) came up, and the diagnostician (me) was awarded the “uselss” machine.

Before you track me down to ask the burning question, no Linux and other Free distros were not an option for the owner. They were not power users, and needed Windows OS for their family’s school and work.

When I brought the beast home, it was rather heavy. I noticed that some of the card slots were left unused and unblocked. After opening the case and removing enough dust and debris to prevent the fans from spinning, along with a small nest, it was much lighter. Afterwards, minor experimentation had it running as a nice Linux desktop. Being used as a test machine, it then went on to experience several flavors of Linux, and BSD.

It finally ended up life as a PFSense appliance with multiple network cards and experimental settings. It was really the first time I got to use Snort “in production”, and I’ve become a fan. The machine ran well until the power supply and motherboard both gave up a few weeks ago. First it started dropping connections. Then it began to power itself down and generate extra heat. Finally I got what I’ve always heard called “the blue mystic smoke” of various components giving up and frying. Ah well.

It’s since been replaced by a fantastic little passively cooled machine. One eighth the size and at least three cores and and architecture bump (32 to 64 bit) more powerful. Ah progress!

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