Unstable firewall

Well children, my firewall had gone weirdly unstable after I’d added 128MB of new PC133 ram. It’s a Celery 300A (@450 of course) and it was oopsing miserably after years of faithful service. After memtesting it seemed that suddenly there were errors in one of the _existing_ dimms. Hmmm, it turs out that CAS wait state was set on auto in the bios. I’m theorising that the BIOS somehow based its CAS on the new RAM and that the old RAM couldn’t quite accommodate that. So, I set the CAS ws to 3 and 17 hours of memtesting (12 passes) reported 0 errors. The lesson we learn: know your CAS and know your memtest.

memtest86 is a brilliant tool: http://www.memtest86.com/

The TIP

I have an Abit KT7 motherboard. I like it, except for one little thing: for some or other reason, Abit chose to mount a non-ball-bearing fan on the Northbridge chipset heatsink. Now, if you’re going to put any kind of fan in a computer, make sure it’s a ball-bearing fan, as it’s probably going to be doing its thing 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

In anycase, this fan of mine started making an awful noise a while ago and shortly after that stopped rotating quite as fast as it should have. Because of the guarantee, I was able to get a swap-out (i.e. a new motherboard).

Well, it happened again. This time however, I did NOT feel like taking the whole computer in just to have the motherboard replaced (because of a FAN!); it’s a good vendor, but they’re kind of strict with their guarantee conditions. So, I removed the fan from the heatsink, removed the sticker from the bottom and added a drop of sewing machine oil to the axle. Sticker back on, fan screwed on the heatsink again, it’s now quiter than ever (even than when it was brand new). I’m very happy… :)

GAim yaaaaaay!

The newer versions of everybuddy (multi-protocol IM client) were getting progressively worse, at least on my systems. So, by chance I saw that GAim now also has support for IM networks other than AIM through its plugin system. I gave it a shot and I’m really impressed! It’s stable on my configurations and supports AIM, ICQ, Yahoo chat, MSN, Jabber, Zephyr and IRC. It even has a napster plugin. The kitchen sink will be included in the next release. In spite of all this, it has a smallish footprint… aaaaah, IM bliss. Gaim is available from http://gaim.sourceforge.net/.