Quayle Consulting begins expansion project

Construction started yesterday on a new space for Quayle Consulting operations.  The new space, approximately 300 square feet, will allow office and laboratory functions to be co-located.  The existing office area will continue for accounting and office management functions.

The new space will include an internal Gigabit Ethernet network, with connection to remainder of the existing facility.

We’re excited on finally getting started!  Pictures to follow…

Simplify, Simplify…

I started down the PC road with PC-DOS 1.0 — the first version of DOS, distributed by IBM. My mom owned a real IBM PC/XT, and I bought one of the first IBM PC/AT’s (serial number 356).

Over the years, Microsoft has come out with: MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 (I skipped this one), Wndows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98 (skipped), Millenium Edition (skipped), Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista (skipped).  Windows 7 will be out soon, it’s already in wide-spread beta.  Of course, the required hardware continues to grow exponentially.

I’ve “repurposed” cast-off Windows PC hardware to run Linux, starting with RedHat 5.  Most were HP Vectras dumped by CheckFree Corporation on their annual equipment refresh. The employees and I (I was a consultant) would drag them out of the dumpster and divide the spoils.  I now have a CentOS 5.3 system with 3 TB of storage running on a Dell XPS400.

About a month ago, my primary Windows XP system was freezing every few minutes.  I knew it was time to reinstall Windows and all my applications again.

Since I had to install something, I decided to Install CentOS instead.  I have a tiny Windows XP partition running under vmware because some software isn’t available for Linux, such as Sage Software’s ACT! and its sync software for my Palm phone.  I also have an application to track my time as a pilot for the Civil Air Patrol.

It hasn’t been easy — I still can’t scan on my HP printer from Linux.  And I haven’t found a Linux application that can do a good job editing PDF’s.  But, in all, it’s been a reasonable conversion.

The future?  No more re-installs for me.  Maybe I can eliminate that Windows partition someday…

“That’s Why I’m Here”

I’ve begun to say, “That’s why I’m here” when people thank me for just doing my job. Most people are surprised when I say it. A company can issue a mission statement, but a company really needs people who are on a mission,

One of my goals is to make a reasonable income with which to support my family. That truly is the reason I’m here. Yes, my wife and kids would survive without me, but I’m here to love and support them. And, in return, I receive their love and support.

I believe that supporting my clients will provide that reasonable income and more.

Now, ask yourself, why are you here?

Goodbye, ISDN!

For many years (15+), I’ve had an ISDN phone line.  It’s kinda neat, you get 2 voice lines on one copper pair.  Full caller ID, 3-way calling, the works.  You can even make a high-speed 128k data call to other people with an ISDN line.  And analog dial-up would always, always, connect at 56k.

Of course, this speed sounds kinda silly these days.  My cable company gives me 10 Mb/sec down, 768k up.  But back in the age of dinosaurs, it was really something.

About once a year, a big thunderstorm would zap the terminal unit on my end.  No phones until I got it repaired.  A few years ago, 3Com stopped fixing their boxes (Impact IQ ISDN modem).  Fortunately, a friend gave me a couple of Motorola Bitsurfr boxes to keep me gong.

Every time I needed a feature changed, it would take me about an hour to convince the phone company that there is a service called ISDN.   And it’s handled by a completely separate department.

On the 26th of this month, they’ll swing my service over to a pair of analog phone lines.  Took “only” 45 minutes and 3 different departments  to set up.  It’ll cost me $7 more per phone initially, but then I’ll be able to swap those lines to Internet-based communications.

Anyway, back to a technology that Alexander Graham Bell invented…

Hello from VMS Bootcamp!

A big part of the Bootcamp is “VMS Magic”. Anyone can come up and give a story about anything related to VMS. The best story wins a prize — the first-place winner this year showed how he booted VMS on a palmtop computer.

But this post is about Ron Kaledas of CareTech Solutions. He works in a typical environment — VMS, Linux, Windows. At every opportunity, he pointed out the benefits of OpenVMS. His cluster had been up for 5 years continuously without interruption.

Clustered VMS systems can be upgraded one at a time in a “rolling reboot” without affecting the cluster as a whole. Hard to believe that this technology has been available for over 20 years, and still isn’t available on any other platform.

Anyway, his part of the data center was scheduled for a complete shutdown to upgrade the un-interruptible power supply (UPS). But he wanted to keep his cluster alive through the shutdown.

So, he downloaded PersonalAlpha, a free version of the CHARON-Alpha emulator. He loaded it on a laptop, installed VMS, joined the cluster, and shut down all the other nodes.

After an hour or so, the power was restored, and he started the other systems back up. He then had his laptop exit the cluster without impacting any users.

His uptime? 5+ years and counting!