Related link: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/6837
Last week I bought the lowest-level, cheapest Dell desktop computer I could get so I could test some Perl software and some web pages on Windows.
It got here on Tuesday: at the earliest time in the estimated delivery and quicker than UPS could update its tracking. Very nice. However, I didn’t get the flat-panel monitor I thought I was getting: they sent a 17-inch CRT. I looked back at the order and read the fine print. Yep, they snuck the CRT in there under four in-house ads saying I could get a free flat-panel monitor (* if I bought a different computer). Oh well, I only paid $450 and the monitor was just gravy. I already have a monitor for it.
Physical set up is easy, and this computer looks really ugly. There’s a plastic facade on the front of the tower that adds two inches, and the monitor and mouse both have cables snaking to the back of the tower. I think I’ll have to get one of those wireless mice (or maybe I’ll see about adding a bluetooth keyboard and mouse).
The software setup was no problem, and I already had ActivePerl and cygwin (along with a few other things) burned to a CD. I didn’t want to hook this think up to the network just yet. I ended up wasting an hour playing Minesweeper. I could play that game all night.
Then I installed FireFox, but not just any version: the Irish version. What the heck, I’m already on Windows, and as the Outward Bound folks say, “Get into what you can’t get out of”. I’m setting myself up for pain, so let’s do it in Gaelic.
That was yesterday. Today, I figured I’ll try to connect it to the network. What a pain! I connected to my network through my Airport Express. I ran the Network Setup wizard, restarted, and badda-bing badda-boom, it picked up its DHCP address and router. The only problem was the crappy ISP nameservers which were down. No problem, I figured, I’ll just manually add a couple of nameservers. No I won’t, I guess. I couldn’t find any place in Network Setup to change it. I checked the Microsoft Help thingy, and it returned a document from the MSN Knowledge Base telling me which Registry Key to edit with regedit. Ugh.
I tweaked my Airport Base Station to give out new addresses for the nameserver, restarted that, and restarted Windows (which I needed to do anyway so some other software could do its magic). Now the Windows box is on the network. Well, it’s almost on the network. I’m pretty sure I followed the different instructions to create a network share, but no dice. I’ll have to think about that later. Maybe I should just figure out how to set up an sshd instead.
Oh well, things aren’t so bad. By next week I should be getting some work out of this machine.