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NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

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Monday October 27, 2003
03:19 AM

Bootnet

[ #15405 ]
I have been in Iraq (or, as we say, "in theater", which includes all of CENTCOM, or Central Command, which also includes Afghanistan) since April, and, when I found out that we were going to be here for 365 days, the functional equivalent of forever, I had my PowerBook sent to me. I can now download pictures from my digital camera and my wife can send me pics, MP3, and whatnot on CD, and I can do the same thing back.

Some time after I got my PowerBook, we got a limited network connection, but I still have not been able to connect to it because they have not approved laptops yet. They have not figured out how to identify people who violate the use policy, which is probably the strictest policy ever to exist, designed by a team of pogue REMFs (rear area mother... well, this is a family friendly place) who throttle traffic so their connections stay fast. I kid you not. So, without the network, I cannot sync any of the CVS working copies I have, cannot use my iJournal client, and cannot ssh. Well, I cannot have everything I guess. When you think about the sacrifices that soldiers make to be here, remember that I cannot ssh. The horror.

After two weeks of asking around, I found a USB floppy drive that I could borrow, and after a month I found someone selling floppy disks. Everyone sells blank CDs, but I cannot put CDs in the internet computers. Now I can do my work on my Powerbook, save it to disk, and walk over to one of the internet computers.

At the moment I am at a southern camp were we work from time to time. It is really just a big parking lot and gas station, sort of the middle-of-the-desert Truckers America, but without the convenience store, hot showers, and scales. I live outdoors when I am here. They have a signal company here so they have good internet access, and people can register to add their laptops to the network. They get a DHCP address with a lease time of about a week, and everything is then tracked by that IP. When I went to register my PowerBook, they said that they could only put Windows and NT on the network for security reasons. They told me that they did not have service paks and anti-virus software for Macs. I told them that's because Macs do not need them. Still, this was decided much higher than their level, but they had not thought about what problems Microsoft had caused them two weeks ago when that worm brought everything down for two days. I know when I am licked, so I did not push it.

My internet life is a bit complicated. I want to save various things off of the net and get them to my PowerBook. I have to save them to the floppy disk then carry it to my PowerBook. When I do whatever I need to do with the information, then carry the floopy disk back to the internet computer. The whole process takes about a week because I only get internet access every other day for about 30 minutes---no time to waste, I come in with a list and buzz through it as quickly as possible. I typed this post a couple of days ago and left it on the floppy for the next time I got access.

I am getting back into Perl, although I am making some really stupid little mistakes because I have been away from it for eight months. Now that I have time (well, what I have left over at the end of the day), I can take care of a lot of little things I never got to because I was too busy with the big projects. I am constantly amazed how important the network is when I need to research a problem.

That is it for now. I have used up my use.perl time for today.