To fill in some empty bits from the last couple of days and ensure I haven’t missed anything (and to have a rant):
Last night after I posted the blog up, Delphine very kindly made me dinner. Now, I’m not sure if this was return payment for my (in)famous stew to which I treated her the previous night; or whether – as is more likely – revenge. Whichever, I ended up with more pasta and bacon than enough to choke a large cow.
Don’t get me wrong. It was delicious. I just notice that I had as much on my plate as was on Delphine’s and her friend’s combined. Now I know I look like I’ve lost weight recently, but that’s just taking the Michael. Having said that, I did manage to get about 2/3 of the way through it out of sheer stubborn-ness and force of will.
And just to make a point, I ate 4/5 of a foot-long jam swiss roll. Of course, I gave the remainder to the chef. Nice, but needed custard.
The other thing that springs to mind about the hostel is the dodgy wireless. The staff here aren’t IT-trained, which is fine. It’s not their job. The problem is that the guy who does maintain the network is a one-man band and the wireless keeps dying. The usual solution is to reboot the little white box on the counter.
This box is only a wireless hotspot, it’s not a router. As such, it doesn’t provide IP addresses to computers. It simply links them to the network at which point another machine does the DHCP work. So problems come in two varieties – no network connectivity (Netgear at fault) or network available, but DHCP failing (big silver PC at fault).
The big silver PC doesn’t have any power lights, a monitor, a keyboard or a mouse. So when it falls over, it’s impossible to tell what’s happened. Cycling the power is the only way to remedy it and even then, if it fails to boot you just don’t know why.
One of the staff was looking on while I did my best to tinker and said that their system was overly-complex but they needed all five (five!) machines because of the tasks involved:
Network for staff
Network for guests
Wireless network for staff and guests
He wholeheartedly believed that they didn’t have the budget for a new machine capable of combining all these into one system. As it would need a “twin processor, giga-something, huge machine”.
Hum. I was running NT4 Server on a Pentium-90 maybe eight years ago. With two network cards in, it would be perfectly capable of running two (bridged or unbridged) networks and – I believe – providing DHCP to both. Of course NT4 is moth-eaten by now, but even Win2k Server would suffice easily.
Internet connectivity would best be handled with a combined wireless router / firewall box. Belkin, Netgear and so forth sell these for small change these days.
The booking system would run on a 486, so at most a separate low-spec PC just to keep it separate for redundancy reasons would be fine.
Anyway, I’m not the guy in charge and I’m fully aware of how protective IT staff get over their pet projects. I’m just the same myself! As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The thing is, this network keeps breaking…
[end of technobabble – sorry about that]