Kicking It Old School

(Reprinted from the Metro Spirit, 7/26/2012)

Please Pass the Floppy – So the call came last Saturday night, “I rebooted my server and it’s not coming back up.  I’m getting a blue screen that says I should contact my administrator – That’s you, right?”  Yep. That’s me.

As it turns out, it wasn’t as bad as it first sounded.  We had received an alert earlier in the week about a disk inconsistency, and it was during a scan of the disk that the system crashed.  A pretty easy scenario actually – boot to the recovery console, run chkdsk and enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Oh, but did I mention that it was a 2003 Windows Server with a SCSI RAID?

Now I know that only about 3 or 4 people out there fully appreciate that last line.  Long story short, when booting to recovery on older servers, it’s commonplace that device drivers are added by the technician during the process.  No big deal there.  However, Windows Server 2003 looks in only one place for these drivers, the A: drive.  So here I am in the wee hours of Sunday morning thinking, “Where the heck am I going to find a floppy drive???”

Fortunately, our company has Matthew and Keith.  Both of them have been working here for over 20 years, and I don’t believe I have ever seen either of them throw away anything.  While the clutter drives me crazy at times, on this night I was somewhat amused by the fact that I knew we had one.  But where?  It would be an exaggeration to say that I just reached up in the cabinet and pulled out a floppy drive and formatted floppy disks, but it’s not entirely inaccurate either.  Less than an hour later, I was sitting in the recovery console letting chkdsk do its thing.

Riding Through Mayberry – The past month saw the loss of one of the all-time TV greats.  Andy Griffith made his name being the honest, standup law man on The Andy Griffith Show.  He built his reputation by doing the right thing and being friendly to strangers.  It’s a reputation much different than you find from the public safety department of poor little Oliver, GA.

Oliver, GA is a small city in the southern-most tip of Screven County.  The city itself has a total area of 0.9 square miles with no buildings or other significant structures.  As a matter of fact, all that is in poor little Oliver, GA is a four-way stop with a blinking caution light.  In most communities, a blinking caution light would be an indication of potential danger.  In poor little Oliver, GA, however, this blinking light is a significant source of income for the county.

My family found this out last weekend as they drove the back roads from Savannah coming home from a family reunion.  As they approached the city center of poor little Oliver, GA, the speed limit dropped suddenly from 55 to 45 to 35.  My mother, who has never gotten a ticket in a whole bunch of years driving (I’m not allowed to say how many), and who I very much doubt posed any danger to the residents of poor little Oliver, GA, became the target of an all-points bulletin.  Fifteen minutes and almost $400 later, the kind officer thanked us for visiting his quaint town.

So you may ask, “You mom got caught in a good ‘ole country speed trap…so what?”  Well, it turns out we should have known better.  On the Internet, poor little Oliver, GA is a famous place.  Quoting from Wikipedia:

“The city is known for being a speed trap with outrageous speeding fines. Do not drive through the town unless you want a ticket of 55 in a 35 and a fine of $375!”

So the county that counts among its residents the most decorated Georgian war hero of World War II now garners international fame for its predatory law enforcement.  If anyone knows any members of the Screven County Chamber of Commerce, you might want to let them know that the Internet is telling everyone to stay away!

Until next time, I’m off the grid.  @gregory_a_baker