Sunday, September 18, 2005


It's been way too long since my last post. A couple of weeks ago, the whole family came down with some sort of sinus infection. I'm still not quite done with it, but I think I'm through the worst. This weekend I felt well enough to tinker around with my old Gateway PC. One thing had been really frustrating me for a while: I couldn't boot from a CD-ROM. Not only that, but if I tried using something like SmartBootManager or another Torito stack trick to boot the CD-ROM, I would get an Error 0xAA message. So booting from the CD-ROM was a no-go, even with a boot floppy. I thought maybe it had something to do with the fact that I had upgraded the CPU a couple years back using one of the Evergreen Spectra kits. I took the PC apart and put the old 100 MHz chip back in and flashed the BIOS back to the gateway supplied one (1.0.10.BR0T). It was kind of nostalgic to see that Gateway 2000 logo popup again when I booted the PC.

Anyway, booting from the CD-ROM was an option again in the bios, so I flipped it on and put in my SLAX live CD. Unfortunately, I got an ISOLINUX error. Evidently it was able to try to boot from the CD-ROM, but it ran into some other hurdle in the process. Fortunately, I have lots of spare CD drives hanging around. I took the spare Dell one and put it in, and sure enough it booted up fine. Something about that Plextor CD-R/W was not happy about booting. So then I thought, well maybe I can get this guy to boot to CD-ROM with the upgraded chip back in there. Well, it doesn't work perfectly, but using the SmartBootManager disk I can get it to boot to CD-ROM with the 400 MHz chip installed. Huzzah!

That leads to tonight. I've been trying to get the latest distro of Slackware Linux (10.2) running. It's installed, and I can use it, but it won't recognize my USB mouse. I have a PS/2 mouse plugged in now, and it likes that, but it is sort of a pain because the cable from the KVM is USB. So now I have 2 mice on my deks, one for the Dell, and one for the Gateway. Solving problems like this is part of the "joy" of using Linux. I'm sure I'll have it figured out in the next couple of days, or else I'll just switch to the next distribution.


  1. I just started playing with Slax last night. It's a pretty interesting flavor of Linux. I honestly can't remember the last time I installed actual Slackware, I'm sure it goes back to version 1.1 or somewhere in that era. Recently I've been using distros like Ubuntu, and Auditor (which is a Knoppix based Network security auditing distro) I found a couple of lightweight slackware based flavors that are pretty interesting called Vector Linux. The Dynamite version is fast and uses the light weight XFCE window manager.

    Is it possible to run a USB -> PS2 adaptor from the KVM to the gateway? If you'ld like I have a few extra floating around I could let you have. just let me know.

  2. I thought about doing the USB->PS2 trick, but my KVM puts both the keyboard and mouse on a single USB. I don't have (or know of any for that matter) anything to both split and convert.

    I do, however, have a set of PS2 KVM cables. I'm using a 4-port Belkin SOHO model, and it supports both PS2 and USB cables. I'll probably just switch the PS2 cables off from the Dell box (which really doesn't need them since it recognizes USB keyboard and mouse at boot in BIOS), over to the Gateway.