when we are issued a new work laptop by our corporate overlords, we go through an initiation ceremony paraphrased from the Rifleman’s Creed:
This is my laptop. There are many like it but this one is mine. My laptop is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I master my life. My laptop, without me is useless. Without my laptop, I am useless… […]
My laptop is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weakness, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my laptop clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…
it’s not as creepy as it sounds. OK, maybe it is.
anyhow, being the geek that I am, I think I have probably fulfilled this pledge to a greater degree than most. I can tell you how many processes are running at any given moment (137 right now), what my disk I/O is (some background process just wrote 307K), and what my CPU temperature is (51.0 C), and how long my laptop has been running (5d 8hr 34min) — all thanks to gkrellm.
unfortunately, gkrellm doesn’t run under Windows. in what I thought was a brilliant move, I backed-up the corporate Windows installation and loaded my favorite Linux flavor, then ran the corporate image in a Virtual Machine using VMware. worked like a charm, until the virtual machine’s disk image got too large — as you can imagine, it thought it had access to the whole 40GB drive, and now there was about 9GB worth of overhead. when the VM image got too big, I moved it off to a 40GB external USB hard drive.
again, this worked great — when I wanted to do corporate-stuff that required Windows, I plugged in the drive and it ‘just worked’; then I could unplug it and do everything else I needed with a browser and OpenOffice. and backing up the drive was as easy as copying the 8 files that made up the virtual machine — couldn’t be easier. I’d even run those backed-up files on my home workstation under VMware to verify that the backups worked right. what could go wrong?
first, the external hard disk crashed. well, didn’t physically crash, but it couldn’t find the partitions anymore. and in an attempt to fix the partition tables, I ended up with empty partitions.
then the backup didn’t work. not only was it a month old (meaning I lost a month of email, files, etc), it just wouldn’t boot up under VMware on the laptop — corrupted SYS/SOFTWARE file in Win2000.
so now I need to restore my corporate laptop to something that vaguely resembles the corporate image, so they don’t get all worked up about unsupported Linux installations in the network.
long story short; I think I know more about the guts of this laptop than 99% of our corporate IT support people, having configured and troubleshot the video, sound, and wireless networking under Linux, but I’m reduced to obliterating everything so I can get the IT department to fix/reload the original corporate image.
the sad thing is that I’ve performed my job just fine for the past 10 days despite lack of access to the corporate image — the only thing I couldn’t do was submit my bi-weekly timesheet. and that’s important enough that I had better get this fixed.
and the question remains: what will I do when they give me a clean laptop back? live on the edge with my unsupported setup (in a slightly safer configuration, with a better backup plan), or reduce myself to being a corporate drone? any guesses?