Windows Server 2008 in a QEMU-KVM virtual machine on Fedora 11 bluescreens on boot

At work, I run Windows Server 2k8 in a virtual machine so I can actually use my computer while Windows is busy doing something stupid.  Before I left for my Christmas vacation, I ran a full yum-update of my system.  When I came back, my VM wouldn’t start.  It bluescreened on boot with a STOP 0x0000005c 0x0000010B 0×00000003 error (I think I got the numbers right).  I’ve had problems similar to this before, but I was always able to get into safe mode, not that it did any good for fixing it.  In this case, I couldn’t even get to safe mode.  I’ve always been able to fix these problems in the past by reverting to a backup of the VM.  This time, not a single one of my old backups would work — they all failed with the same error.  I tried everything to no avail.  Luckily, one of my alert coworkers who uses the same setup I do noticed something when he ran an update, and that was the bochs-bios package got updated.  For whatever reason, this causes Win 2k8 to fail to boot, although my test with a Fedora 12 live image worked fine.

The bad package: bochs-bios-2.3.8-0.9.git04387139e3b.fc11.noarch

A known good package: bochs-bios-2.3.8-0.6.git04387139e3b.fc11.noarch

I was about to download the original version of the package from the Fedora mirrors (which I think is what I ended up with anyways), but then I noticed yum has this handy “downgrade” command.  So it was a snap to fix, just run this in the shell:

sudo yum downgrade bochs-bios

Voila, boots as normal.

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Open Letter to Congress on the Economy and Health Care

I wrote this letter to my congressional representatives about a month ago.  I was quickly persuaded by one of my friends to make it an open letter, but I haven’t gotten around to posting it until now.

I am very concerned about the series of actions taken on the economy and health care recently. I think our country’s course in these matters is completely wrong and destructive. I am an engineer with a degree from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. My education and work experience have given me a deep understanding of business and the market. America is a great nation in terms of our wealth, standard of living, freedom, and power because of our free market economy. I am vehemently opposed to all bailouts, stimulus plans and other meddling in that free market.

The stimulus bills and “putting America to work” programs are saving and creating jobs artificially, at a cost far higher than the value of those jobs. The free market is the most efficient way to allocate resources to where people actually need them. Companies that don’t sell what people want to buy need to fail. In an unhindered market, the workers who are displaced from those failing companies will have no trouble finding new and better jobs.

The health care “reform” bill will drive up premiums and reduce the quality of care. It will allow big insurance companies to further entrench themselves by raising barriers to competition. We need deregulation, not more regulation. If allowed, competition will result in falling prices and better services. Just look at Social Security for an example of how the best of intentions result in sub-par results at enormous expense. Let people keep their own money and use it as they see fit and everyone will be better off.

I don’t think any American want the government making choices in their health care. There is nothing more personal than one’s own body, and it should be up to individuals to decide what care they need and how much insurance they need. I don’t want the government forcing coverage on me that I don’t need, or denying me care I do need. If I want to eat a double cheeseburger or smoke a cigarette, that should be my choice. With a public system, my personal choices are costing other taxpayers more money, and thus they will strive to regulate my behavior. Making these personal choices a public concern clearly undermines Liberty by involving the public in an individual’s Life and Pursuit of Happiness. Conversely, if my health care spending is my own, then my choices are my own as well.

A recession is no time to be raising taxes, creating new entitlements and erecting barriers to business. If you are serious about helping the American people get out of this recession and get better health care, then you need to cut taxes, cut government spending, cut trade tariffs, and allow the market to do what it does best – create wealth for everyone. Please, trim government and allow America to be successful again. Everyone will be better off than before, and far, far better off than they will be if we continue on our current course.

I wrote a very similar letter to President Obama.  Neither has received a response to date.

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