Bellerophon symbol, variation 7 jonath.co.uk
Wednesday 3rd December 2003

"I'll go back, get more body bags. I'll see you later." (the driver of a glazing company's transit van, overheard tonight)

I don't think I've written anything for December yet. Hmmmm . . . I see.

So I've done a workaround . . . I don't know why but, when logged in as some non-root user, I am unable to write files to anywhere except my home directory . . . this is on my web-server, of course. So, what I have to do (until the workaround was implemented . . . wow, this is exciting stuff . . . keep going, keep going) is save my web-log to my home directory and then, as root, copy the modified file to, erm . . . well, you know . . . god, this is dull . . . why am I bothering? It's fixed, anyway. I think that's the gist of this. Well, can you call something fixed when all you've done is work around the problem? I don't know. Next problem is the CD player. When a CD player can't even find the table-of-contents on a CD lens cleaner, well . . . whaddaya do?

More stuff written for November . . . nothing too exciting . . . just ranting about Little Chef and a little more about the Australia holiday.


Wednesday 10th December 2003

My job went to India and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

(should I have heard of JenniCam?)

But, anyway, I haven't written much here of late, so I thought I ought to, erm . . . address that. So what happened? Oh, nothing much, you know. It was an accident, and one that I've done many, many times myself but I've always been fairly lucky with hard-drive power resets on that computer . . . but . . . yes . . . but this time, it seemed critical . . . I had to drag a monitor down from the 2nd floor, three flights down to the cellar. This was, of course, after I had already tried resetting the power myself several times . . . in a desperate attempt, not being able to know what was being sent to standard output . . . but anyway . . . So I got the monitor into the 'bar' (where the web-server currently resides), plugged it in, plugged in a PS/2 keyboard lying around and turned the power on. I soon realised the problem: on power up, the operating system (SuSE Linux) was whinging about some hard-drive that hadn't been, erm . . . I really want to use the word 'park' at this point . . . do we still park hard-drives? Erm . . . but, yes . . . that was the problem. The computer had been shut-down in a 'uncontrolled' manner, resulted in damage to data on the primary hard-drive. No problem - run fsck. But that failed, and I had to go through the bad sectors manually. This usually just involves answering 'yes' whenever the process stops to query whether or not I want to fix such-and-such a node, or whatever it is . . . a bit like scandisk, I guess . . . so I just press the y key a lot and kinda hope for the best. But this is an old hard-drive, perhaps only 1.5GB in size and, erm . . . yeah . . . fsck finished, I did a re-boot, and thought everything would be back to normal and all sectors accounted for and in the right place. But no . . . on the re- boot, fsck still complained about some dodgy sectors, so round again we go . . . Eventually, I managed to access this so-called damaged hard-drive, to find many files mysteriously missing, but most of the important stuff still intact. Ah ha, so all I need to do is open up an FTP session and transfer all the files to another machine. Simple. But no . . . not simple. The network card I somehow manage to nudge into life with an 'ifconfig eth0 up' in its side . . . network card is then like, "What?! Yes, what?! Whaddaya want now?" and we just wanna transfer a few files to another machine in the network . . . maybe just a ping first, to check we have a connection there, you know? "What's your base address?" Sorry? "An IP address. No IP address, no connection," and it's like some weird bouncer at some freaky, techno-geek nightclub, where everyone has a computer hidden about them somewhere and anyone without their own IP address has to go via the club's DHCP server, but, well, this is ain't working tonight, hence . . . so I kinda think . . . forget it, I'll go someplace else. I shut the computer down and do something else . . . when was this anyway? Maybe Monday . . . I'm not too sure . . . but yesterday, I turned the power back on, thinking . . . "Can't I just set up a default gateway to the router or something?" but, erm . . . no need, for the hard-drive had mysteriously 'fixed itself' and everything was back where I left it . . . and web-server is working for a bit longer . . .

And then some stuff arrived from ThinkGeek . . . I guess I ordered this stuff at some point. God knows why, but I ordered the LED Case Feet and some UV-treated rounded cables (one for the floppy drive and another for the two hard-drives). So the glowing feet are great, and all, and my computer now has this ominous blue glow underneath but as for the cables . . . Another trip to the bar and the 4ft UV light there confirmed my suspicions (these being that the floppy cable was no more UV-treated than a standard ribbon cable): the hard-drive IDE cable had an impressive UV-activated glow about it, but the IDE cable for the floppy drive was, erm . . . well, part of the braiding around the cable looked a bit more red, maybe, but nothing much . . . not very impressive. So I enthusiastically rip out the old ribbon-style IDE cables and shove these new 'uns in, which is pretty difficult owing to the bad design combo that is my motherboard and the computer case. Power back up and I get this GRUB error which seems to be something to do with the older 20GB primary drive there (the newer 60GB is set to secondary) and I'm wondering why this computer's gone all weird with me. So I reset the power a few times, contemplate throwing the 20GB around the room a bit, but then just kind of tentatively tap it a few times . . . put the power back on and still I'm getting this GRUB error and BIOS is now denying there's even a hard-drive there . . . just the 60GB one, but this one doesn't seem to have any boot-up information on it . . . I wonder why? That would be kinda useful at moments like this, but hey . . . So, thinking logically, I put the old ribbon cable back for the two hard-drives on and turn the power on. Bingo. So now I'm thinking . . . "So I've got one 'UV-treated' IDE cable that looks remarkably similar under UV light as it does any kind of blue/purple light and then there's this proper UV-treated IDE cable that causes a 'GRUB' error on my primary hard-drive . . . and this stuff was ordered from North America . . . hmmmm"

But, hey, at least my scanner now works and I can play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. I think this has been working since Monday and I've only recently managed to complete the initial training session for the Cessna 172, which involves take-off, a bit of pitching/rolling and then landing (the auto-pilot, Rod, does the approach). It's only now that I've managed this because in all previous attempts, whenever Rod handed back control (with the runway visible and less than 6 miles away) he insisted on banging the joystick so that the plane went into this hideous 30-40 degree bank left or right or else a 45 degree climb . . . as I struggled to bring the plane back under control, the computer would just be like, "Too bad, you failed. Try again later," and I'm like, "Well, if Rod was a bit more careful with his virtual, spammy arms and hands then maybe I would have landed fine," but too late . . . but recently, he's been okay, so I've managed to land fine . . . now I'm going through the lessons . . . flying lessons.


Saturday 13th December 2003

And then we find ourselves in York.

So I'm writing this retrospectively, so things are a bit fuzzy now. I have a map somewhere . . . oh yes, here it is. There's a load of pictures accompanying this event, and I made damn sure that there was at least one picture per pub visited and all these pictures should be in order on the film (obviously). I just need M****** to use up those last couple of shots and then get the thing developed.

So maybe I'll leave the rest of this until I have the pictures . . .