Archives for January 2004

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still fighting the system

I bought a new hard drive today... 160GB IDE drive from Staples for $140. The 120GB was $130, so 160 seemed to be the sweet spot in the price curve right now. Since my computer refuses to boot from cd, I took the drive over to Kathy's, popped it in the place of her drive, and installed Linux on it that way. That part went fine.

Then I grab the drive, bring it back to my place, and throw it in my computer. Success, it boots up just fine. But now a 60GB IDE drive I have music on doesn't want to be recognized. The BIOS had never detected it right, but before Linux picked it up just fine. Now, though, it doesn't.

I don't want to bore this space with a litany of details, but if you're interested click to read on... — Continue Reading...

just what i wanted

So my desktop is pretty much down for the count. I don't know what caused the drive to go screwy -- it most likely had something to do with the power supply shutting down quickly when it overheated after the fan died, but I don't know for sure -- but whatever it is must have done its job well. The computer also refuses to boot from a CD, even after trying multiple boot cds and two cd-rom drives, so it's entirely possible the motherboard's not all with it.

So that's cool. I don't really have a sure plan of action yet. I think I need to buy a new hard drive (which I really needed anyway), install Linux on it in another computer, transfer the drive over to my computer, pray that it works, and then try to recover data from there. We'll see how that goes.

My laptop hard drive hasn't died yet, even though I think it's about to every time it makes a noise. I think I'm going to need it to last another week while I figure this other unpleasantry out.


Computers obviously don't like me. I'm back in LA now, and came back to find that my computer here wasn't off because anybody turned it off, actually the power supply fan just fried. For those with a long memory, I've actually had this happen before.

So I went down to Radio Shack and bought a new fan, rigged it in the same way I had done the last fan (which also didn't really fit the spot), boot it up, and leave.

I come come back, with a new wireless router -- since they're so cheap these days I figured it was time for my computer to not play that role -- and start to work setting that up. I hop over to my computer to change some network settings, and... no /etc (the directory where most settings are). Apparently it's just vanished. I tried rebooting, to see if something funky just happened on boot, and... no grub (my boot-loader, the thing that makes the operating system go).

Right now I'm downloading a system rescue cd to see what I can figure out from that. I'm doing this via my laptop, which I'm still convinced could lose its hard drive at any moment.

Maybe this is a sign.

spyware galore

Kathy's house got a cable modem installed today, so I just came over to get it all configured (they just installed the modem itself). Installation went fine, we've got the cable modem and a little Linksys wireless router sitting in the living room, and then a PCI wireless card in the computer upstairs. Running cable upstairs would have been a pain in their big old brick house, so wireless was just easier.

Their computer is a bit older, PIII era, running Windows 98SE. I noticed that as it was booting up, it just churned and churned, so I figured there were probably things running that really needn't be. I downloaded Ad Aware, ran it, and it found 400+ objects. Granted, some of those are harmless cookie files, but there's definitely some Gator floating around as well as some other nefarious crap. Time to get those blown away and see if things speed up.

keeping things up to date

In the name of keeping things up to date, I just went through and redid my web favorites page. Now it's a bit more up to date in terms of LA related sites I read and links to bands that I've seen around town. I need to rethink most of the stuff under favorites and try and see how all that can integrate into the site better.

mmmm wifi

Sitting right now at Founders, in Grand Rapids, MI, with Alan and Joel. Places with free wifi are very cool, but something I've never really gotten into in LA. I need to find more cool places to sit, have a drink, and get some work done. It's much cooler to sit at a place like this than it is to sit on the couch in my apartment.

still kickin...

My laptop taunts me. It wants to work. It boots up. It pretends to be fine. And then the drive's like, "well, maybe I don't want to work. maybe i'll just take my time getting your data." Any time you're getting percentages in the iowait line in top -- when you're not really doing anything, mind you -- that's not a good thing. But, as of right now, it's running. If I can nurse it back to California, my life will be a lot better.

Wimpy machine... Just suck it up and work.

sometimes computers hate me, sometimes i hate computers

My laptop is in agony. The hard drive might as well be toast. Nothing runs, just a lot of I/O errors. I appreciate that it died slowly, but I really would have preferred that it hadn't died at all. Tomorrow I get to brave snow-covered roads to drive over to Grand Rapids and see about getting the drive replaced. Then, joy of all joys, I get to go through the entire process of reinstalling everything. Just what I wanted to do during my last few days at home.

I think the drive might not even be spinning any more. The apps that have themselves all in memory are still up (which really is just the browser now). Everything else disappears when I touch it.

Now to post and kill this thing once and for all. Or at least until tommorrow, when I should get a new drive...

oh the fun that is the internet

I don't know how long it's been since I've made changes to the look of this blog as I've made over the course of the last few days. Today another small addition. Entries older than the first day are now collapsed by default, and you have to expand them to see the full text. The idea is that this makes it easier to scan the entries and also allows me to have more posts on the page without making it a mile long and unwieldy.

User Interface work is always interesting because you never really know how people are going to come at what you're doing. The preconceptions and style they bring to browsing your site determine how they're going to use it, and you can't really predict that fully. Read on to get more of my UI thoughts. — Continue Reading...

one of those moments

I just had one of those moments when you go, "Wow. Technology is pretty crazy." I've been toying with bluetooth stuff all day, and just now I took a shot at setting up bluexmms. I had my moment of awe while standing across the room adjusting the volume on my computer via my phone.

For those of you unfamiliar with the technology, basically what happens is the computer (via software like bluexmms) sends out a signal over the air that says "I am a phone accessory providing this functionality." The phone sees that and adds it to its Accessories menu. Once it's there you can then use it just as you might use any built-in functionality on the phone.

I've also figured out how to transfer images to my computer via bluetooth, something that is very handy.

fun is in the air...

I just backed up all the contacts on my phone to my computer, via bluetooth in Linux. I bought a bluetooth USB adaptor the other day, and then used MultiSync to transfer the data off and back it up. Now I just need to figure out what I can do with it locally, and I need something for transferring files via bluetooth so that I can use Linux to get pictures off my phone.

JPL 1, Mars 0

Spirit has landed. I was at a movie tonight, so I wasn't around to watch the live feed during the tense moments. JPL looks to be a happy place right about now. It's pretty crazy to think that a couple months ago I was standing in the observation area of the assembly building looking down on two packages getting wrapped up for a flight to Florida. One of those is now sitting on the surface of Mars. Mars! Even as I'm saying that, I don't know if I can really grasp the scale of it.