In my experience, good luck is annual
Posted Jun 23, 2008
Let me begin by saying that I am searching for the right word to discuss my current feeling.
Frustration. Is that the right word for when your hard drive fails spectacularly and you are left with a profound sense of despair?
Yes, that sounds about right.
First off, the other night, the HDD starts beeping. "Must've been on for too long," I supposed. Next morning, it keeps beeping. It keeps making that sound that only hard drives makes. "Man, that does not sound good," I think. "Perhaps I should back up my crucial stuff."
Good plan, as it turns out. First off, my Firefox profile. "Good, good, good, it's coming along nicely. Done! Excellent." Go to some other files. Vista freezes. Not good, not good. I reboot. Doesn't work. I try safe mode, it doesn't work. A couple of times more and I'm still monumentally smegged.
This is the point at which mere annoyance is no longer adequate, and I am forced to resort to frustration. And facepalming. As the phrase goes, "Facepalm early, facepalm often."
But all is not lost. After all, I have Linux Live CDs. Lots of them. I grab the latest (Ubuntu 8.04 beta). It boots and I am presented with a usable system that does not need to access my hard drive. But I try anyway. No success - I'm getting a string of errors from Nautilus, Gparted and even mount.
So I contact Dell, thanking whatever deity may or may not be floating overhead that I got the extended warranty (my notebook's over a year old now).
The story so far: hard drive failure resulting in the loss of 90 gigs of my stuff.
Then comes the one that makes me scream. My Firefox profile didn't actually copy.
"No matter, no matter," I reassure myself. I only use four add-ons and most of my bookmarks are stored at del.icio.us, anyway.
Most of my audio collection's on my MP3 player (which I use to play OGG Vorbis - nice one, Cyv!) and I do regular back-ups of the crucial stuff to my flash - one had been done earlier this week.
Everything's going well until, after a couple of hours, the Live CD, too, freezes. Black screen and no response. I try every trick I know - even try accessing the console workspaces. So I Alt+PrSc+R+E+I+S+U+B, a command that is the most useful I have ever learnt for any OS. It often annoys me that it is only present in Linux.
The result of this is that the compy reboots and I get back to the live CD desktop. Every time I have used it since, about half-an-hour to an hour into the session, it does the same freezing trick. It's annoying, but I can live with it. I install Foxmarks to minimalise inconvenience to myself in regards to my forever disappearing bookmarks in Firefox.
Later, I try SliTaz, a 25-meg Linux distro that's light, up-to-date, able to run completely off CD or be installed to HDD and so cool it could store a side of meat in it for a month. I highly recommend it if you want an awesome distro at low cost to your specs. I installed it to my flash for a brief time, but I was concerned about the amount of read/writes, so I formatted the drive. Back to the Ubuntu Live CD.
Presumably, this will get fixed and I will have my other crap back. The crucial bit is that I backed up and have most of my stuff somewhere or other, whether it be at DropBoks or Google Pages or even on my blog/site (I have lost a decade of comprehensive archives of my websites).
But that is not the complete story. Oh no, far from it.
Because before I had my laptop, I had a desktop. Let me tell you its story.
In the early 1990s, my parents had a desktop. It got steadily upgraded over the years, mostly by my brother. Eventually, its parts got distributed between the then two computers in the household. Later, I was presented with my own desktop, which essentially was the original one, modified almost beyond recognition.
Over the years since then, that desktop was slowly upgraded, changing cases two or three times until it came to its current form - 1.6 GHz AMD Athlon XP, 512 megs of RAM, a 20 gig HDD, an 80 gig HDD, a DVD-ROM drive, a CD-RW drive and a floppy drive. Plus a case that would've been really groovy in the late 1990s - transparent blue plastic piping, plus a "Powered by Red Hat" sticker on the front. I was quite happy with that. I was also happy with its previous case, which possessed a Pacman motif (Pacman was my power button and there were little 'pills' for my reboot button and activity indicators).
I'll mention at this point that, some time ago, I named my desktop "Ezekiel" after the Ctrl+Alt+Del character (the Xbot). It had previously been named "Nimbus" as a Harry Potter reference. This name has since been passed to my laptop.
When I got my laptop, I transferred everything from my desktop to my laptop and the desktop has only come out a couple of times in the past year.
But when my laptop's HDD died, my desktop came out once more to serve and convenience. I turned it on for about ten minutes because I wanted to ready it for a Linux distro (it previously had XP and Ubuntu on it, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes not).
Then Midsomer Murders came on and I decided to turn it off. So I shut it down, as one usually does.
Five minutes later, there was a loud bang and a horrible smell. Perfectly understandable given that the power supply had just blown.
Bad things, it is said, happen in threes. And so I am currently waiting for the next problem to rear its ugly head.
I am still surviving out of my Ubuntu live CD. It's not the best solution, but it's adequate and it's convinced me that, as soon as I get a hard drive back, I seriously am going to switch back to Linux.
This whole experience has made me wonder what the smeg I would have done if I didn't back up. So back up, people of Le Intrenett. Your butt may just depend on it.
My article's on the Guide front page!
Posted Apr 25, 2008
I think I just wet myself. The article's on the Music of the Hitchhiker's Guide - A32873899
Infocom's sequel to the Hitchhiker's Guide game sees the light... sort of
Posted Apr 18, 2008
Yay! We can finally play what Infocom managed to make of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe game (not much, but it's something). The article also gives a nicely-detailed history of the game's development and what happened. Plus comments from some of the Infocom staffers involved.
I think I'll going to explode with joy!
A History of the ABC News themes
Posted Mar 1, 2008
I mentioned the other day (F1904324?thread=5131678) that I may write an entry on Charles Williams' "Majestic Fanfare".
Instead, what I've done is written a history of all the ABC News themes, not just "Majestic Fanfare" - A32938842
Oonce! My entry's heading to the Edited Guide!
Posted Feb 28, 2008
Quite possibly the best news I've received in quite some time (with the possible exception of my entire offline life): F2132844?thread=5079683&latest=1
My article on the music of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (A4147652) has been selected for the Edited Guide.
While my joy is mainly at the fact that my (possibly self-delusional) status has just received a 1-up, there's also the fact that I can now say that I've contributed to the vast wealth of information on the Guide.
I feel like a real researcher now.
It's a smegging good feeling.
Of course, thank you to those who A) gave me additional information and tips on the entry content, and B) helped me fix my article to Edited Guide standards.
I read, though, that it may take up to two months for the process to be complete (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/EditedGuide-Process). But I don't care.