30 Nov

Going to Prague

I am on a Czech Airlines plane somewhere over Europe on my way to run a conference in Prague for the next 2 days, and then attend another conference on Wednesday before returning home. I am quite tired, what with a busy workload last week, either seeing friends or working every night and then Matt’s 18th birthday do on Friday night [to Saturday morning].

23 Nov

Gardening Day

Got up and gardened all day today and yesterday. Cleared nettles, cut down brambles, trimmed hedge with my eldest’s trimmers. Then planted out winter pansies and put down crocus bulbs. There are lots more things to be done and much more clearance, but I feel that I put in a good 12 hours productive gardening. Compost bin totally full, as is the ‘green recycling bin’ so goodness knows where the next lot of green stuff is going to go.

Got to work now, then the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ results show and a couple of episodes of Silent Witness before bed. Off to lecture to lecture tomorrow.

Oh, and I shaved my moustache off when in Belgium last week and both Ann and Matthew say they prefer it.. wow. I have had a ‘tache for 28 years!

09 Nov

Very Weird Week

This is a techie blog.. stop now if you don’t do geek.

I have had the strangest week with my Ubuntu installation on my Dell. I upgraded to 8.10 and all of a sudden my system stopped talking to the Internet via my network adaptor. Aaaargh! Nowadays a PC with no access to a network is useless, not only do I need the ‘Net to do my work but all my files are not on my work machine but on my file server. A LiveCD of 8.10 had the same problem so I sighed and reinstalled 7.10, reconfigured and started the upgrade back to 8.04. It’s not too awful on Ubuntu, all the apps and stuff comes as part of the install, and then there are the little tweaks and changes I make and I can do most of them from memory. All my data is on the file server so as long as I have a fstab backup then I am ok. It was eerie to see the video driver/kernel problem that scared me silly earlier this year happen before my eyes as 7.10 upgraded itself, broke the video drivers, recovered and then moved to 8.04.. like watching evolution at high speed!

In the end, after various pleas on ‘net forums I began to realise that no-one else had this problem. I also noticed that I was having real problems with DNS lookups and DHCP on my laptop. I switched it to using OpenDNS for DNS (not as easy on a Linux box as I thought it would be if you still want Auto DHCP for the machine IP) and things improved. My suspicion moved to my Orange router.. the second one I have had since the last one seemed to be the cause of my 6 weeks of intermittent Internet earlier this year. So, resisting the temptation to beat it with a branch in Basil Fawlty style, I rebooted it a few times. Oh look, DNS problems gone.. wonder if it was the route all along.

Now.. I thought, it’s time to be sensible and make a full disk image of my PC and have a perfect backup so I can upgrade to 8.10 and if it fails to network I can simple restore my image of my 8.04 setup. I downloaded Clonezilla and made a copy of my partition to another partition. It seemed to work. I rebooted and I got an odd error message but realised that my fstab referred to the backup partition as reiserfs but in fact it was now ext3. I changed it. Or did I? Long story short.. my system has been accessing both the original and backup since they share the sam UUID, a unique partition identifier, which they now both share! I have a working system which I upgraded to 8.10, but the upgrade seems to have gone to the backup disappeared! So.. I have edited BOTH fstabs, stopped using the UUID and moved to /sda1 and /sda3, and I am about to reboot.. wish me luck!

——-> 10 minutes later….

It worked. Mind you.. the 8.10 upgrade has vanished like snow in rain, which is very odd given that I sat here and watched the whole lot download, answered the configuration questions and so on!

——-> 60 minutes later ….

All sorted. Now I have tried a 8.10 Live CD and once again the network adaptor fails! Aaargh. I also noticed that my gnome-terminal failed to run. Have I got a dodgy LiveCD? I am downloading a new one now. In the meantime I think I shall stay with 8.04, after all it is a LTS (long term support) release so it’ll be kept safe and secure and frankly I am quite happy with all that 8.04 has, 8.10 would be nice but not killer.

In the meantime I have installed Debian 5 (lenny) on my laptop.. alongside Ubuntu 8.10 and Puppy 4.. but that is my ‘mess about toy’.. since it really is an old piece of junk.

02 Nov

10 Films to Annoy Geeks and Full Frontal Nerdity

I liked this run down of films likely to annoy the geeks amongst us:

10 Films to Annoy Geeks

I also loved this loving tribute to the gaming geeks amongst us:

Full Frontal Nerdity

Whilst I hate to reduce my chances of winning (I have actually won some VNUnet comps) I’d also love a friend to win a Samsung netbook with a 120GB SSD:

VNU net Samsung Flybook Competition

So, less of a blog and more of a list of links, but hey, somedays that’s all you need.

Now I have to complete a Talislanta adventure and I have 3 hours to stat up a Drakken tomb..

“Fly my monkeys.. Fly!”