the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Back in Action (Sort Of)

The mini-saga of my Linux box continues...

Last time, Excel, my Gentoo box was found half-alive, drives and fans spinning but unresponsive and unable to boot. A faulty power supply was suspected, and spousal approval for a trip to CompUSA was obtained.

So, after a late day dealing with the various fusterclucks at work, I stopped and picked up a new power supply, and after dinner I set to, carefully unraveling the tendrils of the suspect from their squidlike grip on various components, and gently removing the creature from its home. I connected the new supply, reattached various useful cords, powered it up, and prayed.




Boot-time happy beep--negative. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Well, I thought, this is more of a pain in the ass than I was expecting.

At this point, we were both starting to get concerned about the photo archive, which I don't think we could bear the loss of right now.

I laid out the options for [info]aquamindy: buy a new board, CPU, and memory, and transplant them into my existing case; build the brand-new system I've been thinking about for several months, much earlier than I had planned on assembling anything; or put my drives into her Win98 box as a temporary measure. She graciously chose the third option, which had the side benefits of immediacy and affordability.

Of course... Her case only has one internal 3.5" bay, so out went her 40GB drive, into an old anti-static bag in the closet. It just gets better and better, doesn't it?

And now... It boots! My grub menu has never looked so beautiful! Excel (sort of) lives again!

I was smart enough to swap the network card for the one from my box, but I didn't realize that I'd need to do the same with my video card, figuring that the Matrox G400 driver I'd rolled into the kernel would also support the G450. Ha! I got quite a laugh when, after telling grub which kernel to boot, it tried to drop into framebuffer mode, and away went my video signal, like some elusive pixy off to work mischief somewhere else.

I'll have to either swap the video card, or re-roll the kernel with more/different video drivers, but that can wait for now. My data is all intact, and the photo site is up again. Huzzah.


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In Other Disappointing News

As if I didn't have enough issues this week, it looks like the power supply on my Linux box died sometime this evening. Tried to ssh to it from across the house and couldn't connect. 100% packet loss in my pings.

So, off to the other room I trudged, to see if I'd had a wonky kernel issue, or suicidal X session... The display didn't wake up when I started banging on the keyboard, so out came the mighty and rarely-used reset button. The drives spun up, the fans were running, das blinkenlights on the front of the box indicated some activity, the NIC lit up green to announce its life to the world. And then nothing happened.

I powered it back down, waited a few minutes with the electricity unplugged completely, and tried again. Same story, but now with fewer blinkenlights--most notably the power light itself. On neither boot attempt did it issue the single beep of a happy post, nor did it even pipe forth a multi-note alarm to signal a problem.

So... Hopefully it's just a power supply issue, and not the board itself, but as recent events have shown, I am not having much luck with the word "hope." My fingers are crossed for my data--all my photos are on there, including everything of Pixel. (Note to self; acquire large-ass spare hard drive for online backups, and learn to grok hdparm.)

On one hand, I was already planning on an overhaul of the box anyway, starting with a new case and power supply, but I was really not planning on it being a necessity.

Especially this week.

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Okay, this is freaking hilarious, possibly even better than This Land...

You can find out how much money you would have lost in SCO using this nice little form on their investor relations site. An investment of $1000 on 3/21/2000 would today be worth... $39.82! That's a ROI of -96.07%! Let's hear it for the litigious bastards from Utah!

Oh, and their suit against Daimler-Chrysler got eviscerated in court today, for those of you who didn't already see it on Slashdot or Groklaw. About damn time somebody started flushing the toilet on all of this SCO crap...

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Three Cheers For Wanton Consumerist Behavior

I must have been stressing a lot lately, because the last couple of weeks seem awfully irresponsible of me, from a converting-the-equity-of-my-labor-into-useless-economy-fueling-crap sort of perspective. I think I've also been in withdrawal ever since my favorite record store here closed... I need my fix, man!

Looking back over the past couple of weeks, the following essentially useless but entertaining crap has entered my life:

Trip to Stratford, Ontario

  • "MacStew" apron (complete with recipe for "toil and trouble"--it's a Shakespeare thing, you see) for [info]aquamindy
  • Rasputina's Lost & Found on CD
  • BeatleJazz volumes one and two on CD (a pleasant accompaniment to a bottle of wine)
  • A CD for my father for Christmas
  • Assorted very cool children's books

Between Vacations
I was having an incredibly shit work week between returning from Stratford and leaving for California...

  • The Cure's new The Cure on CD (the US version; I'll probably acquire the UK or Japanese edition later on)
  • Concrete Blonde's new album, Mojave (which is satisfyingly excellent)
  • Three pairs of socks! (Brown ones!)
  • Two relatively nice-yet-casual button-down shirts (I am becoming a (well-dressed) whore for The Gap, please kill me NOW!)
  • Casual grey zip-uppy thing also from Gap; [info]aquamindy says it looks cute on me, and it was on sale too, so... yeah, that's justified, right?

Berkeley/San Francisco/Monterey

  • Part of an anniversary gift for [info]aquamindy from the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • VNV Nation's Pastperfect, a 3-disc DVD set of concert video, interviews, shenanagins, and various wicked-cool stuff. I don't feel guilty in the slightest about buying this, because it's just too fucking cool.
  • A used copy of Morrowind for the X-Box--a "game of the year" for just $12!
  • Two (formerly?) out-of-print Criterion DVD's (that seem to be back in print again, so much for feeling like I found some treasures), M. Hulot's Holiday and Mon Oncle
  • Cheapass Games! I got:

    The Despair of Being Alone In Cleveland For A Week
    I had to run to the grocery store for food, and to Bed, Bath & Beyond for replacement razor blade parts (electric weasels ripped my flesh), so I just HAD to go to Borders to console myself in my loneliness...

    • Isaac Asimov's Foundation's Edge, as I had just finished the first three Foundation books
    • Dan Simmons' Ilium, which I have been dying to read for some time

    But the pièce de résistance arrived in this week's mail...

    Ladies and gents, I give you... the world's best Linux shirt! With the mighty powers of this 100% cotton marvel, I can be two different kinds of geek at the same time! Will wonders never cease??

    Please keep Fight Club references to yourselves; I am just fine with being owned by my posessions, thank you ever so much.

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When We Left Our Hero...

Recent occurrances, list-style:

  • Completed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix late Sunday night.
  • Trying to recover from stupid, stupid Harry Potter (lack of) sleep schedule... uhhhhghghh...
  • My aunt and uncle came to visit on Sunday evening! They had been "passing through" and had a night to kill, so a visit worked out nicely. We had a great dinner and all went to the lake to watch the sunset.
  • Our bathroom has a floor! Pictures to follow...
  • Up to my eyeballs in regression testing my project at work... ugh...
  • I declare the new PowerMacs to be truly lust-worthy.
  • Hey, the Cowboy Bebop movie comes out on DVD today! Rock on, space cowboy!
  • I got a nice shiny Linux box to use here at work. The distro is a bit dated (in order to match what is in our production environment), but it's still kind of a nice change from Windows. And GAIM is actually stable, as opposed to the super-crashy Windows version that I had been using. w00t!
  • Hey, it's quitting time! Bye!
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Recent Stuff, and Things

Good things:

  • Going to the beach with Liz to watch the sunset
  • Root beer floats
  • Liz taking my car to the shop on Friday
  • Car being under warranty; fixed for free!
  • Cooking with fresh herbs
  • A fresh coat of paint on the house
  • The Pianist
  • Planning the upcoming trip to San Francisco
  • Being happy for one's friend's happiness
  • Tinkering with Gentoo
  • Napping with Liz in the hammock
  • Bulmer's cider
  • Going for a walk at sunset, after the thunderstorm has passed, and all the world is wet and lush and green, and twilight reaches down to kiss every blade of grass goodnight
  • Staying up too late

Somewhat less good things:

  • Defective DVD of The Pianist
  • Trying to get work done at home when I don't want to work
  • Trying to get work done at work when I am beseiged by stupid things
  • Having one's Engine Power Control light come on while driving
  • Being worried about the well-being of one's friends
  • Being unfocused
  • Staying up too late

It looks like the good things are winning, at least for now. Let's hope it stays that way...

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Hey, kids, is back in action! That means you'll be able to see all of our silly vacation photos, pictures of [info]aquamindy destroying various parts of our house, and be generally astounded at how boring the pages there look.

Reinstalling IDS under Gentoo was a dream come true compared to the nasty RPM dependency fights that I always had with Red Hat. A couple of fairly quick emerge commands, and I was all set to unpack IDS. Nice!

Now that it's done compiling, I'm enjoying KDE 3.1.2, which has gotten quite pleasing to the eye lately. I'm still restoring bits and pieces of data from my backup, but I'm in less of a hurry for that stuff than I was to get the web server and photos back up again. I also threw on the VPN client for work, and Real VNC, both with no problems (though both from source, neither from an emerge). So far I've found that while Gentoo doesn't give you instant gratification, it seems to be worth the wait.

w00t! What fun.

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Chugging Right Along

We went out to the art museum to take in a lecture from Pete Docter, the co-writer of Toy Story 1 & 2, and the director and co-writer of Monsters, Inc. It was a really great presentation, and we had a lot of fun. I was particularly pleased that he went to great lengths to call on the little kids during the Q&A; section. Afterword, while I stood around with [info]gieves, [info]ayb2, and Brent, Liz went up to chat with him and get an autograph. See, she has social skills. Neat, huh? Anyway, he autographed her ticket, and even included a cute little Mike Wazowski doodle! We plan on using it as a nice accent when we get around to having one of our Monsters lithographs framed.

Meanwhile, my computer chugged along, and sometime earlier this evening, it finished compiling XFree86! Hurrah! One step closer to usefulness! I also emerged some essentials like rdate, lynx, and apache while I waited. I guess I'll get around to restoring the web content (photos and all) some day real soon.

And now... Because my CPU hasn't done nearly enough this weekend... It's time to kick off an "emerge kde". As I understand it, this should only take a few days.....

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Yay, it booted with no problems! w00t! Rock the hell on!

Now I just have to load it up with some useful stuff so that it's, you know, usable.

Kick ass!

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Stage 3 Attained

And here I thought the "emerge system" would take longer than the bootstrap, since that's what the installation guide seemed to suggest.

Nope! It only took until 3:45 AM. Whee!

So it's time to tinker some more. Maybe I'll even be able to boot into my new semi-functional install before it's time to go to the Pixar presentation today.

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