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Name: Allan Preston
Member since: 2002-04-24 02:39:11
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Sunday 29/08/2004

Its been a long time since I updated this. I wasn't even sure if I my account would still be valid. In the meantime... I've been to Canada, experienced the worst Canada can throw at me..

I arrived at Halifax International, Nova Scotia, on 3rd February 2004, after an exhausting two step journey that took me via New Jersey/EWR. My host for my months stay was my ex-girlfriend, Nicole. As I came out of the baggage area to meet her, she began laughing incredulously at me. Why? I was wearing a light summer, blouson style coat. The ambient air temperature outside was -22°C. Yes, thats minus twenty two degrees celcius.

The airbus dropped us off outside the Lord Nelson Hotel, and I got a month long buspass from Shoppers Drugmart, then, back on another bus to her flat. Only one problem was...

23 minutes to wait till the bus.

In the freezing cold!

You don't appreciate cold until you've stood in -22°C in Canada for 23 minutes. Thankfully the bus arrived after only 20 minutes. Aieeee.... The cold!

The bus ride might have been more interesting had I been able to see anything. It was gone 9pm local time, and pitch black. I was exhausted, and felt every single jolt of that "Metrotransit" bus.

Thankfully her flat was only 45 minutes away by bus.

Day 2, I was forced to part with $175CAD for a proper winters coat, made by Helly Hansen

Im glad of the coat. It snowed. In fact, it more than snowed. Apparently it was the worst snowstorm in the recorded history of the province. 95cm of snow in the first 24hrs, a further 45cm of snow the following day. Its official, I never want to see snow again in my life.

Well, those are the highlights of my trip, theres more, but, advogato isn't really the place for them. I might post the full diary on my livejournal.

Power Failures Suck:
A powerfailure occured just at the right time... Or the wrong time.. The main disk in my Mandrake based fileserver is deader than the dodo. Still, an excuse to buy a larger disk. What does rankle though, was the loss of the work that I hadn't backed up. Especially my sendsms project.

Windows SP2 Sucks:
Yes, I have a windows machine. My laptop runs XP Home. :SHAME:. Installed SP2 on it, and everything died. My network printers were deactivated, and XP wouldnt let me reactivate them, I had to reinstall them.. My WIFI LAN needs a "repair" at every reboot... Perhaps I should just install a *nix on the laptop.

Tuesday 8 July
I got back from kempo (a form of karate) this evening, feeling quite depressed. I wanted music. Lots of music. I had a choice, download some mp3's which I beleive is technically illegal, or play a cd. So.. I set about working out why xmms wouldnt play my cd's.

All the appropriate plugins were installed. It wouldnt list the contents of my CD. Finally, I found a posting on a newsgroup.. "Play Location", so I hit [CTRL]+[L] and entered /mnt/cdrom, and... it started playing. Its not very clear you have to "Play Location" and not just "Add Directory" (not very clear to me anyway, but then I suck at reading documentation), but still, its working now. Note: This is using the cd plugin shipped as standard with Mandrake 9.1.
30 Jun 2003 (updated 30 Jun 2003 at 00:55 UTC) »

Well, after a fairly long break, which involved my girlfriend coming over from Canada to see me, I decided to fire up my Linux machine, and stop playing games on my win2k machine. Well... Its a dualboot actually, so its one machine, I just booted the other partition.

While my girlfriend was down here, we happened to stumble across an old old old 486 machine that somebody had thrown out. After replacing some parts in it, namely the memory chips, I got it to boot. It is running:


Now, I'm not what I term an "Operating System Snob", a person who takes the line "If its not xxxxx, its not worth using." or "xxxxx is the best operating system.", where xxxxx is any operating system of choice, but I feel justified in saying that windows (versions aimed at home users, not NT based Windows) in general, is not all that stable.. So, why on earth, does that 486 have an uptime that matches my Linux machine? The only reason I had to reboot it, was to install a new network card.

The only reason I am keeping Windows95a on it, however, is because Linux doesn't yet have drivers for my flatbed scanner. It runs fine on the windows machine. Once I manage to work out filesharing, so that I can grab the files off that machine via the LAN, I'll be happy.

Talking of the LAN, getting it set up and running under Mandrake 9.1 was the most infuriating thing I have ever done in a long while. drakgw (the internet connection sharing wizard), really screwed the configs up. I ended up having to configure most of the stuff manually. Once I sat down and actually READ what everything was trying to say though, and not what I wanted it to say, the LAN came online quite happily.

The SorceryNet website which I coded from scratch, is doing well, so much so that, I am looking for other projects to occupy my time. Anyway, thats all for this update.

Talk to you folks latah!

16 Jan 2003 (updated 16 Jan 2003 at 22:28 UTC) »

Wow... What a week. I only managed to lose BOTH my main harddisks, completely smuck up my PC, and then, by some fluke, manage to repair it all again. Heres the full story.

  1. I bought a 512Mb 168pin SDRAM from my local PC shop, without checking if my motherboard can handle it. It couldn't. When I booted, linux immediatly died with multiple errors. Windows booted but I kept getting all sorts of lovely STOP errors (windows 2000), and eventually, that died spectacularly too, crashing the harddisk.
  2. I removed the sdram, and then did something that made the situation even worse. I put the old chips back in, in the wrong order. Linux wouldnt boot at all, it kept dying with "respawning too fast" errors. The windows disk was dead, so I had to reinstall that.
  3. On the advice of a friend, I took the memory out, and reinserted it, and this time, I realised they were in the wrong order, so I put them all back, making sure the largest sdram went in slot 0, and the smallest in slot 3. Windows now booted without errors, but, linux wouldn't. Not even a cd boot in rescue mode would boot it. I reinstalled Mandrake 9.0 from scratch, and... Lost all my work I'd previously done when it reformatted hdb* for me.
Well, I now had two completely clean operating systems. Windows worked as well as windows CAN work, linux was up and running, but because I have an unusual graphics card, X Server wouldnt start.

No problem, I thought, I'll just install the powervr patches.

No I won't. I now had a 2.4.19 kernel, the powervr patches were dependent on a 2.4.18 kernel.

There was a srpm, which could be rebuilt for custom kernels. I downloaded this, and ran rpm --rebuild powervr.... etc.

It wouldnt rebuild, so, in the end, I ended up unpacking it all, and manually compiling and installing it. It was an easy task, but a tedious one.

Anyway. The net result... After a lot of time and stress, I now have a fully working Mandrake 9.0 installation again. Yay

Computer died for a while. Well, it didn't totally die, but the windows disk got badly corrupted. The windows disk is C:\ so I was stuck floppy booting Linux for a while. But I eventually got bored of not having any games, fdisked the disk, and reinstalled windows 98se. So now both my windows and Linux systems are running normally again, and Im happy.

  • My girlfriend suprised me. She wants to come stay with me for 2 months. Why's this a suprise? She lives in Canada, and I live in the UK.

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