kirby is currently certified at Apprentice level.

Name: James Shuttleworth
Member since: 2003-08-20 15:40:26
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Notes? What do I want to make notes for?

Recent blog entries by kirby

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12 May 2005 (updated 12 May 2005 at 14:07 UTC) »

well, as you can see from the gap between the last entry and this one, I haven't been keeping up with this at all.

I have, however, started again, and feel much more hopeful. Rather than post here, though, I'm hosting the blog personally at

I feel much better keeping hold of my own data.

31 Mar 2004 (updated 1 Apr 2004 at 13:33 UTC) »

Damnit. Remembering to write a blog is hard work.

Research: well, it still seems like you have to do at least three times more non-research stuff to get to do any real research stuff. And that's just non-teaching non-research stuff.

Still, this Institute of Physics book chapter is going OK. My chapter is about non-intelligent, pretty-bad-at-adapting classification of colon cancer slides. The book is about intelligent adaptive systems in medicine. At least I have the medicine bit. And it's a month late - so far.

Jack: I wrote a sample auditor that uses Jack for output, libsndfile for audio file loading, secret rabbit code for samplerate conversion, FFTW to create a pretty spectrum analyser and ncurses because it's all wrapped in a character-based interface.

You can find it here (GPL, obviously) but be warned - it was as much the product of playing around to refresh my c coding as it was an intentional devolopment project.

PyGame: This is so cool. I made a crappy platformer in about an hour - from first using pygame to having a little guy run and jump on blocks. Try it. It's fast.

The HD download thing...
...worked, but I haven't found the will power yet to grep through for text files (less than 12k, of course).

I've been playing with JACK in my spare time, and while I was at it, I wrote a tutorial for beginners who want a quick way to get started. There wasn't one around when I started, so I wrote it as I went along. I'm quite pleased with it.

Gentoo and USE flags
I installed straw this morning, and the bloody thing wouldn't work - it kept complaining about not having the module gtkhtml2. It took a while to work out why this was, but it turned out that gnome-python needs to be compiled with --with-gtkhtml (or something similar). Now, because I don't have gtkhtml in my USE flags, this option didn't get used. What annoyed me was that gnome-python and gtkhtml were only installed because straw depended on them - so why the hell can't emerge deal with the options? Gentoo really ought to consider USE flags in dependencies. Gargh!

The HD Download...

It's still going. Around about 98% done now. I have a little script running so I can see how far it's got to. It's almost as exiting as waiting for Christmas. here's the script:

while [ 1 -le 2 ]
	echo -n -e "\r" `ls -l|grep disk|awk '{print  "scale=5; (" $5 "/6871947674)*100"}'|bc -l` "\b\b\b%  "
	sleep 1s

I'll post info on how well the recovery process is going when the file is all here. If it makes it in one piece.

I can't believe what I did today. I decided to install Gentoo on my box at work (replacing Debian, at least for now) and, becuase I still have to use a crappy computer with no CDRW drive (and I work in the software engineering subject group of a University - if I was a secretary, I'd have a p4 and a TFT monitor) I had to do it the not very nice way. What I did was - copy all of the things I wanted to keep - home directories, config files, my cvs tree, www and cgi-bin folders, and what else? Oh, yes: 3+ years of research) into a directory, delete everything else and the next step was to continue with the gentoo install.

I also thought, while I'm at it, I might as well switch to ext3, from ext2. And so I typed:

mke2fs -j /dev/hda2

My bowels shuddered as soon as I pressed enter, but for such a devestating operation, it took a lot less time to clean my partition than it took me to reach for C-c - not that it would have helped, probably.

Yes, I am now the not-so-proud owner of a nice clean ext3 partition.

Luckily, most of my research is also kept at home - thanks to CVS and working from home as much as possible, things tend to be synced.

There is still a bunch of things that I would like to recover, however, and I'm not sure how best to go about it.

What I do know is that I need an image of the partition to work on safely and at my leisure while I install gentoo on my work machine - I can't just not work until I have everything I want.

Now, the problem is, how do I get an image? I don't have a spare partition with 6.4 gigabytes of free space. Actually, I do, but that's the problem - it shouldn't be free, and obviously I can't use it.

The gentoo install CD handily has an ssh daemon, so I set that running and went home. I then tried to scp /dev/hda2 to my machine. No luck - scp complains about /dev/hda2 not being regular. Maybe that was the problem? My irregular filesystem needed more fibre, perhaps?

Thanks to some peeps on IRC, I found a solution. I'm in the process of transferring the files now, and this is how I did it:

  1. Compile netcat statically at home and sftp it to by work box
  2. Execute dd if=/dev/hda2 |./nc -l -p 123 & on my work machine (over ssh)
    This has the effect of waiting for a connection on port 123, and when it gets one, spewing my partition at it.
  3. On my home machine, I then use nc 123 > disk.img
    Which connects to the waiting port and dumps whatever it finds into disk.img.

This is taking place as we speak. I estimated and then calculated that this will probably take approximately 17 hours roughly, give or take, plus or minus 3 days.

Of course, I have no Idea how best to get the stuff out of the image aferwards, but if I have to grep through and take out text files by hand, I'll still have more than I have now. And I must admit, I'm having fun.

If anyone has any ideas on the best way to restore my files - preferably all, but some is also good - please let me know. Mail me at with info and I promise, if we ever meet, I'll buy you lunch. Not necessarily a big lunch. Terms and conditions apply.

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