Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Am So Great

I am really great at computer stuff. I amaze myself. Like, for instance, the other day I found the Escape key! I keep pressing it, but the door to my cell won't open.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Who was that masked man?

Installing Suse 10.1

Most of the time I like to download via bittorrent, but I didn't this time.
I always check the MD5SUMS of ISOs before burning CDs, but I didn't this time.
If the installer has a function to validate the CDs I always use it, except for this time.

So, it should come as no surprise that CDs two and five were cut from corrupted ISOs, causing the install to bomb.

So, now I have to download the ISOs for CDs two and five again. But wait, what's that in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a pheasant? Is it perhaps a large slice of cheesecake, or a gorilla in a man-suit?

But, anyway, back to the story...

When we last met our intreped installaholic had just discovered that two of the five disc images he downloaded were corrupt. Possibly due to it being an election year, or something. Watch now as he learns an important lesson - all that glitters is not glitter, although most of it probably is.

... So, faced with the daunting task... well, not exactly daunting, because I am so damn good I am practically a superhero, or a lesbian pirate... So, faced with the oh so trivial task of downloading two full discs all over again, which would put an end to my plan of finishing the Suse install tonight, I laugh a mocking laugh, a manly mocking laugh. "Ha Ha," I laugh, mockingly, for I have a plan.

I navigate to the opensuse download page, and click the link to the torrent file. Bittornado pops up and asks where I would like to save the files. Now here is the tricky bit. The clever bit. I tell it to put them in ~/downloads, which just happens to be the exact location of the five Suse Linux 10.1 ISO images I have previously downloaded.

The next thing that happens is bittornado analyzes the existing files, works out which chunks are corrupt, downloads those chunks, and repairs the corrupted ISO images. Total bytes downloaded: approximately 512K - a saving of almost 1.2G. Where I come from we call that "not too shabby", or possibly we call it "Fred", depending on whether we've taken our medication.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Drinks Too Much

Holy Cow Batman! My new tenant must have been quite a bit more than slightly drunk to have bid on this here pile of fetid dingos kidneys. ( <-- shamelessly stolen from Douglas Adams, because I am too lazy to make up my own stuff)

Perhaps you should click on over and explain the horrible horrible mistake he has made.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tech News - 20060625

I think I shall buy some more RAM. Also, a second monitor, and possibly some chocolate.

In other news scientists have discovered that the warp coils do not, in fact, need realigning every second fucking episode. Also, Microsoft have apparently admitted that winfs will never fly, but that's not exactly news to anyone, so it probably doesn't belong here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fedora Core 5 - Adventures in Wireless

Well, I received my new system today - P4, SATA, 1GB, 160GB, etc etc - and thought I'd try out a few distributions before copying my Debian install over from the old drive.

So, in goes the first Fedora Core 5 cd. I installed it.

Sorry, expecting more detail? Try here.

Following the install I booted into a Gnome desktop at a glorious 800x600, on account of the NVidia card not being recognized. Lovely, but I know I can get the NVidia drivers, so it's not such a big deal.

First things first though - got to get networking configured before I can download the graphics drivers. Using another machine I pop on over to the ralink website and grab the source code for the wireless lan drivers (Gigabyte GN-WP01GS with Ralink rt-61 chipset), and transfer it to the new computer via floppynet.

Oh, crap. No kernel headers. Didn't I choose "Development Environment" during the install? Sure as hell did. Oh well, that should be easily fixed. I go to Applications/"Add/Remove Software"... There is an error message: "Unable to retrieve software information".

So, apparently their package manager can only install software from online repositories - not from the CDs. Same deal with Yum on the command line, apparently. I resort to shuffling CDs, and searching for the appropriate RPM manually - A quick google suggests the package will be called something like kernel-devel, probably because kernel-headers would be too damn obvious.

No kernel headers. (!) I should probably repeat that a few times, if I were not so lazy. Instead I shall just throw in some elipses...

... and then continue in a new paragraph.

At this point I have three options:
  1. Connect the wired LAN and use that to download the kernel headers. Painful, on account of having to run blue cable through half the house, and then having kids tripping over it, cats chewing on it, wives and girlfriends demanding to be tied up with it...
  2. Download the package on another machine, and burn to CD, then hope it doesn't have any dependencies.
  3. Try Suse 10.1 and see if that handles my configuration any better. Or Ubuntu 6.06, but I haven't downloaded that yet.
None of this stuff is terribly difficult, and I'd be up that drainpipe in a flash, were it not for the fact that I'm just experimenting with FC5 before restoring my Debian system. Since I have no intention of actually keeping FC5 on the machine anyway, number three is looking pretty attractive right now. I may even propose.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ode to Democracy - ODF, MS and MASS: Now you see the dots (and now you don't)

Ho hum. Graft and corruption in America. Sandard operating procedure, as far as I can see. Is there a more openly corrupt political system?

I suppose it's a good thing they're so open about it, because then at least people know where they stand - government by the rich, for the rich.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Blog Rental

Here I am again, renting my blog to some unsuspecting victim tenant.

This time it is Recommended, a blog I really admire. So, you've got to ask yourself why? Why bid on this most unattractive piece of real estate?

Once again, here is the description I use to elicit tenants:
"This blog gets one or two hits each day and is rarely updated. You would have to be some kind of moron to rent space on this blog."

Kind of embarassing really. Please go and visit Recommended and offer your commiserations.


Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
- Philip K. Dick

Actually, reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, drops an enormous anvil on your head. Or was that the coyote?

Bill Retires!

So, Bill Gates is retiring. I was going to say something about rats deserting a sinking ship, but then I didn't.

According to Google, Billy boy was born in 1955, which makes him... calculating... calculating... older than me. So there!

Bill, or "William the bloody" as he is known to his friends (<-- gratuitous Buffy reference) is best known for his missionary work with the starving children in Africa, his wedding to that model whose name I have temporarily forgotten, that song he did about Vietnam - you know, the one with the spastic horses - and his enormous (<-- sentence ends prematurely)

The Billster also earned renown as an expert glass worker, although his windows did have a tendency to explode for no readily apparent reason, and also because he invented velcro. However those of us who really know Billy-Bob will look back fondly on his time as head of an insignificant little software company called.... whatever it was called, where he shocked the world by developing the world's first BLOGGER HAS CAUSED A GENERAL PROTECTION FAULT IN MODULE "RANDOM GPF.DLL" PLEASE STAND BY WHILE WINDOWS ERASES ALL OF YOUR DATA OR PRESS ANY KEY TO ERASE ALL OF YOUR DATA.

Oh, crap.

PS (<-- nonsequitor link to current tenant.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006


"Daddy, what does G O O G L E spell?"


"Is that a real word?"

"No, it's not."

"Is that what babies say? Google."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dell: Sod off

I work for a company that employs approximately three hundred people. We have a couple of Dell rack mount servers, as well as some DEC/Alpha servers, and other stuff. Stuff is a technical term. It means, "I am too lazy to be specific". We also have 50+ client machines, plus a small bucket load of vt420s and the like.

Sometimes we buy Dell, sometimes HP, sometimes white box. Of all the people we deal with Dell are the only ones who make us renew our credit account every single time we try to buy something. Seriously. This may be why we don't buy much from them.

Anyway, recently we're in the market for a particular item, and for whatever reason we decide to go with Dell. As usual our credit account has been cancelled by virtue of not having been used in six months. And so we go through the Dell shuffle - being transferred to half of south east Asia - fill out the paperwork, again, send it off.

Wait. Nothing. Wait. Email them. Phone the account guy.

Finally a response from Dell: "Sod off. We don't want to do business with you."

What a bunch of pricks.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

No Title Required

This Post is totally for Lorraine.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Automatix for Ubuntu

If you're using Ubuntu Breezy (aka 5.10) or Dapper (6.06) there's a handy script you might want to take a look at. Automatix is this neat thingy that does stuff to your Ubuntu system to make it work better.

See how good I am at describing it.

Or you could just listen to Arnieboy: "This is a graphical interface for installation of a lot of apps on Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu BREEZY AND DAPPER (DOES NOT WORK ON Warty or Hoary) and for tweaking a few things to get your Ubuntu box up and working in full throttle in the quickest possible timespan."

Some of the cool things you can install include w32codecs (for watching porn), mplayer (for watching porn), realplayer (for watching porn), frostwire (for downloading porn), azureus (for downloading porn), wine (for getting drunk while watching porn), plus a whole heap of other stuff that doesn't seem to have much to do with porn for some reason.

The first time I tried Automatix it failed silently, claiming that the install was successful when in fact nothing had been installed. So I went on over to the forum and left a really helpful bug report ("This fucking sucks").

Then some guy replied and suggested that I needed to provide more information.

Well, I was not about to take that kind of abuse lying down, so I dashed off an immediate reply: "This really fucking sucks. Lots." How's that for more fucking information.

Anyway, then I went to bed. In the morning there was a new version available which fixed the problem, so it just goes to show that it really does pay to provide a more detailed bug report. Also, don't take any shit from those open source guys.

Find out about Automatix here:
The sticky posts at the top tell you all you need to know to install and use Automatix.

disclaimer: The bug report story above may differ from reality in some minor details - such as all of them.