Monday, January 26, 2009

The other kind of samba

well today I saw marmite lover posted about activists samba in Gaza

At the same time I am doing some voluntary work to sort out the IT for Mosac and my current plan is to retire one of their low end PC's (a PIII), wipe it, install Debian, and turn it into a Samba Server!

Monday, January 19, 2009

laptop glut

Full geek post alert!

On Sunday I was given three laptops and led to believe on might work.  Two HP Omnibook Xe3's and a Toshiba Satellite pro.  This added to my own laptop and the Dell XPS M1210 which I fitted a new hard drive to around September and have had use of ever since pending payment (hoping to keep the iMac G4 they also gave me to repair in lieu of payment since my sister WILL pay cash to have that fixed).

Anyway, one of the HP's was completely dead.  Neither had power supplies (but I had a generic that enabled me to test them).  Swapping hard drives has confirmed both HP's have dead drives.  The Tosh seems to have a dead hard drive also, and the supplied recovery disc is only one of a two disc set and gave Win 98!  Insertion of an XP disc an attempts to repair gave rise to an error code 4 on a file - so flat Xp install fails too.  Three Linux distro installs also fail (damn small, Ubuntu, and Suse).

These laptops were given me for renovation or use as able - great shame there is not one working hard drive between them.  Have yet to track down where the Satellites hard drive is also - it was mildly overwhelming (making me doubt my true geek status).  Best part of the gift, (I hope!) was some sodim which if I am REALLY LUCKY will fit the iMac!

They were a gift from another member of the Quaker meeting I belong to and I am hoping the Meeting will give me a small fighting fund to try buying a hard drive and getting the Tosh functional - but I can tell it is going to be a struggle - that fact the BIOS screen does not come easily or consistently makes me worry it is not just HD trouble - there was a CMOS checksum error at one point, and errors seem to throw from the optical drive also.

But... It keeps me busy!  Must not grumble... it is weird that these were given me saying they were going in the skip otherwise, yet still I shall feel bad about having to dispose of any of them to garbage.  I am hoping to save two out of three and even if it is only the Tosh I should not feel bad.

Friday, January 16, 2009


semi-geek post alert!

Well - the new blog is there, and it took it's time, BUT it is not yet stable, nor as I want it.  This is very frustrating for two reasons:-

My (un)friendly server guy takes it upon himself to tell me he is implementing at the weekend, then proceed to do so without warning on a Wednesday evening, which partially gives rise to the second frustration.  This means that I did some small tweaking and then lost it.  Worse still I have just found updates (luckily only a test post) that I made last night have seemingly vanished into thin air.  I cannot speak to him until tonight, but no doubt he took it upon himself to perform some sort of site restore, again with no warning.  It's hard for me to take any firm line or action on this because he provides the service free (though I do sometimes send him paypal donations for extra domains and hosting, which are usually generous).

The final Chyrp extension I wish to add worked once, before the sudden server move.  It is just adding a readmore link into posts, but I can see how that will enhance the blog and really want to get it working.  All attempts to get it to work again have failed - worse yet it feels like updates I make are not reliably going through.  I found a bad .htaccess readwrite entry and fixed that, but I think something else is amiss serverside after the move.  I cannot control this directly and am at the mercy of server guy (see above)!

It leaves me powerless and unable to go ahead with my primary blogging.  Also unable to make headway in the coding tweaking of the blog, which should be quite minor but is turning into a major trial.

I find it interesting when I try to detach myself how upset I get about this and how I cannot seem to detach and say "it's only a blog" and get on with my "real life"!

Then again I am having a minor swing into a depression, which I think is just partly January blues and the pressures of financial peril with my ongoing long-term unemployment.  Hopefully it is just a hypomanic depression and not a major one.  hopefully I canmanage it and get through it without majoy colateral damage.

And hopefully I can talk to server guy and we can come to a more friendly understanding!

Resolution of the remaining tweak to the blog may fall out of that, I need to try to take a cool logical approach and not let it annoy me so.  Also to be very methodical in how I work to debug it and stay focussed - perhaps interleaving work on the technical side with a little blogging once I have ensured there's some assurance anything I do will not get vaporised unexpectedly!  (Note to self, take backups of updates independent of server!).

Time will tell.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

state of blog

So - the latest news, they finished the backup so far, and recovered everything EXCEPT the database!

Although I have a backup I made on the fifth January this misses my last two posts.  My mate has a ticket in asking for the databases, but as he said "I shouldn't get my hopes up".  I'm just grateful I do have a backup in the new database format, since the database holds all my users log-ins for returning registered readers as well as blogroll etc.

Also my mate is planning to move to the new server at the weekend, so even if it does get recovered (which would be nice) I shall have to wait to do any more blogging there or updating to the blog engine until he's finished - hopefully some time over the weekend.

It's about as I feared - so it seems I was not pessimistic but realistic.  I find it interesting that I am so attached to blogging - perhaps I should try to take that energy and direct it more to writing "creatively"?

[edit] database restored, my pessimism unfounded, but site still relocating server at weekend, so I should inhibit my blogging impulses until after that, then hopefully normal service is resumed ;) [/edit]

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lest any Didactic followers find this...

I somehow doubt this will be read by anyone who wanted to view my primary blog at but in any case, there's been a disc crash at the server end of things apparently.  Their support is not 24/7 and they are likely skimping on support staff, but they are digging aroung for the backup and maybe they'll be in touch tomorrow.

Whenever they do my friendly hosting guy will swing into action and use the backups to populate a new server he is directly in control of at a data centre he used to work at and we will be back in business.  My most optimistic guess is for tomorrow afternoon/evening (GMT)  and my most pesimistic is before the weekend.

Worst case scenario would be there's no backup and I have to rebuild my sites from my own files, but fortunately I have a database backup in the new release format.  Unfortunately it is from the fourth of January, so it misses a post or two.  I'm off to see if the Google cache and a little pasting can help me salvage that, anticipating disaster....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I feel the need...

... not for speed, no, but for a blog extensioon.  Below from #Chyrp IRC just now;

[08:14] oh dear... I feel the need to blog a poll - now I shall have to fiddle in another extension... 
[08:14] (that's irony, I think)

Anyway, the thing is it just occured to me (with my new literature based focus) that it would be interesting to know how many people read more than one book at a time and of those how many are male/female and whether they feel comfortable doing so as a natural way to read or not.

So, as you see, a poll.

Unfortunately oftentimes it seems implementing a seemingly small change to my primary blog will entail a gap in my actual blogging while I do so.  Watch this space (or that space)...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Blog traffic...

This is interesting.

My new blog has far lower traffic.  Yet my comments have increased many fold and are good ones!

I guess the moral of the story is that it is not about quantity, but more about quality.  It is highly gratifying though, since the driving force of my redesign was making comments both easier and more likely.  On the technical side the upgrade makes my spam filter (Defensio) effective and thereby enabled me to remove the requirement even to give name and email (never mind implementing Captcha, which I shall hold in reserve if spam ever does become a problem).  On the content side I am hopeful that the new literary theme will be more provocative for comments to come.

One niggle I can mention in this blog, being on blogger, was that I had to really frig with the profile blog setting (which annoyingly insists on ftp etc to try to trap you into posting from blogger; needless to say I do not do that).  Basically it is totally Blogger-centric, with an insistence on an address and page , defaulting to "http://anyblog/blankpost" or something.  Luckily for me the kind and considerate Lydia at Writerquake made a comment alerting me to the 404!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Shiney Chyrpie Blog Newness

I have just completed the migration of my primary blog to the latest greatest release of the Chyrp blogging engine and redesigned the look.  Comments should finally be working with no problams whatsoever (waiting to see if DEFENSIO is sufficient to keep spam at bay or if I have to implement a TXTCAPTCHA extension.

Better yet I have put in categories and this has helped me refine the blogging platform and how I use it - see here for details.  I also acquired an ancient Word Processing machine - early predecessor of the computer.  I might put a picture onto this blog, I think the acceptance of this outmoded ancient machinery confirms that I may, indeed, actually be a geek!