November 11th

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The poem itself on WikiSource; about the poem on Wikipedia.

Base image for the graphic above courtesy of Veterans Affairs Canada. And I should note, in passing, that my text on the image recreates perhaps the best-known error possible with this famous poem…


How To Get Backup Religion

… have your entire system freeze solid, and then, in the recovery console, fsck choke because of a galloping screenful of badblock errors. Then you realize you have no working LiveCDs in the house. And your last backup dates from April. Oh crap.

That was Sunday night; Monday I went down to my brother’s, snagged a couple of spare USB keys for backup, and got him to burn me an Ubuntu 9.10 LiveCD. If I ever meet the genius who originally thought up Linux LiveCDs, I’ll buy him a beer. Or as many as he wants, really… Booted up into the LiveCD, found that according to gparted, there was nothing much wrong with my /home directory, but my /root was utterly screwed and unreachable. Phew. Systems can be replaced, personal data, not so much.

I have two harddrives in this tower – one 18 month old 500GB that was in use, and which has now thrown the bad blocks at me. The older 120GB drive is not in use, but still plugged in, so I’ve reformatted it, repartitioned, and tomorrow will reinstall Karmic from scratch. I’ve also been filling USB keys and burning DVDs of a lot of my less replacable personal stuff, just in case the already-damaged 500GB drive decides to utterly blow itself up… there also isn’t enough space on the 120GB for all my stuff, unsurprisingly, so some of it is going to be living on DVDs for a while.

The 500GB is still under warranty, so it’ll be wiped and sent off to Seagate post-haste. Nifty Linux discovery of the evening: if you need your hard drive’s model and serial numbers, System -> Administration -> Disc Utility can provide both, and much other useful info about just how your screwed-up hard drive is screwed up.

And a Dear Lazyweb request: Where the heck does Evolution hide all it’s data (it’s not all in .evolution, far as I can tell) and how can you coax a full dump of this data out of a non-functional install? My last backup from Evolution was back in April…

I haven’t decided on a backup solution for the future, but I obviously need one, something better than “DVDs full of a few bits and pieces, burned when I get around to it, which isn’t often…”. Money is tight, so once my warranty-replaced 500GB is back online I’ll probably use the 120GB drive as a backup solution until I can get something better and larger. A 500+GB external drive should probably be on my Christmas wish list, I’m thinking.

Final Score: probably no personal data lost, barring the Evolution mess, cramped quarters on an old hard drive while the new one is RMA’d, and much time lost while I sort the mess out. And a new appreciation of both live CDs and backups…


Celebrating The Olympic Legacy!


Erosion of civil liberties!

Biohazardous Waste!

Oh, and some sport somewhere in there. Yay.


Something To Do With Koalas?

Upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10 along with everyone else in the world (and their dog) last night. Had a bit of a scare when the computer wouldn’t mount /home, but a reboot and fsck during startup cleared that up.

Then I realized I had no 3d accel… this after having flawless 3d accel in 9.04 with the Open Source R300 drivers. Hardware Drivers wasn’t showing me anything, which was odd. Turns out the r300 drivers no longer support my old ATI card, so I need the alternative (but still Free) “ati” drivers. Had to install that manually, because Hardware Drivers thought everything was just fine off in driver-land. That’s the first time in several releases I’ve had to do a thing manually to get 3d working… does the Hardware Drivers app only track non-Free drivers like fglrx? It certainly didn’t seem interested in letting me know the “ati” drivers were what I needed…

That aside, 9.10 is very slightly faster booting than 9.04, and has some new toys to play with. Inkscape 0.47 is the big one for me — lots of new shiny there to distract me!

Dear Epiphany Developers, The 1990s Called, They Want Their Browsing Experience Back…

One odd glitch in the Epiphany webbrowser – “Open in New Tab” is gone from the right-click context menu when you right-click on a link. “Open Link” and “Open in New Window” are the only optionsf? Epiph still supports tabs (middle-click still works, thank Dog), but removing “Open in New Tab” seems like a major regression. Last time I used a non-tabbed browser was the late 1990s, for crying out loud. (Opera FTW. If Opera didn’t exist, what would Firefox and Co. have copied?) “Open in New Window” is almost always a waste of time. Tabs are a far more elegant solution than having your app puke windows all over your desktop, so why has Epiphany made them unavailable from the right-click menu?

(I tried to file this as a bug over on Launchpad, but LP timed out on me three times, so guess that bug report can wait a day or two longer.)

Aside from the right-click/tabs screwup, the new Epiphany with webkit seems slightly faster than the old Gecko version, and hopefully it’ll be more stable too. We shall see.

New Ubuntu, new shininess (I like the new login & loading screens, very slick!) and some fun new bugs, too. And a faint scent of eucalyptus, for some reason.