6 Months Ago…

You’ve probably never heard of David Gemmell. He isn’t any where near as famous as somebody like Robert Jordan or George R.R. Martin. That being said he was probably my favorite author of all time. I’ve read everything I could find with his name on it – something like 30 books.

I was just on a plane flying back from San Francisco when a friend asked me about the book I was reading. It is the second book in what I assume will be a trilogy. I opened the back cover to show my friend the picture of the author. There in plane print it said – “David Gemmell died in July of 2006″.

This is a bummer on a couple of levels – just to confirm I looked it up when I got back -

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Fantasy writer Gemmell dies at 57

A nice quote from Gemmel at http://www.gemmellmania.co.uk/content.php?article=12

For the last few months I have been struggling with the writing. I tried to quit smoking and found that the years of polluting my brain with nicotine meant that I couldn’t string a reasonable sentence together without filling my lungs with smoke. I went three months without a drag, took a good look at the crap I was writing and lit up.

The first is that I’m half way through a book that the next part is going to be put together from notes he left behind.

The second is that I lose access to a voice I’ve really enjoyed listening to. He was a writer who did a great job at telling a tale about heroes in a way that reminded you that war is bad and that everyone has flaws, but it doesn’t mean that can’t over come both.

Live From The Field

A real storm comes just after fiesta- can you believe this is 10am


Since I dual boot…

philbull: Feisty feature of the day #34 – Reliable NTFS support? Surely not…

This is nice – I don’t have to mess with fuse and I get a nice little app in the menu to set this up.

Mixed Bag Of Upgrading

Ok I have mostly finished the upgrade process. I tried to upgrade three computers to Feisty – my workstation, my laptop, and my home file server.

File Server

I didn’t get very far with the file server. I have a boot partition of 30MB on it (That is only RAID1 since Linux won’t boot off of software RAID5). Right now 17MB is taken up with the current kernel (Who knew they had gotten so big). The installer needs 30MB of free space on boot to even start the install. I guess I’m going to leave that box alone until I revamp the arrays – annoying…


I would say that my experience on the laptop was the best so far. I copied over all the packages downloaded to my workstation so that sped up the install process nicely. I didn’t have to many conflicts that needed to be sorted out. It pretty much just worked. The only thing that didn’t was for some reason the Compviz stuff isn’t installed so I don’t get any desktop effects. I really wanted the cube desktop thing – going to have to dig into that.


It proved to be an overall nightmare. It wouldn’t boot off of the generic kernel – it could only use the 386 kernel. The bummer is that the 386 kernel doesn’t support dual core/SMP. So I resorted to something I haven’t had to do forever – I compiled my own kernel. I found this article which made it pretty easy to recompile and install everything. The hard part was waiting for the kernel to build. I had to do it twice because I accidentally copied over the SMP settings on the first build. My custom kernel isn’t handling my RAM properly (I’m about a GB short).

So the custom kernel combined with the custom NVidia driver meant it took me a long long long time to get the machine up and mostly running. I’m going to assume this will get better as my hardware gets a little more behind the curve. (Compviz doesn’t work on my machine – so no new hotness here either).

Update: Ok now I know why I hate compiling my own kernel. Turns out I no longer have VMWare. I’m having a hard time getting it to compile…GRRR

Too New For My Own Good

Ok I haven’t taken the plunge of migrating to Feisty yet. I figured it would be a good idea to get Edgy working on the new workstation before I try to migrate. Turns out it is a good thing I did.

When I did a clean install of Feisty as a test run – I clicked on the new handy control panel – “Enable Restricted Drivers”. When I did that X completely broke. I figured that the feature might be a little bumpy – but I didn’t realize it wouldn’t work at all.

It turns out that the control panel worked fine – in that it installed the nvidia driver. The problem is that my video card only got Linux support starting on March 7th (Well after the Feisty freeze). I guess I should have looked into that before I started the install process. I was able to download the latest greatest driver from Nvida and thanks to a little help from the nvidia-settings tool I was able to get back up in Dual head mode in no time.

Now that my new machine works just like my old one – it’s time to dive into the migration. I’m crossing my fingers that the migration will be completely uneventful – especially since I need to migrate three different computers (workstation, laptop, and file server).

Migration Two Step (Or Maybe 5 Step)

I recently built a new computer for my home workstation. I decided I would start switching to the newer stuff – aka – PCI-Express and SATA. Yes I know they aren’t “new”. I got along fine without them for a long time. The idea being that now that everyone else has had them for a while all the kinks would be worked out under Linux.

I was also timing it to go with the release of Fiesty so I could do all the upgrading at about the same time. That was the plan anyway…

I wanted to keep my old workstation safe and sound so I copied my old Ubuntu filesystem onto the new drive. I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to sort out. Turns out I was wrong. I seem to be missing a setting somewhere for the UUID to get this all to work.

To try and make some progress I moved everything on the new drive to a directory called old and then tried to do a fresh install of Fiesty. This basically the same procedure I’ve done every time. (For both ubuntu and debian)

The installer flat out refused to let me do this. It insisted on formatting the root partition – which is where all my old files live. It wanted to do this even though there was 100GB of diskspace availabe. Very annoying!

Basically to override the installer you have two(or three) things. If you want to stick with the new partitioner you have to comment out some lines in /usr/lib/ubiquity/ubiquity/validation.py

Lines 139-143:

# if path.startswith('/') and not format:
# pathtop = '/'.join(path.split('/')[:2])
# if (pathtop in ('/', '/boot', '/usr', '/var') and
# path not in ('/usr/local', '/var/local')):

Your other option is to run ubiquity with the old partitioner (gpartd) You can do that by running

ubiquity gtkui --old-partitioner

You aren’t done yet –

sudo mv /lib/partman/chek.d/12system_partitions_formatted /tmp

That turns off the final check for formatting.

I’m sure they added the data checking to save a noob from not formatting a drive – but it is annoying that there is no way to opt out other than hacking on their system (though at least this is all python/bash so it is pretty easy to hack on).

Now to repair the grub/fstab and whatever else I missed and get back to work.

Update Turns out that the problem wasn’t with the UUIDs at all. I didn’t update the hd0 in grub to point at the new partition properly….details details…

Seven JavaScript Techniques You Should Be Using Today

JavaScript has some really neat features as a language – which are of course mostly over looked because of the incredible mountain of code out there that is written at first grade level. Here’s an interesting article that actually points out some ways to use JavaScript a little smarter.

Digital Web Magazine – Seven JavaScript Techniques You Should Be Using Today

The not operators (!!) simply perform a Boolean conversion. The first operator changes the type of the object on the right to a Boolean, and then the second will just reverse whatever the first returned. Nifty trick, eh?

Least Effective Protest Ever

I first heard Mike Daisey a long long time ago when his book – 21 Dog Years came out. That was the story of his time at Amazon in the beginning.

Apparently, he is still performing – and has even managed to get protested. The funniest part about it is that he couldn’t have gotten better marketing if he had staged the protest himself.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

This is a classic. In more ways that one. First, it is based on “The Odyssey”. It’s nice to see elements from the classic sprinkled through out. John Goodman plays the cyclops for example – a man with an eye patch. Or a scene with women washing their closes referred to as Sirens.

Second, the music is awesome. They manage to really capture the feeling of a time and place with the music. Music that is good enough I listen to it on my iPod. Some times you just need some of that Old Timey music.

Third, the film itself is well written and beautiful to look at. I’m may ruin a part of that last part. When they went to film it the south was in full summer. It wouldn’t do to have the trees be green in what is supposed to be the era of the dust bowl. So if you see the film – realize that every plant that you see in the film that is brown – has actually be digitally recolored. I believe this was really cutting edge at the time. It is great when someone finds a way to work in a new technique in a way that instead of taking over the film really helps you get into the story.

A fine example of how great the movie is the fact that even though I’ve seen it a number of times – I noticed a joke in the film this time that I don’t remember from any time previous. (my wife R-U-N-N-O-F-T)

Bottom Line: This film is the perfect blend of story, music, and acting – it is two hours well spent!

Dr Nic » “Reads -> slaves, writes -> master” plugin

Dr Nic » “Reads -> slaves, writes -> master” plugin

I’m excited this is one of those features that I thought I would end up having to cobble together. Now by the time the project I’m working on needs this kind of scaling the kinks should be worked out.

    Stuff I want to read

    Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

    Stuff I've Read

    Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog
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