Bye Chimera

When Windows XP Goes Bad

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, April 30, 2007 - 10:40:44 pm
(Posted Under: Geek)
How badly can Windows XP fuck up? Pretty badly is the answer to that one!

Two weeks ago while trying to image some hard drives (mistakenly telling acronis to split files at 4500 bytes, rather than 4.5GB - which certainly makes for an interesting root directory in C:\) the power supply in chimera gave out. Well, actually acronis at some point failed to access the disk it was writing to. Rebooting to XP was a no go - "Cannot read disk" - or some such junk. A little while after, the cause became obvious - the power supply, which gave up a little later on (and would not spin the disk up properly).

After days of scrambling to backup all my data, combined with the full day it took to scandisk / restore the thousands of files acronis had created right before the crash, things were looking better, in that I still had my data - although it seemed touch and go for a day or too. After the emergancy backup I got another drive to do a dd with, to make sure I really didn't loose anything.

At the end of last week I picked up a pair of 320GB SATA drives for my Linux server - after a close call (which turned out fine with regards to data recovery), it was time to set up a RAID 1 array for my data. I should have done this ages ago (especially since I needed new disks for space anyway), this close call was enough of a push to get me to do it.

With those online, it was then time to dd the backup disk into a loop file, which I know had the space to store. Got that happening over the weekend, and having access to my data (without needing to have the backup drive online) was really nice.

As of last night, I then decided to dd the disk onto a virtual machine, at least to get chimera running (in a virtual machine at least) one last time - and to try and work out / fix the Windows XP installation on it, if indeed it still didn't work. In this way, being able to screw around in the virtual machine, not effecting 1) the original disk 2) the backup disk or 3) the loop file on my server. Because after all, despite having a new machine ordered, what was chimera may still work, just that XP won't boot because of some corruption somewhere.

Firstly, the only way I could think to copy the loop file to a VMware disk was dd over ssh. Let me say that gzipping it on the fly (in an attempt to get around the 100MB/s network bottleneck (which frustratingly was an emulated bottleneck, as the destination virtual machine was running on the same actual machine that the loop file source was on). Mental note to self - don't do that again, live with 4Mb/s network transfers. While I thought the CPU on my server would handle the compression and uncompression of the disk image efficently, it actually took way longer than just sending the file raw with the network bottleneck. You live and learn.

In anycase, tonight I've tried to get that installation of XP to boot (within VMware). Fucked it I can though! Nothing I've tried (including all combinations of repair commands in Repair Console, rewriting the MBR from a working XP install, copying ntdlr and related from a working XP install) has any affect. No matter what I've tried, after post, the disk does some activity and then just sits there at a blank screen - which incidently further suggests to me that chimera not booting could just be an XP thing, not a hardware thing.

But in anycase, it's pretty scary to me just how foobar an installation of Windows XP can get! I've buggered some Linux installs in my time, none of which have been hard to get working again - but Windows XP, it's anyone's guess.

At the end of the day I have all my data (and access to any file from that installation), and that's what counts, but still, I'm kinda alarmed by how bad Windows XP can go. Which is certainly one reason why all my data is going to be on a Linux drive / machine frow on.

Scotty & Troy In "Dreams Are Essential"

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, April 29, 2007 - 03:50:50 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Now Playing: The Royal Normans - Speak Easy

Testing Unicode Characters

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 09:31:57 pm
(Posted Under: Web Development)
Just doing some updates so that the blogging software supports Unicode characters. Hopefully the following work well.


Puerto Peñasco

Foxmarks Update

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 11:00:47 am
(Posted Under: Firefox Firefox)
For an update on Foxmarks, I must say I'm pretty happy with it. I was quietly skeptical when I first installed it - when looking for specific functionality in something, it's often that you get excited, and then disappointed, however, that hasn't been the case with Foxmark. Seems to have been working well and does exactly what I want. The single issue I've found has been Firefox halting every now and then when Foxmarks syncs, which is something that really hasn't been a problem at all.

Hurrah for bookmark sharing!
Now Playing: The Evergreens - Today

Exploding Lighters

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, April 23, 2007 - 11:07:44 pm
(Posted Under: TV)
Exploding Coke CanTonight's Mythbusters was fun, testing myths about exploding lighters. While the myths were busted fairly convincingly, I had to question when Jamie said that a lighter wouldn't explode when left in a car, even if in the desert. The desert comment reminded me of our Coke can experience - if a Coke can can explode when left in a car in the Arizona sun, I suspect a lighter could blow up in the same situation.


The Bottle!

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, April 22, 2007 - 10:32:45 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
While plugging Katie's iPod shuffle into my Linux server to charge (which is taking forever), I had a bit of a play around with it, and looked at different tools for the iPod on Linux, which digressed at looking at what there is for CD ripping...

During which I came across DigitalDJ - kinda exciting scrolling down and seeing the CD cover at the bottom. Of all the albums in the world, pretty cool that The Bottle & Fresh Horses is what the author used!

No More Mythbusters

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, April 22, 2007 - 06:56:39 pm
(Posted Under: TV)
This weekend was a sad realization that Mythbusters repeats on Saturday are now over.

Further to that, tonight it seems that the Thank God You're Here repeats are over also, thanks to Big Brother starting up again. *sigh* Uncool. I'm really disappointed Katie didn't get to see those two great episodes with Matthew Newton.

Hey Jealousy Acoustic

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, April 20, 2007 - 08:23:51 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Gin Blossoms)
Just the other day, Katie and I had discussed how the one thing that isn't unnecessarily great about her being here is missing out on the scoops in Tempe. Particularly coming up because of the Benefit Concert For The Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk (April 13, 2007) at Last Exit in which Robin and Scotty made a special guest appearance - and particularly how that without Katie there, we had no idea what went on.

A couple days later however Brad posted this cool video to his myspace page. Not only is it cool to see Rob and Scotty in action, but it's also the first time I've ever heard Hey Jealousy acoustic, or even semi-acoustic, as the case may be.


Quote Of The Day

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, April 20, 2007 - 03:35:05 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
This afternoon while Katie and I were talking, I came up with the best quote:

If you're uncomfortable about drugs, it's time to give up rock 'n roll and join a book club!
For once, it's something from me, rather than blogging all the cool shit Katie says. [smile]

Donkey's Revenge

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, April 20, 2007 - 09:40:18 am
(Posted Under: You Tube You Tube)
This is hilarious...

Now Playing: Violet Wild - Even If Your Light Is Fading


(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosFriday, April 13, 2007 - 10:55:16 pm
(Posted Under: Photography)
Photobox Image Tonight we all headed out to play some pool, which was quite fun. On leaving, I had to run back and grab my camera, as there was a cool ass sunset going on.

On the way down, the size of the sun was amazing. On getting to the pool place, I took some great photos before going in - for an interesting change, with the huge bowling pin out the front in the shots.

I was dubious about whether the size of the sun was going to be be reflected in the photos, however I am pretty impressed with how they came out.

Art Edwards

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, April 13, 2007 - 02:38:25 am
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Of late Arthur Edwards' blog has been quite entertaining, particularly as he recalls the early Refreshments days. In the latest installment he has also put in a link to an interview he did for Phoenix Art Space, which I thought was pretty cool - particularly with the Hopkins content...

Stuck Outside Of Phoenix

On surfing around The Dish there was also a pretty cool interview with Miss Sara Cina - What DOES Sara Say?

Seems like a not bad website when it comes to the Tempe scene.

NTFS Sucks

Hard disk woes and Hitter updates.

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, April 13, 2007 - 12:56:00 am
(Posted Under: Geek)
Today while trying to image some of Katie's old hard disks, mine, which we were imaging to went quite pear shaped. Firstly just not being able to boot windows (Unable to read disk). While this didn't seem good, I thought I'd be able to mount it in Linux, and at least recover my data - nope, given the partition was dirty, the Linux NTFS drivers wouldn't have a bar of it. Not shocking, I've experienced that before, with a NTFS formatted external USB disk, which Linux (rightly so) refuses to mount until it's been cleaned by a boot of Windows. Fine with a USB external HDD - kinda frustrating with a system disk (which refuses to boot Windows).

Through much pain and effort, I've finally got the disk working in another Windows XP machine (after several failed attempts and thinking the data was doomed (although I could see the drive seemed to work and the contents was there when I looked at /dev/hdb in Linux, I had no way to read/fix the actual file system), at least to the point where I can backup the data that I need. Who knows, it might just work when I put it back into the host computer (which I'm in no rush to do before everything is backed up). Once the scandisk (XP) finally worked, I saw what could have potentially been the issue - a whole slew of split image files from Acronis - at 4.57kb each. Which immediately it dawned on me that the problem was probably giving acronis a split size in bytes (4500), when I thought it would inteprete it as megabytes. Certainly explains why imaging a 6GB disk took over 20 hours and didn't even get half way through. How slow it was seemed unbelievable, but now I see why.

Who knows if that's what fried the disk. Or if it's going to work when I put it back in the machine. It'd be nice to think it would.

While working on fixing that disaster today, I have a bit of a play around with my hitter code, and was successful in something I've wanted to get working for a while - have the web interface only show hits of songs from my music share. I tried to get this working a while ago, and kinda achieved it, however it blew the load time of the page way out, and apache's memory usage went through the roof. Which I'd thought was a memory leak in either mysqld or PHP. It's something I've revisited a couple of times, and searched many bug reports trying to find out why. As it turns out, it was just me sucking at SQL joins! Once I got that right, it worked flawlessly, and page load times were as quick, if not quicker as when selecting plays no matter where the song is located. Horrah, a little success in the day, which until a few hours ago has been quite dismall.

Ace When I Fold

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 12:45:12 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
While going through old pictures on my computer, I came across one of Larson's setlist from when he played at KZON in the studio. Looking over it, Katie saw Ace When I Fold and started singing the line from what we've always known as just Tribute To Doug. Of course, immediately I had to grab the CD I have it on, and have a listen - sure enough, that's the song. Kinda spooky, as when updating the Hops site this week, I'd thought how I wish we knew what the song was called! And listening to it, it definitely hit me how a song is just cooler when you know the title.

As I mentioned to Katie, more evidence of why we rock together - I've had that photo since '99, and she's known the line since whenever, yet neither of knew the title of the song. Sitting together looking at photos, it all comes together. Similarly experience when I put on Drinkin' In A Dry County (Harry Luge) - Katie immediately started singing, and then proclaimed that Larson wrote it. I've had the song for like two years and didn't know, she knew but never had a copy of the song. As Ashy says, things are much better when we're together.

Anyways, getting back to Ace When I Fold, it was great to listen to it again, and worked out well, what with it coincidentally being the Hops' birthday and all.

"Those guys would be nothing without your songs."

Roger Clyne on KWSS

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, April 8, 2007 - 09:07:37 am
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers)
This morning was another one with the alarm set early, this time to hear an interview with Roger Clyne on KWSS FM. Waking up at 9am on a Sunday shouldn't be too difficult, though it kinda was, and we missed the start because it seems to have started a little early, and because of technical difficulties getting the stream working.

Due to the easter festivities and Katie's scheduled weekly chat with the folks we didn't listen to the show until later, of course I had the tapes rolling again, which ended up lasting around an hour and a half.

Surprising to me there wasn't that much talk about the new album per se - moreso just Peacemakers and Refreshments songs played, and the typical advert for the upcoming Circus Mexicus show. The only real thing Roger said about the new album is his explaination of the title of the album No More Beautiful World - there is no more beautiful world because the most beautiful world is right now. I don't know Eog, I'm not feeling it. Or feeling that it really actually makes sense. [wink]

One of the tracks played was the version of Sleep Like A Baby from Four Unlike Before, which is kinda cool to have on tape, but still reminded me of how bad Four Unlike Before is. Sleep Like A Baby is a perfect example of how to take a great song and - well, make it pretty lame.

In anycase, it was good getting to hear and record the interview. While the whole Peacemakers thing isn't thrilling me at the moment, it's not by my own choice, and I'm still interested in what going on in the band. In the same vein, I'm still trying to give the new album a chance, regardless of how hard that is right now.

Thank God You're Here

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, April 7, 2007 - 12:52:49 pm
(Posted Under: TV)
Over the last few weeks Katie and I have been watching Thank God You're Here pretty much religiously. 6:30 Sunday is a pretty good time slot. When the repeats of the first season started up, I was pretty happy, as I enjoyed it last year when I watched it last year and wanted Katie to see it - repeats while she's here - perfect!

In any case, this morning she exclaimed her excitement when she read online that there is a US version starting next week. Pretty impressive, given how most of our shows turn out to be rip-offs of either US or UK shows. We watched a clip online of the US premiere - not sure it's going to be as good as the Australian original, and the crowd noise seemed a bit too much, but still, pretty cool news.


Firefox Bookmark Sharing Revisited

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, April 6, 2007 - 04:49:39 pm
(Posted Under: Firefox Firefox)
With the headache of different bookmarks across several computers, I've looked again today for solutions - local ones that is, as I have no interest in shooting my bookmarks across the internet to someone else's server.

At this point Foxmarks is looking good. With some testing it seems to work okay, and doesn't screw up bookmarked feeds (turning them into bookmarks rather than Live Feeds) which is a problem I had with the last Firefox extension I tried years ago.

I ran into a small problem initially with FTP connections going through Squid, which confused Foxmarks, but with the help of tcpflow to work out why all ways good.

It does mean I've had to update Firefox on my main desktop (from 1.0.7, which I guess I've had installed since Oct 29 2005 without any updates!) Hopefully no extensions that I really wanted (hence never updating on my desktop) are no longer compatible.

In anycase, Foxmarks looks really good from the outset.
Now Playing: The Black Moods - Whole Lotta Love

No More Beautiful World

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - 02:24:33 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Tempe, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers)
After several failed attempts to order No More Beautiful World through Peacetime Goods, I came across a torrent of the album. Which will certainly tide me over until I'm hooked up with a real copy of the CD. I'm kinda happy about it, given that when I first heard the e-card tracks at the start of February I decided I was definitely going to pre-order the album and get it right when it came out. At the end of the day, getting to hear it 2 weeks after it was released (March 2007) ain't too bad.

On listening to it however, the songs which I've come to not mind (Hello New Day, Noisy Head) which I hoped were to be the low points of the album. As it turns out, they're the highlights, more or less.

I love Maybe We Should Fall In Love, Andele is as expected great, Controband is pretty good. The rest of the album is varies in degrees of not that great. Listening to it, Katie and I thought that the start of the album had to be the not so great part, and the second is where it'd pick up. Misguided thought, as the start of the album is actually better than the second half.

Particularly nausiating is the reuse of "The good guys and the bad guys never work past noon around here" from Mexico and "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream". Not to mention the beginning of Plenty. Umm, guys, Bury My Heart At The Trailer Park has already been done. Very sad and disappointing that it's apparently too hard to write new lyrics and riffs. The "cars break down and people break down..." line being used in both Fonder & Blonder and Down Together was cool - the reuse of Mexico in Wake Up Call is just sad!

When ignoring Wake Up Call, I can accept Lemons as the Mexician / mariachi song on the album, but already having heard Wake Up Call two songs earlier, it's hard not to cringe. Roger's mexican influence was always such a cool part of the Peacemakers and Refreshments, but on this album - god it really falls apart and sounds ridiculous.

Certainly what I also noticed was the end of the era - up until now, all the records have the uncanny pattern of a pinnicle rock song, and a / the ballad which is arguably the best track on the album:

Honky Tonk Union: Beautiful Disaster / Green & Dumb
Sonoroan Hope & Madness: Colorblind Blues / Bufallo
Americano!: Americano! / Your Name On A Grain Of Rice

No More Beautiful World continues the trend with the pinnical rock track in Andele, but the ballad the is the best song on the record is completely absent.

If this album had come out around the time that Live At Billy Bob's, it would be easier to just say that finally Roger's made a not so great album, which given the run since Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy in 1996 was bound to happen at some point. However, it's really hard to take that we've waited over 3 years for a studio album, and it's this dismall. For the most part, with the exception of a few good songs, it feels to me as a "it's time to make a new album, we have 3 new songs, let's write 11 more this week and record them".

I could go on to no end with negativity, which is kinda pointless, and maybe the album will grow on me, it's happened before, but certainly the first listen was quite cringe worthy. Especially since around this time last year I questioned new songs (Captain Surburbia, Mexicosis) and the future of the band, and then got over that in the second part of the year, and had actually been anticipating the album, and even more after hearing Hello New Day, Maybe We Should Fall In Love and Contraband at the start of February, only to be left feeling like I did this time last year.
Now Playing: Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers - Contraband

Spittin' Into The Wind

Airplay In Australia

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 11:14:45 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Cate got her copy of Spittin' Into The Wind last week, and mentioned that a copy had been sent to a radio station here. On some research we found that the title cut has actually had a spin here on a roots show on Inner FM here in Melbourne.

Folk and Roots 18/2/07.

Not that I heard it, but it's really cool to know that the Tramps & Thieves boys have been on the radio here!

More Violet Wild Tracks

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - 04:43:29 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Tempe)
According to the Violet Wild Myspace Blog, the record is finished. Which I guess is the latest copy of the record, as I remember Steve French saying the same thing last year. It does however explain what has been going on with the album - I'd thought it was already done last year, but I guess it was re-recorded.

As a result, some new songs have been put up on Myspace:

  1. Burning Girl (Mink Rebellion Original)
  2. Rare Disease
  3. Invention
  4. Another One
Which put together with all the other songs they've put up on myspace since October last year, the two additional songs that are on Steve French's site and it's like we've already got an album:

  1. Water And Chemicals
  2. Along For The Ride (Mink Rebellion)
  3. Concrete Lake (Mink Rebellion)
  4. Even If Your Light Is Fading
  5. Without You (Mink Rebellion)
  6. Got You Where I Want You
  7. Glorious Day
  8. Luna
  9. Concrete Lake (Acoustic) (Mink Rebellion)
  10. Hitchhicker (Mink Rebellion)
  11. Sometimes Always
  12. Burning Girl (Mink Rebellion)
  13. Rare Disease
  14. Invention
  15. Another One
Kinda impressive too that I now have more songs by Violet Wild than Mink Rebellion (though many are originally by Mink [smile] ).

In anycase, it would seem from the blog entry that the album is done and hopefully be released at some point. Either way I definitely feel that I have enough Violet Wild songs to tide me over until the record does come out.

In addition their website has a cool video of their performance on the Fender Stage at the Tempe Music Festival last weekend. Pretty cool to watch, not only to see the band perform, but also as a reminder of being at the Tempe Music festival this time two years ago. (Actually, technically probably seeing Scotty Johnson for the first time, but who's keeping count? [smile])
Now Playing: Violet Wild - Rare Disease

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