torquill: The devourer of worlds is not impressed. (devourer)
Today, I was still depressed and struggling some... yet I managed to whip my laptop into shape, for the most part. Living la vida something )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
Apparently, in the phone world, the Intercept is so ancient no one is interested in talking about it anymore. As someone who doesn't live on the bleeding edge, however, I still have one, and after a year of ownership I was tired of the bloat and assorted performance issues. I decided to root it and put a new kernel on.

For reference, I'm with Virgin Mobile. The settings menus may be a little different with Sprint, and you must use a different kernel to maintain the right carrier band. This guide should still give you enough to work with on Sprint, however.

The late-season guide to tools and procedures for rooting an Intercept )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
I am, needless to say, way behind on LJ. I'll try to skim the back issues today, but I might miss something... if there's anything I really need to know about, please point me at it.

I now have my new phone (a Samsung Intercept, under Virgin, with a no-really-truly-unlimited data plan) so I can surf on my breaks and when I'm not at home; I'll hunt for an app to essentially RSS my LJ friends page. It might be too slow for most things without an 802.11 network to suck off of, so I'll have to figure out how much I can keep up with. Still, I can hit email, lily, and IM easily enough, which means I'm much more connected than I was.

I like the phone a lot. I've spent a few hours customizing and learning it -- it came with pretty much no user manual, but Android seems easy enough to figure out. (If you're interested, it came with Eclair.) I've gotten a few apps (Weatherbug, ConnectBot, Meebo, Astrid, Just NotePad, Ringdroid, Shazam, and Barcode Scanner), most of which are just improvements on the existing functions. I can even scan (and make) QR codes now! \o/

(Sorry, geek moment there.)

Work is pretty good, I feel like I'm on top of it so far, and I'm not having trouble with the energy output. I'm sort of zoning out today, but that's to be expected; the first week is always rough. Fortunately, I don't have much on my plate this weekend, so I can take it easy.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
I downloaded and installed Dropbox, and as I start using it I find I like it pretty well. It's seamless and painless, so long as you accept that editing files via the website requires downloading and re-uploading them again... and now I can coordinate my two main computers, my auxiliary laptop, and any smartphone I eventually get without worrying about where I left certain files. It integrates fully with Nautilus under Gnome, and plays well with Android; Windows 7 is quite happy with it.

I suspect I'll still limit it to individual files I might need to share with myself (rather than huge chunks of my home directories), but for the job-hunting notes and to-do lists, plus supporting files, it's doing a bang-up job so far. Not sure whether I'll use it for public sharing (as opposed to my website), but that might be handy later on.

I thoroughly read the terms and conditions, and they seem quite reasonable. Dropbox explicitly states that any files you put in your Dropbox folder belong to you, and you retain all rights and licenses; they reserve the right to handle the files only so much as they need to in order to provide the service (and comply with legal obligations). I'm comfortable with that.

If you check it out and decide to sign on, let me know -- I can get both of us a 250Mb bonus on the 2G free account.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
I need to do two things:

1) Select any email with a subject line containing non-ASCII characters and delete it. I can do the second operation, but the only way I can think of to ask it to look for anything other than ASCII is to use a regexp of .*![A-Z|a-z|0-9|\!\@\# ... and so on, and I expect there's something more elegant than that. Alternatively, I hear that sendmail can block messages based on non-ASCII text in the headers (including Subject), but I haven't tracked down how yet. Sendmail might be preferable, as the main times I get a lot of non-ASCII subject lines are when the server load is so high spamassassin drops the ball, and adding procmail instructions to that stress might be unkind.

2) Within the message body, find and replace the character  with something ASCII -- a space or a carriage return would be fine. Something about the email encoding from Macs scatters those throughout messages, typically at the end of lines (but not always), and it gives Mutt conniption fits. Would this Procmail recipe do the trick (with a little tweaking)?

Feel free to point anyone here if they can help out. Thanks for any assistance...
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (omg)
While watching videos off a DVD with [livejournal.com profile] hopeforyou, I decided to go look up something on the web. My browser folded and wouldn't come back up. So I went to a terminal and typed 'ps aux | grep firefox', to find the errant process and kill it. It gave me a BUS error and died. buh??

After attempting it again, I tried 'ls'. "Input/Output Error." um...

'w', 'uptime', and 'sync' all threw I/O errors. 'dmesg' segfaulted. Urk.

Looks like my hard disk may have died. Well, crap.

I sighed, then decided we might as well finish watching the episode (the system ran fine as long as we didn't try to run new commands or access the disk). It behaved until I packed it up and took it home. I tried to shut it down, it (predictably) failed, and I took it down hard with the expectation that it wouldn't come back up. Trip to Fry's in the morning...

I booted it to see what would happen. And.......



It loaded as though nothing was wrong. I logged in. It behaved normally, and still is. Combing through the logs showed nothing from before I rebooted (figures)... but during boot time, I caught it scanning two areas of memory for "low memory corruption". A search on the web, and careful reading of the log, revealed that the symptoms were most likely from low-register, dedicated system memory getting corrupted, which is why basic commands failed but the rest of the system (on higher registers) ran fine. The best part: it's a software issue, probably related to a sloppy BIOS, not hardware at all.

My computer is fine now, and likely to remain so. But what a way to worry me two days after a full OS upgrade!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (weirdness)
This. This is a glimpse of exactly how I feel about Vista.

I'll stick with my complex, obedient Linux system with a side of Propaganda.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (bean)
1) A silicon life-form was found, and is now being assimilated. A 1U Pentium 4, courtesy of a fellow lilyite.

2) The little container of flour and water that we drove around SF on Saturday spawned a very nice sourdough culture; I fed it and split it in two today. It will be ready for experimenting by the end of the week.

That's likely to be the first bread recipe I'll create from scratch -- none of the sourdough recipes I'm finding are directly adaptable, so I'll combine my experience and the numbers to see what sort of loaf I can come up with. There are some traits of the average bread which are completely constant, and I'll work from that.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
I got my new phone today... the salesdrone didn't even try to slap an activation fee on it, though the sales tax (on the full value of the phone) bumped it up to $122 out the door. I'll send in the $50 rebate as soon as I'm certain I'm keeping it.

It looks good, feels good, works well. I spent about a half hour plugging my contact list into it by hand -- that lets me weed it out, which is why I do that despite the risk of transcription errors. An unforeseen bonus was that (since the phone allowed me to enter the contact info in text mode) it let me get familiar with the alpha keypad, while figuring out how to enter numbers sideways. It was surprisingly easy to adapt to, actually... I suspect that the people who complain about having to turn the phone sideways to enter numbers aren't as good at pattern recognition. This is very definitely a geek's phone.

The buttons aren't too small, and they're pleasantly raised and spaced, so I had almost no typos. I may have to keep my thumbnails clipped if I do any large amount of texting, which I'm sure will make Greg happy... it's hard to hit the little buttons sideways with a nail. I can do two-handed text input, now, and hitting buttons only once is as liberating as I'd hoped. God I hate T9 input, with its multiple keypresses, and sometimes messing up how many times to hit a key, and having to pause carefully between letters on the same key... gah.

So far, I like it. The standard Verizon UI is limiting but familiar. I have yet to check out the voice quality, but it feels like a solid little phone.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
I went to the Verizon store today to see whether 1) they have the phone I want, and 2) I could push up the upgrade date (I'm due for an upgrade on the 30th).

In brief: yes on 1, no on 2.

Which one was yes, go ahead and destroy Russia... or number 2? )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (dumb)
I procrastinated on writing my weed bio paper a lot today... between wanting weekend recreation, and having a new toy to play with, I spent a lot of time mucking about with the new laptop. Changing settings, installing programs I wanted, choosing a background...

Only to discover, with some disgust, that since I had absentmindedly left the wireless antenna turned off when I wiped windows, I now have no way to turn it back on. Pressing the dedicated antenna button doesn't change its status, nor does the button-press even rate a note in the system log. Doing it in the bios doesn't help. ACPI has never heard of it. It's like the wireless card doesn't exist.

The only way I can get it back is to demolish my carefully constructed linux install by restoring windows, allow it to load the wireless button driver, press the damned button, and then reinstall linux. Another day's worth of work, probably.*

Siiiiiigh.**

I've conducted a full backup of my linux system, in the hope that I can just pour the tarball onto a fresh installation and get all my hours of work restored. (I need to go make a note of the current partition table, too.)

Once I set the backup running, I guiltily went back to my paper. I have it half-done (the easy half), and I have a question out to the TA on what sources I can use for the other half. Once he answers, I'm pretty well positioned to polish it off in 3-4 hours of work, I think. Plus the icing (bibliography, budget, and timeline for the project). It's due on the 9th, so that's manageable. Then all I have is the lab report... and studying for finals. Urk.

Edit: I tried starving the machine (unplug it and take out the battery for about 10 min), but that didn't reset it; a trip to the bios took about 10 attempts (what I wanted was F9) and didn't have a setting for the antenna status, though I was able to increase the amount of time I have to press a function key before it starts the bootloader.


*Next to this, the fact that the system beep doesn't work is trivial.
**Hey, Alex, remember what you said about how things always seem to go wrong in ways that are tedious to fix?
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
Well, my new laptop arrived (two days after it left Asia -- impressive.) The skinny (or is that the thin?) )

The new laptop's name is Markanav. (Don't ask what my namespace is.) Once it's set up, Harkin will be put on semi-active duty as a backup/lending machine, as it still works fine. After a few months when I'm settled in on Markanav, I'll wipe the dual-boot on Harkin and put in just a user-friendly linux install. It's rare these days that anyone would need a specifically-Windows machine as a loaner unless they had very specialized software to install on it as well, and I don't see that being likely.

Oh, and my parents told me that they'll reimburse me for the laptop, as a graduation present. :)
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (challenge)
Tricky technology )

I'll be at Baycon, not sure when; I'm expecting to go for roughly a day and another half-day. If you want to hook up, call me.
torquill: The devourer of worlds is not impressed. (devourer)
It's a good thing that I found a program that will let me burn CDs in Ubuntu... and that it's not related to cdrecord.

cdrecord won't work with Debian-based distros these days, you see. There's a Debian fork of it called cdrkit, with a component called "wodim"... I did finally find a package for that. It conflicts with the package for cdrecord. That was actually kind of expected; all I needed to do was uninstall cdrecord first. But I didn't. Why?

Because apt-get, when asked to uninstall cdrecord, wants to uninstall three other packages that are "no longer needed". The list: cdrecord, k3b, nautilus-cd-burner, ubuntu-desktop.

ubuntu-desktop? Christ. I don't know how essential it actually is, but it seems pretty damned important to me, and I'm not going to remove any package that firmly suggests you not uninstall it if you want your system to continue to function. Not to mention the fact that it can get along just fine without cdrecord. (As can the other two, given a replacement burning program.)

Both Synaptic and apt-get insist on bundling these four together, with no obvious means of separating them. Sigh.

On the plus side, Gnomebaker created a perfectly sound mp3 CD with very little hassle. I can finally burn CDs again!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
Three weeks to the day, and finally the sweet, sweet water bandwidth is flowing.

Here be details... )

A few cable changes later, we're back on at our accustomed speed and reliability level. The weasel has started up his bittorrent again, and I don't have to log back into lily and my IM accounts every half-hour as the connection goes stale. All in all, things are returning to normal. The torture is (for the moment) over!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (geekchick)
I thought I'd repost my brother's request for suggestions for Bay Area DSL providers.

Both he and this household are looking for a decent shop that (preferably) runs through Covad's wires, since we're sick of SBC. The other criteria are in his post.

If you have DSL, how happy are you with your people? Good or bad, all info welcome.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (geekchick)
I think my laptop is starting to die, very slowly.

Hesseth was bought almost four years ago... I usually expect better life from things that cost more than a thousand dollars, but I guess this is to be expected of modern laptops. It was never the fastest or the best, and more can be gotten for less money now, but... sigh. It's definitely been what I wanted in a laptop, in terms of the features.

Still, the video cable is acting up a little even since the repairs, and in the middle of running a battery power cycle (to find out how much charge the battery still holds, mostly) just now, the whole system chirped strangely once, then twice, then went dark. I plugged it in and brought it back up (thank you, ext3 filesystem) to find 80% battery listed by my intelligent battery monitor. I think something shorted. Normally that wouldn't concern me hugely except the sound seems to have gotten really, really soft now... Sigh.

I have no idea where I'm going to get the money, but I guess I should start shopping. I hear tell that Fry's has had Compaqs in the $800 range lately, and since Cq got bought by HP they've basically been repackaging the older HP models... I have no issue with that, seeing how well my older HP model has served me, even with hard use. I know my priorities in a system, and may post them later so that I can ask for suggestions.

I had hoped any summer job would go to paying down my considerable debt. I may really have to consider taking time off school, now, if I have to work long enough to replace some vital stuff... my car stereo deck is getting flaky as well (the laser alignment isn't good, and it's spontaneously rebooted a few times) and I consider that almost as vital as my laptop. I also need a scythe for the yard, and some clothes I can't justify asking my parents to pay for, like dancing shoes. I've been building up things I need for the last n years, always saying "when I get money"... it may be time to make that sooner rather than later.

Hang in there, Hesseth. I need to find a successor. And a job.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (Default)
Things are getting better in all sorts of ways. At this moment, I am typing on my laptop, as I have been all along... the difference is that it is no longer shackled to the 60-pound Trinitron. Its native LCD lives again!

The gory techie details )

So now I just need to get the huge monitor off my desk and things will be back to normal. I can take my computer with me again! Yay!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (Default)
My laptop screen just died. I have to be at work in less than an hour and my screen is dead, dead, dead.

I tried restarting the machine and got blurs, flickers, and what might have been text. I identified the grub screen, barely... when it got to opening X, it started to try to draw the whole graphical background and did a beautiful "sunrise" effect where white came down from the top and washed away all other color in the screen. It's blank white now, the panel isn't able to do anything else.

F@#%!@.

It's a laptop, too. Dammit.

Maybe next week I can try cracking it to see what's wrong with the cables. Next week. Argh.

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torquill: Art-deco cougar face (Default)
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