Archive for June, 2009

Disk transplant

I have – sorry, had – an Ubuntu box at home that I use as a server – files, printing, remote access, that sort of thing. It died a few days ago – I turned it off because we were going to be away for a couple of days last weekend (wedding stuff – topic for another post), and later discovered that it wouldn’t turn back on.

The hard drive hadn’t shown any signs of stress, and the machine isn’t even booting to the looking-for-storage stage, so I’m pretty sure the data is fine. I had a spare box sitting around, so I’ve just now transplanted the drive into it and am going to try booting it. I’m going to blog the whole process as a way of keeping track of stuff, and also in case anyone else is interested (unlikely, I know, but it’s a blog).

Got to the boot screen. So far so good.

Reiser filesystem is clean.

Okay, there was a brief glitch when it first started X – the screen was split into four and the colours were all out of whack. But it fixed itself almost immediately. The login screen is shifted to the left slightly but the monitor can probably fix that.

Hmm… no network.

Oh wait… I plugged in the wrong network cable. Shit. Hang on.

Okay now the network’s up. And the monitor auto-adjust fixed the shifted screen.

Well… that was pretty anti-climactic. Only thing I have to do now is change the MAC address on the router for DHCP…

Why is the router still giving it a weird IP address?

Meh. I’ll sort it out later.

Okay, show’s over everyone.


Thought of the Day

You can’t comb a spherical cow without getting a cowlick.




Lisp belongs to a category of things in this world – also containing Go – about which I know just enough to know that I don’t really know the first thing about them, although I’d very much like to. I’ve played around with Common Lisp a couple of times now, and I’m at a point on the learning curve where I can see the crazy-powerful elegance of the thing from a distance, but I’m not far along enough to really be able to get a good grip on it and do anything useful with it.

Anyway, this weekend I finally accepted that ASDF isn’t an optional extra for serious package maintainers, but something I’m really going to have to get my head around to build anything nontrivial. Turns out it’s not all that hard; it’s just that (like Lisp itself) it’s on a different branch of the programming family tree to the entire Algol-descended world and its associated collections of compilers, Makefiles, virtual machines, environments, editors and whatnot, so everything works just a little bit differently to what I’ve learned to expect so far.

So I got CL-SDL working, copied-and-pasted and started playing with some changes to the NeHe tutorials, and that’s about as far as I got, but it’s nontrivial progress and I’m happy enough with it that I’ll now either (a) use it as a starting point for something serious, or (b) consider it a job well done and not look at the Lisp world again for another two years, but regret it the whole time.

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Terminator Salvation

Spoilers follow.

Hypothetical Conversation 1

Skynet A: Our unnecessarily complicated plan has succeeded – Marcus Wright has lured John Connor into our base!

Skynet B: Excellent! Now we can kill him easily. How should we do it? Call in all available ground units and riddle him with bullets?

Skynet A: No.

Skynet B: Suck all the oxygen out of the room he’s in?

Skynet A: Um… no.

Skynet B: Nuke the place and write it of as acceptable losses?

Skynet A: I was thinking one Terminator should be enough.

Skynet B: One Term… Are you sure? Do we know how he’s fared against solo Terminators before?

Skynet A: I’ll look into that.

Skynet B: What will the Terminator be armed with? Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range?

Skynet A: Well…

Skynet B: Uzi 9mm?

Skynet A: How would you feel about unarmed?

Skynet B: Unarmed? We have Connor at our mercy in the middle of our biggest and most heavily guarded killer robot factory, and you want to attack him with a single, unarmed, human-sized robot?

Skynet A: It’ll look like Arnie.


Skynet B: I’ll get the popcorn.

Skynet A: Cool.

Skynet B: Where’s Marcus Wright, by the way?

Skynet A: Eh, dunno.

Hypothetical Conversation 2

McG: Come and see my new Terminator movie!

Me: Oooh, I love Terminator. Will it have time travel?

McG: No, that’s been done.

Me: Will it deal with heavy philosophical issues about fate? The nature of consciousness and humanity?

McG: It might glance in that direction occasionally, but not really.

Me: Will it at least have a coherent plot?

McG: Look, you’ll get two hours of gritty action, big CG robots, and a grown-up John Connor in the post-Judgment Day machine war. With lots of callbacks to the other movies.


Me: I’ll get the popcorn.

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