Sunday, March 14
The reason my Windows PC would no longer boot when I installed the PCI IDE controller was that it was trying to boot from the card - rather than, for example, the boot drive still attached to the motherboard.
And there is no way to tell the computer not to do this. Not in the motherboard BIOS, not in the dinky and largely useless BIOS on the card, not in a jumper, not nowhere. I twigged to this because the 200GB drive I borrowed from work turned out to have been previously used: After installing the drive and turning the machine back on, it found myself booting into Windows 2000.
Thanks but no thanks.
Since I need that drive in that machine, and since I can't boot into Windows XP after it's installed, I first have to backup my existing drive, then install Windows XP onto the new drive, then copy all my anime onto my Windows box, and all the other files onto the parts-bin box (which is working now, thanks to RedHat 8 and LILO and the removal of a plague-ridden disk drive) - assuming I still have enough space for all of that (I think I do...)
And then rebuild the Linux box with the new 200GB drive and copy everything back again.
You can't expect a lowly 2.6GHz processor to copy files across the network and burn a DVD at the same time, can you?
I hate computers.
Saturday, March 13
My DVD-Rs turn out not to be printable. At least not with my printer, which I did not buy for the express purpose of printing on said DVD-Rs.
Although the disks have a clean white surface, they have a gloss finish. The ink won't stick to this, and in fact the disks wash clean even if they've been left to dry for a few minutes. The sample printable CD-R that came with the printer worked perfectly and now bears a likeness of Sofia Vergara.
The supplier who supplied my DVD-Rs now also supplies the same brand in a printable version. They are $20 more expensive per spindle of 50 than the non-printable type - which still makes them $20 cheaper than when I bought mine.
As usual, the technical problem will have to be fixed by the judicious application of money.
Friday, March 12
If you forget to permanently save your new NAT rules, and then reset your modem, the new NAT rules wil go away. Once they go away, they will not work as expected.
Also, if you reboot your server, and it turns out that you never got around to saving the new network settings to the appropriate config files, those new network settings will also go away. If this means that the server is now looking for a default gateway that is on the wrong subnet, routing to the outside world will become something of a hit-and-miss affair.
Mostly miss, really.
And it looks like I may have been unfair to my D-Link modem. When entering a NAT rule, it asks for from and to local addresses (invariably one machine), from and to remote addresses (invariably your external IP, but you could have more than one of those), from and to port numbers... And a single to port for the final destination. So it looks like after typing everything in twice, you are restricted to only handling one port per rule. And you can only have twelve rules, so...
But no! If you leave the destination port as zero, it seems that the port number is passed through unchanged. So I can handle the standard BitTorrent ports (6881-6889) with a single rule! Hurrah!
I have absolutely no idea how I managed to enter the number 7 for that final port, but I can tell you that it did not work.
I'm now getting a GRUB hard disk error.
Well, it's better than "LI".
Also, my air conditioner is much quieter now that I have piled six large computer books and a ream of 100 gsm inkjet paper on it. It doesn't make that nasty vibratey sound any more.
I've mentioned before my shiny DVD burner, and the 112 DVDs I've burnt backing up all my irrecoverable treasures* and how some of those backups have turned out to be, well, irrecoverable.
Which is particularly annoying because I verified every disk after writing it, doing a byte-for-byte comparison to the original files.**
So I thinks to myself, my DVD-ROM drive won't read some of these disks, but Nero could read them fine on the DVD burner. So what if, I thinks, what if I tell Nero to make a copy of the dud disk? And make it single-session rather than multi-session just to make sure?
It worked! And I have my copy of MST3K: The Movie back, safe and sound.
* Like MST3K, for example.
** Well, I told Nero to do it for me.
I really like my new ISP's AUP.* It boils down to exactly two points:
Want to run servers? Play games? Have 15 people sharing the same connection?
Illegal activities are still illegal when you do them on the Internet.
* Acceptable Usage Policy.
Guess who paid a little visit to Pixy Central in the small hours of the morning?
Yes! None other than that relentless hopping devourer of data, Hard Drive Destruction Bunny!
Of course, I'm running RAID-5, so my data is safe. Unless, of course, the bunny decides to make it a twofer.
And I have most of the files backed up on DVD-R. I can't actually read many of the DVDs, but it's comforting to know that they are there, and at least in theory I have a backup.
So, I did what I had been planning for this weekend: I threw all my spare parts together in one big messy server-shaped bundle, and installed Linux on it. All went well until it came time to reboot, whereupon the server came up with the dreaded
LIWhich means that although you've installed GRUB as your boot loader, BIOS has somehow found half of an ancient copy of LILO, attempted to boot that instead, and locked up.
Oh, and the Fedora installer won't let you do a quick fix on the boot loader. It will ask you exactly what changes you want to make - and then not do them.
So, I left it re-installing in the hope that this time (I limited the mirrored boot volume to the first two IDE drives) it will be able to find GRUB.
I've ordered another 200GB SATA drive. At least Linux knows what to do with them. (Huh. I tried to install WinXP on my Linux box so I could dual boot, but I couldn't get it to work. Maybe that's why.)
I've also got a 200GB drive here at work. It's destined to replace the pathetically overcrowded 20GB drive in my workstation here, but it's going on a little detour first. You see, I have 580GB of files on my new Linux box, but the parts-bin server only has 440GB... Which would make backing up one onto the other kind of tricky. (We have spare disks all over the place at work, because every time we build a server we make sure we have a spare disk of the exact same model in case we need to replace a failed drive in a hurry. Which is great if you need to borrow a disk for a day or two... Not so good if someone else has borrowed the disk you need right now.)
Oh, and while I was building the parts-bin server I managed to knock out both the power cord for my mail server and the phone line for my ADSL. I blame that on lack of sleep, which is another story entirely.
So, all I need to do is:
The funny thing is, the drive isn't actually dead. Not as such. It doesn't seem to be performing up to spec, but I can read from it. But Linux has decided it's bad, and won't be told otherwise.
Get Linux installed and working on the server of many names (for historical reasons, the parts-bin server will be called Lina Kodachi Akane Shampoo Mughi Pixy Misa Dot Kicks-Ass Dot Net).
Copy all the little fiddly files (millions of them - literally) from Yuri to the main RAID array on Lina.
Install the borrowed 200GB drive in Kei.
Copy the anime from Yuri to the borrowed drive in Kei until I run out of room.
Copy any remaining files to the other RAID array on Lina.
Install the new 200GB drive in Yuri.
Reinstall Yuri from scratch, only with a spare volume for the raidset.
Copy all the anime and other critical files back to Yuri.
Bask in the glow of all the happy disk drives.
Now, I probably could just reimport that disk into the raidset somehow, but I've never done that before, and it is very much one slip, you're dead territory, which is not a place I care to go while juggling 580GB of data.
I may have come up with a way to read those unreadable DVD-Rs too. More details tonight - one way or the other.
Thursday, March 11
I've moved to a new ISP.
So I have a new IP address.
So if I don't put that new IP address in my NAT rules, NAT basically doesn't work.
Which will slow BitTorrent down a lot. (In fact, I'm rather surprised it worked as well as it did.)
And means that my mail, web and SSH servers running on my home box are now secured very effectively indeed - in that it is impossible to get to them at all.
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