Category Archives: the battle of the computer

holding my breath…

i worried and fretted about my computer all day today, but i didn’t actually do anything about it… i just waited for to come up with an answer that i hadn’t tried yet. to keep my mind off the computer, i went out and bought new batteries for lucy’s training collar, bread, bagles and dishwasher detergent, and a three terabyte USB hard disk, which i intend on partitioning approximately 1tb/2tb, and throwing my ENTIRE home directory, and my entire 200gb music collection into the 1tb side, and using the 2tb side as backup storage…

and i AM going to use something like Keep to back up my ENTIRE home directory about twice a month…

so that this kind of thing WON’T happen again… πŸ˜›

and when i got home, had come up with an answer i hadn’t tried. a kubuntu expert from indonesia suggested apt-get install libakonadi-contact4, and when i did that, kmail, kaddressbook, and akregator all started without a problem.

and it works… so far… if it works again tomorrow, i’ll feel a lot better.

amarok still has difficulty telling how long tracks are, but at this point, i’m SO relieved to have kmail back that i’ll let it be wonky for a while…

more GROAN!… 8P

i got up this morning and nothing (and i mean nothing) had changed. kontact still wouldn’t start, nobody had responded to my many varied requests for help, and, according to skype-friend “You are now solidly into the area of problems that Kubuntu added to Debian”… πŸ˜›

so i put “kontact can’t find in kubuntu 10.04” into google, and came up with this article in, which suggested reinstalling kdepim for a person who was having almost the same problem in maverick (kubuntu 10.10). so i tried sudo apt-get --reinstall install kdepim and then i read a little further in the article and discovered that it was also suggested that i try sudo apt-get --reinstall install libkontactinterface4, which resulted in some change… unfortunately, not in the desired direction. now kontact says kontact: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory… essentially the same error as before, only now it’s looking for instead of

i feel like i should be making progress, but i honestly don’t know what to do next… πŸ™

i’m going to try putting into google and see if that comes up with any new, relevant information that i haven’t already read… πŸ™

ETA: from what little reading i’ve done, it would appear that akonadi (the personal information management software that makes kontact work, and the thing that needs doesn’t work that well (or, depending on where you read, at all) on 10.04 either, and the recommendation is to upgrade to 10.10… which isn’t a LTS… more motivation for me to switch distributions to debian (the parent distro to *ubuntu). this would obviously mean going back to KDE4.5, or KDE4.3, or something like that… but, as i said to skype-friend, i don’t need all these fancy bells and whistles, i just need it to work… reliably, consistently, and with a lot less effort than i have put into it over the past three days… i admit that, on the whole, kubuntu has been FAR better than windoesn’t, and even gives mac a run for its money, but when it comes to upgrading, kubuntu SUCKS!! πŸ˜›


i figured that, since i got paid(!) for the panto, and i got paid(!!) for first night, i would arbitrarily do something for both my wife and myself, keeping in mind that we have both fought valiantly in the battle of several computers recently, and we have both bought (or are buying) new computers recently, so i went out and bought a 2 terabyte USB hard drive, and i’m going to start making regular backups of all the computers in the house, so that the next time one or more of the computers goes tits up, we won’t have to run around like the proverbial chicken.

i hope you don’t mind sweetie, i did this without checking with you first, but i’m sure you’ll agree that it is $150 well spent, and Hybrid Elephant paid for it.

but while i’m at it, i want to marvel in awe, once again, at the place we’ve got to, technologically. i was raised around computers that talked in bits and bytes, before anyone ever dreamed of a personal “hard disk”… the first actual hard disk i ever worked with was an 80 megabyte monster, easily four times as big as the model currently on my desk, with a fraction of the capacity, and at the time, i was under the impression that it was an electronic “black hole” into which i could throw data forever, and never fill it up.4GB memory i remember when i couldn’t afford more than 16 megabytes of RAM (on a mac LCII), because it was $150 for a 1MB SIMM chip, which was about the same size as my cell phone… and now they make things like the one seen on the right, which is a four gigabyte memory chip that goes in my cell phone. when i was working at openwave, a few years ago, i worked on a solaris machine with a 4 terabyte hard disk array, which was a box about a quarter of the size of my desk, and sat in a corner of the santa barbara office (i logged in and worked remotely, from an office in bellevue), and this 2 terabyte disk i just bought is the size of a small book.

i’m not gonna claim that this is an electronic black hole, but i can’t imagine how i will fill up a 2 terabyte disk, except for backing up multiple computers, multiple times, for several years…


the battle of the computer is over! the linux guru (whose name is francis) and i got my computer working, after three days of mucking about in the inner (read “command-line interface”) workings of the underpinning of kubuntu. when you dig down that deep, you’re not running k/x/ed/ubuntu any longer, it’s actually debian, which is, apparently, a rock-solid piece of software capable of doing many things that k/x/ed/ubuntu screws up, or can’t do at all. it’s now running jaunty jackalope, after having the innards of hardy heron ripped out from its smouldering carcass and having kde4 and the latest linux kernel forcably overwritten. i’m not sure if i really like it yet (it looks way too much like windoesn’t XP), but i can probably get used to it, and/or configure the parts that i don’t like so that they won’t be so annoying.


i’ve discovered what the problem is with my linux box: i tried to upgrade directly from hardy to jaunty without going through intrepid first. it really wasn’t my fault, i just did what the upgrade application told me to, but that doesn’t make my box any less broken. fortunately, i appear to have found a linux guru on who is the eternal optimist and thinks that i can probably rescue my box without having to reinstall. i’m up for it, but i would also be up for reinstalling if it doesn’t work out. meanwhile i’m learning all about aptitude -f install and dpkg --force-overwrite -i and other arcane goodies that go over the heads of about 90% of the other kubuntu users out there. and my linux box is still broken. oh well…

i got an order for 3000 postcards yesterday, which will ultimately be sent to japan, and i mowed the lawn for the first time this year as well. also i’ve got a BSSB rehearsal later this evening, so despite my broken linux box and my ongoing depression, i’m keeping busy enough that it doesn’t hurt as much.

ETA, 5:00pm: the linux guru i met turned me on to skype, which i now have installed on my mac, so if any of you are inclined to actually talk to me, i can be reached at przxqgl. we didn’t get very far, but i am more convinced than ever that we will actually be able to rescue this box instead of reinstalling it. i’m now doing a remote ssh to the linux box and running all the commands on my mac, which saves me getting confused over which keyboard i’m typing into.