Tag Archives: the battle of the computer

sigh…

i’m giving up, copying the data back on to the 3TB hard disk (which has now been reformatted as a 3TB disk), wiping the machine and starting over. this is ridiculous.

basically, over the past three days, i’ve been trying this thing, and that thing, and not being able to get my email back. i’ve been getting more and more anxious and more and more frustrated, and making more and more anxious decisions which turn out to be the wrong ones, which makes figuring out what went wrong more difficult…

and, the fact is, i’ve got this backup, which is all i really need apart from the data.

today i learned that you need to restore more than just the ~/.kde/share/apps/kmail directory, if you want to restore kmail. there’s a long list of directories and files, but what it comes down to is that if i restore ~/.config, ~/.kde, and ~/.local i’ll get not only all of my mail and contacts, but also all of my desktop settings.

also, i discovered that, for gawd-knows-what reason, the default for a new installation instance of Ark, the archiving program for KDE, is to “Extract Selected Files” rather than to “Extract All Files”… which is part of the reason i haven’t been able to extract all of the files i thought i was dealing with.

the end result is that, even if i could figure out what i need to replace, and what needs to stay to get things more or less back to normal, without a great deal of help, it would take a lot longer than it will to give up and start over.

significantly, i also learned that i’ve got all my shit, and now that i know what to do with it, if i start over, there’s a good chance that i will have everything back up and running, and have it a lot closer to the way i want it, as early as tomorrow.

computer, you’ve won this round, but watch out, because i will defeat you. 👿

every time i think i see light at the end of the tunnel, it turns out to be the headlight of an oncoming train…

the host provider moved my hosting services, and gave me a new IP address, the ramifications of which started on the 21st, and are still going on. literally. i tried to SEND email at 5:30 this morning, only to get an error message from my email client that the RECIPIENT “salamandir@hybridelephant.com” was rejected by the server… and this is on MY server… for some unknown reason, if i send from webmail, it doesn’t happen, but i despise webmail and will do anything to avoid it, because it’s too easy to spam and get away with it if you use the web for mail, rather than for web-related stuff. also, if i use IMAP (webmail), the mail is retained on a server over which i have no control, which means that anyone who can crack into the server potentially has access to my mail… and this is, for some unknown reason, not an issue for the technicians (if i can call them that) from the host service.

add to this nightmare, the fact that i’m still working on getting my new computer set up… it’s taken 3 days to figure out where my two USB drives are, move the data off of them, and reformat them, because, unbeknownst to me, they were formatted FAT32, which can’t see files that are more than 4GB, and i had been storing files on one of the disks that are >7GB, for quite some time. so, once i’d figured out how to mount them (because they had screwed up partition tables) i had to move all the data off of the disk (fortunately i have a new 1TB internal hard disk that was just aching to have ¾ of it taken up with old data), and reformat the drive EXT4… which means NO interaction with windoesn’t is possible — who cares about micro$lop anyway — but it will now see files that are as big as i want to make them…

AND, because of the fact that, apparently, i don’t know how to correctly backup my email files, i’m STILL having to battle with kmail/kontact/KDE-PIM to get things back in line — they still AREN’T, and — you guessed it — i’m having to use webmail to straighten things out, because Mail (on my ipad) gives me this weird error message, and kmail isn’t working…

FURTHERMORE, i don’t have things set up the way i want them on the new machine yet… i still have to figure out why gucharmap doesn’t have emoticons, even though they’re supposed to be part of the unicode standard at this point; now that i’ve got the disk reformatted to EXT4, i’ve got to figure out how to mount it at startup, so that it will be able to use the new backup software i installed; and, undoubtedly, there are a myriad of other, less important things that i have neglected to mention, simply because they haven’t happened yet, which are making my life unbelievably difficult, and leaving no end in sight. 😡

oy… 😠

all i had to do was mention the fact that i am getting a new computer, and it automatically triggered one of the worst battles of the computer that i have ever seen.

they moved my hosting accounts from us10.la.thewebhostserver.com, which is being retired, to a new server, mars-la.thewebhostserver.com. it had an IP address assigned to it that was ALREADY LISTED in four different spam-filtering services (that i know about), so they gave me a new IP address, which doesn’t have a rDNS record, and also doesn’t have a DNS PTR record (which is, apparently, different from an rDNS record), which means that i can only send email to about a third of the people to whom i need to send email, and the rest of them generate bounce notices.

this has been going on ever since the 21st, which is the last time i posted here, and, while it has definitely been on its way to getting fixed, they have been taking their bloody time about it, and i have been getting more and more convinced that, once again, i should probably think about finding a new host provider. 😡

and, while i have it sitting on my desk next to me, the new computer still is not hooked up or working yet, because i want to be sure that everything is working the way it is supposed to work BEFORE i do something that i know to be destructive to my system.

the battle is joined

i’m getting a new computer. the primary hard disk on the current computer says this:

salamandir@Gingko:~$ sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sda
smartctl 6.2 2013-07-26 r3841 [i686-linux-3.13.0-63-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-13, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Short offline Completed: read failure 90% 29056 323066047
# 2 Short offline Completed: read failure 90% 29025 323066047

salamandir@Gingko:~$ sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sdb
smartctl 6.2 2013-07-26 r3841 [i686-linux-3.13.0-63-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-13, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num Test_Description Status Remaining LifeTime(hours) LBA_of_first_error
# 1 Short offline Completed without error 00% 38197 -

which means, basically, that the primary hard disk – /dev/sda – has a read failure, and the secondary hard disk is okay… but i just copied all of the data off the secondary hard disk today anyway… and they’re 180gb and 200gb respectively, which means i can replace both of them with a brand new 1TB disk for about the same price that i could search out two used drives of the same size, and for a little bit more, i can replace the whole machine, with 4 times the RAM.

which sounds like a very good idea to me. so, i’m doing that. i’ll probably be offline for a day or so, within the next few days, but i don’t anticipate a major ordeal.

the battle of moe’s computer

friday and saturday, moe spent most of the day upgrading the powerpoint presentations that she has to present on thursday, at the largest veterinary conference in the world. saturday night night, she tried backing up her computer, but it wasn’t finished by the time i went to sleep. sunday morning, after discovering that the backup didn’t work, she attempted to do another backup and produced an error on her computer that, in the thirty years i have been working with apple/macintosh computers, i have never seen before: a “Kernel Panic” error… it was quite alarming, i can tell you, and even moreso because ALL of moe’s data for the presentations was on that computer… she had made backups, but not before she did eight hours of work, and, because of the fact that she’s been having more than the normal amount of chaos at work, she doesn’t have the time to do everything again before thursday.

needless to say, she freaked out.

the fact that she freaked out, freaked me out. seriously, i have been married to this woman for almost 17 years, and i have never seen her lose it quite so dramatically. i did what i could, which was to make the first available appointment at the apple store in tacoma mall, which was for monday afternoon, and then i went into survival mode, keeping my head down until things changed.

while i was hiding, moe talked to a couple of friends who know more about modern macs than i do, and was able to rescue the most important of her data, i.e. the stuff for the presentations that she has to give on thursday, which made me breathe a little easier, but she still didn’t have a computer, and thursday was looming…

i took the computer in to the shop on monday, and described to the “genius” what had happened. we booted up the computer, and it hadn’t even completed the POST before it demonstrated the “Kernel Panic” error again, which was all the guy needed to see. after booting from the network and running a test, it appeared that the RAM was faulty, so he took it back behind the mysterious door in the back of the shop where all the technicians and magic smoke machines live.

about 45 minutes later, he came back and the computer booted up just like normal. he said that he “reseated the RAM” and that he had booted and shut it down about 6 times, just to make sure, but he recommended that we replace the hard disk, as well. seeing as how, just about a month ago, we had to have the logic board and the monitor replaced, and it was still under warranty, i agreed without hesitation. he checked, and they don’t make 250G hard disks for that computer any longer, so he put the last 500G disk they had in stock aside for me, with my name on it. the plan was that i would take the computer home, back it up properly, and then bring it back on tuesday to get the hard disk repaced.

so, after backing it up, i took moe’s computer in to have the hard disk replaced tuesday. i got to the apple store before they opened, waited until they opened, went in and explained (again) why i was there, they sat me down at the “genius bar” (by the way, i should point out that i have been using macs for longer than most of the “geniuses” have been alive) and told me that there would be someone to help me “shortly”… about an hour later, a guy showed up and immediately started trying to convince me that the hard disk didn’t REALLY need to be replaced… i told him what happened yesterday, including the part where the guy assured me that it actually DID need replacing, and that he had set aside a disk with my name on it, to facilitate the process. the guy said he would check, and came back to inform me that there wasn’t a disk with my name on it, and that they didn’t have any disks in stock at the moment. after some more convincing arguments, i insisted that he check again, and, sure enough, he came back and said that there actually WAS a disk with my name on it, and that everything would be taken care of in a couple hours.

i came back to the apple store in a couple hours, and, once again, they had me sit at the “genius bar” to wait for the computer to appear from the mysterious door at the back of the shop. after about 45 minutes (what ever happened to the 2 hour time frame the guy gave me??) the computer finally appeared, but it hadn’t had any of the data transferred, so the person who delivered it to me suggested that i restore the backup right then, before leaving the store. after i had already started the process, she said “oh, by the way, this may take a while…”

1 hour and 30 minutes later, the backup was restored, and moe now has an (allegedly) functioning computer again.

and i can say, conclusively, that the tacoma mall is one of the most ghettofabulous places i have ever had the priveledge of hanging out… if i never go there again, it will probably be too soon…

moe came home and checked her computer, and everything is back to the way it should be… which is a very good thing, because this has been a trying time for both of us… 😕