Category Archives: the battle of the computer

wrap up

i got my email working late friday. when i booted the machine yesterday, i still didn’t have my backup disk, and, while i futzed around and rebooted a couple of times, i couldn’t get it to mount. also, in spite of the fact that i had the cable plugged into the right hole, the sound still didn’t work, but i was going to bellingharm, so i figured i would save it until later.

i went to bellingham yesterday. ken and kamala have found a new place to live, but serentipity is going away, after 40 years that i know of. i got home at 11:00 last night, and was too tired to mess around with the computer.

this morning i got up, and booted up the computer, and, for some unknown reason, the backup disk mounted. i shut it down and started it up several times, and i still have a backup disk. it fixed itself. weird… so then i pulled the audio cable and plugged it into the front, where i can see what it’s doing. it worked. i plugged it into the back, and it still worked. so, the sound fixed itself as well. double weird… 8/

also, i screwed around with cron for about 5 minutes total (it actually took about 20 minutes, but it was screw with cron for a few seconds and then wait 5 minutes for the changes to take effect, or not), and got sigrot to work the way it’s supposed to.

so, basically, i got through the whole battle of the computer, and i only lost my fonts and my email filters… and i didn’t lose ALL of the email filters, only the “actions” for the filters… and i didn’t really lose the fonts, but i think they’re actually living on the other computer, which i haven’t booted up since the new computer made its appearance, so i’m still hoping that’ll fix itself as well…

i don’t know why, but i’m not arguing. this is the best outcome i have ever experienced in the battle of the computer, although it took quite a bit longer to come to this resolution than it has in the past.

told ya so… 8P

told ya so… 8P

it doesn’t completely work the way i want it to, yet, but it was 2% working yesterday, and today it’s back to 95%

while i’ve got my email back, it’s not completely working yet, and i’m still having to deal with peculiarities with which i’m not exactly familiar. they’re peculiar enough that, it’s my professional opinion that they may be caused by demons, and may work themself out on their own eventually… one of my email accounts apparently uses a password i don’t remember. gramps works, but it still thinks the media is on the non-existent disk… i still don’t have the fonts straightened out…

but it’s one hell of a lot closer than it was yesterday, when i didn’t have the task bar icons that i usually have, and the K-menu icons that i usually have, and my email didn’t work… and i didn’t even have to convince it to mount the big hard disk, which wasn’t even showing up as being capable of mounting until i jumped through a 3-step hoop in order to mount it, yesterday…

it’s fixed enough that i am not even worried about going to bellingharm tomorrow, but i probably won’t spend the night.

UPDATE 10:30 pm i got email working. it was a combination of trying things in a new way, and demons in the pipes. i’ve even got my sigrot working, although i don’t know whether cron is taking care of running it every 5 minutes. also i got dropbox working again. now all i gotta do is figure out where my fonts went to…

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. πŸ‘Ώ

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 “[email protected]” 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:

[email protected]:~$ 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

[email protected]:~$ 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… 😕

now THAT’S the way things should work ALL the time!

i reported a bug in kontact 4.13.1 yesterday. they fixed it (almost immediately, which leads me to believe that i wasn’t the only one who had the problem, but i’m the one whose name ended up on top of the bug report) this morning, and, with the kubuntu-updates ppa (which i hadn’t installed, because of the fact that i didn’t know it existed) my installation of kontact 4.13.2 is working wonderfully, less than 24 hours after the bug was first reported.

given my experience as a software tester, i don’t have to wonder what the process would have been like for mac or windoesn’t, especially with as important a communication tool as kontact…

THIS is the reason i am a linux geek… πŸ˜€

bugger +1

according to this, the bug that i reported yesterday has been “RESOLVED FIXED” in Kontact 4.13.2…

i am running 4.13.1, so it should be an easy upgrade…

this guy recommends that i use PPA/Backports to install 4.13.2, but 4.13.2 is not a part of the current PPA/Backports repository, and there’s no telling when (or even if) it will be added…

in other words, they fixed the bug that i am experiencing, but i can’t get to the proper repository to install the fix because i choose not to run on “the bleeding edge” and like to keep my installation on the “Long Term Service” (LTS) version as long as possible.

ETA: i tried removing and reinstalling kontact 4.13.1… it didn’t help.

<repeated head-to-desk maneuver> 😑

bugger! 8/

i was responding to an email, and i was trying to attatch a file, when my email client crashed.

now it was a file that was located on a SMB-mounted disk that i was trying to attatch, and i believe that my email client has trouble doing that, but it has responded “gracefully” (or “not at all”) when i have done this in the past, and… hey, it’s a SMB-mounted disk… so what if it’s not part of the “local” system or not, if a file that i need to attatch to an email lives on a SMB-mounted disk, i should at least get a warning that the file “couldn’t be found” or some such thing as that…

what i don’t expect is that the client crashes, and then, when i try to restart it, it crashes again, and again, and again… and again… 😐

and again… 😑

i get the impression that SMTP (incoming) mail is working, because when i logged into webmail on my linux box (after having discovered that the POP3 client wasn’t starting) messages would appear and vanish without my doing anything to them, a situation that doesn’t happen when i’m logged into webmail from my mac (which i am, now).

i’m sure the problem is fixable, in the long run, but i need to be able to mail the SANCApators, and the fremont phil, and snake suspenderz, in the short term, and having my email “vanish” before i can respond is not helping that AT ALL

this is the reason i think it’s going to get fixed eventually, but at this point, nobody knows when that “eventually” actually is… 😐

now that i’m getting used to it, i definitely like it, but…

now that i’m getting used to it, i definitely like it, but getting there was a real roller coaster ride, lemme tell ya’… 😐

my last post was sounding like it was the beginning of another one of those multi-day fiascos that i have come to tag as “the battle of the computer”… and it was touch and go for a while, although more with my mental state than anything else.

my post at kubuntu forums has the bare bones, but what i actually did was as a direct result of what i have learned from previous, desperate visits to kubuntu forums. basically i did it all from the terminal login until i was absolutely certain that it was going to work with a GUI, and then i made triple sure that everything was as it should be before i started to diagnose the real problem (which was that my email client had disappeared).

with the result that i got my email back, i didn’t lose anything, i didn’t have to rebuild my address book, even my sigrot made it to the new version, i actually got a new version of kubuntu (Trusty Tahr, 14.04), and it didn’t take a week, or even three days, like it has in the past.

now that everything has calmed down to the dull roar i interpret as “normal”, i’m going to go take a shower and test out the new showerhead, and shut down the computers for a while… because it’s too hot for them anyway.

blood pressure through the roof… 8/

i installed the daily security updates, and it removed my ability to send and receive email. 😑

it’s getting towards time for me to re-evaluate my dependence on computers.

ETA: so i decided that it was time to upgrade distributions, because precise is coming up against its EOL in a year or so. i upgraded to trusty, and things got distinctly WORSE: i am now looking at a “system loading” screen that has had a “progress” meter (which is just an animated graphic that has 5 dots that go from one colour to a different colour, and back, one dot at a time, to show you that “something’s happening”) for about half an hour with no change…

i posted once at kubuntu forums but there has been no response yet… 😐

i wonder how long it’s gonna take this time? 😑 if it’s anything like the last couple of times, it could take as much as a week to get things back to “normal” again… 😐

bleh

the days keep going by.

i got my computer fixed by the kubuntu gods at Kubuntu Forums, where they are quite a bit better than just about anybody else at diagnosing and helping to fix any problems that one might have with one’s kubuntu system… and, by the way, it wasn’t the video drivers. the people who put together the update packages left out an important part of the desktop manager, and released a new update that had that important part in it the next day… πŸ˜‰ i suppose that’s what i get for using a free, community-based operating system.

it could be worse. i could be using <shudder> micro$lop…

moe returned very early friday morning, so the doggies have calmed back down to their standard level of chaos.

i’ve got a rehearsal later on this evening with the fremont philharmonic, whose moisture festival dates are april 2nd through april 6th. we’ve only had one rehearsal, we still don’t know exactly who is playing when, and there’s a WHOLE BUNCH of new music that we haven’t learned yet. then i’ve got a rehearsal with the SANCApators (which is eben sprinsock‘s other band) on wednesday. they’ve got two rehearsals, and then i’m playing with them at the moisture festival on march 23rd. then i’ve got a rehearsal with snake suspenderz on thursday. snake suspenderz is playing a private gig at a corporate party on saturday, and a public gig on sunday, at C&P Coffee in west seattle, if you’re interested in seeing us play: we’re doing a special performance with Katy Webber, who is a FANTASTIC jazz singer (who also played the part of Dick Whittington in the most recent panto)… snake suspenderz is also playing as a “pit band” at the moisture festival march 26th through march 30th. i don’t know if we’re going to have any “on stage” performances this year, but even still, i’ve got a total of 19 performances, which should make up for any loss that i experience due to the fact that i’ve gotten paid less per share than last year (grumble, mutter).

i’ve got a whole bunch more moisture festival performances this year than i had last year, and a combination of widely varying circumstances means that they’re actually taking snake suspenderz seriously this year, but if they maintain the new “tradition” of paying a smaller share than they did last year (which started last year), this will probably be the last year that i participate in the moisture festival in the way that i have been for the past ELEVEN YEARS now… πŸ˜› of course i don’t know that they’re going to pay less per share than they did last year, but at this point i don’t trust the board of directors to do anything rational any longer.

and before any of that happens, moe and i are going to heppner oregon again (like we did last year), and after that, we’re going to the ocean for a few days. we’re going to a place that DOES NOT have wifi, so it’s going to mean that we’re going to have to exist for a few days without our smart-phones, or ipads, or laptops… we’re going to have to do with kites, dogs, beach, and each other… like in olden times.

it was another one of “those” days… 8P

i didn’t wake up in the best of moods today. the dogs wanted to get up about 2 hours before i was ready to get up – moe is in las vegas at a vet conference and gets back tonight. the dogs are always worried when she leaves for more than a day, and they’ve been getting more and more antsy the longer she’s away. i’ve been running rye and lucy until their tongues hang out, and that’s been keeping them sort of quiet, but it doesn’t work first thing in the morning…

so, i got the (3) dogs, and the (1) cat, and the (2) birds fed, and started up my computer, and, of course, there were system updates that came in overnight, so i installed them and rebooted the computer… and the computer wouldn’t reboot. πŸ˜› i posted in kubuntu forums, and the current theory is that xorg stopped supporting my video, which doesn’t strike me as being particurlarly likely, as this is a 4-to-5-year-old computer that had not-quite-top-of-the-line components installed when it was first built… but it is also based on guesses more than anything else, at this point.

so, i decided to do it the “hard” way (whoever thought that getting mail on my laptop would be the “hard” way?), so i fired up my mac, logged in, and pointed my browser at my webmail page… and i COULDN’T LOG IN… πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

and then i had an appointment with gary from Giant Atomic Robots about the Hybrid Elephant web site, and i was about ⅔ of the way there when i realised that, despite the fact that i planned on taking my laptop, and i even went so far as to disconnect it and put it in the same place that i had put everything else that i succeeded in remembering, i actually FORGOT my laptop!

after i returned home from my meeting with the giant atomic robot gary, i determined that the reason i couldn’t log into my email was not because of my VPN as i suspected, but because they had actually MOVED the entire webmail site to a different server, and, because of the fact that i don’t use webmail on a regular basis (POP mail is still the safest way to go!), i didn’t get the message…

i’m running really thin on spoons today, and i don’t get to go to sleep until after i pick moe up, at 1:00 in the morning… πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

latest battle news

things keep fixing themselves, and/or i find out how to fix them: i figured out how to make my secondary internal ext3 disk mount at boot, and the version of KDE that has the fix for the recently used documents bug came down the line a couple of days ago… there’s still some things that haven’t completely worked their way out yet, but i keep creeping up on where i used to be before “the disaster” happened.

on the other hand, i recently discovered that the IP address for hybridelephant.com (and all other domains that i host) has, once again, found itself on the CBL, and the sysadmins are just as clueless and stubborn about fixing it as they were last year. i reported the problem, and they immediately got back to me and said that they had suspended a suspicious user and that the problem was resolved. problem was, they didn’t actually fix the problem, and i told them so, with references to back up my case. once again, they told me the problem was solved, and that i shouldn’t worry about it. at the same time, my IP address was listed in the CBL, and had been for the past 14 hours. i pointed this out to them, and they told me that it was “a misconfigured exim” and that the problem really was resolved… now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if that really has fixed the problem. i’m not holding my breath, but so far it’s not been re-listed. we’ll see how it goes.

also, i bought a new (reconditioned) mac the other day. it’s allegedly going to be delivered on the 16th.

Continue reading latest battle news

the most recent iteration of the battle of the computer is winding down…

i got my dropbox fixed. i still don’t know why or how, but at least it’s working. 😐

i just discovered that the issue with my “Recently Used Documents” menu is due to a bug in KDE4.11.0 which is why they’ve already released KDE4.11.1, but that doesn’t come until later… because apparently the KDE for kubuntu 12.04 is 4.8.5, which may mean that there’s something else bizarre going on… means that i have kubuntu backports ppa enabled (because of a problem that i was having with amarok, about a year ago) in my repositories list, and i’m not going to turn them off now… 😐

there’s a whole bunch of “new” information, via hobbit, regarding the linux compose key, which while not “new” to the world in general, is very new and interesting to me… and with a minimum amount of twangling, i got it set up. unfortunately, it doesn’t work when publishing to the web (which is not particuarly surprising), so a demonstration of it on this page would be extremely disappointing. πŸ˜‰

battle

so, the battle of the computer is largely over, but there are a few weird things, that i suspect are going to be more and more annoying as time goes on and they don’t get fixed, but at the same time, they are practically impossible to describe, and i don’t know how i’m ever going to fix them if i can’t even describe them reliably.

there have been some peculiarities that i have been able to adjust: my default browser changed from firefox to rekonq in the System Settings, but nowhere else, and it went back to doing what it was supposed to once i changed it, but i had to check two or three other places, because it wasn’t changed in my email client or ANY of my browsers.

also, immediately after i recovered from “the disaster”, i noticed that some, but, curiously, not all of my email filters weren’t working. when i went into the “Configure Filters” dialogue, all of the filters were there, but they didn’t do anything. once i re-established the things that each of them were supposed to do, they all worked the way they were supposed to.

however, there are some things that worked fine before, are non-functional now, and i don’t have the first clue how to fix them:

before the disaster, when i opened a URL from my email client, it immediately switched to the browser, and proceded to open the URL without making any sound. after the disaster, it opens the URL in a new browser window, but it doesn’t immediately switch to it, and sometimes (but not always) it makes a “swishyswishy” sound that i haven’t been able to figure out where it’s coming from, and (naturally) haven’t been able to figure out how to turn it off.

before my disaster, i had the ability to change my volume by pushing buttons on my keyboard, but since the disaster, my sound system settings are completely wonky, the buttons on the keyboard no longer work, and i can’t figure out how to make them right: instead of having two channels in my “Volume” settings (in the systray), one of which controled the volume for everything, i have three, or four if there’s a youtube video in my browser, and one channel controls the settings for the system bell, another channel controls the volume in amarok, and one channel controls the volume in the youtube video… i believe that, when i’m using something like VLC Media Player, i can show another channel in my mixer.

task-barthere’s one, in particular, that i already find fairly annoying: i have a “K” menu (rather like the “Start” menu in windoesn’t, but not so confusing) in my task bar, which has a “Recently Used” tab – recently used
but the fact is the recently used documents part of the tab hasn’t updated since i recovered my data… the recently used applications seems to work as expected, but the recently used documents hasn’t updated at all since i recovered my data.

i have a “0 B Removable Media” that appears to be a floppy drive in my devices menu, but i don’t have a floppy drive at all… i seem to recall being able to turn drives that i don’t have off in the devices menu, but there’s nothing in System Settings -> Removable Devices that does anything. also, my secondary internal drive, which should mount automatically at boot time, doesn’t actually mount until i click on it, at which point it demands a password before i can access any of its contents.

my “Dropbox” folder is no longer linked, and i can’t figure out how to re-link it. it was “moved” when it went from /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox to /media/salamandir/home/salamandir/Dropbox and when i finally figured out how to get it back to /media/home/salamandir/Dropbox it still told me that my dropbox folder wasn’t installed in the correct place, and instructed me to reinstall dropbox, but when i did, it didn’t do any good, so i “unlinked” my linux box from my dropbox account, and now i can’t figure out how to re-link it… BUT, for some unknown reason, my “Fremont Philharmonic” dropbox is still working the way i expect it to… which is REALLY weird…

more battle

okay, i’ve got my /media/home and /media/backup partitions back where they’re supposed to be, however… 😐

when i view /media/home with the file manager, what i see is two empty directories, /Desktop and /Downloads. however, when i right click and choose “Properties”, it tells me that 31.3GB are being used out of the 1TB partition, for 45,227 files…

which means that the data is there, i just can’t see it.

the technical side of the story is here for anyone who is interested. it continues to develop. my guess is that, soon, i’ll have all of my data back…

either that, or i won’t. πŸ˜›

ETA: the battle of the computer is over. i have won, once again… i just wish the computer could get the idea that it’s not good to anger the creator…

there has been enough stress in the past 3 days to last me a few years… i wasn’t kidding about taking a break from computers for a while. at this point, email/RSS and posting on my own blog about stuff is verging on too much. we’ll see about other things as they come up, but… 😐

new information

i haven’t turned on my linux box in two days. i’ve been afraid to turn it on, because something might happen to change the already tenuous hold i have on the concept that, maybe, possibly things can be made right without losing all of my data for the past two years.

during the past two days, i have discovered that KDE (the window manager for kubuntu) has changed the way it mounts USB drives, from /media/drive to /media/username/drive (which has actually been a standard with ubuntu for a couple of years now, and KDE is only “just catching up”). the way to force the system to go back to “the old way” of doing things, is to sudo make a text file with a VERY SPECIFIC filename, that contains a single line of arcane gibberish (the text is actually ENV{ID_FS_USAGE}=="filesystem", ENV{UDISKS_FILESYSTEM_SHARED}="1"), and then sudo reload the process that looks at that file.

which is, pretty much, what i expected the answer was going to be: a very simple line of code that causes the operating system to do something so far under the radar that ordinary “normal” computer users wouldn’t be able to figure it out in a million years.

once i have my drives mounting in the place that they’re supposed to mount, i don’t know for sure what comes next, but it includes the possibility of removing my ~/.kde directory and then rebooting, which will cause kde to re-create a “default” of all of the system settings (including my home directory, and all of my paths)… at which point, it is remotely possible that all of my lost data will suddenly reappear.

that is the best case scenario, and the one that i am hoping will happen. i haven’t actually done it yet, because i’m still working out the details… “doing the leg work” is what moe says… but i’m hoping that, tomorrow at the earliest, my linux box will be back up and running again.

OY!

a while back — a year and a half ago, or thereabouts — i decided that i was going to make a separate directory, on an external hard disk, that contained all of my essential data, data that i had created, so that when i upgraded my system, i wouldn’t face the potential of losing everything when a system upgrade didn’t go the way it was supposed to… and, the last time i did a major upgrade of my system, it worked exactly the way i expected it to work, and i was very happy.

basically, instead of my “home” directory being at /home/salamandir on the primary hard disk of the computer, i had a home directory at /media/home/salamandir and everything was fine, i just had to remember to change directories when i was downloading something, because i knew (from first-hand experience) that if i forgot, and downloaded to /home/salamandir/Downloads i would have difficulty finding the data afterwards.

so i did the intermediary system upgrades on my linux box, yesterday. it wasn’t a full upgrade, but there were some more things than normal, and it “hung up” when it got to the point where it asked me if i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, or if i wanted to download a new configuration file, but when i answered that i wanted to keep the configuration file that “i” had “modified”, the installation procedure proceded as normal.

then i rebooted my computer, because i like to do that, to make sure there aren’t any delayed configurations, or things that don’t get installed at reboot that aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, and that’s where the problems started.

i rebooted, and the first thing i noticed was that the external disks, including the 3TB disk that i have partitioned into a “home” and a “backup” partition, weren’t mounting the way they were supposed to. i didn’t notice this until later, but the reason why the “home” and “backup” partitions weren’t mounting correctly was because, for some (as yet unknown) reason, they had been converted from /media/home and /media/backup to /media/salamandir/home and /media/salamandir/backup

what this meant in the short run is that it couldn’t find the directory that contains my wallpaper graphics, and my “dropbox” folder was “moved” from where it was supposed to be.

this would have been an entirely different problem if i had noticed that immediately, but as it is, i tried to re-establish my directories where they should be, and succeeded only in overwriting (or something, i still don’t know what) the directory in /media/salamandir/home/salamandir — which is where ALL my data from the LAST time this happened, now lives… because i was under the impression that if i kept my data on an external hard drive, that it would be safe from random deletion and/or disasters… like this one is turning out to be.

/media/salamandir/backup (which contains backups of my “real” home directory: i.e. configuration files and nothing else) is still intact, /media/salamandir/home/salamandir-new (a directory i created when i was still trying to deal with the loss of data the last time) is still intact, but /media/salamandir/home/salamandir is NOT intact… which includes all of the printing clients that i have worked for in the past year-and-a-half, ALL of my genealogy data, a huge pile of my (irreplaceable) music files, and who knows what else.

the only good part about this whole thing is that i BELIEVE all of the data is still there: usually it takes a while for the computer to actually delete a couple of gigabytes of information (which /media/salamandir/home/salamandir certainly is), and it didn’t actually do anything that seems like actual deleting, so what i suspect is that i just overwrote the file that tells the computer where everything is, and if i could just replace that, everything would be cool…

but, so far, i haven’t been able to figure out how to do that. 😐

the last time this happened, my computer was down for 5 days, and it was only because of the fact that i was willing to let go of a whole bunch of my data that things eventually made their way back to “normal” again. i’m pretty sure i DON’T want to go through that again. 😐

i think it’s time for me to take a break from my computer for a few weeks… possibly longer… 😐