Category Archives: techie

hard drive failure…

ugh, hard drive issues again…

my main storage drive failed on me and so it’s time now for me to start thinking about how i am going to solve my storage needs. how much storage is enough these days? i was surviving with around 500GB, but it was starting to feel pretty cramped. i’ve also been doing very bad things and i think it’s time for me to take storage and backup more seriously. no one ever does, and i’ve been lucky thus far, but i guess the time is right.

i’ve been toying with the idea of getting some kind of NAS device for my main storage and a large-ish removable drive for faster backups. we’ll see how this works out.

how to debug javascript in IE?

how do you debug javascript in IE (that’s internet explorer for those of you not in “the know”). =P well, if you have visual studio installed, it’ll come with an excellent script debugger, but that’s a lot of coin to drop just for some javascript debugging.

it turns out that microsoft allows you to download the script debugger for free!

i have always dreaded debugging javascript code in IE because the toolkit was never that good. at my previous job i had visual studio, so i would use the included script debugger, but i was panicking just a little bit because i don’t write c/c++ code anymore and don’t have that installed.

the page worked in firefox! why wouldn’t it work in IE?! *sigh* luckily, i found the debugger and it was enough for me to figure out what was wrong and just saved me about a couple of hours of trying to find out what was wrong.

impressive sendmail tactics

this entry is really only gonna make sense to the super geeky of the geeks out there:

i only get junk mail sent to the root account of a box, so i thought i’d just soft link /dev/null to the root mailbox.

turns out that sendmail is super smart and sees that i did that and tells me that that isn’t right:
Oct 18 16:26:16 wooha procmail[23906]: Renamed bogus “/var/spool/mail/root” into “/var/spool/mail/BOGUS.root.F1XB”


dd-wrt and torrents

with the new wireless network at home in use full-time, i have found that while downloading the latest fedora core torrent (or any torrent for that matter) that the wireless network basically is gridlocked. other machines get sporadic access to the internet, if you are lucky.

the culprit? it turns out that the default timeout value for a bittorrent connection is something absurdly high and the default keep-alive connection in the dd-wrt firmware is also pretty high. the combination of these factors make for an unstable wireless network.

the solution? apparently a lot of other people use this firmware and bittorrent and have found a workaround. i applied the changes in the settings and the network is purring once again.

i started to look at powerline solutions which are very expensive. ethernet over your power line seems like a cool concept, but it’s very expensive and from what i hear can be kind of flaky and prone to interference. luckily, i didn’t have to go down that route so that was quite a relief.

Update: Link above is dead.
Here is another source with the solution used.

i finally broke down

it’s been a long time since i owned a PDA. the last (and first) PDA that i owned was a Palm V. i think that i may have even got it back in the 90s. is that possible? maybe it was early 2000. anyway, i used it a lot when i got it, then i stopped using it because i didn’t really need it that much. it got a new life when i lent it to away so that it can be used, but then it was broken. i didn’t grieve much about the loss because i didn’t really use it very much so it was no big deal.

the biggest reason why i never got another one was because a PDA that simply is an organizer just isn’t very useful for me. pocket pcs started to look attractive when you could get ethernet add-ons so that you can plug into the internet, but still it wasn’t quite compelling enough. it started to get even more attractive when you could have wireless internet access with the device. i almost bought a new PDA when there was bluetooth support and bluetooth GPS devices. this is when things started to get interesting. the only reason i didn’t buy the PDA and GPS device was because it was still prohibitively expensive and the GPS wasn’t great.

i bought christi a GPS unit (the TomTom GO 910) because she liked having somebody (even if it was a GPS) talk to her during her drive. she fell immediately in love with the device. never again did she have to use google maps. never again did she have to call to get directions. nope. tomtom was there for her. when i started to drive around with tomtom, it was great. the convenience of having a GPS unit is amazing and for the most part it has always led us to the right location. some of the new developments weren’t listed, but i guess that is to be expected and easily fixed with map upgrades.

i was tempted enough to purchase myself a GPS unit. I had struggled with what brand and model to get. garmin seems to be the industry leader and tomtom is a relative newcomer to the US market. i eventually decided to go with the TomTom because of the storage space and mp3 playing capabilities. listening to music or audiobooks in one device was a big plus for christi. the GPS unit seemed attractive enough that i really did almost buy one for myself.

and then i remembered the last time i almost bought a GPS unit. it was a dell axim and bluetooth set up. pretty neat, but expensive and not integrated. today i saw a new device by HP, the HP IPAQ rx5915. it’s a PDA+GPS unit combined with wireless internet. finally a device that has GPS, wireless internet, and bluetooth integrated together. it was a matter of time.

i know that we are still a few years away from having a good GPS/inet/phone/camera integrated device, but there are already phones that have GPS on them. the big challenge is always deciding if this device is a phone or a GPS. we like small phones, but we like big screens on our GPS. those two seem to be fundamentally different form factors so trying to integrate it doesn’t seem like a perfect solution can exist.

but for now, i’m eagerly anticipating my order to come so that i can play with my new PDA….and GPS. anybody know of any good pocket pc resources?

nano, the new pico

i never really looked into nano much, but i decided to take a closer look at it and it turns out that it is a much improved text editor compared to pico.

syntax highlighting, auto-indentation, and the same usability that we all know and love from pico.

i love it.

more work grumblings

yeah, yeah, i know, i just got back from a vacation from hawtlanta and all i’m doing is complaining about work…

i’ve figured out my problem.  i will just add another 3GB of swap space.  let’s see my code EAT ALL OF THAT RAM.  stupid computers.

Mem:    775296k total,   293172k used,   482124k free,    17428k buffers
Swap:  4551544k total,    36360k used,  4515184k free,   209272k cached


Feb 28 12:01:52 localhost kernel: Out of Memory: Killed process 8273 (php)

this isn’t meaningful to non-techies, but i uhhhh, killed my dev server and used up all of the memory on the machine.  ALL OF THE MEMORY.  oops.

near work disaster

on the suggestion of my boss, i decided to repartition my work laptop hard drive. i got this laptop from him and he had a linux partition on the laptop as well as a windows one. the linux partition (which i didn’t have access to) was taking up valuable porn work-related hard drive space and i needed to free up some memory.

the big download that i had been getting basically ate up all the free hard drive space so i needed to find more space. i have never resized a partition before AND kept the data intact, i always just reformatted, but because this was a work laptop, i decided to try to resize it without losing all of the data.

having never done it before, i did a little research and decided to use this linux boot disk and use a program called QtParted which is a free clone of partition magic.

it SEEMED straightforward enough. delete the linux partition, resize the windows partition, and you should be done…or so i thought.

when i rebooted, i was greeted by a “grub>” prompt. uh oh. i didn’t know exactly what that meant, but i knew that we weren’t in kansas anymore, toto.

i tried to set the active partition, i tried to do this and that, and i think it boiled down to the fact that the partition that had the info on how to boot the machine was just removed so the laptop didn’t know what to do.

i then had to sheepishly ask the IT department for a windows CD to try and fix things. the conversation went something like:

me: uhhh, hi, mr. IT guy. can i get a copy of the windows install CD?

IT guy: you need the windows CD?
me: uhhh…yeah.
IT guy: why do you need the windows CD?
me: oh, you know, i’ve always wanted to see what one looked like.
IT guy: well, let me see if i have one around…so i got it and i was trying to fix things when it asked for the Administrator password. uh oh. now i knew i was in trouble. i tried guessing what the password was and tried all these combinations but nothing worked. finally i had to fess up to the IT guy what kind of trouble i had gotten myself into.

1) i, uhhh, resized a partition on my laptop.
2) errr, without backing anything up.
3) and uhhh, i might have broken things, but i don’t think i did.
4) oh yeah, and i didn’t tell anyone what i was doing, but you know, it should be ok, right?so he goes and peers intently at the password prompt, ponders for a moment what it may be, and GET THIS, he hits the enter key.

let’s let that sink in for a second.

HE HIT THE *ENTER* key. no password. NO PASSWORD.

i’m not sure what was worse. me not thinking of that or there being no password for the admin account. either way it hurts my brain.

but everything is fixed and all is well.


i can work again.

err.. boo.