New Plugin Coming

I emailed the blosxom mailing list and suggested a new plugin, which I am just calling “karma”. The idea was to allow people to click a + or – and indicate if they thought a post was good or not. This is similar to the system used on some other sites.

I got an email back from Fletcher Penney, who said that he’d develop it, and half an hour later we were chatting on MSN about the details. He’s already knocked out 2 draft versions and we are sorting out some great stats and uses for the information!

blosxom and its developer-community rules!

More Stuff From Curtin

Well, my study must be getting closer, I got a bunch of stuff from Curtin in the mail welcoming me to the unit(s) and a
basic outline of rules and stuff like that. It had a space for my student number… but I didn’t get one. There was a note
saying that it was “to be advised”, so I emailed them and will wait and see. They are probably confused because
I already have a Curtin student number and they don’t know for sure if it’s the same person or whatever.

Bugger – Again

Click for an enlarged photo (new window)

As Brendan Fraser says in The Mummy; “This keeps getting better and better”, and as Homer says in The Simpsons; “in case you didn’t notice, I was being sarcastic!”

This evening I was attempting to mount my laptop hard drive into my old desktop machine (a PII, 300) to see if I could get any data off it. When I plugged the machine in and tried booting it up – I heard 2 loud pops, followed by a small cloud of smoke, so I knew something was wrong :). I checked it out, and sure enough, my power supply was blown. You can see to the right (click for enlargement) and also in this picture that the middle of the power supply was covered with the remnants of one of the diodes (?transistors?) that exploded. Messy.

So now on to plan 2 – I’ll take the drive to work tomorrow and see if I can get a chance to try mounting it on my machine at work instead, which I know is stable and operational at least, and which has network access to plenty of storage and a CD burner if I need it ๐Ÿ™‚

More later.

Hard Drive Recovery…

Well things are actually looking good with the recovery of data from my failed hard drive!

I went ahead and downloaded a demo version of a program called “R-Studio”, which is distributed by HDDRecovery in Australia. I had talked to the manager of HDDR and he suggested that I give it a go.

So here’s roughly the process that ensued:

  1. Plugged my 2.5″ -> 3.5″ adaptor into the drive
  2. Put on a small jumper so that the drive was marked as the secondary device (to avoid conflicts with main drive on PC)
  3. Went and located an odler-style IDE cable that would match up with the adaptor (panic here for a minute when I couldn’t find one!)
  4. Unplug my DVD drive at work and plug in the new drive, on it’s special cable
  5. Boot up my PC and it couldn’t locate the drive at all, although BIOS appeared to have found it there
  6. Load up R-Studio and get it to detect the drive, which it did successfully
  7. Create an image file which contained the contents of the drive (12GB) and save to happy hard drive on my desktop

At this point I was pretty happy – in the process of creating the image, my files had been recompiled into a meaningful structure, and it appeared that most of my data was there. But wait, there’s more;

  1. Purchase the full copy of R-Studio!
  2. Install and configure it on my desktop at work, then load up the image file
  3. Go through and easily (although slowly) recover all the files that I wanted into a secured location on my happy hard drive
  4. Copy those files, via our network to another machine that had a CD burner
  5. On that machine, burn 5 CDs worth of recovered data (bunch of music, data, images, video etc!) and take home
  6. Transfer required data back onto the new hard drive installed on my laptop!

So there you go – there’s the basics of my drama, and how things have turned out. Personally, I think the $AUD 176.00 was a small price to pay – compared to the prospect of having the drive dismantled in a clean room environment, which would have cost thousands :). The fact that the drive was accessible through software saved my skin, and now I have all my photos, data files and music back and happy ๐Ÿ™‚ As it turns out, the only files that appear to have been irreparibly damaged are from within the C:\WINNT directory – and who’s going to miss them? (except the boot sequence!)

Got Some Flavour For You

Here’s the flavour files and style sheets that I use for this blog. Please note that they have been modified slightly (story.dr especially) since I am using a “custom” version of blosxom, with some Apache Rewrites to handle my URLs in a prettier way than normal ๐Ÿ™‚ This may or may not have worked, so you might need to play around a little with that one file. Also, you will probably want to modify the paths to the style sheets in head.dr so that they are full paths, or at least root-relative (which is what I use, if you are interested).

Also please note that I am using these plugins, so there are references to their output in the flavour files;

  1. writebacks
  2. calendar
  3. breadcrumbs

That’s it – unzip and enjoy! I’ve named the flavour files *.dr to avoid overwriting any of your existing flavours, so that shouldn’t be a problem for you either ๐Ÿ˜‰

That Feeling of Loss

City of Golden Shadow River of Blue Fire Mountain of Black Glass Sea of Silver Light

Am I the only one that has that feeling of loss or loneliness when I finish a good book? (or in this case, four good books?)

I’ve been reading the “Otherland” series, by Tad Williams for about 3 years now (4?), progressively acquiring each of the books in the series, then re-reading the ones before it so that I get the whole story. In doing this, I have obviously “spent a lot of time” with Renie, !Xabbu, Sellars, Sorensen, Ramsey, Orlando, Fredericks and all the other characters in the books. Now that I’ve finished them all – it’s over. I feel like I’ve lost a whole group of friends.

It’s strange how you can develop such an attachment to characters of a book which are completely ficticious. Personally,ย I think this comes partially from my history on the Internet. I have spent so much time online that the characters in aย book are often more realistic, more “detailled” in their background, descriptions and actions than other people who I have spent hours discussing things with, worked on entire projects and laughed over common jokes.

With the detailed writing of professionals like Tad Williams, I often actually know more about the personality, physical appearance and mental processes of the characters in the books that I read, than I do about the people I meet on the ‘net.

The only up-side of finishing the Otherland series is that now I can finally read “Google Hacks”, the book that I wrote a small section of. I’ve had my complimentary copy of the book (from O’Reilly) for a few months now, but haven’t had a chance to read it because I was too busy trapped in Otherland and the Grail Network (read the book if you have no idea what I’m talking about here :).

I will strongly recommend Otherland (yes, all 4,000-ish pages of it) to anyone who likes science fiction, and especially if you can deal with the idea of fully-immersive virtual reality – it really is a treat.

Well, Here Goes Nothing

This is my first post to my new blosxom-powered web log using webpad. Hopefully this will work, and all will be well.

I think webpad offers a great way to manage a blosxom-powered blog remotely, since it offers a few easy-to-use HTML tools, while modifying the file directly on the server, which is just where blosxom wants them ๐Ÿ˜‰

If You Have A New Version of PHP…

webpad was written quite a while ago now, and the new installations of PHP come by default with some settings which will mean that webpad doesn’t work straight away. The easiest way to get around this (on an Apache server) is to put an “.htaccess” file in your webpad installation directory which contains something like this;

php_flag register_globals on

php_flag magic_quotes_gpc on

The next version of webpad will not require this, but for now it’s the easiest way around the problem.

If anyone knows of any other problems and/or fixes to problems with webpad, please email them in to me using the contact form or email here.

Advanced Standing Approved

Just heard from Matt and my advanced standing has been approved – for 10 units at this stage.

I have also arranged my registration for 2 units for SP2, 2003; they are NET12 (Internet Studies) and REA11 (Applied Reasoning!)

I’m looking forward to REA11, I just hope it’s not too abstract or anything strange and annoying (the whole “argue by changing the subject” approach really gets me), but I am reserving judgement until I get into it ๐Ÿ™‚ NET12 should be an interesting introduction to the core of the degree I think, so that will be interesting to see what things are going to be like ๐Ÿ˜‰