Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Tale of Data Recovery

Monday morning, I woke up and found my computer hung up on the POST screen. It was blathering on about a hard drive failure. Rebooting did nothing to help. Unplugging the system drive later that day got the system to POST, and so I was stuck with a bad system drive.

This drive has a capacity of 80 GB, and over two partitions, it contained all of my user data, personal documents, and VCD files, in addition to every picture I took with my digital camera since Christmas and an extensive email archive. I was devastated.

To make matters worse, I just went through this weekend and threw away every old backup disc that I didn’t have a good reason to keep ("just in case I want to restore some files from the previous installation" wasn’t a good enough reason). I tried to create a new backup of the C drive (where all this critical data was stored), but it crashed halfway through. I should have taken that as a warning.

But I was also quite busy. Tuesday, I managed to spend about 5 minutes with the machine, during which I found that the drive was having trouble, and that was all I could do. Today, I got a bit more time, but it’s been a few minutes here and a few more there. Fortunately, I’ve made some progress today.

I tried plugging the hard drive in with another cable (on the vain hope that it was a cable problem). That didn’t work until I changed the jumper on the drive. Then, it would start to boot to Windows, but then crash and reboot before it got to the welcome screen. The good news was that it was POSTing, and that the drive still had some valid data on it.

I promptly booted to Knoppix, and after figuring out where Samba was and all that, I started copying files to my other machine. I now have all of the desirable data backed up, and I’m ready to start doing some serious diagnostics on the suspect drive.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


First off, Eric's idea of a something-or-other LAN party is good, and much needed. I've been talking to Paul Plaizier and he is eager to see many of the old school Aspenridge boys. I tried to come up with some brilliant way of disagreeing with him on the need to reunionize with old friends (I was playing devil's advocate) and yet his overwhelming fervor and passion for "chilling out" and "pwning old friends" was too much for me. I conceeded.

Nextly, I have an apartment. I have an apartment, I HAVE AN APARTMENT!!! This brings me unadulterated glee for many reasons. I want to be closer to school (and work that will be on campus, WOOT!!!!) I also will be moving my records up there so that I will actually be living in my stake boundaries for the first time in 6 1/2 years. This is a good thing for me. I will be moving in August 27th, you heard right, this Saturday. I mostly will be having family help, but you know that I'm never averse to receiving help from my friends. GG all, many of you will next see me when I'm on Washington Terrace time.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

O say can you C++?

Some time ago, a fellow contributor was interested in learning to program. I offered him a book of programs, and copies of most of the stuff I'd written, but I don't think he got what he wanted from it. Then, we all forgot about it, and a lot of time passed.

Lately, I've been delving into programming again, and revisiting some things that I've written before in an effort to either reuse them or improve them. As part of this, I (finally, after over 5 years) went through the Wrox Press C++ Tutorial that came with my copy of Visual C++. I've got to say that it was very helpful, although as someone who already knew a lot of the material, I can't say just how helpful it would be to a beginner. Also, there were some stylistic things that they did that I disagree with, like putting endlines at the beginning of lines instead of at the end or prefixing all pointer variables with a 'p', and some language issues that I had with them, like not using built in .h headers (this reflects a difference between C and ANSI C++, and since I was taught to use the .h headers whenever available and the .h headers are better for backward compatibility with C, I still use them).

My point is that it was a very helpful tutorial, and if any of you out there have a copy of Visual C++ 6.0 and still want to learn some programming, give it a shot. I can provide some extra help if you get stuck, and even provide some code examples if you need it. In fact, I've been meaning to write an entry here about fractals, which would include pictures of fractals and also copies of my code used to generate them. I'm glad that I haven't done that yet, because a lot of that code has been revised and cleaned up lately.

On another note, are we going to try for a Labor Day-ish LAN party, or wait until Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veterans Day, or some other holiday?