insomnia doesn't aid fault finding …

I didn’t sleep well last night. I lay awake from about 5 a.m., and eventually realising that I wouldn’t get back to sleep, got up at 5.45.

and discovered – oh the horror – NO INTAHWEB. This is not what you need at that hour, as my powers of deduction are not that strong.

looked at cable modem, adsl router, sonicwall, dual wan router, network switch – all lights flickering. Tried a ping by number – didn’t work, so not a DNS problem. Remote Desktop’d to another machine – that wouldn’t talk outside the LAN either, so not isolated to my machine. Panic!

eventually discover that the Cyclone is lying – although its lights were on, nobody was home. Resetting it has thankfully restored the outside world.


the Tivo crashed yesterday, and has removed (it seems) some of the utilities we put on there, not least the “ls” command.

it took a non-techy to remind me that a GUI-based FTP client would do the job very nicely.

I’ve been assimilated …

you gotta love Amazon Web Services

having cut my teeth on them doing the cookbook lookup on, I decided to address the subject of our DVD collection.

so … export the ASINs from DVDPedia, put file into BBEdit, a bit of RegExp search and replace and a mySQL command, and I had a basic list.

about 10 minutes of programming to alter the files from Nibblous to suit DVDs and my site, and then an enjoyable half an hour or so of interrogating Amazon with each ASIN, confirming it was right, and writing data into the database and grabbing their largest image for further manipulation.

tomorrow, I might write the code to actually display it on my site.

I Am Not A Programmer.


and how are you spending *your* Christmas Eve?

when I arrived in the study this morning, things weren’t entirely as they should be.

existing connections were ok – IRC, terminal windows, Adium. But Firefox wouldn’t connect to anything and, in my bleary state, I thought Squid was playing up. Went to check a couple of other things, and nothing …

then I realised that no DNS meant a problem with the Windows server. And indeed, when I went into the server room littlest bedroom, it was sitting there with a blue screen on its face. Aaargh.

it won’t boot in safe mode with networking. It won’t boot in safe mode at all. It claims to have an error in its NTFS file system, according to the BSOD. Oh joy. No, there’s no recovery console installed. No, it won’t repair off the CD.

so we will have to go to PCWhirled and pay their extortionate price for a new hard drive, and reinstall the server. I don’t know how many hard drives we’ve bought this year, always with an extra one to keep in stock, but we have gone through the sodding things like a knife through butter recently.

we have backups of all the data, but we don’t bother to back up the OS, so that’ll be a fun day in the workhouse. The backups are on external drives, but they’re all accessed via SMB, so I can’t get to them either.

in the middle of all this, one of the server UPSen started beeping – had blown the fuse in its plug.

good will to all men and peace on earth. But bah bloody humbug to computers.

security …

as detailed in earlier posts, we are the lucky owners of a shiny new Powerbook. We were previously the owners of an older Powerbook, and are still the owners of a wireless router, which was only used by said older Powerbook (henceforth known as OP).

the OP was so old that it couldn’t cope with new fangled WEPpery on wireless, so we had to configure up the router with a full huge long WEP key for security. All well and good, you’d think, yes?

but we forgot, and seemed not to have noted, what the WEP key was. And we forgot, and seemed not to have noted, what IP the router was on, so we couldn’t talk to it. And we have lost, or never had, the Mac CD for the router, and it’s not available for download.

no matter – we have the Windows CD, and so we fired up Virtual PC on the powerbook, and connected all the cables, and … it didn’t work.

so we installed and ran some Windows LAN Sniffer from that interweb thing, on one of Pete’s VMWare Windows installs, and found it, at .200 Iwhich is quite logical in our numbering system, now I come to think of it). And we fired a browser at it, and we have made a note of its location in our Wiki, and have changed the password to something easier to remember and type (but not the same as any of our other passwords as we will have to give this to people occasionally), and we have noted *that* in our (password protected) Wiki as well.

and let that be a lesson to you all.

in further news, this messing about with the wireless has caused the wireless ethernet inkjet to stop working. I hate technology.

and then we found another wireless network in the street, named JJ, with a password. Got to be the new neighbours – I can’t believe anyone else here would have wireless.