Book Reviews

Quick Book Review: The Postman

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_by David Brin_

Damn good book — not at all like the movie. Very well written. Starts off as a neat post-apocalypse movie and turns into an examination of the reasons behind man’s inherent need to destroy (and how it can be stopped).

Definitely worth a read.

Linux Science and Technology

Managing Partitions with Linux

Well, this morning I decided to move around my partition tables on our main gaming computer — yeah, I know, silly idea, right?

“Why do you keep fucking around with stuff if it’s working fine?”

Because if I didn’t, I’d never learn anything new, would I? :P

Anyway… I moved around the partition tables (I wanted to make one partition bigger), and all of a sudden Ubuntu wouldn’t boot correctly anymore.

I mean, it worked, but it would hang during boot and give me a terminal screen. At this point, I could safely press Ctrl-D to continue the boot process, and everything would be fine. Annoying, but workable, I guess… but I want to know how to fix it.

So, I notice it’s hanging on something called “fsck” during the boot process (some kind of disk management utility for Linux), so I google it along with the word “Ubuntu,” and it leads me to this page:

fsck.ext3: Unable to resolve

Turns out that in your “/etc/fstab” file in your Linux installation are a collection of entries regarding which boot partitions will be loaded at boot time, and there was an old entry for the drive that I had resized (I had actually deleted it and created a bigger one, now that I think about it).

I just commented out the line (with a “#” character) that referred to the old drive that I had deleted, and whatta-you-know… it works. No more dumping to the terminal screen during boot.

Now, the partition manager I used is called Parted Magic/ — it’s a great little application that comes in the form of a bootable CD (by way of .ISO file). It’s got an amazing GUI-based interface (looks like it’s based a bit on KDE), and is easy as crap to use, trust me. It runs amazingly fast and has booted fine on every computer I’ve tried. Try it!

Science and Technology

Home Keys on a Mac

God, the default behavior drives me nuts! In case you’re not “in the know,” pressing the “Home” key on your keyboard if you’re using a Mac will scroll whatever window you’re in to the top — on a Windows computer, if just sends the cursor to whatever line you’re currently typing on.

Well, “to each technology its own and all,” but I’m used to Windows’ behavior, so I’m going to have to change that if I’m going to type on a Mac.

So, I set out to look for a way to change it, and found this site on the web — pretty straight forward, if you ask me!

Just add the following lines to your “~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict.” file (if it doesn’t exist, create it):

/* Remap Home / End to be correct :-) /
“UF729” = “moveToBeginningOfLine:”; /
Home /
“UF72B” = “moveToEndOfLine:”; /
End /
“$UF729” = “moveToBeginningOfLineAndModifySelection:”; /
Shift + Home /
“$UF72B” = “moveToEndOfLineAndModifySelection:”; /
Shift + End */

And that’s it! Just restart any application that you want to reflect this behavior and you’re good to go!

Gaming Science and Technology

Perpendicular Recording of Your Mind

Well, I’m helping out a friend of mine by setting up a new hard drive in his computer (a Seagate Barracuda 250-GB), and I just got it in today. I do jobs like this for friends and family, free of charge — it’s kind of a hobby. I also help fix cars and provide free legal advice. :P

Well, my friend’s motherboard is an oldie but a goodie — the venerable ASUS A7V8X-X for the AMD Socket A chipset. The chip I helped him pick out (nearly five years ago now!) was an Athlon XP 2600 — it’s still fast as hell today, and plays just about any game you can think of.

That knowledge in hand, I know it’s a good motherboard. So, I hook up the new drive (and a new power supply — his old ones keep burning out), and the board recognizes it immediately. Even sees that it’s a 250GB drive; that’s pretty neat, because I’m pretty sure even the technology involved for this didn’t exist five years ago.

However, when I put in his Windows XP install CD (and old one without SP2), the damn thing only recognizes it as being about 137GB or so.

Well, at first I’m like, “Oh Shit — the hardware’s not compatible.” (I usually think of the worst things first — a small character flaw.) I go to the Seagate site on this drive, thinking that this must be a pretty common problem (incorrect initial hard drive sizes usually are). Of course, it is, and I find a handy dandy little help topic page about it.

It says that your motherboard needs to support “48 bit LBA addressing,” and of course I’m thinking, OH NOES, we’re not even going to be able to use this new drive to its full potentional.

But then I remember that the motherboard’s BIOS was able to see the 250GB limit, and the answer was clear — it wasn’t the board, it was just a limitation in this version of Windows XP (the first of many, as you know). I downloaded Seagate’s DiskWizard’s starter ISO, burned a CD of it, and formatted the drive.

The good point of using the special burning software from the company like this — it actually lets you format your partitions in FAT32, instead of just NTSF!

(By the way, as I’m writing this, it’s just completed a full installation of Windows XP in only 7 minutes — damn, this drive is fast as well as big!)

Unfortunately, the added case fans I got for my friend can’t go in his case (he’s been having a bit of heat problem in his case) — there’s only one extra fan connector on the ASUS A7V8X-X, and I’ve already got an additional exhaust fan at the back of the case taking it up. Luckily, the CPU fan upgrade I got did fit, however the old screws aren’t big enough and it didn’t come with any new ones! Arghh!

Either way, it’s now got a super big drive, and it’s running cooler. Plus, the new parts are able to be carried over to his new system whenever he upgrades. I say it’s been a success.