December 20th, 2004

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Two Kinds of People: Those Who Have Lost Data and Those Who Will

So I sat down at about 3pm today to seriously sink my teeth into some work that I wanted to get done before Monday. Not more than 10 minutes after I booted my laptop, it's harddrive ate itself. Froze up and wouldn't boot on power cycling. The CD-ROM drive for that laptop died a few weeks ago so I couldn't even boot off of CD to investigage. That laptop has been my main development workstation for several months now.

It is now 4am, 13 hours later, and I finally have a usable workstation set up. In the past 13 hours I have:

* Dismantled my laptop and removed the harddrive.
* Set up a work space in my basement near my server rack.
* Connected the hardrive to an old celeron desktop that I had laying around.
* Downloaded and burned a LNX-BBC CD.
* Used LNX-BBC to fsck the drive. This took 3 passes before the drive stabilized and mounted properly.
* Confirmed that although the drive now mounted that the data in it was well and truely hosed with 762 files in lost+found.
* Mounted the drive and networked the machine to my disk server and copied all the files that were still uncorrupted onto a stable disk for safe keeping.
* Installed a floppy drive and made a Hitachi disk utility floppy from disk image.
* Ran the Hitachi disk checking program from floppy on the drive to detect any remaining errors.
* Cobbled together a celeron desktop machine that I could install Debian onto in order to bring into the office at OJC since my laptop will be dead for a while.
* Encountered massive hardware problems with the Debian install and gave up.
* Worked on getting GNOME running on trogdor, my disk server.
* Swapped video cards between imsahp and trogdor because trogdor's video card would only do 800x600.
* Downloaded and configured GNOME on trogdor.

Now I have a workstation I can work on at home but that I can't bring to OJC.

Hardware failures are frustrating!
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Reports on the Recount

The recount in Ohio is really causing a lot of intense action in the courts and in Congress. The election and the future of our democratic system are far from decided and there are lots of ways that folks can be involved in this. It's important that folks keep reading up on the incredible day to day breaking news and talk to friends and family and contacts about it. This movement to hold the State of Ohio's electoral system accountable is really inspiringly grassroots.

Led by the Green Party, raised over $250,000 in 11 days, organized, mobilized, trained, and deployed over 1000 volunteers in less than 3 weeks. Lots of people didn't believe there was a real issue in Ohio when this started because Kerry had conceded and the news wasn't covering the recount. But now that there are allegations of criminal activity on the part of the Secretary of State's office, of massive voting problems, of obstructionist tactics by Blackwell, congressional testimony by David Cobb and others, calls by Representative Conyers for a full congressional hearing on this matter, State Supreme Court filings calling for the decertification of Ohio's electors, and more are finally bringing much needed (but still not enough) media coverage. And now finally, lumberingly, Kerry is starting to make noises himself. His concession was non-binding of course. There is no longer any doubt that something very important is happening in Ohio.

There are going to be times in the next month when we're going to have to take collective action. We have to make sure as many of us as possible as plugged into the various information networks so that we can keep track of what is going on, where we can help, who we can call, where we can send money, and when we need to be in the streets. It is clear that this election has been horribly tainted. I could care less about whether Kerry or Bush managed to con the most people into voting for them but we are well and truly fucked if our votes aren't even being counted properly, if they are in fact being manipulated.

Here are some links of the news sources I've been trying to follow in the midst of my otherwise insanely over-busy last month: (search for "Ohio Election" to see 3 hours of footage from the Judiciary Committee forum)
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Brain Explody

Here's what I've got happening all simultaneously right now:

  1. Clean my house for the party.
  2. Put in the 40 hours of side-project work that is available to me that will pay all my bills.
  3. Write 20 pages or so of documentation for the January 1st benchmark for the Wireless Project.
  4. Move the DNS for 80 domains that I host over to a new DNS server.
  5. Move my server over to OJC and do the massive IP renumbering madness neccessary.
  6. Continue to hassle McLeod and Sol Tec about getting some new connectivity at my house.
  7. Fix the broken power supply on the workstation that I built to replace the broken laptop.
  8. Fix the broken laptop.
  9. Visit with out of town friends on Tuesday.
  10. Go Christmas shopping.
  11. Go home for Christmas.
  12. Figure out how to pay lapsed bills without money.
  13. Fix webmail on my server which is STILL down a month after it first broke.

I have no idea how I'm going to get all of this done, or even where to begin prioritizing. I mean this server business (which affects 20,000 unique users of my mailing lists across 80 organizations), my party (to which at least 50-100 people are anticipated to come over the week), and the wireless documentation (the culmination of a year's worth of work, reporting back to the granting organization) are all TIP TOP ABSOLUTE priority. And then of course I have negative money right now so the thing I most want to do is the 40 hours of $50/hour independent contract work that would solve all my financial problems that is just sitting there waiting to be done. Oh and I've had a lingering cold ever since I got back from DC.

Time to stop LJing and get to work.

So um...I've always laughed at online beggars and this is slightly embarrassing but if you are coming to the party and you'd like to pitch in towards it's success I'd love it if you made a donation. $5, $10, $50, whatever. It all adds up to helping buy the booze, pay for the bands/DJs/sound system, etc. Thanks!

Oh and anyone who happens to show up to the house on Monday or Tuesday wishing to help with party setup will be pressed into service!