DO THIS RIGHT NOW.
BECAUSE WHEN YOU INVARIABLY FUCK UP YOUR WINDOWS INSTALL SOMEDAY,
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO "LOOK UP HOW TO FIX THE PROBLEM ONLINE"
IF YOU CAN'T GET ONLINE.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CONTACT YOUR FAMILY IT PERSON AND PANIC AT HER IF YOU CAN'T GET INTO YOUR EMAIL TO LOOK UP HER NUMBER AUUUUUUGH
JUST PLEASE DO IT. FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR FAMILY IT PERSON'S SANITY, IF NOTHING ELSE. SO SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO TRY AND TALK YOU THROUGH BURNING A CD AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY OVER THE PHONE.
JUST BURN A CD AND LEAVE IT IN THE DRIVE AND TURN YOUR COMPUTER ON AND OFF AND SEE IF IT BOOTS INTO LINUX AUTOMATICALLY. IT DOES NOT TAKE LONG.
If you don't know what to use, use Puppy Linux (Wary Version) - it's small, fast, and works on nearly any PC. If you can't figure out how to burn the ISO file to CD, download ImgBurn.
At least get Dropbox or Google Drive or something, okay? Set it to sync the folders you keep your important stuff in and don't turn it off.
And Flickr's free version has more space than you probably need now, so you can use that for the photos. Use photoSync or something.
* Too hot for actual lap. Pants potentially on fire.
* Also, possibly too big and heavy for actual lap.
* Battery lasts less than two hours, even when typing in a text editor on most conservative power settings.
* AC adapter cable constantly getting frayed due to its own weight. I just ordered a new one for the second time.
* Fragile plastic chassis that has not coped well with the heat the thing has produced over the years. Two of the teeth in the frame over the fan have cracked off, and there's a spot on the bottom that's a little warped.
* Can't actually run modern games.
Also, this is what you do when it refuses to restore files on the grounds that the pathnames are too long*:
1) Find the folder in which the files need to be restored. (This itself may be a Herculean task if you've got multiple files in multiple folders with overlong pathnames, but I can't help you with that part.) Right click this folder and select "Restore previous versions."
2) Right-click any file within the folder and select "Properties." Under the "General" tab, copy the "Location" field, which should look something like this:
(The @GMT-2012.05.31-18.37.27 represents the date and time at which the shadow copy was made.)
3) Create a directory into which to copy the files in question. Here, I'm just calling it Z:\Restore
4) Open Windows PowerShell. Enter this (but don't use my pathnames):
older Name" "Z:\Restore"
5) Repeat for any other folders in which you need to restore something.
* If Windows 7 honestly feels so strongly about this, why does it permit the creation of files with pathnames in excess of 260 characters in the first place? And why can't it just rename the files something shorter rather than giving an error message and giving up? You can dump them with three-character names in the drive root for all I care, Windows 7, it's fine.
You know what happened when I installed Python on this computer? Python was installed. And everything was fine.
(I got it for my parents, but given that it, you know, benefits me as well, I also got them other stuff.)
CrashPlan is an automatic offsite backup program, similar to Carbonite, Mozy, or JungleDisk. CrashPlan's a kind of an unusual entry in the genre: the basic software, which is free, won't back up to their servers - it will back up to external drives, local folders, or remote computers, which can be your own or those of friends who also have CrashPlan installed. The data is encrypted using 128-bit Blowfish, so those friends can't open it. (I mean, unless you choose a crappy password. There's an option to use a private key, as well.)
This strategy is interesting, but it's probably not particularly practical unless you are a huge nerd who knows many other huge nerds. Hence the paid version, which allows you to back up to their servers. The family plan, which is unlimited-data-unlimited-computers, is $72 a year. The unlimited-data-single-computer plan is $36.
Carbonite was my main offsite backup service for the past year, so I considered getting that for Mom and Dad. But while it seemed to be backing up my frequently-accessed files acceptably, I found a lot of horror stories from people trying to do full restores. Mozy, its nearest competitor, had the same problem. CrashPlan's reviews are surprisingly uniformly positive there. The interface is also much cleaner and more customizable, and the background process doesn't seem to take up as much RAM. It has version control built in, and doesn't delete files on the server when you delete them locally. (The latter ought to be a standard feature, but Carbonite and Mozy don't have it.)
The only place where Carbonite and Mozy beat CrashPlan is that they offer browser-based access to your files; this not something Mom and Dad need, but it's something I do. Fortunately, I can replicate it with a DropBox account for my most-accessed files. The fact that CrashPlan can simultaneously back up both to the remote server and to a local drive makes up for it, in my opinion - this way I no longer have to have two separate backup processes going on.
Snarp-Variant, Version 3.00, 3 September 2010
Copyright (C) 2010 Snarp. <http://www.sarahpin.com/>
This text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License (cc by-nc-sa) Version 3.0. The terms of the license may be viewed at:
The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works. It can be read in its entirety at this address:
The GNU Unpleasant-People-Excepted License may be considered identical to the GNU General Public License Version 3, with the important distinction that the rights granted in the license apply only to people who are not unpleasant.
The GNU General Public License was designed with the aim of giving programmers the ability to share and modify works freely, encouraging innovation and the exchange of ideas. For the pettier among us, this has always posed a problem. Software released under the GNU is available for use and modification not only to thinkers and innovators, but also to the sort of people to whom we might refuse loan a dollar, because we do not trust them not to offer it to a small child on the condition that she sticks a bug up her nose, or draw human genitals on it in red Sharpie before smirkingly handing it to a female cashier, or donate it to a candidate for public office who "just think(s) it's too soon to rule out" the forcible sterilization of diabetics.
( It should be noted that this license does not actually place the bar particularly high. )
I've tested out a few Linux distributions on LiveCD, and Xubuntu looks good for 95% of my needs.* However, I do need to keep Vista around for the other 5%, so I want to set it up to dual-boot. I've never tried that before, and was looking at this guide - does anyone knowledgeable in such things see anything terrifyingly wrong with it? It's been heavily linked, so I have no idea how seriously to take any of the debates going on in the comments.
* I'm not new to Linux, so you need not warn me about its peculiarities in general - though warnings about Xubuntu's in particular would not come amiss. (I used Red Hat before.)
1) Google Chrome is wayyyy faster than Firefox.
1a) But my life depends on search-as-you-type, and that’s presently only available via an extremely jittery alpha plugin.
2) It’s actually pretty easy to write a Second Life bot.
3) I like Metaplace’s aesthetics enough that I’m actually playing the Facebook time-waster game they set up when Metaplace went down.
ETA: 4) CVS house-brand cold cream is scented with something absolutely vile. It’s like citronella mixed with camphor and death. I’m sure they were trying to mimic the rose scent in the Ponds, but they… I actually have no idea how they could have ended up with this. Perhaps someone accidentally hired the mad doctor Jizabel Disraeli from Count Cain as a perfumist.
Anyway, the discovery is that in the future I’m going to have to remember to spend the extra two bucks on the Ponds. Also, try to return this stuff.
You cuss at Game Maker for having no mechanism for stepping through your code when something goes horrifically wrong with a script containing multiple layers of nested loops.
AND OH WAIT I THINK I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG HANG ON
(this is what the blog is for)
ETA: HAHAHAHA YES I am in charge of A* pathfinding!
“what the blog is for” = getting my brain into critical mode and out of “my code isn’t wrong yours is” mode. See, that’s why I mostly only post about books I didn’t like! It’s not just because I’m a jerk!
In general, it is not constructive when I convince myself that my code is perfect and there is clearly something wrong with the interpreter/compiler. I am sure that people have existed who have found that there was a bug in the interpreter/compiler, which just happened to affect the long piece of code they’d written in one inspired sprint without any testing. However, given my habits, the odds that that will be the source of my problems are not high.