Monday, 20 April 2015

Enough Already (Part five)...

Right. Update on the previous posting from last night. According to those who know a sod sight more than I do, it's likely that this is a fairly well-documented gear lever "Ball and pin" issue, rather than a stuffed up gearbox. The two gents in question will be down at the weekend to suss this out for certain, and hopefully sort it out, thankfully.

While I'm obviously relieved that it's apparently something relatively minor, it doesn't change the fact that this is about the fourth or fifth time in the last twelve months that the wagon has had a mechanical issue of one form or another, that has pulled it off the road.

As a result, and with reluctance, as I actually DO like the damn thing, I've come to the conclusion that it's more trouble than it's worth to me, as I need a reliable vehicle to get me to and from work, not something as temperamental as this Series 3 Landie. I'm therefore going to be selling it in the near future.

I have not, note, lost the landie "bug". Hopefully within the next couple of years, it will be replaced with a more recent (diesel engined for better fuel economy) ex-Army Defender 90 Land Rover, assuming that I can get one that doesn't fall foul of the London Low Emission Zone rules at the time.

So, end of Landie chapter one.

Chapter two to follow in due course...

PS - Please DO NOT contact me wanting to buy it from me. I'll be contacting people I know in due course in this regard, as I intend it to go to a UK-based enthusiast.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Enough Already (Part Four)

Well, some good news, and then some bad news.

Good news:

The PCs up and running on Ubuntu, and seems to be behaving itself. I'm back online, I've only lost about six months of data (I did an immediate backup of the new OS and data once set up, with schedules for backups once a week automatically to an external drive dedicated for that purpose now), and am now going about replacing Windows software with Linux equivalents were available. For what's not readily available, there's WINE, which allows some windows software to run in a Linux environment.

So, no real problems thus far.

And now the bad news.

I've had a crap night at work, and now this.

It appears the Land Rover's decided to be the straw that broke the camels back, and broke on me AGAIN.

The damn gears are stuffed. I seem to still have reverse, first and second, although it's a struggle to get them in - the gear  lever requires a LOT of effort to get them in. Third and fourth refuse to allow the lever to engage. There was NO warning. Thank wossit I'd finished work, and was only a mile and a half from home.

I managed to nurse it home in second all the way without even trying to change gear again, but I really have had e-bleeping-nuff.

It drinks fuel.

It's costly on tax.

EVERYTHING, even pedal cycles, can overtake it.

I don't know enough to fix it on my own, and jokes aside, the people who've helped me keep it on the road up to now haven't apparently trusted me with brains enough to learn from them how to maintain it, so I haven't the skills or knowledge to even attempt to fogure out what's wronmg, and I truly HATE having to rely on others to fix what I should be able to do on my own.

You can imagine how I feel about that, but I can't force people to teach me if they don't want to teach me.


Enough already.

I have suffered enough stress, grief, and jokes at my expense about this damn vehicle.

I like landies, don't get me wrong, but this one? It's getting to be a rock around my bloody neck. I NEED a reliable wagon, not something that breaks down for whatever reason.

The above also means that it's more than likely that I will NOT now be able to make it to a pair of events that I REALLY wanted to attend in the next month and a half. And that's got me more than a little pissed off.

I'm going to sleep on it, but it's 85% that I get rid of the damn thing.

I have no bloody idea what I might replace it with, so don't ask.

I am obviously tired, angry, not a little upset, and not thinking too straight right now.

Oh, and just to make things even worse, I learned the other day that a friend of mine, who I went through basic training with in the T.A., has passed away.

Hows that for icing on the cake for the crap sandwich that's this weekend.

I really have had more than enough.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Enough Already (Part Three)

Well, I couldn't break out of that Repair Loop Of Doom, nor could I access safe mode. Further, even from within the thumb-drive mounted Ubuntu Linux, I couldn't access or break the cycle. So. I bit the bullet, aiming a crapload of rude comments in the general direction of Redmond, VA, and wiped the drive in its entirety. I then reformatted it, retaining the FAT filing system (why not, at least I know how that works - or rather, how it's supposed to work!), and installed Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS.

Thus far, it sems to be behaving itself. It's recognised my notebooks wifi & bluetooth hardware, likewise my printer was recognised too, which was a very nice bonus; previously, a few years back when I last looked at Linux, none of the above were recognised.

All I have to do now is figure out how to use this thing, install a warehouse-sized collection of my fonts (ttf format), and find alternatives to all the old windows software that I've hitherto been using.

This is likely to take a while...

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Enough Already (Part two)

Awrighty, then...

Well, I got bored trying to sleep, so booted up the machine using the thumb drive. Whoopee, it worked (F12, got into the bios, changed it to boot from USB , and BINGO, Ubuntu Linux was on the display).

The bad news is that it looks like the hard drive may well be completely shagged. Here's the error message I got when I tried to mount it in Linux:

Error mounting /dev/sda4 at /media/ubuntu/RogersBlant: Command-line `mount -t "ntfs" -o "uhelper=udisks2,nodev,nosuid,uid=999,gid=999,dmask=0077,fmask=0177" "/dev/sda4" "/media/ubuntu/RogersBlant"' exited with non-zero exit status 14: The disk contains an unclean file system (0, 0).
Metadata kept in Windows cache, refused to mount.
Failed to mount '/dev/sda4': Operation not permitted
The NTFS partition is in an unsafe state. Please resume and shutdown
Windows fully (no hibernation or fast restarting), or mount the volume
read-only with the 'ro' mount option.

This suggests that it's got some form of fault that can only be fixed from within the system, and without being able to get in the system, you can't fix it. Catch-22.

To say that this is beyond irritating is something of an understatement.

Here are the cons: I may well have lost EVERYTHING on the damn drive since the last backup before the move - I can't find the one from afterwards; looks like it got lost in the move, along with the recovery disk.

Good news: My bookmarks are safe. A while ago, I began using Xmarks, a service I heartily recommend to one and all. It saved my bacon more than once, and allowed me to sync bookmarks between the notebook and my android phone. So, no bookmarks lost.

Critical 'PersInfo' files have been backed up regularly to a secure server on the cloud (obviously, I'm not saying where!), and I've been using Gmail for so long, every one of my contacts and emails for the last few years is safely preserved there, which is even better.


Assuming the HDD is shagged beyond repair (and I've one more person to talk to on this), then it'll be time to order a replacement HDD from Toshiba, and install Ubuntu on it. If it's merely Windows 8 that's utterly failed, it'll be a reformat and disk wipe, then an Ubuntu installation.

Either way, I'll be playing with Ubuntu from now on.

I have truly had my fill of Windows.

Bugger off, Bill, Torvalds is playing, now.

Enough already (part one).

Windows 8. I've been told that it's like Marmite: you either love it or hate it.

In my case,  I've come to utterly despise it.

The damn laptop I have,  a Toshiba Satellite C855-25M, has become locked in a "preparing to repair" boot loop of doom,  where there is no way to break out without a bootable CD-ROM or USB drive. You cannot,  of course,  create one unless windows is running properly,  and I cannot find the ones I made when I first got the damn thing,  following my home move six months back. So. Borked.

So, I tried to find a bookable iso I could copy to a ram drive through my Android phone, or another PC. No dice. There aren't any. At least,  not for free. And since this notebook didn't come with supporting disks -  obviously a cost saving measure by someone at Toshiba - I can't use those non-existent disks either. Talk about Catch-22.

So. Time to get Linux. I've used a relative's machine,  and downloaded the latest Ubuntu distribution,  then created a bootable thumb drive.

I haven't the time to see if this will work tonight,  as I have to be up early in the morning,  but later tomorrow, I should have the time.

The intent here is to copy all my data files to a backup drive, then wipe the hard disk,  repartition it,  and install Ubuntu onto the notebook. A bit of research is required before I do that, to see if there are Linux drivers for the WiFi on it. Failing that,  it'll be off to a shop for a complete reinstall action of win8, until such time as I can replace that heap of junk with something sensible.

Oh yeah. This posting was performed using my Samsung Note 3 phone. Which runs on a modified Linux platform called Android, which has NEVER let me down.

My time with Windows is coming to an end. There are a number of choice words and phrases,  none of them complimentary, about Bill Gates,  Microsoft,  and the various Windows operating systems,  but suffice to say that I've had ENOUGH ALREADY (yeah, yeah, uppercase shouty shouty. You try keeping your temper with this load of technocrap).

More shortly.