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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

August 25
I've more-or-less given up trying to recover things on the Mac Mini at this point. It's running in a slightly weird state where the Server app claims that the directory services aren't running (and thus won't let me play with them) while the directory services clearly are running and allowing me to use them to log in, etc. Oh well.


August 24
Watched both Run Fatboy Run and The A-Team for the second (possibly third for Pegg's movie) time. The former is a gem, the latter surprisingly better than I recall. I've noticed something of a trend with similar movies - perhaps when I'm watching them the first time I don't click with the pacing, whereas the second time I've a rough idea of the schedule and so pay more attention to the story.

August 22
If you're following along with the Family Tree research, I've (finally) finished a full scrub of all the people I'd collected to date, trying to organise sources etc. a little better. Next thing I want to do is to scrub the sources themselves and pick out any missing data, plus there's a bunch of photos to be attached to various people.

August 21
Sigh, one more hitch with my attempt to rebuild the server: the certs are from StartCom, and the only way I can replace them is to revoke the existing ones, which costs.

Oh, and those email backups I thought I found? Must have been something I was doing back in March with the mail folders. I haven't lost any of the email due to having cached copies everywhere, but it's still annoying. So, summary of lost things: I think that's enough to be getting on with.

August 19
Continued Sopranos. Tony as prankster is most amusing.

August 18
Updated the Dad's GPS using Garmin's new, almost impressive Garmin Express application. Rebooted GPS. GPS announces, "Cannot unlock maps". Have restored the keyfile onto the device and am reinstalling maps to see if that cures the problem. Garmin's help document on this specific problem is a maze of instructions that a geek such as myself would translate as echo "unlock codes" > /Volumes/Garmin/Garmin/gmapprop.unl while wondering why there isn't a simple point-and-click means of doing so in the application.

Also I love it when Garmin provides a firmware update that appears, for tens of seconds, to have bricked the device.

Happy anniversary to me and her! Yay!


August 17
Office Picnic Day, in which we raised money for charity and then laid into each other with broomsticks wrapped in duct tape.

(this is not entirely true)

Gangster Squad had potential - the cast and the basic plot - but instead of being a modern spin on The Untouchables (yes, I know, different story) it was just... flat. I can't say what was wrong, exactly, just that it disappointed.

August 16
It looks like the only thing that's irretrievably lost is some Git changes made between last November and now, which frankly I'm ok with. I'm somewhat surprised to discover that while mail folders normally live in /Library/Server/Mail or thereabouts, they appear to have been backed up in the user home directories. And I'm not wholly sure how to restore my server settings - certificates, DNS, etc. but it's nothing I can't reconstruct if need be.

Endeavour is really, really good. It's Morse before he was, well, Morse, and it's nicely done with an older colleague effectively playing the Morse role to Morse's Lewis/Hathaway. I look forward to seeing the TV series on iTunes or the inevitable repeats as I seem to have missed it the first time around.

August 14
Still fiddling with file restore options. I suspect the computer is going fully to sleep if I don't keep prodding it while tmutil restore runs, which is a bit annoying.

Second-last episode of Sopranos season one, and I'm still not 100% hooked on it, but I can see things may be coming to a head in at least two directions. So that may make for a nice cliff-hanger.

August 11
Further perplexion (...): it would appear that the allegedly up-to-date backups do not cover the mailbox data, which per-user still lives deep in the filesystem rather than, say, the user's home directory. Between various systems which have offline copies of the IMAP folders in question I don't think anything's lost, just a bit (more of) a pain to recover. I'm really not clear on what was getting backed up, or why, since the last full backup in 2012; it would appear that there's certainly an amount of user data there, but I'm not really clear on what.

It's somewhat tempting at this point to abandon the lot of it in favour of reinstalling the whole thing from scratch, to be honest.

Hmm. Some brute-force trawling of backups (aside: Drobo is REALLY SLOW here) and I find what looks to be some sort of mail backup, but in the user homedirectory instead of the system directory.

Last episode of season 1, disc 2 of The Sopranos and there are a few hooks beginning to form, such as the fact that Tony's psychiatrist visits are in danger of becoming known to people who maybe wouldn't appreciate them.


August 10
Ok, one less thing to worry about, it turns out my entire iTunes library is already where it should be - on the outboard drive. Still need to figure out how to get everything else restored, though.

Also, it seems my previous assessment of what data gets restored is not wholly correct. At this point I'm not entirely sure what happens without me fiddling about under the hood, which is what I'm doing at the moment (restored the 2012 backup onto the System drive, now restoring each subsequent backup overlaid one atop the other onto the drive I trashed - which I took an image of to facilitate potential recovery) to see what I wind up with. The main things I want to pull out of the recovery are the git/cvs repos and the email folders; beyond that, there's some nice-to-have but nothing that I can't sigh and do without.

August 9
More Sopranos. Still enjoying it, but still haven't quite experienced the "just one more episode" hook that I found in the first season of 24.

Still staring perplexedly (is that a word?) at the list of backups offered by Restore from Time Machine. I've tried several things, but it looks like I can either reinstall 10.8.4 but be missing a bunch of personal data, or I can restore 10.8.2 and mysteriously have up-to-date personal data. I think at this point the latter is the better option, as I can upgrade my way back to 10.8.4.

August 8
Ok, office mac back in service once I figured out that re-imaging was with its original OS, requiring me to upgrade to Mountain Lion before doing anything else.

Mac Mini: finally figured out the somewhat confusing migration assistant, and it's restoring as I type this ("About 55 minutes remaining"). This doesn't include the drive I accidentally tanked, so I may have to shell out for a deleted files recovery program for that. Or do what I did before, and write something out of the Linux HFS+ driver source code to try and reassemble things. Nah, probably will just shell out.

Nope, still not right. Perplexing. There are very clearly backups right up to the point at which the server crashed, but Migration Assistant and Recover from Time Machine both refuse to pick up data any older than several months ago from this. I'm reduced at this point to investigating command-line options to retrieve things. I think possibly the next step is to try and upgrade the recovery image to 10.8.4 and see if that helps any.

August 7
Work macbook: replaced drive, reimaged. Restoring some files from backup, will hopefully be back in full working order tomorrow.

Mac Mini: restore completed overnight, but this is the old one from November 2012, and I think maybe I know where I made an error in restoring. I need to reboot to get back to the recovery image, but first I'm shunting a bunch of stuff off the internal hard drive and onto the outboard 4TB RAID array, both for safe-keeping and to free up the internal drive to allow me to set up internal RAID on the Mac.

Turns out my theory was incorrect, and it looks like I need to do some sort of incremental restore. Annoying, that. I think what's happened is that the recovery image on the hard drive is for OSX 10.8.2, which I probably upgraded in November, and it's refusing to restore anything newer (current install is 10.8.4 IIRC). So for now I'm trying the suggested-elsewhere route of reinstalling the OS from scratch and then using the post-install setup to restore from backup.

OH FOR THE LOVE OF... so at some point in this process MacOS decides to mount the disks in a different order, which I don't notice until after I've erased the other internal drive. As with the last time I had a terminal drive failure, I'm not 100% sure what was actually on it, although possibly it contains my entire MP3 collection which should at least be backed up in iCloud.

August 6
Discovered this morning that work MacBook is unwell, looks possibly like hard drive trouble. Came home to discover that home Mac Mini had fallen off the network and couldn't get up. I run it headless, so I've no idea what state it's in.

Ugh. "The volume Server HD could not be verified completely". I have a backup, but a potentially dead harddrive makes things complicated. Waving a few more dead chickens over it gives the same result, so it looks like I get to find out how good my backups are. Hmm, and weren't they giving some trouble recently?

Bizarre. The backups look like they're current, but the "Restore from Time Machine" option claims the most recent is late last year. I definitely have newer files on the backup drive, however. I wonder why it can't see them? (also, in passing, established that the spare drive hanging off the back of the Mac is exactly that, a spare drive - there's nothing on it. I should make it an emergency boot disk.)

Further discovery, I have a drive full of crap in the Mac Mini which I should really be running as a RAID mirror of the Server HD. All well and good figuring this stuff out now.

You know what else I need? I need for my laptop to keep silently falling off the wireless network in such a way that it simply stops sending packets while insisting that there's a network connection present. Why did all this hardware suddenly decide to fail simultaneously? (although I can probably blame this last one on UPC's wonderful modem)

August 5
Part of my ongoing family tree research has me wrangling files in iPhoto, and there are a few things that are constantly grating on me:


August 3
As expected, Facebook never got back to me about the account that was hacked to use my email address as its sole login/contact. I've deactivated the account at this point to avoid getting further crap from it.

My iPad lost its ability to save bookmarks a couple of weeks back. Earlier this week, I transferred a bunch of notes into the Notes app, then flipped back to it later and discovered they'd all vanished. So, I've done a factory reset and am now experiencing the "joy" of logging into 30 different apps all over again.

RED 2 is an absolute riot. Sure, there are a few "suspense" moments when there's really no actual suspense (because, for example, you know that if Frank is killed in the middle of the movie there won't be much left to do for the remaining hour), and Catherine Zeta-Jones is just... weird (Selene: "did they deliberately make her look like an alien?") but these minor quibbles asside, this is seriously funny must-see stuff. Dame Helen goofing around pretending to be an insane queen! Sir Anthony being a bumbling idiot! John Malkovich as a paranoid ex-black ops guy offering romantic advice! You can't not see this, it's far too much fun.

August 2
Another episode of Sopranos. Tony's mother more-or-less cameos and seems like a reasonable (almost) person. Someone who I expected to get knocked off got knocked off, just not as soon as I expected. So far I'm not seeing this as "must-see" but it's certainly entertaining.

I knew nothing about Seven Psychopaths other than that Colin Farrell appeared on the posters. So I was surprised to discover it's a Martin McDonagh movie, and even more surprised to see the incredible list of names he got on board (admittedly I did mistake someone for Ben Kingsley at one point, but even without that it's a terrific cast). The movie is cheekily self-aware, not-quite-autobiographical (or you'd hope not, at least) and in McDonagh's usual style, a bit gruesome in spots. For the most part, though, it's full of laughs and surprises. Definitely worth seeing.

August 1
Wow, August already. Anyway. I watched Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown over the course of a couple of sessions on the cross-trainer, and it's a fascinating look into a typical story of the not too distant past: prolific writer with genre-establishing ideas is completely unrecognised until he's dead. Great input from the likes of Neil Gaiman and Peter Straub, and only one jarring note, which is the unprompted mention of "Islamofacism" by one of the other contributors. Still, just a passing remark, best treated in the same light as these guys treated Lovecraft's rampant xenophobia - note it and move on. This is worth seeing if you're a Lovecraft fan, but also if you've ever wondered who the hell Cthulhu is or why there's so much nameless horror going around...

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Waider
Aug! The 8th month!