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Month: December 2012

Personal: Oh – goody, the third thing has failed.

This December, we’ve had two things fail on us:
* The Hard Drive in my wife’s mid-2010 27″ iMac. She purchased it on the 10th of December 2010, and it failed around the 15th of December this year. Just outside the EU 2-year warranty (but would have been within the 3 year AppleCare coverage if she had gone for that). Now we’re having to see if it is worth her just replacing the hard drive manually, taking it into an Apple shop to be replaced or taking it into an Apple shop for a new hard drive and a secondary/new SSD drive (this isn’t something either of us feel safe adding ourselves as we’ll need to practically remove all of the iMac in order to insert it).
* Our hot water tank has burst (night of Saturday 29th). Unfortunately, British Gas no longer hold parts themselves (well, small parts are held in a warehouse in Leicester), so we’re having to wait until Thursday the 3rd of January for it to be repaired (as the earliest “the local hot water cylinder supplier is open is the 2nd for us to be able to order it”). At least we’ve got heating until then, just no hot water (annoyingly, we’ve got a wood-burning fire, a portable electric radiator and two halogen heaters: so we could have coped without heating, but we’ve not absolutely no access to hot water 🙁 ).

and so we were just waiting for the third thing.

And it’s happened, a 1Tb drive (a Western Digital WD10EAVS-00D “green drive”) has failed in my offices’s Drobo NAS. Luckily, the three other drives are keeping it running in a degraded state, but it needs to be replaced ASAP. I’m considering getting a Western Digital 2TB 3.5inch SATA6 Internal Hard Drive – Red as a replacement, but that’s £90 I hadn’t budgeted on spending. Dammit!

Raspberry Pi and RISC OS

For Christmas, my lovely new wife got me a Raspberry Pi Model B from RS Online and today I powered it up. I decided to go with RISC OS for nostalgia reasons (download it from the Raspberry Pi site) which I then copied using Linux Mint using “sudo dd if=~/Desktop/ro519-rc6-1876M.img of=/dev/sdc1” to a Kodak 4Gb SDHC class 4 card (as the 32Gb class 10 cards I ordered haven’t arrived yet). I then put it in a transparent case, powered it up using an Micro USB cable and connected it to our WiFi network using the Vonets VAP11G WiFi Bridge (which I previously configured using Linux: the WiFi dongle got its power from a powered USB hub).

Start it up and turn on networking and all is fun and memorable. The only snags are that it doesn’t seem to support full widescreen display on my Philips HDMI monitor and if I have my Dell USB mouse plugged into my keyboard and then into the Raspberry Pi, then mouse clicks wouldn’t register and the keyboard was repeating: plugging in the mouse and keyboard separately into the Pi and everything worked well.

Now to download some fun free games and browse APDL’s full catalogue.

Who was in Victoria Wood with all the Trimmings

After watching “Victoria Wood with all the Trimmings” last night, I wondered how many actors had been in Doctor Who, Eastenders and Coronation Street (three extremely popular UK TV shows) and therefore, being the geek I am, decided to find out.

It turns out (according to the IMDB and a Google Spreadsheet: where the formula “=CONCATENATE((ROW()-1)-COUNTBLANK(F2:F54),”/”,ROW()-1)” came in handy), that out of the 54 credited actors, 14 (25.92%) were in Dr Who, 11 (20.37%) in Coronation Street and 6 (11.11%) were in Eastenders (with some in two of the three shows). Quite a hefty overlap!

Actor Dr Who Eastenders Coronation Street
Victoria Wood
Caroline Aherne
Bruce Alexander Mr Burgess
Susie Blake Bev Unwin
James Bolam Sir Achibald Flint (audio book: The Spectre of Lanyon Moor
Betty Boothroyd
June Brown Eleanor (The Time Warrior) Dot Cotton
Richenda Carey
Craig Cash
Helen Coker
Roger Cook
Lindsay Duncan Adelaide Brooke (The Waters of Mars)
Andrew Dunn Max (Scream of the Shalka) Roger Stiles / Laurie Dyson
Richard E. Grant “The Doctor (The Curse of Fatal Death)
The Doctor (Scream of the Shalka)
Doctor Simeon (The Snowmen)”
Hannah Gordon Kirsty McClaren (The Highlanders)
Shobna Gulati Ameena Sunita Alahan / Parekh
Charlie Hicks
Nichola Holt
Adrian Hood
Celia Imrie
Philip Jackson Smitty
Derek Jacobi Professor Yana (Utopia)
Hugh Laurie
Robert Lindsay
Geraldine McEwan
Bob Monkhouse
Deborah Moore
Roger Moore
Michael Parkinson
Bill Paterson Bracewell (Victory of the Daleks / Pandorica Opens)
Maxine Peake Belinda Peach
Billie Piper Rose Tyler (2005-2010)
Pete Postlethwaite Detective Sergeant Cross
Anne Reid Florence Finnegan (Smith and Jones) Valerie Barlow / Tatlock
Alan Rickman
Paul Rider Howard
Angela Rippon
Amy Robbins
Emma Robbins
Kate Robbins
Ted Robbins Officer McAlister / DJ
Delia Smith
Kathy Staff Vera Hopkins / Customer
Joe Starrs
Imelda Staunton Interface (The Girl Who Waited)
Alan Titchmarsh
Julie Walters
Ian “H” Watkins
Jim Watson
Honeysuckle Weeks
Penelope Wilton Harriet Jones (2005-2008)
Anna Wing Anatta (Kinda: Part One) Lou Beale
Bernard Wrigley Chauffeur / Comedian
Totals 14/54 6/54 11/54

Lots of post from Halifax

I’ve just closed my ISA Investor with Halifax (well, now it’s HBOS Investment Fund Managers Limited) as I’ve been unhappy with their service since the Lloyds TSB takeover (who I actually left, after 25 years, about 6 years ago as I was unhappy with their deteriorating service!). So Halifax/HBOS sent me “contract note[s] for the sale of shares from your ISA Investor”.

One for each of the individual investment trusts. So that’s 13 contract notes.

All in their own envelopes.

All with their own (UKMail) postage paid.

All with the sale deal reference number, deal date, deal time and customer account number.

And they still hadn’t updated my name correctly from early September when I went into the branch and mid-November when I telephoned them (one of the reasons for closing the accounts I have with them is their inability to be update things accurately).

I honestly don’t think Halifax will be around in 10 years time if they continue like this.

Techy: rSync and scp over different ports

If you want to copy a file over scp using a different port number than usual, the syntax is:

Assume 1234 is the port number
scp -P 1234 user@remotehost:/folder/file.txt .

And if you want to do the same in rsync over SSH, then the syntax is:
rsync -av --progress -e "ssh -p 1234" user@remotehost:/folder/file.txt .

Note the different capitalisation of the port specifier (“p” is rsync’s ssh connection and “P” in scp).