Archive for November, 2007

Unreliable AJAX

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | Tech

Is anyone else having problems with Facebook’s AJAX? Not that it isn’t working and this doesn’t just apply to the AJAX, it applies to pages as well but you can’t just click refresh with AJAX, the point is, I end up on clicking things like event confirmations and poke back links and the AJAX isn’t loading in the details, presumably because it lost the connection with the web server. As previously mentioned this is a much bigger problem compared with normal pages when you can just click refresh. Generally though, I just think Facebook’s servers have been a little unresponsive lately.

University is silly

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 | Life

Feel the burn baby, feel the burn!

It’s 3am and I’m still not in bed yet and I have to be up at about 8ish. I’ve been busy. Yet interestingly enough my to-do list is now running at 6 pages – 3 pages for the main list and 3 sub-lists coming off that.

So who else is feeling the pressure from third year?

One thing that does occur to me though. We have another 3-4 weeks of uni and then we have a month off. It happens again at Easter. And then we have 3 months off over summer (or at least we did, we don’t this year). So why are we ramming all the stress into like half a year when we could spread it out over so much more time.

I mean sure, we’ll get some FYP and revision done over the holiday but not as much as term time. There are no deadlines over the holidays. There are ones for the end true but you don’t have the pressure of term time. You can probably make a case for needing it to work full time to top up the old bank account and there are probably other reasons too, but still – personally, I would trade a little of those 5 months of holiday for a little less stress during term time.

All things considered

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 | Life

So looks like CompSoc is going to have another stellar year. Attendance for Monday night’s “computing night” at The Old Bar has actually gone down since it started getting plugged as a “CompSoc social.”

There is a more important point here, though.

As Norm mentions on his blog, last Thursday we went bowling which was good to have some kind of circle activity which we haven’t done in a while. I actually had quite a good time and it was a shame I couldn’t get there for the start.

It got me thinking about a few things, though. Circle events have been very much down recently. I’m not entirely sure why. It’s probably a number of reasons. These including the fact that the key organisers of circle events just haven’t been organising events and that people have generally been too busy to turn up. For instance how many people come down to Monday nights at The Old Bar anymore?

This is disappointing because, when it comes down to it, most of us are third years and going to loose contact with each other next year. We’re going to be off doing our own things and if we drift apart now, what hope have we post-graduation? It would be good if we could get some kind of regular Circle social going again beit Monday nights in The Old Bar or perhaps in The Terrace on Tuesdays as me and Norm are there will be loads of us down there anyway. Stop being such hermits people, if I can find time for the pub so can you :D.

My PD31 group are idiots

Monday, November 12th, 2007 | Life

Group work is always both difficult and flustrating with meeting deadlines being a particular problem in the case of PD31. That in mind, I decided to make a point. Nobody noticed.

Last week we had set Friday as when I should have had the report compiled by to send to Ben so that he could write the executive summary. Half of the week’s deadlines had already been missed though so in order to make my point I compiled the report and elected not to email it out. Nobody said anything on Friday or Saturday indeed it wasn’t until Sunday night that somebody said something. Not mentioning the deadline but just asking what we were going to do with regards to getting the report finished.

Then when I turned up to the meeting today (fashionably late to make another point, I spent a good 5 minutes staring out of the window on staircase 2) and everyone was like “oh awesome, you got it compiled then.”

Does nobody else think there is some form of urgency for a report due in tomorrow that nobody has proofed? Is this not quite important to, you know, our degree and therefore our entire future? The answer would seem to be, no.

Adventures in RAID part III

Monday, November 12th, 2007 | Tech

Aztec is now in bits on my floor having had the floppy drive taken out of it. I plug it into Olmec and boot up this time using my Ubuntu Server 7.10 alternative install CD in it. It goes through the normal stages. I manage to find a floppy disk, stick it in my desktop, stick my USB pen in the desktop and copy the driver over to the floppy disk. I then take the floppy disk out and put it in the floppy drive now attached to Olmec. Meanwhile Olmec decides it can’t find any hard drives and asks me if I want to load a driver. I say yes and trawl down to the bottom of the big list of drivers it gives me to inform it that the driver isn’t on there. It then attempts to load from the floppy drive but in fact just stops with a blank blue screen at this point.

I’d actually given up on it loading and started blogging when I suddenly got a message saying it had failed to load any drivers from the floppy disk. It wasn’t like I was being impatient – we’re talking a 10-15 minute wait here. I tried it twice with no luck. I also tried loading the HighPoint drivers that come with Ubuntu (though not for my RAID card) with no luck.

Next plan – I insert the CD into my desktop and the floppy drive so that the setup program can create a Windows driver disk. I’m sceptical about doing this on an XP box for a Windows Server 2003 install but it doesn’t seem to make a difference as the program will create drivers for any OS including Linux distros and only had one option that seems to cover all versions of Windows. Except that now Windows can’t read my floppy. It says it isn’t formatted. Even though it was when I copied the file over 30 minutes earlier. Even worse, it says it can’t format the disk now.

I install a fresh floppy disk and this time Windows reads it. The CD however can’t. It just brings up an I/O error message. I insert the original disk and Windows brings up a formatting box. But then gives me a nerror saying it was unable to complete the format. I take the original disk out and but the second one back in. Having re-launched the HighPoint software it allows me to continue this time. It also appears to complete successfully.

Turns out the floppy drive in Olmec wasn’t actually working. I manage to get it working and go back to Ubuntu. This time Ubuntu detects it. But instead of loading the driver as it should have done it decides that the floppy disk is a hard drive and suggests I partition it to install Ubuntu onto. I eventually find a way round this but Ubuntu then just says there aren’t any drivers and refuses to do anything.

Back to Windows. I get as far as it asking me to load the extra drivers and insert the floppy disk in. It can’t find them. I try it again and suddenly it can find them. It finally picks up my hard drive and begins partitioning and then installing Windows. Finally we might be getting somewhere.

Economics is a tricky subject

Thursday, November 8th, 2007 | Distractions, Thoughts

I have no money. I actually have way less than no money. And my credit card bill has to come out with that.

So I’m confused. Does that mean I can justify spending £60 on the complete series of Jonathan Creek on DVD?

Adventures in RAID part II

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 | Tech

Ok, so I give in and compile this driver. Now I need some way to get it onto the system. I’m working with Ubuntu 7.10 Server (alternative) which only seems to accept floppy drives. No problem though, I’ll just use Live CD and mount my USB pen into the system.

So I download Ubuntu 7.10 Server and burn it to CD and boot into that. But I don’t get Live CD, I get a text based installer. Strange. Does Server not come with Live CD anymore? (Did it ever?). So I give it and decide to use a Desktop version, I don’t have Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop so I end up going for Ubuntu 7.04 Desktop instead as I have that downloaded and burned to CD already.

After for what seems to be forever of booting up and another age after selecting start or install Ubuntu I get a load of errors about X and I get a shell prompt. Fantastic.

I come back to it a few days later and try to boot it. It just stalls on verifying DMI pool data. Having taken the DVD-ROM out to use for a different computer I insert that back in. This is after reseting the BIOS to fail safe and not getting anywhere, the fiddling about with it and not getting anywhere.

I finally get it to boot of the DVD-ROM with any disk I have to hand – it turns out to be Windows Server 2003. It goes through all the setup and tells me it can’t find a hard drive. I restart and hit F6 to load additional drivers this time (even though it loads HighPoint RAID drivers by default). I ask to specify the drivers. Windows tells me to insert the drivers into drive A:. I don’t have a drive A:. Awesome.

So the plan from here is to turn my Windows server off so I can take the floppy drive out of that, turn my Ubuntu server off so I can get it to, plug that into my new file server then put everything back together again and hope it all works. What is the betting it won’t?

Microsoft Visual Studio

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 | Tech

Continuing to play around with Windows Server 2003 I found out I needed to install Visual Studio (as just as a got a Windows install, Mangos removed their pre-compiled Windows binaries and said you had to compile your own). Luckily I can get that to play around with through the academic alliance licensing my school has so it’s more of an inconvenience than a stopping point.

It turned out to be quite a sizable inconvenience though. I downloaded the ISOs and burned them to CD. But when I tried to install it (several times) it would get to about 75% done (that’s on CD2) and then complain about not being able to read a file. Apparently, this was a problem with Samsung DVD-ROM drives (random) so I eventually resorted to installing Daemon Tools and mounting the ISOs that way.

That got me a little further but it just complained about other things. I ended up clicking ignore on two files, which looked fairly important, to be honest, but I was beyond caring at this point. It eventually installed and wouldn’t you know it, even compiled the Mangos files and everything.

So I’m moving on although now I’m having problems with phpMyAdmin of all things lol. Apparently, it’s not the idiot proof even though it’s just a case of extracting the files to a directory and opening it in your web browser. Cletus, try to dump something in the lake…

The Google affair

Friday, November 2nd, 2007 | Tech

Stumbling through a series of blogs I noticed that the debate over Google punishing sites for selling text links has flaired up again.

Having read over Danny Sullivan’s post, while I agree with some of the points, I think it’s important to state why I disagree with others. First of all, I feel like Google is telling me what to do with my site. It seems hypocritical that I am being told I cannot sell text links on my website from a website which generates the majority of it’s revenue from selling text links!

Secondly, yes I am free to ignore Google if I wish, continue selling text links, Google can’t tell us what to do. But of course, in reality, they can. Google provides a huge amount of traffic, often more than any other source. They effectively have a monopoly on search engine traffic so we have to follow their guidelines. When Microsoft abuse their massive market share there is public outcry, competition commission get involved, etc. But when Google say “you’re not allowed to make any money from simple text links anymore if you want anyone to visit your website” few people seem to see a problem with it.

On that point, I think it is also important to point out that Google is explicitly doing this maliciously. This isn’t a few algorithm roll-out designed to re-adjust the search engine results so that you get better results. A lot of it is human review of websites to decide whether they are making money or not and punishing them accordingly.

Finally, it’s certainly worth noting that there will be civilian casualties from this move. Because, when it comes down to it, there is no way to differentiate between sites that are buying and selling links to gain PR and sites that are just buying and selling links innocently. How about sites such as my network which aren’t even selling links but just link to each other? I mean, are hyperlinks just banned now or what?

ADSL was a bad choice

Thursday, November 1st, 2007 | Tech

I have finally re-gained my internet connection after being offline for over 12 hours. I still have awful noise margins though. My browsers refuse to load web pages because they are so used to it being down that they aren’t even responding to hard refreshers any more. MSN also outright refuses to connect. And if I want to check the status of anything it takes my modem longer than a web page the other side of the world to respond and when it does it fails to load some of the images and/or CSS.

I never had to deal with any of this BS on cable.