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General Discussion / Re: The Really Unpleasant Comp...
Last post by buster - April 04, 2024, 05:10:35 PM
Why this particular story should become so popular suddenly is still somewhat of a mystery. It's the fastest climbing topic in terms of views on our site and has moved from moderate interest to over 27,000 views. I may have found the reason.

If you type 'unpleasant computer problem' into Google, you can scroll til your finger aches, but you'll find no reference to the story on our website.

If you type the same words into Bing, the story shows up after quite a short page one, at the top of page two.

Not very flattering, but maybe some of the people who click onto the story hang around to read it.

General Discussion / Re: Creating a Christmas Linux...
Last post by buster - April 04, 2024, 10:14:22 AM
Chapter 13: The new computer gets injured

While the Christmas Mint computer lived happily with her builder for awhile, another event months after she was born meant that Mint was going to move upstairs to live with Marilyn. Her Win10 computer was close to destroyed, and this tale can be read in the story The Really Unpleasant Computer Problem.

The problem meant that the Christmas computer faced danger as well, and again this was with my illogical assistance. Bad computer stuff is contagious. The next two chapters chronicle in painful detail my stupidity, and can be skipped if you have read the story and can remember the details. You might also skip the chapters out of kindness to me. Much of this was previously written three years ago in the Unpleasant Problem story posted earlier.

Sometimes we wake up in the morning and know for sure we have the solution, finally, to a problem. It's bad enough that others deceive us. It's ludicrous that humans deceive themselves so often.

Marilyn's zombie box computer had evolved into something really bizarre. When I pressed the start button, it didn't just stare anymore. It began a burst of activity and then went off. When I persuaded it to start again, it had this noticeable burst and then again went off, and then again I received the malicious zombie stare.

But as Baldric would say, 'I have a cunning plan.' Those who watched Black Adder know that his plans never quite worked out. My cunning plan was like Baldric's. It was disastrous.

My plan was simple, some might say simple minded. I had my wife's computer which I assumed had some faulty boot software, or a corrupt and so far unviewable bios. I also had a wonderfully fast, relatively new, Christmas Linux Mint desktop that I had finished building some months before - powerful, smooth, quick. Many new parts. This would be my test machine. This problem would be solved once and for all.

The hard drive from Marilyn's computer would either work or it wouldn't after I put it in the almost new Christmas computer. If it didn't, then it's the hard drive at fault. If it boots beautifully into Windows, it's the bios in the zombie machine. However the universe isn't yes/no, 0/1, black/white all the time. Sometimes things are more complex than we imagine. This is one of those cases.

So with some excitement I took out the new SSD from the spanking brand new computer I had built and set it on a clear spot on the desk. Replacing it with the maybe faulty older style hard drive from the bewitched computer was not hard, but tedious. And little did I realize the orcs were creeping up on the house, waiting to attack. So after getting the old drive in place and ready to boot, I congratulated myself on figuring out a way to get this job done. I leaned back, admired my thought processes, and got ready to press the start button.

And coincidentally footsteps sounded on the stairs and soon Emmie came into the room. I could hear Eddie behind her. Still, I pressed the start button.

What happened next is akin to the time I stood up after picking something off the kitchen floor and introduced the top of my head to the bottom of the cupboard door I had left open. In both cases I was totally shocked, as is easy to imagine.

My lovely new machine was starting, going off, starting again, going off all on its own, and repeating.

"You're breaking it!' yelled Emmie.

Her brother entered the room and asked her what the screaming was about, and her answer was a combination of sight and sound. She made fists with her hands, jammed them into her hips, leaned towards me and said, "You've broken our computer!" I did note that somehow the ownership of the Christmas computer was now in dispute.

I held the power button down until the computer was silent. So the only problem I had was on the old hard drive. In retrospect I wonder how many times it's possible to be wrong during a computer repair.

I would go to bed that night thinking I understood the problem. I didn't realize my lovely, innocent new Linux Mint computer had been left alone in the junk room with orcs hiding in the shadows.

I sent E&E home and left the problem until tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Chapter 14: The Christmas Computer gets attacked again
General Discussion / Re: Total solar eclipse, April...
Last post by buster - April 03, 2024, 05:09:35 PM
Apparently Port Hope, which is a bit closer to Peterborough and Lindsay, will have totality for about one minute. Parking will almost for sure be a problem wherever you go.

Niagara has declared a state of emergency because of an expected one million visitors.

General Discussion / Re: Creating a Christmas Linux...
Last post by buster - April 03, 2024, 08:55:40 AM
Chapter 12: Cloning in Linux – a work around for the feeble minded

Mint has been on a computer in our house for quite a few years. In fact it's the same Mint hard drive that has moved from one dilapidated machine to another dilapidated machine that still manages to function. That particular Mint operating system has on its desktop two shortcuts that connect it to my laptop and to a desktop computer, both running a Windows OS. This was an act of brilliance that I doubt I can replicate, setting up a network not being a skill I practice often. So as the years went by I updated and upgraded the same Mint, not wishing to lose those two precious shortcuts. (Since the sad death of one of those Win10 computers some years after this cloning, I have one shortcut that now goes to nowhere in particular, and I have proved to myself that, in fact, I cannot replicate shortcuts to other Win10 computers from a Linux distro, even when I make a sustained effort. However, the one to the laptop still works perfectly to this very moment.)

The basement room felt empty, even with all the clutter, and I realized it was because Emmie and Eddie weren't there. Odd that it would feel empty without them, especially considering there was so much junk around me. Even the spider had finished her yoga hanging from the ceiling exercise, but I'm pretty sure I didn't miss her. Not knowing where she was concerned me more.

And anyway, they couldn't help with this and would have gone away saying, first one and then the other, 'boring' But I did miss them, which was a new awareness.

The first problem I had to face occurred because cloning this Mint OS to a brand new SSD is not something I do as a regular task, though I have used free software to clone Win10 to an SSD, Macrium Reflect in fact, and it's proved really easy when I used it a couple of times. I do know now, thanks to Bill, that Rescuezilla is a graphical Clonezilla, but I didn't know then. So I used my primitive workaround.

So to replicate what I did, before doing anything else, you should download the latest long term Mint OS from their website, and use USB Stick Formatter and USB Image Writer in Mint, or an equivalent, to put a bootable Live Mint on a USB. Keep this handy. It will be needed later.

Using DD or Clonezilla looked to require a lot of learning and effort, and I thought there might be a sneaky method that would skip the hard parts, and fortunately at about this same time, Fox was extolling his use of Gparted to back up partitions. Maybe I had a solution. And anyway, I was not in danger of losing my original hard drive operating system if it didn't work.

So first I plugged into the new computer my super external hard drive connecting USB gizmo, and then connected my new SSD to the gizmo, and then turned on my new computer with the old hard drive running the old Mint OS. On my screen I could now call up both drives, the old and the new.

Next I opened Gparted, and sang the once popular 'We'll never be parted Gparted' as it appeared on screen. Then I made sure the legacy Mint would fit on the new SSD. It was too long ago for me to remember if I had to adjust partition sizes or delete some data, but if I did I'm pretty sure I would have rebooted after. I may have had to create similar sized partitions on the SSD. This memory is lost with the passage of time, but it may be in one of the other stories. And it would be mind numbing to read about. On completion of this task I wrote down on paper the names of the partitions and my password for user, and the user's name. I was set to go.

And then I clicked the mouse a few times and copied the partitions to the SSD. Someone reading this wants to yell, "But it wont boot!" Shrug. The magic came later.

I replaced the old cloned hard drive with the new SSD and just for fun tried to boot it, which it wouldn't do. And now for the magic, which my notes tell me I had to do twice. (I have never speculated why twice.) I put the bootable USB into the blue front slot on the case. I used keystrokes after I had pressed the power button and using information for this motherboard found earlier on the Internet, got the computer to boot from the USB. Maybe I even did it first time.

So the Mint booted into a live edition of the new Mint OS on the USB, presenting a great Mint operating system running from the wee USB hard drive. From that I clicked an icon that said 'Install'. And magically I installed fairly quickly the brand new Mint to the new SSD, using the new partitions (/, /Home, Swap) written with the exact words used in the original. And the magic is performed by not formatting /Home. So to emphasize, do not format /Home. Because of the lack of formatting, the desktop shortcuts to the Windows computers were not overwritten, as well as other bits of information I had accumulated over the years. So the old Mint has everything refitted, tidied, and replaced without losing passwords and connections, but some of the programs had to be reinstalled, because most of their working parts lived in / and had been washed clean away and new code had been written in place of it.

And on reboot she came to life as gracefully as a newly built ship slides on the greased slip rails into the sea, into what would be the ship's future home.

And so the child of the old Mint OS was destined to live happily ever after in her new home, sort of.

And I did it all without the help of E&E.

Tomorrow: Chapter 13: The new computer gets injured
General Discussion / Re: Total solar eclipse, April...
Last post by Jason - April 02, 2024, 09:44:29 PM
Fingers crossed! I received my eclipse glasses today along with the masks. Both appear to be good quality. I shared a link to the website here and on Facebook and somebody ordered. If it was from here, thank you! They gave me a $5 discount on my next order. I didn't even know they did that.
General Discussion / Re: Creating a Christmas Linux...
Last post by buster - April 02, 2024, 09:29:15 AM
Chapter 11: Doing the outside connections and finally testing

I put the glass wall on the side of the case and gazed through it at the work we had finished so far.  Maybe I was old fashioned, but I didn't see the point of the transparency. Maybe this is a trend and in the future we'll have transparent toasters and automobiles.

Anyway, having speculated on glass sides, I put the finished product near the monitor.

"Now," I said to the twins, "we have the outside connections to do. One of you bring the mouse, and one the keyboard." When they stood quietly waiting beside me I told them to look at the connector part.
"Can you see any slots that might hold those?"

They looked at the top front of the case. Good enough for now I thought.

"There are two black slots and one blue one," said Emmie with a question in her tone. "They look about right."

"Use the black ones. Flip the connector over if you can see it wont fit." And so the keyboard and the mouse were connected.

"Eddie, find the cable that comes from the little TV on the desk. The TV is our monitor."

And he rummaged around behind in some more mess and came up with the cable. I took the cable and showed the end to Emmie and asked her to crawl around behind the case and see if she could find something it might fit in, which she did with alarming speed.

"Eddie, hold the light, and Emmie point with your finger." I leaned over and put the cable in. "Now pick up that blue cable that comes out of the wall and see if you can see the spot it goes."

I guess this was like 'Finding Elmo' to them. Eddie saw the spot after both of them looked for a longer time than they had on the other searches. With this cable I connected the Bell contraption upstairs to the case myself.

"So we'll be connected to the Internet if the computer works, and now there is only the power cable, and I'll do that."

And the Christmas Mint Computer was assembled and connected. Next came the test.

"I'll get Aunt Mar," and Emmie rushed out of the room and up the stairs.

"Why would we want your Aunt here? It might not work you know."

Eddie assumed a ridiculously pompous pose and said, " No big deal. We learn through our mistakes you know." I wondered who had given him that bit of wisdom, and who was he imitating with the pose?

When the four of us were in position, I asked who should be allowed to start the machine. Both said Aunt Mar immediately. Sadly I had to face that fact that she was always the favourite. I wasn't even considered to be in the running. I was relegated to taking a few pictures while Marilyn, centre stage, standing between E&E, punched the button and smiled, and the screen glowed into life.

The Christmas Computer was alive and well, and I sent some pictures to their Mom's phone, and the kids hugged Marilyn.

Tomorrow: Chapter 12: Cloning in Linux – a work around for the feeble minded
General Discussion / Re: Total solar eclipse, April...
Last post by William - April 01, 2024, 06:24:41 PM
Long range weather forecast says, "Mostly Sunny" for Cobourg and Port Hope area, and "Mostly Cloudy" for Toronto, Niagara, and Lake Erie side. 
General Discussion / Re: Total solar eclipse, April...
Last post by Jason - March 30, 2024, 10:05:37 PM
Just to be safe, I ordered a cheap pair of Eclipse glasses from PPE Supply. They're a Canadian company and were on the list of approved dealers. While Temu's products are generally good, I should be more careful. I wouldn't rely on dollar store medical masks so I shouldn't trust anything health-related from them, either. Thanks for reminding me of this, Bill.

The cost was $16 for a pair of cardboard glasses and shipping was $10 for Expedited Parcel. They also sell masks so I grabbed some while I was there. They have Canadian and imported varieties of masks and are fully certified by Health Canada to ensure those imported also meet the standards.
General Discussion / Re: Total solar eclipse, April...
Last post by Jason - March 30, 2024, 09:13:13 PM
Quote from: ssfc72 on March 26, 2024, 04:01:53 AMBe careful with those solar viewers from Temu, Jason. Anything from Temu is highly suspect as being poor quality or fake.

Thanks, Bill. The Planetary Society website also has the same suggestions and an approved list of sellers.  One of the tips to check for safety is to wear them on a sunny day and note if you see anything. Looking through them is impossible. Looks completely reflective on the outside, black as space from the inside. But thanks for the warning.
General Discussion / Re: Creating a Christmas Linux...
Last post by Jason - March 30, 2024, 08:51:53 PM
Dude! I just finished the first two chapters. I was trying to set aside some time to look at it. I see now that you've already posted nine more! Slow down and give a middle-aged guy time before the next installment. ;)

But seriously, I'm enjoying the story thus far. I see that wine is already playing a large role. Is this a foreshadowing or does it reflect what you were doing when you wrote the chapter? I guess I'll find out soon. I'd say keep going but you already have.

I'll proceed when my headspace is clearer. I hate to blase through without being able to appreciate your prose. However, it's already piqued my interest so I'll be on the other chapters soon enough. :)