Archive | October, 2006

Phoenix felicitas

22 Oct
I had been considering getting a personal MacBook Pro since last June. I made up my mind and purchased it yesterday.

Last June I took the opportunity of being on vacation and sent the Precious to be repaired. They had agreed to replace the DVD drive which has stopped working some time last December. The new MacBook Pros had been out for a little while and the mac people were taking a really long while to repair my computer. I chatted with the technician who was really happy with his 13″ MacBook, but he kind of dissuaded me, saying it would really be expensive if I wanted a MacBook Pro that had a similar configuration as my PowerBook G4.

But yesterday, I reconsidered it. It seemed just like the right thing to do, on several accounts. I had chosen a pretty good configuration (non-glossy 15″, 2.16 GHz, 1 GB RAM, with a 100 GB HD) and the Cambridgeside Galleria Apple Store had it in stock. Oh I get by with a little help from my friends. H^H^H^H^ With a little help from my friend, I got to buy it (dino++). How exciting! Mine!.

A few nights ago, I was entertaining myself with threatening Precious to get a new computer that I would name Precious, and that Precious would not exist anymore. Precious still goes in kernel panic mode after being restarted each time it fails to wake up from sleep (i.e. every time, unless it’s completely off for a long time).

Anyway, I got this new computer and it didn’t feel right to name it Precious. I considered a few names:

  • Tool (because it’s *the* tool)
  • Thing (’cause it’s a thing)
  • Mine (all mine!)
  • PreciousToo (or MorePrecious, or PreciousTwo)
  • Ni (“two” in japanse, it also amused me to think of certain Knights)
  • Felis-Felicitas (the HP happy potion –Amy suggested this– amy++)

Right now it’s called Phoenix. Because it’s grey. Which made me think of Jean Grey who is Phoenix in the XMen comics. I like it but it sounds obviously too serious, not at all the same spirit as the names in the list above. It will do, for now.

kernel panic

19 Oct
Today I learnt what a kernel panic is. In fact my powerbook G4 started to experience it yesterday morning. It’s only today I learnt what it was, and how to fix (and boy do I pray I don’t have to do that again).

It all started when I opened the lid of my computer. Let’s call it Precious, for the sake of simplicity, since it is called Precious. So Precious had been sleeping all night and as I opened the lid, nothing happened. I didn’t hear the friendly rattling of the disk, I didn’t see the screen’s colours came back to life. Only the capslock key gave me an indication that Precious was still on.

After a little while I decided to sacrifice its 74-day uptime on the altar of pride (besides, it’s not really like I did have a choice) and pressed the power button. I pressed it again and after a little while I was greeted by the grey and black screen telling me in four languages I had to restart my computer. Uh oh… That was it. A kernel panic. But I didn’t know that. And it doesn’t matter, come to think of it.

So I fished out the Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger DVD and fed it to Precious. I looked for the Disk Utility in the Utilities menu and checked the disk. It needed repairing and was repaired pretty quickly. At which point I restarted and all was well. Whew. Good, because it was already time to leave the house to commute.

Nothing to report regarding the morning incident after my day at work. When it was go-home-o’clock, I closed the lid. I wasn’t done for the day and once home, I opened the lid. Guess what? Yeah, black screen again. I knew what to do, of course. Except there was nothing to repair on the disk, this time :(

I tried all the key combos on boot that I know of; Zap PRAM, Clear NV RAM, boot into Open Firmware. Then I tried these again *without* the battery. To no avail. Then, and since it was bed o’clock, I thought I would remove the battery and let Precious discharge all night, and see what the next morning had in store.

Nothing new. Today was Precious’ 2nd birthday. I don’t know if that’s ironic.

Anyway. I took my external HD with me and as soon as I was at the office, I called Apple Care and told them everything!. I learnt of a new key combo: “shift-ctrl-option-power”. It resets the power management unit. I also found out a little while later that it fucks up the clock. It was 31 Dec. 1969.

Where was I? Ah yes. Safe boot mode. I was instructed to trash the StartupItems dir from my Library, and then to visit the System Preferences, look for my account and remove the login items one by one.

Then I was instructed to remove the PCMCIA card reader. For good measure.

The next step was to boot again in safe mode and proceed to a backup and then to boot on the installation DVD and perform an “erase and install”.

I made an appointment at the CGASGB (Cambridgeside Galleria Apple Store Genius Bar) for 2:20 pm. At this stage, I didn’t mind at all to get a second opinion. A friendly genius did a pretty quick “archive and install” and tada! Precious was exactly how I like it! My genius sent me back home but before I left, I wanted to make sure I could close the lid and reopen it and still be happy. And I was. So I left.

The thing is that in the 20 minutes it took to be back at the office, Precious had spaced out. I called the genius and he said I needed to “erase and install”. He said also that if the problem still persisted, I would have to call Apple Care and have them set up a dispatch. All righty!

It was 4:30 pm and by 4:45, I knew my Tiger DVD was not OK :( No idea why. Scratches, fingerprints? Yeah, sure. I ignored and installed anyway. That was not so smart. Precious was not fully installed. The installation stopped after 25 minutes. And I could no longer boot in safe mode.

It was so tempting to open the window and just drop Precious. Assuredly, I would get a new one.

The next two hours I spent trying to eject my Tiger DVD, and other various things. Then I ran a hardware test (the extended one). Naturellement, no hardware problems had been detected.

I called Apple Care for the 3rd time today, gave a status report and was given my new instructions: Use the retail installation disc that came with Precious when I got it. Lucky me, I have them both with me. I was advised to install Panther and then upgrade to Tiger. At this point I had lost hope that it would ever work.

It was nearly 8 pm, I think, and it was time to go home, that bit was certain, and I was wicked hungry.

[here is the dinner break that was a very enjoyable moment, and that I couldn’t possibly describe, for the sake of not spoiling this entry with happy facts.]

At 9:30 pm I booted on the Panther disc and by 10 pm, the installation was successful.
At 10:15 pm I inserted the Tiger DVD and attempted to upgrade. By 10:50 pm, it was upgraded to Tiger! By 11:25 pm I had the XCode Tools (and I’m not certain that was needed…).

Then, I wasn’t too sure whether to rsync from the external HD to the internal disk or to use the Migration Assistant. Turns out I started to rsync, then changed my mind. I cleaned up and fired the Migration Assistant. But the account I wanted to transfert was 43+ GB and the space remaining was “- 8.5 GB”. Grumble…

At 00:50 am I realised there was a huge .Trash in the account on the external HD. It freed a little less than 4 GB. Almost. I moved a bunch of big directories in the other partition of the external HD and freed enough space that the Migration Assistant eventually announced the after the transfer, the space remaining would be 855 MB. By then, it was 1:10 am, the Migration Assistant was ready to migrate, and it was done at 2:30 am.

The thing now is that the available space on my internal disk is only 1.67 GB and it’s far less than what I had before (around 9). So I suspect I didn’t do the right thing. Also, I’m not sure what happens when I restart. Will I find my settings? I hat to see such a large dock at the bottom of my screen. I prefer when it’s thin and when it appears only when I go fetch it. I don’t like the blue background so much, I prefer the image I had selected. I don’t like that the items on my desktop have icon and name and that the font is so big. I have no idea if my home-made scripts are worky. And I hate the white background in the Terminal. That kind of things.

I’ll find out tomorrow at work what was the right thing to do, and whether I can still do it :)

I still love this computer. Go figure.

Update: It turned out that Precious didn’t wake from sleep :( The Apple Care people told me it looks like a hardware issue and that they will fix it. They’re sending a box for me to ship it to them. It will arrive Monday or Tuesday. They can’t say how long the repair will take.

I had been considering getting a personal MacBook Pro since last June (the last time Precious was being repaired –replacing the DVD drive). I made up my mind and purchased it yesterday. I’ll use it for work while Precious is borken.

“Everybody on the coach have a good day”

17 Oct
On the bus, at the last curve before the Forest Hills station, we heard the driver’s loud voice:

Everybody on the coach have a good day!

I found this very friendly and it cheered me up (well, upper, I was already cheerful).

Worth knowing fact #320 – How to win a sweetheart

16 Oct

[This post originally appeared in Dullicious, where I blogged as Barbie-dull for several years.]

Fact worth knowing #320:

Before I start, I must point out that this fact appears right after the how to make “Oyster Powder” entry and right before the “Lemon Sponge” recipe. Also, it is pretty long, but I find it’s better unabridged.

The attention and the admiration of an individual of the opposite sex may be obtained in various ways ; and love may be and is often engendered where none is felt by the opposite party. But all this is accomplished by playing upon some passion or passions of the individual whose love is desired and whose hand is to be won. Thus some are obtained by playing upon the desire for wealth or high station in society ; others through their pride, by flattery of their persons ; others through their kindness, by exciting their benevolent feelings ; others through their natural amative passions, by exciting the desire of sexual love ; others by showing one’s self to possess, or by pretending to possess, kindred sympathies and feelings –kindred emotions of head and heart –kindred likes and desires –kindred tastes and sentiments.

I like that love can be engendered, and also that they rank wealth and status first, in the traits to play upon.

To win the affections, therefore, we should learn the character of the individual whose love is sought. That being known, success is to be obtained by bringing the batteries to bear properly upon the prominent traits of that character.

True love arises from a principle of sympathy –from a oneness of feeling– from a similarity in some points of character, although other points may be very dissimilar, –from showing that you possess semething which the other admires. Acting upon this you may induce in another love for you, and cement the affections upon you.

In case it wasn’t clear enough, affections can be won. But wait, there is more to learn!

Upon this subject, I give you the phrenological [dictionary.com tells me that phrenology is a psychological theory or analytical method based on the belief that certain mental faculties and character traits are indicated by the configurations of the skull.] teachings of O.S. Fowler, who says: –
“If approbativeness predominate, and causality be moderate, you may flatter, and if the brain is small, put it on thickly. Praise their dress features, appearances, on particular occasions, and any and everything they take pride in. Take much notice of them, and keep continually saying something to tickle their vanity ; for this organization will bear all the “soft soap” you can administer. When you have gained this organ, you have got the “bell sheep,” which all the other faculties will blindly follow on the run. But if approbativeness be only full or large, with reason and morality quite as large or larger, and the head of a good size, and well developed, “soft soap” will not take, but will only sicken ; for reason will soon penetrate your motive, and morality will reverse the other faculties against you, and destroy all chance of gaining the affections. See to it that you really esteem those with this organization –esteem them not for their dress, beauty, manners, &c., but for their moral purity, their elevated sentiments, their fine feelings, and their intellectual attainments. As they estimate themselves and others not by a standard of wealth, beauty, dress, &c., but by a moral and intellectual standard, so your showing them that you really esteem those qualities which they prize so highly, will cause them to perceive that your tastes harmonize with theirs, and this turn their leading organs in your favour, and unite and endear them to you.

“If benevolence predominate in the person, show yourself kind, not to the individual alone, nor in little matters of modern politeness, but as an habitual feeling of your soul, always gushing forth spontaneously at the call of want or suffering, and ready to make personal sacrifices to do good. Be philanthropic, and show yourself deeply interested in the welfare of your fellowmen. This will gratify his or her benevolence, and bring it over in your behalf, which will draw the other faculties along with it.

“To one who has large intellectual organs, do not talk fasionable nonsense, or words without ideas –chit-chat, or small talk– I mean the polite tete-a-tete of fashionable young people ; but converse intellectually upon sensible subjects ; evince good sense and sound judgement in all you can say and do ; present ideas and exhibit intellect. This will gratify their intellects, and lay a deep intellectual basis for mutual love, as well as go for towards exciting it.

“If the person be pious and devout, be religious yourself, and your religious feelings will strike a chord that will throb through her whole soul, kindling an irresistible flame of mutual love.

“If the individual be a timid damsel, do not frighten her ; for this will drive away every vestige of lurking affection, and turn her faculties against you ; but be gentle and soothing and offer her all the protection in your power, causing her to feel safe under your wing, and she will hover under it, and love you devoutly for the care you bestwo upon her.

If ideality be large show refinement and good taste, and avoid all grossness and improper allusions ; for nothing will more effectually array her against you than either impropriety or vulgarity, or even inelegance. Descant on the exquisite and sentimental, on poetry and oratory, and expatiate on the beauties of nature and art, and especially of natural scenery. If order be also large, see to it that your person be neat, apparel nice, and every trace of the slovenly removed.

“But since it is the affections, mainly, that you wish to enlist, show yourself affectionate and tender. As like begets like, whatever faculty is lively in you will be excited in them ; therefore your friendship and love, as they beam forth from your eyes, soften your countenance, burn on your lips, escape through the soft and tender tones of your voice, light up your countenance with the smile of love, or impress the kiss of affection, imbue your whole soul and are embodied in every look, word and action, will as surely find a way to their hearts as the river to the ocean, and kindle in the,m a reciprocity of love. By these and other similar applications of this principle, the disengaged affections of almoste any one can be secured, especially if the organs of bogh be similar ; the feelings, will, and even judgement, is almost unlimited.

From the excellent “Inquire Within for Anything You Want To Know or Over Three Thousand Seven Hundred Facts Worth Knowing” of 1858.

Worth knowing fact #2865 – The Etiquette of Courtship and Marriage

15 Oct

[This post originally appeared in Dullicious, where I blogged as Barbie-dull for several years.]

Fact worth knowing #2865:

No subject in this work is more important, and certainly none wil be studied with as much attention, as that of the present section. Love is the universal passion, courtship is the most interesting evocation of human life, and marriage one of the great ends of existence. As our wives are not purchased as in China, nor stolen as in some parts of Africa, nor in general negotiated for by parents, as in some countries in Europe, but wooed and won by polite attentions, the manner in which a gentleman should behave towards ladies is a matter of the greatest importance. Charms, filters, and talismans, are used no longer –the only proper talismans are worth and accomplishments.

From the excellent “Inquire Within for Anything You Want To Know or Over Three Thousand Seven Hundred Facts Worth Knowing” of 1858.

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