How NOT to Burn OpenSUSE 10.0 CDs

28 Apr 2006

Today, I’ve spent almost the whole day getting OpenSUSE 10.0 burned onto CDs for some students here at Guru Labs. I’ve run into one weird thing after another, all day long.

1. I burned a complete set of bad discs. It looks like the burner in that box might be bad. Retrying a couple of the discs also produced bad results. The built-into-YaST media check failed on all discs, and trying to use readcd failed. The MD5SUMS of the .iso files were all good.
2. I had Dax burn discs on his notebook (mine has no burner :( ). These (mostly) worked to complete an installation, but readcd failed at the 3rd to last sector on all three. This makes us think that SUSE may have bungled when spinning the CDs. Also, one package on CD3 could not be read (myspell-american). All other packages were good.
3. I had Dax burn another CD3. This one could not be read to install the qscintilla package, but myspell-american and all other packages were fine.
4. We burned copies of the first Dax burned CD3 (with a failing myspell-american package) and gave them to the students.

Total time for the whole process: 6.5 hours.

Ugh! There went a whole day and no time for me to get lunch, either.

Don’t get me wrong. Overall, I like SUSE distributions. Sure, there are warts, but that’s true of every distro I’ve ever used. hey, things happen; and this was just one more.

Full Disclosure: I use Fedora on my notebooks and workstations, today. I also use SUSE on my home workstation. Most of my servers are CentOS. I will be installing OpenSUSE 10.1 on my notebook and start using it heavily, but I’ll probably dual-boot that with FC5.

Sometimes, SPAM Can Have Entertainment Value

27 Apr 2006

I was browsing through some older emails and came across this. It still makes me laugh, so I thought I should share it. The quoted part is from a SPAM message and the commentary is from Bryan Croft.

“…including, obviously, your so much coherent, logical, mandatory and
ultra-rational advices, criteria, demands, desires, doubts,
expectations, ideas, thoughts, intentions, objections, fears, worries,
preferences, priorities, proposals, requirements, suggestions,
questions, warnings or special needs:”

Well yeah, “OBVIOUSLY”. I mean it practically goes without saying…

You gotta love what spews out when a non-native English speaker smokes
crack while reading a thesaurus!

How to Plan a “Vacation” in Just Two Days

11 Apr 2006

Last week, I found out I would be spending this week in San Francisco, California. I’ve never been here, before. I came home and asked Charlotte if she wanted to go with me. That put a really big smile on her face.

We had to go to Idaho for my youngest brother’s wedding over the weekend, so I asked Guru Labs to book my flight from Boise instead of Salk Lake City. No problem, but I’m flying on Alaska (they’re the ones who decided to loose my “checked plane-side” bag the last time I flew with them).

While driving to my folks house in Weiser, Idaho, I got Delta on the phone and reserved a seat for Charlotte using some of my 100,000+ miles (just a hint, I’ve spent 145,000 miles on tickets in the past 20 months). It wasn’t until Saturday night that I had an opportunity to pay the fees for the ticket, but I took care of it. We left my folks house at 9am to head to BOI, about an 80 mile drive.

My flight left first, so Charlotte saw me off at my gate. I actually flew on a turboprop aircraft! I haven’t been on one of these since October, 1997. I tried to call Charlotte’s cell phone when I reached Portland (to change planes) but she had it off. I had a 2+ hour layover (+20 they had added on since printing my boarding pass).

Later, Charlotte called and told me that she was sitting on the plane at BOI, still on the ground; there was a mechanical issue. Her flight out of Boise ended up delayed about 90 minutes. That meant that she had to be re-booked to another flight from SLC to SFO (San Fransisco). Since this is Delta, I knew there would be no problem; they have billboards that advertise around SLC that they have no less than 17 flights a day from SLC to SFO, and back.

So, I finally left PDX (Portland, Oregon), this time on a CRJ700. Those are very nice 70-seat “regional” jets. Once I got in to SFO, I found the baggage carousel that Charlotte’s bag would be coming out of (I never check, unless I have no choice). I sat around for 2.5 hours until she got there.

We took a cab to our hotel, which is right in the heart of the Financial District of San Fransisco; nice! it was about 7pm by then, so we got dinner at the Elephant & Castle Restaurant & Pub, attached to our hotel. It was very good food and a fun, English Pub atmosphere. Oh, and it’s smoke free, which is always a big plus.

Since Charlotte has been to San Fransisco many times, she’s just loving it. I have walked from my hotel to the training center where I’m teaching this week, each day. It’s a nice 7-8 blocks walk (for those of you who think that blocks come 6-to-a-mile, that’s only in Utah; these are about 10-12/mile). But, there’s going to be very heavy rain overnight and tomorrow, so I might take a cab instead.

I think we’re going to see Alcatraz Friday evening. If I want to do that, I had better get tickets tonight. Charlotte says we have to go to Fisherman’s Wharf and my students have told me about an excellent little pizza place called North Beach Pizza in Little Italy, which will be about a 7 minute walk from our hotel; I think we’ll go there tomorrow night.

Unexpected Death – Grandma Peterson

7 Apr 2006

On Wednesday, March 29th, 2006, while I was teaching a class in Phoenix, Arizona, I received a phone call from my Mother. She knows not to call during the day when I am traveling unless there is something very important. I got a strange, somewhat unsettled feeling when the phone started ringing.

She told me that my Grandmother had been found on the floor of her home earlier in the day. She had suffered a stroke, though we did not know (at this point) what the extent of it might be.

The next evening (2006/03/30), Mom told me that it had been determined that her stroke had been massive. She was completely unresponsive and there were no indications that she would make any kind of recovery. My parents planned to depart the following morning (Friday, March 31st) to drive down the hospital in Richfield, Utah where she was being monitored. All of my Dad’s siblings were already there.

I flew home from Phoenix Friday afternoon and my wife and I left about 45 minutes later to drive to St. George, Utah. We had already planned this trip so that our niece could dye Charlotte’s hair. Saturday, April 1st was the only opportunity to do so before my youngest brother’s wedding, scheduled for April 8th.

Saturday morning, while my wife’s hair was being done, I finally got in touch with my parents again. My Grandmother had always made it clear (and had her living will in writing) that she did not want to be kept alive by “extraordinary” means in such a situation. Respecting her wishes, the I.V. and breather were removed on Friday evening. She was still alive, but there was no telling how long it would be before nature took it’s course and she would be gone. It could be minutes or a few days, at most.

We decided to head to the hospital as soon as Charlotte’s hair was done. Unfortunately, I had been running like crazy and had slept only quite poorly all week long in Phoenix; I was exhausted and Charlotte can not drive my car (it’s a stick). So we decided to go back to the house in St. George and take a short nap before setting out. Better safe than sorry, we figured.

We left St. George just before 6pm. About an hour later, Mom phoned to tell us that Grandma had passed away.

We were too late. I did not get to say goodbye before she was gone. It’s OK, though … you see, I know that even if nothing bad happened in the process of getting there earlier in the day, Grandma would not have been happy if I had pushed myself when I was so tired. I knew it was OK with her that we were on our way, even we missed her departure.

When we reached the hospital at 8:24pm, we hugged my parents & siblings and 8-10 minutes later, we were all driving back to Loa for the night.

The next day, Sunday, April 2, 2006, the family got together in Grandma’s home in the afternoon. There was way more food than we needed, but the neighbors, family and friends in the church had provided it for us. We went through some photo albums that Grandma had. It was a nice, sunny day, though there was a slightly chilly breeze coming through the little valley all day.

When evening came, my parents and most of my siblings and I started to head back to our respective homes. We caravaned all the way to my sister’s apartment in Salt Lake City, where they all spent the night except for Charlotte & I. We arrived at home a little after 12am.

Charlotte was planning on driving down on Thursday, April 6th to pick Grandma up and bring her back to our house. We were then going to bring her with us to my brother’s wedding in Idaho this weekend. Charlotte had been looking forward to spending a little alone with Grandma and getting to know her better. She has not had many opportunities to spend time with my Grandmother. We will certainly miss her, especially this weekend.

We love you Grandma Peterson and we are happy that you did not suffer any in passing. Now that you are reunited with your husband, we look forward to the day, many, many years from now, when we, too, shall be reunited.

Delia Peterson, born Delia Oyler, April 24th, 1919 in Loa, Utah, died peacefully April 1st, 2006. She is survived by all four of her children, their spouses and almost all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.