computing linux Ubuntu windows

A tale of two operating systems

My main machine is primarily used for websurfing, ssh and games, and because the first two are OS agnostic and the third isn’t, it runs Windows 7. Clare’s PC, however, runs Windows XP for games, and she would like it also to run Ubuntu, because it’s the OS she’s most familiar with.

(Yeah, I know).

So while she’s away at a LARP event for the weekend, I decided it was a good time to put the newest version of Ubuntu on her machine. When I built the Windows install, I left a partition at the end to put it on, so I booted from my handy 9.09 CD and installed it there. Ran though the install, answered all the questions, booted into shiny Linux install. Boom, multiboot.

No, wait. Hmm. The install process usually recognises Windows installs and adds them to the menu. Where is it?

Aha, they’re using the new version of grub. Maybe the detection’s not quite perfect. I’ll add it manually.

Menu item doesn’t work. Odd.

What do you mean “isn’t a valid NTFS drive”?

There is nothing quite like the sinking feeling when you realise that the drive that isn’t working anymore is the one that has your SO’s data on it. I mean, there are backups in place and everything, but still. There might be stuff not backed up.


This is when I discovered that Partition Magic-, my go-to software for “My Windows partition is hosed” – no longer exists, and that my old copy no longer works. So, I have a weekend of alternately trying not to think about it and tracking down things that might work that have no possibility of hosing the rest of the drive (I’m still pretty sure it’s just the partition table at this stage).

Fixed it in the end, though. I’d tried the Windows XP Recovery Console, because I’d assumed it was just the MBR broken and “fixmbr” repairs that. I had, however, not gone far enough.

Microsoft Windows XP(TM) Recovery Console.
The Recovery Console provides system repair and recovery functionality
Type EXIT to quit the Recovery Console and restart the computer.
Which Windows installation would you like to log onto
(To cancel, press ENTER)? 1
The target partition is C:.
Rre you sure you want to write a new hootsector to the partition C: ?
The file system on the startup partition is NTFS.
FIXBOOT is writing a new boot sector.
The new bootsector was successfully written.

And relax.

2010 MLP music

Mothers and pie

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK, and Pi day everywhere.

So, in lieu of actual content the Paul and Storm “Mother’s Day” song, as performed at the concert I went to:

And also, Hard & Phirm’s song “Pi”

and I start my new job tomorrow.

Computer Games

More Piracy

As an appendix to the previous post on the subject:

Rock Paper Shotgun: Ubisoft’s servers have been down/overloaded for around the last ten hours, making it impossible for people in some parts of the world to play Assassin’s Creed II. Which is certainly not amusing if you’re someone who bought the game despite the DRM (that requires constant connection to their servers), and trusted that Ubisoft would not allow something like this to happen. Especially not in the first week. An enraged forum thread appeared on Ubi’s site, which eventually led to a post from Community Manager “Ubi.Vigil”, who explained that the situation was, “unacceptable”.

And the pirates?

Play on.

Computer Games

Lord of the Rings: Worst PuG ever

From the Lord of the Rings Online dev tracker:

Vastin says: Tsk. You know, Aragorn brought a 5-man team into his solo Weathertop instance and just ended up having to carry the whole thing anyway.

Worst… pug… ever!

As for hitting the solo story wall, I think several folks have some reason to be pretty bitter on that front. I mean, seriously:

Thorin organized an entire 14-man raid before he realized that the first half of the Lonely Mountain instance was solo-only – and pretty much impossible for anyone but a burglar.

The rest of the raid ended up having to sit and twiddle their thumbs for days until the idiot burg finally beat the damn quest and opened up the storyline they needed to move on to the next stage of the encounter.

Almost as bad as when the devs forced Frodo and Sam to disband their two-man questing fellowship in the middle of Cirith Ungol and made them run several hours of crazy statted solo-blocker instances before they could reform and move into the new Mordor expansion.

[shakes head]

linux Perl Projects

DNS for DHCPd in the FUTURE

I have a dream.

My dream is that one day, a giant carrot carved into the shape of a submarine will sail down the Thames before sinking below the waves to take back America using only the power of latin.

But also, I want for machines that are on my local network to be accessible as “$” to everyone else on the same local network. That’s a more technical dream, and this is how I did it:

first, we google “smoothwall dhcp to dns”. The first result seems to be exactly what we need, so we click it, and find outselves on Kryogenix, the website of Aquarius, who I have known for somewhere close to a decade, which is an aeon in internet time. The article is now close seven years old, and while its lost its styling, it is (a) entirely what I want to do (b) comprehensive and (c) now completely broken.

The new page that Douglas Warner’s dhcp2dnrd script lives is now somewhere else on the site, and appears to be having some kind of formatting problem, but can still be downloaded from this direct link. At the bottom of this is a link to my own version of this file, with all these changes already made.

Although the the class::date problem no longer exists, a few other things that have changed since the article was released. So, this is what to do to get it working. Most of this is built on the stuff sill said already in his article, just updated for Smoothwall 3.0:

Log in to your Smoothwall box over ssh (If you cannot do this, you need to go to the web interface, Services, Remote Access, and tick SSH. Then, using your favourite terminal, log in to the same IP, port 222. Username root, password whatever you chose when you set up the firewall so long ago. I do hope you remember it.

mkdir dhcp2dnrd; cd dhcp2dnrd # (Being neat and tidy is good)


tar xzvf Class-Date-1.1.9.tar.gz # to extract the perl module.
mv Class-Date-1.1.9/Date* /usr/lib/perl5/5.8.8/Class/ # to copy the perl module in place
vim # Or use your personal favourite editor. Unless it’s emacs or something, because I don’t think that’s installed.

Personally, I change the “” line to “”, because it fits my network model better. You do need to change the “$dhcpdpath” to “/usr/etc/dhcpd.leases”, however.

Finally, smoothwall no longer uses dnrd, so either comment out the entire bottom of the file after “# restart dnrd”, or rewrite that to work. I’ve modified the code in mine to “work”, but it’s mostly cargo culty.

Downloading Douglas’ script, I found it had windows line endings, which confused me. You can convert it back to unix format in vim with “:set fileformat=unix”. If you’re using mine you shouldn’t need to.

Finally, run it, check the output of /etc/hosts is roughly what you expect, then throw the script into cron like this:
cp /etc/cron.often/

And that appears to work. You can grab my copy of the code from github should you want to.