December 23, 2005
`Twas the Night Before Christmas Eve
I have finished delivering my 31st class for Red Hat. This is something like the 25th certification exam that I have proctored. At the end of the exam, I have to get the information to Red Hat that they need and someone there will process the data and, eventually, the determination is made as to where there are any new RHCT or RHCE certified individuals.
This week, however, ends on the 23rd of December. I'm in Anaheim, California (Pacific time) and Red Hat's Headquarters are in Raleigh, North Carolina (Eastern time). I sure hope no one has to stay and wait for my results file to arrive. But, just in case, I decided to try to give them a little extra Holiday cheer by writing this extra little email to send along (it only took me 3 minutes, in case you were curious):
Twas the night before Christmas Eve,
And all through the Raleigh office,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even for a purpose.
The candidates were drive to their homes with great care,
Visions of Red Hat Certificates in the air.
When out from the notebook of the Instructor there flew,
The files so carefully constructed for you.
And as the Instructor left for his flight,
He was heard to say, "Merry Christmas to all!
"And to all a good night!"
If you are Christian: Merry Christmas.
If you are Jewish: Happy Hanukkah.
If you are neither: I'm sorry, but I do not know what the specific well-wish should be for your holiday of choice, so I'll simply wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
Lamont R. Peterson
Posted by lamontp at 6:13 PM
December 6, 2005
Notebook Hard Drive Jugling
As many of you already know, my notebook's hard drive thought it would be fun to watch me squirm around, wondering if I would lose some of my data.
Last week, when I arrived in Sacramento and booted up, I discovered a few issues with unreadable sectors on various parts of my hard drive. It also turned out that Windows XP would not boot (it would just reboot during boot up). There was a smattering of other sectors that were completely unreadable.
I ordered 1 Hitachi 80GB 2.5inch 7200rpm replacement, which arrived at the office on Thursday. I picked it up late Friday evening on my way home from the airport and spent most of Saturday and Sunday (until my 3:10pm flight to San Diego) rebuilding. I took the old drive out and placed it in my USB 2.0 (but the notebook only does 1.1 :( ) external drive carrier. The old drive is a Hitachi 80GB 2.5inch unit that, I think, is 5400rpm. Luckily, it should still be under their 3 year warranty, too.
Next, I manually partitioned the new drive to exactly match the partitioning that I had on the old drive (I wanted the same setup in this case). Then, I tried to install Windows XP Professional into partition 4. It failed on the formatting step, which was interesting since my earlier attempts at installing Windows XP directly failed much earlier in the CD boot process. So, I did the same thing I did before, installed Windows 2000 and then immediately upgraded to Windows XP Professional.
Next, I reinstalled World of WarCraft and downloaded the 252MB patch (rolling up a year's worth of stuff). There were a couple more cycles of launching and downloading minor updates. This whole process took about 3-1/2 hours. I took a break from rebuilding the system and spent some time playing WoW with my wife :) .
At about 11pm on Saturday evening, I got back to work and tried to install Fedora Core 4. I tried to do this via NFS but it didn't like me. Also, I found out this notebook will not boot from USB drives. So, I burned the DVD ISO to my only blank DVD and did the install from there.
I went with a minimal install, stripped out about 58 or so packages I don't need/want and then started installing the stuff I wanted from there. I made some thourough notes this time, including creating a Kickstart file that I could use to redo the base install (including stripping those 58 or so packages).
Before I could start copying files, I had to change the Volume Group name of the LVM VG on the old drive. I booted from the DVD into the rescue environment and ran the lvm command after creating /dev/hda with the mknod command. I then used the vgrename command to change vg0 to vg1. Then I quit from the lvm command and used mknod to create the /dev/sda node and ran lvm again. Then I vgrename'd:
vgrename vg0 old-corsair
vgrename vg1 vg0
I could then reboot and start mounting things without conflicts between two volume groups with the same name. It took a long time to copy over my home directories and some other parts of the filesystems from the old hard drive, so I let that run overnight.
In the morning, I noted that about a dozen or so email messages had been lost due to unreadable drive sectors. Since I use IMAP for almost all of my email account, that's not a problem, as I pulled down copies of the missing mail when I reconnected. I finally got everything I needed in place and copied over my encrypted partition just before I had to leave for the airport. I was able to stop at my office on the way to the airport and print out boarding passes (which bought me a few more minutes :) ), my itinerary and a couple of other things that I needed for this business trip.
Sunday and Monday evening, I continued to migrate all the data from my old drive to the new one. Tonight, I should be able to get all the databases (both MySQL and PostgreSQL) migrated over (I copied the files already, but I have to get the software up and running). This coming weekend, while at home, I will reinstall the rest of my Windows games and copy over the saved game files.
After all this is done, I will securely wipe the entire drive using shred and see if I can get it to remap any of the bad sectors, which I'm doubting it can do at this point. Once that is done, I'll see about getting an RMA replacement. That way, I can have an 80GB 2.5inch USB hard drive to take around with me :) .
You should note, I was very lucky this time. Although most of my sensitive data is archived to other systems, and all the source code is in one CM or another, I was able to get the data off the old, starting to fail drive. There were some files that would have been lost if not for that (thankfully, not many that were of any real importance). This episode has me really wanting to get my storage capabilities at home expanded. If only I could find some of this "money" stuff that people keep telling me about :) .
Morale of the story: THIS IS A REMINDER TO BACK UP YOUR FILES. Especially on your notebooks. Also, you should have a drive carrier for a 2.5inch drive that let's you hook it up to USB,. That makes life much more convenient with a notebook.
Posted by lamontp at 2:21 PM