Article History

July 2010




Andrew, ‘Liss and their kids turned up at the door with no warning. When I asked “what the hell are you doing here?”, Andrew answered with “moving”. They’d pulled another surprise on us and had arranged moving to Bathurst in secret.

They hung around and surprised Dad as well before going to unpack some stuff from the car at their new house. They dropped in again later in the evening to see Mum. All of their stuff was in a removalist truck that was currently in the Bathurst depot. They would sleep on inflatable mattresses in their house and then unpack the truck in morning. Then it was back to Sydney to clean up the old house.


Andrew, 'Liss and the their kids came back Friday night. Andrew was supposed to go back today to Sydney and do more cleaning of the old house on his own before handing the keys back to the realtor, but he was tired after so much travelling and decided to rest instead. Mum, Dad, and I went over for our first visit of their new house.

We got a tour of the house, stuffed with packing boxes. When we came to the garage, Andrew had another surprise. He has a motorbike. He has had the bike since late 2008. It's a red Hyosung GT250. He told us about the various places he's ridden it, including visiting Bathurst several times without us knowing. These “surprises” are starting to wear a little thin.

I took my Ricoh XR-20sp and loaded a roll of Superia 400. They have a nice view of the Mount Panorama sign from their kitchen. I also tried to get Zac riding on Andrew's motorbike but it was pretty dark.

Not sure when I took these sunset photos:


I spent part of the day at Andrew and Alissa‘s, ostensibly to help look after the kids while Andrew travelled to Sydney to finish cleaning the old house. I actually spent most of my time playing GTA:SA on their computer. Sorry Liss. In my defence I did move some heavy boxes filled with Andrew’s magazines and for a while I had one or both kids on my knee(s) whilst I played (so I had to behave well in-game).


Changed the order for computer parts I had made on the 5th. The CL7 DDR3 SDRAM I had ordered wasn't available and wouldn't be for a long time. I selected some ordinary Corsair CL9 SDRAM instead.


I finally got my new computer parts: An AMD Athlon X2 250 CPU, a Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H, and 2×2G DDR3 DIMMs.

Since I got up I had been trying to copy all of the data on my hard drive over the network to another server but it was taking a really long time. After the new gear arrived I eventually decided it would be better to get it into my computer instead. That took a while too. At one point I thought the motherboard wouldn't fit my case and I was thinking about cutting metal, but I eventually figured out a way to get it in without resorting to metal work. Then Andrew, Liss, and the kids dropped in for a short visit. Then I changed the power supply, only to slowly remember that the one I put in had been in the family server and had stopped working after a power failure last year. So it was back in with my original power supply.

So then I booted it using a Debian ‘netinst’ image on a CDROM. Even though I had aborted the copy/backup, I had completed copying the boot and root filesystems. So I repartitioned those two, giving me a bigger /boot (GRUB 2 is bigger) and a slightly smaller root (for now). I installed quite a few packages and played around with it, seeing how the Open Source Radeon HD driver(s) handled the integrated graphics hardware. It wasn't great, but I was willing to wait a little for the drivers to improve. Development on the drivers (and the Linux kernel) is a hive of activity.


With a working system, I re-started copying data from the big filesystem on my hard disk over the network to the family's server. This time I created a filesystem there instead of writing directly to a new LVM volume device node. This gave me the ability of tar'ing each top-level directory separately instead of as one big tar file.

Once that was done I could do a proper re-install of Debian, this time with a more drastic re-partitioning. I've been meaning to do this for a while and saw this as a good time. I made one big root fs instead of having a small root fs (always running out of space) plus a separate /data fs. It also meant I got rid of one more Reiser filesystem from my network.

I then installed Debian properly, taking a bit more care than the playing around I had done the previous night. I set up LDAP, Kerberos, and NFS to get access to my account on the network and my home directory on my server. I installed a stack of and other packages and was soon able to get my XFCE4 desktop back up. A bunch of icons in my side panel didn't show up though because the applications weren't installed. So off to install more applications. And more...

At some point I checked the X server log and noticed a message about being unable to find a firmware file for the integrated Radeon HD graphics. A quick search on the Debian package page turned up the firmware-linux-nonfree package. That made a huge difference once I restarted the X server (much, much later). Without the firmware, dragging windows around was quite slow with visible tearing. Turning on compositing in XFCE4 helped smooth things out a lot though. I was also unable to play video and Google Earth complained about software rendering and was understandably quite slow. With the firmware, all that was fixed. I had been resigned to having to wait for that stuff to be fixed in the Open Source driver, so I was super relieved to find the real fix was so simple.


Andrew is switching from Pacific Internet ADSL to TPG ADSL 2+. They were supposed to be connected today but he still wasn't getting online. After our experiences with ADSL last month, I took our new modem over to their house to try it on their line and account. It appeared to behave a little better, but still no connection. It seemed to get a PPPoE connection but fail in authenticating. We watched part of Stealth on television in between trying various things. Geez what a crap movie. I eventually gave up and Andrew drove me home, to reconfigure our modem and get us back online.


Andrew's online without even trying. He had bought a new ADSL 2 modem of his own but that still didn't help. While he slept, Alissa tried to get online and it worked. This seems strangely familiar but I can't place it - one of us was trying to get ADSL (or switch providers?) and the connection only partially came up, with all sorts of fiddling and retrying unable to resolve the situation. Calls to support might also have been made. The following day, something at the other end changed and we were suddenly able to get online. All the fiddling and calls were for naught.

So now he has a spare ADSL 2 modem/router/switch/AP.


I'm not sure, but I think I took these moon photos on or around this date.


Went to the doctor's because I fear I have another anal abscess (see March 2010). I was expecting to be sent off to hospital again, so I had my pyjamas and a toiletries bag ready, and had even shaved my arms up to my elbows. But the doctor simply prescribed an antibiotic and sent me on my way. He didn't examine me much, which left me feeling rather sceptical.


Mum and Dad drove down to pick up a bunch of Scott's stuff. He's moving out of his shared house, into his girlfriend's house. But he's currently down in Melbourne helping (but hopefully failing) to get the Liberal Party back into office. That's his job. Boy, I thought some of my previous jobs sucked...

Anyway, with Mum and Dad away for the weekend I visited Andrew, Lissa, and the kids. I got to play with their new Wii.