Category Archives: Administrative


My radio silence today was due to the fact that I spent most of it getting books in the mail. Almost everyone who gets a signed book, who has given me shipping information, should be getting one soon. Still have to get out unsigned ones, but that will be easier, and will probably happen Monday, as will the furriners (including Canucks). Any stragglers are local people (e.g., Mojave) who will be getting theirs in person next week some time.

My Book

For those wondering, no, I don’t know why a print-on-demand book is showing as unavailable at Amazon. I called them about it yesterday, and they’re supposed to be looking into it, but they haven’t gotten back to me. I suspect it may not be resolved until after Christmas, at this point.

Weird Linux Problem

After a reboot, I was trying to save a file to a subdirectory of my $HOME directory, and getting an error that it was a read-only drive. When I look at permissions, I’m seeing something like this:

drwxrwxr-x. 2 simberg simberg 4096 May 29 2013 Alaska
drwxrwxr-x. 5 simberg simberg 4096 Apr 26 2012 Blog
drwxrwxr-x. 2 simberg simberg 4096 Jun 19 2012 CA_Enterprise_Zones
drwxrwxr-x. 7 simberg simberg 4096 Jun 19 2012 Conservative_Space
drwxrwxr-x. 2 simberg simberg 4096 Aug 9 2012 Depots
drwxr-x—. 6 simberg simberg 4096 Dec 21 14:49 Interglobal
drwxrwxr-x. 3 simberg simberg 4096 Dec 3 2010 LaunchSpace
drwxrwxr-x. 2 simberg simberg 4096 Nov 5 2012 LEO_Adventure
drwxrwxr-x. 2 simberg simberg 4096 Jun 19 2012 Liberty

I’ve never seen that dot after the permissions before, and it seems to be an ACL-related thing. Does anyone know how this happened, and how to undo it?

[Update a couple minutes later]

Also, could this be related to an inability to print? It thinks it’s sending something to the printer (which it sees), but it never actually happens.

[Update a while later]

Well, whatever the problem was, a reboot fixed it, as well as the printing problem.

Is There A Fedora Doctor In The House?

I’ve been having hardware issues with my Fedora 20 installation (yes, I know it’s still beta until tomorrow). I had it on a new WD 2T drive, but occasionally I was having boot problems, and having to repair the filesystem. I noticed that it was making strange noises and running hot, and taking a long time to even get to GRUB, indicating that it was hanging up the BIOS itself. I was on the verge of returning it, when I tried moving it from the first to the second SATA interface on the MB (I have six). The problems went away, so apparently it’s a motherboard problem on that interface (at least that’s what I’m inferring). Unfortunately, it refuses to boot now, dropping into emergency mode, and telling me that it can’t switch root, because /sysroot/etc/os-release is missing (which it does seem to be). I tried copying /etc/os-release to /sysroot/etc/os-release, but it wouldn’t let me (and etc doesn’t seem to currently exist on /sysroot).

Any ideas how to fix this?

[Update a while later]

[Update a few minutes later]

Apparently Anaconda can’t be bothered to load logical volumes before looking for linux partitions. But why?

And what do I do about it? When I do a ‘vgchange -ay’ it loads them, but if I then run anaconda, it still doesn’t work, and when I go back to shell, they’re no longer mounted. I can’t believe I’m the only person having this problem, but I’ve done searches and can’t find any useful information about it.

[Late afternoon update]

Someone on twitter asked me to post the contents of grub.cfg, so here it is, after the fold:
Continue reading

Hundreds Of Books To Sign

…and I’ve come down with tendonitis in my right (as in “write”) wrist. Got a brace on it, taking ibuprofen and hoping it clears up by next week, when books come.

[Update a few minutes later]

Speaking of the book, does anyone know what’s going on with this? Who would be trying to sell used versions of the book for more than retail cost for new? A couple days ago, they were asking a thousand bucks for them. And the descriptions are false, since it doesn’t have a dust cover.

[Update a while later while decorating tree]

For those curious, I’m highly confident that this is my problem. The symptoms match to a tee. Fortunately, there’s no numbness, just pain when I bend the wrist.

Off To Vallejo

Heading up north in an hour or so for the weekend. But there will be computers and bandwidth there.

[Thursday-morning update]

Got in late last night. It was a three-hour drive to get thirty miles, from Redondo Beach to Valencia. Smooth sailing after that, though. Don’t think we’ll do that again. And definitely not coming back Sunday night.

It’s a good reminder of what a mess it would be if there were some event that required evacuating the LA metro area. I think we need to keep a boat in the garage.

Computer Problems

I just put a new install of Fedora 20 (yes, I know it’s still beta) on a brand-new Western Digital 2T drive, and it boots into emergency mode. Here’s the final output of journalctl -xb:

[Update in the afternoon]

For anyone who’s interested, here is the output of of ‘journalctl -xb’ and here is dmesg.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Whoa! Now that I look through that enire output of journalctl, I see a lot of file system errors on the /home partition. Guess I’ll run e2fsck and see if that fixes it.

[Update a while later]

Welp, that was the problem. I ended up just doing a reinstall, and let Fedora decide how to partition. I’m not real happy with it, because I’m not sure that fifty gig is ultimately big enough for root and I don’t want to have to resize later, but at least it’s working now.

Continue reading

New Server

This is the first post I’ve put up in a while, because I’ve basically been unable to post. Our theory is that I was running out of memory (the server for this blog, and all my other sites, only had four gig). So I’ve upgraded to one with sixteen. You won’t see this immediately, until the DNS servers pick up the new IP, but hopefully I’m back on the air.

Commenting Problem

A regular commenter writes:

I’ve been blocked from commenting on your site for weeks now. I’ve tried both IE and Chrome, and I get the same error message:

Your comment has been blocked because the blog owner has set their spam filter to not allow comments from users behind proxies.

If you are a regular commenter or you feel that your comment should not have been blocked, please contact the blog owner and ask them to modify this setting.

As far as I know I’m not behind a proxy, whatever that is. I use the same email addy and computer I’ve always used. If I’ve offended you somehow and you’ve blocked me, I would like the opportunity to apologize for the offense. If there’s a technical issue, I haven’t changed anything, but Win7 updates so many times, I wouldn’t know if it messed up my settings somehow.

As I told him, I have no idea why WordPress thinks that he’s behind a proxie, but I’m afraid that if I don’t block proxies I’ll be inundated with comment spam. I’m not sure how to allow his IP, because while I have a blacklist, I don’t think I have a white one. Any suggestions?

Site Problems

As you may have noticed, the site’s been down since yesterday. Apparently, mysql had crashed on the server. It should be fixed now, though I still have issues with logging in as administrator (one reason that posting has been sparse lately, in addition to the fact that I’ve been busy).

My Five-Year-Old Laptop

…has finally given up the ghost. It won’t boot, or even bring up a POST screen. It just lights up for a couple seconds and dies. I’ve been planning to replace it for a while, but now it’s urgent. I only use it to travel, and not for entertainment, so I don’t need a high-end machine. I’ve been toying with the idea of tablet/keyboard, but don’t know if it will meet my needs.

[Friday-afternoon update]

This look like a pretty good deal to me. Basically, a new version of what I had.


Heading into the park for the day. I’m check back in tonight. If you don’t hear from me, send out a search party. #Joking

[Monday-morning update]

Hope no one sent out a search party. We got in, not that late, but WordPress was playing its little game with me that doesn’t allow me to log in to post or edit comments.

We went all the way to the end of the road in Kantishna. Fall is happening rapidly up here — you can almost see the leaves on the alders and birches turning yellow in real time, and winter will be here very soon — there was a fresh dusting of snow on the lower peaks on Saturday. It didn’t rain on our trip out and back, but it was cloudy. We saw most of the mountain, in terms of mass (everything below about 12,000 feet), but not the upper reaches.

We sighted several bears, one of which — a big blonde grizzly — was right by the roadside, then wandered around the back of the bus over to the other side, too busy eating blueberries and low-bush cranberries to pay much attention to us. It looked pretty plump and ready to hibernate to me, but it obviously had a different opinion. I may post video later.

Also saw ptarmigan, grouse, ducks of several varieties, a golden eagle and falcon, ground squirrels, red squirrel, several caribou. What didn’t we see? What we most expected to — a moose. Except for one that I might have seen running the opposite direction to the bus through the dwarf spruce, that we didn’t have time to look for at the end of the day.

Today we head up to Fairbanks, and then down to Copper Center, where the red salmon are still running, presumably with accompanying bears.


I’ve got Internet, obviously, but we’re too busy to blog. We got a bonus yesterday, driving up to our B&B outside of the park. We decided to take a side trip to Talkeetna, and happened to stop in to a little gift shop of local Alaskan art, when the proprietor looks up from the phone, and asks us if we’d like to land on a glacier for a hundred bucks each. The plane’s about to leave from the field and they want to fill seats. So we head over there, and hop aboard a DeHavilland Beaver with skis, with a 23-year-old pilot with a philosophy degree, head up into the mountains, and drop down between the ridges onto the ice. Unfortunately, the ceiling was only fifteen thousand feet, so we couldn’t see the big mountain, but the others were pretty spectacular. Pics anon.

Off To The Land Of The Midnight Sun

Well, OK, not that far — I’m unlikely to get further north than Poker Flats, but I am off to Anchorage. I’ll take a computer, but don’t know what connectivity will be like.

[Evening update from Anchorage]

OK, had a good flight. Flew right over Yosemite and the fire, but unfortunately, things got socked in north of the Oregon border, and only cleared up briefly around Graham Island. It’s kind of dreary here, weather wise, but beautiful. I had dinner (fresh-caught halibut) on the top floor of the Captain Cook Hotel, with a gorgeous view of the Inlet and mountains. More anon.

Light Posting

I’ve been busy doing final editing on the book (it’s amazing the problems you see when you actually print a proof copy), and getting ready for a combination business/pleasure trip to Alaska (I leave tomorrow morning, and won’t be back until the evening of September 4th). But I’ve also had problems logging in to WordPress (it times out). It’s not a server problem — I can ssh into it, and the blog itself seems to load properly and people seem to be able to comment. I’ve heard that there are some brute-force password attacks occurring to WordPress logins, so that may be the problem. Anyway, I’ll put up a couple posts right now, because I seem to be able to (at least momentarily) get in.

The Share Buttons Problem

I’ve disabled the plugin that puts the share buttons on the posts, so let’s see if that helps page loading. But I’ve also noticed that there’s an update to it, so it might be that if I install the new version, it will fix it as well.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, I”ve installed the new version. Let me know if you’re still having problems with page loads.

[Update a while later]

OK, new version didn’t fix it, so I’ve deactivated again. It does seem to be Google that was slowing things down.

Off To The Land Of Enchantment

As you can see from the sidebar on the left, this weekend is the twentieth anniversary of the first DC-X flight. I was there at the time, so it will be like old home week. I’ll be on the road most of the day (flying to Tucson, and then driving to Truth or Consequences) so blogging will be light if at all (via phone), until this afternoon or evening.

Linux Twitter Clients

I’ve been having pretty bad luck finding one that works for multiple accounts. I installed Choqok a few days ago, and was pretty happy with it until it broke today. When I launch it, it immediately sucks up about half the CPU, but doesn’t actually start, and leaves a pretty picture in the middle of the screen, independent of what application I’m using. I have to kill it to shut it down. Googling around, I’ve found this to be an issue if you have a lot of unread tweets, but since I can’t functionally start it, there’s no way to read them and fix it.

So then I tried Qwit, which installed fine, and went to Twitter to authenticate my three accounts, and said they’d been approved. The only problem with it is that it doesn’t either display or send tweets for any of them. Other than that, it’s awesome.

I’ve also tried Gwibber, which runs fine, except when I go to the Edit/Accounts menu, it does nothing.

So I’m back to using two different browsers (Firefox and Midori) for two of my accounts, and not doing anything with the third one (which is my book account). I’d like to solve this before the book is available, though, which is likely to be next week.

[Thursday-morning update]

OK, the solution I’ve found that seems to be working pretty well is the Tweetdeck app for Google Chrome. There may be one for Firefox, too, but I’ll stick with Chrome as long as it doesn’t act up.