Reviving a Clickfree backup drive with dd

Visiting family over the holidays of course means tuning up various computers; converting one over to linux, and doing standard OS maintenance on another. While cleaning up the system on my mothers computer, she explained that she missed her clickfree backup; following a report of disk errors, it had requested retirement, and so it was replaced by a MyPassport drive. However, it was not as simple to use as the old clickfree drive it had replaced; a common complaint from former owners of clickfree drives. Continue reading

HAL is gone

“I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid.”

[HAL’s shutdown]

I decided to take the Ubuntu 10.04 plunge after waiting a week for any last minute glitches to be fixed. Ubuntu 10.04, dubbed Lucid Lynx brings a number of changes to the distro including the 2.6.32 Kernel a new boot splash mechanism called Plymouth and the removal of HAL, the Hardware Abstraction Layer , not the homicidal Heuristic ALgorithmic computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I was happy enough to move up to the new Kernel, in fact that was one of my primary reasons for the change. Continue reading

CF-72 Touchscreen script 2.1

I recently upgraded updated my notebook to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. For the most part it went well, as is to be expected with a clean install. For a while now I have just backed up my home directory and reinstalled rather then doing upgrades – its just a smoother ride. Perhaps the biggest hiccup was getting the touchscreen working again. The script I wrote for 9.o4 kept stalling out halfway through. It wouldn’t even tell why, it would just stop responding and I would have to escape out at the terminal. I futzed around with it for a little while and then noticed that the touch screen was working. So while something was going wrong and I never really found out what, it did eventually take.

I finally got back to the script; I first went through it editing it for readability and then tweaked a few things I had broken with my futzing, finally I added sudo in-line so the script can be launched by any user with sudo privileges. I never did figure out what had happened; there are no major differences between this script and the last one so they ought to be inter changeable. Anyway at long last Continue reading


That script I wrote the other day was quick, and it worked,  but it was kinda kludgey. Of course I didn’t spend much time on it. But I got to thinking wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t overwrite the old lesson every time it was run. And then I found that there was a pesky long dash that wikipedia likes to use that just isn’t on the keyboard. A rewrite was in order, and I had it done and then moments ago I thought that something should prevent duplicate lessons from being created as well. I guess this project kinda ran away a little bit, but at last here it is ktouch_tfa_ wikipedia-2.1

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python generated ktouch typing lessons

I have been teaching my self to type with ktouch. It is a pretty good program, I am already faster than I was in my hunt and peck days, about 120 kpm. I got tired of doing the same lessons over and over, starting with two keys and progressively getting more difficult. Even the most difficult lesson gets easier after you have typed the same nonsense sequences a dozen times.

I found that the lessons are stored in xml files and decided to write a script that would fetch articles from wikipedia and turn them into typing exercises.

Continue reading