The Too Short Blanket and Other Stories

Nothing of interest on tv last evening seemed a good excuse for some fun programming on my laptop while my wife watched some tv-drama. The next good excuse was to completely discharge batteries before recharging them, increasing their lifespan… and so on.Not to count that at last my desktop Linux PC was working and needed no more my caring attentions.
I switched my aging Toshiba on and waited for the good ol’ login screen… unfortunately the computer refused to proceed beyond the “remounting root file system in read/write mode” with a grinding sound. I started feeling uneasy.
That kind of sound and that kind of halt couldn’t be any good. So I restarted the thing, only to have it halted on the same boot line with the same sound. I’m not only very aficionado to my laptop, but to my fun programming stuff too. And the fact that it was nearly time to switch to a new laptop it wasn’t a good reason to die for it that way without a notice.
Time to get that Fedora Core 2 Rescue Disc I burnt on a mini-CD (nice).
The mini-CD booted without a glitch (while it took quite a time to get to the prompt), and I was dropped in a root shell.
I found the root partition by using fdisk, and then, after a bit of experiments with –help and some command line switches I launched:

fsck.ext3 -f -v /dev/hda2

And after some time astonished I learned that no problems were found. So I tried harder with a badblock thorough check:

fsck.ext3 -f -c /dev/hda2

And after more time and even more astonished I learned that the disk was really ok. To be really sure, I mounted the partition and chroot’ed there:

mount /dev/hda2 /mnt/source
mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/source/boot
mount proc /mnt/source/proc -t proc
chroot /mnt/source

And, yes everything worked, and my files was still there… I stopped holding my breath. Maybe it was just a transient problem. I rebooted and … no the system hadn’t been impressed by my exercise with the rescue disc.

Thinking of what could have caused that state I recalled about the ‘rdev’ command I twiddled with. My intention was to restore the text video mode at boot time in something suitable with the 800×600 resolution of the screen. In fact after having tried Knoppix I got the boot video resolution set to 640×480. Maybe that rdev could have messed up something, since it can control also the read/write mode of the root filesystem.
I had another round with rescue disc, mount and chroot, to run ‘yum update’. I got a lot of new stuff among which a brand new kernel. Useless to say but the update didn’t solve the problem. I hope to solve it soon without resorting to reinstalling Linux.

Maybe you remember the digital camera I got as bonus for “Beyond Good&Evil”. Well I discovered, to my surprise, that this is a real camera and is sold for about $38… The price is disappointingly high compared to the quality. I think that this camera can be successfully used only as a webcam. We used the camera to take some shots during a trek on “Corni di Canzo” only to discover the day after that no picture was present in the camera memory. My wife used the camera to shot some picture during a live concert and the result was more or less the same. Only 3/4 of a picture survived.
The battery lasted for no more than 100 shots. Consider that when the camera is connected to PC it should pull juice from the USB cable.
Definitively I don’t recommend this Vivitar camera to anyone.
The positive side of the story is that this experiences convinced my wife of the need of a (real) digital camera :-).

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