Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Goodbye Microsoft Windows

I have severed the final remnants of Microsoft Windows from my pc last night, I copied off all the important data from the old windows partition, then deleted it, I then expanded my Ubuntu/Linux partition to swallow up the enormous space left by the bloatware called Windows. So what used to be a dual boot PC is now purely Linux.

I have to admit I haven't actually used Windows on my PC for nearly 18 months, so it seems a little silly keeping it there, if the truth be told I was only using the Windows partition as a data store, so it made sense to convert it to purely Linux/Ext4 a far superior file system that doesn't suffer fragmentation like NTFS does.

I used a GNU utility called Gparted, which you download as an ISO image burn to a CD then boot from, it's basically Partition Magic but free and works as well as, if not better than Partition Magic.

Linux isn't bound by the rules Windows uses in that it doesn't need a primary partition to boot from, you can boot it from anywhere. So I expanded the extended partition which contained my original Ubuntu installation and left it to get on with it, it took about 2 hours to shift all data left over the massive expanse of empty disk left by the now defunct and banished Windows. The only problem I encountered was the fact that if you move the directory /boot your pc won't boot because grub2 has the location of /boot (stage1) hard coded into it...

But that was easily fixed by booting my Ubuntu 10.10 live cd, dropping to terminal and mounting the new expanded partition to /mnt then binding /proc /sys /dev under /mnt and then chroot'ing to the /mnt drive and re-installing the grub2 bootloader.... basically the same as using the fixmbr switch in fdisk under windows...That re-wrote the position of /boot and all worked just like it said on the tin.

I've got to admit It did complain because I had forgotten that I had hard coded the NTFS drives into fstab so that they automounted on boot, obviously Linux was looking for them when it booted, but that was easily fixed by simply deleting the entries for the previous two NTFS drive... and all was well in my world :)

So I have reduced Windows now to a Virtualbox Virtual Machine, just in case I need it for anything or possibly just to fire it up and laugh at it in the future.... fair do's though XP is an old operating system and it's still in use today, but it's dated and limited, but it paid a fair few of my bills in the past... if I had been installing Linux from day one, I probably wouldn't have made as much money from supporting it because it just isn't flaky like Windows is ;¬) 

Other news is that Xbox boy's Army selection is looming fast, I think he's got mixed emotions about it all, excitement mixed with a bit of fear of the unknown, all perfectly normal... He's a bit upset that his other step father isn't that interested in his chosen career and he suspects that the lack of interest is because he (other step father) thinks I've encouraged him to join the Army, which couldn't be further from the truth, it was Stewart who one day walked into Army careers and started the ball rolling, without any help or involvement from me... When he's asked about what it was like in basic training or actually in the Army I've told him, I've given him the undiluted truth, but I've never pushed him to join. I think Xbox boy will last a lot longer than his other step father did in the Marines allegedly of course, although not making it through basic training because of an alleged back injury in the first weeks doesn't mean you've been a Royal Marine, or maybe it's because he doesn't want Xbox boy to succeed where he (allegedly) failed ????? who knows....or in fact cares..... All I know is that I'm immensely proud of his decision to join up and will support him as much as I can, while I can :)  

The Sullen one is healing nicely after her operation and is back on fine form... it was quite a quick bounce back to be honest, her voice has changed slightly but that will come back as well eventually.

FOMO boy is starting to get a little too big for his boots at 11 !!! I've kept out of it (mostly) as Andrea is managing it absolutely fine at the moment.... I'll only get involved if some serious discipline needs enforcing, I'm more of an artillery bombardment or missile strike to Andrea's more focussed rifle group, she's keeping him pinned down enough at the moment....He's stretching his wings to see how far they can go that's all, but there are limits and defined boundaries which he is pushing.... so for the time being the red dot is on him and the missiles have acquired their target, should they be needed.

Freya is getting a little bit demanding at the moment and has learned (probably from school) that little girls who pretend to cry sometimes get their way....except of course in our house, it's pretty amazing how they change once they get to school and mix with other kids... I suppose it will all come out in the wash eventually....

As for Andrea she's fighting fit, she did the Rhayader 20 mile race last weekend and knocked a very respectable 30 minutes off the last time she did it, which is no mean feat considering the terrain around that place....

As for me.... I'm doing ok, now the better weather and lighter nights are here I'm going to get out on my road bike and get some miles under my belt... I do enjoy biking and there are plenty of places around here to cycle to and from... the only problem is breaking the legs in again…. And that’s going to hurt….

Thursday, 17 March 2011


I had a "Take That" moment last night, my favourite ever dance band "Faithless" have split up.....(or are in the process of splitting up) NOOOOOOOOO.

Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo have decided to call it a day and return the book to the library as he put it, it's not like they have dropped out of popularity, they consistently headline festivals and command massive crowds of fans when they perform, but I guess after 15 or so years of performing and touring it makes you want to move on with something else. Even so it will leave a massive hole in the dance music scene.... I would have loved to have gone and seen them one last time, but alas they aren't performing near here....sad day....

Anyway on a slightly brighter note (for me at least) I have fixed my computers strange habit of overheating the CPU by replacing the CPU with a Fleabay bought second user CPU for £30 !!!  which is actually faster than the one it replaces by a large margin and now runs incredibly cool even when all four cpu cores are run at 100%....In which case the heat sensing diodes on my old CPU must have been brain damaged when the cooling heat sink fell off.

It's a bargain because it's still current and retails new for over £250.... I don't think they knew what they were selling... Oh well my gain their loss, all is fair in bidding and auctions....

The Japan nuclear situation is looking very grim indeed, they are dropping sea water on the reactors now via helicopter, which brings back memories of Chernobyl, needless to say if they have to drop it by helicopter then it's pretty safe to say that they've either lost containment or that radiation levels are too high to risk putting people in there.... A very grim situation, I've seen a few anti nuclear lobbyists venting their anger with a "told you so" attitude on the TV.... but in Japan's case what alternatives did they have to supply energy to their people ? They knew it was a risk putting nuclear reactors so near to a major fault line but like all the "experts" have been saying this recent event is a once in a 100 year event, and you can't design out every eventuality or disaster, you can try but there will always be something that comes along to destroy the theory. It's a truly awful triple whammy they've had and I can only see things getting worse.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Law

This subject always fascinates me, I recently came across an article about council tax and a group of people who are refusing to pay it because it's not lawful, it's a very complex subject involving statutes and common law, but basically it boils down to this.

Councils around the country are producing their own summons to appear at the magistrate’s court, which is illegal under common law and recently a test case was tried in Wales where a lay advisor refused to recognise the courts jurisdiction and asked the magistrates if they were under oath and wanted to be tried under common law. The court tried to "trick" the witnesses into accepting jurisdiction by asking them to leave the court but the simple action of standing up to leave would have meant they accepted the courts authority and could have been held in contempt of court.

Three times the clerk tried to get the lay advisor and his witnesses to leave the court and three times the lay advisor asked if the magistrates where under oath, they refused to answer, eventually the police were called and the lay advisor asked if the attending police officers where there under oath to uphold the law, they replied yes, that ensured that the lay advisor could stay in court... It would also have been assault if the police officers or any court official had tried to physically remove the lay advisor.

To cut a long story short eventually the magistrates left the court for the final time, at which point the lay advisor under common law was the highest authority in that court and he therefore dismissed the case.

The whole point of the exercise was to point out that a statute is not a law and magistrates/judges who will not admit to being under oath in a court of law are not being unbiased and do not have to uphold the law and are there purely for a summary judgement.

It turns out that no liability notice could be produced which meant there was no legal requirement for the accused person to be there, and it also means none ever existed and that the council were hiring the time and courts/room to execute these summary judgements to the ignorance of the general population.

It also means the council in question were acting illegally by producing their own court summons and basically lying to gain payment.

It makes you wonder who's side the court system is on doesn't it ? Especially if you are ignorant of the law and especially common law, and knowing the difference between a statute and the law. Laws are there to protect us, it seems statutes are there to control us.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


What can you say about such an awful natural disaster ? apparently Japan has moved on average 4 metres to the east after the earthquake. I know I've been glued to the TV and Internet broadcasts over what is unfolding over there, it's very hard to imagine first of all your house very nearly being reduced to rubble then in some coastal places being swept away by a 35 metre high tsunami... I'm guessing the loss of life will be much higher than current estimates.... but then to have a nuclear disaster thrown into the mix as well... it doesn't really get much worse than that.... I just hope they don't get another big quake a few months afterwards like New Zealand did, that would just be the final nail in the coffin for some I should imagine....

No doubt the sick jokes will start to circulate soon, as they always do when either somebody famous dies or a huge natural disaster strikes... it seems to be par for the course these days... I'm a fan of black humour having been in the forces but even squaddie humour has it's limits especially when so many people have lost their lives, and I think we can be pretty certain many thousands have, and possibly many more to come.

The crackpots on the internet have surfaced saying that Nostradamus predicted this event.... No he didn't, no doubt David Icke will have something equally ridiculous to say on the subject.

All I can say on the matter is that all I can do is offer my sympathy to all those lost, but more so to the ones left behind who have to pick up the pieces....

Truly horrific

Friday, 4 March 2011

Pain and Sweat

We're getting our first delivery of seasoned wood soon, where we are going to stack it is a problem we will face when we get there, My father has been clearing some trees down at the boat club and he's offered us the trees ready cut up for the wood burner, although we won't be able to burn them until at least Christmas...

The sullen one has had her tonsils out yesterday and is feeling very sorry for herself, but as long as she keeps taking her painkillers and keeps eating  it will be manageable, I remember very well how bad it was when I had mine out, at least she had visitors after the operation.... unlike me, but that's another story and in a different world.....

She's going to be off school for a couple of weeks but at least she won't have to suffer the awful recurring tonsillitis she's been getting month in month out... that will be a thing of the past.

Andrea is running the Llanelli Half Marathon this weekend on Sunday and is in training for the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of May this year, she's not a happy bunny though because she is nursing a calf injury and runners who can't run very well or at all are officially the most miserable people on the planet, probably up there with a heroin addict not getting their fix....but obviously slightly more healthy....

Xbox boy did his mock selection in Cardiff over the last couple of days and apparently did very well, he was particularly impressed with his first official army breakfast on the second day. He has said that in all probability he will be put forward for real selection very soon, so he "may" be in the Army for real this summer fingers crossed.

Selection in itself hasn't changed very much, they still get you to carry jerry cans full of water, they still get you to do chin ups and the 1.5 mile run is the same, along with the circuit training, I suppose if it ain't broke then don't fix it.

What does puzzle me however are these "mock" selections I remember mine vividly and I was just given a date to turn up and a train travel warrant and you just did it, and you either passed or failed, I didn't have any mock selections or prior warning of what to expect, I'm wondering if that's to do with the lower level of fitness of teenagers today ?

I remember I wasn't that fazed by any of my selection process and found it particularly easy, but then I was a lot more active than Xbox boy at his age, climbing rocks, cycling, walking everywhere. I blame it on gaming and broadband... we didn't even have mobile phones when I was 16 and I didn't see them appear in their first brick like form until the early 1990's. Xbox boy was telling me that some of the lads on the mock selections had done four of them and still hadn't been put forward for their real selection because they weren't fit enough... bizarre

Anyway hopefully he'll be put forward relatively soon so he can get on with his chosen career of square dancing on minefields ;¬)

I'm hitting the big 48 in a few days..... the less said about that the better....equally bizarre because I don't feel a day over 30 and haven't for years....