The Dog Never Ate my Posts

sleeping-dog_sxc_jaimoI have not posted for a couple of weeks and it’s all because I forgot a very wise lesson, in times of plenty prepare for the famine.

When the going is good it is all too easy to put aside the implementation of your maintenance or disaster prevention plans.

Since switching from Windows 8 to Linux Ubuntu, I have had a persistent issue with CPU overload which it transpires is due to the desktop graphics software used in Ubuntu. The alternatives were either worse or had their own unique issues.

So I had several options

  • Return to Windows
  • Find an alternative Linux Distribution
  • Switch to Apple

If we are friends on Facebook then you will have been party to the updates regarding this.

However in case we are not, here is how it went.

With Windows 10 getting a lukewarm reception due to like all Microsoft software being bug ridden, this was not an option I wanted to pursue. I want an operating system that works out of the box not one where I become a de-facto beta tester. Switching to Apple is an expensive leap into the dark, requiring an entire new hardware, software and working pattern setup, this would be an option of last resort.

So I was left with finding an alternative Linux distribution (distro).

My preference was for Opensuse, as it’s unique and not based upon another distro. So I started the process, all my data is backed upto Dropbox so formatting the computer held no fears. However I soon hit a couple of issues, the bootable USB did not work and the live network CD could not detect my WiFi network so I could not proceed.

I was now left with a dead PC.

Thankfully I have a Windows 7 laptop which I use for Kindle bookmark editing which is something I described in this post. Thus I was able to download my second choice distro, Linux Mint which is based upon Ubuntu but highly recommended by Ozer Tayiz. Thankfully it is only loosely based upon Ubuntu.

Now comes the crucial part of the install I want you to take note of because this will ensure you do not have to go through the computer downtime I had to. This step was to create the partition scheme, having done plenty of prior research the general consensus is that you need as a minimum regardless of operating system, the following partitions.

  1. Boot, located at the start of your drive, typically 512MB
  2. Operating system, 2nd partition, Linux 15GB, Windows 60GB
  3. Data, 3rd partition, the remaining space on your drive
  4. Swap, located at the end of your drive, typically 2GB

I learned the hard way, when you keep your data and operating system together if one fails you lose both.

With partitioning completed and Mint installed there was one last step to complete before I could commence getting my data back from the cloud. You have to tell Mint that you wish to move your home directory to your Data partition, thankfully the steps to achieving this are clearly explained in the following guide.

Now I could start downloading my Dropbox data but soon realised the major issue with cloud backups, unless you have a really fast Internet connection, it can take ages to complete the download, for me it took about a week to complete using several Internet dropboxsynchsda4proofScreenshotconnections. This was due to my ISP’s fair use policy of about 15Gb per week, my Dropbox account usage stands at 122GB!

One point to note with moving your Linux home directory is that there is no confirmation of movement success and so as you can see in the image, I had to keep checking the Data partition Use% column.

Of course you could keep a local external hard drive backup but I have yet to find a software solution that does this simply and automatically, unless this is the case it is all too easy to forget to do it and you quickly have an outdated backup.

Windows 7

finalpartitionAs I was in the mood for partitioning I thought I would repeat the process for my Windows laptop and as there was nothing wrong with it I could do this without formatting it first. Initially I attempted to use the inbuilt software but found that an exercise in frustration and so quickly switched to the following free software.

This worked faultlessly and easily created all the partitions listed earlier. With the data partition in place it was simply then a matter of copying my files to the new data area and removing them from the operating system area. As I use Dropbox and Kindle for Windows, the final step was to point them to their new folders on the new data partition, so that was week 1!

Week 2 – The Back Bites Back

In 1993 I injured my back due to an ill conceived RAF exercise program and as I was a trainee at the time, I did not receive a thorough assessment of the damage caused.

Since then I have had intermittent periods of lower back pain which are mitigated to an extent by undertaking a series of core exercises in the morning. However in times of good it is all too easy to skip these exercises until the times of bad make their presence felt in my back.

The latest episode has been the worst yetMy actual X-ray

After switching sleeping from bed to floor due to the back pain I quickly realized this was a bad idea, and spent the next hour attempting to get off the floor, with that I decided it was time to attend the local hospital in the morning.

Thankfully this was a Saudi hospital and not a British one, so I was able to get X-rays, MRI, a full diagnosis and my first physio session all completed in one day. It turns out I have 2 damaged lower back discs which although not clear on the X-ray to the right, were completely black on the MRI, this is apparently an indication of disc dehydration.

The doctor was not impressed this was the first time I had seen the damage to my spine!

Thankfully now that I am on some powerful prescription medicines, I am able to resume most of my core exercises and this time lesson learned, no more putting off the preventative steps whether they are for my health or for my online adventure!

What are you putting off that could stop you and your online adventure in its tracks?