Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I Used Shell to Alter Grub

World of Warcraft forced me to learn to fix my computer.

That's right.

So, my computer died last week. Kaput. After much fiddly research, a friend of mine who understands grub and sectors and so forth, pointed out that the errors I was receiving were related to a corrupted sector. We checked and sure enough my hard drive had been totally corrupted. We decided it was time for me to move to SSD. I installed a new SSD, reinstalled Ubuntu 14.04, and commenced with installing my favorite softwares. This is where WoW comes in. I reinstalled Wine 1.7 and proceeded to run the download executable for WoW. When it finished, after many many many many hours of waiting, I tried going in to play.

Uh oh.

All of my text was a garbled mess. Basically unreadable. This only happened now, because in the 6.2 patch of WoW they added some options for anti-aliasing. For some reason, that really messes with the graphics card if you're not using proper drivers for it. After a few searches I found that my Nvidia Geforce GT610 graphics card was not using proprietary drivers in Ubuntu. Instead Ubuntu had kindly assigned an open source driver to use. This might be nice, but for my gaming, I think it's a waste of a graphics card not to get the full experience, plus, you know, garbled text. So I trotted over to Nvidia online and downloaded the latest driver for my card. Then I rebooted.

Uh oh.

Upon reboot, the computer would pass my motherboard flash screen and then head to a blank screen and display this error: "ACPCI PCC probe failed" along with several lines of other failure information. Then it wouldn't move beyond that screen. Thinking I had botched something, I proceeded to reinstall Ubuntu. I reinstalled my software except for Wine and WoW. Then I did more research and found that some people recommended disabling FXAA on the graphics card. For the life of me I never found where I could do that. After multiple restarts and grabbing the motherboard menu, I would find the graphics card settings but nothing seemed to make sense for FXAA enabling or disabling. More research and I found that I could go into System Settings, Software and Updates, then to the Additional Drivers tab. I found several drivers listed for my graphics card, including the Ubuntu open source driver being used. I thought, "Well if they have these here, and they recognize them, then they must be safe. So I chose the one which said "current" and restarted.

Uh oh.

Once again I got the ACPCI error and no boot beyond that. This time, instead of reinstalling I Googled the error message on my laptop and found the following solution.

First, you need to boot in Recovery Mode. To do this you hold the shift key down when rebooting. You must however, wait till you pass the motherboard flash screen if you have one, otherwise it will just hang there. As soon as the flash screen is gone hold down the shift key and keep holding till you get a horrendous colored purple screen with a boot menu.

Choose Advanced Options for Ubuntu. On the next purple Barney screen, move the cursor to highlight the option with Recovery Mode in the line, but DO NOT enter. Instead hit 'e'. You first must alter the recovery mode boot script to boot into a read-write file system instead of the default read-only. Hitting 'e' will bring you to a screen with a short script. Find the line that starts like this: "linux    /boot/vmlinuz..." in that line you will notice "ro". Scroll to that and change that to "rw". Now hit F10 to continue the boot. This will bring you to another option menu. Here you will choose "root    Drop to root shell prompt". Now you are in a shell terminal where you have all the power. Muhahahaha. I Love Terminal!

Now the fun begins. You are going to use a text editor to edit your /etc/default/grub file. I used nano, only because I didn't have vim installed, usually I use vim. Pick whichever you're used to. If you've never done this before, use vim. The command is "vim /etc/default/grub".
Now you're going to scroll down through the text that pops up till you get to this line: 'GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT "quiet splash"'. Change that "quiet splash" to "quiet splash nomodeset". To do this, you must hit the 'i' key in order to insert text. Once you've entered your text, hit the escape key. Now type ":wq!". This tells the editor to force a write of the text you enterd and then quit. To check that your editing worked, now type the command "cat /etc/default/grub". This will show you the file you were just in. Check that the line you altered really has been altered. If not, go back in and try again. If it's good to go, now you MUST update grub. Type "update-grub". You are rockin' it. Now we get to do a restart ("shutdown -r now"). Type that. Go on, it's ok.

Your computer should restart and move it's way right past that ACPCI error screen. Once back inside your computer, your proprietary driver for the graphics card should work. Go open your favorite game. When I went back into World of Warcraft, not only was my text readable, but the graphics were gorgeous and my framerate was astounding. To think I'd been living with substandard graphics on a nice card...guh.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

September Pins

Just a quick one today. Remember the weekly pins? Well I've got a whole months worth on a board.
Check out some fun things like:

A good LEGO joke, a link to some beautiful photography work, a few Halloween inspirations, fall pumpkiny things, "Han Burgundy" - you gotta see this one, some book love, some textile love, and of course things to geek out over. It has pretty much something for everyone. Come on, click the picture and go gaze, you know you want to.

That was fun right?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What's That Book?

Crowdsourcing time! I have been trying to remember the name of a story or book that I read when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure it was a book. Here's the description, maybe you or someone you know remembers it?

The main character is a man. He lands on an alien planet and cannot leave. He lives with the natives for a long time. Near the end of the book a spaceship lands on the planet and he describes the aliens that come off of the ship. We later learn that they are actually humans but he has been living with the natives of the planet so long that he has begun to see things from their viewpoint and has forgotten what he actually looks like to them. He sees the humans and they look strange to him. I remember when he describes the humans he talks about how fleshy or puffy they look. I'm not positive but I think the natives he's been living with are ghost-like. 

Does any of this ring a bell with anyone?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Here's what I think: Chores and Allowances

I love when you find some kind of parenting meme concerning chores or allowances and in the comments (I know, I'm not supposed to read those) you find a bunch of 'people' saying, "Chores are cruel. Kids should be able to play". These 'people' are most likely under the age of 18 and attempting to avoid the sweatshop of chores their parents have heaped upon them (yeah right). Then you have the comments that eschew the allowance end of the concept because "Children should help the family without being paid! That is life!"

Here's what I think:

1. Chores are for teaching independence.

In this house we have two kinds of work. One is chores. Our kids have had chores since they were two. Of course at two, they didn't load a dishwasher or fold clothes. They carried their plates to the counter after meals. That was their chore. They were proud of that. It built a sense of confidence in them that they could do something on their own. For a child of that age, it felt extremely grown up. The other kind of work the kids do is the helping out the family kind and that is on the fly work. They understand they have scheduled chores that they are expected to take care of and they understand that when I or my husband ask them to do something not on their scheduled list of chores, they do it because they are contributing to family life.

Chores are based on age and ability. They teach children how to take care of themselves. As they get older they learn things they will need to know in order to maintain a house or apartment, to live independently and healthily.

For a long time I used something I had made which I called the bonhomme board. Bonhomme here in Quebec is used to describe a character, like from a cartoon show. On the bonhomme board, each kid had a magnet character and three strings of images representing the chores for morning, after school and after dinner. As they finished a chore they moved their character to the next image and worked on that, once all the images for a given time of day were finished they were free to play. Those worked great when they were younger but now they have more chores and it became too difficult to make a board big enough.

But guess what? There's an app for that. Yep. There's an app for tracking chores, it's called ChoreMonster. I discovered it this year and love it. It's extremely visual which is a must for my daughter who has a language disability and relates better to imagery. I was able to set up their chores, give each chore an image icon, a scheduled time and frequency and a point value. When they earn a specified amount of points, they earn rewards, one of which is their allowance.

*I am not affiliated with or paid by ChoreMonster, just really like them

That brings me to

2. Allowances are for teaching healthy relationships with money.

photo from www.SeniorLiving.Org 

Allowances are not payment for a job done. They are a reward, yes, but the real goal of an allowance is to teach the kids how to handle money. Here's how we do it. When the kids earn a certain number of points for the week, they earn their allowance. They are allowed to earn more than their allowance by offering to do extra jobs and negotiating the payment with us. When I say negotiate I mean I want them to analyse the value of their work and offer a price, then I counter with the actual price I will pay and give them my reasons why it is different, if it is different than what they have offered.
This particular idea we are using to encourage entrepreneurship - taking their money making into their own hands and being creative/proactive about their work.

Once a week I sit with them and let them know how much they've earned. Then we discuss how much they want to put in their wallet for immediate use, and how much they want to save. I require them to save at least 50% of their earnings each week. The wallet money is for little treats at the grocery store and so forth. Their savings go in their piggy bank and I keep a ledger so they know exactly how much they have at any given time. I have my ledger and money pouch in a 3 ring binder. Also in the binder is an image of something each kid wants to save their money for. A LEGO set, a camera, things that are more costly and require long term savings. We put the price plus tax on the printed page so they know exactly how much they need. As they save, they can see how close they are to their goal. When they have enough we discuss whether they want to go buy their item right away or save a little more so they don't completely deplete their savings.

Waiting to earn enough and waiting to save a little more teaches patience and not letting money burn holes in their pockets. This method has worked quite well for us so far. My daughter once saved $135 for a particularly large LEGO set she wanted. It took her nearly six months to save for it. At the age of 9, that's pretty diligent. I'm hoping this will help them as adults feel comfortable with money and confident in their ability to save and buy without credit. This system, by the way, also alleviates those frustrating trips to the store with kids asking for everything under the sun. They know that if they want something, they need to pay for it themselves with their wallet money. This has taught them the value of things as well. They now pay attention to what things actually cost and they have an idea of how long it takes to save for something. This way they can begin to question for themselves if it is worth the price and their hard earned money.

Those are my thoughts on kids, chores and allowances.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Viral Shmiral

I'm going to weigh in on something.

Marketing gimmicks are nothing new. Fatal or horrific diseases are not rare as a whole. Doing something silly because it's a viral thing is anything but uncommon.

HOWEVER, what could possibly be wrong with throwing ice water on your head if

1) it gets attention for a disease that rarely gets attention and begins to open discussion about what it is?

I for one knew about ALS before the viral bucket challenge, but really didn't know what it actually was. Then I saw this video:

Now I know.

2) it gets people to donate? Everything about money is a numbers game. This is why call centers work. You know that irritating call you get right when you sit down to dinner in which the local newspaper tries to get you to subscribe? Or the vacation time-share condo lady claims you've won a free trip? Sure YOU hung up, but she doesn't care. Do you know why? Because the more people she calls, the more likely she will snare a sale and that's the whole point. So what if not everyone donates? At least it's on the minds of many and guess what? Some people are donating which could never really be a bad thing. I mean do you want to be the one to look an ALS patient in the eye and tell them the money donated to research about their disease is a waste? I wouldn't ever call any money donated to a good cause as a waste.

I've seen articles saying there are other diseases killing more people that need more attention than this one. Yup, you're right. But does that mean we should be upset that this one is getting attention and money? The guy in that video certainly wouldn't feel that way.

A much beloved family member of mine had a disease that is most often extremely fatal and quickly so. He was lucky enough to be brought onto a trial treatment and it so far, has worked for him. He's been given a second chance and I for one, am grateful he did. I am happy that the treatment center he received the trial treatment at had the money for the research they did.

So when the temptation to be negative arises, maybe you could ask yourself, if someone in my family had this disease, would I be happy about this silly viral thing? If you can answer yes, then maybe you could just smile and watch the funny videos and be happy that sick people are getting research money that might someday help them.

In a time when negativity has found a giant incubator called the internet,  I like to lean into positivity and hope.