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Month: June 2017

Hard Drive Fixed? And Accidental Email Fix?

Hard Drive Fixed? And Accidental Email Fix?

So after an uneventful afternoon, after my fsck that left my laptop up and running, I shut down my laptop, and made my way home. With no need to fire up my laptop that night, while triaging my emails and Slack messages from my phone, I fired up my laptop the next day for the first time in a while….and initramfs. Well, shit.

So having realized that my Dropbox, Google Drive and email inbox contained most of the things that I needed on this machine, I decided a re-image was the route. Why? Not entirely sure, but I figured, blow it all away, and reinstall the OS and se where that leaves us. I had been running Ubuntu 17.04, and hadn’t had many issues, at least many issues that I couldn’t figure out, but I decided that the LTS was the best for me. If I was using this in production, I wanted it to be stable and stable for the foreseeable future.

Having started a reinstall, I made it about 60% through the install of the OS and we locked up. The installer actually threw an error, and crashed. Well, such is Linux? Maybe? Another failed OS install and I began to think this was hardware related. Since this was a corporate Dell, I knew I was warrantied against hardware failures, but really? A hardware failure this early into the life of the machine? Then it hit me, this was a 7450…the last model laptop that we deployed in the company that might have had a spinning platter hard drive. And that was the culprit.

Well Dell would send me a replacement, but I really didn’t want to replace a dead HDD with another, so I bit the bullet, bought a 256GB SSD and installed. Yes, I only got 256 GB, as I’ve said before, I don’t keep much on my hard drive, so save some money, don’t but extra space!

I decided to keep going with the 16.04 LTS install, and was back up and running in 20 minutes after install. I started installing all my programs again, when it came time to choose an email client. I installed Geary, and just for fun…I decided to install Nylas N1 again. I let it sync, and sync, annnnnnd sync. Then something surprising happened…it finished. AND I was receiving emails.

So rolling back to 16.04, something about Ubuntu 17.04 and N1 didn’t get along, but now, I can happily say that for about 2 weeks or so, I’ve been using Nylas N1 without any issues, aside from some blips with assigning labels/moving to folders, which in the grand scheme of things, I can tolerate. Now…is there a calendar manager available..?

Hard Drive Failures Make Me Sad Pt1

Hard Drive Failures Make Me Sad Pt1

It’s the first rule of computers. Back up. 2 is 1 and 1 is none. So what does that mean if you have no backups? That’s right, I said it. I, IT Manager by trade, did NOT have any backups on my main work laptop. No before I’m strung up by the collective IT workers of the world, let me try and “explain” (if I can), the reasons for my choices.

My former main laptop was a MacBook Pro, 15″, 2015 model. And that was using an offsite backup through Mozy. My work provide’s Mozy accounts, it’s not my favorite offsite backup software, but it’s not the worst. The Mac client leaves a little to be desired, but as a company of mostly Windows machines, it suffices. Since switching to Ubuntu 17.04 I decided I didn’t need a backup, since this was only meant to be temporary.

In addition to using Mozy to backup documents, I have a 100GB inbox in Exchange Online for one email, and a GSuite account for another email address. That means emails can live in my inbox folders, and I don’t need to deal with the wonderful file format that is PSTs. GSuite also includes unlimited Google Drive, and I also have a TB of Dropbox storage, so, cloud/someone else’s computer for the win? With that said, setting up a new computer is rather easy. Log into my password manager, sync Dropbox/Google Drive and I have most of what I need.

Well, there’s another twist to this story. And this also involves my stupidity. Last week my laptop decided that crawling was the new high speed, and running sudo apt-get update started failing. Not the standard, error “couldn’t lock file” message that I’ve received with an incomplete update or install/uninstall. Random error messages that I wasn’t quite sure of. When in doubt, reboot!

After a restart, I was presented with…initramfs. That was it. Maybe…one more reboot? No, no luck. We were stuck at init, and that was it. Did I mention I was in the middle of a weekday, in the midst of a vendor meeting no less? Great. So, hard drive issues maybe? An hour of fsck later and I was back, maybe a little sluggish but up and running none the less. I’ll get through the day and figure it out tomorrow, right?