laptop, python, zurch,

In Computers, Typical on 2008-01-06 by petervk


So, my laptop died. Well, not really, just the hard drive, but as is contains all the data and that data is what makes it my laptop, it’s kind of useless. It’s sitting behind me, flatlining with its hard drive on the desk. Maybe I should cover it with a white sheet? I’m still hopeful that I can recover the data from it somehow, but the hard drive is junk now.

Cool thing I learned though, most modern hard drives are S.M.A.R.T. enabled, which means they actually collect quite a bit of useful data on their usage patterns. Just pull a “apt-get install smartmontools” and a “man smartctl” to see what I’m talking about. (only people with a real OS try this) My broken laptop hard drive has ~12,000 hours of use (= 1.4 years), and ~1,800 power cycles (= restarting you computer everyday for 5 years). Yet the S.M.A.R.T. diagnosis says its healthy, just that some of the sectors are corrupt.

The Ironic bit of all this is every time someone tells me about data loss or hardrive failure I just scoff at them and say “All hard drives fail eventually. You have to make backups if you care about your data.” Guess who didn’t make any recent backups?


No, not the snake, the programming language.

I’m really a poser hacker. I can talk the talk but when it comes down to it, the most coding I’ve ever done was some math quiz games in qbasic 15 years ago. (10 GOTO 10) So I’m learning Python. ( import os, sys, worlddomination) It’s often called a scripting language because it is interpreted at runtime, but as it is compiled to byte code and run in a VM it’s kind of like Java. But whatever, it’s really popular and it can do anything, and you’re l33t if you know python.

Oh and my mother bought me a sweet python programming book for christmas. (“Sweet gift! Exactly the one on my indigo wishlist. How did you know?”)

I was using my l33t python hacker skills to program a python function to use canada411’s reverse phone number service to retrieve names and addresses from a given phone number, but as this voids their terms of use (“You may only use our data in the way we want you too. If your doing something cool or web 2.0 ish you need to pay us more.”) I got my hands slapped with a 24 hour ip address ban. Kind of cool. I wonder if they ban based upon number of searches from an ip, or based upon the fact that I was checking every possible number within a range…. Oops.

Good news though, our churches website is finally getting redone. (check it out before it’s updated, vintage ms publisher generated html) (shudder. The church has hired someone and he’s putting together a wordpress powered site for us. Should be awesome.

When it’s done lets all google bomb it with “Zion United Reformed Church of Sheffield, Ontario“. Oh wait, that’s what it is. Whatever.


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