Well, I finally got my computer back from Novatech today, about a week after they said I should. They've replaced the hard drive, and not charged me for the shipping materials used to return it (yay), and also refitted the Alt key (or possibly fitted a new one - but they haven't replaced the keyboard, as all my crumbs are still in there. I should probably work out a way of getting rid of those.).
Much has been happening since I last blogged (I decided not to blog until I got my computer back, hence the long updateless period).
June 10th was my birthday (thanks to all who remembered), and a few of us went to G&D's in the evening to have a G&D's cake kindly purchased (mail order, the first time anyone has done so from them!) by my parents. We only managed half between four of us, so I took it back and dropped in on Bev 9/10 to offer it round. It went down rather well. Then sipped fresh elderflower cordial (mmm) and subsequently went for a random walk around North Oxford.
The cake itself was something else. It consisted of a thick layer of brownie at the bottom (the same mixture used to make G&D's regular brownies), with three thick layers of ice cream on top, one on top of the other, with random sweets on the very top. It was over a foot in diameter, and about six inches high. G&D's suggest that it serves 6 - 8, and that's a generous (unusual for a serving suggestion to be so on the generous side) estimate - like I said, half the cake stuffed four of us. I'd say a minimum of 8 adults to tackle the whole cake is a good idea. I initially tried to hack my way through the cake with a regular knife; but after one incision taking five minutes, Allan offered to go and get a bigger knife. He returned with a much more suitable knife, but that still made me look pitiful, so the dude behind the counter came out with the Uber Knife of Doom. That still wouldn't go through it, even with his beefy arms and body behind it, so he went and got a mug of steaming water to dip it in (hot metal cuts through ice cream better, if you hadn't worked that out). Even then, it took him another few minutes to get four pieces cut out. As payback, he made me stand on a chair and have Happy Birthday sung to me by the entire shop. How embarrassing!
The short option paper on Tuesday of 8th was far more pleasant than the other prelims, and now I've had the marks, it is reflected there. Surprisingly, though, I did manage a Distinction and a rather consistent set of marks (all in the 70 - 74 range apart from the short option, which was 40/50).
Wednesday of 8th was my trip to London to see Sarah and Parliament. Parliament could have been better (we were too late to see Prime Minister's Questions, and the debates on offer in both Houses were rather uninspiring and devoid of participants), but that was more than made up for by the wonderful company I had.
Thursday of 8th was Physics Punting. Everyone had a turn, no one was terrible (although Phil did manage to get us stuck on a submerged tree, I think he made up for it with his speedy sailing elsewhere), and lunch at the pub up the river was excellent. Allan unfortunately had revision to do and Emma was nowhere to be found, so it wasn't a complete gathering of the physicists.
Friday was primarily spent Not Packing. I'll update if I work out what I actually did.
And then Saturday of 8th came and I had to go home.
Since then, I've written an application for MVP Andrew Z Carpenter, which I am considering retailing to server admins. More on that in another entry. I've also backed up as much as I could of my old hard drive to my new SATA drive, sent off the computer to Novatech, waited (as I detailed above) and received it back. As brother has yet to vacate his computer, I can't boot it into Linux to restore the data yet (I had to run a Linux LiveCD to do the data recovery, and so it was easier to run Linux on my brother's computer, too, as I could use an SCP server. Also, Windows was having trouble seeing the SATA drive, whereas Knoppix saw it straight away. Both of which mean that the drive is formatted with Ext2, which Windows can't read (at least not without more work than it would be to just reboot into Knoppix)).
I've also discovered a taste for Linux. Although it's not going to completely replace Windows for the time being, I've come to appreciate some aspects of it, and so have reserved 13GB on my new (Fujitsu this time, rather than Toshiba) laptop HD for an Ubuntu installation. The rest of the space is being divided up between Windows XP (for when I need stability) and Windows Vista Beta 2 built 5456 (a newer release than the Public Beta, for testing purposes and because it's so cool). Unfortunately I'm running Vista x86, as the x64 built refused to install, giving a boot loader error after setup copied the initial files. 15GB to XP, 12GB to Vista, and the rest of the space in a shared data partition (for program installation and documents).
I think that's all I've got to say. Oh, and to the person who arrived here Googling for 'head crash', I'd suggest using a secondary computer to create a Knoppix LiveCD, then boot onto that on the damaged machine, and then copy out all the data that's recoverable. And then either replace the drive, or if the machine's under warranty, send it back and get it replaced for free. If the machine is a desktop and you have another desktop available, then you could instead slave the damaged drive into the working machine, although I'd still recommend using a Linux LiveCD for the recovery (and at all times whilst the drive is in there), as it's less sloppy about what it does with installed drives.
OK, I'll shut up now.
P.S. Opera 9 is out! If you run Windows, I highly recommend switching or upgrading. I've noticed quite a few users, for some reason, are still running Opera 6 and 7. If you disagree, feel free to let me know why you aren't moving up.