Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2002/03

   

   
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Saturday, January 25, 2003

computer breakdown

Well, when we thought that everything was going as planned, the gods of
computing decided that going to Antarctica and not sweating anymore than
that was not acceptable. So they stroke a couple of time and now the
pressure is up. The day went a bit like that:

All was well in a pleasant morning at Dome C. The wind was low and the birds
would have been singing if there had been any. Jon was happily working on
the oxygen sensor whistling to the tune of the CD player. Tony was outside,
the temperature was so nice that he didn't even have his jacket on. He was
joyly shovelling snow, dreaming about the apple donuts awaiting to be eaten
at dinner. Late morning he walked back inside and was greeted by Jon
smiling, resetting the computer and saying: "the oxygen sensor program is
almost working!"... And then... the shock. The computer screen, black, with
four satanic letters: "GRUB", probably a curse word in the holy tongue of
the computing gods.

Well organised, we had brought with us a dictionary to this forgotten
tongue: "Red-Hat for system managers". This book, so thick it takes two
people to lift it, is supposed to tell you how to use the operating system.
After kneeling in front of it, I turned the pages while Jon was singing
incantations to calm the fury of the gods. The translation to GRUB revealed
itself in all its modesty: "GRand Unified Bootloader". This translation was
followed by a few descriptive lines as useful to us as a touristic guide to
South-East India.

So what do you do when a computer does not boot? You change religion...eh...
I mean you change the disk. So we tried our back up disk. But it was not
more successful, so we called our exorcist (Michael) to tell us how to get
rid of this demon.
Amongst the possible fixes he suggested was to try to read the compact flash
disk on the SODAR laptop. I tried once, failed and when I was about to give
it a second shot, the SODAR laptop refused to boot, claiming a file was
missing. The curse had managed to invade our entire fleet of Unix machines
(maybe fleet is exaggerated).

A the top of our despair, the Iridium rang. And would you believe it, it was
a wrong number! How can you get a wrong number when there is so few Iridium
phones and when the number to dial is so long (12 figures). So we left the
AASTINO, back to the base, and drowned our sadness in apple donuts. Tomorrow
it will all seem like a bad dream...


computer breakdown

Well, when we thought that everything was going as planned, the gods of
computing decided that going to Antarctica and not sweating anymore than
that was not acceptable. So they stroke a couple of time and now the
pressure is up. The day went a bit like that:

All was well in a pleasant morning at Dome C. The wind was low and the birds
would have been singing if there had been any. Jon was happilly working on
the oxygen sensor whisling to the tune of the CD player. Tony was outside,
the temperature was so nice that he didn't even have his jacket on. He was
joylly shovelling snow, dreaming about the apple donuts awaiting to be eaten
at dinner. Late morning he walked back inside and was greeted by Jon
smilling, resetting the computer and saying: "the oxygen sensor program is
almost working!"... And then... the shock. The computer screen, black, with
four satanic letters: "GRUB", probably a curse word in the holy tongue of
the computing gods.

Well organised, we had brought with us a dictionnay to this forgotten
tongue: "Red-Hat for system managers". This book, so thick it takes two
people to lift it, is supposed to tell you how to use the operating system.
After kneeling in front of it, I turned the pages while Jon was singing
incantations to calm the fury of the gods. The translation to GRUB revealed
itself in all its modesty: "GRand Unified Bootloader". This translation was
followed by a few descriptive lines as usefull to us as a touristic guide to
South-East India.

So what do you do when a computer does not boot? You change religion...eh...
I mean you change the disk.



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