Added Some More Photos!

I spent the morning today cleaning up my Weblog. It needed it, and non too soon, I must say. I cleared about 1.5GB of old photo files that I felt have out-lived their time, and perhaps should be left in the archives, and presented another time and day. Plus, I fixed up my photo galleries–that in itself was a monumental task as well–gobbling up three-quarters my morning from that alone. And the rest of my time was spent doing cosmetic work, and basic editing in places where it needed it.

The photos I uploaded onto my Blog are from just a few weeks ago, on the last day of the 2017. Me and Suzette went out to Lakelse Lake and took a walk out on the ice. I put the slidewhow of it here in the post, but if you want to see in a lager format, look to the side menu, and find “North Coast Terrace British Columbia” under “The Photo Gallery,” and from there the photos should be about 900 x 600 pixels in size.

A huge problem I had was having to relearn how my Photo Gallery plug-ins worked…, again. I am kind of kicking myself becuase I had forgotten how most of the functions worked. Also, terminology, and the software’s semantics, used in some of the help files threw me off. I got through it, laughing a little, keeping it all in good humour.

Now Comes Warmer Weather; Me Gets the Snow-Shove Ready

The rumour is, some snow is on the way. Right now, we are in the tail end of an arctic outflow weather pattern that has plunged us back into the deep-freeze, but not as bad as before. Hopefully, by tomorrow, we should start to see it warm up a bit, maybe taking us to just above the freezing mark. We can hope. But sadly, the weather prognosticators say some snow is in the forecast as well, as the next weather system is part of the Pineapple Express that will hit the coast.

Hard to say as what I should do. Get the show shovel ready, or the umbrella. Either way, there is a change coming in the weather pattern, and it could be nasty.

As you can see, I brought Mr Egghead back. It has been nearly six months since I last used him here on the Blog, so I thought it was time to bring him back. Actually, I totally redid him in 3D Blender, becuase most of the files I had before were missing from my last hard drive crash back in November, 2017. He has arms now, and I redid his armature for a more streamlined pose when animating him. I still have a more work to do, but I had some time to kill this afternoon, so I worked on Mr Egghead.

A Cool and Cuddly Passed Weekend

So it is Wednesday, or “hump day,” as I sometimes call a typical Wednesday, and with it, the happiness knowing it is the halfway point in the workweek where we are moving towards the next weekend, a sense of hope that Friday is getting nearer. So, having said all that, what I wrote below, was written last Sunday, and rewritten Monday night, with proof reading and corrections done. So forgive me on my past tents, and wondering sense of time, in my use of grammar. This is, after all, my personal Weblog, so I get to make up the rules as I see fit, yet trying to conform to the standards that I was taught.

Friday night is somewhat a night to myself. I did my laundry, cleaned up a bit around the apartment, and prepared for tomorrow.  I have a couple of emails to send out, and some matters on Evil-Bay that are pending. Mostly, my online to-do list is small this week. It is the month-end, so I paid all of my Bills on-line (November 30), and made sure that my Bank statement balanced out with my records; it all works out, right down to the penny (though Canada no longer has pennies). I also bought a large size bar of chocolate–do not tell–it was my treat for a week well done. Somehow, chocolate has gripped my needs and wants in the food department. For the record, chocolate is not just a “Female” food, we Males get the cravings too. 🙂

Saturday was spent working on the PC, getting it’s software all up to date and fixing some of the on going bugs that have popped up in the last couple of days. Then I spent the rest of the morning reading some Court Documents that I want to study. These are rather touchy for most folks who live in and around the North Coast of British Columbia, so I will not include any details here on the Weblog. But, I did spent over six hours pouring over them, and I learned a lot. But having said that, I see even the Courts are a long ways from finishing this matter, as there are so many questions still yet to be answered. About high noon, Suz., called, and said she is on her way to pick me up, as we wanted to check out the weekend’s community craft events. The craft fair at the Kitsumkalum Centre was the best one, in my humble opinion, as it was packed and had more goodies to offer. In all, we had a great time. To end the night off, it was movie night at Suz.’s place. A fun and relaxing evening, even the Cats enjoyed curling up on my lap, playing chaperone on the couch, as we watched the show.

Sunday was spent with more morning reading, though not as deep as the morning before, but the rest of the Court Documents that I had with me, I finished. Later on, the plan was having dinner with Suz., and her parents, as we were celebrating her birthday. The dinner was awesome, and I was very full. We had Chinese at the Golden Star Restaurant, in down town Terrace. I have to plug this place because they are great, and me and Suz., go there often. Then I left for home early, so I could have a great start for Monday at my work. 

This was an abbreviated version of my weekend. So much more happened, of course, but this is all I need to write. I would also like to add that my car went five weeks before I needed to fill it up with fuel, and my heating bill was under seventy-five dollars (electric heat). Now I know we are getting ripped-off down in the Lower Mainland as far as bad Land Lords and local Governments goes. Shame on you! Just so glad I moved away from all that nonsense. But, you all have a great week, and as always, “stay out of trouble.”

Slush, and the 3D Printer

As the title says, slush seems to be the word of the day, as the weather warmed up to the point that we had rain on melting snow, where lakes are forming in back yards. Just messy! Also, last night, me a Suz., went to the 3D printing gathering at the Terrace, BC Library to get citified to used the printer there. So a happy and exciting day mixed in with the wet and messy outside of an early winter season. Yes, driving around was nice until you had to get out and walk on the sidewalks.

The weather has changed to the extreme yet again as we now move into rainy days, with warmer temperatures, after the 50 plus centimeters of snow from a few days ago that still sits on the ground. Now, I have to say, snow removal here in the Skeena Valley is far superior to what I experienced down in the Fraser Valley. Roads are clear, and most public driveways are completely bare from snow, with snow banks safely pushed away off the roads ways. Driving a small car through the streets of Terrace has been awesome. But, if you are a “walker,” then you might be a little disappointed, as the majority of walkways and sidewalks are either untouched, or flooded with melting snow and rain. Most people walk on the roads anyway, so as a driver, you really need to watch out for pedestrians, especially at night.

Last night, me and Suz., headed down to the public library in Terrace to get our certification for 3D printing at their facility.  The Terrace Public Library held a certification program for their 3D printer where we were given a tutorial on how to create and print our 3D creations. More or less, the theme of last night’s meeting was just to get you “up and running” with the printer. The instructor did not go into any details on using software for creating 3D objects, but rather just covering the different types of software that the printer uses, and where you can find free stuff to print from various websites. We had a short demonstration, seeing the printer work, and a bunch of 3D printed objects that were printed by it, but over all, I have a more clearer idea of 3D printing, and whether or not I want to buy one. We had a great night there.

…and I have a library card too! 

Fixed the Broken Hard Drive

After nearly two weeks, and many frustrating hours, I recovered about ninety-three percent of my data from the broken hard drive. What I lost did cost me, some valuable files, and my emails were mostly complete, but they suffered too as the archive file had to rebuilt with a loss of about four percent. Just to create the four tare-byte image took one hundred and twenty-six hours. Then another eighty hours to recover the data from the image. I had to buy a six terabyte hard drive just to capture the image onto it with. So, a lot of patients, worrying and money.

The program I used is called Testdisk, a mainly Linux command program that runs on the Terminal. The idea is to clone the hard drive, one byte at a time, into an image onto another hard drive. The programs ignores any bad sectors, and will keep copying until the whole drive is done–including the empty spaces. Once done, I can begin extracting the data left in the image on a healthy drive. This usually takes less time than creating the image, but still, a four terabyte drive is huge; a time vampire.

I was impressed at how much data I was able to get. I had about nine hundred and eighty gigabytes worth of data, and was able to recover nearly nine hundred and sixty. Not bad at all considering the damage to the drive. The hard drive would not mount–period.

Now, I should point out that the file structure was corrupted, so Testdisk was not able to create that for me, so any files that were recovered was renamed, and almost randomly placed in order of the placement from the image. But the key main files I wanted were found. In fact, files that were deleted, were also recovered. That was freaky to see. So remember, when you thought you deleted something, think again. Unless you copied over top of it, the file is still on your hard drive.

I am still a little sore about having the hard drive crash on me–OK, a little angry and foolish–it was an emotional time. The external hard drive was almost brand new, maybe less than five hours on it. But at least I could recover most of the data–thinking positive.

Next time, two back up copies, and use drives that I know are in good condition. Even though upgrades are fairly routine with me, I should have take more precautions. Maybe even transferring valuable data onto a live PC for good measure.

Rescuing The Dead Hard-Drive

Two weeks ago, I started an upgrade on my main PC, totally redoing the operating system, and starting with a fresh machine. I wiped the hard-drive, and installed the latest version of Linux Mint. Like a good user, I backed up my data, including my web browser’s data, email and four other programs I use often. Everything was going tick-it-eey-boo, until it came time to add the data files back to my PC. I posted on this before last week about my broken four terabyte external hard-drive. 

 Today, my brand new six terabyte internal hard-drive arrived! So the work began. I knew my data was on the four terabyte expansion drive, but it had dead sectors on it, preventing it from mounting. The only way was to either fix it, or try and crudely recover what data I could get from it. I could not fix the bad sectors. Also it was not enough to extract the files; my files I wanted were to big for Testdisk/Photorec to work. On my PC, I had a one terabyte drive, so not enough to image the expansion drive. Now with the six terabyte drive, I can image four terabytes with no troubles.

Let use pause for a moment. I have tried several forensic software programs in the past. When I was in university, I had access to the same programs as the Government had, sometimes even better. I concluded that the Linux forensic programs worked just as good as what the university had as far as data extraction goes. Instead of a nice fancy GUI, in Linux you use command-line software. In the end, I found that running this sort recovery software through a terminal is way better, and being “free” does not hurt either.

So let me introduce you to Testdisk. I will not go into how the program works here, but it is good and powerful. I think it is very straight foreword, but it will be very intimidating to the first tine user–but fear not! 

Recovering four terabytes is a long…, (make that a) “very long” process. The analysis of the drive took nearly one hundred and twenty hours. So far, imaging the drive, at twenty-five percent, has taken ten hours. So this is something you let run in the background, and make sure you turn off all power saving settings on your PC when you go to bed. 

So hopefully, by Thursday, I will have my data. I will write a post after I have completed this process. I think there are not enough help files to guide people through this. So stay tuned. 

The Saturday Hike: Upon a Pile of Rocks

Me and Suz went hiking today, more or less, along the Skeena river first, and then off in town to warm up with some warm beverages, then some more hiking on Ferry Island, in Terrace. But the main hike was along the Skeena River, just off of the New Bridge, then off on the West shore before the Old Bridge. The hike was less than three kilometers, but there were some spots where we had to climb over rocks, and up and down some slippery hills. We had our workout.

This one shot caught my eye. As always, I take my camera with me, and I take lots of photos, but anyways, I took this shot, and left it. As I was going through them after the hike, this one stuck out for me. I did a little editing: bumped up the exposure; added more clarity to add more blur. These are the rocks natural colours, and I never touched the pile. I think it is a cool photo.

I shot these with a 30mm Marco lens. These rocks are almost 1:1, about 6cm in width, in this shot.

When traveling between the Old and new Bridges, we encountered several homeless/squatters camps. Some were alive with people, and we saw one place that was abandon. All these places had that smell, and everywhere you looked along the trails, garbage could be found. Well protected from the eyes of the town, once you are right in the bush, you really do not know that the homeless are there. We never actually seen anyone, but we could hear them–you know they are there. 

And just on the other side of the river, along Ferry Island, fishers abound, probably counting nearly thirty people, fifteen of them casting their fishing rods into the Skeena River. Every day, from before the Sun comes up, until way pass sunset, they fish. Standing there like solders. 

The rain held off just before got back to the car.

Like the good-old North Coast, standing out from rest, we lay in overcast skies and near one-hundred percent precipitation, while the rest of British Columbia sits in the worst forest-fire season in recorded history. It would take a lot to get a fire going around here without some dry wood to start it with. I think once the weekend is over, the Forest Fire Rating Sign will go from “Moderate,” back to “Low” once again. There is not much of a threat of our forests going up in flames around here. But then again that is climate change for you; maybe a heat-wave for us next week?

I think we are feeling this hike. Another good workout for us office people!

My Upgrade Woes

As you probably figured out, I have been lagging behind with my posts, getting them posted almost a week late. Well, the short version of the tail, I bought a new hard drive, and it failed shortly after I did a major upgrade on my main PC. Sadly, it has taken me nearly two weeks to fix, but I still have recovered my critical data files, just mainly general content. The good news is, I have the data, and it is all there. The bad news, I bought a four terabytes hard drive, and it takes five days just to scan it. So, it is a long process.

I had to buy another hard drive, one also four terabytes, just to do the transfer of the scanned data. So it has been expensive. I followed all the precautions on this, but to no avail, this was hardware failure. It could have happened at any time, but unfortunately it happened just after an upgrade, when I was ready to transfer my files.

Later on, I will post on my process. For now all I have done is scan the drive (five days), and did a basic recovery (one day), but even that is limited with what can be recovered and the type of files saved. Unfortunately, one of the files I need is an archived file that is three-and-half gigabyte in size, and the recovery does not allow anything that size on a FAT 32 Table formatted disk. So the last step in forensic scan is to image the drive, and for that I needed the external hard drive to dump it on. So far, at nine hundred and sixty two gigabytes, it has taken ten hours to create it. I have over three terabytes to go.

The lesson here is do back-ups—twice.

Slowly, when I get access to my PC, will get these posts uploaded. But for now, hang-tight, I will get caught up.

Calculating

I decided to check how long, and how much fuel I need for the trip up to Terrace, BC from Langley, or Glen Valley were I am living right now. I got a couple of different answers. And on top of that, I am not sure how much fuel I will need for the trip. So for the mean time, I have my previous trips from Terrace to Vancouver, BC, roughly twenty hours. So I just took a couple of hours off of that, somewhere around nineteen to seventeen hours, I figure.

According to Google Maps, I am looking at roughly 1318 km to Terrace BC. Map Quest estimate I might do the trip in seventeen hours, while Google says about fourteen. I think Google has got it wrong. Again, I am leaning towards nineteen hours for the whole trip.

The last time I drove this route, I was looking at roughly $250.00 in gas cost, in a 1979 Ford 150 pick-up truck, back in 1995. Now gasoline was somewhere around fifty cents per litre, and the truck was on it’s last legs as far as it fuel economy goes. The truck went to the bone right after that trip. So, I figure it might cost me $245.00 in today’s dollars for the trip. Perhaps even $300.00, based on towing a trailer with a ten foot U Haul truck. The U Haul website was no help either. To bad fuel was included in the rental cost too?

Now I did a trip to Alberta, near Rocky Mountain House, about seven years ago, and that took me about thirteen hours, and burnt about seventy litres of gasoline, roughly about eighty dollars, in a small pick-up. Again, Google says about one thousand and four kilometres, and about ten and a half hours to drive it. Maybe Google speeds?

Oh Mr Egg Head

While on the verge of moving, a major change in my life, I had some time to kill. I created some images of Mr. Egg Head in various poses, just to see how well my rigging was when I created Egg Head. All this, of course, was just for fun. I have no practical ideas for Mr. Egg Head, other than to practice my work on Blender, the 3D software I use. Here is some of the stuff I had Mr. Egg Head do.

So, anyway, I will have fun with him/her, and I am sure there are many more things I will have him/her do before I put Egg Head to rest and delete him/her. I am not sure if it a he or she, but I like the idea of a gender natural character. I sure there is an animation or two to come.

I look back at what I typed, and saw all the red squiggly lines underneath about twenty-five percent of the words. Woe, my spelling sucks today.