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2009/11/22 Drive Migrations and Fixes
π 2009-11-22 00:00 in Public
My thinkpad 500GB hard drive had been slowly failing (which I knew courtesy smartd, and , so I got an advanced replacement from Hitachi and copied the failing drive minus its two already failed sectors (courtesy of GNU dd_rescue).

While we're at it, I recommend that people run smartd with the following in their smartd.conf:
DEVICESCAN -R 194 -R 231 -I 9 -W 5 -a -o on -S on -s (S/../.././02|L/../../6/03) -m root -M exec /usr/share/smartmontools/smartd-runner

and that you put this in your crontab for later analysis and figuring out what's being going on with your drives, even after the fact:
2 1 * * * root DIR=/var/log/smart; mkdir -p $DIR ; FILE=$DIR/`date '+\%F'`.log; for i in /dev/sd?; do echo $i; smartctl -a $i; echo; echo; done > $FILE

The harder part was figuring out which files were going to be partially lost due to those sectors. After racking my brain on how I could convert those sectors into filenames and getting nowhere, I realized that was a very simple way of finding out: just read all the files and log the errors.
A day or so later I had read the entire filesystem and narrowed it down to the two files that were damaged. Sometimes the low tech option is the best.

While I was doing that, I was trying some new tools and two new boot CDs I had built, something any self respecting system should carry: UBCD and/or UBCD4Win. UBCD4Win is basically a windows live CD you build from your windows install media, and UBCD has a lot of dos boot floppies (disk check, bios, rescue and more), and a nice version of parted magic, recovery linux live distro that runs from RAM.
The only small downside is where gparted, at least on one occasion, has a small bug that kind of shredded an ext3 partition of mine, but it worked fine the rest of the time, even for resizing ntfs partitions.

The cool part was when I tried to rescue to the ext3 partition for practise (I had backups), and saw Ted Tso online in my gtalk friend list (I'm trying to remember when I added him, maybe when I helped him out with his G1 at a linux conference), and he nicely helped me out trying to fake out resize2fs and then debugfs but in the end, the filesystem was kind of mangled though.

Anyway, gnu ddrescue, ubcd and ubcd4win rule (and mine now contain extra tools, including image for linux and image for windows).

2009/11/04 Comcast Bill and Customer Support Today
π 2009-11-04 00:00 in Public
Comcast still tries to charge me $70/month for a few digital channels I watch and they won't unbundle, as well as a DCH-3200 descrambler box that they force me to use by needlessly scrambling QAM64/QAM256 encrypted channels, but at least the process of getting the bill lowered to something somewhat more reasonable is less painful today.

I went to www.askcomcast.com/CA as per the bill as opposed to calling the poke my eyes out in pain 800-Comcast, and 10mn later clock time, it was done.

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:43:29 GMT-0800 (PST)) Hello, Marc.

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:43:39 GMT-0800 (PST)) do you have access to my account?

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:43:57 GMT-0800 (PST)) I need to ask for your account number. I see here that you want to have new prices set for your account, correct?

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:44:17 GMT-0800 (PST)) XXXX XX XXX XXXXXXX

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:44:28 GMT-0800 (PST)) Thank you so much for that. I see here that you want to have new prices set for your account, correct?

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:45:29 GMT-0800 (PST)) this is a long running problem where I am forced to use your descrambling box against my will since I have QAM64/QAM256 capable TVs and DVRs

I've already talked to your executive staff several times about this and basically they just lower my price since I only watch 7 of your channels, 3 of which now needlessly force me to use and pay for the DCH 3200 tuner/descrambler

That price adjustement just timed out so I'd like you to re-enable it :)

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:46:02 GMT-0800 (PST)) so basically if you can reset the old price, that would be fine It's still more than what I should pay for 7 channels, but it'll do

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:46:59 GMT-0800 (PST)) I understand your concern. Please give me few moments to review your account.

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:47:06 GMT-0800 (PST)) sure thing, take your time

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:47:14 GMT-0800 (PST)) Thank you so much for that.

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:49:16 GMT-0800 (PST)) Thank you for waiting.

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:49:41 GMT-0800 (PST)) take your time, I multitask too :)

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:50:23 GMT-0800 (PST)) Marc, the best thing I can do to your account is to apply $20 off for 12 mos. So, for 12 mos, you will only have to pay $41.99 for the cable service.

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:50:31 GMT-0800 (PST)) Will this work for you?

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:50:51 GMT-0800 (PST)) that would be fine, thank you

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:50:56 GMT-0800 (PST)) You are most welcome. Please give me few moments to process this for you. There will be processing fee for $1.99, one time. I have completed your request for today. Your confirmation number is 1000403345242022.

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:52:54 GMT-0800 (PST)) thank you

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:53:11 GMT-0800 (PST)) After 24 hours, you can check your account online to see for the changes in the statements. You are most welcome.

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:53:23 GMT-0800 (PST)) thanks for your help, your courtesy and have a great day

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:53:26 GMT-0800 (PST)) Recap and breakdown of what I have processed: - Digital Starter $41.99. - Transaction Fee $1.99 Everything is set.

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:53:55 GMT-0800 (PST)) As our valued customer, I would like to make sure I have resolved your concern. Its been a pleasure serving you today. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Marc_(Wed Nov 04 2009 15:54:31 GMT-0800 (PST)) you already did, thanks

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:54:51 GMT-0800 (PST)) You are most welcome. I hope you won't forget to click END SESSION and take 3 surveys for me. Thank you.

Rotcelyn(Wed Nov 04 2009 18:55:24 GMT-0800 (PST)) Thank you for choosing Comcast as your service provider. We truly appreciate your business! If you need further assistance, you can chat with one of our Customer Support Specialists 24 hour a day, 7 days a week at http://www.comcastsupport.com. You have a great day ahead! Should you like to watch full TV shows and movies online, go to fancast.com.

Ok, it's still sad that they crypt channels and give you bogus high prices unless you complain, but all in all that was better than before :)


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