Italian Music

When I moaned about Italian music before, I admitted I hadn't looked very hard to find something good. And, in my defence, it's easy to be a little dismayed when you're bombarded by Michael fuckin' Buble in all the shops. But things are picking up! Here are two songs I like right now.

Tiziano Ferro - E Raffaella è Mia

This guy seems to be like the Italian Robbie Williams, back before Robbie Williams turned into an enormous, pulsating cock. The song is about Raffaella Carrà, an Italian actress and TV host, and its lyrics are really easy to understand ("And Raffaella sings in my house / And Raffaella dances in my house"), so I like that too.

But I'm actually having trouble with the song. Is it catchy in the CSS kind of way, or is it catchy in the Ketchup Song kind of way? Whatever. I'm not ashamed of what I like.

AntiAnti feat. CapaRezza - Picciotti della Benavita

Caparezza (the dude with the giant 'fro) is an Italian rapper. His solo stuff is kinda like System of a Down, which is no bad thing. We've had a hell of a time trying to buy this album on iTunes (which I'm sure I'll blog about soon). Fuckin' twenty-first century my arse.

Interesting comparison: 'Caparezza' on English Wikipedia (18K) 'Caparezza' on Italian Wikipedia (47K)

I'm sure someone with better language skills than me could easily bump their Wikipedia karma by simply translating the Italian page to English.

New World's Ugliest Dog →

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The King is dead. Long live the King!

Quigley said she rescued Elwood two years ago. "The breeder was going to euthanize him because she thought he was too ugly to sell," said Quigley.

"So ha ha, now Elwood's all over the Internet and people love him and adore him."

Well, let's not get carried away...

what happens next? →

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"I suppose it is funny when you realize you will always be known throughout your life as that bloke in that car where the cheetah pooped through the roof hatch."

Airport Leprechauns

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Just before the real summer hits and people start heading off to somewhere nice for their holidays, I thought I better give a little shout-out to the Airport Leprechauns on Flickr, which cheers me right up every time I look at it. If you want to join, just take a snap of yourself wearing a leprechaun hat or beard the next time you're in the airport and and put it in the group!

Happy Bloomsday! →

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STATELY, PLUMP BUCK MULLIGAN CAME FROM THE STAIRHEAD, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned: ...

Oh, fuck it. Read the rest on Project Gutenberg.

I've never read Ulysses, and at this rate, I probably never will. Still though, as Sean Hughes says, "Great preface".

all your eggs in one basket

Poor Hosting365.

They suffered a massive power failure today which meant that a large number of their customers' sites were unavailable for around four hours. Right now, their status blog entry detailing this problem (and how the repairs are coming along) has 159 comments.

Most of these comments are of the frustrated-yet-understanding variety. A worrying number of them are terrifyingly puffed-up with their own sense of self-importance. And far too many are threatening to move their operations to another hosting provider.

Having worked as a system/network administrator for a while, I know exactly what Ed and the guys at Hosting365 are going through, so I sympathise completely. I've had those awful days where the worst thing that could possibly happen actually happens and you've got angry customers demanding a full report on how the problem happened, what steps you will be taking to fix the problem and how you will prevent this happening in the future while you're focusing all of your efforts on just restoring a basic level of service. Horrible days, to be sure, but they have their uses.

To those people who are thinking of moving away from Hosting365 I say: stop. If I was using Hosting365, I would not switch to Blacknight now precisely because Blacknight haven't suffered from something like this -- yet. Whereas, I'll bet you €100 that, after today, Hosting365 will be putting all of their attention into their reliability, focusing how to make sure that something like this never happens again.

And to those people that are complaining about their mission-critical services running on Hosting365, I say: well, I don't know what to say without sounding rude. I'll just say that if I was a reseller and it was my ass on the line, I'd make sure that my ass was covered. From a business perspective, a secondary server (from a different hosting company) is cheap as chips and worth its weight in gold when your primary server suffers from extended downtime.

Fire on the metro

You know, it's getting to the stage where I've got half a mind to rename this blog to "lowbrowcultureshocked".

Today, I was up at the Irish College to get a mass card for an aunt who died recently. To get home, I decided to get the Metro at the Colosseum. Now, I should probably explain that there are two metro lines in Rome. Metro A has been recently revamped and now all the trains and most of the stations are pretty. Metro B, on the other hand, is dingy and ugly. All the trains are covered in graffiti outside and covered in piss and various other bodily fluids inside.

Colosseum is Metro B.

I'm in the station waiting for the Metro to arrive. It's around lunchtime, so there's not a lot of tourists leaving yet - they're all inside the Colosseum, baking and sweating and wearing funny hats. The sign says there's a train in three minutes. I drift back off into the dreamworld I go to when I'm wandering around Rome listening to my iPod (travel tip: this is the only way I have found to not constantly lose my shit at the lack of an orderly queuing system in Italy). Gradually, I start to smell smoke. I'm looking around, a couple of other people are sniffing too. But there's no obvious fire, so no major panic yet. Then we get the buildup of wind that precedes a train coming down the line. Suddenly the train screams past as if it's being chased by the devil himself. It's totally dark except for the one carriage that is completely ablaze.

My mouth was still hanging open by the time the next train arrived. All the Italians shrugged as if this was entirely unremarkable and went back to wearing their giant sunglasses and looking like Hugo Boss models.

Mr T: The 'T' in I.T.

So there you have it. Mr. T pities the fool who doesn't use Hitachi data system virtualisation.

(?)

Failing Now.

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Our Macbook had been crashing frequently over the past week or so. It would hang randomly when doing minor things, like copying a new program into the Applications folder. Sometimes it would take the computer two or three minutes to get itself together. Other times, it wouldn't get itself together at all and a hard reboot was the only option.

Eventually, I took a look in Disk Utility. The hard drive was listed in red. It told me the disk was dying. I used smartmon to give me more information, and this is where I got the image at the top of this post - my "Reallocated Sector Count" was at 0, and my disk was "FAILING_NOW". I'll spare you the gory details of what this meant, but the shorthand version is "ABANDON SHIP! WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST!"

Necessity: the mother of invention

Fortunately, we had a spare laptop hard drive lying around, so that wasn't a major issue. We also had a spare 400GB desktop hard drive, with a USB adaptor. Unfortunately, we only had two power adaptors. Which meant I couldn't power the macbook, the hard drive to be backed up and the hard drive I was backing up to.

We'd bought a bunch of spare power adaptors in the airport before we came but in our excitement, walked off the plane without them - oops.

So for the past month, we've been carefully swapping power adaptors around as needed. The hairdryer, the iron, our phones, the PlayStation, the computers, the wireless router... it got a little silly, but we managed. When I'd google for a place to buy electrical equipment in rome, I'd found that the main place is called "GPL". And Linux has completely ruined that search term.

So when the hard drive began to die, I ran out and didn't stop using my broken Italian and eleborate hand gestures until I came back with a bunch of power adaptors and two-prong figure-eight plugs.

(PS, for anyone searching google for 'electrical equipment' or 'travel adaptors' in Rome, I found a GPL on the corner of Viale delle Milizie and Via Giordano Bruno.)

Backing it all up

I'd heard a lot about SuperDuper, an application for backing up your Mac. A lot of people have said how it saved their necks, so that was the first thing I tried.

Unfortunately, it's not so good for saving your neck when your hard drive is already on the way out. When it encounters a bad block on the disk (and your disk can't replace the bad block, as mine couldn't), SuperDuper will try a bunch of methods to access the data and then crap out. It throws its hands up in the air, shouts "I can't work with these amateurs" and goes back to its trailer.

Tar wasn't much better. In the end, I created a disk image on the 400GB hard drive and used plain ol' 'cp'. When it came across a bad block, it complained of an I/O error but kept on truckin'.

So now I've got a proper backup, we're working off the spare hard drive (with half the capacity, but it'll do), and I got an RMA from the hard drive manufacturer.

Hopefully things will be back to normal next week.

Sony launch an official PlayStation blog →

Or, as one little scamp puts it, "I've been waiting for a place for us PS3 owners to congregate and learn about the future of our consoles? You know, with only one bias."