2015 — 24 March: Tuesday

Dealing with my first round of the Probate process obviously "got" to me on some level.1 But the sun shines on, the tea is hot and freshly-made, and I can just sit back, relax, and then resume the gentle sifting (not for photons — see yesterday — but for the physical evidence of the shares that BP clearly think my mother holds). I've found 672 of their claimed total so far. The road goes ever on. Must be that OCD kicking in, no doubt.

Unnecessarily, I suspect, given the dealings I've already had (earlier this year) with Uncle ERNIE's boss...

Mother had two Capital Growth Pensioner Bonds that reached the end of their life just a couple of months earlier than she did, slightly ironically. Exerting my mystical Power of Attorney three years ago I'd simply kept them ticking along past their first maturity date (I wonder when I reach mine?), but they were now felt (not by me) to be paying an unaffordably high interest rate. Thus (as usual) our guvmint decided to shaft its pensioners, in this case a demented little ol' lady of 98, saying "Enough! We can't afford to pay you any more. Register online and use your smartphone2 to choose from our new range of exciting products that will all pay you less!"

I'm delighted...

... to have my 40" Philips 4K desktop back on my, erm, desktop. And that the Xeon integrated graphics card on the new motherboard is happy driving it. Any better graphics card (even "Ultimate Fanless" of recent memory) should be able to double the refresh rate via the DisplayPort 1.2 input. I misunderstood the Philips (joke of a) manual. It wasn't that other inputs didn't support the full 4K resolution; just that they didn't support it at 60 Hz. Only the DisplayPort input can do that, and only when switched from its default 1.1 setting over to 1.2 (though why the factory default is 1.1 baffles me).

With one bound, and...

... several hours of fairly-concentrated help — thanks again, Len! — and a delicious lunch (at La Parisienne in Romsey), I'm back on the air this evening in full 60Hz-refreshed 4K resolution, using the Ultimate Fanless Radeon graphics card and its proprietary Linux drivers (a notable "first" for me). And I'm running on a completely fresh-as-a-daisy brand new3 fully-patched Mint 17.1 system. Again. I'm now using my 240 GB SSD for the system, and my three 480 GB SSDs as, respectively, /home, a data volume, and a backup volume. All nicely auto-mounted. As are all the Synology NAS folders.

So I'm now systematically re-installing the set of applications I'd added in the past month or so (though only those that I've decided I still want to keep on my new system, of course). Had FileZilla not been near the top of that set, you wouldn't yet be reading this, for example. I can take my own leisurely time, though I suspect re-enabling my HP LaserJet printer / scanner will still be done sooner rather than later. BlackBeast (now once again with the sides of the case refitted) is once again inaudible, which has always been my highest-priority requirement.

I didn't dare do any of this until after I'd first fired off the Probate paperwork — lest Big Bro shoot me — and was using my wish to do this complete Linux re-build as one of my promised "incentives" to keep my nose to the tedious grindstone that is the UK's bureaucracy of death, property, and taxes.

Now let's see if I can remember the horrible password for my external web server over in Texas.

It's worth noting...

... that there's now plenty of system space should I feel an urge to update my kernel. One who shall be nameless had allocated 100 MB rather than 1000 MB for that particular bit of system gorp (while concentrating on setting up the RAID 1 pair of SSDs as my system last time around). This was why, last time I tried the update, it crashed and burned rather ignominiously with about 4 MB left and the upgrade incomplete. And it was amusing (almost shocking, in fact) to see how valiantly my former RAIDed system tried to resurrect itself after one of its volumes had been zapped. It succeeded, of course (this is Linux, after all) but it felt almost sad to zap it in its turn. Maybe it deserved better.


My ISP has just warned me I've used 50.07% of my monthly download allowance. I think I'll be able to squeak by on what's left for the rest of the month. And I've so far restored everything except my Localhost web server. Printing and scanning are fine. The "swappiness" of the system is much reduced. I'm merely left wondering exactly why just one of the folders I took the precaution of copying on to the NAS yesterday now stubbornly insists that I can only open it as root. (Thinks; that could be a clue.) It contains a small set of 4K images that I sometimes use either as a desktop background or just for the hell of it.

I've also scaled a few things up a bit as the defaults on a 40" 4K screen are sometimes ridiculously tiny.

Tomorrow's planned lunch date is off; my friend Gill has a head cold, poor thing. Still, I've no current shortage of things to attend to. Not to mention getting in some fresh food. Chaps need fresh food.



1  Evidence: my subconscious ensured I slept dream-free and like a log until 08:00 or so. A pleasant change.
2  Sod that, I found myself saying (to myself), for a game of soldiers. Just hand over the cash. I may have expressed myself with greater subtlety in my letter. I can't seem to find these Bonds among my mother's papers, but I'm sure you must be used to that... The cash piled silently into her a/c about a month ago by a BACS transfer. One less thing to deal with as I wind up her estate, of course.
3  There's an astonishing difference in my attitude to re-installing my OS nowadays. Probably something to do with the huge contrast between the five minutes or so to rebuild Linux, and the two or three hours needed to re-install and re-patch and re-activate a Windows system. (If, like me, you've never satisfactorily reloaded a Windows system from a saved image [because each time you've needed to do so the system has been so crudded-up that the work involved was too unbearable...] the gulf between Linux and Windows is even bigger.)