I killed it

Work have very kindly updated our IT clients recently, or are at least in the process of doing so. On Monday I was presented with a rather nice HP laptop, which is my replacement for the ancient IBM Thinkpads that we currently have to put up with.

This new laptop uses Vista, which I’m not so familiar with. I spent the best part of Monday and a bit of Tuesday getting to grips with its differences to XP – of which there are many. It seems quite an improvement, but only time will tell.

It wasn’t long before I wanted to alter the installation to better suit my needs. The hard disk was partitioned into a single drive (C:) and there was no extra partition for data. I think that this is pretty poor practice, in that the best way to configure Windows is to have a smaller partition for the OS and a bigger one for your data; that way if Windows crashes and you need to reinstall you haven’t lost all of your precious files.

Our IT department didn’t think it’s important to do this so I attempted to “fix” this little oversight by using the in-built Vista Disk Management tool to resize my C: Drive and create a new partition for my data. It seemed to do this with no complaints and even continued to work after it had formatted the new space. I copied over my (rather hefty) Outlook .pst file from my old laptop and imported my saved mail messages.

All was fine. Until this afternoon, when I powered the laptop back up. It couldn’t find the operating system. Ooops.

I performed a few diagnostics from the HP BIOS and everything seemed OK. I’d obviously managed to kill my new laptop within 36 hours of receiving it.

Well done me.

I then had to go to the IT guys and explain the situation. They couldn’t understand why I would want to do what I did. Well, I think the installation is inadequate for my needs – but I obviously couldn’t say that to them. They told me that they’d need to re-image the laptop and I could pick it back up tomorrow.

So, a solution but not a great one. It turns out that I could have tried to use the Recovery Console that’s available on a Vista boot disk – but we don’t have any of those; all these laptops are built from an image.

At least I didn’t have a lot of data stored on there, considering that there’s no data partition to protect my information from just this sort of eventuality.

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure why the OS died. The Disk Management tool offers the ability to shrink the C: drive and doesn’t warn of impending boot fail. I suspect that Vista has taken a hand in its own demise, and so it’s more of an assisted suicide on my part rather than an outright murder.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Nortel: shame on you

A friend of mine had been working for Nortel for a number of years and found out in March that he was going to be made redundant. This is a sad story in itself, but it’s made worse by the way that Nortel’s administrators Ernst and Young have implemented these redundancies.

They’ve chopped these UK employees out without giving any notice, nor giving them their contractually-agreed notice pay. All they’ve got is the measley statutory redundancy pay (as paid by the tax payer) and subsequent job-seekers allowance of £65 or so a week. All this while paying $23million in bonuses to some executives while these redundancies were being announced.

It stinks, and they’ve been protesting in London:

Watch this and hope that other employers don’t try the same thing.

The system is broken. If there’s money in the company to pay bonuses then there’s money to pay a fair severence to the unfortunate many that have been cast off. Shame on you Nortel.

Earth rise

I was born about six weeks before the first lunar landing. Yes, that was nearly 40 years ago. 40 years!

Despite my birth happening around probably the most exciting event in the history of science I didn’t really start getting into astronomy until fairly recently. I’ve been reading the odd blog post by Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer, as it were) and since I started reading his posts I’ve been getting more and more into cosmos-related science stuff.

I’ve been recording lots of astronomy programs from the various documentary channels, and while much of these programs are a little gimmicky I do love finding out more about our universe.

The closest astronomical body to our Earth is obviously the Moon. It’s right there in the sky and we still haven’t really found out an awful lot about it. Luckily for us there’s a Japanese satellite orbitting the moon as we speak and they’ve released some absolutely astonishing video clips taken by their HD camera.

Have a look at this one – called Full Earth Rise:

How incredible is that? Take a look at it in full-screen mode. It’s a bit jerky but the view is amazing.

[found via Wil Wheaton]

Ruby Elizabeth

Jo and I spent a little more time down at the Queen’s Medical Centre this morning having a rescan, after Wednesday’s aborted attempt.

This time Baby Rutt was much more co-operative and we managed to finish the scan. There was a little bit of jiggling about to get baby in the correct position to see the heart and kidneys but when everything was checked no problems were found.

This doesn’t mean that our baby is going to be defect-free, of course, but it is a relief that there’s nothing obviously wrong with our child and that there’s a good chance that she’ll be OK.

She, yes. We also had the sex checked out and there were some white dots that we were told were our daughter’s lady bits. Our daughter! Bloody hell, I’m still getting used to these words while it sinks in that we’re going to be having a girl!

Ruby Elizabeth Rutt

She’s going to be called Ruby Elizabeth Rutt and she’ll arrive (hopefully) around the middle of September. A daughter! Us! Heck, me a dad!

So many happy thoughts today and a bit of realisation that we’re going to be parents. Happy days!

Awkward bugger, like daddy

Jo and I visited the Queens Medical Centre this afternoon for our 20 week scan. We’re actually at 22 weeks (over half way there!) and were looking forward to finding out the sex of our developing bundle of joy.

Unfortunately, Baby Rutt wasn’t playing ball. He (or she) was too busy sleeping with his (or her) back to us and the sonographer couldn’t see the heart, liver or kidneys. Worse, his/her bits were invisible due to some crossed legs.

So, we have revisit the QMC on Friday to have another go.

Other than that, though, everything seems to be looking OK. They were fairly sure that our baby doesn’t have Down’s Syndrome (a worry when we’re both in our late 30s) and there were two arms and two legs and some nice-looking bones. The spine looked particularly impressive.

Hopefully we’ll see more in a couple of days. Our current scan photo isn’t very good so perhaps we’ll get a better one that, which I’ll stick up on here.

Some good news though – everything is proceeding to plan so far.

Mega Shark v Giant Octopus

If you thought that Snakes On A Plane was a huge pile of nonsense, I suspect that you might think similarly of the amazingly named Mega Shark v Giant Octopus:

Oh my word! It makes Snakes look like a Kenneth Branagh-produced lovvieathon.

Must see this, if only because Debbie Gibson is in it

Get some adamantium up yer

Life has been pretty hectic around here recently, resulting in reduced blog post frequency and lack of fun time. I’ve had loads going on, especially with Open University, band and work taking up most of my free time.

I’ve even found that I’m on the intertubes much less than previously, which is a distressing thing to happen to a guy at the best of times.

Still, we managed to fit in some “us” time the other weekend and decided to go and see a pleasant, little film called Wolverine.

We both liked the X-Men films, even if the third one was a little daft, and Wolverine was our favourite character from those movies. Well, he would be for Jo because she loves Australian men for some reason – I just liked him for his impressive lambers.

Wolverine, the film, is an impressive affair. It fills in quite a bit of backstory hinted at from the X-Men films so far and does the fight scenes with plenty of guts and glory. Logan’s Brother is brilliantly played by Liev Schreiber and much of the supporting cast are as butch, and as funny, as you’d hope.

It takes itself a little too seriously, perhaps, but I think it’s the best X-Men film so far. Ace.

As this is an “X-Men Origins” film, you have to wonder who they’re going to do next. I’m thinking an Xavier/Magneto double header (they were friends in the past). I’d go see that, for sure.