Amiganuts! POWER!

Today, I saved the life of my Amiga 1200. And I’m slightly relieved.

I’ve typed on here several times about my love of the Amiga 1200, the computer I received on Xmas Day 1993. But what do I mean about saving its life? I removed the battery. Yep, that’s it. I took the battery out. “Hang on”, says both of the Amiga aficionados reading this, “The Amiga didn’t have a battery”. Well, mine did, because I bought a memory expansion which also shipped with a real-time clock, and obviously, a battery backup for it.

Back in 2007, I dragged my Amiga out for a quick play, to see if a problem with the video circuitry had fixed itself in the 10 years it had been in storage. Unsurprisingly, it hadn’t and my screen was still just a jumbled mess. OH WELL. Back in the cupboard it went.

Years went by, and that cupboard fell pretty much out of action. Certain room reorganisations, and knowing there wasn’t much stuff in that particular cupboard meant it wasn’t really accessible anymore. But my Amiga was safe in storage.

Fast forward to 2013. Dave Jones, aka EEVBlog, posted a video about an old Archimedes computer he’d been sent. The video was going great, until he’d opened it up and found that the RTC battery had leaked, completely eating away at most of the circuitry, including the ROM sockets and keyboard connections, turning the machine into a beautiful, yet pricey paperweight. My heart sank. I knew my Amiga had what looked like the same battery, and although that machine was older, it wasn’t MUCH older, and the clock battery in my Amiga hadn’t been changed since I installed the expansion board in 1995, pushing it up to 22 years. That thing must have been a goner.

I spoke to Daddykins about something random, and I mentioned about my Amiga and leaking batteries. I was surprised to find the cupboard now slightly more accessible. Enough to squeeze an arm in, and pull out an Amiga, anyway. Maybe he’d realised I was right, and the little Miggy was worth saving!

I precariously opened the underside door on the machine to see what grotty state the board was in…. Aaand.

Not a speck of corrosion. And yes, I’d taken the battery out before I’d taken this, but it was still in there, and came out perfectly shiny.

So, my Amiga might live to fight another day. If I can get that graphics issue fixed.

I have much more to say about this fantastic machine, so stay tuned for some more inane rambling shortly… Bet you can’t wait.

Hard drive woes, 2012, part 3

I’m returning back to the ‘old’ subject of my Lacie “Network Space 2” drive, which committed suicide a few months back, thanks to a couple of email questions. You may have followed the previous posts where I mention getting the data off the drive. this was, in all, a 90% success, but even running Linux, I ran into a similar problem as pointed out in the email. Some of the files couldn’t be accessed. I knew it was one I could easily overcome, but putting the time, and the little bit of effort in to do it, was a bit of a bore, so I left it.

That is, until my health problems re-arose. Well, not quite. I just had to go to the hospital so they could stick things all over my chest, and take yet more of my blood. Are they panning that shit for gold, or something? They might find amber nectar in there, but certainly no gold.

I digress. I decided to fire the drive up again, and rescue the last data on there. The problem was, that although I moved the majority of the data off the drive, I couldn’t access certain files, as they were owned by “root”, basically, the superuser of any Linux system. If you boot from a live Linux CD as I suggested in the past, you’re only a standard user. You’ll need to access the files owned by this root user.

Since my last update, I managed to find my 4Gb USB stick, so I changed my plans from using a live CD, to using a similar live CD, but mounted on a USB stick. To do this, you download the ISO you require as normal, download and run a program called Unetbootin, and allow it to work its magic. This allows you to have a USB stick with a bootable version of your favourite non-standard operating system. This was, as you can imagine, a lot quicker, smoother and quieter than having the DVD drive access something every time I move the mouse. This time, I ditched Ubuntu, and used the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint. It’s just that little more user-friendly. A couple more useful utilities , and because it’s on the USB drive, I can happily use stuff like Firefox without the whole system freezing while it uses the DVD drive.

Of course, you’ll run into the same problem you had with the original Ubuntu. You’re still a standard user. This is how you log-in as root…

Open “terminal”
Type…

sudo passwd root

It’ll then prompt you to enter a new password. Twice. It’s thorough like that.

Click on the “Start” button equivalent (forget what it’s called) and click “Leave”

There’ll be an option in there for a new session. Select that, and enter the user “root” and your new root password. Hurrah, you’ll now have a GUI with root access, and should be able to move those stubborn files as you would normally. I assume these instructions will work good with many, if not all Linux distros.

Thanks to the root access, I was able to have a poke around the drive’s “hidden” sections, and examine the “messages” file to see if I can decipher exactly what went wrong with it. Basically, I can’t.

Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  180.820000] ata1.00: status: { Busy }
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  180.820000] ata1: hard resetting link
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.330000] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl F310)
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.390000] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/33
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.390000] ata1: EH complete
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x180000 action 0x6 frozen
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: edma_err_cause=00000020 pp_flags=00000001, SError=00180000
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: SError: { 10B8B Dispar }
Sep 18 02:04:44 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.410000] ata1: hard resetting link
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.920000] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl F310)
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.980000] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/33
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.980000] ata1: EH complete
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x180000 action 0x6 frozen
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: edma_err_cause=00000020 pp_flags=00000001, SError=00180000
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1: SError: { 10B8B Dispar }
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: cmd c8/00:20:e0:f2:38/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 16384 in
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000]          res d0/00:20:e0:f2:38/00:03:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x12 (ATA bus error)
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1.00: status: { Busy }
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  181.990000] ata1: hard resetting link
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  182.500000] ata1: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl F310)
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  182.560000] ata1.00: configured for UDMA/33
Sep 18 02:04:45 NetworkSpace2 kernel: [  182.560000] ata1: EH complete
Sep 18 02:e.vendor

After the e.vendor in that above logfile, which really shouldn’t be there, is a load of corrupt looking garbage, and I’m sure those “ATA bus error”, means that there’s something wrong with the drive, or the system can’t read from it. I remember those before the HDD died in my old firewall / server machine many years ago.

I’m not sure if that info above will help anyone else out, but drop me an email if it doesn’t, I’ll see what I can do.

UPDATE 4TH NOVEMBER 2012

In what is honestly going to be my final word on the subject, I thought I’d have one last little play with the dreaded Lacie Network Space 2, and my own personal findings. I powered it on again today, for one last “hurrah”. It, once again did either of the slow flashing, or rhythmic red/blue flashing. For funsies, I threw in a generic 500Gb drive, which it won’t have been expecting. The method behind my madness was that it may have had a failsafe copy of its operating system in ROM, and if it detects the “new” HDD, it might kick into some factory restore mode and initialize the drive. This wouldn’t appear to be the case, as I instantly got the flashing red/blue light, as soon as the drive began to boot. A factory reset didn’t help either.
Therefore, I consider the drive now to be scrapped.

I’ll keep the drive out of it, naturally. 2Tb could certainly come in useful (On Dec 8th 2012, I did indeed do this, via a cheap SATA caddy from C World). I don’t believe there’s a physical fault with the drive, but I do think there was some sort of root file system corruption. A decent NAS drive would be able to at least do something failsafe-y, perhaps a backup / disagnostic copy of the OS kept in flash ROM to allow some type of automatic restore / file system rebuild… the cost of flash memory these days is ridiculously low. It can’t be too difficult / much more expensive to do?

So, it’s all over. It was a short, bittersweet relationship. It had its uses. It turned out to be very limited, slow, and ultimately risked 2 terabytes of my precious porn torrentz photos of fluffy kittens and whalesong. As a plus-side (I can think of two), the drive was easy to open, and the OS was Linux based, so the data was easily rescued.

It’s not the end of my NAS drive experience though. I enjoyed it while it lasted, and I’m feeling the need to spend some money on something bigger and better…

UPDATE 4/2/17 It took me a good few years before I relied on NAS storage again, but these days I’m running a Synology DS216j. I never went back to this Lacie heap of shit. The drive itself still survives.

Hard drive woes 2012, part 2

Well, I can confirm that if you have one of the Lacie Network Space 2 2TB drives and you’re worried about your data, should you begin to get the old flashy light syndroome, you can rest in piece, as there’s a chance that your data is perfectly safe, albeit, coccooned in a little shitty box with incrediby sharp corners. All you have to do is get inside that box.

And it’s actually pretty easy to get inside. I’ll say from now though, that doing the following will almost certainly void your warranty, but if you’re like me, 2Tb of precious porn legitimate data is far more important than that. The case is relatively easy to open. There’s a little clip where the LED is. Just push it in, and the case will lift straight off. There are 4 screws keeping the drive on. These are standard screws, nothing to be worried about. Mine had a warranty sticker over one of the screws, which has been subsequently popped. Oh dear.

The drive then just slides backwards to disconnect it from the SATA fitting. That’s part one done, you should be left with a hard drive in your hand. The model in mine is a Seagate Barracuda Green. Other models may vary, but it’s just a bog standard drive. You’ll need to connect it to a SATA socket, both for power and data. Dependant on what you’re using from here, getting the data off it might be slightly different. I’ll write it how I did it, using Windows. the same should be possible on a Mac, and if you’re using Linux, you should already know what you’re doing.

Before you go ahead and do anything, first check your PC is recognising the drive correctly. To do this, right-click Computer, then Manage. Your normal drives will be there, along with the new drive, with several partitions listed as “RAW”. DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE AT THIS POINT. Windows cannot recognise the paritions, and naturally, tinkering around with them is going to be an entirely fruitless excercise. You’ve shown, however, that your data should be intact, and as I mentioned before, the drive is in a format that any Linux distribution should understand.

There are many ways to go from here. Personally, I chose the soft option. I downloaded a live Ubuntu CD, burned that, and booted from it. The 2Tb drive was recognised straight away, and I found the data store in /shares/1

I’m delighted I was able to get the data off the drive, hopefully this will help someone who has had a similar issue with their LaCie drive. I’m happy to answer comments if anyone has any queries.

Hard drive woes 2012, part 1…

Good lord, I bet you thought I’d fallen off the face of the earth. 2 months without an update. I’m afraid I’ve had another one of those “writers block” periods, where anything I write down blog-wise is just got enough to meet with my high standards of complete and utter tripe. Today, I shall strive to meet, nay even exceed my own lofty demands, as I begin to tell you, and explain in minute detail the problems I’ve currently been having when it comes to hard drives, or more exacter, my 2Tb LaCie Network Space 2 NAS drive.

To put it simply, a NAS drive is a network drive. A little box, whose sole purpose is to sit at one end of an ethernet connection, and serve me data.

“It’s easier than adding an internal drive to my computer”, I thought.

“It’ll be more convenient than leaving my computer on all the time”, I thought.

“It’ll be fun”, I thought.

To be fair, it was all of those three things, until Tuesday night. I’d been out to the Steak club. It’s not a club, but you can buy steaks for cheap. It was delicious. I returned home, and tried to access the drive through the network. Nothing. Not even the smallest hint of a sausage. Well, there was, because I could “ping” the drive on the network, but couldn’t access anything else. Not even the power button was responsive

“Joy”, I thought, as I ripped the power cable out of the back. It was then, when my nice little network drive, became nothing more than a solid, black brick. It would do one of two things, either start flashing red/blue after a few seconds, or slowly flash blue. I’ve left the drive in both of these modes for 24 hours, but still, nothing to report. Of course, just like any tech savvy idiot, I whinged on Twitter…

Bah. Looks like the NAS has given up the ghost. flashing red/blue light on Network Space 2 2Tb? Terminal?

Their reply was a little optimistic…

@mercuryvapour Hi, if its rhythmical red/blue/red/blue that means the automatic backup is in progress.

Yup, I checked the manual, and there it was, the flashing blue/red. I was almost excited, until I realised I’d left the drive in this state for 24 hours. I got back to them…

It is blue/red. Starts about 10 seconds after switch-on, been flashing like this for 24 hours, no other response from drive

I sat, and waited for what would hopefully be a nice, long list of steps I could get around this…

If the drive doesn’t work, you should get in contact with our support guys to investigate whats going on with it.

YE…. oh. You could almost hear my heart deflate, as I stared at the flashing box. It’s crypt of data, cuttently sealed, in a plastic shell, designed by Neil Poulton. the whole purpose of this blog entry is to see if anyone else has had the same problem, if they got around it, and if they avoided having to contact technical support…

THINGS I KNOW:-

If I need to crack it open, There’s just one drive in the box, so that should mean there’s no RAID shit to worry about. It’s either in ext3 or ext4 in XFS format (EDIT: SEE note below), which all versions of Linux should support. there are 10 partitions…

A couple of days before its death, I pulled the logfiles off it, though I doubt they’d give me any insight as to what’s wrong with it, they’ll at least give me some information on how the drive lived before it dies.

Line 57: May 26 23:24:29 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Disk 4 - /dev/sda - enabled]
	Line 60: May 26 23:24:29 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.set@460] Setting config value unicorn.storage.volume.root_device to [/dev/sda2]
	Line 65: May 26 23:24:30 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 1 - /dev/sda9 - enabled]
	Line 66: May 26 23:24:30 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 2 - /dev/sda8 - enabled]
	Line 67: May 26 23:24:30 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 3 - /dev/sda7 - enabled]
	Line 68: May 26 23:24:31 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 4 - /dev/sda6 - enabled]
	Line 69: May 26 23:24:31 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 5 - /dev/sda5 - enabled]
	Line 70: May 26 23:24:31 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 6 - /dev/sda4 - enabled]
	Line 71: May 26 23:24:31 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 7 - /dev/sda3 - enabled]
	Line 72: May 26 23:24:32 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 8 - /dev/sda2 - enabled]
	Line 74: May 26 23:24:32 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 9 - /dev/sda10 - enabled]
	Line 75: May 26 23:24:33 NetworkSpace2 [DEBUG resource.handle_event@262] Updating [Volume 10 - /dev/sda1 - enabled]

I feel I’m going to have fun and games with this…

EDIT: The fun and games, of which there were none of, are described in the post following this one. I’m not up on my Linux filesystems, so I’m not sure if there’s a big difference between what I originally said (ext2/3) or XFS. It may be possible to read XFS partitions in Windows, but it’s probably easier, quicker and less time consuming to download a live Linux CD and go nuts with it from there.

Click, bzzzt

If you couldn’t tell, that subject is supposed to be the sound of my internet connection initializing itself, and bringing me back from the dark ages before the internet became an integral part of my life… it has been an awful few days without it. A couple of readers may want to know what happened, especially as this caused the house phone to also go down. If you don’t, that’s fine.

They day is Tuesday, November 09th, 2010. I’m sat in the pub, celebrating the win of £15 on the pub’s version of “Play Your Cards Right”. I feel my phone vibrating, as if to say I’ve received an email. Indeed, I had. It was informing me that one of the websites I host on my home connection had gone offline. Oh well, shit happens, and I continue to pour my winnings down my neck. I’d sort it when I get home.

Later on in the evening, I get a lift home from Chris’s dad, and I notice one of the cable companies’ vans attending to one of the boxes a few streets from Mercuryvapour Towers. Well, that was the problem, and surely the interwebs shall start flowing like beer from a keg. Several hours later, and still no internet, I hit the sack, expecting everything to be rectified in the morning.

I awake, and inspect the modem’s diagnostic lights. Still nothing. Still dead. Daddykins had to go out on Wednesday morning to run an errand. He phoned me to inform me that there were 4 vans around the box where our connection fed into. It did seem a bit odd to have that many vans attending to what I thought was a simple fault with the box. I don some clothes, and head off to the shops. This was also so I could have a quick look at what was going on. I walked past, and noticed that the workmen had removed the entire guts of the cabinet At this point, I didn’t actually know the reason why they removed it.

Later on in the afternoon, I went out to grab the local paper, and also to attempt to get a photo of the affected cabinet.

At this point, I didn’t actually know what had happened. It wasn’t until I got back inside and took a closer look at the photo that I noticed something… the privet around the top of the cabinet was burnt…

It turned out that the issue was caused by a catastrophic failure in the cabinet’s electrics that caused it to burst into flames. Unfortunately, the particular cabinet was out of range of the windowcam, though you do see the fence over the road reflecting some of the fire’s light, a load of smoke, and a fire engine attend the scene some 6 minutes later. I’d do a timelapse, but I can’t be arsed.

If it wasn’t for my mobile, there is a very strong chance I could have went insane.