FreeFileSync, GrSync, and Xubuntu 15.04

Starting with Xubuntu 14.10 (I think) I found that my favorite backup program, FreeFileSync, was not as easily installed via ppa as it had been in earlier versions. The getdeb repository contains this and many other programs but I had reason to wonder whether this would continue to be supported long-term. A few days ago I found grsync, a GTK-based interface to the venerable (but extremely powerful) rsync utility. Today, I put this to the true test: I needed to copy all of my user data from the exFat partition that I setup from my old Xubuntu Linux box to my completely newly formatted Xubuntu 15.04 box. See previous posts for details of the exFat fail. I copied about 800 GB of data during 1 session then copied the remaining 200 GB of data during another session. I first ran a simulation, though, as I was concerned about grsync’s ability to recover where it left off and not start from scratch or otherwise dump a bunch of data. Turns out, it scanned for several minutes but then happily continued from its previous location in the restore, with no fuss. I think I’ve found a new friend.

Of course, YMMV.

exFat, Linux, and Mac OS X partition sharing

I thought I’d finally found a great option with exFat. I was preparing to migrate to my MacBook 2010 and Mac OS X Yosemite for a while in preparation for taking some classes. I transferred my user files (about 1 TB) to a shiny new 2 TB USB drive after freshly formatting it with exFat file system. My MacBook installs with 10.6.2 but exFat isn’t compatible with that version. No problem, I updated to 10.6.8 to be able to quickly access some needed files (Little Snitch, etc). As it turns out, Apple has chosen to implement only part of the exFat specification in that you must format to 1024 cluster size (or less, apparently) for the system to work. If you happened to be unaware of this restriction and allowed your Xubuntu 14.10 box to choose its default (4096), you’re screwed. No way around it, you’ll need to copy all of those files off via Linux (or, presumably, Windows) to another drive formatted to the correct cluster size. Trying to do this through VirtualBox with a fresh virtual machine containing Xubuntu 15.04 and all the correct drivers resulted in a number of crashes. I finally decided that it was going to be easier to simply continue taking classes with a virtual Windows installation rather than screwing around with yet another Apple-imposed restriction. The hardware and software are generally great and rarely crash, but trying to do anything out of the box that Apple defines can result in some pretty large fails.

Summary: If you’re going to share exFat file system in order to be compatible between multiple platforms, make damn sure you read the implementations available for each OS.

Christianity is Blind…

Christianity is blind to the fact that most Christian holidays occur near or on Pagan holidays. These days were chosen to help convert existing Pagans to Christianity as they coincide with existing holidays and, therefore, provide minimal interference with traditions already established.

Christianity is blind to the fact that many (many) other gods share similar characteristics, stories, etc., with Jesus and/or Yahweh. In fact, a number of pantheons or belief systems pre-date Christianity by hundreds of years, yet have very similar beliefs in terms of history and progression. For example, see Zoroastrianism. Even the Greek gods share many pantheon similarities to God, Jesus, and various aspects of Christianity.

Christianity is blind to the concept of the word “theory.” For those who are uninformed or unaware (but willing to listen), theory in a science context relates to an understanding that has been proven to exist or has failed to be refuted. As an example, gravity is only a theory. However, there has been nothing to prove that it is not accurate with certain very specific exceptions. Likewise, the theory of evolution has been proven many, many times in many ways to be correct. Yes, there are gaps that are not yet explained, but to say that “God did it…” actually makes you look like an intellectual dunce rather than an enlightened believer.

Christianity is blind to love. While brotherly love is a core concept (it seems), this generally applies only within the context of other Christians and has little to do with those outside the Christian faith.

Corporate Entities with Personal Rights

Some corporate entities are now permitted rights normally associated with persons. As an immediate example, a corporate entity is permitted to control its employee and customer rights relating to religion, gender identity, etc. What was the cost to buy those rights? Most of us (corporate and person) are subject to the law of the land and are not permitted to discriminate against those of opposing religions, identity, or any one of a number of categories. However, certain corporations now have the right to discriminate against customers and employees that do not fit their desired demographic. If you’re gay, atheist (or of the wrong religion), etc., you have no right to your personal rights but are subject to their interpretation. Bigot or not, they are now permitted to act as a private citizen in relation to your rights. They can discriminate against you without fear of reprisal, they can fire you or refuse service, lodging, housing, etc., based solely on whether they agree with your outlook or lifestyle. Ultimately, we will suffer at their hands and the hands of the Supreme Court, based solely on the fact that we don’t agree. The intelligence (or lack thereof) behind their arguments doesn’t matter, we will simply be forced to conform or suffer the consequences.

School’s out

Finished finals last week for another session, taking the next session off. Only a few classes left until I have a CIS BS degree. Unfortunately, the school requires a public speaking class that is nearly impossible to accomplish online due to the video requirements (4 videos with at least 5 adult audience members). Looking at some DSST testing instead to complete this requirement. The rest shouldn’t be too bad.

Mac OS X Paragon ExtFS Serious Crash

While attempting to copy files from my Linux Ext4 partition (separate drive) into Mac OS X (10.10), Paragon’s ExtFS really screwed the pooch. The system reset at some point with the result that the drive would boot but not load properly (I was attempting to copy files from my Linux drive to my MacBook via external USB connection). As it turns out, booting in recovery mode allowed me to FSCK the drive, but not automagically. I had to use a root shell and then manually run fsck to recover the drive. There were several files that weren’t cleaned up as well as a couple of corrupted inodes and an invalid number of free blocks (probably from the other corruption). Thanks to Paragon, I’m completely over using the MacBook now, as well as any product branded with their name. I like Linux better anyway, so no big loss, but I did have some stuff that would have done better on the MacBook.

As Dogbert would say, “meh” (with dismissive hand-wave).

Midterms

Midterms today (well, yesterday I guess). Crappy scores, need to learn to read the questions better. Same as grade school, junior high, and high school. Sigh…

Anyway, about 5 classes left until bachelor’s degree. Now I need to pick out a Master’s degree. Candace might have beaten me to the doctorate, but I still want one… Several cousins have master’s degrees, can’t wait to have one myself. Basket-weaving? Perhaps the ubiquitous general studies? We’ll have to wait and see… Probably an MBA or Engineering Systems Management.

Classes

Well, several classes finished since the last update, looks like they went pretty well. Looking forward to starting Networking (need it for work) and Statistics (need it for some reason). Main problem now is a communications class that I can’t possibly complete, so off to the CLEP version. Who has time to record 3 video presentations and many other small assignments? I think I’ll go for the single 3 to 5 minute presentation and a bunch of questions instead.

Full Circle – Dell E6510 Running Windows 7

This machine runs Xubuntu like you wouldn’t believe (well, you probably would). Still, college classes and reality seem to be demanding Windows 7 or 8 so I’m back to that for now.

Ditching the MacBook 2010 machine required something to move all of my files without doing it across WiFi, so I found that it is possible to download the Apple BootCamp drivers sans BootCamp. A registry file update and copying a couple of driver files to your Windows driver folder and you have the ability to mount an HFS+ drive (partition) to a drive letter – it’s read-only so YMMV. However, this worked like a charm to get all of the crap off the MacBook drive. If you search for HFS+ Windows driver you’ll probably find the file you need…

BTW, the E6510 with the Quad Core i7 is a damn responsive system with VirtualBox installed. 12 GB currently installed, waiting on the final 4 GB to bring this beast to 16 GB. With a 1 TB drive installed, it’s hard to beat for $200 (good luck finding that deal again).

While Windows is not my favorite operating system, it does have certain advantages such as common driver support.

A couple of drivers not yet found… not really a problem at this point as it’s probably equipment that I’m not using.

Oh, if you’re looking for a way to empty out that encrypted, EXT4 (btrfs) partition that you unwittingly created on your Xubuntu installation, take heed: Install VirtualBox (or similar) and install Xubuntu with the extensions. Use “Try Xubuntu” (don’t install) and then allow the USB driver to access your externally connected drive. You’ll get a prompt for the key to the encrypted partition. Enter it and then transfer the files to either the host or another USB device. It seems to be a real pain in the ass to do this any other way.

This machine also runs Windows 8 pretty well, but who would want to? Let’s strip everything that a power user might desire and make it into a touch screen based… oh, wait, it seems that some people, numbering in the millions, don’t like that. Hmmmm, maybe Marketing should have actually checked with real users before making a bunch of assumptions. Well, Windows 9 will fix the stuff that irritated everyone about Windows 8 (sort of reminds you of Windows 7 and Vista).