Sorry for not updating
I’ve actually got a bunch of stuff to write about. Unfortunately, my laptop’s hard drive seems to be in the process of dying a slow, painful death. It tends to flake out completely at inopportune times. During these “bad periods” the BIOS acts like it can’t even find any bootable media, but then it will randomly come back and work perfectly fine (minus some data corruption from improperly disconnecting without unmounting the drive).
If nothing else, these experiences have put the fear of God in me with regard to data backups and I’ve been burning CDs, uploading to servers and saving to flash drives like crazy during the good periods. The all-or-nothing nature of the issue leads me to suspect the problem might be as simple as a loose cable connecting the drive. I don’t have the necessary tools (a very small screwdriver, basically) with me to open up the computer and take a look, but I’m going to try to borrow one.
In the meantime, I did manage to download and burn a copy of the Ubuntu LiveCD, so at least I’ll be able to have a functional system, even without a hard drive. The worst/most annoying part about this is just not having any confidence in the hardware. It’s not fun playing roulette to see if your computer will work when you need it to. This goes for other pieces of tempremental, but vital equipment, too: cars that only start half the time, bikes that frequently get flat tires. In some ways, it would almost be better if they didn’t work at all. That way, you’d know where you stand.
Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of notes (mostly on paper) from the Budapest conference and the last couple of days, so I’ll try to get up to date when I get a chance. I’m flying to Palermo, Italy in a few hours for another hacker conference, but I’ve got a 10-hour layover in a small regional airport outside of Milan. I’m debating whether it’s worth going into town for lunch. Right now, I have to go pack.