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George Schizas Blog

Days in the life of a clone

The Abominable Snowed-In Monster

This is how it all began: Snow.


A lot of snow. Me, living near the sea for most of my life (Piraeus) hadn’t seen much snow in my life. In fact I think that I’ve only seen snow maybe four or five times before this. So, now I’ve moved to the highlands of Gerakas, it seems that the weather gods saw fit to reward me with the largest amount of snow I’ve ever seen – and it also seems it was a lot of snow even for less snow-deprived people. How many times did I use snow in the last paragraph?

After that, it got worse:


And worse:


That’s a cheap thermometer on the ledge there. It went down to -4°C at least, maybe less.

And snow kept falling:

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Until the next day:


I’m sure there’s my car under there:

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This is how high the snow was in front of my door. I would say it’s about 80 cm off the ground.


You can’t believe there’s ground under there, can you?


The water supply pipes had frozen over, so I didn’t have drinking or any water at all.


I almost felt like a primitive man, picking up snow or even ice blocks by the handful and melting in the water heater to make water (not drinkable), carefully counting how much water I have left in the fridge and rationing it to last for the longest possible.


I didn’t make a snowman. I don’t think anyone should make snowmen alone. Even Calvin had Hobbes. I had enough adventures trying to restart the central heating (the lock had frozen over, so I had to melt the ice that had formed using a lighter to open the door).

Finally, this morning (Tuesday) the snow started to really melt. My cousin came over to fix the broken water supply.

Of course I had the whole distance from my house to the street to cover (or actually to uncover). I was very fortunate that a man in a private bulldozer came and cleared up in 2-3 minutes what would have taken me all afternoon.

Update: I had this post saved somewhere, and after some polishing, I’m posting it for real.

New PC (almost)

My server PC’s motherboard was fried last week, so I decided to not replace it, but to upgrade my Workstation PC to a slightly better CPU, GPU, memory and motherboard, and use my old workstation PC as the new server. This is a work in progress obviously; the server PC is now just a Virtual PC and the actual hardware server (to be) is just a bunch of cables waiting to be put together.

So, I went to pick up my PC on Saturday, on a part of Metropolitan Athens that I’ve never been before (GPS is cool!). As luck would have it, I caught the most extreme rain I’ve ever seen! I might be exaggerating about the actual rain – but it was one of the few times I’ve ever seen hail, and the first one that I was driving.

The quality of the new case and PSU aren’t really that great. The motherboard/CPU/GPU/Memory is doing great so far (I got a 5,3 in Vista Experience Index), but half the SATA power jacks have broken when I connected them, and there were some disconnected cables in the case. Of course after working in the obscenely huge Coolermaster Stacker, the Coolermaster Centurion I got seems way too cramped. Unfortunately the disk encasement on Stacker is really a torture device to plug in and out, so the sideways plug-in of Centurion is really a breath of fresh air.

Unfortunately the motherboard/CPU change did not bode well with Windows Vista, so I had to reinstall them. So once again, I’ll be installing software after software and manually migrating setting after setting. There should be an easier way to do this. Even from hosed installations. Why, oh why did Microsoft replace the good old “In-place Upgrade”, a.k.a. “Repair Installation” of Windows XP with the dumbed-down, slow as hell, check-your-disk-when-it-doesn’t-need-it monstrosity that is “Repair Windows Startup Problems” (or something)? Bring Install-on-top back! This was really the way to solve such “trivial” problems as changing motherboards. And I’m afraid I’m going to have to do the same thing for the fourth time at work too!

Don’t get me wrong, I like Windows Vista. They are truly better than Windows XP in most matters. And in spite of the fact that I’ve gone for the most incompatible path imaginable, namely 64-bit Windows Vista (Ultimate), I’ve only met with very few problems, probably less than 10 cases. There are some incompatible drivers (I can only think of two, a USB-to-Serial cable, and I think a MIDI device) and I can only think of Sysinternals’ Process Monitor that didn’t capture 32-bit applications once, although this was probably due to the state of anarchy I’ve managed to brink my work’s PC configuration to. Problems with 64-bit are more of an “a-ha” problem, such as converting a web site to 32-bit, or using the 32-bit cscript.exe to start 32-bit ActiveX objects etc. I chose to do this of course, in order to experience the problem class that comes with 32-to-64-bit transition. Even my new motherboard’s manual has a warning that 32-bit windows cannot see more than about 3,5 GB of RAM. In this new PC I already have 4 GB…

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