The Update


So Sunday’s ride was pretty nice. It just turned out to be Scott & Kellyn and us, out of the dozen or so people who might have shown up; we rode to Milford and back, via Bucks County and the river road on the NJ side of the Delaware: 46 miles, about 5 hours combined riding and hanging out — we got coffee and snacks in Milford, stopped to pick berries on occasion and generally did not challenge any speed records. We may have been a small group, but we saw plenty of other cyclists, especially in New Jersey, including some pretty big group rides and a surprisingly large percentage of familiar faces. Great minds think alike!

Monday and Tuesday were rest days (and stinking hot anyway), Wednesday was a ride to breakfast with Judy in Easton, and Thursday was a towpath ride. Tomorrow we meet Ben and Candace for a ride on Broad Mountain.


At the suggestion of my teacher I busted out some of my duet books and have been practicing the songs I find there, as well as the new pieces we’re working on for the quartet. I’m still doing the lesson stuff, but it looks like my emphasis is shifting from exercises and learning experiences to actually playing music again.


This is where things are not so amusing…

I have been getting notifications that my OS version is about to reach end-of-life, so I should upgrade my system. Most of the time, adding and upgrading software is beyond easy on Linux, but I’ve always found the major system upgrades to be somewhere between major pain in the ass and complete disaster, so avoid them as much as I can, but that time had come at last and it was a nightmare right from the start: the main “press this button to upgrade” software did not work, so I had to revert to a lot of internet research and the command line. Even that didn’t work at first, but I was able to see what the problem was, and each time the upgrade ran it loaded a few more of the packages it needed. (I finally wrote a one-off loop to just keep restarting the process every time it failed, and left it to work on its own.)

That took several days of messing around and (slow) downloading, but finally the upgrade was ready to happen, and that part went without a hitch. Everything looked OK, but this was where my real troubles began.

The most important part of my computer life these days is the GIS part, and my GIS projects depend on two pieces of software: the Postgresql database, and a Postgresql extension called PostGIS, which enables the database to work with geographic information. For minor upgrades, these are kind of complicated but not too problematic; for major upgrades it can be incredibly tricky. These are not things I expected to be upgraded by an automated system, but they were. The upgrade was careful to not mess with the old Postgresql version — it installed the new system alongside it and left both running — but it was less careful with the PostGIS stuff: it erased the old version, which means that the geo data in the old database cannot be read. (I spent a day trying and failing to reinstall the old version.) It’s actually worse than if the data had been erased, because I can still see it there, just out of reach…

Of course the proper move would have been to make backups just before the upgrade, but of course I didn’t — did I mention that our 2TB NAS drive, which we use for backups, just crapped out a few weeks ago? (That’s not why I didn’t make backups, but it is another thing I need to vent about.) My next best alternative — my only alternative — was to go back to my old laptop, dump the databases and reinstall them on my new version. This would mean that everything I added to the database since I got the the new laptop would be lost, but I did keep most of the preliminary data and — I hope — I should be able to reproduce the workflow to get it back.

So yesterday was the big move, which wasn’t without a few hitches here and there, but I got the scary part over with, if not the bulk of the work. For now I need a few days off, maybe some time lying on the fainting couch.

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