January 28, 2006, 2005
Written by Jay Jacobson <jay (at) kinetic (dot) org>

More education... who knows the difference between a "flat" and an "apartment?" Until recently, I sure did not. Actually, I am not certain that I even know the difference now, but I have a pretty reasonable semi-educated guess. I think a flat, in addition to sounding British for some unknown reason, is effectively an apartment that takes up the entire floor of a building. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Now with that out of the way, I have a few updates and pictures to share about our new flat in the city. It is in a very San Francisco-esque three-story old Victorian building. Each of the floors in the buidling is a flat (see self-created definition above) and we are on the second floor. It is a two-bedroom place that is small by Phoenix standards; I am guessing it is about 1,000 square feet. However, that seems to be pretty normal for a San Francisco apartment in the city.

The building is in Nob Hill (Sacramento and Jones), right in the heart of San Francisco. From what I can tell, we are pretty much at the top of the highest hill in the city, as *everything* is downhill from our place. However, the location is really not bad at all; from our front door, we are about a ten or fifteen minute walk to almost everything in the city... the beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, the Financial District, Fillmore, Haight Ashbury, the Presidio, Union Square, North Beach, etc... The building actually sits on a side-street, which is nice because it adds a bit of privacy and noise reduction. I am trying to get used to the "sounds of the city" at night when I am sleeping.

Here are some pictures of the place, taken just before we moved in:

So, there is the flat. It is relatively nice. Not perfect, not wonderful, but nice for my first place in the new city. Everything else has been extremely busy the past couple of months. Between the holidays, commuting between three cities, all the hassles of moving, in addition to the usual life stuff, I am just starting to feel like I am not being pulled in a million directions at once. Now it is just a thousand directions at once. What a relief.

For some geeky news... I finally got around to getting my fileserver up and running again at the new home. Unfortunately, it seems that the RAID-1 array did not fair so well with the months of storage and moving around. From what I can tell, something caused the firmware to get borked on the primary drive in the array, toasting the drive geometry too. All of the data is presumably still there, but the drive can not be easily read. No problem - that is what RAID is for! Just use the secondary mirrored drive. Right? So you would think... Apparently my RAID card got a little over zealous mirroring the primary drive to the secondary drive... including mirroring the borked firmware and geometry. DOH! I am not 100% certain this was the sequence of events, but it seems relatively reasonable. In any case, the end results are the same... Now I have two drives, both with identically screwed firmware and geometry.

I know the data is still on the drives, but I am currently at a loss for how to access it. Then again, I have not put a ton of time into it yet. If anyone has any pointers, please let me know! For now, I have just put the drives aside, for later tinkering. I created a new fileserver, with new drives, and have that running now.

I will have to post some pictures of the new fileserver sometime. It is funny because the "fileserver" machine is actually an old Apple Titanium G4 800MHz PowerBook, which was discarded by someone (whom we lovingly call "Elmer") because the screen broke. However, when I say "discarded," I really mean that it was run over, tossed into a dumpster, banged around, torn up, ripped apart, and *literally* in a pile of pieces. Yes, pile-o-PowerBook-chunks - about 20 or 30 chunks - and it still runs great! Sure, the motherboard is exposed on the bottom, the DVD drive is folded, the hard drive is taped to the bottom of the trackpad, the liquid is *dripping* in the LCD, the Airport card is held in with a metal shard from the case, and many more engineering wonders. However, somehow, in a feat of amazement, the magic smoke has remained in tact and the machine runs great!

Back to San Francisco observations, while not completely moving away from the Apple talk, a couple of weeks ago I went to Mac World San Francisco. Much cool geeky stuff happens in San Francisco. The show was pretty big, but not overwhelming, which was quite nice. Plenty of interesting things at the show, but the best was seeing the new Intel-based iMacs and MacBooks on the day they were announced. Unfortunately, I did not see the show keynote, but greatly enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

Best of all, it was only about a fifteen minute walk from my front door!

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