Archive for November 2008

The Austin Bat Bridge

I have known for years about the existence of a bridge (the “bat bridge”, or more formally the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge) in Austin that is home to around a million bats (it turns out that it is approximately 750,000 bats in the spring — mostly females — who nearly double the population before the end of summer through reproduction).

I know precious little else about Austin’s “highlights” except the bat bridge, but believe me, that is enough to make me want to go there. How convenient I will be there next week (see In Austin, Texas Next Week).

As part of the preparation for the trip last night, I determined the location of the bat bridge. Imagine my exuberance when I realized my hotel is less than one block from this landmark! For a time, it nearly felt as if it was fate guiding my journey toward the bat bridge.

Unfortunately, fate is cruel and reality pulled the rug out from under me. The bats vacate the bridge at the end of fall (sometime in October, I gather) and head south. I suppose seeing the bridge without the bats will still be enjoyable, but it clearly will not be the same.

In Austin, Texas Next Week

On Sunday, I am traveling to Austin, Texas, site of this year’s Supercomputing (SC08) meeting. Compared to last year, this year’s technical program looks more interesting to me.

I will return on Friday.

Grub Reinstall (on Gentoo)

Last night, I reinstalled Windows XP. It had not been working for a little more than a month, and I tried a few repair approaches that did not work out. There was no urgency to do this, which is why I waited so long. Ultimately, I reinstalled Windows (but I “punished” it first by giving it a much smaller partition; I have better things I can do with that space). Of course, this means the MBR was wiped out and I needed to reinstall Grub in order to get easy access to Linux again.

This post is more of a note to myself to save time next time (not that it took that much time, but perhaps every bit counts). It assembles information from several sections of the installation portion of the Gentoo Handbook.

Here we go (the devices are specific to my current setup):

  1. I booted using the Gentoo minimal install disk.
  2. Mount partitions and change root (Sections 4 and 6).
  3. # mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/gentoo
    # mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/gentoo/boot
    # mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc
    # chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
  4. Make mtab and reinstall Grub (Section 10).
  5. # grep -v rootfs /proc/mounts > /etc/mtab
    # grub --no-floppy
    grub> root (hd0,1)
    grub> setup (hd0)
    grub> quit

The parameter (hd0,1) corresponds to the /boot partition (/dev/sda2). If it is not clear how to specify the partition for /boot, that information is available in Grub with

grub> find /boot/grub/stage1