June 8, 2009

664 words 4 mins read

Sometimes Fanfiction just doesn't go according to plan

I find it odd and amusing how sometimes technology just seems to rebel against me. I’m not trying to be melodramatic or anything like that, and of course I realize that my computers aren’t sentient (yet), but sometimes it sure feels like it.

So here I am, in bed, cruising through Fanfiction.net looking for something to read on my netbook. I haven’t charged the unit in the last week, and I’ve been watching videos for the last few hours, so the battery is starting to get weak. I love the run time I get on my Eee, I just wish the processor was slightly more powerful. I found a nice long story to read, and started to skim it. Everything was to my liking initially so I went to go find my Fanfiction.net scraper software. See I wrote this PHP script for myself that would download an entire story, ripping out all the extra crap on the page (and fixing some typical errors), give the story some formatting, and finally kick out a single HTML file that I could load up into my Kindle (yes, all this work, just so I could read some Fanfiction).

Of course, I haven’t used my software in a month or two so I’ve forgotten where on the server it is located. Not a problem, I’ll just SSH… and I don’t have Putty installed on this machine. Download, install, and connect. Great, found the software, plug in the story ID, and watch it work. And work. And work… Something is running incredibly slowly tonight and it took nearly 5 minutes for the entire story to process. Ok, fine. At this point in time I’ll just plug in the Kindle… once I find the damn MicroUSB cable. Battery warning, just 10% remaining — I dim the screen. Plugged it in and copied the HTML file. Oh wait… I forgot that I have to convert the HTML to MOBI for reading, but that software is on my big laptop (a ‘laptop’ that doesn’t fit on your lap unless you happen to be Shaquille O’Neal or Yao Ming). That’s fine, I can email it to Amazon and get it converted and emailed back to me for free. Login to my gmail, compose new message, attach file, click send. Wait… Wait… Still waiting… Uh… WTF is going on here? For some reason gmail is just sort of stuck. The page is still responsive, but it doesn’t seem to be actually uploading. Battery warning, just 7% remaining.

While waiting for that I switch over to the Web interface for work, start composing an email, adding an attachment. Work email works fine, seemingly. Attachment is uploaded and file is away. Cancel out gmail and patiently await the return of my email. Nothing I can do to speed up this process other than pray. For some reason the battery seems to be draining faster than normal too, even with the screen dimmed down. Ha, the email shows up! Save it to my machine, minimize Firefox and… son of a bitch. 5 seconds into copying the file to the Kindle and the netbook goes into hibernate — low battery. Go dig out the power cable (which was packed), plug in and restart the machine. Oh yea… Kindle charges off of USB. By leaving it plugged in, it buddy breathed my netbook battery to death. Windows is resuming and the Kindle is acting funny… Oh goody. Apparently having the Kindle plugged in while Windows resumed caused the Kindle to crash and reboot. I’m doomed.

Ok, maybe a little dramatic. I did finally get my fanfic onto the Kindle, but you get the picture. My computers are out to get me. Whomever thought Skynet is going be created by the government hasn’t seen my network. Oh, and did I mention… when my netbook resumed from hibernate — it got stuck in screen dimmed position? So here I am trying to write this entry with the dimmest possible screen settings.