If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

– Rudyard Kipling, “If” (1895)

Repair Samsung NC10 MBR

I removed Ubuntu from a Samsung NC10 yesterday, now the F4 recovery option doesn’t work. Please excuse the lack of screen shots on this Howto but I couldn’t think how to capture from the recovery manager and camera shots look rubbish.

It would appear that Samsung uses a custom Master Boot Record (MBR) – so for Grub all is well because you can choose to boot into the recovery partition and away you go. However if you have followed any of the usual guides to removing grub (such as running an XP CD to a recovery console and typing fixmbr) F4 will not launch the restore tool.

System Rescue CD is a great tool to have handy on a USB key. You can, so booting into it run this command:

fdisk /dev/sda

Now pressing “p” should show you that the recovery partition is 1, so type “a” then “2”, “a” then “1” to make it bootable. Now write the partition table by typing “w” then reboot. At this point you will boot into the recovery manager and be able to recover but the F4 key will not still not be available at boot and of course trying to create a backup will not work either (as Windows will be booted on restart).

Once Samsung Recovery Manager III has loaded up, press Ctrl+Alt+F10 – I had no idea there was a management mode until I read this page (French) but be aware its only available from the recovery partition. It asks for a password – “secos” (without the quotes). Once in management mode, click the “Image” tab and select “Export” then “Select Location”, I used “D:”. Click “Start” and accept the dialogue box that comes up. This is a backup of the recovery partition.

Once this stage is finished, select the “Tools” tab, insert a spare USB stick and click “Admin Tool USB”. It will format the USB stick and then install some utilities. It takes a couple of minutes. Once finished click the close button in the top right and it’ll ask if the computer should be turned off – say yes.

Boot with the USB key we just made, bringing you to a completely different recovery menu. Click “MBR Fix” and then close the application.

Now when you reboot you’ll notice that the MBR has been repaired and F4 once again boots into Recovery Manager III.


I go away for five months at the start of the year and my Internet usage drops to around 500 Mb a month. Rockstar has the Grand Theft Auto Complete Pack on Steam for £19.99, GTA IV is downloading as I write (16 Gb). Should make it interesting when I renew with my ISP at the end of the month.

Steam has three GTA collections:

  • Complete, again £19,99 (GTA, GTA II, GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas, GTA IV and Episodes from Liberty City)
  • Classic Collection at £19.99 (GTA, GTA II, GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas)
  • or GTA IV Complete at £24.99 (GTA IV and Episodes from Liberty City).
Fairly obvious choice there then.


After not inconsiderable cajoling by a friend of mine, I hired a copy of Homefront on PS3. It transpires that this is a formulaic FPS title.

The game is buggy. I’ve played through the first four levels and the PS3 has crashed on each of them, requiring a power recycle. The collision detection with scenery is very unpredictable – it often inhibits movement when there is no visible object in your path. When there are NPC in your party you cannot go through doors until they have. Worse still is the way checkpoints are handled – surely play testers noticed that putting lengthy character conversations after the checkpoint means sitting through these tedious dramatics repeatedly.

Without doubt the most irritating FPS title I’ve played. If you enjoy the desire to throw your controller through a window this game will afford you the opportunity in spades.

Why are video games the 30 something’s hidden vice?

I’m 35. There’s one PS3 in our house and I bought it. It’s attached to a nice big Plasma TV with a high refresh rate. If that sounds like I’m bragging, I’m not.

See the kids come in from school a good hour and a half before I do. So they can adhere to the rules (complete homework and get their kit ready for the next day) yet still be engrossed in video games by the time I get home. But it doesn’t end there, see I have a Lovefilm subscription so that means my wife likes to watch a film or two on the PS3 once we’ve eaten.

I like on line multi-player, particularly FPS but I can’t really get on before about ten each evening. The weird thing is I’m not alone. I just logged off after an hour playing with three other men my age(ish) – completely unplanned.

There’s something deeply flawed with three thirty-something married men whispering into headsets at midnight on a week night trying to play PS3. Its almost as if its a taboo.


Never thought I’d have to publish this on my personal blog but I’d like to draw attention to the license:

For any CC work that you use from this site, please use the following attribution:

This work by Dougie Richardson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. Based on a work at http://blog.lynxworks.eu, permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.lynxworks.eu/about/

I chanced upon a site earlier (not linking to it – as I see no need to further their hits) where my post has been lifted verbatim and reprinted as the owner’s – with my name and as a link right at the end.  It’s not asking much that if anything helps you, redistribute it under the same terms and give credit where it’s due.

Certainly don’t want to see someone else’s name attached at the top!

SSAFA, awards and royalty…

Lisa's Award
Lisa's Award

Just got back from London from the SSAFA Forces Help annual general meeting, where my wife Lisa won “Service Volunteer of the Year 2008/09”.

SSAFA is a charity that helps serving and former servicemen and women, their families and dependents.  Dealing with a wide range of issues, from bereavement to housing and even adoption.

Lisa has been an in-service volunteer for a couple of years and has recently been appointed as volunteer coordinator in Wattisham, as the previous co-ordinator’s husband has been posted.  She has been very heavily involved in fund-raising over the last year, giving up her time at the Wattisham Triathlon (which she is now training to take part in), open days and every event I can think of in the area over the last few years.  Running monthly bingo nights and having taken part in several courses, she is very enthusiastic and I’ve hardly seen her this year!  Lets not forget that we have three children between seven and twelve, how she does charity work, cycles every night and keeps an immaculately clean house I will never know.  Certainly don’t know how she fits this around a Foundation Degree in Youth Justice

Continue reading “SSAFA, awards and royalty…”