100 Gmail email accounts on offer

I love Gmail, the online email service from Google. When I’m not using my own email accounts — like today — I use Gmail. It’s great.

You can read about why Gmail is so special.

Gmail is still in Beta and you can get an account only by invitation. I have 100 Gmail invitations to give away. So if you want to try it out then just let me know and I’ll send you one.

Spam Art

My friend James showed me this link yesterday. It’s a website of Spam Art cartoons and it is positively hilarious.

Here is what the site owner has to say about his cartoons:

I get hundreds of spam e-mails per day. Rather than let them all go to waste, I figured why not put some of them — the ones with the really goofy subject lines — to good use? Ok, well, maybe not “good” use. Anyway, what follows are hastily-drawn and hopefully amusing interpretations of obscure and sometimes not-so-innocent subject lines of random spam e-mails.

Now that’s cheered me up a little.

The Prodigal Hard Drive

UPDATED @ 11:23 – see below

I’m typing this from with a Live CD ‘install’ of Ubuntu Linux. Last night my PC went down in a spectacular fashion. While I was deleting one of the partitions (partition G:) on my main hard drive (HD0) the system crashed. I rebooted and discovered that not only had G: gone, but E: (My Pictures), F: (My Documents), H: (Backups), and I: (Installation files) had also disappeared. As you might imagine I began to panic — not least since I hadn’t made a proper backup of My Documents in 6 months and my installation files for over 2 years. I know … I know … !

At the moment I am facing the possibility that I’ve lost everything. And as those who know me well will testify, as I do everything on my computer that’s quite a considerable loss. (At the moment I do feel as though I am experiencing grief.) The installation partition, for example, represents all the software I’ve collected over the last 10 years or so. I feel like such a fool.

I wouldn’t have cared if I’d had a recent backup of those two partitions, I could just have FDISKed the drive again and started afresh. But I foolishly didn’t. I’ve deleted partitions loads of times, again and again, with no problems.

I did manage to boot back into Windows XP — albeit with fewer drives (partitions) than I was used to. I ran an application called TestDisk which confirmed that the partitions were still on the drive (albeit in a rather messed up way), but it wasn’t able to fix the problem … and actually made matters worse. Now I can’t even boot into Windows.

I have no option but to call in the experts. I can’t afford to risk losing this data, if it’s still on the drive. I’m reaching for the Yellow Pages now. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Good people of the internet, please pray for me. I’m still panicking.

UPDATE @ 09:27 I’ve called in the experts: PC Support Services (Scotland) who are sending someone around sometime after 10:00 am. They sounded hopeful that they could recover the data.

UPDATE @ 11:23 The PC Engineer arrived within the hour, had a good look at the drive using his Emergency Boot Disk kit; removed the drive, had a look at it with his Mac G4 iBook; returned it to my PC and had a look at it with the same software that I’d had a look at it with (reassuring me that I’m not a complete idiot); and then said, “Hmmm…”

“Hmmm…?” I echoed.
“It looks as though your Partition Table is corrupt,” he said, “But you knew that already.”
He was right, I did. “Is that something you might be able to fix?” I asked.
He nodded slowly. “I should think so.”

He’s taken my drive away (and I know not where they have laid it) and says that he expects he’ll have it resurrected by tomorrow afternoon. He’ll clone it to another drive and work on the clone, and even if he can’t resurrect the partitions he will be able to recover my data (which is all still on the drive, he said).

“That’s great,” he said as he was packing up to leave, “that gives me a great excuse to go back to the office and do nothing all day … as I sit and watch your drive getting fixed.”

Thanks for your prayers, folks. I’m a lot calmer and more reassured now. But I still have to get my data back. It’s not over yet.