Windows on ATMs

Well, this morning I found to be out of cash. Walked about 6 blocks to the ATM on my way to the office.

I entered the little glass box… Inserted the card and ….. nothing… Screwed around with the card reader, leaving the card for longer periods inside, then faster insertion…. The machine was operational, I could see the funky plasticine ad, but the ATM wouldn’t react to the card being inserted.

Called operations support, the machine asked me to wait… No answer after 10 minutes, second call, no go… I’m not walking another 12 blocks to the next ATM!!!! (the standard block in Paraguay is about 100 meters). I stuck the head behind the ATM, there’s a power plug! ūüôā

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Rebuilding partition table

Recovering partition table from data on disk

Ok, an ex school partner brought me his laptop today and told me that it suddenly stopped working (yeah right).

Booted a linux rescue disk and after inspecting the hard disk I found it had 3 partitions:

Disco /dev/sdb: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cilindros of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xac23bbdb

Disposit. Inicio    Comienzo      Fin      Bloques  Id  Sistema
/dev/sdb1               1       18748   150593278+  83  Linux
/dev/sdb2           18749       19457     5695042+   5  Extendida
/dev/sdb5           18749       19457     5695011   82  Linux swap / Solaris

Hmm, Linux partition.. But how can this be?, he’s a Windows-only guy… Obviously someone screwed it big time…

Tried to mount the first partition, but it didn’t have a valid filesystem aparently. Took out the disk and mounted it on a external SATA <–> USB cage and plugged it on my laptop.

First of all tried to check what was on each partition, “file” utility only stated “data”, but “strings” on the partition showed there still was the WinXP data on the disk. Apparently someone booted the laptop with a linux installer and aborted the installation process, not before it screwed the partition table.

First thought, “well, I’ll delete the current partitions and create a single NTFS on the whole disk and the data fill just appear!”, having created the partition tried to access the data and failed miserably….

So, obviously, as it’s a laptop it probably has those so-usually-found-this-days utility partition. How can I guess the partition table from the bits on the disk?!.

After researching for a while found about TestDisk. Downloaded, installed and run it against the disk and some minutes later It found the original partition table!!!

Got lucky, but YMMV…

Faster Japanese rendering in Firefox

Need decent rendering time for japanese text in Firefox?, here’s the solution..

Years before I found that rendering japanese content in Firefox was REALLY slow, but just resigned to live with it and some time later forgot about the whole thing as I stopped accessing japanese content….

Today I found some interesting content again after reading some posts at, and suddenly was annoyed once more with this rendering slowness. After researching a little, I found this post which solves the issue. I’m not pretty sure about why this fonts help to render the pages faster than the stock fonts, should they be included in the distro?

Here’s the procedure to install them in openSUSE (tested with 11.0@x86_64):

Find a suitable repository using

Add the repository to your system (you don’t HAVE TO, but this way you can get updates later):

zypper addrepo “Japanese Fonts”

Install the packages:

zypper install ttf-wqy-zenhei wqy-bitmapfont

It will ask if it should trust and later import the key, just answer “YES” to both questions. You’ll have to restart Firefox to use this new fonts..

Pages to test rendering: