Thursday, 26 August 2021

On Darkest Dungeon and actually useful error messages

In contrast to my recent PS5 woes, how about an example of a 'user-unfriendly' error message that was actually shockingly helpful...

Background:  A while ago, the gelfling started having issues with her Darkest Dungeon save games.

assert failed: 
StorageManager::TransferFile in storage_manager.cpp line 936
couldn't write whole file?
ESC to skip

Googling that led to a whole slew of potential causes and weird fixes.  Click the envelope, not the slot name, to load (even though both should do the same thing)...  Maybe doing a shuffle and swtitcheroo between a clean savegame setup and a backup of the savegames?  Or could it be some wonky interference from intel integrated graphics drivers? (No, really: that came up as a potential cause).

So today, since the issue had apparently become even worse, I actually Had A Look at it.  Armed with backups, new folders, and even a dedicated graphics card (because why not), I sat and swore at it for a while because nothing really made any sense.

And then, whilst going to disable the steam cloud savegames, I Noticed A Thing.  Steam said that there was something like 48MB of cloud storage in use...  and only 2.8KB free space.

That's when it clicked.  That error message, unfriendly, leading to so many dead-ends via google and prayer, was entirely accurate.  Couldn't write whole file.

For, you see, the gelfling is a prodigious player of Darkest Dungeon and has amassed many hours of play in the 9 savegame slots the game allows.  So many hours, in fact, that those savegames have grown swollen with the accumulated joys and miseries.  Swollen to the point that apparently the steam cloud cannot take it any more...

Deleting a slot or two easily freed up enough space that the steam cloud savegames feature could start working properly again... and the error message is gone.  And why did I think that would work?  Because the dratted error message actually said what the dratted problem was.

TL;DR: if your Darkest Dungeon saves start not loading properly, giving the dreaded "StorageManager::TransferFile in storage_manager.cpp" error, and none of the 'standard'; fixes works... Maybe consider checking if the steam cloud has any space left for them (several megabytes free, at least) and also maybe a little self-check that you're not too addicted to DD.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Dear Sony, "Something went wrong" is not useful error information.

TL;DR - if you get the wonderfully helpful can't install (CE-10002-3) because something went wrong for a PS4 game installed in the PS5's internal storage you could try to temporarily remove your external storage device and try again.  Perhaps cancelling the update and trying again after turning the always install PS4 games on external storage option off might work too, especially if an update looks like it's the size of the entire game.


Today my PS5 decided it wanted to install the 2.06 update for Ghost of Tsushima (PS4 version).  Jolly good, yes.  Unfortunately, after downloading well over forty gigabytes of 'update', the wonderfully helpful system software decided that it can't install the update because, brace yourself, something went wrong. The error code CE-100002-3 is similarly useless.

No amount of re-trying, restarting the console, restoring licenses, freeing up space, etc. would resolve this issue...  just a brick wall of can't install because something went wrong.

Anyway, there's an important clue:  the update should be about a hundred-ish megabytes, not forty-plus gigabytes - that's the size to download the whole game, not just the update.

It rather looks like the stupid system software was trying to install the whole game, and onto an external USB drive.  That sort of makes sense since the option to always install PS4 games onto external storage was turned on.  

The only problem is that I have GoT installed in the console storage.  So why the hell is the thing trying to install a whole new copy of the game on the external drive, then throwing its hands up in despair because something went wrong, presumably that installing different versions of the same game in two different places would be messed up.

The final clue that that may well be what's happening is that when I told the PS5 to safely remove the external storage, it sulked because for some reason the GoT 'update' was being installed on it.  Only it wasn't, of course, since it can't install because something went wrong.  Setting the always install PS4 games on external storage option to off at this point didn't help.  Maybe because the console was hell bent on installing the 'update' (which is the whole game, remember) on there by then.

Safely removing the external storage and then getting the console to check for an update for the game finally worked just fine.

I feel like this is an issue where an actual frickin' error message would have been helpful.  Of course, the system software not being brain-dead when it comes to updating a PS4 game that's been moved to the console storage would be nice... but hey, if we're going to dream that big, I'll have a PS5 remake of Bloodborne a la Demon's Souls, tyvm.

Monday, 10 April 2017

It just occurred to me...

You know when you're googling a problem and all you find is message board topics from like ten years ago with links that are now dead?  Those are four-oh-forums.  B'dum-tsh.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Thankyou Adny! But your ebook is in another castle.

Some time ago I picked up a cheap Nook and began to enjoy the world of ebooks.  Of course, I created a nook account and I even bought a book on it...  which it's become very apparent isn't exactly true.

See, Barnes & Noble decided that their nook store wasn't worth running any more, so they closed it - and my book with it.  But fear not! Most of customers' ebook libraries would continue to work as long as we signed up for a Sainsbury's Entertainment On Demand account and migrated our libraries to that.  B&N pestered us quite thoroughly to do so... and, grudgingly, I did eventually do that in order to safeguard my access to that one ebook I bought.

Well... guess what.  Yep, Sainsbury has decided that their Entertainment On Demand store isn't worth running any more, so they're closing it - and my book with it.  But fear not!  Yeah, it's off to Kobo this time...

Fuck that for a game of soldiers - I'm done.  I'll stick to actually buying books, instead of renting the possibility of reading them from stores that can throw in the towel with a shrug and a "most of your library will probably be fine, just jump through hoops and open an account you didn't want".

I'm so glad that I only ever 'bought' that one ebook from a 'regular' store, and got all the rest in Humble Bundles and the like, DRM-free.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Well, THAT was unpleasant.

About a weekend or two ago, I picked up a good ol' cold virus and took it home to live with me for a while.  Didn't mean to, but you know what public transport is like for these things. Anyway, that went about as can be expected and I was starting to feel a little more perky again by the end of the week, albeit with a bit of the Green Snot Of Death looking likely to hang around longer. And then I seemed to come down with another cold.

Colds aren't really a big problem for me, not pleasant of course, but it's just a cold.  What is a problem, though, is that Green Snot Of Death. See, it has a nasty habit of lingering and making life unpleasant for months at a time, or until I actually get dragged to a doctor to be prescribed antibiotics.

So there I was, thoroughly miserable, nose dripping and yet somehow also blocked up solid with viscous gunk...  feeling very much like I'd been smacked in the face repeatedly with a cricket bat. For extra pain, every time I coughed it felt like I was punching myself in the face from the inside. Painkillers were helping a little, but not enough that I could, say, sleep or anything.  Appetite was another issue...  it was gone. Completely. That's generally a sign that I'm actually ill, as opposed to just a bit sick, or whatever.

So...  time to make an appointment with the doctor, which I did. As luck would have it, I could see $RANDOM_DOCTOR early today and for once I was fine with that (my problems with doctors are fodder for another time...). Better still, I was actually pretty exhausted and thought I might even manage to crash out and sleep.

The previous time I'd fallen asleep, I'd awoken a mere two hours later with that "Sleep? Oh, not for you, sunshine." pain so this time I made sure to have painkillers and a drink handy. I was also starting to feel a little on the over-sweaty side, so I threw on my trusty towelling bathrobe (when I get the sickly sweating, I sweat a LOT and nobody needs to have to hang a mattress out on the line to dry) and settled into bed. I did, indeed, crash out at about half-past ten, and fell asleep... And that's when it all went pear-shaped.

First of all, I'd forgotten to cancel the alarm on my phone that usually reminds me to take my melatonin on a night (my relationship with normal daylight hours is, again, fodder for another time) and that's set for half-eleven. So off it went, waking me up in a state of great confusion, not helped by the pain and a bit of good old fashioned feverishness.

Once I'd worked out what exactly was making the peculiar noises, located and silenced it, well, I was feeling a good deal worse than when I went to bed, but still pretty exhausted, so I flopped back down with the not unreasonable expectation that sleep was still an option. In a quite uncharacteristic turn of events, sleep actually was an option, as I discovered when I found myself experiencing one of those messed up, semi-lucid dreams I seem prone to when a bit under the weather. But never mind, sleep is sleep, so let's call it a win ---

--- and suddenly it's 1am and I'm awake again, in considerably more pain and a sopping wet bathrobe. "Ah, I see." I said to myself, "This is how we're playing this one then. OK."  I mean, it's just a cold or two with a bit of bacterial unpleasantness, and I'll be at the doctor's in under nine hours'; all is as OK as it can reasonably be. So a little bed-drenching sweating is an inconvenience, but realistically it's not likely to go on for too long, especially once I get those sweet, sweet antibiotics pitching in with the bacterial thing so the ol' immune system can get back to any remaining viruses. Divide and conquer, and all that.

Best of all, I'd thought ahead! Beside the bed, next to the now thoroughly disgraced and silent phone, was a glass of Pepsi Max and some own-brand Lemsip cold+flu caps. Paracetamol and decongestant, just when I need them and a drink to wet the old whistle, then wash them down with. I was feeling relatively smug at this, which is not all that smug, to be honest.  I mean, smug is quite hard to pull off when you're feeling like the victim of repeated cricket bat assaults to the face who has, for some reason, been wrapped in a brine-soaked towel. But, anyway, perhaps that's why it all went pearer-shaped.

I'd taken literally a sip of the delicious Max, then washed the two cold+flu capsules down with a small mouthful of drink when my stomach decided that it was feeling overlooked in the distress department. For a moment I entertained the hope that I might simply need to shamble as quickly as possible to the khazi to, ahem, catch up with some expedited digestion. But no. Oh, no. Apparently that tiny amount of liquid and the painkillers were going to bounce. Furthermore, leisurely shambling was no longer an option. This was going to have to be a frantic lunge.

"Really?" I asked of my gut, as I tried with only moderate success to compensate for the extra weight of my sweat-soaked bathrobe, "We're doing this now?!". "Yes." came the emphatic reply, and the little bastard wasn't kidding either, so off to the bathroom via the intervening door-frames like a squelching, demented pinball it was, where I proceeded to hurl a disgustingly unimpressive amount of pepsi/cold+flu capsules. Over the next fifteen or twenty minutes' worth of blasphemy enriched effort, sweat literally poured off me as my gut expressed its immense displeasure with my 'couple of sips of Max and some pills' antics.

How the hell a stomach can make such a long ordeal out of throwing up basically nothing, I have no idea.  It even managed to require two 'goes' at it... I actually kinda passed out against the bathroom wall a little bit between them, but ol' passive aggressive gusty wasn't having that... so up I came for round 2. And up came damn near nothing to show for it.

By the time that was all done with, I was a wreck. Made worryingly pathetic small talk with Olga -- while appetite going may be a warning sign that all is not well with the Adny, when my natural snark has vanished, well... that's bad. It takes a lot to knock the snark out of an Adny. And of course there's precious little anybody can do for somebody else in that condition, so she just propped me up in a corner of the sofa where I drifted into merciful unconsciousness again.

Today is looking much better. Temperature is down to just over a hundred, Green Snot Of Death has been served its first Amoxycillin eviction notice, and I even managed to be interested enough in the concept of a slice of toast to cook, but forget to eat, one. The appetite might be AWOL, but at least the snark is back, much to Olga's relief.

I'm still not quite on speaking terms with ol' gutsy.  I mean, when painkillers are what you absolutely need, right there and then, that sort of reaction is just not going to make you popular, now, is it. Perhaps I'll make it a peace offering of a garlic risotto tonight. That'll show it.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Missing icons in Firefox's menus...

At some point recently, the various icons in Firefox's various menus disappeared for me.  Oh, bookmarks, etc. still had their favicons, to be sure, but just about every other menu was sadly devoid of the icons I find so useful in quickly finding what I'm looking for.  Disaster.

A bit of googling turned up a possible cause: there's a gconf key that specifies whether menu entries should have icons or not, and these days it defaults to off it seems.  Hoorah! A easy fix...  that didn't make any difference.

Maybe it's because I use KDE and not GNOME (my other boxes with GNOME haven't exhibited this issue at all...), but I've never really known Firefox to do anything other than assume that you must be using GNOME so I'm skeptical that KDE is to blame.  Then again, KDE 4 is so delightfully GNOME like these days (Options? Nope.  Retarded UI? Hell yes!) so who knows, maybe it did persuade Firefox to take my icons away with no redress because to allow me to choose whether they were would imply that the UI isn't perfect. (Seriously: GNOME folks think like that, and KDE is starting to feel that way.  NOT what I got into Linux for at all.)  Ah, but I digress...

Anyway, persuading Firefox that it should be showing those menu icons turns out to be as simple as adding a gentle, but firm, hint to userChrome.css:
.menu-iconic-left {
    visibility: visible !important;
Tada! My icons are back and I'm happy again.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

netbooting Ubuntu, a cautionary tale of NFS3 and tcp_wrappers...

One of the things I like to have available on my LAN is a decent live Linux system that I can network boot into.  It's incredibly handy for those occasions when you need to do something to, or with, an installed system that requires it not to be running.

This little tale starts a few days ago when I wanted to upgrade my Fedora 13 box to Fedora 14.  No big deal, but I keep a copy of the old root filesystem on a separate partition in case of problems, said copy typically being made (e.g. with dd, and filesystem UUIDs, etc. adjusted as necessary) from a live Ubuntu.  Why Ubuntu?  Because it's really easy to network boot it, competent/complete enough for every issue I've needed it to fix so far... and sometimes it's just nice to see how 'the other side' does things.

So, anyway: my backup in preparation for my Fedora 14 upgrade.  I told my box to boot from the network, selected Ubuntu 10.04.1 from the menu and watched the kernel/initrd load as normal, but then something I'd not seen before happened.  Immediately after mounting the root filesystem, and instead of the normal live Ubuntu startup messages, there was just a string of short read: 24 < 28 messages dumped to the console, one per second.  After a while it just gave up and complained that it could find no usable root filesystem.  Same story for all the other live Ubuntus I had handy.

Uh-oh.  Thing is, this used to work just fine.  And, of course, I hadn't changed anything.  Now, nobody has ever changed anything, right?  Of course I had changed something, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

A quick google turned up something interesting about the order of the kernel arguments mattering (it shouldn't) and leading to that peculiar short read: 24 < 28 message.  "Funny," I thought, "It never mattered before...  And I don't remember changing them in the PXE menu config. wotnot either."  Nonetheless, I fiddled with them and got precisely nowhere.  Something was causing that NFS mount to bork, and I had no idea what.

So it was time for a different approach, and perhaps to get some more idea of what's going wrong...  in the pursuit of which I tried mounting the NFS export on my box, which failed.  Specifically it failed with an error message that left me even more puzzled: mount.nfs: Argument list too long.  "WTF?!" I said, nonplussed.  Naturally, I tried googling that and got pretty much nowhere.  It's not exactly a 'normal' error to get from a simple mount command and, come to think of it, it's not an error I've seen in a long time -- typically it's caused by insanely successful wildcard matches in shell commands, etc., not by mount /mnt/tmp.

By that point I was scratching my head and thinking "This used to work.  Clearly something has changed.  Something unexpected, perhaps.  Now...  What have I changed since I last definitely had this working?"

And then it hit me:  My network had changed since I last knew for sure that it was working.  Specifically, I added an extra router to provide wifi for guests, etc.  There's more to the why than that, but that's a long, miserable, story in its own right, starring a Netgear D843G router as the villain eventually exposed by an plucky young Android phone and a single remote wget command.  Anyway, the relevant part is that I now have an extra router/AP that thinks my LAN is the internet.  It has a LAN of its own, of course, and that's actually a good thing since it means I can very effectively keep 'guest' wifi use under control.  There's a difference between "Sure, use my wifi." and "Sure, use my wifi... and maybe rummage around on my fileserver as well." after all.

With that in mind, I'd added some rules to my hosts.allow and hosts.deny to explicitly allow NFS 3 access from my regular LAN but not from the 'guest' LAN.  Shouldn't be relevant, right?  Oh, but it was...  and not just because I'd botched it.

Here's the thing:  there's a few ways you can specify a range of IP addresses. means the same as means the same as 192.168.3. and I'd gone with the /24 version in my config.  Error number one, right there:  tcp_wrappers is old.  Old and unloved.  It does understand that form of netmask, but only for IPv6 addresses... and only just.

"Hooray!" I cried, having found the problem.  But would you care to guess what happened when I corrected my netmasks by changing them to the format?  That's right: nothing changed.  Still that short read: 24 < 28.

That's just not fair, really, is it.  I mean, sure that config cockup shouldn't have caused those problems, but it was what had changed since the thing last worked properly...  and, well, "Bother," said Pooh.

For the sake of testing, I threw an ALL : ALL rule into my hosts.allow and...  suddenly...  everything was working as it should.  Live Ubuntu, mounting from a normal box:  no problems at all.  Aaaaargh.  So it was tcp_wrappers that was causing the problem!  But... WTF?  That's when I decided to try the 'trailing dot' method of specifying the network...  and...  that worked.

So, to recap: -- bad.  That style of netmask is only for IPv6.  Oops, my mistake there. -- bad.  No idea what tcp_wrapper's problem is with that.  Smells of bug to me.
192.168.3. -- good.

Oh, for completeness' sake, tcp_wrappers also allows the use of asterisks as wildcards in some circumstances and I could potentially have tried 192.168.3.* but since it was now working and I had things to do, I didn't get around to trying that.

So, long-story-short version:  for some reason a perfectly normal and valid netmask in hosts.allow was causing NFS to throw wobblies leading to that peculiar short read: 24 < 28 message and the equally confusing mount.nfs: Argument list too long.  Who'dathunkit.

But do you want to know what the real kicker was in all of this?  Sure you do, if you've read this far.  And it's a real facepalm worthy one too...

The kicker is that the whole thing was an exercise in Forgetting Something Important:  That extra router/AP is doing NAT, so everything 'behind' it appears to come from it... and it's part of my regular LAN.  In other words: there's no bloody point in trying to restrict access to the 'guest' IP addresses, what I actually need is to restrict access from the 'guest' router's IP address.

Wait, it gets worse.

All this tcp_wrappers malarky is only relevant to NFS3... and the only things I export via NFS3 are my local package repositories and the necessary stuff to network boot things - all read only, and none of it even vaguely in need of protecting from accidental guest access.  All the 'real' stuff is exported via Samba and NFS4.  For what it's worth, Samba is easy enough to lock down sufficiently, and I've already done so.  NFS4 is slightly more fun, and doesn't use tcp_wrappers at all, but a couple of simple firewall rules suffice.

Anyway, given the dearth of relevant google hits when searching for the two specific error messages I was seeing, I figured it might be worth sharing the story.