June 16th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances

Possible Fridays

My computer hung, so I forced it off. On repowering it, it only beeped forlornly at me, a small white light flashing, screen and hard drive unresponsive. It was already late, the others gone to sleep, so there was nothing for it but to do so myself. I lay in bed thinking about my computer.

Only two weeks ago, I'd done a full backup, thanks to the wonders of a speedy external hard drive. The data loss wasn't that bad. The only irreplaceable email I could remember, I'd printed off yesterday. The only irreplaceable file was a game one; I could live without it. Would I spend all of Friday reinstalling my system software? Could I rescue the additional data? Was my hard drive well-and-truly dead? The sentimentalist in me would miss all those graduation-related emails.

But I woke, to a friendly household of houseguests, irisbleu and lifegivingsword, and to a computer that complacently booted up as if nothing had happend the night before. Just in case, I'm going to back up again.

Edited a few minutes later from another machine: I spoke too soon. Same problem. If I can get it to reboot normally again, the first thing I'm doing is data salvage, not wishful thinking computer use. Still. Same data loss applies: not too bad.

Later still: No real progress. I backed up one file I cared about, then the OS hung again. Next time, if there is one, I go straight to the external hard drive for backups, not do it the slow way on the USB drive. I actually was using some form of logic when I started with the USB drive - my drive's less likely to overheat when using it due to slower access speeds, and faulty fan is a problem my laptop may have. But I'm just guessing. Until I can keep it up long enough to back up and then do diagnostics, I won't be able to tell.

Mid-afternoon: The machine is safely backed up, passed all the hardware tests, and has had a pram reset. It's been up and stable for fiftten minutes now. Will it last? Who knows. If I knew what had gone wrong in the first place, I would be more certain.

The next day: Based on its stability so far, I'm fairly certain my laptop is back in full working order. The problem was a loose RAM card - the intermittent connection caused the freezing.
Fishy Circumstances


  • Cheshire Crossing is a whimsical new web comic, the first volume of which is now out. It features all sorts of wonderful things. It's too bad that it'll be 3-6 months before the next volume is likely out. (via bonibaru)
  • Things to do in London this Saturday: "At the Millennium Bridge, architect Lord Noman Foster will escort the sheep across the Thames." In honor of the beginning of the London Architecture Biennale, there will be a procession of bishop-blessed sheep making their way from Southwark Cathedral all the way across the river to Smithfield Market, starting at 10:30 am.
  • In the fourteenth century, according to the Meaux Chronicles, a freak hailstorm took out one farmer's field, not touching those around it. Last weekend, a freak hailstorm took out one of the oldest public libraries in the country. Here my analogy fails, for there were no other libraries around it. Still, sad and frustrating, especially given the increasingly poor state of libraries in the UK and lack of funding for them. (via gillo and cronaca)
  • vschanoes is a scholar of fairy tales, and was interviewed for a feature on the next collector's edition of The Princess Bride. It's always nifty when scholarly respectability can be properly applied to things of delight and fannishness.
  • If I had anything else to add to this list, I can no longer remember it because it died with my machine (again). My laptop was up and working for a good hour or two there before the same thing happened as several times earlier. I wonder what else I can do to try repairing it, shy of a full system reinstall.