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Beware of the Train - Further proof that GCSE metalwork was the most valuable part of my formal education. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Further proof that GCSE metalwork was the most valuable part of my formal education. [Jun. 9th, 2008|03:29 pm]
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Yak-shaving at its finest:
  • This weekend, I wanted to work on my thesis.
  • But my laptop refused to boot up (inevitable, really, after this post). I had backups of the thesis, but they were a few days old.
    • Edit: First, I tried booting from CD.
    • But that didn't work.
      • So I tried some other CDs.
      • But they didn't work either.
        • So I tried the boot CDs in a different machine.
        • They worked, so I concluded that the problem was with the machine and not the CDs.
    • So I tried to remove the hard drive and mount it in a USB drive cradle.
    • But the screw heads on the drive mount sheared off when I tried to unscrew them.
      • So I tried all the screwdrivers in my toolbox until I found one that fitted better.
      • I found one, but the first two screw heads were now too damaged to use.
        • So I tried removing the screws with pliers.
        • But the pliers skittered off before they managed to turn the screws.
          • So I tried to file down the sides of the screw heads into rounded squares, so the pliers would get better grip.
          • But the protruberances on the sides of the drive enclosure got in the way of the file.
            • So I had to file them down first.
That, I think, was the high-point of the call stack: I've elided various extra steps and dead ends. In the end, I was able to (a) recover all the data (including over a year of un-backed-up mountain photographs), and (b) mount the hard drive in another laptop which had a broken hard drive, thus cobbling together one working computer out of two broken ones. But overall, a less than productive weekend.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: evath
2008-06-09 03:16 pm (UTC)

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ever heard of easy outs?

(probably don't come in laptop sizes though).
[User Picture]From: wormwood_pearl
2008-06-09 04:24 pm (UTC)

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No, I hadn't. Thanks! OTOH, the screws were about 1mm wide.
[User Picture]From: half_of_monty
2008-06-09 03:42 pm (UTC)

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Daily backups. Tsh.
[User Picture]From: wormwood_pearl
2008-06-09 04:19 pm (UTC)

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I still needed a computer to work on.

[pozorvlak, can't be arsed to log in.]
[User Picture]From: neoanjou
2008-06-09 04:43 pm (UTC)

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I wrote a little script which would LaTeX my midterm (including running BibTeX), copy it over to onto the kinda SSH gateway computer thing, then onto my work computer (which would back up daily)

Me? Paranoid? No way.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: pozorvlak
2008-06-09 09:20 pm (UTC)

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Nah, that's false laziness. If I'd been truly lazy, I'd have set up an automatic backup script.

The three great virtues of a programmer (or a mathematician) are Laziness, Impatience and Hubris :-)
[User Picture]From: evath
2008-06-10 10:52 pm (UTC)

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I got subversion going on my mac for tex for while. But the cool factor wore off. That's a classy way to backup.
[User Picture]From: susannahf
2008-06-09 03:47 pm (UTC)

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If it's any comfort, I wasted a large portion of my weekend turning a slightly-broken bike into a much more broken bike. Which I could do without really, what with working on top of a hill and all...
[User Picture]From: pozorvlak
2008-06-10 10:13 pm (UTC)

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Oops. I've done that. What was wrong, and what else did you break?

I take it you know about the late, great Sheldon Brown's website? Lots of bike maintenance and repair info there.
[User Picture]From: susannahf
2008-06-11 07:00 am (UTC)

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The gear cable was bust, so I replaced it. As I took the old gear cable out of the lever, a rather important-looking spring went sproing and popped out with it, and then sat on the floor looking broken. So now I have a new gear cable, but it won't stay in gear (it just bounces back to bottom unless I hold the lever in place). Oh, and it doesn't seem to go far enough for top.
I actually looked at that website before I started, and again just now. He says nothing I can see about important sproinging springs.
I'm taking it to the bike doctor today. Hopefully it won't be too expensive, as it's just not worth mending it if it is.
Sigh
I'm not in the mood to buy a new bike right now...
[User Picture]From: necaris
2008-06-09 04:19 pm (UTC)

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Eeek! That sounds pretty dire -- I've had hard disks die on me several times in the past, and have found it useful to keep a bootable Linux CD around so I can at least mount the ext3 partition and copy things over before doing whatever's necessary. Perhaps a useful habit to keep in?
[User Picture]From: wormwood_pearl
2008-06-09 04:20 pm (UTC)

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That was one of the stages I elided - "Put boot disk in. Computer doesn't boot from boot disk. Flail".
[User Picture]From: wormwood_pearl
2008-06-09 04:21 pm (UTC)

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"Check boot disk in another computer. Boot disk works. Problem does not lie with boot disk. Try again. Oh look, delirium's now dying at an even earlier stage of the boot process."
[User Picture]From: necaris
2008-06-09 04:52 pm (UTC)

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Ah, I did think it was quite an obvious step. Yikes! Glad to hear your disk and data are still fine, though -- that's the important thing!!!
From: mrkgnao
2008-06-10 10:14 am (UTC)

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Jesus Christ - that sounds *horrible* although I'm really impressed by your determination and intitiative. If this happened to me it would go something like:

Laptop refuses to boot up.
Attempt to boot laptop eighty million times.
Panic.
Flail.
Despair.
Cry.
Phone Rami.
[User Picture]From: pozorvlak
2008-06-10 10:16 pm (UTC)

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Well, the equivalent of "phone Rami" for me was "post description of problem to Ubuntu support forums and Hypothetical", but neither of those provided any ideas that I hadn't already tried.

By the time the screw heads sheared off, I'd spent enough time on it that I was buggered if I was going to be defeated by something as insignificant as a screw :-)