Computer Woes

Last week my Windows 7 machine stopped booting. I would hit the on switch and the fans would rev up and… nothing else would ever happen. Hmmmm! That is NEVER a good sign. The desktop machine was designed to be my work machine originally (well, before I got my Macintosh laptop hahahah), and it has two high-end PCI-E 16x Nvidia cards SLI’d together, and two hard drives RAIDed together in stripe mode to improve my video and 3D rendering performance. So yesterday when it crapped out my first thought was “oh god, the RAID…” When my XP machine died in March during the move, recovering the data from the RAID was a really fun adventure (NOT!).

So I started down the path, swapping memory modules, unplugging the DVD drive, pulling out the video cards, unplugging the hard drives… all manner of things, none of which had any effect whatsoever. Ohhhh great. Recalling the many times I have screwed something up on the computer because I was frustrated and tired, I decided to call it a night. So tonight I pulled the machine out from the desk, set it up on the table, and untangled all the cables inside. Got it down to one memory module, no video card, no hard drives. I figured it should at least beep on boot. Nope. After a cup of milo, I grabbed the screwdriver and yanked the motherboard. By this point I figured I was dealing with either a frotzed CPU, motherboard, or power supply. Or maybe the motherboard was grounding against the case somehow. The easiest way to figure it out would be to pull all the parts out and slowly replace them one by one in a controlled environment.
But first, to rule out the grounding – I set the motherboard on some standoffs over the top of an antistatic mat, plugged the power supply into it and nothing else and… hey, it beeped!
Woohoo!
Okay, well, whatever was causing the problem seems to have something to do with the case. So I pulled all the motherboard standoffs out of the case, re-bent and re-oriented them, duct-taped them in, and used smaller screws to reduce the likelihood of shorting the motherboard out with them. After putting the machine back together along with the power supply, a stick of memory, and one video card, it still beeped and booted. Yay! After another hour or so everything was put back together (minus one video card) and the machine still seems to be working just fine. Except… it doesn’t recognize the RAID. Ohhhhh great.
After 10 minutes digging through the SATALink and BIOS manuals, I realized I likely just needed to toggle a couple flags in the BIOS (I had reset the CMOS earlier in the adventure). Sure enough, after a toggle and a reboot, it’s all working again. But I left one of the video cards out since I don’t use the Vista machine much for gaming these days.

Ahhh nice to have that sorted out!

But here I am again, having narrowly escaped death, wondering why I bother to keep personal data on my PC at all. Lucky, my old friend Duncan gifted me with this box, I have called BEAST. It is fantastic. It is super quiet and very speedy. It just sits out there attached to my home network and serves up my files, and it’s very easy to access from the network, or even the Xbox 360 talks to it for that matter (for music, photos, and videos/netflix). I need to set up backups but this seems like the perfect answer to me these days. Because I’m working on technology on the PC, I do a lot of updates to my PC software and hardware, so the chance for a system crash is high. Why not keep just my applications and games on the PC, and whatever files I’m working on at the moment, and put all the rest of my data up on the server? I think that’s what I will set up next.

This does give me pause though, and makes me think more about the idea of using Internet compute clouds, or running applications over the net like Google Docs. I hate giving up THAT much control over my PC environment, but it sure would be easier to just have all my apps out on the net, and all my data on my Home Server, and a very dumb but fast home PC. Hmmmm someday… we’ll see. For now I have about 4Tb of data to try copy over to the server.

Published by theirishduck

I love the ability where I can plan, prioritise, design, develop and deliver blended learning solutions for a variety of markets. I love to consult and advise about the best use of digital learning and improve design standards in line with evolving ways of working. I also enjoy to keep up to date with, understand and regularly recommend emerging technologies and practice to improve individuals, teams and organisational capabilities. With over 12 years digital learning experience and demonstrated experience in both instructional design and eLearning development, I have also a lot of experience conducting training needs analysis including how to leverage principles such as design thinking and root cause analysis to understand and address performance gaps. I also have led many facilitation workshops and even presented at iDesignX and Game Developers Conferences both here in Australia, Wales and in the United States. I bring loads of coding experience in Java, ASM, C++, HTML, JavaScript, SCORM and xAPI, as well as proven capability using Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora and Articulate Storyline 360 Studio authoring programs. Of course, Adobe Creative Cloud is also part of my toolbox which I also use daily. Being taught traditional and advanced 3D animation techniques, I love hand drawing and polymer clay sculpture, but can also use the Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya and Softimage applications. With strong multimedia, training and programming backgrounds, I understand modern learner behaviour including micro and social learning, I am very familiar with most LMSes and app-based (XCode and Android Studio), adult learning models and e-solutions. I also possess the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, whilst being pro-active in delivering work independently with minimal supervision, but enjoy working in teams. I've been told I am a resilient, relationship focused guy which can manage and navigate conflicting views and stakeholders/subject matter experts.

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