January 6th, 2007

Welcome to the new year everybody. I’ve had a very enjoyable time the past few weeks watching movies, reading books, generally doing nothing, and regaining the ability to eat normal food after having my wisdom teeth extracted. Alas, the semester is almost upon me. However, my computer is not doing so well. My DVD/CD drive is failing I think. It ejects randomly, and I can no longer burn at full speed; it starts making this terrible burnt rubber smell before aborting. Also, Friday night I backed up my stuff (I use SyncBack freeware, highly recommended) before leaving the ISL lab to go to Robotics @ UCF. Good for me, because my computer promptly bluescreened when I got to robotics and then Windows wouldn’t boot (error in ntfs.sys). Oh well, no biggie. I’d just boot off a Windows CD and copy the file over. Except it kept giving me errors booting off the CD. Blast! I had forgotten my CD drive was on the fritz. Hmm…So I have Ubuntu Linux installed on my computer, but not GRUB, so I can’t boot into it (thank you Windows XP for overwriting GRUB the last time you installed). Aha! Maybe I can boot from USB? I have my 512 CF card from my camera and a Sandisk card reader. With some hellp from Pen Drive Linux, I was up and running DSL Linux in no time (btw, if you give a shot, you need to download the latest syslinux if you plan on running it under Windows XP). I was back in business! I mounted my Windows partition and then tried to copy over the ntfs.sys file. Arg! DSL linux doesn’t support writing to NTFS partitions. So close yet so far. Hmm….How about grub? Yes, I can restore grub! Great, now my Ubuntu boot menu is back. Kernel Panic! No, it can’t be! Arg! Maybe one of the other Ubuntu entries? A previous kernel version? No, still kernel panic. Hmm…Ubuntu memtest86+, sure why not – can hurt. What!?! My RAM is bad. Oh please let it be my 256 stick, and not my gig stick. Bother, it’s my gig stick. Well that explains a lot, including why Ubuntu wouldn’t load either. So that’s all fine and dandy. I bought my computer about a little over a year ago and then the gig stick a few months later. Maybe it’s still under warranty and I can return it for a replacement. Newegg here I come. You have GOT to be kidding me. I bought it on 1/4/2006 and today is 1/5/2007 – one year and ONE day later. You know, I’ve heard of all the horror stories about products that fail right after the warranty is up and I’ve even heard the conspiracies that companies design products to fail after the warranty is up. But hearing about it and then experiencing it are completely different. Even more interesting is the RAM stick I bought a year ago is no longer being sold by Newegg…something smells fishy here. So I dropped Newegg an email to see if I can still return it. In the mean time, I had to take the gig stick out and put in my old 256 MB RAM stick. 512 MB of RAM is sooooo painful! It’s like I can’t do anything without waiting 5-10 seconds for memory to be swapped to/from my slow harddisk. Oh well, maybe Newegg will replace my stick. And if they don’t, maybe tomorrow will bring something cheery my way. Oh wait, I have to write an essay for a fellowship. Sigh…..

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