Stupider Computer

After two evenings of boot disks, operating system CDs, external drives, SATA drives balanced precariously atop an open case, and a couple of hard ciders, it appears the great computer meltdown of 2010 has been repaired.

Sadly, after all the effort, I still don’t know what was wrong. The computer stopped booting without an error, so I tried to fix it with a variety of different tools.  Some of them may have introduced other errors, or exacerbated the original error, and somehow it all ended up booting again around 6pm today.

Things which I tried which did not help: fixmbr, fixboot, copy partitions to a spare SATA drive I have lying around (waiting for that new build I’ve been planning for nearly a year now), copying NTLDR, hiding and unhiding partitions, making partitions active and boot, and pulling out hair.

Things which I think led to the fix: editing the boot.ini file via a Linux boot disk to point to partition(2) instead of partition(1), ensuring the recovery partition does not get assigned a drive letter in XP. And possibly the cider.

And this is why I have several USB drives about, as well as why I experiment with live distros on USB keys so I’m not completely flummoxed when everything goes pear shaped.  I still don’t trust this machine, though.  Flaky like croissant dough.

Stupid Computers

It’s never good when your computer shows a flashing cursor for twenty minutes after you turn it on.  It would have flashed longer, but I turned the machine off.

Now booting off a live Linux USB stick, running diagnostics on the machine. There appears to be nothing wrong with it. SMART shows no errors.  NTFSChk shows no errors. I can mount and browse the drive perfectly well in Linux. Now I’m running a freshly-updated CLAMAV scan against the 200+ gigs on the main drive, but I begin to think this won’t reveal anything either.

Naturally, I can’t afford a new computer currently. Heck, I’ve got parts for a new build in my dining room that have 6 months of dust on them already.  *sigh*

Seed Magazine and Science Blogs

I recently noticed that it had been a while since I’d received a new issue of Geek Monthly magazine. Turns out, they went under six months ago.  Huh.  I guess I won’t be getting a refund of my remaining subscription fees. That prompted me to look at some of my other less-established magazine subs, and the only one that was missing was Seed.  Seed magazine was started four years ago as something of a spiritual successor to the 80s gem OMNI.  OMNI was a fabulous combination of science and science fiction, which in later years added far too much pseudoscience and then decided to jump into the “online only” realm before anyone was ready to read magazines online. They are sometimes missed. But this is about Seed.

Seed was pretty decent, actually. They had a lot of good writers working for them, and they seemed to understand the online world fairly well. They created a site which they used as something of cross-pollination project between print and blogging, the much-visited ScienceBlogs. A while back, they lost a few of their high-profile bloggers to Discover Magazine’s active blog portal. It appears that they shuttered the magazine last fall, with the promise that they weren’t going to quit publishing a magazine, they were just reducing the frequency and won’t you just wait until spring 2010 and you’ll get a new issue.  Um…yeah. Still waiting, and there doesn’t seem to be any official word (or at least not findable on their site) about where Seed Magazine went.

Last month, the ScienceBlogs folks noticed a new blog in their midst, one written by PepsiCo. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, ending with Pepsi’s blog being dropped. This week, there is a bit more of a kerfuffle. It’s a bit vague around the edges, but it seems the need to make money has become more important to Seed Media than any respect they may have had for being a science media focal point. I’m not clear on why this all came to a head today, rather than during the Pepsi Challenge, but a new batch of bloggers have jumped from ScienceBlogs and it’s not looking good for the site as a whole.  Interestingly, the biggest SciBlogger, the one who accounts for over half of their total traffic, has decided to go on strike/haitus rather than quit, but maybe Seed Media can bring ScienceBlogs back from this brink that their own inept management has brought them to. At a minimum, they need to realize that without content, their advertising department is completely worthless.

Meanwhile, where can I get a refund for the remaining issues on my subscription?  Hello?  *knock knock*