Tag Archive for 'computer woes'

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The Lab Hates Me

So, I’m currently not on my advisor’s good side because I haven’t yet gotten the data that he wants, and, as he never ceases to remind me–as though I’m not painfully aware of the fact already myself–classes are starting next week and there’s not a lot of time for getting that data between now and November. Wednesday’s attempt to get the experiment done was foiled by the Ultimately Inconsiderate Labmates and the disgusting biohazard they left growing, dying, and rotting underneath their rig. We located them and, with the power of the facilities manager behind us, made them clean the mess up. Unfortunately, it took them most of the day, and there wasn’t enough time left in the day to do the experiment.

Thursday was eaten up by the gigantic lab meeting in which I got berated by my advisor in front of our entire lab group as well as another professor and some of his students.

So, needless to say, I was pretty desperate to get in the lab and get some data this morning, even if it wasn’t with our fancy $1000 probe (which, I discovered on Wednesday, actually has resolution problems that our straight, homemade probes don’t have). Steph got in, and we headed over to the lab, set up the probe calibration, and got started. Then the stand that we have to use to yaw the probe during the calibration broke. I can turn the knob that controls the angle all I want, but that doesn’t mean that the angle will change. Okay, whatever. I manhandle the stand into each of the positions we need; we record the data, get our constants, and set everything up for the experiment.

We fly through the data collection at our first location, then move the probe, turn the tunnel back on and get ready for the next one. Except the computer freezes. Nothing extraneous is open; only what we need to take data. Yet the computer cannot switch between open windows. In fact, it can’t handle us moving the cursor. Time for a forced restart, we think. And another. Throw some disk checks in there for good measure. I’m getting frantic. I slog through uninstalling a bunch of programs we don’t need. Finally, I manage to knock out a bunch of that junk that could be running in the background and get it started on a virus scan. We go to lunch.

When I return, the virus scan has run for over an hour but found nothing. Also, it’s frozen. I force yet another shut down and turn the computer on again. This time, when it boots, I tell it to restart, hoping that this will clear whatever weirdness might be lurking in the registers. The computer comes back on, and it cooperates. I call Stephanie back and we fly through a dozen probe positions. Things are looking up. Maybe we’ll even get done in time for the TGIF at the Big Red Barn.

And then, the computer locks up again. We manage to restart it without forcing a shut down. We get another data point. But it locks up before we can take a second one. Now funny lines are appearing at the top of the monitor. Time for another forced restart, and another set of data gets recorded before the computer locks up. Restart. I start another virus scan, which helpfully ends after less than 9 minutes when the computer locks up yet again.

Well, guess what. I got data at fifteen locations, professor. The data is safely stored on the E:/ drive–and it’s the C:/ drive that seems to be failing–but I can’t tell you a damn thing about it because the computer won’t possibly run for long enough to process said data files, and it’s the only one that has the code to process the batch files. But the data’s been taken. Also, I declare it the weekend now. Oh, and, by the way, can we get me a new workstation?

Fairweather Update

The good news is that I have access to my computer again. The bad news is that the hard drive is faulty. The other good news is that IBM is sending me a new one and that I didn’t have to jump through hoops to convince them to do so. In fact, once I got the OS running again and worked my way through all of the diagnostics and troubleshooting they offered on hard drive problems, I collected my results, called, reported my findings, and my new hard drive is on the way–no flow chart of stupid questions necessary. Yay!

In the meantime, the weather’s gorges here in Ithaca, and this is how I spent yesterday afternoon:

Reading in the sun

The book I’ve got is one I picked up on a visit to the Friends of the Library Book Sale when we went on Saturday. I think I might actually have to make another trip over there before it’s over. There were a lot of great things there, and it’s hard to pass up a book in good condition at those prices. Also, they had a copy of the old school Candy Land game my sister and I grew up with, and, strange as it may seem, that’s rather tempting to pick up. My mom got rid of our old copy and the one’s they’re selling now have different illustrations and layout and such. And I don’t like them. Whose idea was it to demote Queen Frostine?! *pouts like a four-year-old*

Spending an entire weekend doing nothing related to work was fantastic… but it makes it so much harder to start working again on Monday…

#0000: No Error Message Provided

So today is Slope Day (a.k.a. the last day of classes for Cornell). I can’t say that I’m the least bit sorry to see my classes end for the semester, but with a take-home final exam and a final report on my plate and my Q-exam (translation for non-Cornellians: Ph.D. qualifiers) looming–looming–on the horizon, I’m hardly home free.

Most of all, what I do not and did not need is for my shiny new computer to develop a massive case of Blue Screen Syndrome. I still don’t know what set things off on Wednesday, but I’ve been waging war with the demons that have infected it since then and all I can say is that I seem to be going in circles–or maybe spirals. I have not yet broken down and wiped everything and started over. I am determined not to do so until I have absolutely no choice.

To make matters substantially less pleasant, although I have all of the files I transferred from my old computer, I didn’t have a proper back-up of the last two or three months. Luckily, Lenovo’s Rescue and Recovery program was happy to plop copies of all the files on my hard drive onto the new external drive I ran to the store to buy as an emergency recovery effort. And I did get the OS up and running again last night long enough for it to report the successful completion of a back-up of my personal files and data. Unfortunately, we slid back down the hill of progress this morning, and I have yet to get back into the OS and have Windows Explorer work.

But I haven’t given up.

If you don’t happen to hear from me for awhile, don’t take it personally. It just means that I’m valiantly doing battle.