An Exercise In Pain
I got to experience the joy of a hard disk failure on my laptop this morning. Grind grind, whirr whirr, seek seek, linux freeze (although there were delicious sector seek errors underneith the frozen X display). Lather, rinse, repeat with XP. Now neither OS boots -- Linux spits out a seemingly endless supply of sector seek errors, while XP merely BSoD's and reboots three seconds into the boot process.
Next, I get to experience the joy of Dell Business support. Actually this isn't bad. I fed them the three magic numbers they wanted, and got told to run a disk check program. The Bob on the phone told me that this caught 99% of the disk errors, which means that if it passed, the disk was fine. Well bully on that, but my system still can't boot. So he's sending me a hard disk by courier. I sure hope this works because otherwise I'm waiting for a tech to come and replace the main board. Either way I'm (probably) pissing away a day rebuilding this thing. If the main board is broken, I'll probably be doing it again. And of course the fact that we will probably get new ones by the end of the month means I'll be wasting more
Finally, the only spare machine we have in the office has a fancy 3D Labs video adapter which Linux doesn't have a driver for. (Oh, but you can buy one for US$149! Not interested? Didn't think so.) So I spent the whole day in console mode, learning screen
. What was interesting about the experience is how much stuff actually worked. The web was partially browsable, but the Trisolve thing and the SnipSnap editor both failed to submit data back to their hosting websites. Not that functioning under lynx was ever a design goal.
Despite all the time being wasted, it was interesting to see how the experience forced my workflow to be focused differently. Most of my tools are console tools, and I merely use X or eXceed as a way to keep more than one up on the screen at one time. It might have been nice to use a higher resolution which I could have subdivided, letting me have more than one console app running, but I couldn't figure out how to get the frame buffer thing working and didn't have a particularly usable browser to google. An interesting excercise to be sure; but I want my GUI back.
I bet few people could have imagined me saying that even a year ago.