September 21st, 2005


Murphy's Day

Today must be Murphy's Day, everything that can go wrong has.

It all started insanely early yesterday morning when those thunderstorms hit. I disconnected the external hard drive from the server. That drive has backups and stuff on it, so if the worst happened, all my data would be safe.

Before going to bed last night, I figured it would be a good idea to plug the drive back in, that way the backup software could do its job and not flip out.

And as soon as I plug it in, the computer freezes.

I reset, and Windows freezes during boot. I reset again, and Windows freezes AGAIN.

I unplug the drive, reset the machine again, and Windows boots normally. I try to plug it in one more time, and the machine blue screens.

OK, so I can't use that anymore. Then I remember that the drive has 2 interfaces, the Firewire interface I'd been using, and a USB 2.0 interface. I disconnect the Firewire cable and connect a USB cable and reset the computer, then go into the living room to do some work on my laptop while the machine boots. A few minutes later I return to the server only to find it hadn't done a damn thing, it was stuck at a BIOS prompt. The BIOS had detected the USB drive as a new boot device and wanted me to acknowledge that the drive had been added to the list of boot devices. Augh!

I get Windows up and running, but now I've got a bunch of phantom drives, and worse, all my backup routines point to drive K:, but the external drive is now stuck as O:. I either have to get rid of the phantom drives, or redo a couple dozen scripts. I opt for the former.

I've seen this phantom drive problem before, it's usually the fault of the USB card reader which is hardwired into the system. So I tell Windows to stop the reader. And Windows promptly blue screens. I've had it with that stupid reader, so I decide to open the machine and pull it out.

But the latch that opens the side panel is STUCK SOLID, so I end up having to pry it off with a screw driver, accompanied by all kinds of fun plastic cracking noises. I pull the reader, and pound the side panel into place. Then I notice that I'd accidentally knocked the floppy power cable loose. Screw it, I'm NOT going back in!

I restart the machine, get into Windows, and reconnect the external drive. It connects as O:, but I go into the Drive Management and successfully change it to K:. Hurray, it looks like the problem is fixed! I double check that the drive can be accessed, run some diagnostics on the drive, and everything appears to be working OK.

By now it's just after 2:15 am. I've got to get up at 7:00, so I go to bed.

The alarm starles me awake in the morning, which is very unusual. It's one of those clocks that gradually raises the alarm volume which is supposed to wake you up gently.

Now I've got a problem with my eyes called Recurrent Corneal Erosion. Basically, when I'm asleep, my eyes dry out and the inside of the eyelid sticks to the surface of the cornea. If I open my eyes suddenly, without any kind of lubrication, it rips off the surface of the cornea. Needless to say, this is very uncomfortable. It hurts, it makes my eyes red, puffy and teary, and it affects my vision for a day or two.

The alarm startling me awake did just that, to both eyes. I put in some numbing drops for the pain and some Visine to help knock down the redness and swelling. But nothing is going to help my vision, it's going to be fuzzy for a couple days.

I turn on the monitor to check the server to make sure the night's backup went smoothly. The machine is frozen. I look at the clock in the corner: 2:19 am. Just a few minutes after I went to bed! It's been down all night! AUGH!

I pull the damn external drive, reboot the server. This time it appears to stay up. Yay. :P

So I guess I need to buy something else to do backups with. Maybe some kind of NAS system? Or perhaps buy a cheap computer and install Linux on it. Just what I needed, another expense.