A DAY WITH HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE - Complications Ensue
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I spent the morning sending off checks to various worthy charities, such as the City of Montreal Parking Department, the City of Montreal School Tax Department, and Canada Revenue. Then I spent the afternoon rescuing data from Lisa's poor sad Titanium and trying to install OS 10.4. I'm chasing a Heisenbug: attempts to determine the nature of the bug alter the nature of the bug. I'm guessing that there was corruption on a system file somewhere on the hard disk, causing a clicking sound as the read head tried to chase files off the edge of the disk. Now that I've upgraded to OS 10.4, the clicking sound is gone, but so are all the user accounts. And I have the congenital obsession all hackers have (I do have a degree in Comp Sci) that you're not allowed to quit and erase the hard drive until all other options have been tried. And, honestly, Apple gives you so many ways to attack the problem... the latest, and neatest, being "Target Disk Mode," which allows you to use your defective computer (or any other computer) as a dumb hard disk and get data off it without booting up its system. Sounds great, right? But it seems to correlate with the disappearance of the user accounts, possibly because the computer accessing it is running OS 10.2.8...

First rule of hackage: It's All Voodoo.

Gee, this would be fun if I were getting paid to do it...

1 Comments:

It always starts out fun...

Then you run out of options as you attempt to hack your way around the problem and come to the inevitable conclusion; replace the failing hardware.

Once you replace it one of two realizations occur:

1. You realize that all signs pointed to hardware failure in the first place, so you did nothing but waste your time being "Mr. Tech Savvy" while Occam laughed in your face at your elaborate undertakings.

2. Occam laughs at you days later (he wins no matter what) when you realize just how simple the software fix was with the strong possibility that you caused the problem yourself.

The first realization happens all the time but the second is rare but memorable.

From your description, everything points to hardware failure. Time for a new hard drive.

By Blogger Bryan N., at 7:20 PM  

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