Saturday, December 29, 2007

Computer Crash Update

I've been away from the interweb for a while, but while I was gone typed this update for all concerned about the restoration of our home desktop:

I know you've all been wondering.

The answer is that the computer of my "crash!" post is back and running. However, I had to go through a multi-step process to see it restored. And it's honestly not fully restored, but the important data has been recovered.

After running SpinRite, I was still unable to get the computer to boot. I got further along than I had previously, but still not able to boot. A disk error was encountered in the process.

By this time, I had taken the hard drive down to my other computer and was able to retrieve important info off of it. Mostly my Quicken data. I could retreive pictures from the "my pictures" folder too, so I knew the drive was not totally lost, even though it wouldn't boot.

This began another very irritating process. The re-installation of Windows XP.

I have a hollographic XP Home Edition install disc. After getting about 50% through the installation process (did I mention I purchased a new hard drive from TigerDirect on Capitol? A Seagate 250GB for $80!), I encountered a "cyclic redundancy error." A WHAT?

Apparently a Cyclic Redundancy Error is a fancy way of saying that an error has been encountered in reading the disk, and really what is going on is that the software suspects that the disk is not authentic. I restarted and tried again, and again. Every time I got to the screen that said "39 minutes to finish the install," I got this error. VERY very frustrating.

Let me just pause and say that a few weeks prior to this incident, I received a new copy of mace os 10.5 "Leopard." My installation on this laptop took about 3 hours total time. I went from 10.4 to 10.5 and had absolutely no trouble. All my data was maintained and the OS upgrade was flawless.

Back to the Windows machine. Thom tried to help me resolve this issue. He attempted to assist me with this issue, babysitting my machine during the week of dress rehearsals and trying to get it to go. But in spite of cleaning the lens on the DVD drive, cleaning the disk itself, it became clear that the error was not able to be overcome. Either a much deeper issue existed in the hard ware, or there really was a simple error on the disk. (Neither of us had an extra home XP disk lying around).

Thom recommended I take the computer to Intrex, where for $50 I could have them run a diagnostic on the memory, CPU, HD (new HD), and motherboard. They did, and they found now trouble.

Once they began to install XP however, they encountered the same error I encountered. HA! I feel a little vindicated. The solution? They simply swapped my install disk with theirs and it worked like a charm. Stupid.

So now I have windows machine up and running again on a fresh hard drive AND my old HD in the computer primarily to retrieve my old data when needed.

I've also tried something I've never done before. I'm running everything as a user rather than as admin. I have a password protected "admin" account, a "Janet" account and a "Brian" account. Since I like to use Google's firefox bookmark plugin, keeping seperate accounts between Janet and me will allow us to bookmark our browsing separately.

Computer crashes, life goes on. Computers are becoming like cars. We're very dependent on them to the point that if they crash we almost don't know what to do!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Alternative Sunday School

As you get ready for church tomorrow (or today, or next week depending on when you read this!), consider what some parents are doing to educate their kids:

An estimated 14% of Americans profess to have no religion, and among 18-to-25-year-olds, the proportion rises to 20%, according to the Institute for Humanist Studies. The lives of these young people would be much easier, adult nonbelievers say, if they learned at an early age how to respond to the God-fearing majority in the U.S. "It's important for kids not to look weird," says Peter Bishop, who leads the preteen class at the Humanist center in Palo Alto. Others say the weekly instruction supports their position that it's O.K. to not believe in God and gives them a place to reinforce the morals and values they want their children to have.

I am very curious to know what the basis of these "morals and values" are for those who don't believe in a Moral Law-Giver.

Read more in this article.

Time for Lord of the Rings

This is the time of year that I get the irresistible urge to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. I love these movies. I love the story, I love the grand scale of the movies, I love the acting, I love detail of the smallest minutia. I love the sound track. And I love the extended edtion DVDs (thanks, Jason!) with all the behind the scenes interviews and commentary. I appreciate the vision of Peter Jackson and I'm really excited that he is now going to be directing "The Hobbit." Rumors are that he'll be filming it in 3D as well!

Why do I get the urge to watch these movies this time of year? I guess because this is the time when the movies were released both theatrically and when the extended DVDs were released.

So far, I've watched the first disc of The Fellowship and I am nearing the end of the second disc. Right now, Boromir is trying to take the ring from Frodo. I'll probably watch the rest of the trilogy over the next couple of weeks.