Skip to main content

One Heck of a Week

So I've had one heck of a week.  I had computer issues.  Now, I'm a programmer, so computer issues for me are usually a shrug and fixed, but this took me a whole week, so I decided to share the kind of horrendous things that happened.

The lesson to be learned

First, there is a bit of explanation required.  Over my years of programming, my main asset has been that I can get into "learning mode" where I follow instructions explicitly and don't worry so much about what each instruction is doing until it works and I can go back over it and figure out what the instructions had me do.  This experience seems to have served to teach me that there is an inherent flaw in following instructions without thinking.  In the future, while following instructions, I will try to remember to do so with caution.

How it all started

So it started with a rookie mistake.  I was setting up a raspberry pi 2 with arch linux, and the instructions require you to use fdisk.  What did I do?  I formatted my hard drive of course.  I thought originally that I had formatted my linux drive (my system was dual boot).  It turns out I had formatted my base windows drive.

As if that wasn't enough

So things got wonkier from there.  I recovered my linux drive's data, at which time my bios interface stopped working.  My BIOS didn't stop working, as I could boot into linux, but I could not access the interface (which was configured for secure boot).

I even went old school

I recovered the windows drive in linux, but couldn't boot from it.  I pulled apart the whole laptop and reset the CMOS chip and nothing changed.  Just at my wits end, someone on StackExchange chat suggested I pull all the hard drives and see if the bios would show up.  It didn't, but for some reason when I put the hard drives back in, the system decided to try to boot from the windows drive first instead of the linux drive.  For some reason that action made the bios interface accessible again.

It fixed itself?

So I turned off secure boot, and plugged in my windows drive with the intent of making the recovery partition spit out the windows key.  After several hours of fiddling, I caved and bought a new copy of windows 8.  I tried one last time, calling MSI tech support to recover that key,  The tech support guy suggested that I press F11 on boot (something I had read about as a way to brick your MSI, but I was in learning mode and didn't think)....which made my bios not work again.  Thankfully, my machine was stuck with a boot order putting USB first.  I popped in my shiny new windows install, formatted the other two SSDs and it's been working ever since.


I still can't access bios, but hey, you win some you lose some.


Popular posts from this blog

Teams and Complexity

Let's pretend you're a car mechanic (I don't know, maybe you are).  But you don't work at some shop in town, you work at a bigtime auto-maker onsite at the factory.  You help build cars from scratch.  You work with a lot of other car mechanics, and various engineers of different levels.  If we were looking at the 1910s, you might be working for Henry Ford on one of the first ever assembly lines.  Either way, you have a specific part of the car you're responsible for.  Your skills probably extend beyond that, and you might work on a different part of the car each day as your manager moves you around to keep the factory efficient.

One of your coworkers, Bob, is a superb engineer.  He is very good at building cars, far better than you, and he does it faster than everyone else.  Your boss really likes him.  You often get stuck after him in the assembly line, so you know exactly what sorts of things he does.  He's not sloppy, but he likes to do things his way.  He w…

Managing Programmers

Working with other programmers is tricky.  That said, it's nothing compared to the job of managing programmers.  One of my favorite quotes about Perl is that (paraphrased) "a Perl developer is like a rockstar.  Now imaging having a bunch of rockstars in one room together and you will understand why you don't want an entire team of Perl developers."  It's not about Perl here though. What's important to understand is that any developer worth his salt is going to be like a rockstar.  And yes, there are a lot of professional developers out there who aren't worth their salt, but that's for another post another day.  Rockstar may not be the right term here, but think of it this way.  These guys are smart.  They may not be geniuses, but there's going to be things that they know that you don't and probably never will.

I've seen it more than once and it's not going to make some Product Managers happy, but I'm going to state a fact, an eleph…

Managing Developers is HARD

I've been a software dev for a long time.  I've also been running my own software company for a few years now.  This is important information because of why I do these things.  I am a sofware developer because I love learning.  I slack off when doing a job that bores me, and software development always has something new to experience which keeps me excited and interested.  Why start a software company then?  That puts me in the role of manager rather than developer.  The truth is simple.  I've worked for a lot of companies, and I don't see any of them doing a great job of managing their software development.  That's not to say none of them have done a good job, but no one out there seems to be doing a great job.

How are they different?
A lot of companies get this part right.  Software developers are different from other employees.  The distinction is important in the same way it's important to acknowledge that an insurance agent is different from a construction…