This week-end, my computer's hard drive started showing up bad sectors. Well, that gave me an excuse to go buy a bike (I got a retro bike--it looked cool, and was cheaper than the cheapest hybrid; bit heavy, though) and enjoy it for some of the week-end.
But still, I had to get the darn computer to work.
Scrambled to get data out on CDRs. Degradation was really quick, which surprised me; usually, you get a few bad sectors, not a whole whack with a bunch more following in hours' time.
Bought a new disk, was pleasantly surprised that Maxtor 8 MB cache models come with a 3-year warranty, so if it goes bad like the last one, I'll have some way to recover my losses. If I don't lose the bill, of course.
Installed the OSes. For the record, I dislike installing Windows. On the plus side, the new installation seems much snappier logging in; I must've done something wrong the first time. I also installed Debian from the latest Sarge netinstall CD, and it went extremely well. Took a bit of time to get used to the GRUB, but besides that, I had almost nothing to do. Recalling my original Debian install, it was such a pain at the time--especially the ALSA drivers that would not enable any channel by default. The new ALSA init script does enable the PCM channel to a sane value, so it works really well.
Monday, came into work, and expunged my woes by expressing them to our sysadmin. His rather cryptic reply: "It's springtime." Say what?? Apparently, humidity changes due to Montrealers having to heat their houses in winter (otherwise we'd be frozen solid in a matter of minutes during winter) and abruptly stopping in spring wears out the rubber seal that keeps the vacuum in the drive. Once vacuum is lost, the drive surface oxydizes. It's worse if your heating is electric, as mine is (most modern constructions in Montreal are, since electricity isn't that expensive up here and it's much more convenient than putting water pipes or air ducts all over the building's walls). There's a small circle on the drive that pops up when vacuum is lost, and sure enough, when I checked, my former drive's is popped up.
Bummer. This means, next winter, I'll have to humidify the damn computer room. This means work--the humidifier I have needs cleaning every day. Maybe I'll just put a bowl filled with water next to the heater instead.
On the same day, one of my co-worker's new work computer showed signs of instability. It's one of those eMachines with integrated nforce chipsets. Another co-worker has the exact same model, which exhibits no stability. Granted, the stable machine runs Arch Linux and the other, Debian GNU/Linux, but I don't see how that could be the problem; we did compile X.org by hand on the Debian box. Stability is good for a while, then the co-worker will copy-paste something, and poof--back to the gdm screen. This is driving me nuts.
So, to close:
I hate computers!
(with apologies to Christian ;-)