16 Jan 2005 pvanhoof   » (Master)

Friday the fourteenth

I've never been superstitious nor ever really believed in a God or anything that can't be seen, can't be studied with my own eyes. Nevertheless I'm okay with people who do.

Last Friday, however, (my) destiny seemed to have it's periods.

Thursday evening I just couldn't stop thinking about the meeting that we had at my current Customer, Maia Scientific (read about them and what I am doing there in my bio). The consensus was that we couldn't use any other way than some difficult mathematics to know at which exact location the motor that makes focusing the microscope happen is.

Somehow I caused a breakthrough in knowing the exact position of the motor in real-time, programmatically, by using some special techniques for reading results from and instructing commands through the RS-232. Friday antemeridian, the result was that the microscope can be set in focus. And the really nice thing is that it actually can be reliably reproduced. The mathematically technique only 85% reproducible for a yet unknown reason. Mine, so far, has been 95% reproducible.

So we where all very happy about that. Postmeridian I went back to my personal laptop, and noticed that the screensaved was hanging. I couldn't login to it either. It really seemed like a hardware problem, actually. So I forcefully rebooted the laptop. The result was that even GRUB failed to load! The harddisk was making funny noises: Tssk Tssskk Tsssk. Panic!

At home during my recovery attempts, using Knoppix, this weekend, it seems that sometimes I can actually mount the harddisk. But the more I try recovering from it, the more it starts failing. I am suspecting a headcrash or something.

So I decided to advertise the brand of my laptop, so that you people know what type you should buy if you want harddisk failures too: Acer Travelmate. I just hope that their service is good. I've bought this device a half year ago so it should be warranted. I wonder if and with what argument they'll try to void that. Probably something like: Fedora Core 3 isn't a supported software on the device, we can't therefor test the harddisk and we can't therefor test whether or not it's broken. I guess I'll have to pray to the Gods in which I don't believe. Damned.

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