Sunday, September 11, 2011

Problem Solving

So, when you come up against a problem you don't know how to solve, how much background information do you need to be confident that you can locate and understand the information needed to actually solve the problem?  I'm going to use installing a SATA hard drive into one of my computers as a case in point.

I actually physically mounted the drive a few days ago, but I had forgotten what a SATA power cable looks like and consequently installed a drive without plugging it in.  This morning I opened the case back up and attached the power cable.  However, still no luck with the computer recognizing the drive.  After reseating the cables and trying the other SATA connector on the computer's motherboard, I started looking at the OS level (Ubuntu Linux) for reasons why my drive wouldn't be recognized.

After looking at a few different forums, I saw that someone had said something about telling the BIOS to enable SATA support.  So I rebooted the computer and went into the BIOS setup.  Now, anyone reading this far is either saying SATA, BIOS, what are all these acronyms?  Or they already know without me having to explain.  So that's probably one level of knowledge that was needed to even attempt to solve this problem.  However, going into the BIOS, I didn't see anything useful which led me to search for the manual for my motherboard on the internet.

I'm not sure if it amazing or predictable the number of computer component manuals that can be found on the internet.  It's probably a cost saving measure for manufactures to some degree.  Anyway, I'm reading along when I notice that my motherboard only supports SATA up to 1.5GHz when I installed a 3.0 GHz drive, maybe that's the problem.

So I do a little more internet research which indicates that things still should just work even if the drive can pump out data faster than the motherboard can read it.  Good, no messing with jumper settings.  So that was another thing I didn't know when I started trying to make my drive work, but it was a potential wild goose chase.  Thankfully I recognized it as such before I started going through my boxes of random computer components looking for a jumper I no longer needed.

Back to the manual, I find the section I needed, finally, in the On Chip ATA menu, you have to set it so that both PATA (a.k.a IDE) and SATA are both supported at the same time.  So there's another level of knowledge needed.  I had been in the BIOS and looked at all the settings I could potentially change, but that one didn't jump out at me as the one I needed to change.  Maybe it should have, after all, ATA is very similar to SATA in name.  However, since it didn't, it was back to the manual for me.  (And why the %*&! isn't this the default setting?  The motherboard should be set to detect everything it could possibly support unless you tell it you aren't running a specific type of device.)

Back to problem solving, the ultimate issue wasn't what I expected it to be, it wasn't even the 2nd thing I looked at.  On top of that, I didn't recognize the actual solution until I got more information by reading the manual.  It also took a fair amount of time.  I started baking a loaf of cornbread when I realized that it wasn't just a matter of poorly seated cables, and I heard the timer going off just as I was saving the BIOS settings to turn on support for both PATA and SATA at the same time, which was 40 minutes.  However, I never really thought I wouldn't be able to get the drive working.  I was sure I knew enough to find the solution.

I'm sure having assembled 3 computers from parts was a big part of why I felt confident I could get the new drive working, but other than checking the cables that wasn't what got the drive working.  Check the cables, see if someone else had the same problem, RTFM is a pretty basic set of troubleshooting steps., but I don't think that would have been enough without a 20 year background in working on and with PCs.  What makes me keep thinking about this is that there isn't one specific thing I could point to which would be the key piece of information I needed.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Blog for 3 things learned in a day

Posting a month's worth of this at a time produced a "drinking from a firehose" effect.

Check it out!!

I'll try to get caught up to the current date in a few days. (While trying to avoid a "drinking from a firehose effect".)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Things learned in August, plus a little of July

Aug 31

Aug 30

  • One of the arguments for cutting Pell Grants is that they just encourage colleges to raise tuition.
  • Viking cues (my 1st cue was a Viking, sadly lost) went out of business for a while but has reopened.
  • Algae that live on coral produce a chemical that effectively works as sunscreen for the coral.

Aug 29

  • I seem to have a slow leak above the basement shower. Need to call a plumber.
  • Jim Morrison’s dad commanded an aircraft carrier.
  • There is a Shiraz restaurant right at Hourstbourne & Shelbyville.

Aug 28

  • I can still brake and run an 8-ball rack.
  • An emperor penguin washed up in New Zeland, which is very rare last happening 44 years ago. (Said penguin is on his way back to antartica after recovering surgery to remove 3 lbs of sand from his stomach.
  • A school superintendentLarry Powel gave back his 267K/year salary to have more money to use for school projects.

Aug 27

  • DiOrio’s pizzia is tasty. (Good cheese, really liked the sauce, crust on the thin side, in between thin crust and hand tossed.)
  • Testor’s company was once the world leader in balsa wood use. (I bought some model paints of theirs today.)
  • Rafa has a book out. (My mom is already reading it.)

Aug 26

  • Japanese PM Naoto Kan is stepping down after 15 months on the job.
  • Huricane Irene may hit the Jersey Shore, among other places. (And the MTV show Jersey Shore is being called Macaroni Rascals in Japan, which has nothing to do with a hurricane.)
  • A bomb was detonated in the Nigerian UN building today.

Aug 25

  • Steve Jobs stepping down at Apple.
  • Object which is most probably a Jupiter mass chunk of diamond orbiting a pulsar.
  • Warren Buffet investing in BofA.

Aug 24

  • Why quilts matter should start airing on KET2 on 9/5.
  • Samsung Cites Kubrick's '2001' Film as Prior Art Defense Against Apple's Injunction Request. (I’m not even sure what that’s about, but I like the headline.)
  • Banks create money when they issue loans in a fractional reserve system. (I already knew that, but now I understand it again.)

Aug 23

  • Lybian rebels took control of Quadafi’s compound today.
  • KBR wants an employee who sued over rape to pay their $2 million court bill.
  • Homemade goat cheese doesn’t really taste like feta.

Aug 22

  • There really is head shaving organized on St. Patrick’s day under the name of St. Baldrick’s day. (I thought my nieces were making things up.)
  • There is also a St. Balderic who founded any abby in France in 7th century.
  • The method for loading by Explicit ID changed between ParAccel version 2.5 and 3.1. (Set the seed to zero, load by explicit_id, and PA will set the new seed value appropriately.)

Aug 21

  • There is a product known as: Castelll Morella Spanish ash coated hand poured goat cheese. (Not sure about the ash, but the rest sounds good.)
  • is a repository of cheese information.
  • Lybian rebels have entered Tripoli.

Aug 20

  • Cowboys and Aliens has been a disappointment at the box office, but I enjoyed it.
  • Lucy Lawless got the role of Xena pretty much by accident.
  • There was a mathmetician, David Hilbert, whose claim to fame was leaving the 20th century a list of 23 difficult to solve problems. (Some were solved quickly, some are still worked on today.)

Aug 19

  • The British consul building in Kabal was attacked by gunmen.
  • High frequency trading requires supercomputers to look for inconsistencies in the market and exploit them. (The inconsistencies may only last for a few seconds.)
  • Estonia has the highest per capita wealth of the former Soviet republics.

Aug 18

  • A bus carrying Israelis to a resort city was attacked by gunmen today.
  • Nevin Shapirio claims he funneled cash, cars, and hookers to Miami college football players. (He is currently in jail for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme.)
  • Shawn Johnson is recovering from major knee surgery.

Aug 17

  • Rick Perry also does not believe in human caused climate change. (This guy is not going to be one of my favorites.)
  • Two guys in England got 4 years in jail for suggesting a place for people to go riot even though no one (except the police) showed up.
  • Monkey Picked Oolong tea tastes a lot like Iron Buddah Oolong.

Aug 16

  • Rick Perry called the quantitative easing policy treasonous.
  • China’s population now eats about 110 lbs of meat per person a year, about half of what the US population eats per person.
  • My parents were among the last 28000 houses to have power restored.

Aug 15

  • 128,000 houses out of power at the worst point after the storm.
  • Time Warner wants to buy Insight.
  • There is a restaurant that serves an escargot lollipop.

Aug 14

  • Taggart’s Ice Cream parlor in Canton OH makes a milkshake (The Bittner) with ¾ pound of vanilla ice cream.
  • The guy from Hootie & The Blowfish (Darrious something) is now a country singer.
  • The alert siren in Hikes Point got blown down in the storm.

Aug 13

  • I don’t have enough flashlights.
  • Chatanooga billiards club is a good place to play pool.
  • There are over 400 Firehouse Subs locations now.

Aug 12

Aug 11

Aug 10

  • Sarcophagus is Greek for flesh eating stone.
  • Myoglobin is similar to hemoglobin, but is found in the muscles. (It’s not good if found in the blood.)
  • Some HIV positive people have started getting tatoos (like the biohazard symbol) to advertise this fact.

Aug 9

  • The Fed is going to keep interest rates low for about two years.
  • London has brought in 10,000 police to try to prevent rioting tonight.
  • Swearing will allow you to keep your hand in a bucket of ice cold water than would otherwise be possible. (However, the more often you swear on a daily basis reduces this effect.)

Aug 8

  • The stock market had one of it’s worst days in history. (5.6 on the Dow Jones)
  • London is experiencing it’s worst riots in 25 years
  • CRPG Adict made a new post on 8/6.

Aug 7

  • Ip Man was a Wing Chun martial artist and instructor of Bruce Lee. (Also a very entertaining movie.)
  • An executor does things like cancel credit cards and collect any monies owed to the deceesed along with dividing up possesions according to the will.
  • The last of my barbs died while I was away this weekend.

Aug 6

  • There is a concoction known as stain paint.
  • There is a purple people bridge connecting Cincinnati to Newport.
  • There is a new provost at Xavier.

Aug 5

  • There was a celebrated sniper called California Joe during the Civil War. (Although he may have been all or mostly hype. He was discharged for poor vision and senility about a year after enlisting.)
  • The Mid Ohio Business Objects Users Group (MOBOUG) meets quarterly.
  • Teachers and Professors tend to do better with large cash gifts (better = saving instead of spending) than do most other professions.

Aug 4

  • About 3.5 million millionaires in the US.
  • Mike Tyson and Snookie rumored to be DWTS contestants.
  • Asian tiger mosquito probably made its way to the US in used tires.

Aug 3

  • Dwarf Fortress got a write up in the New York Times.
  • A woman in Sydney had a device removed from around her neck which may or may not have been a bomb.
  • HMU means Hit Me Up; texting lingo for “call me”.

Aug 2

  • Derby winner Ferdinand was slaughtered in Japan after failing as a stud horse.
  • Tesla Motors is selling a luxury EV for about 50K.
  • Under pressure (behind) soccer goalies tend to dive right.

Aug 1

July 31

  • APA anual dues are now $25 a year instead of 20.
  • The local NPR station airs a program from Radio Netherlands Worldwide called Earth Beat on Sunday nights. (I thought they just pulled from BBC broadcasts.)
  • BBC’s Nut Brown Ale is pretty tasty.

July 30

  • Chip was invited to Sarah & Richard’s wedding during the time I lent him my copy of The Watchmen. (Graphic novel)
  • Buckheads at the Gardner Lane shopping center seems to use a custom video/audio program for the restaurant. (Mostly Queen and AC/DC while we ate there today.)
  • The Thundercats reboot has received good reviews by friends and family.

July 29

  • Amy Winehouse may have died after going cold turkey.
  • Boehner’s debt bill got out of the house today.
  • Mauritian noodles look a lot like Ramen.

July 28

  • The Durbin ammendment of the Frank Dodd financial reform act goes into effect Oct 1 modifying the way credit card fees are charged.
  • There is a severe drought in the horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya), the worst in 60 years.
  • Glen Beck compared the Norwegian Youth Labor Party camp to the Hitler youth. (While sponsoring vacation liberty schools this summer for US children.)