Monday, September 20, 2004

When it rains, it pours.

And I'm not just talking about the two hurricanes that hit Florida within the last few weeks.

From Dave's rules for Anime Hell: ". . . what makes Hell Hell is the real-time selection of material and the mystery of what might happen next . . . I'm not going to convert it all to computer files and play it all out of a computer, because the computer would fuck up, and don't tell me it won't."

And of course, that's exactly what happened.

On Thursday, I noticed I was getting errors when trying to copy files on my brand-new, less than three weeks old 250 GB hard drive, purchased to replace my old 60 GB hard drive that was on the verge of death. I ran the Windows diagnostic program chkdsk, and it found several megs worth of bad sectors: physically damaged sections of the hard drive. Several megs worth is quite a lot, but I still had to cut the clips together for the Panel OF DOOM plus two other panels for Anime Weekend Atlanta (http://www.awa-con.com). Still possible, since none of the sectors corrupted anything critical and it was mostly going to be identical to what I ran at Anime Festival Orlando.

Or so I thought. Within a few short moments, those few corrupt megabytes (ha, "few"; you return a HD if you start seeing a couple KB of corrupt sectors) of data turned into the entire 250 GB hard drive, wiping away my operating system, programs, stored documents, you name it. Fortunately, I am not completely stupid, and nearly all of my relevant clips for the panels were either on a different hard drive or burned to disc. Of course, now I had no bootable computer on which to edit them.

Solution: I bought one of those external drive enclosures from CompUSA. If you've never seen one, these things basically let you plug in any regular hard drive (or CD drive or anything else that you connect via IDE cable) and then connect it to any computer via a USB port. They cost $40 online, so naturally they charged me $80. I'll bring it to AWA just in case. With it and the drives in tow, I drove an hour south to Orlando, where I then proceeded to hijack a friend's computer for about a day and a half and use it to edit together my three panels. Of course, the evil computer deities were still out to get me, so they tried to stop my plans by cutting off the power for six hours, but I got everything done AND I was able to recover a decent amount of my critical data from the dead drive.

Still, even though I can get the drive replaced for free, my computer's still dead and I'll probably have to spend something absurd like $750-$1050 after all is said and done, since that's how the PC hardware industry is. If your motherboard goes bad--which is what I *believe* happened to me--you can't just buy a new board. Nope, because the new processors are shaped different from the old ones, so you have to buy a new processor. Oh, and you have to replace all your RAM. And by then, you're talking about a lot of money. Especially since the reason I suspect the motherboard is because I already spend $300 replacing OTHER parts prior to this happening. Good thing I don't have bills to pay or anything actually important to spend money on.

The Panel OF DOOM cannot be derailed! Everything's right on schedule for the weekend, even if some Walker, Texas Ranger segments were lost.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi-Fi VCR: $60

10 blank VHS tapes: $10

Potential for bad sectors in hard drive: 0%


(This is Dave again because Blogger won't let me log in.)

Tohoscope said...

One week before AnimeFEST I installed Microsoft's XP Service Pack #2 on the Render Farm computer, the next day the computer crashes, I lose everything on the computer and have to run Disk Recovery to reinstall XP. I was able to re-encode all the OtakuHELL files before OtakuHELL, but I was still burning SVCDs only hours before the show.

This Monday my car's transmission craps out, WTF?

-danno!

Daryl Surat said...

Oh, make no mistake; I'd prefer to just run everything off of VHS, just like how Hell is run. Sure, it takes more prep time--Danno mentioned he spent a week just cueing up tapes--but barring the VCR eating your tape right then and there, it's pretty reliable.

The problem I ran into with that approach is that AWA is one of the few, and might just be the only, convention I attend where VCRs are actually available in the rooms or one is given the option to hook up their own VCR. Here at the Florida cons, rooms are often set up such that a computer is hooked up to a projector, and that runs the shows sequentially. From the con's perspective, things start exactly when listed, and no volunteer is needed to sit in the room and switch tapes. But since everything's locked up so that would-be troublemakers can't mess with anything, that means the best you can hope to get is for them to unplug the monitor cable and the headphone jack cable so that you can plug it into your computer instead.

Panel-wise, I've lost very little. Maybe one thing for Totally Lame Anime--an Angel Cop clip, of which I've five more anyway--and maybe two things I encoded from some of my DVDs for Off the Beaten Path (Panda Go Panda and Night on the Galactic Railroad), so it's not like this really put a severe damper on my convention activities.

Still, proof that the computer will invariably fail on you at the worst possible time.

Tohoscope said...

Heh, I just bought 10 highend TDK VHS tapes for $9 at Target.

Yeah, my only problem with Tape is the occasional jam and or tape eaten by VCR problems that always seem to happen with the hardest to replace rare tape find. Maybe I need to buy one of those $200 VCRs....

Tohoscope said...

Hope you make it back home, Surat! Don't worry about those VCDs, I'll just make another set and mail 'em to you...