PERSONAL DRIVER

This morning I got off the train to work and I was walking briskly to the bus stop to catch my bus to the studio. I saw my bus already waiting for passengers, so I increased my pace. This particular bus doesn’t linger for very long at the stop. It drives up, takes on all the passengers that are waiting and pretty much leaves less than a minute after that.

I saw this bus had already been boarded by many passengers so I had to hurry. I got within 30 feet or so when it started to drive off. Oh well, there’s always another bus. I looked behind me and indeed there was another bus, pulling up right away to the stop. That was odd, since these buses are supposed to be spaced about 8 minutes apart on this route. I wasn’t complaining though.

I was the only other person waiting and the bus driver opened up the door and I sat down in a seat. I was expecting him to sit there for another several minutes but he drove away as soon as I sat down. Whoa. It was just me and the driver. We were perhaps a minute behind the previous bus.

I wasn’t paying attention but I later realized he wasn’t stopping to pick up any passengers at the subsequent stops. I then heard the bus operator’s phone go off. It’s the phone that operations uses to talk to individual drivers as they’re on their routes. He spoke on that phone for a few short minutes before hanging up. He then looked into the rear-view mirror and asked me a question.

“Which stop are you going to?” I answered him and he said that would be ok. He then told me that his particular bus was running 30 minutes behind schedule because of an accident. Operations was telling him to try to make up time and try to get back into proper sequencing of buses. To do that, he would need to pass other buses along the route. The only way to do that was to not take on any more passengers and drive as quickly as the law would allow.

We passed by several stops with people waiting. I was the only one on this bus and he was essentially my private driver for the morning. We got to my stop in record time because he didn’t have to pick up or drop off others. It was super cool.

I felt like I still had to ring the bell so I did. As I exit the bus, I told the driver thank you and good luck. As I walked off, I could see the bus had the “sorry, not in service” signage on the front.

It was a fun commute this morning.

HALF NAKED

It’s currently 26 degrees Celsius in my bedroom. That is way too hot. I went home this evening, took off my shirt, and sat in front of a fan. It was like gross hot today but I prefer these days than the rainy and cold ones.

At work, the coldest place I’ve discovered is this long walkway that bridges the two phases of the studio. It’s odd because this walkway is nearly all windows that faces the sun. You’d think this would be like a greenhouse but it’s not. The air-conditioning in this walkway is amazing. Sometimes, I just want to stand there but it would look weird.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to another sunny day tomorrow.

HOT IN THE CITY

The summer’s first heat wave hit the greater Vancouver area this weekend, with temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to lows 30s. It was quite warm today and even as night fell, it’s still very toasty here in my bedroom. It’s hot enough that I plugged in my fan and have it on. I’ll put it on the silent mode, just to get a bit of breeze while I sleep.

The heat wave will continue well into the week. While it will be warm, I am not complaining.

FINGERS CROSSED

This evening I went to Best Buy to buy a new hard drive and an external hard drive enclosure. I didn’t know if my faulty drive would work in an enclosure but it was worth a try. When I got home, I opened up the enclosure and slid in the drive in question. I also had to plug in the enclosure, since it’s externally powered. I then connected the USB 3.0 cable to my computer.

Once I had my computer booted, I cautiously flipped the switch on the enclosure. I was afraid the drive would make random clicking noises, which is not good for hard drives. There was only the slight whir of the drive spinning up though. I held my breath as I waited for the system to recognize the drive… and… boom, I saw the drive show up in the file explorer! Yes! I didn’t know how much time I had, the drive could work for only five minutes as far as I knew. I quickly navigated to the folders that I kept my data, highlighted them, and then started to copy them over to my backup drive. These files were the ones that I needed to copy the most. The rest of the drive contained applications and games. These can be re-downloaded and installed again if necessary.

It took about fifteen minutes to copy the data files over. Once that was done, I became a lot less worried. The drive was still working but when I touched the enclosure, it was quite warm. This drive probably wasn’t going to last a lot longer. At this point, I hadn’t even taken the new hard drive out of the box. I needed to formulate the next step, so I shut down the drive in the enclosure, so it wouldn’t get any hotter.

After about ten minutes of research on the Internet, I decided I was going to clone the faulty drive over to the new drive I bought. Once it was cloned, I’d change the drive letters in the new drive to match the old drive. Theoretically, Windows wouldn’t know the difference and my system would work like it did before.

I first had to install the new drive, so I shut down my computer, and plugged in the new drive. Upon rebooting, I downloaded some free disk management software. I needed this to clone the old drive. The software indicated that it would clone about 400 Gb worth of data. The cloning is actually still in progress as I type this. Since it has to go over a USB connection, even a 3.0 one, it’s quite slow compared to the SATA connection.

I actually took the drive out of the enclosure to do the cloning, the interface to it is on the front panel, so you can just leave the bare drive sitting on the desk. The housing is just a metal shell which I was afraid was just trapping the heat in. I just went to touch the drive and it is very warm. We’re only 30% through the cloning process, so I’m hoping it can hold on.

It’s getting late, so I’ll probably need to let this run overnight. It’s my hope that when I wake up, the clone will have been successful. My next post will detail what happens next. Exciting!

LOST

In my last post, I described how my desktop computer wasn’t booting up. This evening, I found the problem. I have three drives in my computer: an SSD for Windows, a new 2 TB mechanical drive I bought three months ago for games, and a nearly ten year old mechanical drive. It turns out that the old mechanical drive was failing and it was preventing the whole system from booting. I noticed it was really warm to the touch, so I yanked it out, both the power and the data connections. The system booted fine after I did that.

Interestingly, even just having the bad drive connected via power, no data connection, was preventing the computer from booting into Windows. Unfortunately, I was an idiot and using that drive for my data. I did backup my data but my last backup was ten months ago. So there are definitely files in there that I didn’t archive. Off the top of my head, I can think of my latest tax return file and some photos that never got backed up.

I’ll need to replace this drive as I want to leave the 2 TB exclusively for games. In the meantime, I’m going to try to recover the data off the old drive using an external hard drive enclosure so I can connect it via USB. My computer won’t boot with it connected normally, so this is the way to go. Hopefully, I can get it to read at least once and I can transfer all the data over to the backup drive.

Let this be a lesson to everyone, backup your files regularly.

BAD COMPUTER

After I got home from work this evening I went to boot up my desktop computer. I was greeted with a black screen and not the familiar Windows 10 login screen. I wasn’t worried at first because Windows sometimes can be finicky. I restarted my computer and tried again. I was greeted this time with the spinny thingy, the one that goes around and around before you boot into Windows. Oh no.

I eventually got it into this recovery mode where Windows will try to fix your startup problem. The bad news was it said it couldn’t fix what was wrong. The weird thing is, I can open up a DOS window and I can see the files on my boot drive, at least the few files I looked at. Something is wrong but not completely wrong, at least on my boot drive. It’s an SSD, so I’m not sure if it’s a partial failure or something.

All my data is stored on other drives and as far as I know, those drives are fine. This isn’t a complete disaster but it’s not great either. The worst case scenario is that I need to re-install Windows on a new SSD, which is just a pain but not the end of the world.

Ugh, computers.

PSVR

On Sunday I purchased the PlayStation VR system, more commonly known as PSVR. I’ve been thinking about buying PSVR for a few weeks now but this weekend was great timing as Sony was having a sale on almost all their PlayStation products. Their Skyrim bundle, which comes with the headset, the camera, two Move controllers, and Skyrim VR, normally retails for $450 but is currently discounted to $320. On top of that, I had a $110 credit at EB Games for some games I traded in. After tax, the bundle was just shy of $250. When the PSVR was released less than two years ago, the price was $548.

I haven’t had time to try many VR games but I tonight, I did try the Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing VR mission. I tell ya, it was thrilling to be seated in the cockpit of an X-Wing. The game even predicts that you’ll be just want to sit and look around, as it doesn’t force you into gameplay until you’re ready. You can just look at all the controls for an hour if you want to.

Anyways, the library at work has a good selection of PSVR games so I’ll have lots to play over the next few months.

CAR RETURNED

My car returned from the shop this week. It turns out it was the thermostat that was faulty. It was stuck in a “closed” position, meaning that despite me topping up the coolant, not enough of it was circulating through the radiator to cool the engine.

With labour and parts, the total repair bill came to $375, which isn’t cheap but not terrible either. Unfortunately, since the engine was run in an overheated state, there is a potential for the head gasket to have been damaged. Such a repair for that would likely be in the thousands. I can only hope for the best going forward.

As for the car now, it runs fine and the temperatures are once again in the normal range.