I didn’t leave my apartment once today. I’m doing my part and I hope many other people out are doing the same. The only human interaction I had today was through digital means. I only had to speak a few sentences all day and that was first thing in the morning during my daily standup with my co-workers. Otherwise, I talked to no one.

I can’t really say I was very productive at work. Even before all of this, I wasn’t enjoying what I’m doing, so with all of this uncertainty going around, I’m not exactly motivated to put in a 110% everyday. I could write a very long post about that topic by itself but I’ll leave it for another day.

As for not leaving my apartment, I think my record for not leaving my home is 48 hours. When I was in grad school, I believe at least once, I would come back to my room after dinner on Friday night, and then not leave my room until dinner on Sunday night. I was working on a pretty involved assignment or project and just didn’t feel the need to even step outside my room once. I had all the food and drink I needed for two days, plus I had the Internet, and of course, I needed time to work on school stuff.

Let’s see if I can break that record this week.


I did pretty much nothing on the weekend. That nothing included not buying toilet paper unlike some idiots out there. I think I have about seven rolls left. Since I live alone, I’m probably good for another week or so. As I mentioned though, I limited my outside activities. I had planned on visiting a breakfast place but chose not to. I was also going to shop at T&T to get supplies for hot pot but I decided against it. I was also going to buy a new SSD at a local computer shop but those plans changed as well. I need to go into detail about that.

In my last post, I wrote about how my desktop computer chose this perfect time to stop booting into Windows. I originally thought it was a faulty SSD because when I cloned the disk to a spare mechanical drive, my computer started working again. I went to bed on Saturday night thinking this was the case. On Sunday morning, I woke up and tried to turn on my computer. I was met with this new error: “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device”. Essentially, this means my computer can’t find a hard drive where it can see an operating system. Restarting the computer would just cause the same error to appear again. Going into the BIOS, it could see all my drives but it didn’t know one of them had Windows on it. I swapped between the spare mechanical drive and my old SSD probably a dozen times on Sunday, and it didn’t seem to matter, I got the same error again. I tried several different solution I found on Google and none of them seemed to work.

On one of my last attempts, with the mechanical drive in, I somehow got it to recognize Windows on it and my computer started Windows properly. It was at this point that I realized that I could not shut down my computer as I probably wouldn’t be able to start it again without some random miracle. I did a test and I can confirm that I can put it to sleep but a complete shutdown or a restart is not possible. I also recognized that Windows updates can cause restarts, so I’ve paused updates for 35 days, the maximum allowable by Windows 10.

Obviously, this is not a permanent solution as a computer normally needs to be shut down or at least restarted for many different reasons. I just need this computer working while I’m working from home for the rest of this month. So, what is the actual fix? I’m not sure at this point. I’m going on the assumption that both these drives are working fine, so my next logical guess would be the motherboard. Less likely, though I can’t rule it out, would be the power supply. Replacing computer parts is a hassle even during the best of times but in these uncertain days, it becomes even more problematic, especially since it’s so crucial to my job now.

We’ll see how far I can get with a computer that cannot be shut off. It should be interesting.


In my last post I wrote that my desktop computer was failing to boot into Windows. Since Friday was a work from home day, I was forced to use my laptop to use remote desktop. I am so lucky that I have my laptop. I remember before buying it, I actually hesitated because I thought it was superfluous purchase. I already had a desktop and a cell phone and my thinking was that laptop was just going to be an indulgence that I wouldn’t use. It turns out my laptop has come in handy in so many situations that it was more than worth the money I paid for it. On Friday, it basically saved me from not having any way to work. It wasn’t ideal since one of my screen was the laptop’s 13″ but it was better than having no computer.

On Friday night, I tried to diagnose my desktop and I managed to get it to boot into Windows about three times before it stopped again. Each time, I had about anywhere from two to five minutes before my computer would stop responding and freeze. During one of these times, I discovered that my Windows drive, which is on an older SSD, was at a constant 100% utilization. Windows would not respond after that, which I guess had to do with the drive being accessed or written to the entire time. There are a few things you can do to try to fix a Windows drive that exhibits that behaviour but it was impossible for me to get Windows to stay stable long enough for me to try those fixes.

On Saturday, I had an idea to attempt to move my Windows drive onto a spare mechanical drive I had lying around. The idea was that these 100% utilization problems mostly occurred on SSDs and if I could get Windows back onto a mechanical drive, it would at least boot and allow me to change some settings. Once again, my laptop saved me, as I used it to clone my Windows SSD to my spare mechanical drive. It took about 30 minutes to clone.

Once that was done, I installed the mechanical drive into my desktop. I was pretty sure it was going to boot but I wasn’t sure if Windows would use the drive 100% of the time. With fingers slightly crossed, I turned on my desktop, and lo and behold, it did boot into Windows, but it took almost five minutes to do so. I forgot how slow mechanical drives are and this spare one was a slow 5400 RPM one. Drive usage was normal and more in line with what I expected. At least, my computer was working again. I turned off one setting that I think might have caused the 100% drive utilization but I have no clue if this was the actual problem.

At this point I think I have three options: go back to using a mechanical drive for Windows (either stay with this one or get a slightly faster mechanical drive), attempt to re-install my old SSD and hope that the setting I changed fixes things, or buy a newer, higher performance SSD. I’m leaning towards the last option. SSDs have gotten somewhat cheaper since I bought my old SSD and the newer ones are faster and are more reliable (at least the Samsung model I have my eye on is). I don’t think I can go back to a mechanical drive for Windows again.

I’ll write an update when time allows.


About two weeks ago, I had a short stint of working from home because my employers were worried about a potential case of COVID-19 infection for one of my co-workers. It turned out the test was negative so most people, including myself, went back to work. While I was relieved whichever co-worker of mine didn’t have the infection, the number of people testing positive were increasing in this province and continent were increasing daily, even as we were returning to the studio.

Relief turned into apprehensiveness as I wondered if our company should have changed their stance from working at home as an option to either a strong recommendation or a complete ordered mandate. It made me uneasy enough that I decided to work from home on Wednesday and today, Thursday. In North America, it seemed like things got really serious today with the stoppage of various professional sports leagues and cancellations of so many events. It wasn’t until very late in day that employees got an official communique from company leadership. For employees in North America and Europe, working from home was no longer just an option, it was now strongly suggested. Our locations in these areas will now go down to minimum staffing with only those who have critical business needs to be on-site. These locations will remain in this state until April 1, at which time I am sure company leadership will re-assess the situation. Interestingly, some of our Asian work sites which have been closed for many weeks now, are starting to return to work, following local government guidance as the situation there is stabilizing.

From a personal standpoint, I am glad the company is taking this really seriously. It’s a bit of bummer though because my crappy luck kicked in again and my desktop computer decided today to stop booting into Windows. As I look forward to working from home for several weeks now, my main computer no longer works and I’m not sure why. I can use my laptop to use remote desktop but the situation isn’t ideal. My desktop supports a 24″ and 27″ monitors for remote desktop, while my laptop will only support its own 13″ screen and my 24″ monitor. My desktop was also a Windows 10 Professional machine while my laptop is only a Windows 10 Home one. There are features on Win 10 Pro that actually make working from home easier.

I need to solve this problem somehow. I can either figure out what’s wrong with my desktop and fix it, continue to use my laptop and perhaps upgrade to Win 10 Pro, or buy a cheap, used business computer that already has Win 10 Pro installed on it. My luck is so bad.

We live in uncertain times. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve lived through recessions as a kid and as an adult. I’ve been laid off and lost my job several times. Those were relatively easy waters to navigate. I have not, however, charted a course around a global viral pandemic. None of us should have to do that, yet here we are. Some people in the world have already faced this. They will have stories to tell and I hope they will tell them as wise, old people. As for us, in North America, I hope the next few weeks are mind-numbing and boring ones for us. May there be no excitement, just sheer boredom.


So, in a previous post, I wrote about my desire to remove a baseboard so an electrician could install a baseboard heater in living room. I gotta admit I was a bit unsure about how I could get this done by myself.

The tool I ordered that apparently makes this process a breeze arrived on Wednesday. I picked it up and then went to the dollar store to buy a small and thin putty knife and a utility knife as well. Using the utility knife, I scored the edge between the top of the baseboard where it meets the drywall. There’s a sealant or caulk there and you need to cut that so the drywall doesn’t come off with the baseboard. Then using the putty knife and a rubber mallet, I began to gingerly wedge the knife in between the top of the baseboard and the dry wall. This part is the most difficult because you’re trying to create the first gap between the two components where this is none. I was really carefully to put the putty knife straight down so it would cut at an angle. If I tiled it one way, I could cut into the dry wall and the other way, I’d be cutting into the baseboard.

I really lucked out and the putty knife slid into a gap between the dry wall and the baseboard after a few taps of the rubber mallet. It was really tight, so I had be to super careful pulling the knife out. Once I made the first gap, it was much easier to move the knife along and then use the mallet again to loosen the top of the baseboard. Slow and steady, I made my wall along the whole top of the baseboard until there was a small but visible gap between it and the dry wall.

I left the final part until Saturday to do. I woke up and almost immediately went to work on it. With the small gap there, using the trim puller tool was so easy. I started on one end and hammered the tool down into the gap. The tool has a wedge that separates the baseboard from the drywall automatically. This is where the real work was being done. The gap went from a few millimeters to about half an inch (mixing my units here). Again, I worked the tool along the length of the baseboard so there was enough space for me to see all the nails that were holding it to the dry wall. While there weren’t a ton of nails present, they were long and strong. I had to break out some work gloves to get a real good hold on the baseboard and I just pulled as hard as I could from one end to the other. I had to rock it back and forth a few times but once the first set of nails comes out completely from one end, you’ve got it.

I was so happy to see the whole baseboard just come off the dry wall. I also was able to do it with no damage to the baseboard or the dry wall. This was my biggest concern. I’m really happy I did this by myself instead of getting some dude to do it. I saved a ton of money that way. Here’s what I thought was critical in getting this done successfully. First, was knowing what I needed to do and seeing how others did it. I watched several YouTube videos, some using regular tools and others using the specialized tool I bought. That convinced me I needed that tool. This almost seems like a no-brainer but if buying a specialized tool is going to make your life 100x better, then just spend the money for it.

I wrote “mission accomplished” as a bit of a joke because this is just the first part of the process. I still need to get an electrician in install the heater. In doing so, the electrician will need to cut the dry wall unfortunately, so there are dry wall repairs in my future. This home improvement adventure is far from done.


This is a big weekend for me because I am going to attempt to remove one of my baseboards off the wall while simultaneously trying to prevent damaging both my drywall and the baseboard itself.

I’ve watched a dozen YouTube videos on how to do this and also ordered a special tool which people have said makes this a trivial exercise. Yet, despite all of this, I feel like I’m going to screw it somehow. I am not a handy person around the house. At the same time, I did some research and it would have cost me about $200 to get an actual handyman to do this. For that amount of money, I am willing to give this a try.

I’ll let you know what happens!


I returned to work today after being away for almost a week. I don’t know why my company doesn’t have a more clearly defined work at home policy. Commuting wastes so much time in day when I could be working instead. I could actually have a shorter work day but work more hours for my company if I could work from home. Instead of getting ready for work and commuting, I could be at my computer ten minutes after waking up.

Anyways, it was a bit weird being at work again. While I was working at home, the studio changed the security company contract, so it was a completely different set of security people at the front desk. They were not very prepared for their first week. They didn’t know how to give people temporary badges if they forgot their own. They didn’t know how to operate the parking gates, so lots of employees couldn’t enter the campus. They weren’t answering the visitor call boxes when couriers were trying to get access to the shipping dock. It was a mess.

As for the studio and the employees, I saw that some people had decided to continue to work at home. I don’t blame them, it was kinda unnerving to know someone was potentially infected with COVID-19 at work. Even though that employee didn’t test positive, people in the lower mainland continue to come down with the infection. So, staying at home does make things a bit safer.

I’m looking forward to the weekend.


I mentioned in previous posts that I’ve been working from home for the past few days. More accurately, I haven’t been at the studio since Wednesday. The reason for this is that employees were informed one of our co-workers had travelled to Europe, came home, went back to work, and subsequently became ill with flu-like symptoms. The critical part of this is that they had visited a country that became a location where COVID-19 infections spiked alarmingly after they returned home.

Studio management erred on the side of caution and informed everyone at the studio. The person who became ill stayed home and was immediately tested for a COVID-19 infection. Because the test results were not available right away, employees were given the option to stay at home, even if they had no abilities to work remotely, without any penalty. I chose to work at home on Thursday and judging by the early closures of the cafeteria and the coffee shops, many others did so as well. Since the test results were not available on Friday, I continued to work from home on that day as well.

Today, a Tuesday, was my fourth day of working from home. Late today, a studio-wide e-mail was sent out, which announced the results had come back negative. While this is good news, the company is still going ahead with a disinfection of the entire studio, which will require two complete nights of effort. Furthermore, despite the negative diagnosis, management has stated that if people still feel uncomfortable about returning to work, they may continue to work from home. I have made the decision to return to work tomorrow but won’t hesitate to work from home again if a similar situation arises again.

Ten years ago, I would have never envisioned a global pandemic as one of the things that would make it difficult for us to develop a video game, yet, here we are. We live in strange times now.