Thursday, August 25, 2005

All Flashed Up

Rant on.

I'm not having particularly good luck with computer devices that utilize flash memory this week.

Earlier this week I set up a new Win2k3 Server box -- a one-of-a-kind eBay machine with dual P3 700mhz processors, a gig of RAM, and 80 gig hard disk. I had the thing up and running, and it was lightning quick... much faster than any of the servers I use at work (of course, it's faster because it's in my house and I paid for it and all).

Notice how I used the word "was." The one thing that wasn't quite right is that only half the RAM was showing up. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory I recall a bios upgrade fixing that little problem. So I downloaded a bios upgrade from an OEM site that sold this particular brand of motherboard (SuperMicro) in their servers.

And away I went to flash the bios. The process ran smoothly, except for the part where the computer reboots and is happy. The bios wasn't posting -- no beep, no video, no passing go, no two hundred dollars. The bios recovery technique (hold down the and keys while hitting the power button and counting rosary beads with your spare hand) did not work either. Expletive deleted.

My children, please make sure you read the README and other text files included in the bios download before trying that. It turns out this OEM site had the wrong bios file in the zip file... or at least the wrong zip file on the support page for that particular motherboard. Why I did not download the bios upgrade FROM THE MOTHERBOARD MANUFACTURER who, suprise, had the correct file on the support page for this model motherboard, is beyond me. Ultimately, the solution to this little problem is on the way via priority mail from another eBay vendor.

Then there is the issue with the secure digital card I've been using in my digicam. It's a 1gb SanDisk model. It's been working fine until I tried to use it yesterday during a hike, where when I tried to take the picture the camera vomited and said no, thanks.

I've thrown everything at this card this evening that I could think of -- WinXP disk management, all manner of formatting, all types of flash card repair/recover utilities. This thing is friggen impervious. It's got two folders in the root -- "Palm" and "DCIM." Under "DCIM" is another folder, "105Canon," which is where the problem seems to be centered. I can not get into that folder no matter what. I can delete the PALM folder through Explorer, I can even put a near-gig worth of crap on the card, the computer will even take it's time putting the stuff on there and even let you think it's on there afterwards. Once you unplug the card and plug it back in, though, the contents look exactly the way they did before.

I can not get to the partition itself through the XP drive manager, and formatting fails. I've used the utility at to wipe through the contents but, like I said, this thing is bullet-proof. At this point I'm just happy that I didn't leave any compromising pictures of myself on the disk that I'm now unable to erase.


Rant off.

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