F Is For Fun, Fun, Fun…

There I was, sitting in my chair, in the Family Room, watching Agents of Shield, preparing to write something for the letter F. I was ready to write, so I picked up my Chromebook, and turned it on.

And stared at it for a minute or two, as it didn’t do a thing. Not one damn thing.

Being the curious me that I am, I turned it off. You have to understand. It’s a cheap Chromebook. I can’t count the number of times it’s done that very thing. Turned on, it’s little blue power light shining in the dark, and never displayed anything on its screen. I know what to do when a computer does that. Start at the beginning. Turn it off, and try again.

And within 10 seconds, it responded. But… It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Instead of a white screen with a Chrome Logo, and the word Chrome under it, the machine displayed a two inch tall exclamation mark, and two sentences. “Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Insert a USB Recovery Stick to restore.”

I rolled my eyes. Sometimes I swear I can see my brain. “Step 2. Duplicate the problem.” Off goes the power. On it comes again. And less than ten seconds later, there’s that same message, with that same exclamation mark.

I sighed. I hadn’t planned on reinstalling Chrome OS on the Chromebook tonight. It meant I had to stop watching my TV program. I’m not happy about that, but it’s not a big deal. I can watch it On Demand on Thursday. I picked up the Chromebook, and hauled it upstairs, to my desktop computer. Another of the computers my kids would call a Frankenstein, since I’ve raised it from the dead with various parts as needed.

I learned something new as I tried to download the recovery image to a flash drive I keep specifically for the purpose of repairing the Chromebook. Google changed how you get the recovery image. Oh, joy. Now my desktop PC has Google Chrome on it, just so I can run the Chromebook Recovery Utility, which only runs in the Chrome WEB browser.

I started the download. And watched it reach ⅔ complete. Then it died, and posted a red message, “Download interrupted. Please try again.” I did. And promptly duplicated the problem. So, I changed the desktop from the wireless connection to the network to the wired connection. And… Duplicated the problem once again.

That meant it was time to walk down the hallway, to the loft, and cycle the power on the Verizon FiOS router, ‘cause it’d lost its mind. After I’d done that, I tried the download one more time. And duplicated the problem once again.

“I’ll try this one more time!” And I kicked off the download one last time. It’s still running. It’s taken over 40 minutes. I don’t want to touch the desktop computer, in case that causes the download to fail again.

Geek that I am, I decided, “What the hell. I’ve got time to kill.” So I pulled the battery from the Chromebook, pulled the bottom plate off it, and stared at its guts. The hard disk drive was obvious. It’s ⅓ of the guts. I couldn’t resist. I knew the machine was rated for a 160 GB HDD. So, I grabbed one of my toolkits, and pulled the screws holding the HDD in place.

Then I looked at the HDD.

It’s a 320 GB Seagate Momentus slim line hard disk drive. 320 GB. Not 160. That said, do the math. 160 X 2 IS 320. So, it’s probably got its own backup. I considered hooking it to the BlacX on the desktop, and taking a look at it. But decided not to, since the download was still inching along.

I took a look at the RAM. A single 2 GB SODIMM. And a slow one at that. By some company I’d never heard of. I enjoyed peeking and poking around. But decided it was time to put it back together. The RAM clicked into its slot. And that’s when I noticed the cables connecting the HDD and the touchpad to the system board were… There’s no polite way to say it… Cheap. Among the worst I’ve ever seen.

So, I reseated the cables.

Then, I put the HDD back in the machine, and sealed the whole thing back up.

“I need to write for the letter F. But I don’t want to touch the Desktop. And the Chromebook’s a brick. That leaves… The iPad Mini.”

I loaded Google Drive, and then opened a new Doc. And started to peck away at the touch screen on the iPad. The iPad’s OK, but not something I’d used to type anything. From that perspective. It sucks.

So, I decided to look at the error screen on the Chromebook one more time. I turned it on. And the bitch booted Chrome OS.

Turns out the problem was the HDD cable had come loose, and the Chromebook couldn’t find the HDD to load the OS.

And I just killed a frickin’ hour and a half figuring that little detail out. Sigh. Hence the title of this little story I’ve written tonight. A true tale, written on my Chromebook, waiting for the Chrome OS Recovery to finish downloading and setting itself up on the USB Flash Drive. And I’m OK with that. Because I learned something new tonight.

The hard way. But still… I learned something new.

And as always, I had fun, fun, fun.

Hey, stuff like this is what I do. Every day at work.

And I’ll have fun, fun, fun, to the brain cells in my noggin’ burn out. (With apologies to the Beach Boys). So. This will have to be what I write for the letter F. This little story of me having fun, fun, fun.

Yeah. I know. I have a strange definition of fun. But then, I have strange definitions of damn near everything. And yes. This is a true story. It really happened. Just now. Trust me on this. I can’t make this stuff up.


It’s April 7th, the sixth day of the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the sixth of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. Today, the letter F. Tomorrow, who the heck knows? That’s the mystery of life. We take it as it happens.

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