Saturday, February 4, 2012

The fix? A blanket.

Business with Qweex has not really been that booming, and I've been ok with that since I've been trying to focus on school and work recently, but yesterday I got a call from a fellow that I ride the bus with every now and then. His laptop was exhibiting a very strange effect: dividing the screen into 8 "mini-screens" and not booting into Windows properly.

In the end, I learned that this was due to the soldering on the graphics card wearing down and the best way to fix it was to take out the mobo and re-solder it, but another method I found and tried was to simply wrap it in a blanket for about 20-30 minutes until it shuts off from overheating, in the process re-soldering the problem points. It worked! Well, I had to manually shut itself off, but the graphics problem went away and Windows booted fine.

Yesterday, while I was talking to the guy about the problem, he watched me boot into the BIOS, and asked what that was, and how I knew to get into it. I shrugged and said, "I guess you just pick it up along the way." Which made me realize how good it felt to know more than him. I know that sounds snobby, but that's not at all what I mean. I spend quite a lot of time on my computer, messing with stuff, constantly breaking and then fixing stuff. I realize that in the grand scheme of computers -whether it be software or hardware related- I really know what-almost-always-feels-like nothing. There is so, so much left for me to learn, and part of me is excited, but part of me is disheartened.

So when I run into somebody that needs help on their computer and I know all this stuff that I can use to help them, it makes me feel good to know that all of my tinkering was not for nothing. It's basically seeing the fruits of my labors. I don't at all feel better than them; I've come to learn that not everybody needs to know how to use computers, and few people even ever need to boot into the BIOS. I just happened to be more interested in computers than them, so I spend more time on them and I naturally pick up more. But that tiny amount of affirmation -that I know things about my focused area of interest- really is just refreshing, as is using that to help somebody.

That's not to say I'm off the hook at all. I definitely don't push myself as hard as I should sometimes. I still have yet to finish that Linux book that I bought last April, or the HTML book that I started over Christmas, and I'm still messing around in Autohotkey even though last year I was hoping that I would be fluent in Python by now.

The funniest thing that occurred to me about this whole thing is that I realized that I probably learned about the BIOS and how to tweak it when I had some kind of problem, googled around, and then found somewhere to enter the BIOS. Then I probably googled "what is the bios", and went from there. The point is, I probably know at least 85% of what I know from problems. Problems are when you must turn to research, even if it's not something severe.

If you would like me to spend 3 hours backing up your data then wrap it in a blanket for 20 minutes, check out my website.

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