Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just Enough to be Dangerous...

That is the old saying about someone who has just enough technical skill to really screw something up.  And that would be me this week.

I took a class which is supposed to lead to a certification called Certified Ethical Hacker.  I am not a programmer or developer but I do work with those types of folks, so it only makes sense to increase my knowledge in the field.  It was a great class and I really enjoyed it.

So during the course, I got to revisit a few of my lost UNIX skills and in talking with the instructor and some fellow classmates, I decided it would be cool to load the latest version of Ubuntu on an older laptop we have sitting in a closet.  I won't even bore you with the details, but it was a painful thing because, even though Ubuntu loaded up quite easily, I could not get the WiFi to work.  That pretty much makes a laptop useless, in my mind anyway.  The guy sitting behind me in the class is very familiar with the field of computers and as we sat there learning, he had my laptop sitting next his computer, and by the time we were ready to break for lunch, he had it fully working.  And he explained that it wasn't anything I did wrong, just a problem with drivers.
So here is where it gets ugly and stupid.  I decided to load up the latest version of Ubuntu on my desktop computer, the one I use to check e-mail, look at the Internet, blog and such.  Everything seemed to be going fine until it was time to restart the computer to finish the installation.  When the computer restarted, the screen was totally jacked up.  Of course my immediate thought was drivers.  I did some research on the Internet (I have other computers, you know) and sure enough, several people on the Ubuntu forums had discussed having similar issues.
I don't want to drag this out, but after several days, I am basically only able to boot the computer from a disk.  I have even tried to reload the WindowsXP (don't laugh) restore disk and honestly, I think it has made it worse.  As soon as I restart, the screen is jacked-up.

I have been busily copying over files to a standalone hard drive and I suspect I'll be reformatting the desktop hard drive (or just buying a new one) and resetting the BIOS to the original setting. 

I swear, people with Macs don't seem to have these self-inflicted problems.

10 comments:

Steve said...

Precisely why I don't attempt such things. I can't afford to pay someone to fix my "adventures"! You're a brave man sir!

Dave said...

Brave or stupid. I'm sort of up and running with Linux Mint 12. What I have found for sure is that the computer does not recognize my main hard drive when it boots - so I have to manually mess with it to get it started. We'll see what happens next!

Jeff Bauer said...

I have two unsuccessful attempts at installing Ubuntu under my belt and don't believe I'll subject myself to that madness again. Been using Arch Linux since August 2008 and it has served me well. Though it takes some reading and work to install, it can be spartan, light, or bloated. The choices are pretty much all your own.

Maybe that guy in class can help you out again, Dave. Offer up a couple frosty cold ones and something off the grill...

Albatross said...

I swear, people with Macs don't seem to have these self-inflicted problems.

Yes, they do. They just don't talk about them outside the circle. They take their broken things to the "Genius Bars" to get them fixed, and then they never mention these trips to their non-Mac friends.

a small player in God's plan. said...

True, Macs can have issues... but the Genius Bar is a great tool... and they're usually really intelligent about what went wrong. Service is great...

I have heard of Ubuntu, and in my experience, Linux has always been the way to go if you want an open OS experience. Just my two cents.

Dave said...

I plan to work on my Linux skills but to be honest, I just went and bought a new computer (running Windows7). I know it sounds like the easy way out, but I really think computers are only good for about 2 years anyway, and I got at least that much out of this last one.

MsBelinda said...

I am "computer challenged" and would have had no idea how to fix it except to hire a geek or as in your case buy a new one.

Jeff Bauer said...

2 years? You're kidding, right?

My faithful desktop machine is an HP XU-800 Kayak - dual 800 MHz Pentium III processors and a gig of RAM. Runs like a charm. A year or more ago I picked up a used but very spiffy IBM Xeon for when the HP gives up the ghost. Looks like the IBM is going to remain sitting in the corner for a while...

As for the laptop - it's a 233 MHz Pentium II. It works fine and does everything I need it to; albeit slowly.

Both machines run Arch Linux.

Danny said...

Sounds like your master boot record is messed up.

Dave said...

Sounds like your master boot record is messed up.

Yea. Pretty much. If I would take the time to read up on it, I could prbably fix it, but I'm already used to the new computer.