Ed Bilodeau

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This weblog had moved: http://www.coolweblog.com/bilodeau/

# Notice (Oct 19/05): So ends my stay here on Blogger. This morning Google implemented an anti-spam 'feature' that forces me to answer a challenge phrase when I want to post to my own blog. No notice of the change, nothing. Worse is that it doesn't even work! I type the phrase, submit, "An error occured", post deleted. Damn you, Google. Chances are I will revive my blog somewhere else, sometime soon. I'll post the new coordinates here as soon as they become available. (BTW, I'm unable to post anything to my RSS stream, so I'd appreciate it if readers could spread the word and ask people to take a look at this notice)

Update (Oct 19/05, ~noon): After a frustrating few hours (and not just trying out alternatives to Blogger), I've decided that this is a good time to take a break from all this. A day? A week? Who knows. But I need to step away from it before I pass a heavy magnet over the whole mess.

Update 2: According to this post, the reason I'm seeing the CAPTCHA (challenge phrase) is that Blogger has classified my blog as spam. Thanks. User for five years and now I'm spam. I searched the Blogger site, but there is no mention of how to get the spam flag turned off. There is also no way of contacting anyone at Blogger. Wow. Spam they say I am, so spam I must be. Maybe it is time to take a break.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Tech Question: Hard Drive Types : I haven't done any reseach on this yet (just about to start), but I thought I would post the question here anyway.

This evening I was asked to help fix a boot problem with a 286. The CMOS memory seems to have gone, so you need to manually specify the system config. Fairly straightforward (mono graphics, 1MB RAM, etc, 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives, etc). I wasn't able to get the hard drive config right. I actually stepped through all 47 available options, but I couldn't get it to work. I figure I did something wrong.

I'm wondering if there is a way to determine the drive type without removing it from the PC (which, judging by the quick look I took inside the case, wasn't going to be that easy to do). I have no manuals, no start up disks. The only piece of information I have are the hand-written results of a chkdsk command that was run in 1989: it lists the drive's capacity as 21,309,440 available bytes. I figure there is a formula for converting cylinders, heads, and sectors into available bytes, and that I can work backwards. At the same time, trying to solve a four-variable problem with only one equation... well, I've forgotten most of the advanced math I did, but something tells me I may be SOL.

Even if I don't fix the problem, I figure I might learn a few interesting things in the process!