Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

Creative Suite: Au Revoir, Bonjour

As all good designers know these, you need lots and lots and lots and lots of hardware and software to do your job properly. I first started using Adobe Photoshop professionally at version 2.5, which I guess was about mid-nineties. Sun being Sun of course, back then, a Mac or a Windows PC was anathema, no, worse, the antichrist or something, so the version of 2.5 we had was actually the port that ran on Solaris. which was probably also version 2.5. Actually, that port was pretty good, I thought. Especially as you could run it on a Sun box. I think we had it installed on a few Ultra 2s with 1GB of memory, which was immense in those days, and so everything moved along very nicely. Mind you, without layers, there was only so much you could do at a time. You just needed a huge filesystem to hold those 50 saved versions of each file. Luckily, everything was networked to the nth and so that wasn’t a problem either.

Fast forward to 2008 then, as I sit in my home office, on a slightly creaky Windows PC, and I’m hitting some problems with my design tools. I’m still with Photoshop, of course, except now its part of Creative Suite 3 Design Premium, and all the good stuff that comes with that. What I also still have, though, after 4 years in this room, is a single-core processor, 1 disk, and only 2GB of memory. Doesn’t sound too bad? Ever run Adobe Bridge? Anyway, since installing CS3 a while back, things have not run smoothly. Most recently, I’ve had nasty problems with failure to boot or shutdown, and my suspicions have been aroused by the network activity icons blinking away in the corner as everything else fails to start.

As most good designers know, poking around in the innards of your operating system is never really a good idea, but some self-diagnosis was definitely in order. After an afternoon of software removal and starting and stopping of services, I, not surprisingly, could not find a cure. How serendipitous, then, that I should receive and email from Adobe, inviting me to join their user-to-user (“this is NOT adobe support you MORON”) forums, to share and collaborate with my designer community. I thought I might see if anyone was sharing my ‘Adobe Bridge 3 CPU 100% hang crash metadata read’ problems, when I stumbled upon multiple threads about something called the ‘bonjour service’. I had seen that in the services manager in XP and thought it was something to do with XP ordering croissants for me. I mean, its in Program Files, not under Adobe or (as it turns out it might well should be) Apple.

It seem that the bonjour service is installed as part of CS3 and is responsible for initiating network connections to Adobe Version Cue servers. Bonjour is Apple software and is also part of the iTunes installation, by the look of it, which is why it appears to be installed as a standalone product. This might be very helpful is you are actually using Version Cue, especially in a large organization with distributed servers for DAM. Its not particularly helpful if you’re not using Version Cue. Its spectacularly unhelpful if its actually hanging your computer and using shedloads of resource when its up and running. There are a number of ways to stop bonjour, if its causing problems. I found the most effective thing was to actually remove it. Since I have done so, I’ve had no problems with hanging startups or resource draining. I’m yet to try and use iTunes (which I hate anyway), to see what problems might lie there, but for now, I don’t really care. I can get on with crafting comps for category pages. Oh, and writing huge, sprawling blogs.

Listening Post: Bloc Party: Flux (Rev Terry’s Drone On You Flux-uating Diamond Mix)

chkdsk /r

car park 4
car park 4 by Tim Caynes

that should be on. I mean, there should be a screensaver or something, not a vsync test on input 1. wait, I guess she’s done something and just only half closed it down or something so I could probably just wiggle the laser around a bit and wake it up. oh. anyway. I’ll just press all the keys on the keyboard at the same time, that’ll do it. right. oh. I’ll just turn it off and on again then, that always works. ok, right, that looks alright, so, what should we play for the next hour or so?

hang on. UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. what the hell is that? I mean, I recognize a blue screen when I see one but that’s normally because nv_disp has blown it’s top because I tried to clock a 7900GT to 700/2000 or something, not a shouty message like this one. so, hang on, if this was Solaris, I’d, um, I dunno. think. go, on, back it the mists of time when you sat in front of a Sun Ray or an Ultra 2, or an IPX, or a Sparcstation 1+. you know, when you sat on the live call transfer desks in watchmoor park and pretended that, when British Gas phoned up and said that they were losing 10000 quid an hour because Oracle has decided to take it’s ball home, you knew what to do next and said some old rubbish about mount volumes and striping. come on, think about all those CMS tickets you picked up on the warranty support desk from cheap-but-valued support contract holders who had just got a sparc 10 and couldn’t get the floppy disk to load a cdrom. there must be something you used to say to them that is probably relevant now.

how about, er, f s c k? would that help? probably. on Solaris. you could probably run lots of other really useful things like format, partition and mount that were in that manual you got on that training course when you were that student doing that sunsolve online stuff. except this isn’t Solaris, is it? no, it’s windows XP, which you you treat with the same caution as you do the Megane Scenic – as long as it’s getting you to Tescos, you don’t look under the hood – so what are you gonna do now? look it up on google? well, you’ve still got the w2100z sat over there which you could use to do that, but it’s past midnight now and if you fire that thing up at this time, you’ll wake the whole street. right, no, you’ll just have to GUESS what to do next. so, what the hell does UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME mean then. um, my filesystem is f**ked? hell yeah! probably! is that bad? er, you work it out. only 5 years worth of family photos and your 2500 cds ripped onto that baby and now you’ve probably lost them all. is that bad? is it? did you back it up recently with that external drive you bought specifically to back it up should something like, ooh, i dunno, a filesytem error happen? mwuhahahaa.

ok. I’m guessing I have to boot this thing up some other way and then do something with a command prompt? getting warm. ok, I should have an XP cd somewhere then? very warm. boot off the cd and then do some kind of repair thing? ooh! burning now! right. ok. I’ll take a look in this drawer behind me which has all the cdroms that have been anywhere near this machine and hope that the copy of XP I find is one with a printed logo on it, not a permanent marker scrawl saying something like //|nd0//5 XP cr4ck on it. aha, Dell recovery disk. I hope that’s analagous to Dave’s recovery truck. let’s see. hmm. right. ok. not I dont want to install windows again. no. I said no. reboot. ok, right, aha! options! that one has the word ‘repair’ in it, so I’m going to select that one and see what happens. ooh, safe plus command plus headache plus sweaty palms. that sounds about right. let’s see…oh. a command prompt. er…

having done help everything about 17 times and tried to remember what each one did, I gave up caring and just ran one which sounded like it should work, although it would probably format my brain and pass my pin number onto some bloke in russia. chkdsk. ok then, chkdsk /p. oh dear, if the next 98% takes 5 minutes for each 1% I’m in trouble. aha, yes, I know it’s broken, I want to fix it. ok, chkdsk /r. I says something about ‘recovering’ data. not sure what it does with it. put it somewhere else? just let me know it’s recovered it? ah well, whatever. chkdsk /r. <return>

I woke up about an hour later just to catch the progress meter go from 50% up to 75% and then promptly back down to 50% again before sitting there for about an hour before it went to 51% just to have me think it was actually doing something. I’d had enough. I pressed the big button on front for about 3 minutes just to make sure I’d really turned it off. disaster. I’ll have my morning tomorrow on the phone to Dell support walking through the whole experience with a 23-year-old warranty support engineer who’s probably just come off the phone to British Gas and really can’t be arsed to help me out. I should be finishing off my globalization review then, dammit. right, I’ll just give it one last chance before I slope off to bed.

press. click. buzz. ping. It didn’t get to ping before. oh. I love you.

I’m guessing it was chkdsk that finally got things straight, but I really don’t know. in any case, everything is fine now and I’m spending the rest of the day copying every single byte of data on this drive onto a magnetic tape by hand with a pair of tweezers. I’m at 0.00000000001% at the moment and it’s not moving very fast.