So last night, in the middle of me checking my email, my laptop suddenly went to the Blue Screen of Death. Reboot, same deal. Run diagnostics & reboot, ditto. Boot to Safe Mode, more BSD. Boot to Safe Mode with Networking, it starts fine, don’t ask me why. Grab CDs & make backups of everything under My Documents. Shut down for the night.

This morning I get the laptop into the office, boot up, Blue Screen of Death. It’s the same error every time: cased by some file called ati1dvag — rudely, the BSD doesn’t even give me a file extension so I know what kind of file is causing me all this grief. Turns out it’s a DLL, & a video device driver, of all things. Why does an error with a video driver cause the BSD? I ask you. Cause my screen to display at 400×600 in 32 colors, or something. But the BSD? That’s just overkill. Personally, I suspect it’s a symptom of a hardware problem.

Anyway, after my first unsuccessful boot of the morning, I bring it to Cheryl in the Lab, & she gives it to Aaron. Aaron does some magic, updates the video driver, Googles for this problem… I don’t know what all. He thought he’s fixed it, & so did I until my 2nd reboot, when I got the BSD again. Bad. Back to Cheryl; she offers to take it to ITS for some hardware diagnostics. Good idea, I say; take it & I’ll take a loaner laptop indefinitely. Which is what I’m typing this on. Cheryl tells me that if ITS has to replace my hard drive, they’ll destroy it by smashing it up with hammers. My laptop has annoyed me so much by now that I may offer to do this myself.

And that, my good students, is why I haven’t graded your assignments yet: my computer ate your homework.