Thursday, May 25, 2017

Proper system revision documentation

Dear readers,

If you can read this, then an incredibly unlikely sequence of steps has succeeded. Huzzah!

There is currently some sort of eldritch alignment of planets whose main influence is to rewrite critical boot sectors of all my hard drives. (Perhaps concomitant with finishing a semester?) Alas! Time to reformat and reinstall, in every operating system known to man. If one more computer fails, I'll be reduced to publishing tweets via carrier pigeon. This blog post may have been written via telegraph STOP

This means I get to start a new "installation notes: what I did" file. And so I am revisiting my past logs, little missives from my past self, to make sure I set up all the bells and whistles just right. (Keyboard shortcuts are the main way I interact with these light-boxes I relentlessly stare into.) Usually these logs are curt and useful, but sometimes they range into quite colorful and narrative tales, for example (details and lengthy intro expurgated to prevent your eyes from bleeding):
After fiddling with [hardware], I find that [software flag] is again disabled. Augh. The following commands did not work to re-enable it: 
sudo [heinous and expurgated set of commands]
This time, banging around wildly on [list of unusual keyboard keys] and crying openly into my hands worked.
... it's important that every log includes instructions for how to replicate the steps that ultimately led to a successful setup. Apparently at the time I felt that the strange wizardry that made my keyboard commands work included crying, and included the notes necessary to replicate it.

Don't worry, I have extensive notes on which "fiddling with [hardware]" caused this weird thing, and I am very carefully not reproducing that. Also, according to the logs, I have not solved any computer problem by weeping since 2012. My streak continues!

Writing to you from the edge of known OS support forums,
 --- Lila

P.S. While writing this post I jinxed my wifi card and it refused several times to maintain a connection. Go figure. I also managed to get exactly the perfect alt-tab behavior, so it's a wash.

This post's theme word is lazaretto (noun), "a medical facility for people with infectious diseases", or "a building or ship used for quarantine", or "on a ship, a space between decks used as storage." I fear my brain is the lazaretto between different computer systems.

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