The importance of being earnest

user warning: Table './drinking_drpl2/watchdog' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, variables, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'flickr', 'Could not connect to Flickr, Error: Forbidden', 'a:0:{}', 4, '', 'http://rothwerx.com/content/importance-being-earnest', '', '54.145.95.149', 1503099682) in /home1/drinking/public_html/rothwerx/modules/dblog/dblog.module on line 146.

Jeremiah - Posted on 19 January 2008

Since updating my Mac G5 to OS 10.5 (Leopard), it has crashed probably a dozen times. Hard. In OS X when your machine crashes you don't get a blue screen, you get a gray screen of about 90% transparency with a big gray message in the center of the screen (in multiple languages, no less) saying you need to reboot your computer.

In most other crashes it has happened during the night; I'll wake up to hear the fans spinning at full speed and the gray screen of death. I have 10.5 installed in a few other machines, and though I've got some problems, they've never crashed. Nevertheless, with the problems I have on the other machines (10.5 is probably the buggiest full release I've ever had with OS X besides the original beta, but compared to Windows OS that's not saying much) and the crashing on the G5, I just attributed it to Apple's rush to get this release out the door.

I have some software utilities for diagnosing Macintosh problems, so I fired one of them up only to find it wasn't compatible with this latest release. I went to their website and paid the $25 to get a new DVD shipped to me. I booted to this DVD and started running the full suite of tests, and when it got to the Hard Disk surface scan, I felt like an idiot. If there's one thing I've learned as an enterprise systems administrator, it is you don't change more than one thing at a time. Yet this is exactly what I did when I upgraded my OS- I also swapped out my old 80GB 7200 RPM drive for a new 150GB, 10k RPM drive by Western Digital. I've been bitten by WD before, but with the great ratings for this drive on newegg.com, I figured it was a pretty safe bet.

The surface scan had barely completed an eighth of the scan (in 30 hours) when it had already found over 140 bad blocks. Of course by this point newegg won't accept it as a return, but I haven't looked into WD's policy yet. If WD doesn't offer a return for the drive, I'll be biding my time until the new Apple Time Capsule comes out and I can back up my whole drive, zero it out and re-install. I'm not sure this will take care of the problem because it seems to have a lot of bad blocks to re-map, but it's worth a shot.

At least with this last crash it was kind enough to finish the Eels song I was listening to before it gray screened.