Saturday, April 21, 2012


About a week ago, I had just finished processing my weekly picture after a ridiculous 2.5 day business trip to Spain (more on that in another post). Desperately in need of sleep, I turned off my computer for the night, planning to write up the story behind the picture the next day. The following morning, I boot up my computer, expecting to run through the usual flow of email, facebook, soccer news, and weather, just like any other day. That's where everything went terribly wrong.

My computer is dying. The only way it can start up is in safe mode. Everything is still safe on the hard drive, but the computer itself can do almost nothing. Startup Repair couldn't fix it and System Restore didn't change anything. I've read around on a lot of help forums to try to find the cause of the problem, but there's not much out there that actually provides a conclusive answer. It seems to have sorted itself out for some, while the discussion just sort of trails off for others... I'm hoping it's a software error, an update gone bad or something, though some have suggested that it means the hard drive is starting to fail. The general recommendation is to run the Disk Check program from safe mode and go from there. It came up clean, but still won't start up properly. Time to look for new ideas...

 I've backed up all my pictures with my external hard drive, but need to buy another drive to take on the rest of my files. In the meantime, I'm borrowing my girlfriend's spare Sony netbook. The screen is tiny and it runs about as fast as a three-legged dog, but it's better than nothing. My Sony computer worked well for about 3 months after I bought it back in 2007, but has been disappointing ever since. I'm not talking about disappointing in a "the hardware is old and slow" sense, I'm talking about being a shitty product. I've taken pretty good care of it in terms of maintenance and what not, but it has still had countless stupid problems, both hardware and software related, on a consistent basis. The touchpad, the fingerprint scanner, their special function buttons, the power management software, there are sooooo many things that this computer has failed at. I will most certainly never buy another Sony computer again and, quite honestly, I might not buy another Sony product. I had fully intended to replace this computer once I was back home anyways and now I imagine I will be that much more delighted to finally get my hands on a computer that doesn't suck.

This is probably the worst possible time for my computer to have died. I'm less than two months away from moving back to the US and most certainly not going to buy a replacement with a Japanese keyboard and Japanese OS. At the same time, I have so many things to take care of that require a computer: hotel reservations for a trip to Thailand in two weeks, logistics for moving back to the US, finding a place to live and roommates in Cali, the list goes on and on. Between this little hot pink netbook and my work computer, I can get by for the absolutely crucial tasks, but there is lots more that will have to be put on hold.

Weekly Mad Men fix? Dead. This computer can barely handle youtube, much less HD video and I'll be damned if I'm going to watch the show on this 6in screen. Looks like I'll be having a Season 5 marathon sometime in June.

52 Weeks Project? Probably on hold. This computer would probably self destruct at just the thought of running Lightroom for photo editing and I don't want to post pictures for the project that aren't great. Even if I were to shoot in JPEG instead of RAW and just upload as-is, this screen is too small to properly check whether or not I got the shot right and I can't access flickr from the office because of the company'S firewall. I want to keep taking the weekly pictures, so maybe I'll just write the stories now, upload the actual photos later and backdate posts once I've got a proper computer again.

Even the existence of this blog is now in question. "Tekitokyo" is hardly a relevant name for my blog if I'm not living in Tokyo anymore and I'd already been playing with the idea of starting up a new blog once I moved back. Given that I likely won't be able to upload pictures for the near future, I probably won't post much, if at all during the next two months. I've got one last weekly photo that I managed to get up onto flickr before the crash that I'll write about, but that might be the last I have to say on here before signing off in June.

I'll keep fiddling around with my computer and see if I can't save it somehow. Maybe I'll wipe it clean and completely reinstall Windows once I've backed everything up. Hopefully something will work...


  1. Man that's really rough - any news on the computer situation? I know what you mean about needing it desperately for everything in these last couple of months, especially considering how strict they are about the internet at your workplace.

    Sorry that you haven't had a good experience with your VAIO, Yayoi's been using mine and luckily we've had no problems so far. I may upgrade the HD this summer to an SSD just to increase the lifespan by a little, it's going on 4 years in a few months.

    Interestingly though, my custom PC from PugetSystems has been giving me problems all year long, with frequent, random BSODs and deep freezes for no reason. I'll be sending it in for repair this summer under warranty (but will be eating the $100 shipping fee, ouch). Not fun to think how dependent we all are on these things, especially when problems arise.

    Good luck Pete, hope things start looking up soon!

  2. Wish I could help. I really look forward to your postings for news or great pix. I remember when you were trying to decide whether to buy the OK laptop or the great one, and you thought the VAIO would be a great choice. I'll be interested to see what your next purchase is.
    And, speaking for myself, I'd be happy to see ANY photos, not just the cleaned and polished ones. Play the role of the writer, who considers the images as eye candy for the story. A picture may be worth a thousand random words, but a good story about you is worth, well, a dozen random photos....