Last night I had an almost-full-on-computer-emergency. I was trying to sync an iPod with content for a coming 20 hour plane flight, and suddenly Vista announced an "Unknown USB" device. Then another, and another. The iPod died, and every device on my system started a full scale revolt. I was stressed a bit, but I figured a reboot was in order. So, orderly shutdown and reboot, BIOs black screen comes up...and nothing. Zero. My system was hanging on BIOS POST. I couldn't even get into the CMOS via F2 to try other settings.
I started unhooking stuff. USB devices, internal drives, even the floppy for gosh sake. Nothing. At this point I'm getting uncomfortable. So what did I do? I did what anyone would do. I called Jeff Atwood.
Here's a little something about me. Back in the day, I knew a metric crapload about computer hardware. I could go on and on about the different between an SX and DX Processor. If you needed an MFM or RLL hard drive, I could give you a recommendation. You needed a TSR loaded into the UMB, screw QEMM, call me. I could put a field of DIPPs on an ISA add-on board and get your 286 up to a MEG of RAM.
But, alas, after the Pentium 4, everything got complex. People started talking about Northbridge this, and DRAM that, and this whole code name thing with Intel (Conroe? Tahoe? Who knows) just put me off.
I no longer know what motherboard to buy. Those brain cells have long been overwritten with more immediately useful information like the internal workings of System.Web.UI.WebControls.TextBox.
Jeff knows, though, and I called him at 10:45pm last in a sweaty panic. Well, actually I SMS'ed him, and he called me back, but still, details.
I explained the situation in exquisite detail with voices for all the characters involved. He said "remove your USB drives." I said, "I did already." He said "Humour me." He's from the Bay Area, but you can always here the "u" in words like Humor with Jeff. It's how he maintains quiet superiority over you and I.
Anyway, I went back upstairs, and alas, I'd missed a drive. My precious Iomega 35G USB Rev drive was still plugged in. (Not sure why, Iomega has no Vista drivers, and their support site sücks. Notice the Heavy Metal umlaut indicating that they don't just suck, but they suck über-ly.
So, I removed my USB Rev Drive, and boom. I'm back in business. Sweet sassy mollassy, I'm back in business. Danke Jeff Atwood.
The sad, silent tragedy about this whole sordid affair? My wife had given me the go ahead to buy a new motherboard, thinking the USB Root Hubs were toast before Jeff came up with the solution. Um, thanks Jeff?