Friday, October 30, 2009

Ubuntu and the Windows MBR

I installed Ubuntu 9.10 on an external usb drive yesterday, with Windows XP on the primary drive. I forgot that Ubuntu decides by default to write grub to the primary drive in this situation, overwriting the Windows MBR. Ergh! Why doesn't Ubuntu warn about that first?!

In addition to overwriting the Windows MBR, this grub setup also won't boot anything without the external usb drive connected.

I wanted to simply put back the XP MBR, but in this case I don't have the XP Administrator password, so I couldn't boot into the Recovery Console. Why does XP only offer this method for fixing the MBR?!

Ubuntu and Windows are annoying me today.

Fortunately I do have a local admin account on Windows, so I was able to use the third-party mbrfix.exe to rewrite the MBR. Again, why doesn't Windows include such a utility? *sigh*

Monday, August 3, 2009

"An error occurred while querying your Garmin GPS for information. Please ensure its software is current, and retry the Setup."

I bought a map update for my Garmin StreetPilot c330 the other day. I tried multiple troubleshooting steps, but every time I ran the map update utility, the goofy thing failed with:

An error occurred while querying your Garmin GPS for information. Please ensure its software is current, and retry the Setup.

There were no good google hits for this error message. And the Garmin support website was no help either.

I eventually resigned myself to calling tech support. The first-level guy didn't have any new ideas, so he passed me on to a second-level support tech. That guy used a special utility to make sure the unlock codes were cleared, but the install still failed. He said that the unit was hosed and had to be sent in for factory repair. I was irritated and frustrated at the whole situation.

Today I called Garmin again to demand a refund for the map update. In the course of handling that, I got through to a support manager. In our conversation he mentioned that norton antivirus is known to interfere with the map update process. Sure enough, I went into symantec antivirus, chose "unload service", and then the map update succeeded.

Why didn't the 1st and 2nd level support techs know to suggest disabling the antivirus? *sigh*

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coal Creek Park

I got out for the first hike of the year today. I did a six-mile out and back that's very near the house. It's Coal Creek Park, and the interesting thing is that it used to be a major railway and mining center, but now it's pretty much returned to nature.