Archive for March 9th, 2008|Daily archive page

Crumbling Technical Infrastructure

I did not have a good morning techie-wise.  I’d noticed that my broadband connection had been crawling for a while.  Several reboots of the router later, my mode connection speed was 175 kbps.  This wasn’t broadband, this was about four times my best dial-up speed.

I bit the bullet, and rang my ISP, TalkTalk.  It was with trepidation that I rang, and the first discussions didn’t go too well.

‘What Operating System are you using?’


‘What Operating System are you using?’


No, ‘What Operating System are you using, XP or Vista?’

‘Mac OS 10.5.2 Leopard’

‘Ah, we don’t support macs’

I don’t like taking the upper hand, but by the time that I had explained that nothing had changed in my configuration over the last month, that I do lecture in network technology at final year undergraduate level (well, I do, sort of), and that the speeds I was recording was from my router (no, it wasn’t a TalkTalk router, yes, it’s worked for the last 20 months with no problems). 

Once you get past this ‘barrier’, they were actually really helpful.  They boosted the signal, and though it’s rebooting every so often at the moment, but I’m getting from 500 – 650 kbps.  This is my average I guess over my time being on broadband.  What’s interesting is that they said I should be able to get more, so when working from home on Thursday I think I’ll spend my lunchtime on phone to them.

For reference, anyone looking for TalkTalk broadband support number, it’s 0870 087 8777, but it’s free from a TalkTalk landline, which is a saving and an improvement on the situation when I first signed up with them.


But why was I claiming I didn’t have a Window’s PC?  The truth is that at the time I didn’t have a working Windows machine.  On Friday I blogged that I appeared to be having problems, these developed and deteriorated, this morning the machine was locking up on every boot up.  No mouse, nothing.

I rebooted in Safe Mode, rebooted again, and still problems.  So I did what I should have done from the start… I left the machine switched on and walked away.  Came back this evening and it had switched into standby, a couple of dodgy reboots and finally Windows deigned to tell me the problem.

Problem caused by a hard disk drive error

Windows was temporarily unable to read your hard disk drive. This problem is general in nature and we are unable to determine the specific cause of the problem from the problem report. In most cases this problem is temporary and can be ignored.

  • Common causes of this problem include:
  • Large file transfers from secondary media, such as an external hard drive, to a local hard drive.
  • The loss of power to a hard disk drive that causes inconsistent data sectors.
  • Problems entering Hibernation or Standby Mode.
  • Hard drive lag caused by filter drivers, such as virus scanners.

So at least I have a diagnosis.  OK, I don’t have a cure (well I do, but I’m waiting as long as possible as I’d like an iMac which isn’t out of date the day it’s released). 

It’s a good job I’ve been out and otherwise engaged most of the day, it could have been a very frustrating day in front of machines otherwise.

It’ll almost (almost!) be a relief to get back to work and my slow, but reliable work PC and consistently fast connection to the Internet.