Friday, April 7, 2023

Probably the Weirdest Email of My Life

This afternoon, I got what must have been the weirdest email of my life. Certainly of this blog's life.  It was from Blogger itself: 

Your post titled "Eliminating the Legislative Branch" was flagged to us for review. This post was put behind a warning for readers because it contains sensitive content; the post is visible at:

Your blog readers must acknowledge the warning before being able to read the post/blog.

The post is dated January 7, 2012 and talks about the President (Bamster) going around the law to appoint someone to the newly organized (back then) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  While a bit snarky, I think it was fairly even-handed.  I made fun of both W's and Bamster's administrations doing the same basic thing: pushing through an appointment for a position that requires senate approval by waiting until the senate wasn't in session so they could just appoint them. 

I'll bet that post has had more reads today than at any time in the intervening 11 years since I posted it, when it combines me testing it at least twice and then having the diminutive but deadly Mrs. Graybeard test it as well.  

I can't imagine what could be "sensitive content" about it, but I have a hard time believing that someone stumbled across it while blog surfing and complained about an over 11 year old post.  There is nothing in their email about disagreeing with them, just what to do when you fix it, but since they never told me what was wrong with it, that's pointless.  Although it's hard to be more pointless than an 11 year old blog post about something that was a minor news story back then. 

Two weekends ago, I wrote about trying to resurrect an 11 year old PC to take the place of a newer but lower performance PC I use to run a few things in the shop. Since I'm here, let me do a little update to that. 

By the time I posted that, I had gotten it to boot to Win7, but even the simplest things were exasperating.  I'd tell it to uninstall a program, or simply delete a file from a junk directory, and it would just sit there spinning one of it's "processing... processing..." indicators for minutes.  Digging through old DVDs, I found everything that came with this old Dell including some diagnostics and tried to run them.  Originally, it would halt with an error saying something like it couldn't verify it was a Dell PC so it couldn't verify the tests would work and then abort. That took a couple of days to find a way around.  

I gradually improved things, but every time I tried to run a functional test, it couldn't complete testing the older magnetic hard drive.  It didn't fail it, it just never completed the test.  It would get to some block of memory addresses and say the drive didn't provide an Interrupt Request (IRQ) reply fast enough.  Then it would put up a box asking quit or keep testing.  I quit the test several times, and then last Sunday decided to keep hitting Y, telling it to resume testing, thinking maybe it's just one or two bad addresses and after a few minutes, I'd have a list of the bad ones.

That's when I found out it would sit there (doing something or nothing) for up to 10 minutes before starting to retest, and then give me the same question with a different address being bad within a second.  I literally spent 90 minutes waiting for those "Continue (Y)es or (N)o?" prompts.  The kicker is that I could go to the Command line (i.e., DOS) and run the old CHKDSK utility.  That said the HD passed.

I concluded the HD was probably bad.  It's from 2011, after all, and 12 years out of a hard drive is really not that bad.  I looked around the house but couldn't find another drive I could test in its place and after days of debating whether to buy a used drive from eBay, get something newer, or just can the whole thing, went with the second option.  

That drive got here this afternoon, so I plan to try to get that swapped out tomorrow.  And if it doesn't get that computer working, this computer gets another hard drive.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Second try. PIMF!
    I have quite a few <500GB drives sitting in a pile in my basement. Most are IDE, but have some SATA. If you need me to ship one or two to you, my wife would be grateful as it reduces (ever so little !) the pile of hardware cluttering up my workroom!
    Holler if you do!

  3. I'll bet that post has had more reads today than at any time in the intervening 11 years since I posted it, when it combines me testing it at least twice and then having the diminutive but deadly Mrs. Graybeard test it as well.

    I tried to, but I got:

    Sign in to confirm your age
    This post contains sensitive content which may be inappropriate for some users.

    1. D'oh! I mean to include that! My wife got asked to enter her age when she tested the link, and she has a Google account - she just never bothered entering her date of birth when they asked for it.

  4. Censorship has no Statute Of Limitations....

  5. Not for the faint of heart, but Spinrite (GRC Software?) has been helpful with old PCs/Drives. A drive can pass chkdsk and still not be quite right. I don't remember what I paid... not a lot because I'm too cheap... but enough that I had to think about it...

  6. As for the post being flagged... I had a troll going thru a bunch of old posts, flagging anywhere there was a broken link that had been taken over by SPAM. I ended up taking a whole section of old posts.

  7. Then there is always the old solution for dying hard drives: FREEZE THEM.
    Ideally, if you have a SATA cable that is long enough, leave the drive in the freezer while you try to recover it. If not, put the drive with cables attached in a freezer bag and THEN freeze it. Leave it in the back when you try the recovery to minimize condensation on sensitive electronics.

  8. Like Igor, I too have a pile of old drives sitting around here. Too late now, but I'd've been happy to get rid of one. Reminds me that I should hook them up for a run with Darik's Boot and Nuke, or give 'em the thermite treatment. The latter is more fun, of course.

  9. Blogspot wouldn't let me read without signing in either. Since I don't have an account, I went over to the Wayback Machine to see an archived copy. Worked just fine:

  10. Welcome to the brave new world! Your post was censored because it was critical of the government. They use the excuse "might be harmful to some readers" as a palatable substitute for "you can't say that and you will be punished". Don't worry, they'll get to the latter soon enough.

    Will we ever wake up to the fact that we have already been conquered?

    1. Over at OldNFO's Blog , he refers to an article by Victor David Hansen, Our French Revolution. I don't think we have been conquered yet but are in the midst of a civil war.

  11. Yep. I've had 6 old posts either unpublished or placed behind a warning - all within a couple days, then it stopped. I think they aimed their AI at blogger blog posts, but stopped when it obviously failed. The posts they selected/cancelled from my blog were mildly offensive to the liberal mind. I'm tempted to send links of some of my more brilliant posts...

    Every year I backed-up my posts to a Word doc, so nothing is lost. Someday I'll repost the gems to a blog service that isn't owned by a company that hates America and our freedom of speech.

    These cancellations are out of desperation. Their empire is crumbling, and it is getting harder to hide that from the masses.

  12. I have a SATA solid state with Zorin flavor of Linux as a stand by If I have a drove crap out on me. I think I paid $18 for it.