Today was going to be a good day. The night before I planned what to do: work on a technical blog post and record one or two videos, one of them being long overdue.

After breakfast I turned on the computer only to see that the screens remain black. I found a PC speaker in the toolbox and mounted it. It called three disturbing and long beeps, followed by one short. The motherboard’s manual didn’t mention this beep code. After couple hours of tinkering with with PC’s internals and reading now abandoned fora, I got the PC to booted up! I thought,

this would be a cool thing to blog about.

No, everyone has laptops these days. Nobody will be interested in it.

Yeah I guess… Wait a sec! That’s just an excuse! I don’t want any more excuses in my life. After all,

A few days ago my friend Jef called me and asked if I want to come and shoot a video to promote my startup’s product, Alive - an interactive programming extension for Visual Studio. Excuses came flooding my mind:

I have less than two days to prepare!

I’m awkward on camera, the video’s going to suck.

Without waiting any further, I said yes! Every moment of hestitation would make the decision harder. I knew I did the right thing, but I also felt scared of shooting the video. It felt like it’s outside of my comfort zone, and now, in retrospect, I’m both surprised and disappointed of having such a narrow comfort zone. This needs to change. Excuses are like a drug, they give a blissful feeling and temporary relief from stress, but when abused, they’re disastrous.

Of course, filming with Jef was a lot of fun and went smoothly.

Here’s what I initially wanted to write, dismissed it as being so 2000’s, and eventually decided to write it anyways, because I want to stop having excuses:

Some people reported that long beep codes were caused by loose connections to the GPU. After pulling the GPUs out and back in, the speaker still called the dreaded beep code. I was worried that I will need to purchase a new motherboard or CPU. Without really knowing what’s wrong, I had 50% chance of replacing the broken component and 50% chance of wasting money. More desperate, I removing the BIOS name (Award) from the search query and just looked for beep codes. Someone with a totally different motherboard said that they fixed their PC by removing the CPU, reapplying the thermal paste and putting everything back together. I glanced at the CPU thinking how annoying it will be. That’s when it hit me.

the giant heatsink

For the last 4 years my CPU was kept below 40°C with Scythe Mine 2, a two and a half pound heatsink! I pressed it into the motherboard with one hand and turned the PC on with the other. The speaker beeped once and the PC booted! Things started to make more sense - recently the PC intermittently wouldn’t wake from sleep. Probably the connection between the motherboard and the CPU was loose. I tightened all screws that held the heatsink, and tightened the motherboard’s mounting to the chassis as well. The PC booted up without the helping hand!

Now, to be extra sure, I held the heatsink up with my girlfriend’s hair band. Hopefully by the time it gives up I’ll build a new rig.

problem solved

Alright, I’m going to do some work. There is no room for excuses today nor in the future. Please slap me in the face next time I have an excuse. Thanks :)