You will agree with me there is nothing more infuriating than working on a computer and suddenly the blue screen appears, leading to a restart… The infamous “Blue screen of Death”… Most people (including me) are extremely outraged by this and their rage frequently results in a ferocious shout, a slap on the desk or even a kick aimed at the computer box. Now imagine this, except this computer, is the ‘brain’ of your instrument that is worth about 1 000 000 Euros AND has data of 3 flights which you hope to use in your PhD… Need I say more!
During the second phase of the campaign, I am less involved in flight planning and are responsible for data downloading and calibrations. I was awaiting the arrival of HALO from Germany, whereby it accrued 3 flights worth of data. This should have been a days work just downloading the 6TB worth of data. This quickly turned into a nightmare of starting the download, 3-10mins later, BOOM – Blue screen of DEATH!! Then shutdown, power off the instrument, start-up, all adding another 10 mins, then BOOM another blue screen! This went on and on and on… From 08:00 in the morning till 19:00. At times I was lucky enough to get even up to 40 mins of copy time, then just as my hopes raised it was torn to a million pieces by another screen!
I guess the key to such an expensive instrument is to always be prepared. Thanks to the well-preparedness of the technical staff, a whole new ‘brain’ to our instrument was brought to Argentina. This still does not mean I can get my data, however, at least we have a back-up computer for the first scientific flight.
As my battle has continued for 4 days now, still no success… Tomorrow we try new methods of extracting the data, so old your thumbs that I hopefully can salvage something from this bottomless pit of frustration…