Hardware Mac OSX Operating System Windows

Your computer won’t boot…now what?

You finally sat down to start that paper you’ve been putting off, hit the power button on your laptop and nothing but a folder with a question mark shows up. Or maybe you just got back from the library and just want a relaxing afternoon online. However, when you wake up your computer, all you see is a black screen and text reading “Boot device not found.”

When diagnosing issues where your computer won’t boot, there are a few different diagnostic tests that you can run to determine what is causing the issue. These can vary depending on what kind of computer you have. For all manufacturers, the first step is determining whether or not the computer turns on. With laptops, check whether or not any lights come on. If it is unplugged, try making sure the battery is seated correctly and plugging it into the power adapter (be sure to use a known-good wall outlet). If none of these work, the most likely cause is failure of the main logic board.

If your computer does turn on at all, this could mean there is a hardware failure. Usually if the computer doesn’t turn on at all this means there is some kind of power failure. It could be as simple as your battery dying, which can be solved by charging the laptop with a known good power adapter. On the other hand, this could also be caused by a motherboard that has failed.

The other hardware point of failure is usually the hard drive. In this case Windows and Macs will give two different errors. Macs will boot to a folder with a question mark. Windows could show a number of different screens depending on the manufacturer and how old the machine is. Usually it will look something like the following:

The last point of failure for boot failure is the operating system. If the operating system has been corrupted, it can cause any number of errors to be shown on startup. On Windows machines this usually results in a blue screen of death. To fix this, usually the hard drive needs to be wiped and Windows needs to be reinstalled (after making sure your files are backed up). Macs, on the other hand, have a few recovery options, the most useful being disk first aid. Holding down Command-R while the machine is booting will bring up the recovery boot options:

Regardless of what happens when you try to turn on your computer though, there is always a solution to fix any problems that might happen. Determining where the point of failure is can be the difficult part. Once you know that, it’s much easier to make a decision about fixing the computer.

Operating System

Podcasts We Are Listening To

Tell us what you are listening to by taking this survey! At the end of it you can see what other people around campus are listening to!

I recently got into podcasts and I thought I was the only one listening. Turns out I was wrong. Here is what IT User Services is listening to:

Me, Lizzy Ferreira (Student Consultant)

My favorite new podcast is Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. I read a few of his books high school and really enjoyed them so I wanted something more. Revisionist History definitely has a liberal political agenda, but it’s honest about it. Instead of saying “This is what happened, this is history” it delves into a topic that is deeply historical but discusses them in a modern context. I got halfway through the episode titled Vietnam 1964 on my way to work today. I am eager to get back to it during my lunch break.

I listened to my first podcast back in Middle School. It was a podcast about Harry Potter and I was pretty into it. This was back before there were iPhones that automatically downloaded podcasts for you, so every time a new episode aired, I had to turn on my very slow computer, launch iTunes (which to this day still takes forever), download, and sync to my iPod nano (the original nano). It was clunky and awful.

Now I have an iPhone that handles everything for me. My 19 podcasts are downloaded every morning and I get to listen to them on my walk to work. For my hour lunch break I listen to another one or two and then I have a few for my walk home and for cooking (I love cooking).

Here is the comprehensive list of all of the podcasts I subscribe to: NPR’s Invisibilia, Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History, NPR’s Radiolab Presents: More Perfect, Jessica Williams’ (of The Daily Show) 2 Dope Queens, WNYC’s Note to Self, NPR’s Code Switch, WNYC’s Radiolab, NPR’s Ask Me Anoter, Radiotopia’s The Allusionist, NPR’s Planet Money, NPR’s How To Do Everything, NPR’s NPR Politics Podcast, WNYC’s Freakonomics Radio, Fivethirtyeight’s What’s The Point, White House Speeches (Audio), Fivethirtyeight Elections, BBC World Service Global News Podcast, West Wing Weekly, and Serial.

Matt Harrington (Multimedia Support Specialist)

“I like This American Life for when I’m walking because it tells a story”

Freyja (A student consultant, via chat, lightly edited for punctuation):

Lizzy: What is your favorite podcasts that you subscribe to, and why?

Freyja:  Ugh, you have to ask the hard question first… I don’t really have a favorite per say, just lots of really informative and interesting podcasts like On The Media, Embedded, TAL, On Being, Dan Carlin’s stuff, Congressional Dish, Intelligence Squared, Scathing Atheist, Mental Illness Happy Hour, Savage Love cast to name a few…

Lizzy: What is the last [podcast] you listened to?

Freyja: BBC Global News Podcast, they put out an episode twice a day, I try to listen to them on my commute and stay informed of whats going on in the world.

Lizzy: I listen to that too! Do you listen to it twice a day? I don’t.

Freyja: I try to get through them both, although if it’s similar content to the previous, one I will fast forward through it.

Lizzy: What has been your favorite piece from them? I liked the one where they interviewed the guy that makes all the baguettes for the French Air Force. He was funny.

Freyja: For sure the coverage of the migrant crisis, it’s something that is completely omitted from US news, and that’s the thing, US news is so myopic, I love the world focus they have.

Frank Aronson (Technical Consultant)

“I listen to a left wing radio talk show “Stephanie Miller Show” because she mixes politics and farts. I listen to “The Bob and Chez Chow,” [whom are] also left wing prognosticators. I listen to Mark Maron’s “WTF!”. The Obama interview is a classic. He [also] interviewed Teri Gross on her on show. He asks totally off the wall stuff.

Occasionally I listen to “On the Media” and I will occasionally listen to Rachel Maddow and “Real Time”. I have never actually seen Rachel Maddow in Northampton, [but] I have a friend who knows her.

A lot of [my podcasts taste is] politics/funny

The only paid subscription is Stephanie Miller. It’s about 2 hours without adds. My favorite [on her show] is Charlie Pierce, whom they have twice a week, he was a Boston/ Worcester boy when The Atlantic was in Boston. Sometimes he will put a sentence in there that you can’t believe you actually heard on the radio. He is a good interview.”

Liam Macci (Student Consultant, Interview via facebook web chat)

Lizzy: What was the last podcast you listened to or subscribed to?
Liam: The Maritime History Podcast
Lizzy: And what do you like about that podcast?
Liam: It offers an interesting perspective on history, not from the vantage point of a nation state, but of the sea, which spans the entire planet, but is owned by no one.
Lizzy: When do you listen to podcasts?
Liam: Commute, workouts, meals, any time I’m doing something that doesn’t require cognitive function
Lizzy: How many podcasts would you say you subscribe to? (Checking on your phone is not cheating)
Liam: 11

Dylan Hand (Student Consultant)

I listen to a podcast called CED Talks, its run by a guy named Cedric Phillips who is a lead commentator for Star City Games, they do live-streams of the Magic the Gathering tournaments.

He talks about a variety of things like basketball, boxing, and Magic. He is enjoyable and relaxed. He had Stephen Curry of the Warriors on once. It’s funny and insightful from an informative point of view.

It’s the only podcast I listen to and I listen to it through sound cloud. I think a lot of people put their podcasts onto soundcloud.


If you would like to listen to some podcasts you can use a podcatcher app for a smart phone such as: Apple Podcasts for the iPhone, Pocket Casts, NPR One App, Overcast, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music (Hey! I just wrote another blog post about that!).

You can also download podcasts from their websites onto your computer. Many podcasters also post a lot of their stuff onto SoundCloud.

Whether you like sports, news, law, music, pop culture, history, or good story telling there is a podcast out there for you.

Want to tell US what podcasts you are listening to? Take our quiz to tell us what your favorite podcast is and to see what other people on campus are listening to!


What is and Why Does it Matter

Netflix just launched a new service,, which allows people to check their download speed. It seems like a pretty mundane tool that only techie’s or people who love arguing with their ISP’s would care about but that belies the brilliant move that Netflix just made.

To understand why this is so important we should first look at the pre-existing services that allowed you to test your download speeds. is the most ubiquitous tool for checking your download speeds online, while that gives it legitimacy, it also allows ISP’s to prioritize traffic to this site. It is technically possible that an ISP may provide prioritized traffic to but slowing down or severely limiting to sites such as YouTube or Netflix in an attempt to limit how much a customer can download. This is a violation of net neutrality, a system that if in place would force ISP’s to treat all data as the same thus removing the possibility for Comcast (who is owned by NBCUniversal) to prioritize their own entertainment services over 3rd party services like Netflix. The scary thing is that, Comcast did something very similar, allowing their data to not count against their customers data caps while watching on Xbox 360’s, but counting data from services such as Netflix, HBO GO, and YouTube. Net neutrality is not a dead debate and it is important to be vigilant of how your data is processed. test of Eduroam test of Eduroam, the most popular internet speed test, the most popular internet speed test

The genius behind Netflix creating is that they are hosting the service from the same servers that host This removes the ability of ISP’s to prioritize data without prioritizing traffic, essentially this forces the hand of ISP’s to treat Netflix data fairly or be publicly shamed and most likely fined by the FCC. What this does not fix is data discrimination to other sites like HBO GO or YouTube, but the fix is simple, just provide a speed test function with your website to ensure no prioritization. While this is a move that strikes back at overstepping ISP’s I think it speaks more to the unfortunate environment that the internet has become, dominated by large corporations who have other interests besides providing the best internet access possible.

In conclusion, yes, this is something that techies get excited about, but this has larger implications for anyone who access the internet. Fair access to the internet is something that we need to ensure because this is a global service, we cannot be limited by corporate or national interests. For the first time in history we have a technology that binds us together as a whole, we cannot let ourselves divide it up.