Here we go again (computer rant)

Ugh, here we go again with computer problems. Everything has been going ok on thedesktop6 computer front over the last several weeks, so I suppose its high time for a computer problem to rear its ugly head again. I came downstairs Wednesday morning and tried to rouse my computer from its slumber (I’ve been putting it in ‘Sleep Mode’ instead of shutting it off when I’m done with it each time. I didn’t think this was going to cause a problem) and it started like it normally does, only to shut down after about 15 seconds. Upon rebooting, it did the same thing. “Oh great” I’m thinking to myself, “now what“? After letting it do this for a few minutes, I shut it down completely and let it sit for about 10 minutes, thinking that perhaps it needed to ‘cool off’ and I’d try it again. Welp, no difference, same result. It doesn’t even get to the point where I can actively access the BIOS, it reboots endlessly. I am working from my laptop again, trying to troubleshoot the problem remotely.

So far, according to various sources, it could be a number of things. Bad RAM (memory), although I think this highly unlikely because the memory has been in the tower since I built it. A bad or overworked power supply. Again, I don’t think this is the problem, simply because the power supply is a replacement, still practically new, and if anything it’s OVER powered, not under. Someone else with a similar problem suggested it might be a lack of thermal grease on the CPU, but since I purchased a new cooling fan for the CPU/motherboard, it came with its own thermal grease smeared on the underside of the heat sink. The other possibility is that the motherboard itself is shot. This might be possible, since it’s at least 5 years old, and it was present when the original power supply blew.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve tried several fixes, but nothing seems to work. I’ve gone so far as to disconnect all of the components that draw power, but when I go to turn on the computer, the same result. I really have a hard time believing that this is due to the power supply failing. I’d really rather not go to the expense of buying another PS, only to discover it was the motherboard all along.

Update: After a couple of frustrating days, I finally fixed the damn thing.  I was about to the point where I was going to purchase a new power supply, and hold onto the ‘old’ one when I found an obscure post from 2005 on a board that I frequent.  The person had the same exact problem that I did, and explained how he managed to fix it.  He removed the memory DIMMs (sticks) from their sockets and replaced them.  Just to be certain they were stuck in.  Once I did that and powered on the tower, it stayed running.  Crossing my fingers, I shut it off at the power button, put everything back together and carted it back to where my computer desk was.  Re-connected all the peripherals and voila!  It works.

Once I had it running, I made sure to back up the hard drive again, since it hasn’t been backing itself up over the last several days.  Made sure my email downloaded so it’s not cluttering up either the cloud or the mail server, and reveled in the wonder of being able to see on my 27″ monitor again.  Definitely not certain how long this is going to work, but it’s working for NOW.  A fact to which I’m grateful.  Now, on to other problems.

Out of mothballs

I’ve been having intermittent computer issues over the last several months.  It pretty much started when I discovered that my laptop wasn’t performing the way I needed it to, and I’ve always been lacking in storage on it anyway.  It came with a woefully undersized hard drive (100 gigs) and I’ve been backing it up and using an external 4 HDD enclosure in an attempt to keep the warnings about lack of space on the laptop at bay.  Have to admit, it hasn’t been working as well as I’d hoped.  Of course, were we to go back about 2 years ago, I would have been working on my desktop computer that I built myself, but I blew a power supply on that and then got lazy.  After purchasing a replacement, I didn’t just put everything back together, I let it sit and used the laptop in the interim.

About a month ago I got the brilliant idea of upgrading the hard drive on the laptop.  I figured it’d be a quick fix.  Get a 2 TB hard drive, back up the current small one, clone it to the new one, pop the top, drop it in and put everything back together.  Fire up the laptop, -bingbamboom- done.  Only….not so much.  After firing it up, there continued to be problems.  Plenty of space, but for whatever reason the laptop didn’t seem to like the new drive.  Granted the old one was a solid state (basically a bigger flash drive) and the new one was a HDD with moving parts, the whole nine yards.  Everything slowed to a crawl, it was nearly impossible to do anything, I was just having a hell of a time.

Walking through one of the bedrooms upstairs one morning, I tripped over the old desktop for the umpteenth time since I squirreled it away up there.  Then it hit me.  Why not just put that back together?  It had a new power supply, the processing chip was still good, and I’d been meaning to put Windows 10 (the 64 bit version) on it ever since I discovered only using 32 bit was allowing me to only use half of the memory it had on board.  Instead of buying a whole NEW computer (probably an outlay of $600-800) and having another tower et al cluttering up the house (the wife would thank me, surely) I’d resurrect the old beast and be back in business.

So, I went ahead with that plan.  Of course, being me it took a little while and more than a few headaches to accomplish.  As of this morning, it culminated with me having the old box slid under my computer desk, an older 15″ monitor in place of the 27″ widescreen I’ve been using for 3 years (they’re not communicating for some reason) and only about a tenth of the programs that I’ve counted on using on the laptop at any given time.  But it works!  And it’s speedy.  Boots up immediately, connects to the ‘Net and I can bring up a browser and don’t have to wait forever for things to come to me.  Bliss!  And it doesn’t even smell like mothballs.

[Update 8/16]  I swapped out an HDMI cable and now the widescreen monitor is working with the computer, and this afternoon I installed 2 120mm exhaust fans (LED purple…squee!) in the case for further cooling needs.  I’m rather surprised nothing has exploded while getting this whole thing going again.  But for the time being, I’m content.

Change of the Guard

Warning: Geek talk ahead.

It’s been about 3 years, it’s time for a change.  No, not that sort.  This is more technical.  About every 2-3 years I change the identity of my SSIDs and the passwords that go along with them. For WiFi access to my home network.  Since I have older equipment that runs on the 2.4 GHz band as well as the 802.11g frequency, I have a dual band router.  But both SSIDs are visible to the neighborhood as well as to anyone that might be passing by or visiting.  I can’t have something completely technical, but it has to be me as well, so about every 2-3 years I change the names.  I’ve gone through my Harry Potter phase (2.4 was Dumbledore and 5.0 was Hogwarts); most recently I did my Greek God phase, where the 2.4 band was Hephaestus (the God of fire & metalworking [there, my geeky/kinky fetish for metal]) and the 5.0 band was Ares (God of War).

Generally I leave the guest accounts alone.  I honestly think they’re good choices (2.4 is GuestOfUs & the 5.0 band is StrangeWomenLivinginPonds).  If you can figure out why the 5.0 band is named the way it is, well, I’ll be more than happy to offer you a coconut.

Of course when you do a change of this magnitude, there are going to be hiccups.  Especially when you don’t mention to the wife that you’re tweaking the home network.  About an hour after I had switched everything over, she tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that she had been unable to access the home WiFi for the last 45 minutes.  Oops.  When I told her what I had done, I got an eye roll and the offending bit of technology, since it’s my job to ‘fix’ things when they’re broken.  Or borked.  Once I put in the new info, changed the password and handed it back, all was well again.  Until this morning, when I had to change her tablet’s info.  Of course, this reminded me that I needed to change the house repeater, which was still set on the old network info, so the wrong SSIDs were being broadcast upstairs, essentially blacking out that part of the house.  A few other things that also communicate with the router need to be changed, but I’m getting to them as needed.  I’ve almost gotten the 5.0 SSIDs password memorized, since that’s the one I’ve been using most often.

At the very least, I won’t have to revisit this for another 2 years or so.  Not sure what I’m going to use at that time for identfiers.  Probably Avengers.  Fwiw, I do the same thing with my hard drive names.  At the present time, they’re all CS Lewis characters from the Narnian book series.  Told you I was a geek.  Yes, and a dork, thank you for reminding me, pet.

I’d like to thank the Academy…

I was just recently (yesterday in fact) nominated for the One Lovely Blogger Award.  After a moment of shock, I went ahead and thanked the one that nominated me.  I then did a little research because a “nomination” to me isn’t actually the winning of an award.  Except in this case, because there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism of ‘voting’ by anyone.  When you’re nominated, you’ve already won!  If only other things could be so simple.  

Apparently, there are rules to be followed after you’ve been nominated.  Here they are:  [if you can’t read the small writing without your bifocals (I can’t) here are The Rules in a little better print type.

  • Thank the person that nominated you and give a link to their blog. {Done!}
  • List the Rules {Doing that now, aren’t I something?}
  • Display the award on your post of the award. {See that thing to the left?}
  • List seven facts about yourself {Seven?  All right, just because it’s a requirement…see below}
  • Nominate (up to 15) bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know you have nominated them. {Oh dear, I’m not sure I -know- 15 people in this idiom.  Now if it was LiveJournal 10 years ago we wouldn’t even be having this conversation…}

Onward to the second to last requirement, seven facts about your intrepid host:

  1. I have 2 families.  An adopted one, and a birth one.  I only discovered (or was actually found by) the second one when my half-brother tracked me down 2 years ago.
  2. I’m musical.  I’m naturally a baritone, though in every choir I’ve been a member of, I’ve been shoved into the tenor section because for some reason choirs don’t seem to have enough tenors.  I played cornet and flugelhorn when I was in high school.  I own 2 banjos as well.
  3. I love history.  Especially the US Civil War.  My wife and I have been to both Gettysburg and Antietam.  There will be more trips in the future.
  4. I’m unable to turn my palms facing upwards.  Some people I work with at times have tried to describe me as ‘disabled’.  I’ve always been very firm that I don’t consider myself so.  I’m just hinged differently thankyouverymuch.
  5. I used to play golf.  And I was good at it in my youth.  I played on the golf team in HS, and when I was looking at colleges, I almost went to one that had a nationally ranked golf team (at the time my handicap was a 2, that’s close to pro).
  6. I still have every computer I’ve ever owned.  Yes, I’m a nerd.  My first computer had a small 14″ VGA screen, no hard drive and a 300 baud external modem.  I fix computers for friends occasionally, though more and more people aren’t buying desktop computers, so there aren’t as many calls as there used to be.
  7. This isn’t my first stint at blogging.  I started a LiveJournal account in 1999 and it’s still there.  After the ‘Russian Overlords’ started doing some weird things with the website, I moved the whole kit and kaboodle over to Dreamwidth and established a fiefdom there under the same name.  As I had purchased a lifetime membership on LJ way back when it didn’t feel right to delete it.  So it stays there as long as the website does.

Finally, I don’t have anyone at present to nominate as I’m still getting my feet wet here on WordPress.  There are people that I’ve read before on LJ as well as independent sites, but none that I feel comfortable nominating here.  As things progress, I expect this will change in the future.