Monday, May 26, 2008

The Wrath of the Computer Gods

So I have quite a few posts to catch up on, but I wanted to update you all on why I'm posting from an Ubuntu computer that I stole from work (I didn't really steal it, it was going to be thrown out. I kind of rescued it. And then the machinist and I started experimenting with it and various Linux distros, but I digress.). I write from this computer because our old trusty HP a642n is DEAD! (cue dramatic music).

Now there's a lot of irony with this. For awhile now I've been contemplating buying one of those external hard drives. Finally I found a deal that tickled my fancy at Office Max. Bringing it home I decided this would be a good opportunity to clean my office. It, my office, usually lies in a state of constant disarray, with empty Mountain Dew bottles strewn like flotsam from a flood. Anyway, I disassembled my computer, swept, mopped, and tried unsuccessfully to repair a dead flat panel monitor that I've had for awhile. Once done I went to set my computer back up. I had a bit of trouble with the power strip but didn't think much of it.

Getting everything set back up, I plugged in my computer and went to turn it on to feed my addiction...and nothing. I unplugged it and tried a different outlet....nothing. I noticed when it was plugged in, that the little LED in the back was blinking. I plugged in my trusty old Ubuntu to find out what that meant. It seems that indicates some defective hardware. Now we were in the fun-zone, I could troubleshoot to find out what was dead. I unplugged the power supply to see if it was the power supply that's fried (this was my first and hopeful suspect)...nope the power supply was fine. Next I unplugged the drives. Nope they were good too. Now my two least favorite options remained. The hard disk and the mother board.

If the hard disk was bad than all of our photos, all of our documents, and music (not to mention our forth-coming self-help book "Our Children Won't be Like That: A childless couple's guide to parenthood" (all rights reserved)) would be lost. Not to mention that it would be terribly ironic to have bought an external hard drive to back all those things up and to have fried the hard disk while getting ready to do so. That said the Computer Gods had some pity on me. For it wasn't the hard disk, but the motherboard that was dead. Hurray?

And so we're left with a problem I didn't want. Do I buy a new mother board for a 5 year old computer? Do we update our computer with a 7-year old, but still solid, operating system in Windows XP? Do we brave all of the problems with Windows Vista? Do I embrace my inner nerd to the max and make Wife use a Linux box? or Do I simply go Mac?

Ah the conundrums. I guess the moral of the story is this: Beware of the irony and computer gods getting together, or your motherboard too will get fried at the least opportune time.

We'll miss you our old friend.

HP a642n

Since the Ubuntu doesn't have any internal speakers and I'm too lazy to hook up our old system here's my muxtape, where's yours?


GK said...

Im so sorry for your loss.

Jon & Chelle said...

It's always a sad day when a computer dies. But look on the bright side, now you can buy a new one, hooray! It's always a good day when you get a new computer. I'd recommend what Jon and I did and go to HP online and build it and have it delivered...but since you mentioned getting a mac that's my vote. Then all you need is a prius (preferably stolen from my neighbor) and you will be a total yuppy. said...

John threatened to make me learn to use Linux when he decided he hated Windows Vista. I threatened to leave. I guess we compromised on the macbook.

dastew said...

Can one like Linux and be a republican? I always thought of Linux users as the Ron Paul libertarian types. As a left-leaning socialist libertarian (it's complicated) I can appreciate that. Perhaps I sabotaged the xp machine to purposely force Wife to use Linux???? The world will never know.

Waldo said...

If you make your wife use Linux, I will relegate you to stroller and diaper duty for the entire Disney trip.

That being said- you can go to and have them build you a brand spanking new computer with XP on it. Yay! Or you could try to learn how to use a mac and increase your snobbery ten-fold.

Or you can go on and order a refurb system with XP on it for CHEAP! (or newegg, or any number of other sites.)

Either way, it's time to let that hp go. The Army doesn't even keep computers for 5 years, and I am speaking as a guy who habitually uses a radio fielded in 1949.

Ryan said...

Whatever you do, don't go Mac...Every Mac user I've known seems to ooze with a foul smelling sense of snobbery and elitism. Plus, there are no good video games that work on a Mac. On another topic, are you really writing that self-help book? Because I'd love to read a draft!

dastew said...

Yep it's in the works, though I've shelved it for too long in favor of other projects. I'll let you know when it's done.

John, Megan and girls said...

Well, I feel your pain. A year ago our motherboard died. Thankfully the person I hometeach is the IT person for the Penn State library and he helped me get everything off my old computer onto my external hard drive. I would go with a new computer. You can buy XP for an extra $100 or you can actually set up Vista to look and act like XP(It is not that difficult). I would not go with the Mac. Being in an education department where Macs abound, I would vote against them. Now that they are more popular, the quality has dropped considerably. We use a mac for our project and it has only lasted a year. The IT people have said that most of the macs that they are seeing lately only last about a year. So if you want to go through this again next year go for a mac.