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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 04:17pm on 22/08/2010 under ,
Last week, the Brother laser printer hooked up to my computer suddenly stopped printing. No, the cable was plugged in, the printer and computer turned on; but nothing happened when I hit the "print" command. It was as though the computer no longer knew the printer was connected to it.

Experimentation (in the form of connecting the printer to other machines) quickly revealed that other computers could not detect my printer, either. One of these computers was at the second-hand computer store [ profile] esrblog and I sometimes visit. The Computer Guy there said that, on similar models of printer, the element that heats the toner so that it will stick to the paper is located close to the printer's motherboard, and will occasionally fry the printer's motherboard.

Since we'd had a power surge/brownout lately, it seemed likely that that was what happened. So we bought another printer (the same model; there isn't enough difference in how laser printers are now made without spending a *lot* more, and we'd had fine service with the now-dead printer until now).

So we brought the new printer home, connected it and plugged it in.

And my computer still couldn't see it.

This printer, unlike the old dead one, can generate a self-test, so we know *its* motherboard is fine. [ profile] esrblog now thinks my computer has a software problem, which he is not looking forward to trying to diagnose.

Stay tuned....
Mood:: 'annoyed' annoyed
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This morning, we took my computer back to Alpha Computer and had the nice folks there install a brand new power supply. (Cost: $50.)

The Good: KMail, which [ profile] esrblog had finished fixing right after we got the machine home on Wednesday, still works fine...

The Bad: ...when the machine is up and running. I *still* have periodic crashes, mostly (but not exclusively) when using Firefox, and they've begun to be accompanied by weird visual effects.

The Ugly: The last Firefox crash, which just happened a few minutes ago, bounced me to the Ubuntu log-in screen--which I could not use because my mouse had no control of the cursor. I was forced to turn the machine completely off and then turn the power back on to get mouse function back.

Now [ profile] esrblog is really stumped. He thinks there may be memory corruption at the heart of it, but this machine wasn't able to read his memory test CD the last time he tried to run it.

At least the machine isn't crashing as often as it did--it's only crashing about every hour or so while I'm using it.
Mood:: 'worried' worried
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:56pm on 16/08/2009 under
...with the computer blues again.

My desktop machine (from which I'm posting this) is dying; it crashes, on average, every 5-15 minutes while I'm using it (it happens somewhat less often when I'm not) no matter what application I'm trying to use, even if that's the only application I'm running.

[ profile] esrblog and I suspect that a thunderstorm that happened while we were at WBC fried something on the motherboard. That seems particularly plausible because there were thunderstorms while we were gone, and something also caused the heater on our waterbed to go temporarily haywire (when we got home, the waterbed mattress temperature was 114 degrees--not what we had set it for, needless to say).

Unfortunately, the best time for me to go in to work late to run the errand to have a new motherboard installed is Wednesday. So I'm unlikely to try posting again before then.
Mood:: 'annoyed' annoyed
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 01:09am on 14/06/2008 under
Two days ago, we had a traditional summer thunderstorm, with heavy rain and lovely forked lightning. (I speak with authority about the rain, since I stepped off my commuter train directly into it.)

The rain was preceded by a number of brownouts, so [ profile] esrblog shut down all the computers in the house--including the mail server, before the storm hit. However, when he brought them back up, we learned that the monitor we use with the server had given up the ghost. So that's another component to replace. Fortunately, cheap monitors, both new and used, are easy to come by nowadays.
Mood:: 'bemused' bemused
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 01:51am on 11/05/2008 under ,
I posted a few days ago, when my home desktop computer died unexpectedly because of power supply failure. We had to replace both the power supply and my trackball mouse to get it running again.

Last night, while I was trying to put the side back on the computer case, I noticed that the cooling fan was not moving though the machine was powered on (and in fact was connected to the Internet). Sure enough, the fan was gone, too.

So now the machine is powered down, until we can replace the fan. Then we can go back to what we were doing when I noticed the lack of fan--figuring out the proper configuration to let me send and receive e-mail through KMail again.

Whimper. :-(
Mood:: 'discontent' discontent
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:32pm on 05/05/2008 under ,
No, I haven't been up to anything that the ASPCA would condemn. "minx" is the name of my home desktop machine.

Tonight, I was reading my daily home e-mail and surfing a bit after work, when my machine suddenly buzzed, the screen flashed, and went black. The cheery "no signal" message my screen broadcast right afterward indicated that the monitor was not the culprit. [ profile] esrblog tried to reboot the machine, and it made a pitiful reboot noise before going dead, again.

He diagnoses the problem as a dead power supply.

So apparently I'm going to be heading with him to our favorite local computer parts store, Alpha Computer, to revive my machine later this week.
Mood:: 'annoyed' annoyed
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 12:44pm on 19/08/2007 under , ,
I mentioned in one of my recent posts how we came home from our Sword Camp vacation, only to find that [ profile] esrblog's desktop machine had shut down and refused to reboot due to a dead graphics card fan.

So the following day, we went to our favorite cheap spare-parts computer store, Alpha Computer in Frazer, PA, and bought some more memory and a new graphics card. Unfortunately, [ profile] esrblog's window manager kept crashing. A 9-hour memory test came up clean, so he figured the problem was with the new graphics card.

Thus, the day after that, we went back to Alpha Computer, and persuaded them to replace the new graphics card with a different variety of new graphics card without further charge. Unfortunately, the new new graphics card failed to solve the problems. In fact, the machine acquired a new problem--Firefox started crashing. Often.

On Friday night, [ profile] esrblog tried to compile some C++ code for a Wesnoth project he's working on, and the compiler crashed. According to him, that's a symptom of bad memory--despite the prior favorable memory test. Seems that none of the problems were with the new graphics card/s after all.

So, on Saturday morning, a little before noon, we went back to Alpha Computer to get a replacement for the memory he'd bought. This time, he tested each one by attempting to do a C++ compile. To his surprise, all of the possibilities failed the test. Wondering if the relevant socket had gone bad, he returned all the memory sticks and got a refund.

By this time, [ profile] esrblog was wondering whether it wouldn't save trouble just to get a new desktop machine. So after a quick lunch, we went to our favorite used computer seller, Second Source in West Chester, PA, to see whether he could get Jason, the Saturday manager, who is a fan of his, to quote him a price for taking the old desktop machine off his hands. He also wanted to price inexpensive used laptop machines, since he needs to go on a business trip on the 23rd and wanted to have a machine available to him.

Jason couldn't quote us a price right off, but he observed that if a new laptop is what [ profile] esrblog wanted, Micro Center in Wayne, PA (our favorite shop for buying computer accessories) sells IBM X60s and X61s--the sort of machine [ profile] esrblog is used to, and really wants.

So we got back in the car and headed to Micro Center, where a salesman confirmed that they have such laptops, on sale, for $1699 (plus tax, of course).

At this point, [ profile] esrblog noted that, since the machine comes with Vista (which he will not use), he should go home and get a Ubuntu boot disk to confirm that one of these machines will, in fact, run Ubuntu. So we drove home (a half-hour's drive) and came back with the disk. It did boot (once a change in options was made at the bios level) so he bought one. After that we ate dinner, had some great ice cream at Handel's (Chocoholic Chunk!), and ran a few errands (not necessarily in that order) before heading home.

By the time we got home it was 8 P.M., and I was no longer in the mood to do anything useful, so I spent the rest of the night playing a buggy campaign in Battle for Wesnoth. I had previously reported the bugs, which managed to give me a level 3 Necromancer, a level 3 Mage of Light, a few Bone Knights, and a Bone Shooter--all in a campaign (Liberty) where I was not even eligible to recruit units I could level up into those units. Yes, it made the campaign insanely easy, but it was fun all the same.

[ profile] esrblog also had me get out my digital camera so that he could document NOT using Vista and installing Ubuntu over it (a procedure which supposedly may make it possible to get a refund of the license price out of Microsoft, and at least will make for a great anti-Microsoft photo essay for his website). So we did that. The most interesting thing about the process is that the screen that shows you the license is set up to make it impossible to move onward without checking "yes, I accept the license!" It has no other option, you see, and the "next" button is grayed out--presumably until you check the box. He didn't, of course.
Mood:: 'tired and frustrated' tired and frustrated
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:03pm on 15/08/2007 under ,
And still unprepared to post.

It's not just that I'm tired from Sword Camp--or for that matter, from work.

Our flight in yesterday was due in 3:22 p.m. It made that time--only to be forced to wait on the tarmac for an hour while the good folk at PHL figured out what gate they could make available for us.

An hour later, we finally made our way into the terminal, realized we were famished, and stopped at an Au Bon Pain for a snack.

Forty minutes after that, we hit the baggage carousel, noting that the only luggage left on it was ours. And one item was missing--the $15 bo staff that [ profile] esrblog had bought for one of the camp classes.

Another hour later, it became clear that Useless Air US Airways did not have the staff and would have to hunt for it and send it to us if they ever find it. Only then was I able to contact the limo company and arrange for our ride back to where I left my car.

We got home at about 10:00 p.m., after having had a real dinner and picking up our cat--only to discover that [ profile] esrblog's desktop machine had died. (Turned out to be a deceased graphics card fan; we got it replaced today.) So last night was kind of a bummer, all around, and didn't help much with the business of recovering from our vacation.

Tomorrow, I hope--big Sword Camp post!
location: home
Mood:: 'relieved' relieved
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 06:35pm on 05/11/2005 under , ,
To celebrate the season, here's a link to a computer made inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. Yes! It's the Hack-O-Lantern! (Eric's term for it.)
Music:: Joe Satriani coming out of Eric's office
Mood:: 'amused' amused