Guess who gets the MORON prize wedged up his ass today?!?!?!

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So my life with gadgets and gizmos has been pretty crappy these last few weeks. Everything seems to have broken at just about the same time…

  • VisorPhone module for my organizer. Replaced, free but with 4 days of no cellphone
  • CPU in development box. Replaced. $80.
  • Motherboard in development box (after discovering that more than the CPU was bad). Replaced. $99.
  • Development box boots, but only finds the itty bitty hard drive (512 megs or thereabouts). Where is the 2 gig? Where is the 6 gig? Melted, like the CPU and motherboard. Bad hard drives removed, 20 gig installed. Free (fortunately, I had one on another computer that I decided was less important than development).
  • Development box is now able to see the SCSI host adapter, hard drive, and CD burner. But wait. The CD burner won’t keep a disk in it. Insert disk. Automatically ejects. Insert disk. Automatically ejects. Melted. Replaced with a new SCSI burner (20 speed burning! Woohoo!), but after a couple of days worth of shipping and several hundred dollars.
  • Oh, did I mention, I had to get a new case, too? The old case had a power supply with something rattling around in it. Popped it open (“Dear god! You’ll void the warante!”), and discovered an errent capacator. You see, a capacator is basically two super-thin layers of foil, a layer of cloth-like paper in between, all wrapped up into a cylinder. If the two layers of foil touch, bad things happened. Well, apparently, the casing that contained the capacator melted, sprung forth, and there were strings of metal foil and cloth-paper everywhere. This makes for a bad situation. New case (with nifty purple accents and a giant triangular purple power button!) and power supply. $40.
  • The aforementioned Visor hardware problem. Free, and fortunately less than 24 hours of waiting.
  • My girlfriend and several others live in a house. This house has the affectionate nickname “The Bordello.” The Bordello has a cable modem and a little NAT/firewall/router hub. I uploaded new firmware into the hub, obliterating (without my knowledge) the cable network settings (PoE, or PPP over Ethernet, sucks slimy, wet donkey schlong). A day, possibly more, of downtime over there as things were reset to normalcy.

So, you can see that this put me in a bad mood when stopped responding. This is a bad thing. That computer houses all of the MP3s that the other computers in the house share. It runs the website (among others). It is my mail server. It holds my resume (I’m jobless and trying to fund the fixing of the computers). It holds several important security papers that the world keeps looking for. I’m absolutely screwed without that computer running and connected.

Put brain into diagnostic mode. Computer still works. Hub continuity light still lit. IP address works with a different computer in the same port. Gotta be a hardware problem. Schlep off to Microcenter to get a new ethernet card (“Please, god, please let it be JUST the ethernet card that is bad!”). No dice. They didn’t have the Inter eepro/100+ and I don’t feel like futzing with Linux to get a different card’s driver installed. Went to local mom-n-pop computer store. $50.

Shut down computer. Opened computer. Went to examine old card. Ethernet cable slipped out the back. You see… the little clippy thing on the ethernet cable that makes it an excellent fish-hook for computer cables in just those wrong moments when you don’t want to catch every other cable behind the desk….had broken off years ago. I wedged it in the card, and it worked by simple friction alone. Apparently, it had gotten a little loose–not loose enough to make the hub’s continuity light go out, but loose enough to drop about 999 in 1000 packets.

On the dim side, I have an extra ethernet card from a mom-n-pop shop that
I have already opened. I could get store credit, or hassle them into giving
me my money back (hopefully, this is not one of the items with a 15% restocking
fee or whatever). On the bright side, I didn’t have to do any nasty computer maintenance. Whew!

Posted in: Dear Diary

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