Category Archives: Computer Hardware

Bzzt

One of the fans on one of my computers is starting to fail. I know this because it makes a terrible buzzing noise from time to time. I actually have a fan to replace it with, but with my laziness being the stuff of legends, I instead opt to smack the front of my case when it acts up. A rather effective solution, I might add.

Now mind you, I only have to do this about once or twice a week. The fan would have probably gotten chucked out the window months ago had it crossed my annoyance threshold. My propensity for laziness and my tolerance of annoyance sit on opposite ends of the same balance. I consistently find myself posing the question: Is this annoying enough to warrant spending the time and effort doing something about it? But I digress.

Yesterday (Halloween, for those of you still chronologically disoriented from the time change), the fan started buzzing so loudly I heard it from the other end of the house. So of course, I went and smacked the case. No effect. So I smacked it again. It continued to buzz defiantly.

So I did what anyone would do.

“Turn off the computer and replace the fan, Kody?”

Heh. Nope.

I punched the machine on the side.

The buzzing ceased actually, if only for a second. Of course this did nothing but encourage me to punch my machine again. I don’t often exact physical abuse on computer hardware, but this was turning out to be quite an effective stress reliever.

WHAM! BUZZZZZZ! WHAM! BUZZZZZZ! WHAM! BZZzzZZzzKSSssshhhtttT!

The monitor goes dark.

Oh. Crap.Computer - Explosion

As I sat in shock, not knowing what to do next, the machine started back up again on its own. I cheered from within when I saw the Windows XP logo, only to panic again when I heard that same terrible BZZZZZZZZT and saw the life swept from the monitor once more.

At this point, I began to process my surroundings. Yes, the computer was apparently fine – somehow. However, something very bad was happening with the electricity. To spare my old friend any more pain, I flipped the switch on the back of the power supply. BZZZZZZZZT. This was sounding serious.

I went outside and quickly inspected the pole that carries the power line that feeds our house. No smoke, no fire, nothing. So I went back inside to inspect our breaker box. While I was inside, a neighbor pulls in the driveway, jumps out, and starts yelling for my uncle who lives beside us.

As it turns out, a transformer down the road had blown up after a tree branch fell across a power line. The power line burnt itself in two and set a fire after hitting the ground. The terrible electrical noises I was hearing was the power line grounding itself.

The fire spread quite quickly due to all the dry, dead brush before the first firefighters arrived – not to mention that the wind was up as well. I had to leave for work so I didn’t get to see the drama play out, but when I got home the fire was out, power had been restored, and my computer was doing okay.

I’m really not sure what lesson to get out of all this. Perhaps, “Don’t beat your equipment so hard you blow a transformer?” I don’t know. At any rate I consider myself lucky on several levels. It could have turned out to be a particularly scary Halloween.

At least it made for a crazy story to tell.

*Cough* Revisited

[Editor’s note: For purposes of contextual coherence, it may be useful to know that this post originally appeared on the manually-edited homepage of synthetik.org before being folded into this blog. -KM]

Well, it certainly has been busy lately. Let’s see if I can condense this into something that can be read in less than an hour.

I received an e-mail from my internet service provider (ISP), Volaris, that in seven days, my dial-up account would automatically be transferred to Earthlink. After doing the math, I found that this transition would have approximately cost 85 extra dollars annually. Yes, I understand that dial-up internet connections are an obsolete, dying technology that will probably be phased out within the next 10 years, but obviously if I’m griping about an $85 a year price increase, I would gripe even more about paying $40 a month for broadband access.

Anyway, in lieu of this unfortunate news, I set out to find a new ISP. VCI.net was my best choice, since they offer pricing structures that are nearly identical to those Volaris had. There hasn’t been too much of a degradation in service, either, so I’m satisfied for now, even though I’m still upset that Volaris sold off it’s dial-up customer base to Earthlink only a year after it purchased my original ISP, Apex.net (based locally).

So here we were cruising along on our new internet provider, thinking life was okay again, until I got sick, AGAIN. I seriously have absolutely no idea why I have gotten sick so much this year. I used to get sick only once or twice a year, however this year I have gotten sick twice within a month’s time. What’s worse is that this sickness came right during the week that I’m having to pull 45+ hours at work because our general manager is out of town, so calling in sick is out of the question (not that I would anyway – I’m broke, blast it!).

On the lighter side of things, Kristopher is starting to talk. We’re able to coax a “Dada” and sometimes a “Mama” out of him. He also says “Hey” a lot but we really didn’t want to count that as a first word.

Tabitha is getting preparations in order for hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, since Thanksgiving is one of my two guaranteed days off each year. Words cannot describe how much I’m looking forward to that. I’ve gained more weight than I want to admit since I began to eat Tabitha’s cooking, and I’m sort of on a diet right now, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to meet my end-of-the-year goal. :( Oh well, at least I’ll fail with a satisfied stomach. ;)

In the small amount of free time that I’ve had, I have been piecing together several old computer parts in an effort to create another working computer (rephrased: I’ve been playing Dr. Frankenstein). The system itself is working fine, however for some reason it refuses to take an installation of Mandrake Linux (an operating system alternative to Micro$oft Windows) without locking up. Oh well. In time I will have success.