VectorLinux

The Vectorian Lounge => The Lounge => Topic started by: GrannyGeek on August 15, 2007, 07:37:37 pm

Title: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 15, 2007, 07:37:37 pm
Please send some positive thoughts my way for the next couple of days. I bought an Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor to replace the Sempron 3400+ in my 17-month-old Compaq. If I get the computer backed up early enough, I plan to install it tomorrow.

The specs on the HP-proprietary ASUS motherboard say it supports Athlon 64 X2 processors and through googling I found at least two messages saying someone had an Athlon 64 X2 CPU working on this board. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the CPU will indeed work in dual-core mode.

The thing I'm most concerned about is removing the heat sink fan, cleaning it, putting thermal paste on the processor, and replacing the HSF. The last time I installed an HSF was three years ago when I replaced the motherboard and CPU on my older desktop. That was a hellish experience--I wasn't strong enough to snap the HSF in place and had to have GrampaGeek do it. I'm hoping this one will be easier, as it has a lever that *might* release the HSF fan without a giant amount of trouble and *might* also be easier to snap in place over the new CPU.

I'm also hoping that removing the old thermal grease won't be worse than I expect and that I get the new Arctic Silver on right. I downloaded nice, illustrated, step-by-step instructions for the paste from Arctic Silver's Web site and from a hardware site on the Web. AMD has a video on replacing a Socket 939 processor that I downloaded and have watched a couple of times.

Assuming I'm successful in getting the thing installed and recognized, I'll then see whether Linux and Windows are happy or unhappy with the new CPU. I'll worry about that when the time comes.

So.....
Your positive thoughts will be much appreciated! I'll let everyone know how it goes.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: rbistolfi on August 15, 2007, 07:52:09 pm
Sounds like fun, Granny! Always is fun when you finished the job  :D I am sure you can do a great work there. I think the key is to conserve the calm and trust in your fingers. If you need GrampaGeek┬┤s hands, may be is a good time to remind to him how much you like your computer ;)
We will be waiting for the good news.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: roseway on August 15, 2007, 11:45:09 pm
I would remove the motherboard from the case and lay it flat on the bench (with suitable anti-static precautions) before starting. Those processor heatsink clips can be the very devil to remove and install.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Kocil on August 15, 2007, 11:54:26 pm
I still hard to believe that a granny loves computer more than the grandpa  ;)
So what is the love of the grandpa ?
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: caitlyn on August 16, 2007, 01:49:13 am
I still hard to believe that a granny loves computer more than the grandpa  ;)

Why?  That seems, from my American feminist woman's perspective, to be incredibly sexist.  Hopefully that's just a cultural difference and you didn't mean it that way.  ;D

-Cait (Old enough to be a grandma, but isn't one.)
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Lyn on August 16, 2007, 03:56:51 am
I would remove the motherboard from the case and lay it flat on the bench (with suitable anti-static precautions) before starting. Those processor heatsink clips can be the very devil to remove and install.


Good advice, I'd also add the RAM before putting the Mother Board back in the case, sometimes the board flexes when on the stand offs in the case, and that can cause damage... also its usually far easier when the board is out to do these things, more room!  One of my pet hates in building machines is poorly labeled mother boards, especially for front panel connectors!
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: exeterdad on August 16, 2007, 04:09:06 am
Quote
Cait (Old enough to be a grandma, but isn't one)

Whaaaa?  I had you pegged wrong!  Well then again at 38 I could be a Grandpa.  I have friends that are. Whoa.  That puts things into perspective for me a bit.

Quote
That seems, from my American feminist woman's perspective
I am anything but sexist, but I have to agree that women that dig into computer nuts and bolts isn't exactly the norm in any culture.  I personally don't know any women (aside from some message boards) that are even willing to try it.

I'm intrigued that GrannyGeek does all the "geeky" things that she does.  I don't know if she is a older Grandma, or if she is closer to my age.  But she has my complete respect, as I could never imagine my mother successfully plugging in a computer, let alone giving one a overhaul.  I'm impressed with you as well Caitlyn, you know some stuff.

Flame me as needed, just keep in mind that I mean well and often choose my words poorly.  My wife can attest to that.

I'm sure you'll do fine Granny.  You've gots the "know-how", hopefully your fingers will have the "can-do".  I will be the first to admit, those heatsink clips are not our friends.  Hopefully you have a cool temper.  *Smash, smash, smash*  lol
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: nightflier on August 16, 2007, 04:51:43 am
Regarding thermal paste: I use carburetor cleaner, available at auto parts stores. That stuff will take off the most stubborn gunk. Use sparingly in well ventilated area.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: caitlyn on August 16, 2007, 07:36:51 am
Whaaaa?  I had you pegged wrong!  Well then again at 38 I could be a Grandpa.

I'm 47.  I don't mind admitting my age.  It's even in my Blogger profile. 

Quote
I am anything but sexist, but I have to agree that women that dig into computer nuts and bolts isn't exactly the norm in any culture.  I personally don't know any women (aside from some message boards) that are even willing to try it.

That used to be true but it isn't anymore.  Get onto one of the LinuxChix lists (all but one are open to men and men are about 40% of techtalk) and you'll meet thousands of them from all over the world.  I also suspect that there is a significant minority of those with gender neutral nicks on this forum that are women.  Basically if you make assumptions about what women can do, should do, or are likely to do based on cultural stereotypes you are pretty much being sexist even if that never was your intention.  Heck, IME probably the majority of those (both men and women) who say sexist things or act in a sexist manner are often unaware that they're doing it.  They certainly didn't mean any harm.

Once upon a time, maybe six or seven years ago, I walked into CompUSA to buy a boxed Linux version.  First off I liked to support the distro I was using at the time and I certainly didn't have a high speed connection yet.  The oh-so-helpful young salesman saw what I was looking at and tried to explain that Linux was probably too difficult for me.  He only wanted to help.  Really!  You should have seen the look on his face when I told him I was a Senior Network Engineer at IBM (I was at the time, not anymore) and that I worked with UNIX/Linux professionally.  BTW, he just walked away as quickly as he could without a word.  No apology, nothing.

It's even worse when my Mom walks into any store dealing with technology.  They assume a woman her age can't program a VCR let alone plug an additional stick of memory into her computer, which she does just fine, thankyouverymuch  ;D

Quote
I'm intrigued that GrannyGeek does all the "geeky" things that she does.  I don't know if she is a older Grandma, or if she is closer to my age.  But she has my complete respect, as I could never imagine my mother successfully plugging in a computer, let alone giving one a overhaul.  I'm impressed with you as well Caitlyn, you know some stuff.

After 27 years working in the field I'd be in big trouble if I didn't "know some stuff".  I know many women who know much more stuff than I do.  You know, like a couple of women who hack the kernel and and maintain bits of it. 

Quote
You've gots the "know-how", hopefully your fingers will have the "can-do".

Precisely, and that has nothing to do with gender.  All it takes is a willingness to learn.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: caitlyn on August 16, 2007, 07:48:06 am
I would remove the motherboard from the case and lay it flat on the bench (with suitable anti-static precautions) before starting. Those processor heatsink clips can be the very devil to remove and install.


Good advice, I'd also add the RAM before putting the Mother Board back in the case, sometimes the board flexes when on the stand offs in the case, and that can cause damage...

Been there, done that back in the day when it was a truly expensive mistake.

also its usually far easier when the board is out to do these things, more room!  One of my pet hates in building machines is poorly labeled mother boards, especially for front panel connectors!

I've been known to let out an expletive or two over that.  I've pretty much stopped building machines because it's so inexpensive to buy a new one these days.  Upgrades, sure, I do those, but often it's just easiest and cheapest to buy already built.

Next up for me:  one of the Nano-ITX boxes using a 4GB flash device in lieu of a hard drive.  Hate to say it but it's going to be loaded with either Wolvix-Cub or AliXe in a frugal install as I want the OS entirely cached into RAM to reduce I/O to the MTD to the absolute minimum.  I can't do that with Vector Linux unless I customize it heavily and remaster using the Linux-Live scripts.  Wolvix and AliXe do what I want right out of the virtual box on a machine with >= 512MB of RAM.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: tomh38 on August 16, 2007, 08:03:46 am
The woman who's my downstairs neighbor is a serious computer and Linux nerd, and so are a lot of her friends, female and male.  Her boyfriend, on the other hand, is about as completely non-technical as you can be in today's world.  So much for stereotypes.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: nubcnubdo on August 16, 2007, 08:07:12 am
AliXe: Je me souviens. I'm guessing you don't think SLAX is trim enough. Why not SLAX?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Je_me_souviens
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: uelsk8s on August 16, 2007, 08:42:09 am
Quote
Next up for me:  one of the Nano-ITX boxes using a 4GB flash device in lieu of a hard drive.  Hate to say it but it's going to be loaded with either Wolvix-Cub or AliXe in a frugal install as I want the OS entirely cached into RAM to reduce I/O to the MTD to the absolute minimum.  I can't do that with Vector Linux unless I customize it heavily and remaster using the Linux-Live scripts.  Wolvix and AliXe do what I want right out of the virtual box on a machine with >= 512MB of RAM.

It is my understanding that a live OS installed to a flash device only reads from that device, and that reads are not destructive. at least not as destructive as writes. is this not true?

Thanks,
Uelsk8s
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: caitlyn on August 16, 2007, 08:52:08 am
It is my understanding that a live OS installed to a flash device only reads from that device, and that reads are not destructive. at least not as destructive as writes. is this not true?

From what I understand, and I am no expert, is that reads are less destructive than writes, yes, but not totally without cost.

If you want to make VL-Live on memory stick or flash device truly special here's what I'd do:

1.  Use jffs2 for the filesystem.  That's the second generation native journaling flash filesystem developed by RedHat for their embedded device development.  Nobody is doing that yet.

2.  Create a mini version that can run in 512MB of RAM.  If you look at AliXe or Wolvix-Cub they've managed to cram a very nice set of apps into that space.  I'd also like it to fit on an 8cm mini-CDR, much like Slax and GoblinX mini do. 

I am seriously thinking about trying to create what I've described myself.  If I succeed I'd be happy to share the results.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: caitlyn on August 16, 2007, 08:55:46 am
AliXe: Je me souviens. I'm guessing you don't think SLAX is trim enough. Why not SLAX?

You guessed it.  Slax is smaller in terms of the iso size but it won't run in RAM at 512MB.  It needs more.  Xfce 4.4.1 is also considerably faster than KDE.  AliXe is also a wonderful model of internationalization/localization of a small distro for a second language.  Finally... je parle fran├žais.  My mother is Parisian and I still have family in France.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: exeterdad on August 16, 2007, 10:43:38 am
caitlyn

You were so kind not to hand me my *insert body-part-of-choice-here* on a platter. 
Quote
Basically if you make assumptions about what women can do, should do, or are likely to do based on cultural stereotypes you are pretty much being sexist even if that never was your intention.

Please understand that I do not assume a woman is incapable. I just haven't had a opportunity to meet one in person.

Quote
Heck, IME probably the majority of those (both men and women) who say sexist things or act in a sexist manner are often unaware that they're doing it.  They certainly didn't mean any harm.

Guilty as charged.  I didn't mean to.  It just came out wrong.  I apologize.
I have praise after praise for you and the rest of the ladies that are computer savy, but I fear wording things incorrectly and unintentionally digging myself a deeper hole than I already have.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Vxt on August 16, 2007, 11:53:28 am
Adventures - vs   ;)  tripping

Buying may  be less expensive than building_
the user cannot duplicate component  costs compared to the supplier
Profit margins now are very slim

(But) In practice if better components wanted - it is like vehicles on a dealer's lot
 > they tend to be "loaded" with uneeded accessories !

As to mastering own ! ~  IF a Distro  has all the features you want - why indeed remaster (VL anyone)

OTOH that seems seldom to happen - Esp as experience has been hard won
We want   :-X  specific Apps/utilities & nothing extra

In that case the alternatives are to strip &  customize an existing variant_
or master own

Not as simple if wished to run from RAM -but templates now exist from more than one distribution

LiveCDs (http://www.livecdlist.com/)
INSERT & Puppy spring readily to mind (< latter can run in much less RAM than prior versions mentioned)

The best method is subjective,  depends on just how much customisation is  desired & the  will  to accomplish

Next, building in a CLEAN environment
Recommended > LFS/T2/Lunar/Gentoo - IOW a sources based development box
Building only the desired binaries to be mastered

Lastly,  debugging using one of trace utilities and event trackers
ESP for the :

LINKER (http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-shlibs.html)

Also see FUSER (http://linux.about.com/library/cmd/blcmdl1_objdump.htm)

WRAPPING it up  (http://autopackage.org/apbuild-apgcc.php)

After de-bugging -all may be fine & meet own needs
Yet not work correctly or as expected on different iron

Benchmarks are applicable only  to specific hardware & user tasking

Much focus is incorrectly assumed Re Real-Time  mode
Few realize it is highest kernel priority & mutually incompatible to (desktop use).......
 elegant sharing of CPU time slices in transparent manner

The latency of new kernel queuing schedulers  MAY prove beneficial >
but again, (Esp if "nice" not used) all depends on hardware & tasking
In this case - more importantly the user's wish for priority  to tasks contemplated !

Reiterated < benchmarks are nothing more/less than results on specific hardware & tasks it ran
Seldom are same conclusions verifed if used on NON-similar  iron in different environment

The other inappropriate asides are profiling <> non-intent aside it invariably is misconstrued
(As one who has  :-[ steppedintit ~ I contend, the least said, the better
 
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: caitlyn on August 16, 2007, 12:08:25 pm
If I were trying to create a new distro I agree working with something like Linux From Scratch and designing from the ground up would be ideal.  I haven't got that kind of time to invest nor do I want to create a new distro.  There are over 500 active Linux distros already and the last thing the Linux community needs is another half baked distro from me. 

The point for me, I think, is to better support green computing (i.e.: Nano-ITX and flash technology) and to better support legacy hardware.  Even VL 5.8 Std has a very large footprint now.  My old Toshiba Libretto SS1010 (233MHz Pentium MMX, 96MB RAM, ultra slim 6.4mm 2.1 GB HDD) has the horsepower to run VL 5.8 with lighter apps (Gnumeric, AbiWord, Firefox, Opera, Dillo, GIMP, Claws Mail, Bluefish, etc...), particularly if I stick with a lightweight window manager.  The hard drive isn't easily upgraded (only Flash devices will fit in 6.4mm nowadays and they are no bigger than 4GB) and the footprint of 5.8 forced me to do some stripping down to shoehorn it onto the system.  The end result works very well indeed.

There is also something inherently cool about a pocket sized (8cm) distro that can get the job down on just about any hardware.

AliXe and Wolvix-Cub pretty much meet all my criteria already except the <210MB iso size needed for the 8cm CD-R.  Slax fits on an mini-CDR but needs more than 512MB to cache into RAM.  Remastering any of these just a tiny bit would meet my criteria easily.  No need for a new distro.

The thing is, I like VL best and I am already a volunteer packager for this distro.  I'm getting to know my way around VL pretty darned well.  The idea of getting VL to work within my critera is appealing to me personally.  Based on what I see in the forum I'm not the only one who would appreciate it.  I may try it if it doesn't prove to be too much work.  However, the end result would most definitely still be Vector Linux 5.8.x and work with existing repositories.  It may not be as optimized as something built from scratch but I really don't see the point in reinventing the wheel.  VL may not be perfect but it's an excellent distro that can probably suit all my needs with a little tweaking as my Libretto installation proves.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Vxt on August 16, 2007, 01:00:04 pm
Object dump: Conceptions & AXEceptions:
 
Philosphy vs practicalities ~ are oft more observed in the absence:
Quote
As to mastering own ! ~  IF a Distro  has all the features you want - why indeed remaster (VL anyone)

JFFS2  filesystem - sounds good - warrants  examination

BIBLIO:  Theoretically, Flash drives seem on surface more  responsive/efficient for swap &/or O_System deployments:
> no moving parts/size/mobility  is a big plus
Size: have often noted  16 GIG advertised (the bigger may exceed H/Dr co$t)

In practice, seAms more is dependent on F/Sys Algos/OEM's (inflated) Advrb'd  MTBF of writes.

If the shoe fits -and no pinching or wiggling end-runs promulgated......

The only reasons left-leaning >  may be more relegated to academia redundancy
CON -versely - BIO genetic diversity is natures' way of ensuring evolution of all species !

Irregardless of credentials - who would have temerity of espousing any may ever master all desired ?

My PPM (  >:(   personal_pesky_mirror) sayez ~  Yeah sure dummy -  heard this all B4
Then to echos of the bird - is heard
"That 'gonna_do_SUM_day list ...........
grows  fester than the Bkmrks" !

     
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 17, 2007, 08:08:14 pm
Progress report:

I spent almost two days backing up the computer, so today is the first day I actually got started with the hardware. The backing up included a good bit of housekeeping first, plus synching my music collection among three computers, and given that on this computer I have a 100-gig SATA drive and a 500-gig PATA drive, there is a LOT to back up (onto external hard drives).

I've quit for the day and right now the motherboard, bare of everything but the old CPU and heatsink fan, is sitting on a large antistatic bag on our kitchen table. I wouldn't even attempt to do this job with the motherboard in the computer because there's too much risk of damaging something with the large amount of force needed to install the HSF and there is also not enough room to work. So basically I've had to disassemble the whole thing.  :(

I took lots of digital photos of the inside of the case and I have every cable and connection labeled as to where it goes. I have learned that you may *think* you'll remember what goes where, but you won't.<g> At least, *I* won't. So I label everything, make notes, take photos. There is no motherboard manual, so if I forget, I'm basically toast. It's an HP-proprietary ASUS motherboard and I did find the retail ASUS board on which it's based and I downloaded the manual for the retail board. It helps a bit, but there are a lot of HP customizations and crippling of the retail model.

I needed GrampaGeek's help with some screw removal. *ALL 8* screws that secure the motherboard to the case were so tight that I couln't make them budge. My skills with a screwdriver are quite limited and I was afraid that the screwdriver would slip and damage the motherboard. Grampa handled the screws just fine. I had to move two hard drives out of the way in order to reach the main ATX power connector and to move the motherboard away from the backplate so I could lift it out of the case.

Tomorrow the fun begins as we tackle the HSF.

We lost a couple of hours as we had to take one of our cats to the vet. She had six teeth pulled three weeks ago (three of them were complicated extractions) and the past couple of days she seems lethargic and isn't eating much. There was nothing obvious on examination, but she also had a blood test that should show if her kidneys, etc., are failing. The cat is 14 or 15 years old. Our other cat is 17 and the dog is 14. A real Old Folks Home here! Anyway, we've spent almost $800 on this cat in the past three weeks. I could have bought a 24" widescreen monitor and had plenty of money left over! Oh well--she's a splendid cat, very sociable and funny and loving.

I'll let you know if we succeed in getting the new processor in and the HSF installed without wrecking something.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 17, 2007, 08:17:44 pm
I still hard to believe that a granny loves computer more than the grandpa  ;)
So what is the love of the grandpa ?

I don't think how much you love a computer depends on your gender. Most of the men I know are not interested at all in computer hardware. Neither are most of the women.

Grampa loves gardening, working around the yard (ours and my mother's), puttering around the house, reading, watching some TV, being pals with the dog and cats, and lots of other stuff.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 17, 2007, 08:24:00 pm
I'd also add the RAM before putting the Mother Board back in the case, sometimes the board flexes when on the stand offs in the case, and that can cause damage... also its usually far easier when the board is out to do these things, more room!  One of my pet hates in building machines is poorly labeled mother boards, especially for front panel connectors!

I planned to remove the motherboard if I had to, and I did. There's just not enough room to work with the motherboard in the case, and the force required to attach the HSF might risk flexing the board if it's not on a flat surface.

I labeled all the cables and connectors as I unplugged them. Also how they were oriented. That way I can get things back the way they're supposed to be.

I basically had to take the whole thing apart in order to get the motherboard out.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: exeterdad on August 17, 2007, 08:33:46 pm
Your a very smart cookie (and cautious too).  I have faith in ya!  ;)
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 17, 2007, 08:47:11 pm
I'm intrigued that GrannyGeek does all the "geeky" things that she does.  I don't know if she is a older Grandma, or if she is closer to my age. 

I'm 65. Does that mean I'm an "older Grandma"? My husband will be 70 in three weeks. "70" starts to sound old.<g>

Everything I've learned about computers was out of necessity. We got our first computer 20 years ago. Doing any kind of upgrade cost too much if you had to pay someone to do it for you. So we learned. I was the theoretician and Grampa was the drone--doing the tool work under my direction. He doesn't know anything about computers and doesn't want to know. So I was the one who had to find out what we needed to do and then he'd do what I told him. After we did some hard drives, CD-ROM drives, more memory, and such, we hit the big time when we decided to get a new motherboard for our computer. Now THAT was scary!

I started doing hardware on my own when I wanted to do something *right now* and Grampa wasn't home. So I got the screwdrivers and what do you know--I installed whatever it was just fine on my own. Ever since, I do the work myself unless there is something that requires more tool skill than I have (I'm a tool klutz) or more strength than I have. We built one computer as a team and I've built two or three on my own.

People are intimidated by computer hardware, but really, it's just stuff plugged into other stuff. I think the inside of a computer is quite beautiful in its own way. It's amazing that a machine that can do such complicated things is pretty simple inside. It's not like fixing an automobile or a washing machine.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: The Headacher on August 18, 2007, 02:38:12 am
Quote
we've spent almost $800 on this cat in the past three weeks. I could have bought a 24" widescreen monitor and had plenty of money left over! Oh well--she's a splendid cat, very sociable and funny and loving.
That's serious money for a cat... I mean I would of course pay it as well if my cat was sick, but... darn that's a lot of money.. I've noticed that vets charge probably just as much as "people doctors". When I had to put my previous cat to sleep, they charged some 95 Euro's IIRC. It was only 5 minutes of work (well, less, all they had to do was give an injection and wait).

Quote
People are intimidated by computer hardware, but really, it's just stuff plugged into other stuff. I think the inside of a computer is quite beautiful in its own way. It's amazing that a machine that can do such complicated things is pretty simple inside. It's not like fixing an automobile or a washing machine.
Replacing computer hardware usually isn't too hard.
 A car is just stuff attached to other stuff ;). Modern cars are fixed in pretty much the same way as computers ( don't know about washing machines). If there's a problem with one of the headlights, they don't fix it, they take the entire unit out and replace it with a new one. Just like you don't fix a broken video card, you replace it. That being said, if I could fix computer hardware I would.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Vxt on August 18, 2007, 04:24:35 am
Very good plan of attack Granny, Esp.  the pictures  & labelling
Sorry about your cat,  hope all ends well

Some vets  >:( gouge !
When my cat became alarmingly weak , could hardly crawl to it's water,
wouldn't eat (happened very fast 1-2 days)
I rushed him to one posh looking clinic
The young woman poked & proded then recommended several "tests"
 and would not give any opinions

I was suspicious, thanked her & paid the bill- 5 minutes, $55.00
 I thought a (very renowned) Vet further away might be too busy
But drove there next.

He felt it's stomache, (cancer)  said yes time to put him to sleep !
As he was in pain (NO noise)

It was heartbreaking,  even hurts deeply now years later.
He seemed almost as sorry as us,  gave a few minutes to say goodbye
before administering the shot & assured us it was painless, immediate
The cost,  FREE  > & I KNOW he left other duties when his assistant notified

I admired that man more than ever (DANG -  wish had never recalled)

Vehicles now have an onboard diagnostics to plug into
Same computer controls all  sensors for fuel injection, ignition timing - emissions
 
But major component repairs don't happen by themselves, nor can most be found that way
A burnt-out headlight is simple - Electical- circuitry,  try to trace  -  Esp if in solid state dashboards
 How about changing the signal switch or ignition keying

The back-yard grease-monkey has NO idea how to trouble-shoot nor have tools & savvy.

Same goes for computers - parts are swapped
How many here have the miniature electronic probes or AVR's etc to trace DC volts
imposed on AC circuits
OR have all the needed OEMs schematics, & power sources to feed
The huge Mfgrs manuals of cross-over parts, electric values of each

 BIG difference to swapping parts randomly & knowing which/why as a certainty

TV's are simplistic in comparison
As for fridges - are any familiar to testing closed-loop compressor systems
or the timers for defrosters ?
Hint - think air conditioners

(Washing machines  :-* ARE simple,  the cycles are controlled either by older mechanical timers or
new solid state (NON repairable modules)

All is AC house voltage - NO condensers retaining lethal charges for days
BTW don't poke around inside  PSUs - unless you know what you are doing

That  ;) "kick" you may get will not be of the fun type
So much for theories ?   
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: rbistolfi on August 18, 2007, 10:41:50 am
Quote
Grampa loves gardening

My own Grampa used to love gardening. When he passed the way a lot of plants were around and I took some for myself. I found a very nice hobby. I am still learning, but is really nice. My friends -we are all around 30 years old- are looking around and they discovered some new stuff to do too.

Looks like you are in control Granny, nice job. Positive thoughts to your pets too  :). I hope she is strength  like one I had when I was a kid. I was studying English and I named "Gray". She went to play outside through my window. I used to live in a 4 floor  ::). She just hurt in one leg, a little.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: gamfa on August 18, 2007, 01:03:09 pm
Quote
We lost a couple of hours as we had to take one of our cats to the vet. She had six teeth pulled three weeks ago (three of them were complicated extractions) and the past couple of days she seems lethargic and isn't eating much. There was nothing obvious on examination, but she also had a blood test that should show if her kidneys, etc., are failing. The cat is 14 or 15 years old. Our other cat is 17 and the dog is 14. A real Old Folks Home here! Anyway, we've spent almost $800 on this cat in the past three weeks. I could have bought a 24" widescreen monitor and had plenty of money left over! Oh well--she's a splendid cat, very sociable and funny and loving.

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That's serious money for a cat... I mean I would of course pay it as well if my cat was sick, but... darn that's a lot of money.. I've noticed that vets charge probably just as much as "people doctors".


"If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."

Samuel Clemens....c. 1894

Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 18, 2007, 07:42:35 pm
SUCCESS!!!!!

The new dual-core CPU is in place and working, is seen correctly in BIOS, and Windows XP is using both cores as it should. Tomorrow I'll see what Linux thinks of it.

Dealing with the HSF was considerably easier than I thought it would be. I spent quite a bit of time removing the old thermal grease from the old Sempron CPU and the heat sink. Then I applied the Arctic Silver following the directions on Arctic Silver's Web site.

So...
on to the next project!
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Joe1962 on August 18, 2007, 08:47:33 pm
Way to go Granny!    ;D
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: exeterdad on August 18, 2007, 10:03:14 pm
You Rock!
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: rbistolfi on August 19, 2007, 11:46:44 am
Congratulations for the great work!
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Kocil on August 20, 2007, 06:51:28 pm
People are intimidated by computer hardware, but really, it's just stuff plugged into other stuff.
--GrannyGeek

LOL, I will quote this for my students  ;D
I'm teaching "Digital System" you know,
A lot of time I stressed to them that a CPU is just a bunch of NOR, NAND, and NOT gates,
plugged into each others. They hardly believe that.




Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Vxt on August 20, 2007, 09:01:05 pm
Good on you Granny !

Hey K -
I can vouch for the "nor" parts, nand not sure -
but the NOT must be  ;) legacy (Billy  Gates')
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 20, 2007, 10:53:46 pm
The last message I posted was the very last thing ever produced by my beloved Toshiba laptop. I had actually written a longer one, but my browser disappeared suddenly. I restarted it and my second effort also terminated the browser before I finished it. I think I managed to get my third effort posted. That was followed by a hard lockup--no keyboard, no mouse, had to use the power switch. I then booted into Windows to see if the problem persisted there, and indeed it did. Windows started, but before I even ran a program, I got a black screen with nothing on it and I had to use the power button.

Attempts to reboot failed. I let the laptop sit unplugged overnight so I could see what happened when it was stone cold. Alas, failed boots, garbled screen at power-on. I couldn't boot a LiveCD. The laptop is over four years old and out of warranty and fixing the innards of a laptop is out of my league.

So I bought a new one. It's a Gateway Turion 64 X2, 2 gigs of RAM, 160 gig hard drive, GeForce graphics chip. Came with Windows Vista Home Premium, which isn't too bad once you figure out how to tame its more annoying aspects.

In addition to the laptop, I got, free-after-rebates, a Canon Pixma MFP and a D-Link wireless router. Both printing and scanning are supposed to work in Linux.

I'm hoping to get VectorLinux installed in a virtual machne on the laptop so I can avoid repartitioning the drive and a dual boot.

I *really* didn't want to deal with the expense and bother of a new laptop at this time, but such is life, I guess.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: nightflier on August 21, 2007, 06:37:54 am
so I can avoid repartitioning the drive and a dual boot.

Understandable. However, right now, before you start filling up the drive would be a good time to so. Even if you don't end up using the additional partition(s) for Linux, having your documents separated from the OS is a very good idea.

On the other hand, if you do go down that path, be sure not to disturb any hidden partitions where the manufacturer has stashed the restore information. I deliberately broke the Vista install on my laptop (Home Basic, I was not planning on keeping it anyway). It had a 4GB hidden partition and one big NTFS drive for everything. Re-sizing the NTFS part did not hurt anything. Wiping the C-drive and restoring using the rescue disks worked fine. But when I removed the hidden partition and tried to restore to a newly created slice, it balked. I tried to re-create the partition structure manually, but no go. It seems like the restore procedure expects to find certain bits on the hard drive and if not present, refuse to continue.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: lagagnon on August 21, 2007, 08:20:20 am
... Alas, failed boots, garbled screen at power-on. I couldn't boot a LiveCD.
Does the laptop complete its POST (power on self test)? , ie do you get the successful single beep from the speaker soon after turning the laptop on? If so that usually means the mobo and CPU are "probably" OK (but not always). But if the system freezes or whatever soon after a successful boot and you can't boot even a LiveCD it "could be" either something as easy to repair as a failed RAM module or a bad hard drive. I assume it fails during the BIOS stages then?   
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 21, 2007, 03:58:24 pm
Does the laptop complete  its POST (power on self test)? , ie do you get the successful single beep from the speaker soon after turning the laptop on?


Mostly no. A few times out of many tries the computer did complete a boot, but usually it would stop before it completed POST and could not be persuaded to reboot with Control-Alt-Delete. The computer had to be turned off.

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But if the system freezes or whatever soon after a successful boot and you can't boot even a LiveCD it "could be" either something as easy to repair as a failed RAM module or a bad hard drive. I assume it fails during the BIOS stages then?   

Mostly it doesn't even get into BIOS stages. I'm pretty sure it's not the hard drive. I'll remove the RAM modules individually before I give up on the laptop. If it works, it may become GrampaGeek's own computer.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 21, 2007, 04:19:43 pm
right now, before you start filling up the drive would be a good time to so. Even if you don't end up using the additional partition(s) for Linux, having your documents separated from the OS is a very good idea.

Knowledgeable people disagree about whether having separate partitions for the OS and documents is worthwhile. I generally partition with backups in mind. In Windows, I make an image file of the drive with the boot files and Windows system files on it. For the other Windows drives I just make straight copies to external hard drives.

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On the other hand, if you do go down that path, be sure not to disturb any hidden partitions where the manufacturer has stashed the restore information.

Yes, I know about that. On this laptop there is a 10-gig Drive D that has Restore files. I intended to leave that alone if I go the partitioning route.

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Re-sizing the NTFS part did not hurt anything.

What did you do the resizing with? It sounds as if you weren't doing a nondestructive partitioning. I'll probably go with the latest System Rescue if I decide to resize.

Thanks for the tips.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: nightflier on August 21, 2007, 07:23:29 pm
I stand corrected. In my opinion it is a good idea to keep documents on a separate partition. It sure helps me when I'm experimenting, re-formatting and installing new distros. People, knowledgeable or not, often seem to disagree  :D

The inital re-sizing was non-destructive, using the PCLinuxOS installer.

Then I used cfdisk and cleared the partition table. At this point, getting Vista back would probably require more than just the restore discs.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Triarius Fidelis on August 21, 2007, 07:54:46 pm
God...I don't know how I'd live without /home
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 21, 2007, 09:06:48 pm
God...I don't know how I'd live without /home
0

Do you mean as a separate partition? My /home is just a directory on /. But I don't lose it if I'm reinstalling or destroying /. I just copy /home onto an external hard drive and everything is safely preserved and ready for reuse.

You folks have to get with the times.<g> External hard drives are the way to go. I have four of them totaling 760 gigs.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Triarius Fidelis on August 21, 2007, 09:11:12 pm
You folks have to get with the times.<g> External hard drives are the way to go. I have four of them totaling 760 gigs.
--GrannyGeek

Whippersnapper...
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: The Headacher on August 22, 2007, 01:16:40 am
Quote from: GrannyGeek
A few times out of many tries the computer did complete a boot, but usually it would stop before it completed POST and could not be persuaded to reboot with Control-Alt-Delete. The computer had to be turned off.
This sounds like the exact problem I'm currently having with my Asus Z92k at the moment. It's already been to the repair, but they only fixed the keyboard  >:( (I had some stuck keys). On my laptop though, it seems that "gently tapping" (hitting) the underside of the laptop before booting improves the chance of success, which suggests something is loose somewhere (o.t. motherboard??). I'm going to send it in again, as soon as I finish the paper I'm currently writing on it.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Triarius Fidelis on August 22, 2007, 01:51:01 am
This sounds like the exact problem I'm currently having with my Asus Z92k at the moment. It's already been to the repair, but they only fixed the keyboard  >:( (I had some stuck keys). On my laptop though, it seems that "gently tapping" (hitting) the underside of the laptop before booting improves the chance of success, which suggests something is loose somewhere (o.t. motherboard??). I'm going to send it in again, as soon as I finish the paper I'm currently writing on it.

What's teh paper on, Headacher?
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: The Headacher on August 22, 2007, 02:00:29 am
It's about PID controllers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PID_controller), but for this one we only have to do the PI part. When I finish this one I still have to write one about PID controllers as well.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: nightflier on August 22, 2007, 05:52:55 am
External hard drives are the way to go.

<opinion>
Unless the drives are USB powered, the power supplies become their Achilles heel. There is no consensus on voltage, polarity or plug design. Even between versions of the same drives, the manufacturer just cobble together something from whatever they have in the parts bin that was bought from the lowest bidder that day.

This disease permeates our society. Cell phones, computer accessories, small appliances, they use a myriad of non-marked plugin adapters that are not interchangeable or even re-usable in most cases. It is a horrible waste and they are an inconvenient, ugly mess!

There, I feel better now ;)
</opinion>
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Triarius Fidelis on August 22, 2007, 06:54:19 am
IBMs dumb proprietary DIMM cards and slots come to mind.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: The Headacher on August 22, 2007, 09:36:46 am
Quote
My /home is just a directory on /. But I don't lose it if I'm reinstalling or destroying /. I just copy /home onto an external hard drive and everything is safely preserved and ready for reuse.

You folks have to get with the times.<g> External hard drives are the way to go. I have four of them totaling 760 gigs.
--GrannyGeek

Some tips on backups for everyone to enjoy. I learned the hard way after a massive error on my side resulting in the possible loss of weeks of work (I won't get too much into details as it's too embarrassing  :-[). So here's some important things that might prevent you from loosing files as well:

If you make a backup:

1) don't write it over the previous backup!
Just in case something goes wrong with this one.

2) Give it the time to write everything!
If unmounting, rebooting or turning off the computer takes a long while, wait patiently. Just because cp or the filemanager seems to be done and the files seem to be there doesn't mean the files are physically on the disk. Some of the files may still be cached. Do something useful in the meantime (or watch TV ;)). Better safe then sorry!

3) Don't remove the old files / backups unless you're sure the backup is successful!
Test some files in the backup if you can, preferably after a reboot so you're sure the files on the disk are actually correct!

4) write very important backups to a cd/dvd as well, in case of harddrive failure. Try to put all backups in the same cd/dvd folder in an orderly fashion so you know where to find the latest ones. Try to put a short but clear description on the disc with what's on it, like :

Backup 'shared' partition Aug 22 2007

Well, that's about it for now. Hope you people never end up with backups full of corrupted files...
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: lagagnon on August 22, 2007, 11:39:18 am
Re Backups: I agree with all said above. Another point re external hard drives - they should last a LONG time because they are rarely in use, unlike a computer's internal drive which is spinning most of the time. External drives need to be treated gently however as their portability means they are moved around frequently. They are delicate, don't forget!

Secondly, I often back up really important files (ie long documents being written, program code, maps I am CADing, etc, but not multimedia stuff) to GMail, as well as to a normal hard drive or CDROM backup. That way I have offsite storage in case the house burns down or something equally unlikely.  :D

Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Vxt on August 22, 2007, 02:54:46 pm
Nightflier
 I heartily agree ESP Re the cell-phones & voltages used
You forgot to mention:
For a tiny embedded system, the "BOOT" delay on some is attrocious !

But maybe all that is symptomatic to the "disposable" attitudes of
'I  NEED latest bells/whistles' buying public ?

Knowing that, doesn't make me feel better -
I WANT a new LCD monitor - but my 9 Yr old Viewsonic
refuses to  ??? stop being  - "just_as_good_as_new"   
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: MikeCindi on August 22, 2007, 04:17:09 pm
I WANT a new LCD monitor - but my 9 Yr old Viewsonic
refuses to  ??? stop being  - "just_as_good_as_new"   

I had that problem with a Techmedia monitor. I finally had to give it away so I could justify an upgrade.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: Triarius Fidelis on August 22, 2007, 05:57:20 pm
2) Give it the time to write everything!
If unmounting, rebooting or turning off the computer takes a long while, wait patiently. Just because cp or the filemanager seems to be done and the files seem to be there doesn't mean the files are physically on the disk. Some of the files may still be cached. Do something useful in the meantime (or watch TV ;)). Better safe then sorry!

Do a 'sync' afterwards.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: wcs on August 31, 2007, 12:35:52 pm
Quote
That way I have offsite storage in case the house burns down or something equally unlikely

That's what I thought. At first I had my PhD work in a single computer, which was obviously dangerous. As the data started growing I put it in a DVD. These days I have it in two computers and 1 dvd disc, all at home.

BUT what if the house collapses? 4 years of work wasted...
So, I also store it in the University server, and because they do backups every night I should be pretty safe...

BUT what if there's an attack on this little town where I live?! Like a bomb, or something to the same effect??
After all, I just live something like 60 miles from London, UK!

So, in addition I'm storing it in a server in Switzerland, which is quite a peaceful country...

Now, only if the whole continent burns down will I lose my work!  ;D
(in which case, I'm sure I'll have more to worry about than the bloody PhD...)
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: rbistolfi on August 31, 2007, 01:26:45 pm
So, in addition I'm storing it in a server in Switzerland, which is quite a peaceful country...

Indeed, it is a paceful country, but that could be some kind of strategy.  ;D

Now, only if the whole continent burns down will I lose my work!  ;D
(in which case, I'm sure I'll have more to worry about than the bloody PhD...)

Send me a copy, Southamerica has internal problems only, and who wants to steal a PhD? hmm may be one person from the college, he could become a doctor with no effort...

Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: metvas on August 31, 2007, 06:19:05 pm
Actually, if the continent burned down you would have nothing to worry about, and the work who would be there to take advantage of it?
Stop worrying so much, you are making me nervous. Nothing at all is 100% secure !
Take care
Darrell
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: nightflier on September 01, 2007, 07:40:07 am
So, in addition I'm storing it in a server in Switzerland, which is quite a peaceful country...

I think that is an excellent idea. The more I learn about computers, the less I trust them (and the operators). While visiting my brother in Norway I offered to make him a server out of his old P3, where he could store his pictures and music. One condition was that I got to open an obscure port for SSH access.

I keep a server that he can access from his Windows box using Putty and WinSCP but that proved to be too complicated. Reversing the roles worked a lot better. Now he has a local server that streams his music and that he can access as a network folder. I can easily get in using Linux. If it needs maintenance I can do it remotely. Sharing files is a snap, and we get mutual backups.
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: wcs on September 01, 2007, 06:44:48 pm
Well, admittedly this is a bit extreme... It's just that you never know.  ;)
Mostly I think it helps with access, like nightflier pointed out. I know that by having my work in two different servers I can access it at any time, using any protocol, from any operating system.

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Send me a copy, Southamerica has internal problems only

Hmm... is this an attempt at social engineering? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_%28security%29 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_%28security%29)
How would I know that you're not in on it, too? I know "they" are after me, and who knows if you are one of "them"?  :D ;)
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: exeterdad on September 01, 2007, 07:46:08 pm
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I know "they" are after me, and who knows if you are one of "them"?

For a over educated white collar guy...  You're all right wcs.  :D
Title: Re: Big Computer Adventure Tomorrow
Post by: wcs on September 02, 2007, 09:29:50 am
Quote
For a over educated white collar guy...  You're all right wcs.  Cheesy

 :D :D
Desperately trying to be a part-time blue collar guy, though. Now that my scholarship is over, I've tried to get a job at telesales, newspaper stands, and restaurants. Still no luck...  :-\