I feel a lack of power…

I find the failure of a computer’s power supply to be one of the most difficult failures to diagnose. And earlier this week I had that perception reinforced.

The second computer in my office, the “guest” gaming PC, has become my wife Irene’s primary EverQuest II machine. It is built out of parts replaced by my most recent upgrades: basically, it is a two year old “bleeding edge” computer, which means it is still pretty decent for playing EverQuest.

A few weeks ago, Irene experienced a couple of odd events while using this machine. On one occasion when I was watching, the screen suddenly became “corrupted”, with garbage characters appearing amongst the graphics. A screen refresh cleaned things up. Then there was the “crackle” the machine emitted one day just before rebooting. I decided this week that it was time to give that computer some TLC.

My thinking initially was that the machine was probably a dust clogged nightmare. I could see globs of dusty fur sticking out of the drive bay, so I imagined discovering a huge mat of fur and dust inside. When I cracked the case, however, it actually wasn’t too bad: yes, it definitely needed cleaning, but the dust/hair build up had mostly been stopped from entering the chassis by the air filter on the case. The innards were in need of a few blasts of compressed air, and the corners of the case benefited from some vacuuming.

The whole cleaning process took an hour or two. When I reassembled everything and turned the box on, I got…nothing. No POST dialog, no Windows start up, no beeps. The fans started, the machine *seemed* to power up, but it didn’t seem to actually get into the boot process at all. My initial assumption was that dust was causing a short, or that I had damaged a component while performing the cleanup. But that wasn’t it….

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MPAA to shut down universities and colleges…

I realize that the American legislative and judicial system is flawed. Money drives both systems: lobbyist groups can “encourage” legislators to re-write laws to suit them, and wealthy individuals or companies can sue the innocent and wronged into oblivion before their case is even heard in a court.

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November 11, 1918: the signing of Armistice, the end of the War to End All Wars…only it wasn’t. Millions have died in wars since, and millions will undoubtedly die in future conflicts.

Remembrance Day is the the time we take each year to contemplate the men and women who went to war and still do today so that you and I can live in prosperity. Those who came back broken in body and spirit, those who came home changed in ways I can only begin to imagine, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Continue reading Remember….

Where is the IM interoperability?

I’ve been hearing about how the various instant messaging platforms are going to interoperate“any day now” for several years. But it always seems that the various players involved never quite get it together. Windows Messenger connects with Yahoo! Messenger, but not AIM. iChat connects with AIM, but not Messenger. Jabber connects with everything, but not enough people use it.

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Halloween candy…

Every year we buy more halloween candy than we give out. That’s great: I like the little snacks.

And every year I grab a handful (or two, or three…) of the stuff every time I sit down in front of the TV. So, there I am, feeling overweight and lazy, eating hundreds of totally empty calories. I feel this strange compulsion to eat the stuff as fast as possible, so it is gone and no longer a temptation. But wait a sec- whether I eat it in one week, or eat it in six months, I’m still ingesting the same calories.

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