PermaLink More maintenance06/20/2007 09:29 PM
Suzanne is up in Frederick with Dorcas, one of the wabbits.  Apparently she has a sore toe because her claw is overgrown and sticking out at a weird angle, so it was decided that a trip to the emergency veterinary hospital was in order.  She went off a while ago, and I finished cutting grass, rassling with the "new" XP machine (the old eMachines T2865 died in a stupid Windowslike fashion) and talking to the other two wabbits.

I can tell I'm in a depressive state since Audrey got sick.  I'm tired all the time, a little detached, and I've been sleeping a lot more.  I can also feel the Effexor kicking in and stopping the worst effects, though, so things are going to be OK.  Tonight, before cutting the grass, I went down and put new marble chips and paving stones on the graves of the recently-departed cats... Tess in 2003, Boris in 2004, Marnie in 2006, and Henry and Yellowcat this past January.  It's amazing how soon things grow over as the earth reclaims things.  It's a constant effort to take back the space.  The cats who died earlier, like Harry and Mao in 2002, and Data back in 1999, have only their paving stones to mark them.  I'll put more marble chips on them as soon as we head over and get a few more bags.  And this year I'll be better about keeping the grass at bay.  Someday I'll be out there with them, and I'd like to think my space won't fade into the earth too soon.

About the failure of the earlier eMachines:  we came home Sunday and found that the circuit breaker for the living room and dining room (yes, thanks to 1925 wiring, they're on one circuit) had tripped.  When I switched it back on, the T2865 didn't come back to life.  The keyboard flashed, the drives spun up, and then... nothing.  No video.  No BIOS POST.  Nothing.  I put another video card in the thing, and still no response.  A quick search on the net revealed that the particular power supply in that machine, when it fails, tends to trash the motherboard.   Thanks for nothing, eMachines.  I went out and got a new one for $269... better specs, a Celeron D instead of an Athlon XP (which means this thing can run Mac OS X).  For another thirty bucks I could have gotten a widescreen LCD and a Canon printer, but I already have two spare LCD displays and we have a metric assload of inkjet printers around here... four Epsons, an HP, and probably other things I've forgotten about.  No sense having to deal with yet another brand of ink

Now, the next part.  I pulled the boot drive out of the T2865 and put it in the new machine, taking out the Evil Drive which was preloaded with shitbag Vista Home Edition Basic.  Never even booted the thing.  Put the drive from the other eMachines in, fired it up, and asked it to boot in safe mode, figuring it would then have a field day installing new drivers to account for the different motherboard, processor and memory controllers.  Nope.  It did start up, and got to the "Windows XP is starting" screen, and stayed there permanently.  No amount of persuasion could get it to boot.

On a whim, I put in my Mac OS X 10.4.1 boot drive, which had previously been in a machine with an Athlon 64.  It of course booted immediately and came to attention, though it didn't start up the D-Link 802.11g wireless card.

Yay, Apple.

Eventually I gutted the old eMachines, although I was completely unable to use the 512M SIMM from it because (of course) the new one uses a completely different type of DDR SIMM and it wouldn't fit in the sockets.  Suck-heads.  Reinstalled XP, and then found it was totally unable to read the RAID stripe set of two 320Gb drives I'd created under the old installation.  Wouldn't even read them as valid drives, let alone tell me "hey, there's a broken RAID array here, wanna fix it?"  Fortunately almost all the stuff on the stripe set was duplicated elsewhere on the network, so I formatted the drives as individual 320G devices and left it copying all the data back from whence it came.  Fuck Microsoft sofware RAID... if you have a brain, don't use Microsoft striping, Yule B. Sorry.

The new machine is faster, but I'll step out here and said, who the fuck designed the SATA data connectors?  Those things are brittle and plastic and they break when there's the least lateral force on them.  Compare and contrast the old 40-pin PATA connectors that have been used in some way or another for more than 25 years.  When's the last time you saw one of those break?  Well, I now have two damaged-but-usable Maxtor SATA connectors on two different drives.  My recommendation?  If you get a SATA drive, before you even install it, plug in a power cord, a data cord, and then epoxy the sonsabitches in place permanently.  Unplug the drive and cables as a unit if you need to, but never, ever rely on that SATA connector unless you're the sort who never opens a PC up once it's installed and running.  And if you are, the odds of you reading this site aren't all that high.

Someone should have their ass kicked for the current completely weak SATA connector design.  Dorks.  Go fish in the toilet.  With a lawnmower.

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