PermaLink Fixing... everything07/23/2008 11:06 PM
Lately everything has wanted attention. Cats, wabbits, cars, computers, websites, you name it.  I can handle it all.

This week has been a cavalcade of repairs. Doesn't matter what it is, if I own it or babysit it, it probably broke this week. No big worry, as my Four Rules of Debugging apply pretty universally, and this week has shown they still work just fine.

The most recent incident was Nora's MacBook. You might remember that we dropped some new RAM into it the other day to bring it up to 2Gb. Unfortunately, since then, she's had problems with mystery shutdowns, refusals to wake up or refusals to start at all. Turned out the new RAM was flaky, because even after re-seating the SODIMMs, and after resetting the SMC and PMU, it refused to play nice. I put the original Apple SODIMMs (which are actually Hynix) back in, and it was fine. is normally a reliable source of parts, but the OWC RAM they shipped seem to be the problem, so its RMA time, I guess.

Before that, one of the Domino servers at work decided to go into a slowdown. It so happened I found this out when a user reported that the server "broke." They reported this while I was on the toilet, of course, and then Nora chose that same moment to call me on the Blackberry about all the stuff going wrong with her MacBook and dealings with Kaiser Permanente. One problem at a time, folks, and right now I have some business to finish, right?

I went out, took a look at the server console and saw that its availability index was down to 1 (it usually sits around 96 or 97). Killed HTTP, and it spat out literally hundreds of messages about stuck HTTP threads. Its twin in the cluster was just fine, so I wrote it off to a temporary clog and restarted HTTP. Moments later, the guy who supposedly runs the server "for us" over in the computer center checked the box, said, "it looks just fine to me," and went on about his business. I told him to go look at log.nsf. Do I know what its problem was? Nope. Do I care? Nope. It didn't NSD, and even when it does it can take weeks for IBM to get back to us about what the problem may or may not have been. We never did get a useful answer from them about the weird Notes 8 client crash, so we developed our own workaround and went on about our business.

I tried recharging the nonfunctional air conditioner on Nora's Chevrolet. Put one can of R-134a in it, listened to it all leak out, and concluded that it was an undiagnosed leak that occurred after Nora's accident last winter. Since the radiator got shoved into the area where the AC lines run, it probably cracked or nicked one and they never checked it because... it was winter. I'm not going to play around with this... she can get it repaired professionally, though I will probably put the leak detector slime in there and see if I can find the leak so we can have them just fix it instead of dorking around.

The Volkswagen wasn't going to leave itself out of the repair festival. The door handle and window got some attention the other day, but although I was able to get the window to stay up when we visited Declan and Terri Sciolla-Lynch last weekend, the door itself was stuck shut. The miracle of this was that in order to try to repair it, I had to try to get the door open. When we got home, I tried to do this from the outside and literally ripped the door handle off in my hand. Screw this. I got out a screwdriver and tore the door handle mount off the door. Being just cheap pot metal, it shattered and left a nice mounting hole behind, through which I could stick a finger and open the door. I did get it so the inside latch would work. Problem solved, for now. When I have money I'll have someone tear the guts of the door out and replace everything, but for now, it doesn't let rain in and doesn't keep me out. I'm fine with that.

Still have to finish the bathroom, fiddle with the server, replace some valves in the basement plumbing, put a new carburetor on the Troy-Bilt weed-eater (the parts arrived today, but it was raining), fix various other things on a smaller scale, and persuade Margaret to come back into the house after she escaped through a damaged window screen last weekend.

The next thing that'll happen? My mother-in-law will probably call up with some problem with her Windows machine.

Boy, am I patient or what?

The insane fall of oil prices this week (down over $23 in a week) has made me reasonably happy by contrast. Diesel at the station by work fell twenty cents since Friday.

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