Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Lights Win?

Wasn't trying to do anything more exotic than use my rare half-day-off wisely. Put up the lights on our house, and the tree/snowflake ensemble in the yard.
Everything worked (for a change) and Sylvia was surprised when she turned onto our street and saw it. She said "Awwww" in a very cute way. It wasn't until later that we realized nobody else on our street had beat me to it, (also for a change). A grocery trip yielded only one other house with lights within a mile, so it looks like we won the race this year, if there is a race at all.
Pretty lights! Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Friday, November 09, 2012

New Frontiers

It's never a good thing when your computer monitor suddenly looks like this:
First I tried a new video card, but the machine wouldn't even boot-up so after a couple hours of tinkering I took it in to All Systems Go around the corner from my 'hood. Somehow, I didn't notice all of the exploded capacitors on my motherboard:
It's a wonder my 'puter hadn't turned to stone a long time ago, as this is a serious failure that's been ongoing for many months.

Choice A was buy a "new" computer, and swap-in my hard-drive with OS and all files. Simple, easy, quick, expensive, and I lose my supercool custom tower.

Choice B involved buying eleven replacement capacitors from InterTex (IH10 & Hildebrand) then wrestling the failed ones out with lots of soldering gun and plier action that might destroy nearby components. Oh, and removing the old solder with drill bits that are 1/8th the size of mechanical pencil leads. The easiest part was installing the new caps, followed by pretending to be optimistic.

Surprising everyone except Sylvia, my risky fix actually worked and our computer runs WAY better than it has in a very long time.

$11 was the final price for parts, although I ended up adding some stuff while I was in there and also spent quite a few hours, driving up the total if you want to get nit-picky. It was a great outcome for what I spent, and the experience schooled me good. Do NOT ask me to fix your busted stuff--it'll end up at the bottom of a looong waiting list.