2010-04-16
click... [silence] click... [silence] click... [silence]
"Oh, this could be bad".

In the pit of my belly, there is a place of calm and solitude where tranquility reins and it is always room temperature. A few things however, can be quite adept at changing the weather patterns in this special place. Recently nothing changed my calm and that nothing was the eiry silence that followed the click of the power button on my computer.

Where there would normally be a click followed by the whirring of fans and the dulcet tones of hard-drive platters spinning up there was nothing, nada, zip, zilch, None, null, unset(), del(), remove(), rm. As the silence deafened, the temperature changed and a lump of ice grew in my belly. The computer was not going to turn on. The ice got colder...


Imagine this worm is 10 meters tall and it
lives on Arrakis:the desert planet.
photo by:net_efekt
About 10 years ago, I put together a computer with a mixture of new, used, and "hey you should just ditch that crap" components, and affectionately named the machine Shaihulud to pay homage to the Dune series of books by Frank Herbert. Over the years, various components were upgraded, added or removed. In it's current state, Shaihulud has none of the original components from so many years ago but there are plenty of components from the previous incarnation of Shaihulud; which had many components from its predecessor; which had many components from its predecessor; all the way back to the original.

Why am I explaining all of this? Because I *like* this machine; it has been with me for a while and now it appears to be gone.

No email? No writing my Scriptfrenzy script? No hacking fun code projects? Egads! What's a Jezra to do?
Fix that crap!

Determining the problem
After popping the side off of Shaihulud, I traced the wires for the power-switch to their location on the motherboard. The wires end with a push-on connector that is attaches to two pins on the motherboard. I removed the connector and used a bent paperclip to close the electrical gap between the pins. If the computer had started up, then the problem would have been with the power switch. Alas, this was not the case.

Apparently, the green wire coming from an ATX power supply acts as a relay to turn on the power supply. With this in mind, I disconnected the power supply from the motherboard and VERY CAREFULLY grounded the green wire. The power supply fan should have started to spinning. It didn't, so the problem appears to be the power supply. Fine. I'll just replace it.

The Replacement
Wednesday 5:45 PM - Operation "Power Up" begins. When going on a mission, it's always important to give the mission a cool name.
Wednesday 5:50 PM - After sprinting on my bicycle to the local Computer repair shop, I find out that "Closes at 6PM" really means "Closes at 5:49PM"
Wednesday 6:00 PM - sprint across town to an office supply bigbox store to check their prices. Egads! $49.95 or $89.95? No thanks
Wednesday 6:10 PM - sprint back across town to a meeting at City Hall.

Thursday 10:00 AM - My car's rusted out muffler is about to fall off. Use bailing wire to hold the muffler in place. This is the third automobile that I've owned that has had the muffler held in place with bailing wire.
Thursday 10:30 AM - Drive to HSC Electronics in a nearby town, drool at all of the tech kit, and spend $14.95 for the item that I need.
Thursday 11:00 AM - Stop at 360 Subs on the way home and eat a delicious sandwich.
Thursday Noon - Shazaam!

A while ago, I wrote some code to allow me to send text to a server and have the server output the text as speech, and each of my computers informs me that it has finished starting up by sending text to the speaking server. When I finally heard the words "Shaihulud is now online" again, I almost cried. Welcome back Shaihulud.

Now quit reading, and go um.... read some Frank Herbert.
Comments
2010-04-19 senshikaze:
i love the script idea, my friend. Might have to add that to my network at work and home.
I name my home computer Lulu (no real reason, just like the name). find a good non-apple female synthetic voice to say it. nice.
I am so freaking sad >_>
2010-04-25 thecommutist:
Maybe this could signal the coming of the Kwisatz Haderach! Ya Ya Shou Hada!!
2010-04-28 Windigo:
Aye, we've all been there; I've started to keep spare power supplies around for just such an occurrence. :)

In fact, I tend to keep most of the old hardware I replace in upgrades, so I'm fairly sure I have a complete Phoebe replacement (sans motherboard), should the need arise...

And yes, that voice server is a brilliant idea. Have you positioned it somewhere that can be heard throughout the house/apartment, or is it just near all of the computers?
2010-04-28 jezra:
Windigo, the voice server machine is also my media player machine and it is connected to my home stereo system.
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