Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bad Day For My Technology

Today must be a local anti-technology day. My little Dell Mini9 claims "no operating system found" and my Macbook Pro (MBP) won't boot (recurring problem with the SSD). I'll need to stop by my office to get the Mac running again but hopefully, its replacement will have arrived. So now, I'll have to be content with my phone. On top of this, our broadband connection stopped working around 11:30 last night. The kids just assumed that I was messing with their connection so they didn't say anything. Didn't want to give me the satisfaction that I succeeded messing up their evening. (Am I really like that?) I usually switch to 3G on my phone in the evening since the kids watch Youtube videos and consume what little bandwidth we have so I didn't really notice the outage. There wasn't supposed to be a network outage last night. The ISP made a change to prevent a long outage tonight but maybe there were some unplanned consequences. Since I meet with the regularly, I'll ask about it then.

The Dell Mini9 is my hackintosh experiment (Apple OSX 10.5.8 on a Dell) so who knows what the problem is. If it's hardware, then I'm seriously disappointed in the build quality as I've had the little machine for a little over a year. Barely out of warranty. It has been an extremely reliable, excellent computer to take on trips. It has a 32GB SSD (Solid State Drive) and I noticed a real slowdown in performance lately. Maybe SSDs aren't quite ready for prime time. My replacement MBP was ordered with a SSD but also with Applecare i.e. a three year warranty. I've heard that there have been some significant improvements over the last couple of years. I will probably replace the 256GB SSD in the old MBP with an Intel 80GB SSD that is supposed to be much more reliable and do a fresh install of 10.6 as a spare computer. The battery is dying but it could be used as a desktop machine replacing an ageing G5 sitting behind the desk as my multicast streaming server.

My Beemershop order has finally arrived so I may try to do some of the minor repair items on the bike. These include rebuilding both of the fuel petcocks, replacing all of the fuel lines, changing the engine oil and filter. Maybe replace the second exhaust crossover.

Saturday evening - UPDATE After finishing this post, I thought about checking the Dell web site. I entered the service tag and discovered, to my surprise, that I still had six more days of warranty left. I quickly called the toll free number and there is now a new SSD on its way. It should be here by Tuesday. They also tried to get me to buy the extended warranty. According to the Dell Mini forums, the failure was probably caused by overheating.

Sunday afternoon - I stopped by my office to re-image my Mac (using SuperDuper!) and pick up the external optical drive and restore CD for the Dell Mini9. The re-image is proceeding slowly and hopefully will be one before my ride gets here. I tried doing a system restore on the Dell and can't get anywhere due to the hardware error so can't do anything until the replacement SSD gets here.

I also picked up my "spare" computer. It is a Getac W130 and is a "rugged" design kind of like a Panasonic Toughbook only a bit more reasonably priced. I originally got the machine as an experiment. We were looking for rugged computer options. This machine seems very durable and since its evaluation, I use it when going out of town when durability helps. I installed Windows 7 Professional and it seems to be a completely usable laptop. I still find OSX better fit for me but that is just my personal opinion. The battery life is a very reasonable 4 hours and it has a built in serial port, which is getting hard to find in a laptop. Serial interfaces are still used for anyone working with network gear such as routers and switches. I originally purchased the 80 GB Intel SSD for this laptop but after opening it up, I discovered that it still used an old technology IDE internal drive. I was surprised to discover that it had the hard drive spindle heater option installed which allows the computer to be used down to -4°F. An excellent choice for anyone looking for a rugged Windows laptop.

4 comments:

Unknown said...

Richard:

so sorry for your electronic failures, but at least you know how to fix them

it just seems strange that everything failed at the same time, must be in the magnetic waves

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

RichardM said...

Thank you for stopping by. I think it is amazing the way everything sort of failed at the same time. Especially the Dell SSD failure as that was completely unexpected. The Mac SSD seems to have problems as soon as I hit a certain amount of data on the drive so that was sort of expected. I guess that was one of the reasons I had ordered a replacement. The broadband outage was also new. I knew that they had server outages scheduled but they were fairly confident that it wouldn't affect any of their broadband customers.

I'll blame it on the weather. It was too nice of a weekend to spend playing around on the Internet...

Unknown said...

Richard:

we had a great weekend. Our long Victoria Day weekend is coming up and forecast is for cloudy and rain or showers.

not so good for riding, but good for doing some video editing

If I have any computer problems, I'll just give it to you in Corvalis and expect overnight service (lol, just kidding)

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Unknown said...

Richard:

As SonjaM does not know the local roads, I had to lead. My GoProHD is set up to film the front view, not the rear. That's why there is no "rolling" video this day.

If only we had bike radios . . .

Hope you are healing well

bob
Wet Coast Scootin