Computer Meltdown

Oct 15, 2003

It always seems that when things really get interesting, I really don’t have time for writing, especially that of the blogging kind. Some late nights at work, a hectic weekend, and a computer meltdown has left me little time to dawdle. I don’t mean to take vacations of a week at a time. It’s just that, I’ve been a little too busy doing things to write about them.

I’d blame my computer meltdown for my absence if I could. I was practicing for my Monday night NASCAR race when my computer stopped. There were no sparks and no odd whirling noises. No fanfare was provided to clue me in on the problem. It turned off and wouldn’t turn back on. A silent box stared back at me. All I could get was a brief whirl of the fans and an occasional USB light to shine in the back. I’m done, Sherlock. You built me. Now fix me.

Computer problems are serious business in the Wootton household, normally throwing me into an obsessive problem solving mode. That eating thing is going to have to wait. We have a problem. This time, however, I wasn’t that broken up about it. I’m almost certain I can hear my inner geek crying but I had better things to do. A long day at work lay ahead tomorrow. Let’s go watch TV.

Of course, that didn’t mean it wasn’t on my mind. It’s assumed that any computer problem will be fixed and fixed in short order. I think the wife accepts this. My friend likened it to the illness of a pet. You have pay the vet bill. You won’t like it but you’ll stomach it. My computer isn’t far off. In some ways, it is its own little electrical member of the family. And, heck, it’s what I do for a living. Leaving it broken would be like a having a mechanic with a broken car (and without transportation – and Battlefield 1942 – to boot).

On Wednesday, after a tidal wave of work had passed I finally got around to solving the problem. I figured it was one of three things: the power supply, the motherboard, or the processor. I’d start at the beginning and work my way forward. A problem with the power supply would be the best case scenario. It’s the easiest thing to pick up at a local store – any Best Buy or Comp USA has them in stock — and, of the three, it’s the easiest to replace.

Problems with the motherboard or processor are much more difficult to diagnose. To start, one goes with the other. It’s hard to tell if the motherboard is working without a working chip and vice versa. Finding either component locally is a bit more difficult. The web or one of a couple specialty stores in the area would be my best bets. And what would I do after I discovered the problem? I didn’t want to end up with an extra motherboard or processor floating around the computer room. These things are expensive. God forbid it was the motherboard. That would require an operating system reinstall.

It turned out that my plan was well conceived. I ripped the power supply out of my second computer and hooked everything up. Presto. Everything came back online. A trip to CompUSA garnered a new 400 watt power supply and a new fan (ooo, pretty) to take care of some recent temperature issues I’ve been having. She’s better than new, thankfully. Oh yes, it’s a she. My computer sees my fingertips way too much to be a dude.

Now that the computer is back up, I’m back to writing, although I suppose that a brief rest from work has more to do about it than anything. Hopefully, I’ll even get around to detailing my weekend before the next one is upon us. Cambell had a busy time and I have just the cutest picture to share. Trust me.

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