Monday, December 28, 2009

The Taming of the Shrew

Recrudescence : noun; Return of a blogger after a period of abatement, from the International Dictionary of Blogosphere*.
I'm not much of a Blogger really and much of my previous posts (which are not many, in fact ) have been reviews or something vague. I've never really tried my hand at personal blogging and I'm not much of a narrator, so mind you, the following venture could get very boring indeed. Since my old posts have been months and months old and the fact that I actually had to type the only URL that is mine (probably the last visit was so far back in time that the browser failed to recognize it, anyway not the point here...) prompted me to write this post.

 (If you hate computers then skip some lines) The PC at my home is the quintessential desktop of the 2000's, using a 15 " CRT for display, a standard ASCII keyboard, a mouse (which thinks it is smart by suddenly swaying to the corner of the screen when you need it the most),a 750 W sub woofer system (which is over 8 years old now, and the left and right speakers have been at war lately and they have decided not to sing together at a given random instance. Whenever this happens I try to look clever by simply jerking the wires connecting the sound-box to the woofer, a simple twitch is all that is needed to keep them happy, I suppose. ) My box is over 6 years old now and about 2 years ago a major influenza attack threatened to take everything away. I dreaded formatting the hard disk the most, so when an Ubuntu 8.04 (hardy) live disc booted without any hassles, the era of Linux computing began at my box.

The New Dawn

Ubuntu Hardy proved to be a very stable companion to my box, for a fractional GB RAM my newly loaded box seemed to perform very well, though detoxification was still an issue then, I could do basic things like accessing Internet without any occurrences of crashes and delays at all, normally in my older configuration, I had to play games like ctrl+alt+del or push power button in order to work on it. Later after some RAM up-gradation, the box seemed better than ever, delivering the best possible performance for something that can be considered as an antique in this rapidly advancing digital age. For over an year or so there were just countable instances wherein I had to reboot in order to restore order from chaos. This was to me, heaven compared to the ordeal I had to undergo, about an year ago, in order to perform even the most menial of tasks like editing a document or accessing the Internet.


Good times were not to last forever or so the saying went, while migrating to Linux I did encounter some software related issues, but a large on line community and loads of documentation almost provided solution to the most common problems encountered, however nearly after a year of hassle free operation my box failed to boot, it was a festive occasion of Onam then, which ruled out the possibility of calling up the repair-man, the power button did glow but everything else went blank. Equipped with a new toolbox purchased sometime back, after some desperate phone calls I found out that problem was with the RAM, after some frantic searching at home, I fished out the 256 MB RAM which I previously regarded as something redundant, blunt and obsolete. Even things we regard as useless have their places in life I guess. So for the first time I opened the CPU cover on my own and and found out to my relief that the warranty still lasted for 2 more months, so after finding out the culprit, my box was back alive and kicking, though now with a reduced computing power (it was only temporary thanks to the warranty sticker).

The Final Frontier

The new version of Ubuntu, viz. Karmic was shipped with a host of new features, however because I had opted for a shorter install procedure, most of the configurations of the file-system never seemed right, importantly the recovery mode (equivalent to safe mode) appeared to have only a command line utility.

Sometime later the box started behaving really odd. I had to use the reset button so much; that at one instance I had to actually pry the button out from the cabinet, the problem was slipping well beyond my reigns and I could do nothing about it. A few hours later nothing seemed to work. Now power button gave no more responses even the beep sound I realised then that the problem was with the power supply all along, I opened the cabinet and tried the same sequence I had done months ago when the RAM failed, though I was sure I wouldn't get a response, which was proved correct. The problem was out of my grasp. I had to call up the technician to fix it up.
A few days later the technician arrived and did his routine procedure opening the cabinet and re-fixing the cables. Finally he replaced the SMPS with the spare one he had brought and I finally the monitor came to life with the intel graphics blushing with its certificate of purity. I was about to take my wallet when I found out that he in fact did not mean to complete the repairs as of now,as the SMPS was meant for a more deserving customer, this was just a mock session a mere identification of the problem, not its rectification. Now this was fate I thought, after informing clearly that the problem was with the SMPS the company sent a technician without the one thing I asked for. Obviously they listen very well, so much for customer service I thought.

On a fine day morning the technician finally reappeared to finish the job he had started initially. After calling up the company 2 or 3 more times the problem had been solved. Finally a new SMPS was fixed, with a sticker ascertaining a warranty of one year and my box roared back to life. Hopefully everything happened for the best.
P.S: This post may contain some information that may get too technical at times, maybe I'm experiencing the so called 'not so writer's block'. Hopefully everything will be better the next time.