For the record, I am blogging on a hand-me-down laptop that barely works, with the screen trying to remove itself from the base. Between not being a real keyboard, and the keys not always registering, I produce a lot of wordswith nospace betweenthem. Spacebar is the worst offender. I usually type into Blogdesk, which doesn’t spell check automatically the way Firefox does if you type into a textbox, so these things aren’t in my face obvious. Forgive me if I don’t always hop back into WordPress and fix them.

Sooner or later, the computer situation will improve. I am still underemployed, and even when I make money associated with computers and computer skills, I am unable to put it into computers or computer skills. It gets sucked into the grocery vortex. Prior to this, I used a cool looking computer in a shiny blue case, built in 2007, a P4 3.2 GHz running (I know) Vista (ironically the second version of Windows I bought at retail, the first having been, yep, Windows Me). As a spare and print server, since my ancient HP 2100 only speaks parallel, not USB, I have an old 1.7 GHz machine running XP Pro, with mostly filled hard drives and a lot of iterations of almost-done code that will never see the light of day as software released by my five years since defunct business. It would have to be redone as cloud software, these days, and probably has, better and by others.

The blue machine fried. It appeared to be the power supply, and that may have been a factor. However, it is more likely the motherboard, and the CPU could have been a factor as well. I’d have to get a compatible motherboard, test the CPU in it, yada yada. In short, I pretty much have to build a new machine, not being able to rely on many of the old parts, and not being in a position to wipe clean either of the hard drives, where massive data remains available/backed up. I always figured putting the digital pictures of the kids on 2-3 computers and maybe multiple hard drives on the same computer would preven their loss. And they aren’t actually lost, but I’ve come damn close, and can’t actually access most of them currently due to multiple/cascading equipment failures.

I got a computer working based on a hand-me-down from my brother, a fairly decent machine, but almost as outdated as the spare I mentioned, which I’ll get back to. In fact, that is where the power supply from the blue machine landed. Still not sure that was wise. (To be specific, the blue computer would not turn on with the 4-prong CPU power plugged in, and would attempt to boot with it disconnected. This is opposite of how it ought to be, and appeared to be a motherboard failure.) Used that fora while, pretty happily and with one of the drives from the blue machine accessible in it. Luckily I’d synchronized passwords between machines with Firefox, and did so again when the set of machines changed. Then it stopped booting, failing on a specific driver. Replacing the file didn’t help. Replacing it in the DLL cache to be sure the replacement wasn’t getting replaced didn’t help. All it can boot into is safe mode command prompt. Rebooting to run chkdsk at boot, it fails. I need to spend some quality time with it, and really, worst case might be putting in a new drive and OS, and that only because I won’t want to lose anything I might have stored on the current drive. My most likely near-term recovery will be working that problem, which I was gonna do Real Soon Now That All Three Kids Are In School. (Still working out the logistics of taking advantage of the hours when nobody is home for things other than napping because I can’t get enough sleep at night before I have to get up at 2 AM.)

Anyway, the old standby machine that originated as a code testing and tweaking machine at my old office now won’t boot either. The biggest problem with both being down is no longer being able to print. The printer can only do single sheet feed, but it still works, still on the one and only tonerr cartridge that was ever bought for it at the office, probably 10 years ago, once the starter cartridge it came with ran out. Good thing, too, since $80 was a lot of money for it. I have no idea what the deal is, having not really touched troubleshooting it. My computers are on a high shelf above/behind the desk surface, and are impossible to work on substantially without moving them. I had setup a desk/table in here specifically for working on computers, but it immediately got stacked with old carcasses and parts, and blocked by things likea chest of drawers. I have to move things to the kitchen table, and then they can’t stay. In the meantime, the old machine lost its power supply to the machine the kids use, but that appears to be temporary because the fan in the power supply is noisy and sounds like it will die any minute. Logistics are bad, but when even $20 for a power supply replacement feels like a lot of money, repairs become problematic.

Wasn’t intending to be so verbose, but seeing the spacebar typo in the previous post got me going. This laptop is slower than it ought to be. I can’t restore it because it has no Windows/restore disk, and the original owner is unaware one ever came with it. There is too much running in the background, bogging it down, and I suspect it may have malware that’s not been found by the usual tools. Though its biggest problems with speed were Norton being resident, and Ad Aware being resident.

On top of all that, I have a crapload of computer carcasses to go through,most of which will be subject to disposal, being hopelessly obsolete. That even applies increasingly to ones that had files I wanted to maintain access to on them, like stuff from the old business. If it’s been 5 years since I closed, and longer since most of the files on them had any relevance, well, worst case I could remove and keep hard drives. At the office, most of what we used were Pentium 3 450 machines with Windows 2000, until long past the point when they were obsolete. You know your business isn’t doing well if you can’t replace obsolete computers, when you are completely reliant on same and are in a computer-related business. Just in case it seemed like I was oblivious to where things were going in, say, 2005, or even before. There are at least 10 old monitors, some of which are dead or unusably bad. I owe a guy I did work for 6 dead/bad monitors to dispose of for me in trade. Just have to test and identify the ones, then drop them in his yard. I figured I’d strip cases of all electronics and scrap them for steel, but the price has plunged. Not that a few bucks I didn’t have would be bad, even if it’s below what it might have been a year or two ago.

Meanwhile, I am intrigued by the Raspberry Pi even if it wouldn’t be ideal as a workhorse, every day computer. It’d probably be something like $60 to get one and anything I’d need for it. I’m intrigued by the idea of trying robotics, and one of those is a likely tool toward that kind of thing. I am also intrigued by being able to get a notebook/laptop/pad for as little as $200, functional enough to do the basics. All I need is that amount of money to spare, which is seemingly impossible these days.

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