1 January 2011 (Saturday) - PC Problems

Yesterday was all about looking back – today I shall look forward. I’m hoping to make use of Google Calendar a lot more. I’ve already linked it to the “Dates for the Diary” section of the blog, and it’s embedded into www.mankybadger.com. Once Facebook iron out their wrinkles I shall include it over there too. So far I’ve listed all the events for the coming year of which I’m aware. I’m quite proud of myself – even though it’s still rather early in the year for the bonfire events to have confirmed dates yet, I’ve tracked down dates for the parades in Rye and Eastbourne.

Other plans for this year include having (most of) the mortgage paid off. That should happen some time over the spring. I’m dreading to find out how poorly the endowment policy fared. When we took it out (all those years ago), our financial advisor (father in law) assured us that it was a sound investment. We were promised vast sums of spare cash when the endowment matured, which would be useful – the maturation coincides with our silver wedding anniversary. Over the years I’d vaguely hoped to use the money from the endowment to go back to Jersey for a holiday over that anniversary, but I can’t see that happening somehow.

Talking of anniversaries and wanting cash - I could do with some spare cash right now. It’s an anniversary today; it’s been four years since I turned on my PC for the first time. A blog entry from that time described the device as “if not quite the dog’s bollox, it’s certainly the cat’s cock”. The PC has done well over the last four years, but just recently it’s really started to creak. Boot-up is painfully slow, and total freeze-ups requiring plug-pulling are getting more commonplace, despite my having had goes with Windows Defenders and C-Cleaners and PC Analysers.
Perhaps some of my more techie-minded loyal readers could let me know how long I should expect to get out of a PC these days?

Talking of techie-stuff, with today being New Year, I started to back up last year’s photographs. I’ve often said that computer-types make things overly complicated for no apparent reason – here’s another example…. My photographs for the year 2002 take up just under 600Mb of disk space. A similar number of photographs in 2010 take up seven times the amount of disk space. Modern cameras generate much larger files, but the pictures don’t actually seem to be of any better quality. Today I had a stroke of genius.

Rather than copying onto loads of CDs,  I could get hold of a stand-alone hard drive and back up all my photos to it. They would be more accessible than if kept on CDs, so we set off to PC world. We got there to find that their on-line catalogue was somewhat at odds with what was on the shelf. And then ‘er indoors TM  had an idea. Why didn’t we use one of the old PCs that are gathering dust at home instead? So we went home and had a look at the pile of PCs that are gathering dust. Since I had a clear-out of rubbish over the summer, it’s not such a big pile as once it was. In fact we only had two spare PCs (if you don’t count the one that “Daddies Little Angel TM ” never uses).
I disconnected the mouse, keyboard and monitor from my PC and plugged them into spare PC #1. Spare PC #1 promptly announced that Windows was fatally stuffed, thank you, and goodnight. I shall take that to the skip tomorrow. Spare PC #2 booted up fine, but I realised that swapping out the mouse, keyboard and monitor was a bit of a chore, so I popped back to PC World to get a switch so’s I could run both PCs from the same set of mouse, keyboard and monitor. And then back home to plumb it all together.
Oh, the air was blue. I couldn’t get the poxy switch to work. My PC wouldn’t see it at all. Eventually I wrestled the device into submission by cheating and reading the instructions. It works fine. Which is more than can be said for Spare PC #2. Working fine at 4pm, by 6pm it had decided it didn’t want to play. Now it merely cycles round the boot-up sequence until it flashes a blue screen of death and then it starts again; never actually booting up. I had a plan to get round this problem by booting from a Windows CD. Spare PC #2 had other ideas….
I *think* the thing has more than one hard disk inside. I shall have a look tomorrow and see if I can’t adjust the boot sequence. Initially I shall do that carefully by adjusting the jumpers, and if that is unsuccessful, I’ve a large axe somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. My little laptop (the one I use at Astronomy club) is 1999 vintage. A Pentium 3, 800Mhz, 640Mb Ram and a 10 Gig Hard disk (pretty good for 1999).

    Still works fine, so you should be good for another 8 years. Sounds like you need me to pop round for an evening of pc maintenance and ale sampling...