Author Topic: @#*&^%$@ computers  (Read 2217 times)

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Offline VDB

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@#*&^%$@ computers
« on: September 23, 2010, 04:25:08 PM »
Not wanting to trivialize some of the more serious problems being mentioned elsewhere, I'm blessing you all with this brand new thread for me to bitch about computer problems.

** Warning: the following is a largely self-serving rant, albeit with a dash of cautionary tale thrown in, that many will likely not give two shits about.

Things just keep getting better and better.

Hard drive failed several months ago, and I put off fixing it for a while because we have a laptop also. Oh, but the battery in that had also failed so it had to stay plugged in, and not having wireless it needed to stay stationary to get online anyway.

I finally decided to suck it up and buy a nice new hard drive, more RAM, a new OS and a wireless router. We also replaced the laptop battery and bought a new power cord for that after a lightning storm fried the original one.

The desktop was back up and running and I was happy. Considering how cheap storage and RAM is these days, it wasn't much of a cost to restore, and upgrade, its performance.

But for a while it had this annoying tendency to run the fans way too loud and act like a petulant child in refusing to fully come out of sleep mode. So I decided, what the hell, let's take it into a repair shop and see what they can do. I needed to take the old internal HD there anyway to see if they could get the data off it. (No, I did not have a backup.)

Turns out two of the three internal fans were not working properly, were clogged with dust and one was falling apart, there was a fried thermal sensor on the logic board plus other logic board damage. They said I needed to replace the fans and the logic board. Not only would it cost several hundred dollars to fix all this, but given the severity of the issue, despite the fact that the computer was for the moment functioning, not fixing the problem posed its own set of risks not easily brushed aside. (The old HD data, meanwhile, was beyond their powers to restore, meaning another many-hundred-dollars effort at a clean room facility will be necessary.)

The speculation was that the computer had sucked in so much dust (having multiple cats doesn't help) that the fans got clogged, causing them to overwork and overheat, in turn causing logic board damage and likely the dead hard drive.

It all seemed like a shitty, bad-luck situation, a pricey one but, hey, computers break ... until today, when I found something that made me reconsider the timeline and the likely turn of events.

It turns out the fan over-revving happened much earlier than I'd thought -- back when the computer was only a couple months old. Too young to be explained by years of dust accumulation. What I know suspect is that the thermal sensor failed first, perhaps just thanks to that part's typical failure rate, which caused the fan(s) to crank it up to 11 full-time. This in turn sucked in way more dust than would otherwise have been the case. Which clogged up the fans and damaged them. Which caused the internal temperature to rise, damaging the logic board further and killing the hard drive.

The best part? Back when I discovered the fan issue, the unit was still well under warranty. I could have taken it in, had the problem corrected for free, and avoided all this hassle and expense now 3+ years down the road. Goddamn my lazy ass.
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Offline UncleEbinezer

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 11:34:39 AM »
So my work laptop crapped out today.  Stupid hard drive problems and of course no backups.  No real data loss but still a pain.  I am pretty sure I can get the little bit of data recovered. 

Silver lining is that I have a solid state drive on the way.   :banana:
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Offline gah

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 11:37:51 AM »
Goddamn my lazy ass.

That's usually how most of my frustrations and rants end. It's typically something that would have been fine had I done something sooner, but I'm just too lazy, and then regret it later on.

But as it relates to your thread, yes, @#*&^%$@ computers!
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Offline VDB

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 10:39:09 AM »
I think I've discovered the world's slowest and most unresponsive computer repair shop. They've had the machine for three weeks now. It took almost two weeks of back and forth discussing their diagnosis and quote and finally deciding on what repairs to carry out. Then they supposedly ordered the necessary part, got it overnight, and have been sitting around for more than a week not fixing the computer. Finally had to call today after they failed to e-mail me back last week (predictably) and they said they think they can do the repair today. Oy.  :x
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Offline ph92

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2010, 12:44:56 PM »
I think I've discovered the world's slowest and most unresponsive computer repair shop. They've had the machine for three weeks now. It took almost two weeks of back and forth discussing their diagnosis and quote and finally deciding on what repairs to carry out. Then they supposedly ordered the necessary part, got it overnight, and have been sitting around for more than a week not fixing the computer. Finally had to call today after they failed to e-mail me back last week (predictably) and they said they think they can do the repair today. Oy.  :x
are there any large technology companies near you? cause taking it to a small "computer repair" shop has had some bad after effects (i know from experience), if there is a micro center anywhere near you i really suggest going there, they have great service, and its like a week at most to fix and they do a great job

im sure you could send it to the company and they could fix it (then youd have to pay obviously) but hey at least its their computer, they have all the parts etc
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Offline VDB

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2010, 02:25:47 PM »
The hits just keep on coming.

Last night I tried plugging my main house speakers into the computer for the ACL stream. There was a popping and a blue spark, and no sound would come out. God help me I think I fried the jack. Today I can't get headphones to work through the computer. As I understand, this is not something easily replaceable; rather I think this is a logic board issue... something I just had replaced not one week ago.  :frustrated:

There's no way I'm paying another $500 to replace the logic board again so I can get sound out. Thankfully there appear to be USB devices that mimic this functionality.

As an added bonus, I apparently also killed the input that the audio cable was going to on my receiver, for I cannot get AirTunes working through that input anymore. Thankfully I had one last unused input I can still run it through. (This confirms I didn't merely fry the cable, as I had originally thought and hoped. Instead I have an entire useless input.)

Why the hell would something so innocent and simple as unplugging an audio cable from one source and plugging it into another cause it to fry not one but two pieces of fairly expensive equipment??  :x :frustrated: :x :frustrated: :x :frustrated:
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Offline DI

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2010, 02:44:30 PM »
I think I've discovered the world's slowest and most unresponsive computer repair shop. They've had the machine for three weeks now. It took almost two weeks of back and forth discussing their diagnosis and quote and finally deciding on what repairs to carry out. Then they supposedly ordered the necessary part, got it overnight, and have been sitting around for more than a week not fixing the computer. Finally had to call today after they failed to e-mail me back last week (predictably) and they said they think they can do the repair today. Oy.  :x
are there any large technology companies near you? cause taking it to a small "computer repair" shop has had some bad after effects (i know from experience), if there is a micro center anywhere near you i really suggest going there, they have great service, and its like a week at most to fix and they do a great job

im sure you could send it to the company and they could fix it (then youd have to pay obviously) but hey at least its their computer, they have all the parts etc
I'd have to say the opposite. The large companies always seem overpriced and they don't know anything. The local places around where I live have always been great.

If they have the part and it's taking a week that's bullshit. Just take it yourself and put it in.

I've done all upgrades purchases and repairs myself after doing the proper research and have never had a single problem. Either you got some pretty damn bad luck, or should try doing everything yourself!

Offline VDB

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2010, 03:08:50 PM »
I don't disagree with you there. I was able to self-diagnose and replace the dead hard drive, and most of your standard installations don't intimidate me. In this last case I had fan issues and a sleep/wake problem, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to figure out all the problems myself. And as it happened I'm not sure I would have ended up catching all the thermal damage they reported.

I did finally get this computer back on Wednesday, and for the hassle they upgraded my CPU beyond the upgrade I had requested. So that's nice. Still, it was such a goddamn headache dealing with this shop (small, local) that I really have no desire to give them any business in the future. The other Apple repair shop that I know of has been good when we've dealt with them before, but I happen to know their prices are significantly higher. What you'd call a catch-22.
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Offline VDB

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 11:12:14 AM »
Oh man. Last night I had a CD get stuck in the computer. It kept trying to eject it but couldn't. This kept cycling for over an hour I'd say. I tried just about every keystroke/software-based trick I could find and just as I'm thinking I may have to take apart the damn computer (slot-loading drive; no manual eject button) and somehow open up the optical drive, I was able to wedge it out with a credit card during an eject cycle.

I'm hoping the problem was an overly thick paper label this CD had on it. I've ripped dozens of CDs over the past several weeks and haven't been having any trouble. I didn't try another disc last night, so that'll be a nervous experience when I do. I also sure hope my various attempts to stick tweezers and other shit in there didn't damage the drive.
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Offline nab

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 11:45:33 AM »
Oh man. Last night I had a CD get stuck in the computer. It kept trying to eject it but couldn't. This kept cycling for over an hour I'd say. I tried just about every keystroke/software-based trick I could find and just as I'm thinking I may have to take apart the damn computer (slot-loading drive; no manual eject button) and somehow open up the optical drive, I was able to wedge it out with a credit card during an eject cycle.

I'm hoping the problem was an overly thick paper label this CD had on it. I've ripped dozens of CDs over the past several weeks and haven't been having any trouble. I didn't try another disc last night, so that'll be a nervous experience when I do. I also sure hope my various attempts to stick tweezers and other shit in there didn't damage the drive.


I had this happen to me once.  My diagnosis was that the gears that drive the opening of the tray somehow got out of line.  I eventually just got sick of the situation and bought an external drive. 

Offline ph92

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 12:22:50 PM »
Oh man. Last night I had a CD get stuck in the computer. It kept trying to eject it but couldn't. This kept cycling for over an hour I'd say. I tried just about every keystroke/software-based trick I could find and just as I'm thinking I may have to take apart the damn computer (slot-loading drive; no manual eject button) and somehow open up the optical drive, I was able to wedge it out with a credit card during an eject cycle.

I'm hoping the problem was an overly thick paper label this CD had on it. I've ripped dozens of CDs over the past several weeks and haven't been having any trouble. I didn't try another disc last night, so that'll be a nervous experience when I do. I also sure hope my various attempts to stick tweezers and other shit in there didn't damage the drive.


I had this happen to me once.  My diagnosis was that the gears that drive the opening of the tray somehow got out of line.  I eventually just got sick of the situation and bought an external drive. 
i wouldnt say get external for the initial fix (especially if you have a desktop, that could be unecessary clutter)

but what you need to do, is make sure you buy a brand name, a little bit pricier, i know it may not be extremely important, but with CD drives, OEM/generic drive have failed on me like probably 5 out of 6 times.

Also try to get a SATA drive (faster I/O speeds(means faster read/write)) if you get a high RPM drive, but i mean if you spend like 50-60 you will be set for a long time, even like a LG drive for 40 or something, just make sure is a popular brand name. 

also not to mention the prices for a respectable external drive is like 100+
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Offline VDB

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 11:40:59 AM »
If it happens again with a regular CD (that is, one without a thick paper label), then I'll probably just use a laptop to finish ripping my CDs, and once I'm done with that project I will have very little continued need for the optical drive, so I'll probably just leave it be.
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Offline MeltMe

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 07:10:50 PM »
you can get a decent brand name internal dvd-rw drive for about $20...with lightscribe for like $25


just remembered i bookmarked this:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136168

$17.00 with free shipping!!!!  newegg rules!!
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Offline StCarl

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Re: @#*&^%$@ computers
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2010, 01:45:01 AM »
I think Maggie's iBook just fried out while I was using it.  Not cool.

Maggie's iBook had been my primary computer as of late, but is now fried, as expected.  Logic board fail.  Target disk mode saved the day, however, and for the next few weeks I booted from its hard drive using my trusty old G3 iMac, Assf4c3.  (And this combination was still infinitely more useful than the limping spinning rainbow wheel G4 tower I use to run torrents and for network storage.)

And then earlier this week, the iMac's nine year old Airport card failed.

It'll be another couple unemployment checks before I can consider some sort of replacement computer.  It's not like I'm going to be throwing $50 into another Airport card for that iMac.  Whatever.  Stupid partially broken obsolete computers. 

These developments have really put a damper on my interneting.
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