There was a death in the family over the weekend.

Actually there were two but it took a while to discover the other one.

Back in the Bad Old Days when I was taking redundancy I managed to screw the company for a reasonable settlement.  There were minor things like a lump sum, a pay cheque until I officially retired,  full pension that I wouldn't have otherwise been entitled to and a fully paid couple of diploma courses, but the big one was that I would be allowed take home my desk top computer!

Needless to say in the days before I left it went through some massive upgrades and if I remember correctly, it ended up with a full 512K memory and a massive, enormous, gigantic 100Gb hard disk.  It even had a CD drive and a DVD drive as well as its floppy disk yoke.

However, I intended on doing some pretty intensive stuff so after a year or so I bought a bespoke one where I specified the contents.  It was a big fucker – one of those tower yokes – and had an incredible 1Gb memory and two 250Gb disks [half a fucking terrabyte!!!].  It also had a great sound system.

Over the years, that tower box did some pretty powerful stuff but after a while it started to show its age.  First the sound card blew.  I replaced it but that blew too.  The speakers were recycled and are now part of the television [I like to feel the bass notes].  The remainder of it continued its soundless work though and while I had taken to using laptops, it remained on duty for doing long term stuff like downloads.

On Friday it died.

I got various messages like not finding the system, or not even finding the disk [it varied] but it was obvious that the heart wasn't working, the blood had stopped flowing, the brain was dead.  It was time to go to the great Computer Farm in the Sky.

While I was removing the carcass I realised I hadn't switched on my old ex-work one in quite a while.  It had become so much of the background that I had stopped noticing it.  I switched it on.  It started loading Windows 2000.  I was impressed! 

But that's as far as it got.  It just sat there loading Windows 2000 and nothing else.  It never finished.  I decided that was dead too, and had probably been dead for many years.  Luckily it didn't smell.

So that left me with a problem.  I need something that does background work.  I need something that will kick off a programme in the dead of night to do some large downloads of website backups.  I could do them during the day but that would tie up the broadband and then Herself would complain that she can't listen to her radio.

I dug up an old laptop.  Actually it's a relatively new one at only about four or five years old, but the keyboard doesn't work because of  fault on the motherboard.  But if I am using it remotely then a dud keyboard doesn't really matter that much, does it?

I tested it last night.

Not actually true.  I set it running and went to bed leaving it to test itself.  Got up the next morning and it had worked perfectly at some time in the early hours.

I never need go near it again, as everything can be controlled from my laptop, including switching it off.

It does need my personal attention to switch it on though.

A bit like Herself.

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A long overdue funeral — 15 Comments

    • I think they prefer to get something that at least works in a rudimentary way.  My stuff is antiquated by any standards and is useless even for spares.

    • Teaching Grandad to suck eggs, huh?  The tower machine was running Linux [Mint] until it collapsed.  I tried a reinstall but no go.  Disk fucked.  The ex-work machine won't even get as far as loading the DVD.  Probably not enough memory.  I possibly could install Windows 3.1 on it?

      I have been using Linux Mint for as long as I can remember – eight or nine years?  Won't use anything else!  Currently on 18, Cinnamon.

      • You could always try Mint 13 XFCE, I doesn't need quite as much memory.. I have it running on an old Dell P3 laptop..

        • I might give that a try just as an experiment.  It would be on the low [i.e. zero] powered machine so would be next to useless though.

  1. It's amazing how what only a few years ago seemed excessive nowadays isn't enough.

    When I arrived here about 13 years ago, I brought with me a tower unit (bought from 'Time' computers in UK, I seem to recall) which had what seemed to be a massive 19 GB HDD. A few years later, it needed replacing – it just couldn't cope anymore.

    So my computer wizz-kid built me a new tower unit, with 2 GB of RAM and a huge 350GB HDD. ("What the fuck do I need 350 GB for, Manolis? I'll never use even half of it!"). Of course, over the intervening years he's upgraded it here and there (not to mention replacing dead PSUs, CDR drives etc), and it now has a 1TB internal HDD (plus two 1TB external drives) and about 5 GB RAM, but I fear the processor is having a hard time coping, and I wonder how much longer I have before it bites the dust, and I have to start all over again. Perhaps I'm a bit of a Luddite, but I do prefer using the PC over the laptop, and I will probably build another tower unit when this one finally expires.

    • My first machine was a Tandon 386.  I can't remember the memory size [64K?] but I asked for two upgrades – upgrade the hard disk from 20Mb to 40Mb and to include a three and a half floppy drive as well as the five and a quarter.  They said that both upgrades were a waste of money!

      Laptop now has 8Gb memory, 1Tb hard drive and no floppy disk drive.  I would have needed 25,000 Tandons just to have the disk capacity of the laptop.  The Tandon also cost over twice the price of the laptop!

      Just a thought.

  2. When I replaced my last computer, I asked what I should do with the old one – the recycling centre, charities, third-world re-use etc etc.  He suggested I donate it to a museum, it was that old!!

    • Can copper wiring, plastic framing and other substances in discarded computers be extracted and recycled for other purposes? I ask this because for many years shiploads of discarded computers have been dumped in South China. Chinese people scrape a dangerous living burning off toxic perishable materials to get at metals that are then sold n bulk to scrap dealers. If safe extraction can be done in countries of origin, and proceeds from the sale of scrap donated to charities, carcinogenic situations could be avoided.

      • I think there may be a recycling centre somewhere around Skobieville.  I might look into that.  Or else just leave them rusting in the garden!

    • Thank you, Katelyn and welcome!  I don't think Herself would agree though.  She has called me many things, but never a rock.

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