Dead and Dying Computers

Apologies. I’m currently using a little notebook computer because my two main computers have died. Or rather, one of them died last week, and the other one is on life support, and stops working every few hours when the hard disk cable works loose. I’ve got a new power supply for the dead PC, but I don’t know whether it will bring it back to life, because I could see nothing obviously wrong with anything inside it.

One result of this is that I’ve not been able to check for comments awaiting moderation, and there have been about 8 comments sitting there for days, some from regular commenters, some from newer ones. Hence my apologies. So this comment from Mark Jarratt has been sitting in there for days:

I commented and my deathless prose appeared, ‘waiting for moderation’ but no sign of it. Could be remote server error as I’m in Indonesia. Recap: no tobacco controls here, advertising tobacco is permitted, cigarettes about 1£/pkt, and the government has more pressing issues, such as ensuring people get enough to eat.

Perhaps he was referring to an earlier comment of his;

Fluent and lucid. Totally agree, and the smoking prohibitionist tax and ban bullying playbook is now used by hard coercive paternalists everywhere. It is impossible to ever achieve the government sanctioned health cultist utopia prescribed by meddling lifestyle dictators. Indonesia is a major contrast. The national and provincial governments across this far flung archipelago have much more pressing issues, such as ensuring people get enough to eat. The health cultist bullies and spineless anti freedom legislators deliberately exclude the demonstrated preferences of millions of citizens daily. Another history lesson is required. Overtaxing kleptocrats must be deposed. Vive la revolution!

I might remark that Mark Jarratt includes his ever-changing location in his name, and the result is that his comments always require moderation, because WordPress regards each new name as a new commenter. If he would just stick to one name, he’d find that his comments were posted immediately, like everyone else.

Another casualty has been Peter C who wrote:

Thanks Frank,

I do not know how you spend your day, but you seem to spend it well, at least on the internet.
I am suffering a loss of Faith, because I thought Science was a Noble calling and that Scientists would always tell the Truth, but that is all ashes in my mouth because of Climate Change.

I am not a smoker myself, but I don’t think that smokers should be ostracised nor excluded in the way that they are now. I am a doctor. At my hospital the smokers cannot even be on the premises. They have to walk 100m to the road, where there is no shelter. I talk to them there when I go for a short walk at lunchtime.

Some one mentioned your blog on the Jonova site. That was a few months ago. I drop in quite often,

This blog on loss of Faith made an impression on me.

There were other comments that needed rescuing from moderation, but once liberated I know not where they appeared.

Anyway, it seems necessary these days to buy a new computer every few years. The only upside to this is that they seem to both improve in performance and get cheaper as time passes. My latest acquisition is a fanless mini-PC. It’s about the size of a couple of packs of cigarettes, although it cost a bit more than they do (that is, a bit more than they currently cost, but these days cigarettes are getting more and more expensive, and also declining in quality).

But I haven’t even got it out of its small box yet.

About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to Dead and Dying Computers

  1. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Thank you very much Frank, and sorry to hear of your technology issues! My apologies for making work for you. I changed my location above to my usual home base (Canberra) although I am at Komodo Airport, Labuan Bajo, Flores. We may yet be here all night too. Earthquakes mean many bugsmashers (turboprop and other small aircraft) have been diverted to Lombok to evacuate the stranded. About 90 dead and 200 injured from building collapse, so far. Traditional Indonesian timber structures wobble and shake, but remained standing. Most fatalities and injuries were from falling concrete and masonry. On the bright side, smoking is ubiquitous and the local cigarettes are high quality, cheap, and not plastered with nagging Quit or Die propaganda!

    • Frank Davis says:

      Oh dear! Labuhan Bajo Airport
      Batu Cermin, Komodo, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
      -8.492107, 119.890323

      Bali earthquake LIVE updates: Indonesia hit by SIX HUGE quakes in 2 days – Lombok tremors

      SIX huge earthquakes have hit Indonesia in the last 48 hours after a huge 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Lombok and Bali on Monday. Residents are still reporting tremors on both islands in Indonesia.

      According to Wikipedia the Lombok earthquake was on 5 Aug. Given the dates of recent comments of yours, you were in Bali on 1 Aug and Lombok on 3 Aug, so you seem to have just missed it.

      • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

        We just made a heavy landing at Denpasar, Bali. Relieved the flight turned out alright after waiting at Komodo (dragon) Airport since 14:00hrs. We were at sea during the worst of the earthquakes. That raised tsunami risk but the waves were only 15cm higher than usual. Death and injury toll has since risen, but no pronouncements from the Indonesian authorities. They’re too busy dealing with the aftermath. I’m getting most news from Australia via internet, but reception and tower connections changing each moment! Must check in to Qantas to SYD now!

    • RdM says:

      Well it’s been fun and educational to put
      Komodo Airport, Labuan Bajo, Flores
      in to Google Maps.
      Map & Satellite view, scrolling in and out.
      Thanks for the update!

      Hope that you’re out of the airport and in to a hotel by now?

      Best Wishes for whatever the upcoming work is!! ;=}))

      • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

        Now I am in the quite well appointed tropical smoking room at Denpasar airport. SYD airport has NIL airside smoking areas. I have formally complained about the total absence of accommodation for 20% of adults. Grrr. 🚬🚬🚬

      • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

        Lucky not work for a change. Sailed on this wooden ketch to harass komodo dragons and teach them to smoke evil clove cigarettes! 🦎

  2. Frank Davis says:

    I’ve got my new mini-PC working. It was fairly painless. It runs Windows 10.

    So far, I’m quite impressed. I’ve been watching and listening to YouTube videos.

    And I’ve now installed NetBeans and I’m running my simulation model.

  3. Congrats on the new PC Frank! Hopefully you’re not tied to a 6 inch screen on the thing. I’ve never been able to get comfortable with anything but my desktop. I will, *rarely*, sign in with my Kindle 10″ tablet to check for urgent things, but typing on anything other than a real life keyboard is a nightmare. (Although it’s both fun and amazing to watch my niece pound out about 35 wpm or more on her smartphone! Guess it’s just a matter of training.) Ahhh… I see! Just clicked your link: you connect your own keyboard and monitors I guess? Still one heckuva price! Nicely done!

    Yes, computers today seem to have about a five to seven year max comfortable life for internet and documents etc. And if you’re a heavy-duty gamer, that shrinks down to three or four years unless you’re willing to put up with “old” style graphics and speed. Sometimes you can squeeze an extra two years of gaming out of your desktop by switching in a new graphics board though.


    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, I just plugged in my USB keyboard and mouse, and one of my several VGA screens. Amazed everything worked, even if installing Windows 10 was a bit of a chore.

      I’ve had it working several hours now and the little fanless box is a bit warm to the touch (and that at the end of a heat wave here in the UK, with the room temperature at 26 degrees C)

      I think the disadvantage of this sort of mini-PC is that there’s no way to upgrade it, and add more memory/disk space. But I hardly ever attempt to upgrade PCs. I just work within the constraints of whatever I’ve got.


  4. I would ask Mark which runway his plane used….

    Except Komodo Airport evidently has only one runway!


    • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

      True…only upgraded for night flights in 2015. Had aircraft collision with herd of cows a few years ago. Now enjoying cheeseburger, with cheese, at airport Hard Rock Cafe. 🎸

  5. virtualbarman says:

    A change of circumstances led me to dump my tower PC (which had received multiple power supply, memory, motherboard and disc upgrades over the past ten years) for a Asus SSD based laptop a year ago.

    I wish I’d done it sooner – the laptop is so fast and convenient, packs away quickly and came travelling with me to Australia and NZ earlier in the year.

    • I never have occasion to want to compute away from home with anything beyond my Kindle. The power/price combination for gaming with a good-sized monitor is hard to beat if you buy one year before current peak machines and they’ll still handle any new games without a burp for at least three years. One important thing you mention though: The SSD drive, PARTICULARLY for booting, is INCREDIBLE! My previous computer took almost a full two minutes to boot up from dry, and 30 to 45 to come back from sleep. The new one boots up in about 30 seconds from dry and more or less instantly from sleep.

      • virtualbarman says:

        I don’t play action games so have no need for graphics cards with fans on (nor water cooling which I tried once).

        The laptop works perfectly for me, the SSD is super fast and I’ve fitted another for data storage (I do a lot of photography)…

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    O/T A poll on smoking bans from Saskatchewan, Canada worth looking at: “POLL: Are you happy with the smoking regulations in your area?”

  7. JonT says:

    Hi Frank
    You mentioned declining UK cigarette quality? I decided to “treat” myself to 20 Marlboro Red the other week – over £11.00 tasted rank and burned down in about a minute and a half. I can’t remember the Marlboro of a decade or two ago being that bad. Do you think our fags are being reformulated (even the branded ones) or is it just my memory?
    I would love to hear what you and your readers think.

  8. Frank Davis says:

    product description:

    – New generation of Intel N3450 processors: 2M Cache, up to 2.2 GHz, which works 50% faster than Z8350, faster and stronger to watch movies and play games.

    – Intel HD Graphics 500: Works faster than Intel HD Graphics 400, the maximum resolution is up to 4096 * 2160 @ 30 Hz, which can improve video playback, provide cleaner and sharper images, more natural, accurate, vivid colors and a clear and a stable video image.

    – WIFI and Ethernet: IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac WIFI dual-ban, 2.4G + 5.8G, 1000Mbps LAN, Bluetooth 4.0, faster transmission and faster download.

    – Dual Screen Display: connects two monitors through the VGA port, simplifies work, reduces waiting times, and double efficiency.

    – Large capacity: 4 GB DDR3 RAM + (C :) 64 GB + SD card (support 128 GB) + 2242 M.2 SSD DIY (up to 64 GB, 128 GB, 320 GB), download your favorite programs without worrying about storage space.



    1 GB free of 4 GB @ 1.6 GHz

    1280 x 1024 – 32 Bit colors

    Windows 10

    BIOS Date

    0.1 Days

    Run Date
    Aug 09 ’18 at 21:20

    Run Duration
    82 Seconds

    Run User

    Background CPU

    Performance Results

    PC Status
    Overall this PC is performing above expectations (68th percentile). This means that out of 100 PCs with exactly the same components, 32 performed better. The overall PC percentile is the average of each of its individual components.

    With a below average single core score, this CPU can handle email, web browsing and audio/video playback but it will struggle to handle modern 3D games or workstation tasks such as video editing. Finally, with a gaming score of 32.4%, this CPUs suitability for 3D gaming is below average.

    1.97% is too low to play 3D games or use CAD packages. (Note: general computing tasks don’t require 3D graphics)

    4GB is enough RAM to run any version of Windows and although it’s sufficient for most games, some will benefit from up to 8GB of RAM. 4GB is also enough for modest file and system caches which allow for a responsive system.

    OS Version
    Windows 10 is the most recent version of Windows, and the best to date in our opinion.

    • beobrigitte says:

      You got a new PC?
      Reading “Windows 10” makes me shudder………….

      • Frank Davis says:

        Actually, I’m quite impressed with Windows 10. Boots up quicker than any Windows I’ve ever used. So far, having used it for a couple pf days, I’ve not run into any big problems with it.

      • virtualbarman says:

        I tried the Windows 10 free upgrade thing on my desktop and couldn’t get on with it. I eventually went back to Win7.

        However, I’ve been using Win10 on this new laptop for a year and can’t fault it. Very pleased with the performance, features, etc.

        The only thing I felt the need to change was a the photo viewer but a quick registry change makes it use the old Windows Photo Viewer which is built-in.

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