Laid off again

The company I worked for bought another company... and now is laying people off in Poland, Colorado, Pennsylvania... and here in Des Moines.

So... back to sending out the resume, and I think I'll go talk to the guy who owns a Mexican restaurant I like and offer to redo his really bad web site for a fee, and seriously work on Java and continue on Python, and whatever else comes to mind...

OU Athletics Department charging $5 to park at Lloyd Noble for Medieval Fairgoers

OU's Athletic Department has decided that, starting this year, they will charge $5 for parking at Lloyd Noble for people going to the Norman Medieval Fair. The folks who run the Fair had nothing to do with this decision, and are getting precisely $0 of the money from the parking fee.

This can't be good for the fair, especially given the economy.

A Norman Transcript article on the decision quoted one Kenny Mossman, senior associate athletics director, on the matter; you may wish to express your opinion to Mr. Mossman.
  • Current Mood
    angry angry

Eight crazy nights on XM radio

XM radio is running Hanukkah music on channel 28 for the duration of the holiday. There's a surprising variety of music--some of which will break your heart, some of which is a total hoot ("Shalom, Y'All", or Hanukkah music in the style of Elvis, anyone?). Check it out.
  • Current Music
    "Hanukkah Song Part 2", Adam Sandler

Sister's motherboard update

Gigabyte asks whether I've tried installing Windows on the computer.

No, and I'm not going to unless there's some version I can legally install without paying money to Microsoft--and as far as I can tell, the Windows 7 release candidate download isn't available any more.
  • Current Mood
    enraged enraged

Hunkering down

So... we're at home, and I doubt we'll be heading out again until late Wednesday or early Thursday. It's pretty darned grim out.
  • Current Music
    "Footprints in the Snow", Claude Debussy


So, here's the story. We started out with the following:

  • Apevia X-QPACK2-NW black micro ATX case w/500W power supply
  • Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H micro ATX motherboard
  • G.Skill 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333 RAM
  • AMD Athlon II 620 Propus 2.6 GHz quad core CPU
  • Western Digital Caviar Green 750GB SATA hard drive
  • Lite-On DVD/CD burner of the SATA persuasion
We put it together...and the BIOS didn't recognize the hard drive. We found that the Ubuntu Live CD ran fine if we disconnected the hard drive, but not if we connected it. Inference: the hard drive is DOA.

We'll do the RMA thing... in the meantime, we get a Caviar Black 1 TB hard drive. The BIOS sees it... but the results are otherwise the same. Inference: despite Antec's web site saying that with the stuff we have in that box, 325 W would do (and the power supply having sufficient total current on 12V for the graphics card), we could use a bigger power supply.

We go get one--and find out the hard way that the ATX spec must just fix the cross-sectional dimensions and face plate, not the depth, and exchange it for a modular power supply that we still only barely manage to fit in. (Those cables are stiff!)

Ubuntu 9.10 installs beautifully (and quickly, too--Cox Cable gives my sister 20 Mb/s download, 5 Mb/s upload, as opposed to Mediacom's pathetic 12 Mb/s down, 1 Mb/s up, and for less money, too). As instructed, we remove the CD, press enter to reboot...

...and nothing.

Now when we power up, we get the initial beep and display on the screen, but it stops before even doing the scan of RAM, and does not respond to the keyboard.

The motherboard knows about that particular CPU; we checked on Gigabyte's web site. We ran memtest86+, so we think the memory is OK. The keyboard has power, because we can get the num lock LED to light up.

Any suggestions?

UPDATE: Disconnected the hard drive and it boots. Fiddled with the BIOS SATA settings and it came up on the hard drive, but after installing updates and rebooting--same old thing. Here we see something about difficulties with Karmic Koala and AHCI, so I will try IDE mode. That may have been the whole problem. Will update here as we learn more.

UPDATE: That wasn't it. We set the SATA mode to IDE, and still a reboot causes it to hang in POST. I have to power down, disconnect the hard drive, power up, and then reboot. When it runs, it runs beautifully... but I can't expect my sister and niece to have to futz with the innards each time they reboot. Time to look at Gigabyte's web site again, I think.

UPDATE: A fellow on a forum claimed that the DVD and hard drive had to be hooked up to specific SATA ports, but that claim is inconsistent with the manual, and having to take enough stuff apart to do that would be a big pain for dubious benefit, so we didn't do it... but when we moved it back from the kitchen table to the desk, plugged things back in, and powered up, it came right up. Several hours running perfectly, reboot... and it hangs in POST. What is different between the two attempts? Actually being without power. Power down, throw the on/off switch on the power supply, twiddle thumbs a bit, turn it back on, push the button... and it comes right up. I now very seriously suspect the BIOS. Something (a race condition?) is different between a cold boot and a reboot.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated

Thank goodness for Norman Regional Home Medical

The positive airway pressure device has flaked out, and here we are in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, we're able to rent one from Norman Regional Home Medical for a month--and given the vagaries of insurance, we might be best off just buying it.
  • Current Mood
    relieved relieved

Darned graphics cards

So here I am, or rather, there I was (it was last night), trying to put together my sister's new computer. I ordered the parts and had them shipped to her place the preceding week.

Graphics cards these days are at the high end of the "wee, not so wee, and FRIGGIN' HUGE!" scale, largely because of the humongous fans that they have for cooling. The particular card I got isn't so long as to not fit in the case--at least according to the manual, and gee, I wish newegg.com would give physical dimensions in the specs--but it is so long as to hang out over the SATA connections--so that we'll need right angle cables, and that will mean we won't have access to all of them. Dang it.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated