November 1, 2012 – 8:16 pm
So I think I found the problem, and it is, in fact, my motherboard. Below is a picture of one of several capacitors on my motherboard that appear to be trying to bulge out the top.
Apparently this is called capacitor plague, and it’s not all that uncommon.
This is from the inside of my motherboard (It’s hard to get a good picture of capacitors, so this is the best I can do!):
Note the capacitor in the upper right hand corner, which has puffed up to the point of distending the little X shaped vent on the top, and which is reflecting light rather differently than the other, flatter capacitors in the picture.
These capacitors are from an article on capacitor plague, found here:
The pictures are way too similar for my liking. SSH’s machine has the same motherboard as mine, but his is distinctly lacking in capacitor puffiness.
Fortunately, my computer’s version of capacitor plague did not include exploding capacitors and an electrical fire.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure at this point I’m going to be building a new machine. The actual testing apparatus to run current through capacitors and test them is considerably more expensive than a new motherboard, and we don’t own any soldering equipment anyway.
While I still have a laptop that is (barely) functional, I’m out of WoW for the foreseeable future. This will give me the opportunity to work on some plots and fiction, but other than that, it may get sparse around here. I’m not sure how long it will take to assemble the parts for a new rig. You’ll still find me on gTalk and twitter though, as usual.
October 31, 2012 – 7:46 pm
I think I have a hardware issue. What do you think? (Also, if that’s not the worlds most unhelpful error message, I don’t know what is.)
October 31, 2012 – 10:40 am
I’m hoping someone out there who reads this can offer me some suggestions, as I’ve been having some pretty significant computer trouble for the last few weeks, and it’s progressively getting worse.
Computer periodically freezes. It does not blue-screen, nor does the hard disk stop spinning, it just goes completely unresponsive (mouse pointer frozen, no keyboard, num lock key won’t toggle, windows button doesn’t work, CTRL-ALT-DEL doesn’t work, etc.). The only way to unfreeze it is to hard restart it with the power button. Occasionally, it auto-restarts itself. Sometimes the freezing happens after several hours of doing various things, sometimes it happens just after restarting. Usually it happens when I’m trying to run multiple things at the same time (like Firefox, iTunes, and TweetDeck, or opening Firefox while WoW is running), but sometimes I’ll be typing a blog post and it will just freeze up (like just happened, thank FSM for auto-save).
This started happening with some regularity when the computer was left idle for long periods of time, like overnight. Then, after about a week of that, it’s gone to happening more and more frequently, to the point where it happened 7-10 times yesterday.
The only error in the error log is error 41, which is the “you hard restarted the computer using the power button” error. There is no recorded failure other than that windows did not shut down properly. Since there’s no BSOD, I have no other error messages to google.
What we’ve tried:
- chkdsk and memtest both came back with no errors
- I’ve cleaned the computer out thoroughly (it wasn’t very dirty) and checked all the fans, which are running fine.
- I’ve unseated and reseated all the MB components
- I’ve made sure all drivers and Windows7 are up to date (they were)
- Restart into safe mode to run a virus scan/defrag – computer froze up about halfway through.
- Booted the computer off of a Ubuntu CD. The computer did not crash overnight. Admittedly, all I did was boot it into Ubuntu (there’s not much you can do with it just as a CD so we didn’t really test anything stressful), and sometimes it runs for hours in Windows too. Still, this may be significant.
Possible things are a memory problem that memtest didn’t find? A bad windows driver (since it still crashes even in safe mode, but seemed fine booting off a Ubuntu CD)? I’m running out of things to check that could be causing this, but it’s REALLY ANNOYING.
I bow to your superior computer knowledge, internet. I’m running up against a total loss on what this could be. Help!
October 26, 2012 – 8:27 am
This week’s Friday Five is a set of questions about how you deal with weather in RP. Or don’t deal with it, depending.
1. Does your character prefer warm or cold weather?
2. What’s their favorite way to stay cool?
3. What’s their favorite way to stay warm?
4. Has your character ever gone on vacation? If so, where?
5. How do you (the writer) deal with weather in RP? Do you ignore it, work with it, build it in specifically?
Aely is a cold weather woman – she loves the cold most of the time, largely because she’s usually wearing heavy armor with padding underneath. She’s been known to upend buckets of water over her head in the summer, especially in places where nobody in their right mind would be wearing plate. Keeping warm? That’s easy, whiskey. Or possibly whiskey and sit by a fireplace, but definitely whiskey. If it’s a pleasure trip, Aely does have a fondness for warm and tropical places where she can wear light sundresses, but she always wears a big hat to help prevent freckles.
As a writer, I like using weather – sometimes a bit too much I think. Weather gives your characters something to really react to in your setting, so I tend to build it into most of my stories intentionally. It’s also ripe with really good descriptions, and I’m a sucker for good descriptions.