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Moving In: They Glow Blue!

A week after we moved in, I felt confident in actually doing something with our PCs. Vickie’s son-in-law, Paul, runs a small IT business in Cairns, and loaned us a 17” monitor while shopping for a good price on a 19” for Vickie.

On the day I got the PCs up and running, I left my PC on all day, with a paused game of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War running while we were out. A while after we got back in and I started playing again, the PC crashed and wouldn’t even get past the IDE drive search sequence when I tried to re-boot.

As my PC has been giving me grief ever since I last replaced the motherboard, I figured the most recent mobo had finally decided to call it quits. I called Paul about getting some parts, then decided to cannibalise some of my stuff as Vickie’s floppy disk and CD-ROM drives had also decided to stop working. Unfortunately, I got very frustrated as the CD-ROM drive had become stuck inside Vickie’s case, and I managed to damage Vickie’s motherboard while trying to get it out. So I called Paul again and told him I needed two motherboards instead of one.

Paul found Vickie a new motherboard, a used unit from a friend’s PC that came with a faster processor. I managed to get Vickie’s PC working with my DVD-ROM and CD burner, but unfortunately, the brand-new 19” LG monitor that Paul delivered decided to commit suicide not half an hour after being unpacked and set up. Vickie currently has my 19” monitor, and the LG has been picked up and returned. Paul loaned me the 17” again in the meantime, but is currently in Sydney, and although he organised a new monitor to be couriered up before he left, I’m not sure what’s happening with it. I’ll have to give his outfit a call on Monday morning.

On the plus side, he did loan me a couple of sticks of PC2700 256MB SDRAM. I tried putting mine in Vickie's PC with her existing 512MB stick, but they seemed to conflict with it; symptoms included the odd pause-during-startup woes I used to have in Sydney. So they're elsewhere for the moment.

Also, as heat is a major concern up here, I bought a couple of extra eight-centimetre cooling fans for my PC (installed at the top of the rear panel) and a twelve-inch fan for Vickie's PC installed on the left-hand case panel, directly over her processor's heat sink (I had to drill some holes to mount it) as AMD Athlon processors tend to run quite hot. The thing is, as Dick Smith was the only easily-accessible parts place at the time, the only decent fans I could buy were cold-cathode lit ones. Now, both of our PCs glow blue through the venting grilles when they're turned on!

Anyway, we’re all up and running on ADSL, which is rather frustratingly slow when you’re trying to stream video or download something sizeable (it took several hours to bring down a 400+MB demo of the Star Wars Republic Commando PC game a few days ago), but still much faster than dial-up. I was hoping to get four sticks of DDR400 512MB RAM (two for Vickie, two for me) but Zelda’s recent vet bills and my current joblessness have put paid to that for the time being.

By the way, if you or anyone you know could use a working Telstra cable modem, with power supply and instruction manual (I can even throw in a spare RJ45 network cable), can you let me know?

P.S.: Republic Commando rocks.

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