Author Topic: Further Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop  (Read 5068 times)

Offline buster

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Further Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop
« on: August 18, 2019, 11:34:35 am »
Chapter One: Accepting What’s here or Voyaging on?

What was called originally by sophisticated computer users a piece of junk, became, with savvy and small scale bravery a maybe not so bad computer, but really not much more. Most of the 10 years were wiped away, kind of. Now it’s an excellent up-to-date Windows 10 system, on a 500 gig hard drive, with superb graphics on a lovely 1080p monitor.

But it is annoying when I wake up at 4 a.m. and think, “But what if?” when I should be sleeping. There really is no point in any improvements. And really if I spent ANY money it would seem like cheating. So early one dark morning I slid quietly out of bed to start the list of ‘improvements’ that can be made. ‘Quietly’ because how do you explain to a relatively sane and normal wife that you are going to make a list of things that will make the ancient desktop in the junk room even better?

The pencilled note, which I still have, reads:

ram for sure – see #1 son
faster hd  - should be in the old box
faster network card – big problem

It looks like the back packs are in the canoe, and ready to move on, but......

If none of these three can be solved, this story ends here.

Tomorrow -What’s Ikea Got to do with Anything?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2019, 06:23:43 pm by buster »
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline fox

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2019, 11:48:34 am »
Biggest improvement would be with an SSD. Who knows? You might score an old one for free from somewhere.
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Offline buster

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2019, 06:56:25 pm »
"Biggest improvement would be with an SSD."

Jeez Mike. Where did you get your PhD? At a bible college in South Carolina? The book has been published and will appear in all the major books stores in New York City. What am I to do, scurry around and pencil in changes with a new SSD in every single book? The deed is done. The computer work is finished.

This reminds me of when you sold that computer to the Asian youngster, and I said you could get 25 bucks more. But no, who listens to Buster.

Geez Mike
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline fox

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2019, 07:09:16 pm »
...
Jeez Mike. ....
Geez Mike
Well Mr. English teacher. The least you can do is spell a word the same way when you use it twice.  ;D
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Offline buster

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2019, 07:37:16 am »
Chapter Two: What’s Ikea Got to do with Anything?

Almost no married man goes willingly to Ikea on Saturday afternoon. Parking spots are hard to find, and once in the crowded store it’s like an Xbox game – where are we, and how do we get to where we need to be to get the prize (in this case a chair)?

And escape from the store is also difficult, as it involves finding the ‘warehouse’ and using the appropriate ‘codes’ to find the chair you may or may not need. And after you pay finding your car.

So why did I let my wife, who really wanted to go,  take me into this warren on a lovely sunny day? All part of a cunning plan. My son lives not too far from Ikea, and I had presented the idea that a visit to Ikea could be combined with a pleasant meal at our son’s house and a sleepover.

Meanwhile, during the previous week, I had quietly texted my son and he had found some 4 gig ram sticks, DDR3, in his desk drawer left over from years ago. They were packaged and ready for me.

So we left the store, fought our way through traffic, arrived at our son’s house and ate a very good meal that he had dutifully prepared for his ancient mater and pater.

After dinner I casually asked my son, “Do you by any chance have some DDR3 ram sticks?”

He looked a bit surprised of course, but he’s quick witted, and glancing at his mom he said, “I’m pretty sure I have some downstairs. I’ll go and check.”

So that day had the pain of Ikea balanced with the joy of holding the ram sticks in my hand. And a spouse totally happy that I would sacrifice a whole day to please her. And we drank a lovely Spanish red wine. And that helped quite a bit too.

Tomorrow – The Proof is in the Pudding
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline fox

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2019, 07:48:03 am »
Let's hope your wife is not a silent subscriber to the forums.  :)
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Offline ssfc72

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2019, 08:08:23 am »
Sometimes at Ikea  if you are lucky, you get to see a cute little monkey all dressed up in a very fashionable coat, roaming around  the parking lot. :-)
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Online Jason Wallwork

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2019, 03:13:18 pm »
Delightful reading the chapters thus far. And 4 GB sticks of DDR3? You lucky bastard.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2019, 03:15:11 pm by Jason Wallwork »
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Offline buster

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2019, 08:43:33 am »
Chapter 3: The Proof is in the Pudding

Working with old computer parts is much like working on a garden. In general everything looks fine to the neighbours, but the gardener sees that the defeated aphids have infiltrated again under the cover of darkness, the weeds once removed have left tiny children who can be seen peeking out from hiding spots in the corners, and the only expensive plant I own looks as if it has measles. Still, in general, the garden is doing well.

So it was in this case with the ram sticks. Pretty good, but some disappointment to come. The excitement started when I unpacked them in the basement. The two of them very clearly said 16 g! The conversation at a club meeting would be so cool. ‘So I put in 32 gig of ram. I prefer of course 64 g, but this was all I could get free.’ Maybe I’d look a little bored as I said it.

The storage room I’ve been relegated to has one wee 40 W light bulb in the ceiling, and a desk with a flashlight. I tipped the computer case on ts side and stared into the components from my chair. Even with the flashlight it was murky. So all the cables were removed from the back, and the heavier than you’d expect case was carried into civilization in the next room, where the pale blue 16 g treasures were installed into the ram slots easily. A ‘Yes!’ was shouted. Little did I know that this was like scenes where Snidely Whiplash used to exclaim, "Curses! Foiled again!"

Case carted back, cables installed in its back, and power button pressed. Harry smiled.

Quick search for ram, and there it was – eight gig ram. As in  e-i-g-h-t.

Had the name of the ram sticks. Googled and found that it says 16g (4x4) on its side, at least from the picture. Phoned a friend who works commercially with computers and repairs and he said, “That was so much false advertising back in the day! They sold ‘sets’ of ram sticks in a ‘four stick kit’. You get a total of 16 g, being 4 times 4 g, but they labeled each stick individually with a 16. The label does have 4x4 on it so they can claim honesty in advertising.”

So anyway, moving from a weak 3 gig to a strong 8 gig of ram completes the first of the needed tasks. For this accomplishment I toasted myself with a fine pint of Spitfire Ale from Kent. And the canoe was moving with the current, looking for the next portage.

Also, looking on the bright side of things, I no longer had to practise my delivery of the ‘I put in 32 g of ram’ in front of the mirror anymore.

Tomorrow – The Moral Dilemma
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline fox

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 08:52:39 am »
I would say that this is a pretty good outcome. Would you really need more than 8 gb of RAM in an old computer? (Some really old computers wouldn't even recognize more than 4.) So 8 gb of RAM; price = 0. Score: Harry 1, computer devil 0.
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Online Jason Wallwork

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2019, 12:42:59 pm »
You mean Harry's not the computer devil?

And yes, Harry, you will do great with 8 GB - you should notice the performance increase.
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Offline buster

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2019, 09:21:21 am »
Chapter 4: The Moral Dilemma

If I told you that I get emotionally attached to plants and inanimate objects, and that I talk to the six tall trees on our lot that I grew from seed and planted many years ago, you might have me committed. So of course I can’t tell you. But we have neighbours who regularly talk to an invisible something, and so I think if I did happen to talk to something alive, and that I can see, I would be able to classify myself as normal. My trees do quite like me, as did my old cars, old furniture, old TV that still requires tapping on the back each start up to make the lines go away.

How does all this relate to the moral dilemma? I have a relatively old Linux Mint on my first ssd, which is only 120 gig. But like all Microsoft things, my Win 10 covets that drive. But old Linux installs that have been trusted friends for years should not be discarded lightly. How would the PLUG members react? Would I have to leave the club in shame? Also I’m not spending money to get a larger ssd. But it is hard to betray an old friend like Mint.

As along with most people, I decide moral issues by doing what I want and making up really good reasons for the decision later. Also, on giving in to temptation, I echo Oscar Wilde who said it so accurately - “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”

Flip Wilson put it more simply, “The devil made me do it.”

Either way my friend Mint was being cast aside. Which leads to three immediate technical rather that ethical problems.

1. How do I hook up both drives with the limited hardware attachments in the old case?

2. The used space on the 500 gig Win 10 hard drive has to be reduced enough to fit onto a 120 gig ssd.  How?

3. What software will move an image of Win 10 onto the grave of my late friend Linux Mint?

The canoe was approaching a string of rapids.

Tomorrow – Playing with Wires.
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Online Jason Wallwork

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2019, 12:11:49 pm »
I'm guessing those aren't questions for us but considerations you're making? I, for one, find it deeply unethical to tell you how to move Windows 10 onto a drive when it's replacing Mint, so I won't but there is plenty of resources online that will tell how you to move it, assuming that your Win10 install is small enough to fit. And not to sound boastful but simply for your considerations, I will also note that I had Win10 and Linux on a drive that was half the size of your SDD.
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Offline fox

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2019, 01:11:57 pm »
All the drafts of Harry's adventure story require a lot of disk space.  :)
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Offline buster

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Re: Further Adventures with an Old Computer
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2019, 02:01:58 pm »
Yes Jason, these are rhetorical questions as you realized. The thing is, everything I solved or didn't solve was finish a few weeks ago. I did wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if I could make it even better some time ago. So I tried. On Saturday you will know.

After awhile I realized I had solved, for me at least, some interesting and sometimes difficult problems. And they together have some kind of narrative flow. So, Mike, I wrote one copy. Later checked each chapter for flow and grammar. Changed the emphasis here and there.

If it wasn't enjoyable to write, like fixing the old Compaq, I would never have thought about doing any of it.

Decided to start feeding the chapters out starting Sunday. Three to go.
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )