19 Feb 2007

Beer testing

OK - here's something to cheer about, taken from Smile of the Day (Beer Testing, February 8):

Yesterday, scientists for the USDA suggested that men should take a look at their beer consumption,considering the results of a recent analysis that revealed the presence of female hormones in beer.

The theory is that drinking beer makes men turn into women. To test the finding, 100 men were fed 8 pints of beer each. It was then observed that 100% of the men gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became overly emotional, could not drive, failed to think rationally, argued over nothing, and refused to apologise when wrong.

No further testing is planned.

Live CD saves my files

After having changed my mainboard due to a terrible thunderstorm (see previous post), my Windows and Ubuntu OS wouldn't boot. I had gigabytes of data-files to back up, including saved Need for Speed Carbon games and Half-Life 2 games (see post), personal files and music. That would have been impossible unless to transfer the hard disk to another computer as slave and then perform the operation.

However, thanks to Live CD technology from Linux, I was able to boot my computer and transfer my files via LAN to my old P3 for backup! Mounting the drives using Kubuntu Live CD was a breeze and a fun experience.

Unfornately, I couldn't test to see whether we can burn DVDs using Live CD in Kubuntu since I have only one DVD-drive on my P4 - that's why I had to make a LAN transfer!

Pain of a thunderstorm

Usually, people who use their desktop computers frequently know that having an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is important - it helps protect the computer from unexpected power disruption. So saying, it should supply some amount of power to allow us to shut down our computer, after having saved all our data, nicely when a power cut occurs. And it should also protect us against voltage spikes which may occur, especially during thunderstorms.

However, my UPS did not achieve the second goal three weeks ago during a thunderstorm. I should admit that it might have achieved it during the last three years since my dad bought it and that we had no problems at all, but not three weeks ago, despite the fact that it is labeled 'surge protection system'.

Consequence: the power supply and mainboard on my P4 burnt! However, my P3, which is also connected to the same UPS, was working fine!!

My dad and brother took the P4 to BBCWYSE Ltd which is found near where I live. The guy there told me later that the UPS does not protect against voltage spike! despite the fact that it is labeled 'surge protection'!!

So far, no huge pain - we only have to buy a new mainboard... But alas! When we bought the P4 three years ago from Leal Informatics Ltd, we had a Gigabyte socket 478 mainboard with 5 PCI slots and extension bracket for 5.1 surround sound. However, we couldn't find one which matches this criterion - socket 478 with 5 PCI slots! Why we're after this: because as the years passed by, we bought PCI modem, firewire (IEEE 1394) PCI card, PCI LAN card, etc...

After three weeks search at nearly all stores in Mauritius, we came to the conclusion that we couldn't replace our mainboard with an identical or near-identical one since the mainboard was no longer being manufactured. Huh, this is expected since in the IT world, everything changes fast.

But we were disappointed since we had to buy a cheap integrated MSI mainboard with no Game and MIDI ports, no 5.1 surround sound extension bracket, no serial port, etc... it provided only the basics!!

After passing three weeks without a good computer at home, I will now have to pass the next months thinking on what to invest money - a PCI 5.1 surround sound card or a MIDI PCI port... since I have only one PCI port left empty! I may get both on the same card at some store but that may be really expensive and rare... so I'm keeping my fingers crossed...