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I am still having mondo computer problems, dude. (Sorry, the turtlespeak from watching Finding Nemo from 01:30 to 04:30 this morning is still persisting.)

Any advice, tips, resources, or other help would be greatly appreciated. I, and penguins for generations to come, will sing your praises! Fish bards will remember your name! (Well, they would, if... um... what were we talking about?)


You like me! You really, really like me!

You would not think these problems would persist for so long, but they have.

  • 1. CD and DVD recording: I still have six CD-R drives - seven if you count the one in Vaire and eight if you count the one I took out of Telperion - and only one (barely) working one. Of two copies of Nero I have, one was bundled with this Pioneer DVR-105 (16/8/4/2) drive, and it is the only CD-burning software I now have working.
    Status:

    • phawkwood and darana recommended Roxio and I'm considering trying to get Toast working on Yavanna (the PowerMac G4-350).

    • hempknight recommended Nero 6.x Ultimate, Manly Edition, but I'm wary of this software that is so bundled driver-dependent that only one of 6-8 drives works. As you may know, I have an uncanny ability to put off computer upgrades, repairs, patches, configurations, and other fixes, for 2d12 months, when downward compatibility inconsideration maketh me to say "WTF?". A Stupidity in Hell, to borrow the NetHack phrase.

    • I still cannot burn DVDs from ISO format (e.g., images produced by DVDshrink).


  • 2. Linux: Project Death Penguins of the Vanyar is a little stalled. (I'll give you two guesses as to the specific distributions and PC platforms.) I got a little discouraged when my partitioning of the little 8Gb drive resulted in out-of-space errors at several different stages of installation.

  • 3. Combination color inkjet printer, copier, and scanner: I cannot for the life of me get this Hewlett Packard psc 1350 All-in-One printer/copier/scanner working.
    Status:

    • masteralida, jereeza, and scottharmon report no problems with their HP printers, even under Linux. zengeneral and miajesbar aver that it is not the printer, but the fact that the COMPAQ WinXP box I'm trying to hook it up to is crap-in-a-box. All advise me to download updated drivers. I have the CD version 3.5.0.

    • Why have I not downloaded the drivers? In short, because I am a memoryless fishie. A procrastinating memoryless fishie. I unpacked the hp psc 1350 around 15 Jan 2005 and had the box open on the floor for over a week. On cleaning up my basement office, I promptly lost the installation poster and the little sticker that comes with the printer. What little sticker? The one that goes over the panel of LEDs next to all the buttons, that's which one! Yes, I have many flashing lights on this shiny poo and no idea what they mean. It's all very discouraging. *flicker beep flash flash E* Would you go on trying? I can't even work up the motivation to call HP and try to get them to replace it. Meanwhile, a printer and scanner that could otherwise be perfectly fine is going to waste, together with a growing pile of things that need to be scanned and printed:

      • CIS 830 (Advanced AI) papers for review - this is three weeks beyond "urgent, needed yesterday" and into the "OMG *assiduous headdesk*" range

      • CIS 736 (Computer Graphics) papers for review - this just went over the the "urgent, must scan this weekend" redline today

      • Photos - qyoot sproglet fishie! There's plenty more where that came from. C'mon, if that doesn't give you an incentive, I dunno what does!

      • Iron-on T-shirts - OK, fine, I do know. Whosoever helpeth me to print and scan shall receive an iron-on T-shirt with a custom image or logo (or our new TEUNC design!) in his or her size, postage prepaid. Come on, you can't beat that!


      At any rate, I'd like to start printing, and testing out the quijillion ink cartridges and refill kits I bought, not to mention get a spare (color!) copier working.

    • masteralida recommends the HP 58 Photo Ink Cartridge for photo printing. Anyone have anecdotal information on the merits of the 57 vs. the 58?


    Believe it or not, I still like having a COMPAQ desktop, mostly because a) it's cheaper than the manure it is and b) I don't need fast clock, many features, or anything but relative stability and nice multimedia performance. Well, to clarify "clock" and "features": all I ask is a system with more than 2 USB 2.0 ports, where I can put more than half a gig of RAM, a nice 200+Gb IDE drive, and play AVIs at full speed. Due to some odd choices I made, the fastest desktop in my house, other than Osse (the Athlon XP 2400 hand-built system that I borrowed from my own lab and recently returned) and Yavanna (a PowerMac G4-350, also borrowed from my lab) was Tulkas (a late 1997 vintage Dell Dimension XPS D-300). That's right, a Pentium II-300 with 256Mb RAM! My fastest notebook is Numerramar (a 2002 vintage ThinkPad A31p, 1.7GHz Pentium IV with 512Mb RAM), and after that, Earrame (a 2000 vintage ThinkPad T21, 800MHz Pentium III with 384Mb RAM).

    Telperion and Laurelin may be Celerons, but they are 2.8GHz Celerons: more than nine times the reported clock speed of Tulkas (which works out effectively to 2-3 times the actual integer operations per second, if not FLOPS). And BTW, Tulkas has been surpassed in speed by an actual IA32 (x86) system as of last month.

  • 4. Mail: I've been asked to forward all my mail to the department server, because mail was apparently bouncing on Fingolfin, the server to which I used forwarded all my mail for over 3 years (until last December). However, there are a few problems with:

    • Reliability: Upgrades and server moves have caused some downtime lately. We had three solid days of downtime just before the end of intersession (09-12 Jan 2005) and some KDDers (including zengeneral and I) were losing about half our mail for 2 weeks afterwards.

    • Functionality: On the CIS mail server (cislinux), there is no elm, and procmail doesn't update its recipes using all the real-time blackhole lists (RBLs) that we have it set up to use. We also use SpamBayes, though that is turned off right now. At any rate, spam is a big problem. I normally get 40000 e-mails a year (about 90% spam when you count mailing lists and cc's to myself as wanted e-mail), and it was up to 10000 per month (over 96% spam) during the months I set forwarding back to the KSU CIS department.

      Why so much spam, you ask? Simple: I was on the organizing committee for the 2001 International Conference on KDD: I had been organizing my own workshop on KDD for IJCAI-2001 and the organizer in charge of advertising and press relations talked me into being Publicity Co-chair. Back then, I didn't bother to mask or mangle my reply address. My e-mail address has been harvested so much, it isn't even funny. Stupid, I know, but I have no present plans to abandon the login bhsu.

    • Quotas: The 40000 e-mails a year come out to about 300Mb a semester, or 3 full 700Mb CDs every 2 years. The last I checked, our default faculty quota (which can be increased at need) is 200Mb. Trust me, if I had time to empty out my mailbox more than once a semester, I'd already be doing it.

    • Remote accessibility: I have been lazy about setting up IMAP. One reason is that I already have two httpd feeds (hsuwh[AT]hotmail.com and rizanabsith[AT]hotmail.com) and one IMAP (Fingolfin). Add a half dozen GMails, some Wikis, several LiveJournals, half a dozen communities, and a GreatestJournal, and it gets busy. I do wish I could consolidate.


    Does anyone understand procmail file locking? Also, does anyone know what I have to do to make my CIS .procmailrc work with RBLs and SpamBayes? I can't wait for the migration to CNS; it will mean about 40000 more spams.

  • 5. Notebook computer display: The LCD screen on my ThinkPad A31p develops a strange display artifact problem every three boots or so. This has been going on intermittently for over a year and a half. Here is a screenshot illustrating the artifact as it appears. This was taken in Explorer last February, when I was browsing a higher-resolution JPEG file in Filmstrip mode; I then pasted the image into Paint and saved it.
    Status:

    • The problem seems to last for one full boot session. Hibernation and restore will often make it go away for several boots. It is transient and difficult to reproduce

    • OTOH, it is persistent. It has recurred after a driver update, a BIOS upgrade, and a complete reinstallation of WinXP from a different CD. Previously I had RedHat Linux and WinXP dual-booting, and it would happen two out of every three times on first booting into Windows after booting Linux.

    • I can't tell whether it's the drivers for the on-board graphics card, the card itself, the BIOS, or something else.

    • IBM can't seem to reproduce it without my HD. They had my computer for several days last fall, after I sent it back with a report of several problems, including the display problem. (The three-year warranty expires in one month, so I would really like to get this resolved.)


  • 6. HTML formatting: This is more of a general query than a computer problem, but it is driving me crazy. Does anyone know how to make GMail or Hotmail interpret HTML as LJ does, or how to cut-and-paste formatted HTML "as-is" into rich text format?

  • 7. Magnifier window: OK, here's one I hope will be easy for a few of you. On Earrame, I somehow managed to open a small "magnifier" window, no larger than about 150 pixels on a side, that won't go away. As nearly as I can tell, it magnifies the window behind it at 1:1, 2:1, and 4:1 resolution, changing magnifications each time it is clicked. I've tried right-clicking, opening "Magnifier" to get the overhead bar, killing processes, even rebooting, and it just won't die. The only way I can make it go away even temporarily is to go into Control Panel, change the resolution under Settings, and then discard the change. Can someone tell me:

    • What it is?

    • How to turn it off?


  • 8. Outlook Express startup linked to IM: Here's another "easy" one. Does anyone know how to keep AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) from launching when Outlook Express does? How about MSN Messenger? I have this problem on Earrame and had it on Numerramar before I uninstalled AIM there, but it doesn't happen here on Telperion.


Here's what I've gotten fixed lately:

  • 1. CD and DVD recording: I now have regular CD-R and DVD-R burning on the Pioneer CD-R/RW/DVD-R combo drive in Telperion (the 2.7GHz Intel Celeron-based COMPAQ Presario SR1010NX with 256Mb RAM and a 40Gb HD; I added a 200Gb IDE drive and 512Mb for a total of 768Mb)

  • 2. Linux: So that Ashari, Andrew, and perhaps zengeneral and masaga can kibbitz, I got DynDNS, and have registered five systems. (Yes, that's a locked post: I have enough problems and don't need to be inviting 1337 ha><0rs.)

  • 3. Combination color inkjet printer, copier, and scanner: I'm still struggling. It took me days to even find the 3.5.0 CD. HP's web-based auto-detector just hangs. Dude, I tell you, I'm more printer-cursed than Hurley's numbers.

  • 4. Mail: Andrew is helping me make Fingolfin bounceless again, but if we could get file-locking fixed, then there'd be no bounces to suppress.

  • 5. Notebook computer display: I am looking for a quick-and-easy way to back up (and restore) the data from a nearly chock-full 60Gb ThinkPad hard drive, before I send the whole computer back to IBM for warranty repairs.

  • 6. HTML formatting: You've got me! I'm still at a complete loss on this one.

  • 7. Magnifier window: I can't even tell what this magnifier is. It's been around for 2-3 weeks and has persisted across about 10 reboots. I have never found out how I managed to open it.

  • 8. Outlook Express startup linked to IM: Somehow I managed to supress the link here on Numerramar, but I don't know how I did it. It might have been installation order, AIM version, or the fact that Outlook 2003 is my default e-mail reader and not Outlook Express. (Did I mention that I despise, deplore, and abhor Microsoft's "default bindings" paradigm?)



--
Banazir

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
settlement
Mar. 5th, 2005 05:46 pm (UTC)
i used to work at a computer equipment mail-order reseller, as both sales and tech support.

we stocked OEM copies of Nero 5 to give away with the Pioneer DVR-A103s. these copies of Nero worked fine for any CD-R drive. i use one on my PIII-500 with a (yummy) Teac drive.

what customers frequently had problems with was a funky install of the ASPI layer. this can come from errant DVD-authoring software, or errant any-burning-software. what is best to do is install your burning software (Nero?), upgrade it to the latest possible version from the software manufacturer, and then go to Adaptec's site and get the latest ASPI layer, install it, and reboot.

hyperlink: adaptec's aspi software
banazir
Mar. 6th, 2005 10:10 pm (UTC)
You're a wonderful person!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I printed that, and then zengeneral came over and we tried it for an hour. I am now 90% convinced now that there is actually a hardware defect with the printer and will call HP. The lights it is flashing indicate "print cartridge misalignment or something internally wrong with the printer hardware", and I've tried reseating the cartridges everywhich way but trask.

(He did get my DVD-R working with ISOs, using a package called Daemon Tools, though, so it wasn't a total loss.)

--
Banazir
jadziadax
Mar. 5th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
Now....I don't know what you've auctually fixed....so, here's a bit with everything.

I use Roxio to burn, and I have to convert ISO files to something else before I can burn them.

I don't really have any experience with Linux. My only experience with Linux is playing with the machines in the CS computer labs...and during labs or when I was TAing....when I worked on my own assignments, I ran it off my windows laptop (Mostly so I could take it around with me to help).

Printer: My mom has one. And we run it off of a crappy old as hell, Dell running Windows 98 SE. It works fine. There is a girl down the hall from me that has the newer one. She runs it from a XP laptop, it works fine.

Recommendation: UPDATED DRIVERS!!!!!!!!!! :p


Papers: Can't help you :P.

Pictures: Er....wha?

T-Shirts: If you really don't want to print/iron on yourself, you can use T-Shirts.com, as they iron on everything. In fact, they go iron-on happy. Just upload the picture you want :).


Printer cartridges: Don't mess with numbers. Bad idea.


Now....I'm going to go play with robots :) Yay for a semester project in Computer Vision!
lilithharp17
Mar. 5th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
It's not ok but ok.
I read down past 1/4 way and could not understand. But because I love using a computer, cleaving to a computer and linking to it, my yearning to use the computer correctly translates into, aww hun Sir. Remember, you are more logical, methodical, and slow. You think and you will conquer this illogical predicament and be on your well computing way. I know you will get over this glitch!
banazir
Mar. 5th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: It's not ok but ok.
I read down past 1/4 way and could not understand. But because I love using a computer, cleaving to a computer and linking to it, my yearning to use the computer correctly translates into, aww hun Sir.

"So shall a man leave his mother and father and cleave to his computer..."

No, wait, that's just wrong. Seriously, dude! :-P

I hate computers. Really, really, I do! I hate installing hardware, I have fixing PCs by putting in replacement parts or updating software, I hate wresting with irreproducible problems, and I hate trying to convince repair techs to even talk to me on the phone or step into my house. I hate phoning in warranty and rebate claims. I hate struggling with compilers and IDEs.

I miss the days when I could just program and play games and use Telnet and e-mail and everything would work. Nowadays one has to be leet in the extreme to do anything but browse and print mindlessly (and by mindlessly, I mean "right out of the box, with no mods or upgrades, drive repartitioning, or OS reinstallations").

The favorite phrase of tech support people these days is "we don't support that". Well, gee, thanks. Remind me again why it is we call them tech support?! The favorite response of even my very skilled and competent grad students is "*shrug* you bought crap". Well, OK, but see here: there should be a difference between $400 crap and $4000 crap, in that people who sell $4000 crap should make an effort to shape and scuplt it into something functional! Then I would have time to take $400 crap out, shoot it with a big gun, run it over with my car, and toss it into a dumpster with a satisfying thud.

*ahem* OK, rant over.

Remember, you are more logical, methodical, and slow.
I don't know about logical and methodical, but you're probably right that I am "slow". :-P

You think and you will conquer this illogical predicament and be on your well computing way. I know you will get over this glitch!
I'm sure I will. It just says something about the state of the IT industry being a tad-bit off kilter (read: totally wack) when a professional in the field, one who employs both developers and sysadmins, spends 2 years getting drives and printers to work.

2 years, 2 months, and counting...

--
Banazir
kauricat
Mar. 5th, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC)
I am not by any means a computer-guru, but I might ask a friend or two to peruse this post and see what they make of it.

Meanwhile, I would like to say "WHEE! You managed to fit in a reference to LOST in all that jargon!" I loved the Hurley episode! :D
banazir
Mar. 5th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
Dude, thanks very much
I am not by any means a computer-guru, but I might ask a friend or two to peruse this post and see what they make of it.
Merci beaucoup!

Meanwhile, I would like to say "WHEE! You managed to fit in a reference to LOST in all that jargon!" I loved the Hurley episode! :D
Hehe, blessed is Hurley, for he maketh my mouth to water and to utter "dude".
Poor guy!

--
Banazir
miajesbar
Mar. 5th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
1. CD and DVD recording

Roxio is good. I like Adaptec Easy CD Creator but Roxio's good too. I have Nero right now personally...I barely understand how to use it but hey it works. :)

miajesbar aver that it is not the printer, but the fact that the COMPAQ WinXP box I'm trying to hook it up to is crap-in-a-box.

Hahaha, yes. Crap-in-a-box. I'm seeing allegorical parallels to my life here...

Yes, I have many flashing lights on this shiny poo and no idea what they mean.

LOLOL!!! That is the BEST phrase I have heard all week. Shiny poo.

Believe it or not, I still like having a COMPAQ desktop, mostly because a) it's cheaper than the manure it is

Actually, I'm pretty sure real manure is probably more expensive and more functional than a Comcrap.

b) I don't need fast clock, many features, or anything but relative stability and nice multimedia performance.

*CHOKES* Bana Bana Bana!!!!!! What have me and zengeneral been telling you!!!! The very least thing Compaq will give you is relative stability or any kind of stability at all!!! and "nice" multimedia performance?? Oh Force you've GOT to be kidding me. I couldn't play videos on mine at all, and they still tended to pause and jump and pause and jump ahead even when I upgraded the memory. If you want stability and nice multimedia performance, you don't go with a Comcrap.

Good luck with everything!
burkhardt
Mar. 6th, 2005 04:10 am (UTC)
LCD Display
The LCD problem looks heat related. That was part of what was happening with VioletSiths laptop that forced me to contact Dell and force them to replace the video card. When it happens try elevating the back of the laptop a couple of inches (just shove something underneath the back to hold it up, and make sure not cover any fans on the bottom). If you can lower the ambient temp in the room and have a fan blowing around it (side on for the fan is generally best that way the external fan won't be fighting the internal rear exhaust that are common on laptops).

Her problem has come back again in a limited degree when the ambient temp in the room hits a certain level.

As far as reproducing it the HP techs are most likely running their junk video testers and not finding anything. Extreme load is generally going to be what brings it out (if you have a burner in the laptop this could contribute greatly to the overall temp inside the laptop case if it's being used, burners are hot hot hot).

Try running something graphically intensive immediatelly after a cold boot. Try something like 3D Mark, which is a game benchmarking apps and will stress both the CPU and the video card (both processing and fill rate).
banazir
Mar. 6th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC)
Re: LCD Display
The LCD problem looks heat related...
Thanks, burkhardt, but I have had the problem occur right after a cold-start. In fact, just last Wednesday I had such an episode during a group meeting (that fortunately didn't include a seminar this time).

Her problem has come back again in a limited degree when the ambient temp in the room hits a certain level.
:nod: I do have that problem on Earrame, a ThinkPad, and I use not air or water-cooling, but pillow-cooling. Let me tell you, the only thing worse than a pillow that has gotten warm from your head is one that has gotten warm from a notebook computer. Gah.

As far as reproducing it the HP techs are most likely running their junk video testers and not finding anything. Extreme load is generally going to be what brings it out (if you have a burner in the laptop this could contribute greatly to the overall temp inside the laptop case if it's being used, burners are hot hot hot).
Yes, but "fortunately", the burner in my ThinkPad is one of those 5-7 non-working ones out of my 6-8. :-P

Oh, and I've decided against buying an HP notebook. If I do get another notebook in the next 2 years it will be a Dell Inspiron in the late fall of 2006.

Try running something graphically intensive immediatelly after a cold boot. Try something like 3D Mark, which is a game benchmarking apps and will stress both the CPU and the video card (both processing and fill rate).
I'll try that. Thanks!
First, I need to phone in the incident.

--
Banazir
burkhardt
Mar. 7th, 2005 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: LCD Display
If it's happening immediatelly after a cold boot the damage may very well be in the hardware now, not just inadequate cooling inside the laptop case. :-(


banazir
Mar. 17th, 2005 02:20 am (UTC)
Re: LCD Display
Thanks - I'll look into it.
It's all still in warranty, fortunately.

--
Banazir
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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