More observations on the effects of environment on antique hardware

I live in a part of Japan that will see a sharp jump in humidity in the next few weeks, as we enter a rainy season. Already the ambient moisture levels, on days that are still relatively cool, are noticeable.

And one of the ways I notice it through that misbehaving power switch on my 100Mhz laptop, the one that will randomly pulse at times, cracking a wicked on-off-on-off power current through the whole machine, and making my hair stand on end in fear.

It’s nothing new, I anticipate and prepare for the problem, but I have noticed that in the past week or two, it has become more and more common. As are the random system restarts, which of course delay my progress in terms of 10-minute blocks, while the system restarts, does a file check, then restarts again, and so forth.

So only a week or two after mentioning that I use it more or less as my primary machine, I have moved everything off of it, and given it a two- to three-month hiatus in the closet, while I wait for cooler and drier weather. I don’t have an explanation, in mechanical terms, for why humidity would cause the switch to falter more often (I have absolutely zero training in the electrical arts). But I’m not prepared to work an antique within a hair’s breadth of its life, just to prove it can be done. A machine that has survived 13 years with relatively little damage doesn’t deserve to be whipped to death by a Linux zealot ignoring hardware eccentricities.

Also from the “misbehaving hardware” department, that Atheros wireless card‘s bizarre noise floor errors have irritated me long enough, and forced enough reboots of the Thinkpad, to prompt me to yank it from its socket. It has likewise been relegated to the closet, but this one with teeth clenched, and with an overhand motion. :evil:

But in every problem, a solution, I tell myself. The ancient Linksys WPC11 v3 b-wireless card that was my connection to the world on the Pentium is now in the Thinkpad, with a recompiled kernel and no irritating noise messages that eventually kill my network connection and force me to reboot. Ah, silence.

Aside from that, things are still more or less status quo. Sending the Pentium on a vacation clears a nifty chunk of my desk, which is a welcome side effect. Who knows though, maybe something “new” will fill that space soon? That seems to be my pattern. … :|

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Some recent desktops

May 6, 2011
Musca 0.9.24 on Crux Linux
150Mhz Pentium 96Mb 8Gb CF

May 14, 2011
IceWM 1.2.37 and Arch Linux
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

Some recent games

Apr. 21, 2011
Oolite on Xubuntu 11.04
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

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